Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Donté Bonner Makes Professional Wrestling Debut as Chad Deity

Just as the curtain hits the stage on InterAct's hugely-successful production of Kristoffer Diaz's THE ELABORATE ENTRANCE OF CHAD DEITY, featured actor Donté Bonner dons his Chad Deity alter ego once again and steps into the ring to make his professional wrestling debut (for real this time!). The Tri-State Wrestling Alliance (TWA) event will be held this Saturday, December 5 at Saint Matthew's Baptist Church in Williamstown, New Jersey.

Donté Bonner (as Chad Deity) and Juan Pacheco (as Mace). Photo by Seth Rozin.

Donté will be joined by CHAD DEITY wrestling consultant, "Hitmen" Tony Stetson, as well as Michael Bruno, Shane Harris, "Mr. Wrestling" Steve Corino, Rob Dimension, the Blue Meanie, Kid America, Jimmy Jannetty, Don E Allen, "Living Legend" Larry Winters, Breaker Morant, Johnny Calzone, and "Wiseguy" Jimmy Cicero, for A Number One Contender’s Over-the-Top-Rope Battle Royal, with the winner earning a title shot at TWA's new Heavyweight Champion, Glen Osbourne, later in the evening.

Tickets are $10-$12. For tickets or information, visit or call 856-232-9332.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Watch a Scene from CHAD DEITY

Here's a scene from THE ELABORATE ENTRANCE OF CHAD DEITY. Watch as Chad Deity (played by Donté Bonner) soundly defeats Joe Jabroni (played by Nick Martorelli) then delivers a stern warning to his latest challengers, Mace and VP:

Check out CHAD DEITY's rave reviews

Get your tickets to InterAct's CHAD DEITY today!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

InterAct Celebrates 10 Seasons with Scholar-In-Residence Dr. Salman Akhtar

Dr. Salman Akhtar is a Professor of Psychiatry at Jefferson Medical College and a Training and Supervising Analyst at the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia. For the last 9 years, he has also served as Scholar-In-Residence for InterAct, guest speaking during the Speaker Sunday post-show discussion series for almost every production since the 2000/2001 Season began.

In honor of Dr. Salman Akhtar's 10th Season, InterAct's Producing Artisic Director Seth Rozin writes:

On a whim, in September of 2000, I contacted Dr. Salman Akhtar to be a speaker following one of our performances of NIXON’S NIXON. I had seen Akhtar’s endorsement on the back of a book called A Psychoanalisis of Richard Nixon and noticed he worked for the Psychoanalytic Institute of Philadelphia. I had no idea at the time that Dr. Akhtar was such a widely acclaimed, world renowned clinical psychiatrist, educator and author. Nine years later he has spoken at more than 25 performances, treating our audiences and artists alike to brilliant insights about the plays we’ve produced. Still, I had no idea just how important a figure Dr. Akhtar has been. Until last week, when I was invited to the unveiling of his portrait at Jefferson University, where he has been a professor for thirty years. I learned that Dr. Akhtar is the author and/or editor of thirty books about psychoanalysis, as well as six volumes of his own poetry. I learned that he is regularly invited to speak around the world about such epic topics as war, religion and cultural evolution. I learned that he has influenced two generations of psychoanalysts worldwide. And there in the program, at the end of his very impressive bio, he lists himself as Scholar-in-Residence at InterAct Theatre Company.

I cannot tell you how honored I feel to have had Salman as part of the InterAct family. In addition to his generous contribution to InterAct, he has become a cherished friend and colleague. On behalf of all of us at InterAct I want to congratulate Salman on his extraordinary achievements and for making the world a decidedly better place.

- Seth Rozin

Dr. Salman Akhtar will be the featured guest at the Speaker Sunday post-show discussion following the 2:00 p.m. matinee performance of THE ELABORATE ENTRANCE OF CHAD DEITY on Sunday, November 15.

Find out more about Dr. Salman Akhtar here

Get your tickets to InterAct's CHAD DEITY here

Monday, November 9, 2009

InterAct Partners with Dragon Gate USA

InterAct Theatre Company is pleased to announce a partnership with Dragon Gate USA in order to promote its critically-acclaimed production of THE ELABORATE ENTRANCE OF CHAD DEITY, running now through November 22.

Dragon Gate USA is the newest sensation on the North American pro wrestling scene. Forget about wrestling you know from TV, this is the most innovative, athletic action on the planet featuring the most skilled wrestlers from Japan, Mexico and the United States. The theatre of pro wrestling has evolved with these stylish fighters and cutting edge characters. DGUSA will hold its next event on November 28th in Philadelphia at the legendary Arena in South Philly (around the corner from Tony Luke's).

You can sample DGUSA by watching a free preview if you have On Demand. It is in the same section with WWE, UFC, boxing free previews. Visit for more info on Dragon Gate USA. Watch free videos on the Dragon Gate USA channel on YouTube and see why these these guys are as much artists as athletes.

Check out CHAD DEITY's rave reviews

Get your tickets to InterAct's CHAD DEITY today!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

CHAD DEITY Getting Raves From Audiences & Critics Alike

Critics and audiences are beginning to spread the word that CHAD DEITY is a production not to be missed! Take a look at what they're saying...

Philadelphia Inquirer, Howard Shapiro:

"Nimble, Funny, Thoughtful Headlock On Wrestling

On tonight's wrestling card, we have the American who stands for everything good we learned in civics, or from Mom or by eating apple pie - Chad Deity. He's pure of thought, black and beautiful, resplendent in ringside bling and a shining gold jockstrap. He's built like your proverbial brick facility.

