Margery (Caity Brown) and Pastor Greg (Stephen A. Mennella) confront Tyrone. Photo by Chris Hietikko Photography
(NUTLEY, NJ) -- Nutley Little Theatre presents the hysterically irreverent twisted comedy, Hand to God, opening Friday, June 9th, and continuing through June 24th. Written by Robert Askins, the play tells the story of a devilish, scandalous, and foul-mouthed hand puppet who manages to tear apart the balance in a Christian Puppet Ministry youth group – exposing the startling fragile nature of faith, morality, love, and how easily blood can flow.
The New Yorker called this lightning-paced comedy “Sesame Street meets The Exorcist.” Hand to God was presented on Broadway in 2015, and nominated for five TONY awards, including Best Play.
Hand to God is directed by Chris Hietikko; with Edward Pierce as Design Consultant; Costume Design by Pixie Pierce; Music/Sound Design by Jaime Valente; and Lighting Design/Technical Direction by Thomas J. Donohoe II. Puppetry coaching, design, and building by Kay Koch; Fight Choreography by Paul White; Intimacy Coordination by Dora Gordon; and Dialect Coaching by Jeff Woodman. Dave Tadiello served as the Master Carpenter, and Evelyn Pierce as Scenic Artist. Lilliana Van De Zilver operates the lights and sound. The production is Stage Managed by Jeff Parsons.
Jason (Nikolas Elrifi) and his puppet Tyrone in Hand to God. Photo by Chris Hietikko Photography
Director Hietikko said “There couldn’t be a more suitable venue to direct this show than Nutley Little Theatre – a theatre that embraces diversity in the arts, and doesn’t make assumptions about what audiences should enjoy. Instead, creative teams are given the freedom to elevate audiences by letting them think for themselves. This talented cast impresses and surprises me every day – I’m so proud of what we’ve created.” Parsons added “Audiences will laugh watching all hell literally break loose, and maybe wonder if they shouldn’t. The play is outrageous and over-the-top – it’s a wonderful and wild ride.”
Nikolas Elrifi, recent graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, plays the role of Jason. Caity Brown, most recently seen as Nurse Ratched at Villagers Theatre, portrays Jason’s mother Margery. Steven A. Mennella, who has performed throughout New Jersey for 17 years is Pastor Greg; David Israeli studied Film & Television at NYU and plays the role of Timothy; and Katie Toledo, most recently seen as Sally Bowles in BACCP’s production of Cabaret, is Jessica.
Performances are held at Nutley Little Theatre, located at 47 Erie Place in Nutley. Performance dates/times are June 9, 10, 16, 17, 22, 23, and 24 at 8:00pm, and June 11, 18, and 24 at 2:00pm. Tickets are available for purchase online.
Hand to God is presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service. Please note, this is NOT a children’s puppet show.
The Company of Hand to God (clockwise from L to R): David Israeli, Caity Brown, Stephen A. Mennella, Katie Toledo, Nikolas Elrifi. Photo by Chris Hietikko Photography