“Cwiklik continues to prove why his singular style marks him as one of downtown theatre's most consistently original playwright-directors”

--  Martin Denton, NYTheatre.com review of Nevada Territory

 

The theater as we recognize it is descended from the Elizabethan and Jacobean traditions.  The Greek and Roman use of the theater is preserved in the ritualistic pomp and bother of Roman Catholic Mass, pilgrimages to Mecca, modern political conventions, and the like.  The more populist elements of entertainment can be directly traced to the loud, brash, daring pop art of the Globe, the Rose, and their rivals, all of whom had to compete with bear-baiting, public executions, and brothels for punters' attention.  We pretend to a grand, noble, patrician bearing in the theater, but the truth is, we're mongrels.  We're carnival barkers, vaudevillians.  We have more in common with pro wrestling than poetry.

 

That's as it should be.  Theater should be more cinematic, and cinema should be more theatrical.  It's sad that the more insular art form, in which people sit quietly in the dark facing a blank wall for two hours, has become the more emotional, sensationally-driven medium;  while the art form that gathers people together to share a tactile, immediate, unreproducible experience is now the more intellectual and philosophical medium.  It's backwards.  That's not to say sensationalistic theater can't be stimulating, or that movies can't be emotionally energizing.  But, I'm saying.

 

It doesn't seem strange now, when Shakespeare vs. pop culture mashups litter stages all over the English-speaking world (yeah, that's, uh, partially my fault, sorry), but when we started doing  shows like this?  It was  uncharted territory, using movies, burlesque, rock music, pop culture in general as our texts.  We weren't alone in doing it, but we were sorely outnumbered, and it was an uphill battle getting some folks to accept the idea at first.  I adore live theater, which you can guess seeing as how that's, you know, what I do, but even I don't go to see much of it, since theater, especially States-side, has ossified, like opera, ballet, high literature, fine art -- dead, drab, lifeless gruel for toothless audiences who want to keep their culture walled off and cliquish, safe and secure.

 

And thus DMT came to "stick" "it" (whatever "it" is) to "the man".  Also, I am old now.

 

As seen below, we've been working toward a populist, engaging theater, one that attracts with boom and bombast, and surprises with depth and heart.  All of these shows have a determined, eager wish to entertain and engage their audience, to grab you by the throat, the heart, the soul.  To appeal to audiences who would never be caught dead in a theater, and to not only get them there, but keep them there for other shows by other artists.

 

There's an episode of the Simpsons where Homer says he'd rather go to a play than have to rescue Flanders from rabid chimps, and he says "play" as though he were referring to a rash or a sucking chest wound.  That's the way most people think of theater.  I want those audiences.  I want to blast all the dust and cobwebs off of their image of the theater, to get them excited, to make them eager to get back to us every time we mount a show.  I'm very proud that our audiences have been mostly non-theater-goers.  We need more of those folks -- we need to get them back into the fold.

 

The greatest sin of art is to be boring.  These shows have been loud, quiet, weird, exciting, offensive, moving, brash, immersive, and flat-out nuts, but never boring.

 

-- Frank Cwiklik, NYC 2015

 

 

 

Photos from top to bottom:  Two Gentlemen of Lebowski (2010), Girls' School Vampire (1999), Who in the Hell is the Real, Live Lorelei Lee? (2003)

"Really funny and expertly staged...  very entertaining, heartfelt...  It literally takes the material to new places. Tom O’Connor gives a fine performance as the tragic villain ...  THIS ONE HAS IT ALL.”

-- John Spingola, NYTimes.com

 

The Red Room, June 2012

REPERTORY

William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra (2002)

  • ABOUT

    This is the show that started it all...  Girls' School Vampire, the horror/comedy extravaganza about coming of age, bloodlust, and how to pick up chicks.  In the remote Middle European country of Carpathia, the former home of the dreaded Count Sebastian the First is now the Browning Carpathian School For Wayward Girls, a second chance at life for the troubled young girls of our modern, immoral society.  Enter Monsignor Emanuel, a mysterious man of the cloth with a deep, dark secret;  Emily Foster, a young girl suddenly becoming a woman, and not knowing how to cope with it; and David Foster, her father, at the end of his rope and possibly his sanity.