(His given name is Darnell, but shhhh!)

... This is wrestling, slyly scripted at best, pathetically cynical at worst ... It's also theater that puts you in a solid intellectual headlock and won't let up - funny throughout, thoughtful, and commanding, with a script as nimble as the champ it depicts. In its dynamic InterAct Theater staging by Seth Rozin, the company's producing artistic director, Chad Deity fills the ring with characters you wish you really knew, portrayed by actors who make sure you'll know them. ... The cast here is impeccable ... the action [is] as real in the ring as it is in a play that rings true."

Philadelphia Weekly, J. Cooper Robb:

"InterAct challenges stereotypes on and off the wrestling mats in a boisterous new production ...

Hip-hop theater takes a big step forward with Kristoffer Diaz’s dynamic new play The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity ...

Diaz’s satire focuses on Macedonia Guerra (Juan Pacheco in an impressive professional stage debut). Known as “Mace,” Guerra is perhaps the most likeable narrator since Thornton Wilder’s stage manager in Our Town ...

Rozin’s blisteringly paced, razor sharp production captures the play’s hip-hop rhythms and sense of moral outrage ... Both funny and smart, Entrance is the rare play that makes us laugh and think at the same time. America has real enemies in the world, but in Entrance it’s our need to stereotype alleged outsiders as a threat that emerges as the true danger.", Kathryn Osenlund:

"... Quite a departure for InterAct in staging and feel, but playwright Kristoffer Diaz's ideas are right up their alley. ... an inspired theatrical choice ... It pulls you in ...

Juan Pacheco's Mace is lean and smart with shining eyes and a nimble tongue. ... He speaks his wisdom in crazy street talk, asides and critiques, and brings everyone on board ... What a fine actor in an enormous role! Mace's saavy view is pointed and funny as hell.

In the end Diaz's play packs a lethal slam in a tiny question that sobers you up even as you're laughing. ... Under the insightful direction of Producing Artistic Director Seth Rozin, InterAct's large production team has created a bright, crass, exciting world. ... It is fabulously entertaining and all-out fun, even as quiet, simmering rage seeps through dressed as irony about ridiculous, damaging federation profiling. ...

How to explain how it sparkles? Playwright Kristoffer Diaz's creation is a skillful mix of wrestling posturing, pizzazz and vulgarity. Allegory dressed up in non-stop, hilarious, tasteless, brilliant commentary."

Philadelphia City Paper, Mark Cofta:

"... Juan Pacheco is brilliant ... Shalin Agarwal is outrageously magnetic ... a fine production ... good storytelling."

KYW Newsradio 1060, Bob Nelson:

"... Chad Deity humorously slams professional wrestling to the mat ... an elaborate production ... a tidal wave of energy and theatrical detail ... if you're aching for a physically wacky good time ... this just may be your show ... "


Crystal Whybark, Theatre Alliance Listserv member posted:
"I was totally blown away by this production! Please go and see this show as soon as you can ... Even if you've never had any interest in wrestling, the intense performances and engaging dialogue really do make this a memorable piece of theater. I won't even get into the fantastic stunt choreography, or the use of live cameras... just go see it. Seriously, you will love it!"

Henry Pashkow, Theatre Alliance Listserv member posted:
"I went to see THE ELABORATE ENTRANCE OF CHAD DEITY last night. It's a very unusual play, wonderfully acted and directed. And the writing is both poetic and funny. Quite a theatrical experience. Don't miss it."

Kathy P. emailed:
"The play was outstanding. Up there among the very best we've seen at InterAct."

Tim R. emailed:
"... I thought Chad Diety was the best play I have seen in the past few years. It was funny, thoughtful, lively, original and entertaining ... everything I want on a night out."

Tom D. emailed:
“Just wanted to say how much my girlfriend and I enjoyed the show last night. It was thoroughly entertaining, from beginning to end. We could not be more pleased with our decision to attend. Please extend our appreciation to the entire cast, writer and crew. We look forward to future productions from your company.”

An anonymous blog reader posted:
“Loved the show! What an entertaining and poignant way to approach the political and social issues we deal with in America today as minorities. Excellent story, acting was fabulous and all around a fun evening.”

Check out a few of the rave reviews of CHAD DEITY at Victory Gardens in Chicago.

Get your tickets to InterAct's CHAD DEITY today!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

CHAD DEITY on Rep Radio

Rep Radio's Chris Morse interviewed director Seth Rozin and actor Juan Pacheco about what it took to bring CHAD DEITY to life, their hesitations about performing the Power Bomb, and what their "finisher" will be when they make their professional wrestling debuts...

Seth Rozin, Chris Morse and Juan Pacheco.
Photo by and used with permission of Nathan Irvin.

Friday, October 30, 2009

CHAD DEITY On WHYY's Radio Times

The morning of Opening Night, CHAD DEITY playwright Kristoffer Diaz, lead actor Juan Pacheco and Wrestling Consultant / Co-Fight Choreographer Tony "Hitman" Stetson visited the WHYY studios for an in-depth chat with Radio Times host Marty Moss-Coane. Listen below as they discuss a myriad of topics, including the inspiration behind the the play, the real world of professional wrestling, and the ubiquitous question for actors (that is particularly appropriate for a character with over 3,000 words!), "How did you memorize all those lines?"

