The Butterfingers Angel Kicks Off a Hilarious and Heartfelt Holiday Season at Uptown
Uptown Knauer Performing Arts Center presents the gift of theatre and celebrates a major new beginning. The West Chester performing arts organization kicks off its new regional theatre program with a smart, original and heartfelt retelling of the greatest story ever told.
Written by Tony Award-winning playwright and novelist William Gibson, The Butterfingers Angel, Mary & Joseph, Herod the Nut, & the Slaughter of 12 Hit Carols in a Pear Tree will launch Uptown’s entrance into the regional theatre scene this holiday season.
The show runs from Nov. 30 to Dec. 23. Previews will be on Wednesday, Nov. 30 and Thursday, Dec. 1. Opening night is on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022. Domenick Scudera directs this hilarious and joyful play that is perfect for a night in the town and family gatherings during the most wonderful time of year.
“This is the story of Mary and Joseph and the Nativity,” said Uptown Artistic Director Carmen Khan. “It defies the traditional telling of the story by creating a rich tapestry of characters and mood that are fresh and creative. The feel of the play is one of ridiculous hilarity and joy, but underlying that is a sense of the reverent, forgiveness, the miracle of the birth of a child and the hope and love that accompanies that.”
Khan added, “I wanted to find a holiday show that was highly entertaining and also moving. This play does both those things. It is filled with Christmas songs and fun, but the true significance of the occasion is never lost.”
In this play, a fumbling young Angel announces to Mary that she has been chosen to become a mother. But Mary is a free spirit, and her plans do not include marriage, or motherhood!
Once a bewildered Joseph is won over, an antic pageant of Tree, Sheep, Donkey, Cow, Kings, and others set off on the road to Bethlehem. ‘The Butterfingers Angel’ is filled with Christmas songs and entertainment, but the reverence, joy, and true significance of the occasion are never lost.
The Boston Herald-American said the play is, “Angelic…beguiling wit and humor…as likable as it is lively…” The Syracuse Herald said it is “…a gift of love and hope to the world.”
About the Cast
Uptown’s inaugural cast is filled with local and regional acting talent. Jenna Kuerzi plays the free-spirited Mary. She comes to Uptown after playing Maureen in Media Theatre’s recent production of RENT. She also recently performed her solo show, Johnny Depp: A Retrospective on Late-Stage Capitalism in the Free Fringe, after performing it in the United Kingdom.
Neill Hartley plays Joseph. A noted actor, director and educator, he is the Artistic Director of Acting Without Boundaries and has appeared in several films and television series including seasons 2-4 of Netflix’s House of Cards.
The cast also features Olivia Gerdon (Herod’s Woman, Girl Child, and others), DJ Gleason (Angel), Paul Harrold (Donkey), Elise Hudson (Tree), Joshua Kachnycz (Lout/King 1) Maggie O’Connor (Woman 2, Cow, Ensemble), James Ofalt (Lout/King 2), Christopher David Roché (Lout/King 3), Sharese Salters (Woman 1, Sheep, Ensemble) and Eric Van Wie (Herod and the Man in Grey).
The show is best enjoyed by audiences of all ages. Tickets are on sale now starting at $35 with discounts and savings available for families, seniors, students and military.
Discounts are also available for groups of ten or more. All performances are on the Roy A. Smith Mainstage at Uptown, at 226 N. High Street.
About The Playwright
William Gibson was born in 1914 in New York City. He wrote poetry, fiction, and scripts for stage, television, and films. His plays include The Miracle Worker (Tony Award, Best Play 1960), which was originally produced for TV’s “Playhouse 90”; Two for The Seesaw; A Cry of Players; Golda; The Butterfingers Angel; Monday After the Miracle; Goodly Creatures, and Handy Dandy.
He wrote a novel, The Cobweb, as well as the musical version of Clifford Odets’ Golden Boy. His several books include The Seesaw Log, A Mass for the Dead, a study of his family, and a volume of poetry entitled Winter Crook.
Mr. Gibson’s book A Season in Heaven, takes a look at metaphysics and the creative process, and his book Shakespeare’s Game was a critical study. He was married to the psychoanalyst Margaret Brenman-Gibson, whose biography, Clifford Odets, American Playwright, appeared in 1982. Gibson passed away in 2008.
About the Director
Domenick Scudera is a director, playwright, and theater educator who has worked in the greater Philadelphia area since 1992.
He is Professor of Theater at Ursinus College, where he helped to found the college’s Theater & Dance department over 20 years ago. At Ursinus, he has directed over 40 productions, and teaches Acting, Directing, and a variety of Theater History classes.
He has directed for the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theater, Delaware Theater Company, Historic Philadelphia Inc., Waitstaff Comedy Troupe, among others. He is currently writing a play inspired by the life of Bert Savoy, considered to be America’s first camp drag queen.
Domenick also devotes much of his time to pet therapy, visiting hospitals with his 3 dogs who are certified therapy dogs. His unique dogs are each two-legged and have large followings on social media.
About the Design Team
The design team includes designers who have taught at local colleges and universities and created on many of the stages in the area. The set is designed by Dirk Durossette. His design showcases that the characters are on the road to Bethlehem and includes a highway.
Durosette has designed sets at several theatres in the region including The Wilma Theater, Azuka Theatre, Act II Playhouse, Lantern Theatre Company, Delaware Theatre Company, and more. He is also a Senior Lecturer at Rowan University. The set is built by Philadelphia Scenic Works. Kelly Myers is the Costume Designer.
Myers has designed at several regional theatres. She recently designed costumes for The Chairs at Quintessence Theatre Group. Jerry Forsyth is the Lighting Designer. He has designed over 350 productions to date and has designed at most theatres in the region. Shannon Zura is the Sound Designer. She is a professor of design at Ursinus College with Scudera.
For more information about the upcoming theatre season at Uptown, visit uptownwestchester.org.
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