Summer Fun Starts August 12 With The World Premier Of “The Virtuous Life Of Joseph Andrews"

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Summer fun starts August 12 when Penguin Rep Theatre, the Stony Point-based nonprofit professional theatre, presents the world premiere of the new comedy with music, THE VIRTUOUS LIFE OF JOSEPH ANDREWS, live on stage, Artistic Director Joe Brancato announced. 

Inspired by Henry Fielding’s classic novel, this rollicking comic romp through 18th-century England is the latest gem by the acclaimed playwright, Cary Gitter, author of THE SABBATH GIRL, produced at Penguin Rep. JOSEPH ANDREWS features a book and lyrics by Gitter and music by Max Silverman, and is conceived and directed by Mr. Brancato.

In JOSEPH ANDREWS, misadventures abound for the young, handsome, and naïve Joseph Andrews, a servant abandoned as a baby. Tutored by the clueless Parson Adams, Andrews sets off to find himself, but finds himself pursued by the lecherous Lady Booby, tempted by the wily chambermaid Betty, but in love with the forbidden Fanny.

“Filled with humor, warmth and wackiness, JOSEPH ANDREWS is just the uplifting change of pace we need today,” says Mr. Brancato. “It will vanish your cares and put a smile on your face.”

Guided by Mr. Brancato, who, in addition to scores of productions in Stony Point, has directed in New York City and regionally throughout the U.S. and Canada, the show’s cast includes Maya Musial as Fanny, Josh Powell as Parson Adams, Jonathan Randell Silver in multiple roles, Steven Telsey as Joseph Andrews, and Liz Zazzi as Lady Booby.

Mr. Powell previously starred at Penguin in SYNCOPATION and ART. Ms. Zazzi has appeared in such Penguin audience favorites as MIRACLE ON SOUTH DIVISION STREET, TEN PERCENT OF MOLLY SNYDER, CENTENNIAL CASTING and TOUR DE FARCE.

The creative team includes Christopher and Justin Swader (set design), Alyssa Ridder (costume design), Jamie Roderick (lighting design), Max Silverman (sound design), and Buffy Cardoza (properties). Michael Palmer is production stage manager.

JOSEPH ANDREWS will be presented through September 4. Performances are scheduled Thursdays at 7 p.m., Fridays at 7:30 p.m. Saturdays (2 shows) at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m.

There is a specially discounted matinee scheduled at 2 p.m. on Friday, August 12. A post-performance discussion among artistic director Joe Brancato, the actors and audience will follow the performance on Friday, August 19.

Before the 4 p.m. show on Saturday, August 20, there will be a complimentary tasting catered by The Filling Station of West Haverstraw.

Tickets to JOSEPH ANDREWS are priced at $39 (including facility fee and service charge). For tickets purchased online prior to August 12, there is an early ordering discount available. Discounts are also available for groups of 10 or more and for young people (30 and under). 

Performances take place at Penguin’s intimate, 108-seat theatre, located at 7 Crickettown Road. “The converted barn, circa 1880, has never been more inviting” (The New York Times). Says Executive Director Andrew M. Horn, “it’s theatre so close you can feel it, with comfy upholstered seats and no seat more than 30 feet from the stage.” The theatre is air conditioned, handicapped accessible, equipped with assistive listening devices, and has plenty of free parking.

During its closure due to COVID-19, Penguin made physical modifications to its venue to make the theatergoing experience safer and more comfortable. Air filtration was upgraded, air circulation modified to ensure increased exchange of inside and outside air, and high-intensity UVC light installed inside the ductwork to remove airborne and surface contaminants. To order tickets or for further information, visit Penguin Rep’s website at www.penguinrep.org or call 845-786-2873.

ABOUT PENGUIN REP THEATRE

Joe Brancato was a high school English and drama teacher in 1977 when he peered into an abandoned 1880’s hay barn in Stony Point, New York, and envisioned the space repurposed into a theatre.

More than 40 years later, Penguin Rep – the theatre Brancato started with Francine Newman-McCarthy and runs with executive director Andrew M. Horn -- has grown from a summer theatre to become one

of the Hudson Valley’s most influential nonprofit cultural institutions, reaching tens of thousands of theatergoers each year at its home, in New York City and beyond – with its work moving to Off Broadway and to stages across the country and around the world.

Penguin has presented more than 150 productions – over 100 directed by Brancato himself -- for more than 400,000 people from the lower Hudson Valley and beyond. And Mr. Brancato has brought together accomplished professional actors – David Canary, Michael Cullen, Tim De Kay, Ann Dowd, Gregg Edelman, Michael Esper, Barbara Feldon, Tovah Feldshuh, Beth Fowler, Deborah Hedwall, Celeste Holm, Richard Kline, Andrew McCarthy, Lizbeth Mackay, Michele Pawk, and Karen Ziemba, among others – to star in new and noteworthy plays by such playwrights as Lee Blessing, Ronald Harwood, Allan Knee, Arthur Laurents, Warren Leight, Jon Marans, William Mastrosimone, Lainie Robertson, James Sherman and Elizabeth Swados.

As The Journal News wrote: “Somebody forgot to tell artistic director Joe Brancato that he’s crazy to use a little barn plunked down in the Rockland County suburbs to experiment with unusual and challenging plays… I hope everybody keeps forgetting to tell him. The region is more the richer for it.”

“Guided by the skilled hand of Penguin’s artistic director, Joe Brancato, the splendid performers get first-rate support, as always at Penguin, by an excellent design team” (The New York Times).

“Penguin Rep is a place where theatergoers can experience magic time after time” (Lohud.com).

Penguin Rep Theatre’s 2022 season is sponsored by Orange and Rockland Utilities.

The season is also made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, and with funds from ReStart the Arts, a regrant program of ArtsWestchester with support from the Office of the Governor, the Legislature and NYSCA.

Penguin Rep is a proud recipient of a Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) administered by the Small Business Administration.

Penguin Rep gratefully acknowledges the additional support of the Bernard & Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust, Cory & Bob Donnalley Charitable Foundation, County of Rockland, GMGPR, Jacques & Margot W. Kohn Foundation, Kathryn I. Matthews Charitable Fund, Rockland County Tourism, The Shubert Foundation, and Town of Stony Point.

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