Direct Link to the MP3 File Here

Get your tickets to InterAct's CHAD DEITY today!

Watch as the actors (and even a couple of InterAct staff members) master a few wrestling moves.

Check out a few of the rave reviews of CHAD DEITY at Victory Gardens in Chicago.

CHAD DEITY's Juan Pacheco Might Seem Familiar to You...

If, while you're taking in Juan Pacheco's jaw-dropping performance in CHAD DEITY, he seems vaguely familiar to you, it might be due to the fact that he's originally from the West Kensington area of Philadelphia or because he graduated from Arcadia University. Or it might be because you've seen his face several times in your own living room...

InterAct Staff & Designers Featured in Barrymore Award Opening Video

For this year's Barrymore Award ceremony, Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia enlisted CHAD DEITY video designer Steve Organ to create We Are Philadelphia Theatre, a behind-the-scenes montage of how a theatrical production comes together. It features InterAct's very own Audience Services & Sales Manager Julie Grega (in the box office sequence).

Friday, October 16, 2009

CHAD DEITY Wrestling Rehearsal Footage

The cast of Kristoffer Diaz's THE ELABORATE ENTRANCE OF CHAD DEITY have been having a blast training for the show... even the assistant stage manager and InterAct's dramaturg get in on the action (researching every aspect of a play, you know).

No actors or staff were harmed in the making of this video...

Video features Nick Martorelli, Donté Bonner, Shalin Agarwal, Juan Pacheco, Jeb Kreager, Eric "The Smoke" Moran, Dany Guy, and Rebecca Wright. Fight choreography by John Bellomo & Tony "Hitman" Stetson. Video and editing by Dany Guy.

Get your tickets to InterAct's CHAD DEITY today!

See an interview with CHAD DEITY fight choreographers.

Check out a few of the rave reviews of CHAD DEITY at Victory Gardens in Chicago.

CHAD DEITY a "Knockout!" at Victory Gardens

Reviewers Rave about THE ELABORATE ENTRANCE OF CHAD DEITY at Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago:

Chicago Tribune
Reviewed by Chris Jones
October 6, 2009

"Brainy Slam! 'Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity' Pairs Potent Issues With A Stomp On The Head

The juicy, knockout new play at Victory Gardens is at once a visceral take-down of the way American marketers manipulate our jingoistic tendencies, a hilariously savvy exploration of racial and class-based stereotyping, and a full-on, body-slamming theatrical wrestling match ...

It is the only play I’ve ever seen that could simultaneously appeal to fans of the World Wide Wrestling Federation and intellectual progressives (not that those groups are mutually exclusive). Heck, this killer show ... will appeal to anyone who thinks that theatrical food for thought is always best dispensed with a good, swift kick to the head. ...

Why risk such bodily harm?

It’s mostly the sophistication of the Minneapolis-based Diaz’s writing, which uses the wrestling world not so much as the usual tired metaphor for American excess, but as a study of the limits and possibilities of our new era of global interdependency.

... [a] must-see show ... But here’s the thing: This isn’t a liberal polemic. These wrestlers are smart cookies and practical men. You sense Diaz’s admiration for the sport, and his understanding of how we all compromise to please our bosses. He pokes fun at wrestling’s history of reliance on ethnic stereotypes, sure, but he also makes the point that wrestlers know they’re playing with fiction ... [CHAD DEITY is] funny, irreverent and viscerally exciting. ... consistently, very, very funny, setting up stereotypes only to kick them to the floor. ... "

Chicago Sun-Times
Reviewed by Hedy Weiss
October 7, 2009

"Blue-Collar Absurdist Art Is Killer Stage Fare
Wrestling tale tags off with global issues

I was hooked from the word go on "The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity," Kristoffer Diaz's big, brash, outrageous, brilliantly written, astonishingly realized, altogether electric (and sure-to-be-controversial) play about wrestling, terrorism, globalization (and more) that received a knockout world premiere Monday on the Victory Gardens mainstage. ...

Wrestling was a class thing then (a friend dubbed it "blue-collar performance art"). And it remains so in Diaz's remarkable gonzo circus of a play. But in piling on the layers of rage, resentment, fear, stereotyping, pop theatricality and metaphor making involved in the business and spectacle of it all, he has turned it into something far greater. Think talk radio extremity with fight club arena intensity. ... "

Time Out Chicago
Reviewed by
October 15–21, 2009

"The Elaborate Entrance Of Chad Deity

Diaz’s exhilarating new play embraces the shameless fakery of the alleged sport of pro wrestling to illuminate, in comic but relentless tones, the more pernicious falsities of race, nation and empire. ...

In his first full-fledged production, Brooklyn-based Diaz combines mad inventiveness with a nervy taste for button-pushing. He’s also created a deeply affecting central character; Mace, who narrates the play, is wrestling’s answer to Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. Rattling off his encyclopedic pop-culture knowledge, stepping out of the frame to offer footnotes on the action or lyrically and rhythmically ruminating on his past and present, Mace comes to dazzling life ...

Chad Deity establishes the young writer as a major theatrical force ... "
Reviewed by Nina Metz
October 6, 2009

"The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity/Victory Gardens Theater

Professional wrestling is theater—a label I’m sure its many adherents would dismiss—but playwright Kristoffer Diaz has singled out this quality amidst the pomp and brawn and exuberantly insane energy and wrassled it to the mat. ...