     

    Soon, their worlds will be turned upside down as the dreaded Headmistress and her devilish assistant hatch a fiendish plot that threatens to destroy the school, Carpathia itself -- and perhaps all of mankind.

     

    GIrls' School Vampire premiered at the Greenwich Street Playhouse in Spring of 1999, and returned to the venerable Todo Con NADA in Fall of that same year.  An epic instant cult classic, Girls School Vampire launched the DMT repertory, introduced a number of future indie theater mainstays to the New York stage, and predated the pop culture/high culture mashup movement by nearly a decade.

     

     

  • GALLERY

  • PROMO

  • CREDITS

    Original cast:

     

    Spring 1999, Greenwich Street Theater:

    in order of appearance:  BRITT LAFIELD  *  J. KEVIN TALLENT  *  BROOKE TAYLOR  *  PETER LEUREIRO  *  MOLLY HARRINGTON  *  BOB BRADER  *  GURION MANBER  *  SUSAN SPANO  *  CHARLEY CARFREY  *  CARRIE JOHNSON  *  SANDI MICALI SMITH  *  DAVID TULLY

     

    Fall 1999, Todo Con NADA:

    in order of appearance:  PETER RUSSO  *  JENNY WEAVER  *  J. KEVIN TALLENT  *  BRITT LAFIELD  *  MONICA RUSSELL  *  MOLLY HARRINGTON  *  BOB BRADER  *  CHARLEY CARFREY  *  ERIN CARDILLO  *  CARRIE JOHNSON  *  SANDI MICALI SMITH  *  DAVID TULLY

     

    Written, produced and directed by FRANK CWIKLIK

     

Greenwich Street Theater, Spring 1999

Todo Con NADA, Fall 1999

  • ABOUT

    Three guys. One lesbian. One time machine. And a planet full of space babes.  Oh yeah.

     

    In the year of our Lord 1992, we have conquered the moon and Mars, and now, the US of A sends its finest space pilots to conquer… time! Back, back, back in time they travel to find themselves on a planet inhabited entirely by women! Watch in wonder, horror, awe, and dismay as Captain Buck Fuster, Doctor Rod Johnson, Engineer Randy Willing, and the redoubtable Skippy (with his sock puppet Timmy) venture through this alien world! Can the notorious womanizer Buck Fuster find true happiness with the enlightened political activist Kara? Will Doctor Rod Johnson succeed in his dastardly plan for world domination? Is Randy Willing really the Lesbian Messiah? And will Skippy finally lose his virginity?

     

    The first in a long and seemingly endless parade of high-octane sex farces from DMT, this rollicking, foul-mouthed, big-hearted sci-fi comedy opened at the late, lamented Todod Con NADA in May/June of 2000 and played a demand encore engagement in August and September of that same year during the 2000 Pure Pop Festival.   Inspired by the raunch cinema of the late 1960’s, and drive-in movies of the 1950’s, Amazons in Chains is an inspired melange of audience participation, razor sharp farce, and biting satire on gender politics and the mysteries of romance.

     

  • GALLERY

  • PROMO

  • CREDITS

    your cast of characters (in order of their appearance on our stage)

    DR. ROD JOHNSON Gurion Manber

    CAPTAIN BUCK FUSTER Bob Brader

    SKIPPY Britt Lafield (role played by Peter B. Brown in revival)

    ENGINEER RANDY N. WILLING Candace Owens (role played by Christiania Cobean in revival)

    KUMM-LA Christiaan Koop

    MIRA-KA Amy Caitlin Carr

    KARA POORTHOUGHT Carrie Johnson

    THE BIRKENSTOCK BRIGADE Tracey Paleo, Sarah G. Thurmond, Christiania Cobean (revival: Marla Yost)

    QUEEN ANUBIS Stacia French (role played by Nicole Marsh in revival)

    TARA R'BOOM DiYAY Michele Schlossberg

    CAPTAIN BUSTER NAYLOR Frank Cwiklik

    AND AS VARIOUS GROUPIES, SOLDIERS, CITIZENS, AND TEENIEBOPPERS: Tracey Paleo, Sarah G. Thurmond, Christiania Cobean (revival: Marla Yost)

    AND TIMMY as himself!

