JOINS THE 2015 CINCINNATI FRINGE FESTIVAL
MAY 27 TO JUNE 6 ONLY
Photo of Laurie Benning Roberts (Steph) and Jay Hobson (Jamie) by Katie Lupica.
(CINCINNATI) — The Cake Shop Theater Company makes its regional debut at the 2015 Cincinnati Fringe Festival with the pitch-black comedy Chemistry by Jacob Marx Rice. Directed by Katie Lupica, the show stars Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park’s Bruce E. Coyle Acting Intern Company members Jay Hobson (Jamie) and Laurie Benning Roberts (Steph). Performances begin May 27 at 6:30pm at the Art Academy of Cincinnati.
Winner of the New York International Fringe Festival Excellence in Playwriting Award, Chemistry is a viciously funny and piercingly insightful comedy about being crazy in love. Critics fell for this daring show at its FringeNYC run last summer, hailing Rice’s script as “Real, poignant and funny” (The Villager), “A terrific piece of theater” (nytheater now), and “Hilarious and heartbreaking” (Theatre is Easy). The Cincinnati Fringe Festival will mark the play’s second fringe production and its midwest premiere, with a brand new team of Cincinnati-based artists.
Chemistry tells the story of two young people with powerful chemistry, both romantic and neurological. Steph, an Ivy League drop-out with a wicked sense of humor, barely holds down a job as a bartender while suffering from chronic depression. Jamie, who overcame humble roots to fast track his way into politics, pushes himself so far that he winds up in the hospital, having ripped inch-deep gashes in his own skin. When they meet in their psychiatrist’s office, they are swept into a whirlwind relationship full of joy, possibility, and danger. Bursting with sharp dialogue and intoxicating romance, Chemistry presents an honest, incisive depiction of falling in love and the ways mental illness shapes people’s daily lives.
“Chemistry is a powerful love story that challenges assumptions about what it is to be healthy or sick, strong or debilitated, loved or alone,” says Director Katie Lupica. “It’s a play that will spark valuable discussion and discovery amid plenty of laughter and sex appeal. Statistics estimate that mental illness affects one fifth to one quarter of people in greater Cincinnati, regardless of age, race, gender, education, or income – a cross-section as diverse as the Cincy Fringe itself. Rice’s script engages love and psychology in ways both eternal and immediately relatable, without offering clear answers.”
Jacob Marx Rice’s (Playwright) plays have been produced by Actors Theatre of Louisville, La MaMa ETC, Dragon Productions Theatre Company, The Alchemical Theatre Laboratory, the Barnard College Theatre Department, and others. His play Chemistry recently had a sold out, extended run at the New York International Fringe Festival, where it won the Excellence in Playwriting Award and was selected for the Encore Series at SoHo Playhouse. His plays Coping, a companion piece to Chemistry¸ and Almost Happy will be produced this summer in New York. He is the winner of the 2012 Seymour Brick Memorial Prize for Playwriting and a finalist for the 2015 Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center National Playwrights Conference. Education: Columbia University.
Katie Lupica (Director) relocated to Cincinnati from New York City as this season’s Directing Fellow at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, where she assistant directed several main-stage productions including Peter and the Starcatcher and Circle Mirror Transformation. NYC Directing: Pains of Youth (The Cake Shop, Access Theater); Jacob Marx Rice’s Portrait and a Dream (FringeNYC); The Saint Plays (Austin E. Quigley Award); and many workshops, short plays, readings, and concerts. Regional Directing: Williamstown Theater Festival (Workshop Stage) and Powerhouse/NYSF. Select Assisting: Godspell (1st Broadway Revival) and Pygmalion (Williamstown). Ms. Lupica is the Co-Producing Artistic Director of The Cake Shop Theater Company with Casey Hayes-Deats, and an Associate Member of SDC. She earned her BA in Theater and History, summa cum laude, at Columbia University. www.katielupica.com
Laurie Benning Roberts (Steph) is honored to join The Cake Shop Theatre Company in this production of Chemistry. A member of the Bruce E. Coyle Acting Intern Company at Cincinnati Playhouse, she received her BA in drama and dance from the University of Washington in Seattle, and she is a recent MFA acting graduate of the University of South Carolina. With the Playhouse, Ms. Roberts appeared in A Christmas Carol and the Off the Hill tour of Roses & Thorns. Understudy credits include Sherlock Holmes and…the Suicide Club, A Christmas Carol, Buzzer, and Circle Mirror Transformation. While living in Seattle, Ms. Roberts developed two original pieces that each debuted at the Edinburgh International Festival Fringe, The Grind Show and Ithaca I’ll Never See. In South Carolina, she studied with P3/East’s founders Robyn Hunt and Steve Pearson. Favorite university credits include Hamlet (Ophelia), The Three Sisters (Irina), and Boeing Boeing (Gretchen). Ms. Roberts is also the author of her solo show, The Maiden’s Prayer. www.lauriebenningroberts.com.
Jay Hobson (Jamie), originally hailing from Columbus, Ohio, is completing his year with Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park’s Bruce E. Coyle Acting Intern Company. At the Playhouse, he has appeared in A Christmas Carol, Buzzer, Chapatti, and the Off the Hill production of Roses & Thorns. He has understudied roles in Sherlock Holmes and…the Suicide Club, A Christmas Carol, and Buzzer. Mr.Hobson is a 2014 graduate of The Ohio State University, where he earned his degree in Political Science. While in school, he appeared in productions at Available Light Theatre Co., MadLab and SRO Theatre Co. Mr. Hobson studied acting in Chicago with Kathryn Gately. He is very excited to be working with this extraordinary team as part of the Cincinnati Fringe Festival.
The Cake Shop Theater Company is an independent NYC group dedicated to new and newly recovered works that give an uncensored voice to emerging artists in collaboration. In pursuit of resonant stories, we choose each project for its potential to feed, delight, and stimulate audience and artists alike. Past projects include the NY Premiere of Martin Crimp’s version of Ferdinand Bruckner’s Pains of Youth (2014, Access Theater, NYC) and developmental workshops of Uncertainty/Principle by Jacob Marx Rice, Lulu is Hungry and Anti-Cruise by Claire Kiechel, and an untitled devised project about water contamination and West Virginia.
Chemistry will feature scenic design by Wes Calkin, costume design by Jessica Hafer, lighting design by Alice Trent, and stage management by Katy Ward – all Cincinnati-based – as well as sound design and original score by NYC’s Mark Van Hare.
WHERE AND WHEN:
- Wednesday, May 27, at 6:30 p.m.
- Sunday, May 31, at 1:00 p.m.
- Monday, June 1, at 7:30 p.m.
- Thursday, June 4, at 6:30 p.m.
- Saturday, June 6, at 9:00 p.m.
Art Academy of Cincinnati
1212 Jackson Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202
Tickets go on sale May 13
Box Office: http://www.cincyfringe.com/tickets/
All tickets $12
Multi-show passes are also available
70 minutes, no intermission