Cast member Usman Ally says ... in his blog: “Subscribers better hold onto their oxygen tanks and their hearing aids, and everyone else better hold onto their asses!” No kidding.

... The play has the bones of a storefront show, ... but [director Edward] Torres has found a way to retain the play’s smart-alecky, big thumping heart within the flash and outrageousness of its staging.

What you get is a vivid world fueled by hip-hop and a slap of testosterone. Smart and comically astute, the play tackles everything from racial stereotypes to the business of show—tossing off blatantly offensive clichés, and then allowing its lead character to call them out with a simple, “Really?” (The play is getting a slew of productions, by the way—it opens in Philly later this month and in Minneapolis in the spring.)

... The play is incredibly well-written ...

When does the artifice become real? That’s a nice metaphoric theme for Mace to chew over, but Diaz knows he has to bring it where wrestling is concerned, and there is actual hand-to-hand combat ... so worth it."
Reviewed by Catey Sullivan
October 14, 2009

The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity

... The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity is a knock-out victory of equal parts brains and brawn.

Power-bombs (wherein one’s spine hits the floor at a velocity surely spines were not intended to withstand) and lightning-quick roundhouses aside, Diaz’ ground (and bone) breaking take on the world of professional wrestling isn’t rooted in violence for the sake of shock, although it’s plenty violent and often shocking. It doesn’t traffic in the pandering stereotypes that fuel the WWE, although it uses those stereotypes point out their ridiculousness. This is a tale of race, racism and all-American boys grasping at the shiny, illusive brass ring of the All American Dream. It unfolds in hip-hop rhythms and is infused with some of the most politically incorrect language you’ll hear outside a meeting of the Alabama Chapter of the John Birch Society.

... the real hero of Chad Deity is Macedonia Guerra ... aka The Mace. Macedonia’s job is to make the likes of Chad Deity look good. Stars like Chad Deity can’t exist without people like the Mace willing to act like they’ve lost every bout. ... a wholly endearing mix of self-deprecation and fierce pride. He knows he’s far more intelligent than his boss will ever be. He also knows that all his innate intelligence isn’t worth a slap in a world that prefers its villains and heroes in simple, black and white terms. ...

For Macedonia, a way up in the wrestling world presents itself in Vigneshwar Padujar ... a multi-lingual Brooklyn-born Indian kid who is, no matter where he goes, “the most amazing thing in the room.” Charisma might owe Chad Deity money, but VP owns the entire fricking bank. ... and so begins the career of Chad Deity’s next enemy. [Wrestling boss Everett K. Olsen], in a move so awful it’s hilarious, has VP hit the ring as The Fundamentalist, a “Moslem” who enters flanked by women in burkas and praising Allah. In the lead up to a pay-per-view bout with Chad, the Fundamentalist beats up guys with names like Billy America ... and The Patriot ... . The fights manage to be both a tragic commentary on ugly Americans like E.K. and a wildly amusing mockery of them.

As animosity in the ring starts bleeding into real life, the dynamic between wrestlers becomes ever more complicated. As Macedonia worriedly notes, without community among in-ring enemies, wrestling gets dangerous. So as Chad and VP come to despise each other for real, the looming bout between them become fraught with the possibility of unscripted danger.

By having greased up, impossibly muscle-y men tear through the audience waving flags and shouting threats, Chad Deity manages to instigate the kind of audience participation you’d find at ringside at a Vegas championship bout. It’s wildly fun, wickedly funny and deeply provocative. In the so-called fake world of professional wrestling, Diaz captures profundity, adventure, aspirations and true triumph. The result is a theatrical prize. "
Reviewed by Alan Bresloff
October 2009

"The Elaborate Entry of Chad Deity

Is wrestling an art form, a sporting event or theater? These are some of the questions posed in Kristoffer Diaz's marvelous new play "The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity" now on the main stage at Victory Gardens Theater. ... What an evening of theater! Yes, this is unlike what most audiences anticipate, but let's face it, wrestling is theater of the absurd. ...

"Chad Deity" is more than just a comic spoof of the craziness that wrestling brings to the public. It is also a look at the racial stereotypes that we seem to have about the sport. And through its fun-filled hop-hop charisma, we learn more about what it is that makes people want more. The story also involves some fears that people have about the unknown. Diaz, it turns out grew up watching wrestling on TV and from his youthful memories, he has drawn characters that could easily have been the real thing. ...

What takes place is not what we all expected and there is a little surprise at the end. In reality, the last line (which I cannot divulge, as it would ruin the ending) is quite powerful and cause to make you really think about what you just experienced. ..."

Friday, September 18, 2009

InterAct's CHAD DEITY Invited to Entertain at 2009 National Puerto Rican Convention

InterAct is pleased to announce that its production of THE ELABORATE ENTRANCE OF CHAD DEITY has been invited to entertain at the 8th Annual National Puerto Rican Convention being held at Temple University October 9-11, 2009.

CHAD DEITY Playwright Kristoffer Diaz and cast member Juan Pacheco (as Mace)

As the winner of the Arizona Theatre Company's 2008 National Latino Playwrighting Award, CHAD DEITY's playwright Kristoffer Diaz and cast member Juan Pacheco have been asked to present a scene from CHAD DEITY during the entertainment portion of the convention on Friday evening, October 9. Hosted by the National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights, the puropse of the National Puerto Rican Convention is to continue to develop a national political network that raises awareness of the issues and support the causes of interest to the Puerto Rican, as well as all Latino, communities.