     

    PRODUCED BY FRANK CWIKLIK AND MICHELE SCHLOSSBERG

    WRITTEN, DESIGNED, AND DIRECTED BY FRANK CWIKLIK

     

    our play takes place in the far flung future year of AD 1992, and during the dawn of prehistoric time...

     

     

     

Todo Con NADA May-September 2000

  • ABOUT

    I never should have fallen for that dame... I never should have robbed that safe... And I never should have killed my boss...

     

    The minds behind the infamous Masterworks of Edward D. Wood, Jr. series present QUICKSAND, based on the cult classic thriller directed by Irving Pichel, in which a young stud tries to impress the femme fatale of his dreams with a little petty larceny, only to find himself caught up in a web of deceit, intrigue, and bald faced thievery.

     

    In a seaport town reminiscent of both New Orleans and Atlantic City, troubled Dan Brady gets himself trapped in a circle of crooks, scumbags, and out and out whackos, only to be redeemed by the true love of an honest woman and the help of an understanding stranger. Plagued by an unscrupulous boss, a sleazy arcade/casino owner, and his own talent for trouble, Dan must get out of this mess one way or another without getting himself killed in the process...

     

    Quicksand was the first show produced by DMT in the Horse Trade Theater spaces, and the beginning of Danse Macabre's residency with this distinguished organization. It also featured special guest appearances by downtown NYC theater legends Art Wallace (as the despicable Mackay) and Trav S.D. (as The Lawyer).

  • GALLERY

  • PROMO

  • CREDITS

    DANSE MACABRE THEATRICS PRESENTS

    QUICKSAND

     

    starring in alphabetical order

    SARAH JANE BUNKER * RASHEED HINDS * YURI LOWENTHAL * TOM MAZUR * ROGER NASSER * MICHELE SCHLOSSBERG * MOIRA STONE

    TRAV S.D. as The Lawyer

    and ART WALLACE as Mackay

     

    Based on the film written by ROBERT SMITH and directed by IRVING PICHEL

    Stage Manager/Technicals BERIT JOHNSON

    Fight choreography and Direction MICHELE SCHLOSSBERG-CWIKLIK

     

    Produced by FRANK CWIKLIK and MICHELE SCHLOSSBERG-CWIKLIK

    Adapted, designed, and directed by FRANK CWIKLIK

     

     

Under St. Marks, June 2001

  • ABOUT

    A REAL NICE PLACE TO VISIT... BUT YOU WOULDN'T WANT TO LIVE THERE.

     

    Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to Kookamonga Falls… Not too close to where you live. Upstate. Tucked away in the forests, up in the mountains. Some folks around here say the woods are haunted. It is said that at night, when it’s late and you’re all alone, you can sometimes see the spirits of our gorilla ancestors, drifting through the woods… Oh, look, there goes one right now.

     

    Oh, and there’s the e-ville villain, Rudolph Von Hackemore, cunningly disguised as an unusually hirsute woman with an adam’s apple and an eye patch! And his long lost love, the otherwise quite frigid Dr. Ilsa Gruenwald, and her brilliant and terribly repressed husband, the brilliant and terribly repressed Dr. Peter Von Hackemore… the brother of the e-ville Rudolph! And just who is… the Mysterious Woman? No, seriously. Who is she??

     

    Oh, and did we mention the chainsmoking narrator with the bad attitude? Or the popcorn-eating gorilla? Or the movie theater that shows only intermission loops? Or—Nah. Forget it. You wouldn’t believe us if we told you.

