Chicago — The Trouble With Dead Boyfriends returns to Chicago, Aug. 17-19, for a one-weekend encore run after winning MCL Chicago’s Premier Premieres festival in June. The show is a 90-minute gory feminist horror-comedy musical that deconstructs the tropes used in Young Adult romance novels.
The last time it was in Chicago, The Trouble With Dead Boyfriends met with great critical acclaim. Ian Rigg of ChicagoMusicalTheater described the show as “A tight web of raucous one-liners, clever and emotional lyrics, and keen insight…this musical is bloody good fun.” The writers, Sloan-award winning playwright Annie Pulsipher and award-winning composer Alex Petti, are very excited to share the show for a second time.
The show started as a 60-minute musical at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama in December 2016. The show’s award-winning run at MCL Chicago was its first public presentation.
Tickets are being sold for $13-18 on MCL Chicago’s website. Shows Thur., Fri., and Sat. @8PM (BYOB); Friday 2PM Matinee.
How long is the show? The Trouble With Dead Boyfriends is 90 minutes long without an intermission.
How long has the show been in development? As of the August 17th performance, The Trouble With Dead Boyfriends will have been in development for 8 months.
Who are the writers?
Annie Pulsipher (book/lyrics) started her career as youth playwright working with the Liberty Park Players and writing and performing short plays for the Utah Arts festival. She then received her BA at Brigham Young University with a minor in Playwriting (and Spanish, and Environmental Studies, and History) and a major in Indecisiveness (i.e. Humanities). Her thesis play Voodoo You Do won the Mayhew Playwriting Award and was then selected for production in the season of South Jordon’s Kensington Theatre Company. She’s had readings of her work at locations around the country including New York’s Midtown International Theatre Festival, ARTS New Works Tri-State, and the Kennedy Center through KCACTF. Her screenplay, The Glowing Gene, received a $15,000 dollar grant from the Alfred P. Sloan foundation and a $50,000 grant for additional development from the Tribeca Film Institute. Her most recent play Infinite Canary will be performed by Southwest Shakespeare Company this January. She received an MFA in Dramatic Writing from Carnegie Mellon School of Drama under Rob Handel. www.pulsipherplays.com
Alex Petti (music/lyrics) is a composer from Massachusetts who grew up as a pop punk rocker. He learned to play the guitar from Berklee College of Music Graduate Michael Geher beginning at age 8. Playing songs turned to writing songs as he became a composer and musician in bands throughout high school in DIY punk basement shows.Alex’s first full-length musical theatre piece was Guts, which was produced by Turnaround Theatre Company, a nonprofit theatre organization co-founded by Alex with his artistic collaborators. Guts was recognized with an Award for Artistic Excellence at Carnegie Mellon University in 2015. Since graduating school December 2015, he has interned at Pittsburgh’s City Theatre, moved to the NYC area, been considered as a finalist for the BMI Lehmen Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, and put on The Trouble With Dead Boyfriends with collaborator Annie Pulsipher at Carnegie Mellon University’s Playground in December 2016. alexpetti.com
Who is on the production team?
Stephen M. Eckert (director) is a current John Wells Directing Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University and has directed and performed in productions in the U.S. and London. The founder and artistic director of the award-winning Promethean Theatre Company in New Orleans, Eckert directed over 10 full productions in its four year history including Equus, Long Day’s Journey into Night, and the regional premiere of Annie Baker’s The Flick. Most recently he adapted and directed Marlowe’s Edward II with Carnegie Mellon’s School of Drama; and staged three new operas, The Women on the Wall, My Opera Nemesis, and ID, Please in coordination with the Pittsburgh Opera and the Carnegie Mellon School of Music. Eckert’s work is primarily narrative in nature and focuses on themes of isolation, marginalization, dysfunctional familial relationships, communication, and queer masculinity. He holds degrees in Theatre-Performance, Theatre-Design, and Political Science from Tulane University.
Helena Hewitt (technical director) is a Technical Direction student at Carnegie Mellon University. Recently, she has been the job lead for Trapped in Time (Softest Jupiter Escape), a carpentry intern at Pittsburgh Festival Opera, and an operations assistant at Flyspace Productions. You can follow her work @helenarosemary on Instagram. Thanks go out to Annie Pulsipher for getting her involved with this project, the rest of the wonderful cast and crew, and her family and friends.
Dani Joseph (dramaturg/line producer) is a new play dramaturg in her third year of her Dramaturgy BFA at Carnegie Mellon University. She has worked on many new plays and musicals, including most recently The Three Musketeers by Megan Monaghan Rivas. Dani has worked with the New York Musical Festival and The Public. Dani’s upcoming projects include a devised piece about toxic masculinity and a new work by Gillian Beth Durkee. danijoseph.com
Bradley Plaxen (producer) Founder of Turnaround Theatre Company, Bradley Plaxen is a real advocate for new plays. As a student at Carnegie Mellon University, Bradley wrote several new plays including the musical ‘Guts’ with ‘Trouble with Dead Boyfriends’ composer Alex Petti. Currently, he is working towards earning a Master of Entertainment Technology degree with which he intends to explore storytelling in new media. He spends much of his time working on comedy- improv, sketch, and stand-up- in Pittsburgh and New York City. His most recent production was an original dark comedy called ‘Bang Bang Banality’. He hopes to continue getting opportunities to make new theater with great friends!