To find out more about the weekend's activities or to find out how to attend, visit the National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights' website.

InterAct Staff and Designers Visit the World of Professional Wrestling

In order to "prep" for creating the elaborate world that will be CHAD DEITY, several InterAct staff and production designers attended a Combat Zone Wrestling event on Saturday night. As eye-opening as it was gut-wrenching (quite literally at times!), the night was filled with exciting grudge matches and spetacular wrestling moves:

Now, back to the grindstone to put all that research to good use...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

CHAD DEITY Cast Member The Smoke & Seth Rozin Storm Old City

InterAct Producing Artistic Director, Seth Rozin, and THE ELABORATE ENTRANCE OF CHAD DEITY cast member and professional wrestler, Eric "The Smoke" Moran, took Old City by storm when they crashed First Friday / opening night of Philly Fringe earlier this month to get the word out about InterAct's upcoming season opener.

To see more mayhem, check out other pictures at
InterAct's FaceBook fan page


check out The Smoke's own photo album on FaceBook.

The Smoke will also be promoting the show during his appearances at America's VideoGame Expo at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, October 9-11, 2009. Find out more on The Smoke's FaceBook page or through the event's official website.

Monday, September 14, 2009

InterAct's LITTLE LAMB Honored With Brown Martin Philadelphia Award

InterAct's production of Michael Whistler's LITTLE LAMB has been awarded the 2008/2009 Brown Martin Philadelphia Award. The official announcement was made last month at the Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia's press conference revealing this year's Barrymore Award nominations.

Established in 2007, the award honors those plays that best lead audiences to a better understanding of the unique experiences that make up our diverse global community. The award is named in honor of Virginia Brown Martin, who was well-known as a lover and supporter of Philadelphia's theatre community. InterAct was also a recipient of one of two inagural awards given last year for its production of Larry Loebell's HOUSE, DIVIDED.

The Brown Martin Philadelphia Award carries with it a significant monetary prize to support a continued focus on producing plays that help us better appreciate unique points of view, and heal the divisiveness that springs from intolerance and fear. InterAct's co-recipient for this year's award was Arden Theatre Company's production of MY NAME IS ASHER LEV by Aaron Posner. In 2007/2008, the second award went to Bristol Riverside Theatre for its production of WELCOME HOME, MARIAN ANDERSON by Vanessa Shaw.

InterAct shares all congratulations with Micheal Whistler and the entire cast and crew of LITTLE LAMB for their invaluable input and support of the production.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

InterAct Commissioned VEILS In Reading at Actor's Studio

This Saturday, September 12, the InterAct Theatre commissioned play, VEILS by Tom Coash, will be presented in a staged reading as part of The North Shore Readers Theatre Collaborative at The Actor's Studio in Newburyport, Massachusetts. VEILS was commissioned by InterAct in 2008 through it's 20/20 New Play Commissions program.

Tom Coash, playwright of VEILS and CRY HAVOC,
which InterAct premiered during its 2002/2003 Season

Written as the third in a trilogy of plays based on playwright Tom Coash's time as an academic living in Egypt, VEILS tells the story of Intisar, an African-American Muslim girl studying at the American University in Cairo, and Samar, her Egyptian roommate, who embark on a project exploring the controversy that arises when the university institutes a ban on women wearing burkas on campus. Along the way they discover that cross cultural friendships in a post-9/11 world require courage and understanding.

Read more about the reading of VEILS here:

and here:

More information about InterAct's 20/20 New Play Commission program available here:

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

CHAD DEITY Goes Into Rehearsal at Victory Gardens in Chicago

Playwright Kristoffer Diaz has posted several photos on his blog of rehearsals of Victory Gardens' World Premiere of CHAD DEITY in Chicago. Rehearsals began August 25 and performances begin on Sept. 25. He previously posted a short diary entry about his take on the first day of rehearsals. The cast definitely looks like they are having a ton of fun!

Photo by and courtesy of Kristoffer Diaz.

Check out his other pics here:

Kristoffer Diaz's
Smichovsky Compenstaion Syndrome Blog

And don't miss the additional pics they've posted on Flickr.

Read more about Victory Gardens' production of CHAD DEITY here.

Also read about a production of CHAD DEITY coming up in April 2010 at Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis here.

Along with InterAct, both of these companies are members of the National New Play Network (NNPN), an alliance of not-for-profit professional theatres nationwide that champion the development, production and continued life of new plays. Find out more about NNPN here.

Read InterAct's 2009/2010 Brochure Online

Check out InterAct's 2009/2010 season brochure below. The season starts October 23, so don't miss your chance to see this season's line-up of 4 outstanding new plays. Subscriptions range from $58-$104 - the best value around...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Congratulations to InterAct's
2009 Barrymore Nominees

InterAct's World Premiere production of THE RANT
receives two 2009 Barrymore nominations!

Playwright Andrew Case's THE RANT
Nominated for Independence Foundation
Award for Outstanding New Play

David Ingram's portrayal of THE RANT's
Alexander Stern Nominated for
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play

David Ingram (as Alexander Stern)
and Kimberly S. Fairbanks (as Denise Reeves)

The 2009 Barrymore Awards ceremony will be held Monday, October 5, 2009 at Walnut Street Theatre (9th & Walnut Streets). A reception will follow the ceremony at the Ballroom at the Ben.