     

    It’s all business as usual for Kookamonga Falls, the looniest long-running soap opera you’ve never seen, presented for your delectation and baffled bemusement by playwright Todd Miller, who wrote this madcap comedy exclusively for DMTheatrics, making this the world premiere of this surreal farce. Presented as a live television production, complete with warmup acts and studio audience, this charming, madcap romp is exactly the kind of material audiences have come to expect from DMTheatrics: unhinged, unpredictable, and highly unusual.

     

    SPECIAL ADDED ATTRACTION! Before our long-running soap opera begins, enjoy our opening entertainment, America 2.0, a puppet show extravaganza about the adventures of Brad, former actor, now salesman, and his determined efforts to return home from a wrong turn in Mexico. See him befriend South American supervillains, Tyrannosaurus Rexes, and many others! Longtime DMTheatrics collaborator Ian W. Hill designed and directed this delightful slice of sublime ridiculousness -- a kid's show most definitely not for kids, and most definitely not your average kiddie show...

     

  • GALLERY

  • PROMO

  • CREDITS

    DANSE MACABRE THEATRICS

    in association with HORSE TRADE THEATER GROUP

    presents a new comedy by Todd Miller

    KOOKAMONGA FALLS

     

    Starring

    PETER B. BROWN * BRYAN ENK * IAN W. HILL * MICHELE SCHLOSSBERG * MOIRA STONE

     

    Produced by FRANK CWIKLIK and MICHELE SCHLOSSBERG

    Sound and lighting design by FRANK CWIKLIK

    Publicity SCOTT MAKIN

    DIRECTED BY MICHELE SCHLOSSBERG

     

    with special opening attraction...

    AMERICA 2.0

    Written by TODD MILLER

    Puppet construction by BERIT JOHNSON

    Sound Design by IAN W. HILL and YOUTHQUAKE!

    Performed by IAN W. HILL and BERIT JOHNSON

    Designed and Directed by IAN W. HILL

     

The Red Room, June/July 2002

"... tight and funny...  great comic moments... ELECTROMAGNETIC!”

-- Carlo Fiorletta, Stage Press Weekly

WINNER 2003 OOBR AWARD FOR

OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION!

  • ABOUT

    Shakespeare meets the Sopranos in a radical retelling of the classic tale of jealousy, greed, romance, and murder. The place: Empire, Nevada. Time: Indeterminate. Away from the prying eyes of the law, five casino bosses, each with their own private army, tussle over turf, both real and perceived.  While vacationers, millionaires, and fellow gangsters laze away the days under the hot desert sun and seize the nights in the cool red lounges of the Miracle Mile, brash, ruthless Caesar plots to wrest control of all his competitors' lucrative gaming resorts.  Meanwhile, the hotblooded Antony, smitten with burlesque queen and legendary beauty Cleopatra, fights to keep his rapidly crumbling empire of crime and gambling from slipping through his fingers. Bullets fly, bodies pile up, and before this long, hot summer is over, someone's gonna end up dead -- and someone else is going to have complete control of Empire, Nevada. Not that anyone could control the lustful Cleopatra...

     

    The first direct DMT Shakespeare production, and the genesis of the American Shakespeare Factory, Antony and Cleopatra played to packed houses, standing ovations, and unanimous critical acclaim -- and it kicked the ass of every other Shakespearean production playing in NYC that season. Glittery, sexy, gaudy, violent, DMT's Antony and Cleopatra was an exciting new spin on a timeless tale: a high-energy, high stakes theatrical event, a whirlwind of sex, violence, and ruthless ambition. Inspired by the colorful (and often shady) history of Las Vegas and the exploits of the unsavoury characters who built it out of nothing but desert sand, this A&C was unlike any ever seen: as romantic as it was brutal, as hopeful as it was bleak, full of life, death, and all the things that make life worth living -- and killing for.