Alexis Chaney (Costumes) Alexis is a 3rd year in Carnegie Mellon’s MFA program for Costume Design, originally from Washington, DC. She is a founding member of First Floor Theater in Chicago, IL, and is excited for her work to return to her second home, even if she can’t yet.
Who are the performers?
Megan Forster (Madison) is a theatre artist currently studying musical theatre at Carnegie Mellon University. She graduated from Southern Orange County School of the Arts in 201 4, where she played Nora Helmer in A Doll’s House, and directed a production of Ludlow Fair. Recent credits include Ragtime (CMU) and Wayfinding (CMU). Megan is a co-founder of the Bellwether Theatre Project, a company dedicated to empathetic, intersectional storytelling. She has choreographed for Don’t Stop (Real/Time Interventions), and for Dancelight (CMU). She is very grateful to be working on this killer, feminist project.
Marina Devaux (Stella) recently completed her sophomore year at Carnegie Mellon University, where her recent roles have included the Narrator in Murder Ballad and Heather Chandler in Heathers. Much love to Mom, Dad, Grace, and those back in Athens!
Chantelle Guido (Grace/choreographer) is from Buffalo, NY where she grew up performing in her school’s plays and musicals along with participating in several county and state honor bands/choirs/orchestras playing flute and piccolo. She spent last summer performing at Weathervane Playhouse in Newark, OH with ensemble roles in Jekyll and Hyde and The Music Man, and Lucienne in A Flea in Her Ear. Currently a rising Senior at Carnegie Mellon, in their upcoming season she will be featured in The Matchmaker as Dolly Levi and The Drowsy Chaperone as Drowsy Chaperone. Thanks to everyone who has supported this brilliant new musical! It’s been an absolute blast to work on!
Jimmy Brewer (Zachary) grew up rowing in the Long Island Sound, and was introduced to theatre through his love of trumpet playing. He is eternally grateful to be in collaboration with the genius Annie Pulsipher along with fellow cast and team. Going into his senior year at Carnegie Mellon University, he is looking forward to spending his remaining months laughing and loving with life-long friends. Regional Theatre: The Black Suits CTG. TV and Film: Blue Bloods CBS
Javier Spivey (Lucian), a 201 5 U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, is a junior musical theater major at Carnegie Mellon University. He is a graduate of LaGuardia High School’s drama program and Alvin Ailey’s Junior Division. Recent theatrical credits include Shakespeare in the Park, in the Public Theater’s musical adaptations of The Tempest and The Winter’s Tale as Young Prospero and Florizel respectively. Others include Tarell McCraney’s Romeo and Juliet in Miami and Debbie Allen’s Who Am I? at the Kennedy Center.He recently made his feature film debut in the 201 6 drama Youth in Oregon, and will be starring in the upcoming 201 8 comedy CRSHD. An up and coming spoken word artist, he was the winner of Future Tenant’s Spotlight competition, Spirit’s Nasty Slam, and placed third in Pittsburgh’s MLK Jr. Writing Awards. Check out his spoken word on his Youtube channel @LHgonzalez.
Scott Cuva (Silence), a freelance professional opera singer, graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 201 4 with a degree in vocal performance. He made his mainstage operatic debut with Pittsburgh Opera as a member of the Mariachi Trio in the world premiere of The Summer King this past April. He has also performed with the Pittsburgh Camerata, Chatham Baroque, and made his Carnegie Hall debut with the Carnegie Mellon Concert Choir in 201 2. While grounded in opera by craft, Scott has been involved in productions of Urinetown, Into the Woods, and the premiere of the musical Guts in his time at CMU. As well as singing, Scott is an experienced arranger and composer in the classical, modern, and liturgical aesthetics.
Ryan LaPré (Male Ensemble) is glad to be joining the cast of The Trouble with Dead Boyfriends. He has previously performed in Merrily we Roll Along (Joe), The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Sigmung Freud/Saint Thomas), Little Women (Laurie), The Mystery of Edwin Drood (James Throttle), A Little Night Music (Ensemble), and an original work, Akristos (Russell). He has also served as the President of Scotch’n’Soda Theatre at Carnegie Mellon University.
Amanda Ripley (Female Ensemble) is a rising Sophomore Actor in Carnegie Mellon University’s BFA program. She’s a graduate of the acting program at Salt Lake School for the Performing Arts. Recent projects include writing and directing a poetry play called for the Birds and playing the part of Eurydice in SLSPA’s production of Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice.
Andrew Abrahamsen (Piano, Co-Music Director) is the Co- music Director and pianist for The Trouble With Dead Boyfriends. A rising senior Music Composition major at Carnegie Mellon University, he creates Musical Theater, Modern Classical, and Singer-Songwriter styles of music. His original works have premiered at Carnegie Hall and Symphony Space (NYC), Chosky Theater (CMU School of Drama), and Kresge (CMU School of Music). Andrew is an experienced jazz pianist who performs with the CMU Jazz Orchestra and Jazz Choir. He often uses jazz influences to create his compositions. He is very excited to be a part of the The Trouble With Dead Boyfriends team.
Daniel Nelson (Drums) has been playing drums for 14 years, with a passion for marching percussion and good old rock and roll. With influences ranging from Buddy Rich and Mel Lewis to Chris Adler and Lester Estelle Jr., Daniel has developed a kit style that runs from folksy jazz to heavy metal. Daniel has been performing in musicals for a decade as both an actor and musician, most recently as a percussionist in the productions Reefer Madness and Bat Boy.