We invite you to join InterAct in congratulating our nominees and celebrating our recognition as one of Philadelphia’s top theatres of last season. Visit Theatre Alliance's website for tickets or more information.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Performance Clips of LITTLE LAMB...

Watch performance clips of InterAct's LITTLE LAMB...

Featuring Frank X (as José), Kaci M. Fannin (as Cathy) & Ames Adamson (as Denny)

Featuring Ames Adamson (as Denny)

Featuring Cathy Simpson (as Francie)

LITTLE LAMB is running now through June 28, 2009. Tickets and more information are available on InterAct's website.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Video Trailer of JIHAD JONES...

Watch the video trailer of InterAct's JIHAD JONES & THE KALASHNIKOV BABES...

Featuring Fajer Al-Kaisi (as Ashraf), John Zak (as Barry), Laura Catlaw (as Cassandra), Peter Schmitz (as Julius), and Leah Walton (as Peggy)

LITTLE LAMB is running now through June 28, 2009. Tickets and more information are available on InterAct's website.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

InterAct's JIHAD JONES Featured in Video Interview

Jim Rutter, from, interviews several creative artists from InterAct's production of JIHAD JONES & THE KALASHNIKOV BABES. Jim covers such topics as the life of an Arab American actor with JIHAD JONES lead, Fajer Al-Kaisi; the inspiration behind JIHAD JONES with playwright, Yussef El Guindi; and the rarity of InterAct producing comedies with InterAct's Producing Artistic Director and JIHAD JONES production director, Seth Rozin.

JIHAD JONES runs Friday, April 10 - May 10, 2009. Tickets and more information are available on InterAct's website.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

JIHAD JONES Playwright Is Finalist For Largest National Playwrighting Award

InterAct congratulates and wishes luck to the playwright of InterAct's upcoming JIHAD JONES & THE KALASHNIKOV BABES, Yussef El Guindi, on his nomination for the 2009 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/ATCA Award. Nominated for his play, OUR ENEMIES: LIVELY SCENES OF LOVE AND COMBAT, Yussef is one of six finalists for the award given annually by The American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA), recognizing the best new scripts produced professionally outside New York City during 2008. OUR ENEMIES depicts Muslim-Americans struggling among themselves over how to portray their cultural identity and how deeply to assimilate in the post-9/11 world. The play was produced in March 2008 by Silk Road Theatre Project in Chicago.

The other finalists for the 2009 award are Steven Dietz, playwright of InterAct's production of LAST OF THE BOYS, who is nominated for his play BECKY's NEW CAR; Lee Blessing, playwright of WHEN WE GO UPON THE SEA which was commissioned by InterAct in 2008, who is nominated for his play, GREAT FALLS; Octavio Solis; E.M. Lewis; and Tracy Letts.

Consideration for the Steinberg/ATCA awards is limited to new plays not yet produced in New York City by the end of the year. The six 2009 finalists were selected from plays nominated by ATCA members, then evaluated by a committee of 13 theater critics from around the country. The winner and two additional citations will be presented April 4 at Actors Theatre of Louisville during the Humana Festival of New American Plays. The top award includes a cash prize of $25,000 – currently the largest national new play award – with $7,500 for each citation.

Read more about the Steinberg Award and this year's nominees here.

Monday, March 2, 2009

InterAct Visits The Inspiration For Its Biggest Hit: PERMANENT COLLECTION

Thanks to a posting on
Wendy Rosenfield's Drama Queen blog, we're pleased to learn that an article posted yesterday by The Chicago Tribune reports that back in 2005, President Barrack and First Lady Michelle Obama attended a performance of Northlight Theatre's production of PERMANENT COLLECTION, a drama that received it's World Premiere at InterAct in 2003.

For those who missed it, PERMANENT COLLECTION uses a fictionalized account of the story behind the
Barnes Foundation to frame a compelling and thought-provoking examination of race relations in the United States. Written by InterAct's Resident Playwright, Thomas Gibbons, PERMANENT COLLECTION is, to date, the best-selling play in InterAct's history and has gone on to become one of our most subsequently produced premieres, with over two dozen national and international productions.

This all served to remind me that I had neglected to post a note about InterAct's recent visit to the Barnes Foundation:

During the recent run of THE RANT, InterAct Artistic Director Seth Rozin arranged for a field trip to the Barnes for the production's playwright, actors and InterAct's administrative staff. Having grown up in the neighborhood nearby, Seth thought it would be a fascinating point of local interest for Aldo Billingslea and Andrew Case, the production's out-of-town artists, as well as an important lesson in InterAct history for the show's artists, the staff and a few close friends of the company, since most of us had not visited the inspiration behind the company's biggest hit. He also thought it was important for us to go while the Barnes is still in its original home in Lower Merion, before it's relocation to the museum district in Center City, since changes to the permanent collection (hence the title) serves the most pivotal role in the plot of the script.

Left to Right: Seth Rozin, Julie Grega, Rebecca Wright, Jessica Hurley, Dwight Wilkins, Kimberly Fairbanks, David Golston, Aldo Billingslea, Elena Araoz and Daniel Sumile. Not pictured: Kathy Jaffari, Andrew Case, Kia Feindt, David Ingram, Joshua Lieberman and David & Ziva Brown

On a personal note, before moving to Philadelphia I had the privilege of working on a production of PERMANENT COLLECTION at Unicorn Theatre in Kansas City, MO. Prior to researching the play, I had no knowledge of the Barnes - I was soley drawn into the play's dramatic story and important message. Throughout the course of marketing the show I learned a lot about the Barnes and its unique creation and subsequent history, however, nothing prepared me for the jaw-dropping experience of seeing it in person. I was taken, as was most of the those in our group, by complete surprise at the astounding quality (and sheer volume) of a collection that was originally amassed as the whim of one man's passion. Everyone in our group left that day with a renewed appreciation for the power and beauty that amazing art brings to the world...