     

  • GALLERY

  • PROMO

  • CREDITS

    DANSE MACABRE THEATRICS PRESENTS IN ASSOCIATION WITH HORSE TRADE THEATER GROUP

    WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE'S ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA

     

    BOB BRADER  *  JONATHAN M. CASTRO  *  ANNA CURTIS

    MATTHEW GRAY  *  MARIA HURDLE  *  CARRIE JOHNSON

    BOB LAINE  *  NICOLE MARSH  *  GERALD MARSINI  *  TOM MAZUR

    EMILY MOSTYN-BROWN  *  ALISHA SILVER  *  KEN SIMON

    MICHELE SCHLOSSBERG  *  KEN STANEK   *   ADAM SWIDERSKI

     

    WRITTEN BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

    PUBLICITY BY SCOTT MAKIN

    CHOREOGRAPHY BY ANNA CURTIS / MICHELE SCHLOSSBERG

    PRODUCED BY FRANK CWIKLIK AND MICHELE SCHLOSSBERG-CWIKLIK

    DESIGNED AND DIRECTED BY FRANK CWIKLIK

     

     

The Red Room, July/August 2002

  • ABOUT

    ... Being the adventures of Bailey Sugarman, 17 years old, in love with old pop culture, America, and the pursuit of, ahem, happiness, who runs away from home with her only true friend, Jesus, the gas station attendant who thinks he's Elvis...

     

    War, unemployment, terrorism -- what's a simple country girl to do?  Well, if you're Bailey Sugarman, 17 years old and cute as a button (her friends call her Sugarbaby), you run away from home, with the help of your best friend Jesus, the mechanic who thinks he's Elvis, to see America, before it's all sold off, co-opted, argued away, blown up, or just plain lost.  And if you're Sheriff Rufus J. Miranda, you issue an Amber Alert, hunting this cornfed firecracker across this great land of ours, not letting anyone or anything get in your way.  If you're Rod Butane, best-selling, top-rated conservative talk show host, you accuse Arab terrorists of kidnapping the girl, and use her mission as an excuse for ratings, notoreity, and your own agenda.  And if you're political filmmaker Mitch Common, you know you've found your new documentary subject, your new counterculture icon, and a license to print money.

     

    But if you're Sugarbaby, why, all you wanna do is see America -- open roads, crystal blue sky, drive-ins and casinos, the high and the low, and all the noise that everybody's making about you is just getting in the damn way...  Time for drastic measures...

     

    Writer/Director Frank Cwiklik's most-published and likely best-known original work, Sugarbaby! is a raucous, mischevious, sexy, nasty, noisy, no-holds-barred satire on American politics, mores, and hysteria, a cross-country chase that winds from backwoods America to sin city itself, Las Vegas; from the marshlands of Florida, to -- Heaven itself??  Ending in a stirring, riotous take-no-prisoners march on the Great Mall in Washington, DC, no one is safe and nothing is sacred in the least political political comedy ever to appear on the New York stage.  Playing to packed houses and rave reviews, Sugarbaby! was published in the New York Theater Experience's Plays and Playwrights 2004, and has been used as course material for theater and playwriting classes on the high school and college level.

  • GALLERY

  • PROMO

  • CREDITS

    produced in association with Horse Trade Theater Group

    AMANDA ALLEN / ERIK BOWIE / BRANDON KALBAUGH / DAN MACCARONE / ANGELA MADALINE / JOSH MERTZ / KEVIN MYERS* / MICHELE SCHLOSSBERG / ALEX WARNER* / JONATHAN WISE

    featuring ADAM SWIDERSKI as JESUS  /  and MARGUERITE FRENCH as SUGARBABY

          PRODUCED BY Frank Cwiklik and Michele Schlossberg

    WRITTEN, DESIGNED, AND DIRECTED BY Frank Cwiklik

    ^appears courtesy Actors' Equity Assn.

     

     

The Red Room, June/July 2003

"Brilliant, spectacular, ... THEATRE JUST DOESN'T GET MORE VITAL, ENTERTAINING, OR EXUBERANTLY IN-YOUR-FACE”

--  Martin Denton, NYTheatre.com

  • ABOUT

    WHAT HAPPENED TO THE WORLD'S GREATEST PINUP QUEEN WAS A MYSTERY... EVEN TO HER.

     

    She was one of the most desirable, recognizable pinup queens of the late 1950’s. She appeared on dozens of magazine covers, calendars, photo spreads… And then one day, she simply vanished, disappeared, leaving behind a legion of fans and a tantalizing mystery… Who in the Hell is the Real, Live Lorelei Lee?

     

    Veronica “Ronnie” Marshall is about to find out. Ronnie is a struggling writer, burlesque stage mother, and avid collector and dealer of rare Americana, specifically 1950’s and 1960’s sexploitation and pinup memorabilia. One of her contacts, legendary girlie photographer Burgess Link, gives her an unopened box of old photographs to sell on commission – and within that stash are previously unknown photographs of the mysterious Lorelei Lee. When confronted with these photographs, Burgess finally confesses to one of the best-kept secrets of the pinup era: Lorelei was his one true love, his muse, unbeknown to his wife and the world at large. Now an old woman, mad, damaged, watching her life play out before her in a bizarre vaudeville circus existing solely in her mind’s eye, the real Lorelei Lee sits alone in an asylum on Long Island, nursing her wounds, pining for her lost love and her lost life, while Burgess, wracked with guilt over her illness, and still not understanding what drove them apart years ago, visits once a year, on the anniversary of her disappearance, hoping that she will one day finally reveal why she left him in the middle of the night all those years ago.

     

    Featuring a bevy of luscious chorus girls and starring DMT favorites Bob Brader, Bryan Enk, and Michele Schlossberg, and starring new DMT regular Marguerite French as the alluring Lorelei Lee; with a riotous soundtrack chock full of jazz and doo wop classics; and graced with DMTheatrics' trademark energy, wit, and candor, Lorelei Lee was an unqualified artistic success, and played to SRO houses in Fall of 2003.

     

  • GALLERY

  • PROMO/PROP IMAGES

  • CREDITS

    DANSE MACABRE THEATRICS

    presents in association with HORSE TRADE THEATER GROUP

    the new burlesque from the director of Sugarbaby and Antony and Cleopatra

    WHO IN THE HELL IS THE REAL. LIVE LORELEI LEE?

     

    CATE BOTTIGLIONE * BOB BRADER * MERCEDES EMELINA * BRYAN ENK * MARGUERITE FRENCH * LARA HUGHES * BOB LAINE * MARISA MOSS * CHERYL PUENTE * MICHELE SCHLOSSBERG * JESSICA WELLS

     

    Sound design by Youthquake!

    Special prop and set graphics design by Faint Hope Graphics

    Choreography by Michele Schlossberg

     

    Produced by MICHELE SCHLOSSBERG

    Written, designed, and directed by FRANK CWIKLIK

     

     

The Red Room, October/November 2003

“AN EXTRAORDINARY WORK OF THEATRE...

As fascinating as it is unexpected, subversive

in such a startling way...”

--  Martin Denton, NYTheatre.com

  • ABOUT

    ALL HELL IS ABOUT TO BREAK LOOSE.

     

    The year is 1870. The place: Empire, a dreary, dusty company town in the heart of the new Nevada Territory. The business: silver mining, under the control of the Padre, a reformed killer now bringing God’s justice to the denizens of Empire, Nevada – by force, if necessary.

     

    In rides a beautiful and dangerous stranger, known only as Red, a bounty hunter with a twinkle in her eye and larceny in her heart. She brings a lot of bad memories for Lee, the saloon owner and former bounty hunter who taught her everything she knew… then broke her heart. And fast on Red’s trail is Belle, the sultry, deadly madam with the body of an angel and the soul of a killer. Soon, Red’s got a plan to take the Padre for everything he’s got, and it’s up to Lee to keep a lid on the simmering tensions, escalating violence, and mob savagery that is about to rip the town of Empire apart… The nights are cold in the desert, but not as cold as the blood that runs through a killer’s veins… in the Nevada Territory.