- David Golston, Director of Marketing & PR

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

How to Share Your Comments With InterAct

Want to share your opinion about an InterAct performance you've recently attended? Need to tell the world your thoughts on an issue raised in an InterAct play? Want to respond to a critic's review that you feel doesn't adequately describe a production? Know of a play that addresses an important social issue you'd like to bring to our attention?


  • Post your comments on InterAct's blog by clicking on the "Comments Link" at the bottom of a blog entry and then entering your thoughts in the box at the bottom of the blog entry page. This may be done annonymously or otherwise.

  • Email your comments directly to InterAct by contacting David Golston, Director of Marketing & PR, at In order to protect the privacy of those who contact us, we will identify comments with a first name and last initial only.

We will gladly post any comment that is intended to share sincere reactions and opinions or promote thoughtful discourse and debate. We reserve the right to delete posts without notice or explanation and ignore emails that are rude, insulting, contain personal attacks or inflammatory comments, or exist solely to advertise a person, product or website that has no connection to InterAct Theatre Company or its productions. While this rule is intended to cover most common situations, we cannot anticipate every possibility, and consequently, reserve the right to take any actions we deem appropriate to ensure this blog is not abused in any way.

We look forward to hearing what you have to say...

- David Golston
Director of Marketing & PR

An Audience Member Reacts To THE RANT

-----Email Message-----
From: Jim W.
Sent: Tuesday, February 10, 2009 10:34 PM
To: InterAct Theatre Company
Subject: The Rant

... this was one of my outstanding theatrical experiences in philadelphia. we saw the play on february 10th and it was unbelieveably good. i don't read reviews and was totally unprepared for such an exciting and well crafted evening. the play is outstanding; full of dramatic tension, just the right touch of irony and humor, the opening monologue i am sure is one that any actor would die for, interesting characters and perspectives and a stunning climax. not an extra word or clammy sentence - truly wonderful and with great pace, energy and dramatic impetus. even the two characters who aren't there become totally real.

the acting was perfection. what an ensemble, what a team! they were engaged with one another as characters and actors and drew the audience completely into their anger, their passions, their cynicism, their lies and their truths.

the staging, the excellent sets, the lighting, the costumes, and, of course, the direction were outstanding in every respect. i felt honored to have witnessed such a production being pioneered here in philadelphia. i think it will put our town on the national theatrical map!
well done and keep it up. a tough act to follow, as they say.

jim w.

Friday, February 6, 2009

SAVE THE DATE: InterAct Announces Date for Annual Benefit

We are all so excited about InterAct's upcoming annual benefit! Here are a few of the details:


Friday, May 1, 2009

Labor of Love: A May Day Cabaret
A Benefit for InterAct Theatre Company

The event will take place at PACE Local Union Hall, 410 N. 8th St., Phila. It will feature cocktails & hors d’oeuvres, a cabaret performance of labor anthems & social-protest songs, and the presentation of InterAct’s Kaki Marshal Arts & Community Award. The evening will honor Tom McCarthy & Terry Graboyes.

For reservations or more information, call InterAct's Box Office: 215.568.8079

Thursday, February 5, 2009

InterAct Presents CITY OF NUMBERS, A New Drama About Crime In Philadelphia

In conjunction with InterAct’s mainstage production of THE RANT, Andrew Case’s thought-provoking new drama exploring the link between inner-city crime and personal bias, InterAct will present the first public performance of CITY OF NUMBERS, a new play addressing inner-city crime based on interviews with prison inmates, victims’ families, and other Philadelphia residents affected by violent crimes. Subtitled “mixtape of a city...” and written by Sean Christopher Lewis, who developed the play during his tenure as emerging-playwright-in-residence at InterAct last season, CITY OF NUMBERS is being presented as a collaboration between InterAct’s InterAction education program and The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, funded by a grant from the Violette de Mazia foundation. CITY OF NUMBERS will be presented in preview performances on InterAct's home at The Adrienne, 2030 Sansom St., on Thursday and Friday, February 19 and 20, at 10 p.m., with an opening performance on Saturday, February 21, at 2:00 p.m. The play will then be performed in Spring 2009 at St. Gabriel’s Hall and Graterford Prison, where much of the playwright’s research, including inmate interviews, were conducted.


The summer of 2008, the City of Philadelphia found itself in the midst of a murder epidemic. Comparable to that of a third world country, Philadelphia’s murder rate had become so pervasive that the city was commonly referred to as housing “more bodies than days.” Exploring the issue of crime through interviews and narratives, CITY OF NUMBERS introduces us to inmates at Graterford Prison, located just west of Philadelphia. These inmates are men who have been employed to create murals towards the beautification of the city, even as they serve life sentences for murder. Exploring multiple perspectives, CITY OF NUMBERS also presents the voices of victims of violent crimes and their families,as well as Mayor Michael Nutter, hip hop artists, ER doctors and people on the street – all to provide a clearer picture of the city in which we live. Culled entirely from interviews, blog entries, recorded, and documented television, CITY OF NUMBERS is a stunning and shocking portrait of the City of Brotherly Love.

Artwork by Luis ‘Suave’ Gonzalez, inmate, SCI Graterford


SEAN CHRISTOPHER LEWIS is the inaugural recipient of the Rosa Parks Award for Social Justice in Playwriting from the Kennedy Center. A former National New Play Network Emerging Playwright in Residence at InterAct Theatre Company in Philadelphia, he has toured his critically-lauded solo shows I WILL MAKE YOU ORPHANS (Uno Festival of Solo Performance, Available Light 01 Festival, Equinox Theatre, Riverside Theatre, Center for Independent Artists, Galapagos Art Space, Hyde Park Theatre, TIXE Arts Center, Bowery Poetry Club) and THE GONE CHAIR (Penn State University's Cultural Conversations Festival, Openstage Harrisburg's Flying Solo Festival, Riverside Theatre). His other plays include MILITANT LANGUAGE (nationally-premiered at Know Theatre of Cincinnati, Halcyon Theatre of Chicago, Bang and Clatter in Cleveland and Theater for the New City in NY) and THE APERTURE (Cleveland Public Theatre). Mr. Lewis has been a playwriting fellow at the O’Neill Playwrights Conference and has had his work developed at the PlayPenn New Play Conference, Lark New Play Development Center, Orlando Shakespeare Festival’s Harriet Lake Festival of New Work and at the National Center for New Plays at Stanford University. Also a noted actor, he has worked Off-Broadway at the Pearl Theatre, in NYC at La Mama ETC, and regionally with companies like the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival and mostly recently in the feature films GOD COUNTRY and BLOOD FANTASY.

All three performances of CITY OF NUMBERS are FREE & OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. For reservations, call InterAct's box office at 215.568.8079. For more information, visit InterAct’s website at or Mural Arts program’s website at

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

InterAct's Writing Aloud Featured on WXPN

Please tune in to WXPN (88.5 FM) on Monday, February 2, at 7:00 p.m., when InterAct Theatre Company's award-winning short fiction series, Writing Aloud, will be featured on "LIVE at the Writers House". As a long-standing collaboration between Kelly Writers House and WXPN, "LIVE at the Writers House" is a one-hour broadcast featuring poetry, music and other spoken-word art hosted by WXPN's own Michaela Majoun.

Celebrating its 10th Anniversary Season this year, InterAct's Writing Aloud program is an award-winning series featuring comtemporary short fiction read aloud on stage by professional actors. The January 26th edition of "LIVE at the Writers House" will feature the three short fictional stories that will be presented in upcoming editions of Writing Aloud. The stories included will be:

“A Courtship," written by Jonathan Liebson, will be presented during the Writing Aloud event on Monday, February 9. "A Courtship" tells the story of a southern widow who fantasizes about a local preacher as she struggles to take care of her unruly adolescent son. Jonathan Liebson's work has appeared in Chelsea, South Dakota Review, Harvard Review, Meridian and The Georgia Review, among other places, and has also won awards or been honored by The Atlantic Monthly and the William Faulkner-William Wisdom's annual fiction competition. A graduate of Wesleyan University, he holds an M.A. in literature from the University of Kent at Canterbury, England, and an MFA in fiction from NYU. He currently teaches writing and literature at Eugene Lang College of The New School, in New York.

"Mitzraim (Means Tight Spaces, the Rabbi Said),” written by Liz Abrams-Morley, will be presented during the Monday, April 27 Writing Aloud event. “Mitzraim (Means Tight Spaces, the Rabbi Said)” tells the story of a grown daughter who struggle to deal with her aging father as he succumbs to Alzheimers. Liz Abrams-Morley is the author of the full-length poetry collection Learning to Calculate the Half Life, (Zinka Press, 2001) and two chapbooks including What Winter Reveals, (Plan B Press, 2005.) Her second full-length collection, Necessary Turns, is due out from Word Press in 2010. Liz's poems and short stories have appeared in a variety of nationally distributed journals and anthologies and both have been read on National Public Radio. She is on the MFA in Creative Writing faculty at Rosemont College, has worked as a poet-in-residence in grades K-12 in public and private schools throughout Pennsylvania, and is one of three director/editors at and a co-founder of an online writing consultation business, In the rest of her life she lives with her husband and two dog-like cats in Philadelphia, is a mother, a mother-in-law, wife, sister, family caretaker, friend and lapsed family therapist. She wades knee-deep in the flow of everyday life from which she draws constant inspiration and occasional exasperation.

“Your Story,” written by Kelly Lundgren Pietrucha, will also be included in Writing Aloud's Monday, April 27, event. "Your Story" tells how during the midst of an ice storm that closes down the state, a man is forced to reckon with himself and his relationship with his wife. Kelly Lundgren Pietrucha's work has appeared in Carve, Fiction Attic, Literary Mama, and Pindeldyboz. She earned a Masters in Fiction from Temple University, where she currently teaches creative writing. She also teaches reading and writing at Camden County College in New Jersey. She lives in New Jersey with her family, and is currently working on her first novel.

"LIVE at the Writers House" will be broadcast live from Kelly Writers House's Arts Cafe, located at 3805 Locust Walk on campus of Univeristy of Pennsylvania.

For more information about Kelly Writers House or WXPN's "LIVE at the Writers House" broadcast, visit

To subscribe to Writing Aloud's remaining 2008/2009 Season (only $10 per event!), purchase tickets to an upcoming performance, or for more information about the program, visit