     

    Inspired by the works of Sergio Leone, Sergio Corbucci, Clint Eastwood, and others, Nevada Territory is a daring, wildly entertaining Western legend, a violent tale of revenge, murder, and mayhem, a spaghetti western sprung to colorful life. This original work was a prequel to DMT’s smash hit Vegas-styled Antony and Cleopatra (2002 OOBR award winner for Outstanding Production), starring Jessica Wells as Red, as sexy as she is deadly, a merciless gun-for-hire looking for that one last heist that will set her up for life; Bryan Enk as Lee, a man trying to escape a violent past, only to find that the way to salvation runs straight through his darkest impulses; Michele Schlossberg as Belle, a cunning lass with a traveling brothel, an itchy trigger finger, and a lust for vengeance; and Bob Brader as the Padre, a mysterious, troubled sociopath who wears the robes of God, but wallows in the trappings of mortal man.

  • GALLERY

  • PLAYBILL/PROP IMAGES

  • CREDITS

    DANSE MACABRE THEATRICS

    with the association of  HORSE TRADE THEATER GROUP

    present...

    NEVADA TERRITORY

    JESSICA WELLS in the role of “Red” * BRYAN ENK in the role of “Lee”

    MICHELE SCHLOSSBERG in the role of “Belle” * and with the participation of BOB BRADER in the role of “Padre”

    With the appearances of  STEVEN BLOOM   MERCEDES EMELINA   EVA GIL   MATTHEW GRAY

    BRANDON KALBAUGH   C.J. LaROCHE   NICOLE MARSH   EMILY MOSTYN-BROWN

    MICHAEL O’BRIEN   and ADAM SWIDERSKI in the role of “Jud”

    Produced by MICHELE SCHLOSSBERG and FRANK CWIKLIK

    Written, designed and direction by FRANK CWIKLIK

     

    ound recorded and mixed to 32 track digital at Youthquake! Studios, NYC

    Technical consultant Kimo DeSean

     

    Artistic Director, DMTheatrics:  Frank Cwiklik

    Managing Director, DMTheatrics:  Michele Schlossberg

    Artistic Director, Horse Trade Theater Group:  Kimo DeSean

    Managing Director, Horse Trade Theater Group:  Erez Ziv

     

    Publicity provided by Horse Trade Theater Group

     

    For my dad, Donald F. Cwiklik, who would have

    loved every minute of it.

     

The Red Room, February/March 2004

"Cwiklik continues to prove why his singular style marks

him as one of downtown theatre's most consistently

original playwright-directors”

--  Martin Denton, NYTheatre.com

Surf Reality, Feb-May 2001

The Red Room, June/July 2005

“Superbly choreographed, smooth and sexy...

top-notch effects and meticulous direction...

delivers all that is promised!”

--  Fred McKinnon, theatreonline.com

 

  • ABOUT

    It is said, on clear nights, beneath the cold light of the moon, howl the dog and the wolf, and creeping things crawl out of the slime... it is then that the ghouls feast in all their radiance! It is on nights like this most people prefer to steer clear of burial grounds. It is on nights like this that the creatures are said to appear... and walk... and DANCE! MONSTERS TO BE PITIED! MONSTERS TO BE DESPISED! A night with the GHOULS!!   A young couple out for a moonlight drive are held captive by the nefarious rulers of the undead, who demand absolute fealty to their reign of cluelessness! SEE! The slave girl and her torturers! SEE! The Matador's Mistress! SEE! The Wolfman and the Mummy in hilarious comedy routines! (No, really.)  SEE the midnight dance of the undead sexy hordes!

     

    Lower East Side Theater legend Trav S.D. joined forces with DMTheatrics in 2001 to present the continuation of the notorious Masterworks of Edward D. Wood, Jr. festival... ORGY OF THE DEAD! The gripping and baffling non-epic saga of the Emperor and Empress of the Dead came to life on the stage of Surf Reality, home of the turn of the century avant garde burlesque movement, including the legendary Grindhouse-A-Go-Go. Featuring six -- count 'em -- six beautiful babes, bumping and grinding their way through the harrowing stories of lost souls trying to gain their entrance into the underworld by shaking everything they've got for the amusement of the denizens of a very cardboard cemetery, it was a smash cult hit, playing to packed houses for months, and featured a number of future stars of neo-burlesque, including the World Famous Bob, future Miss Coney Island!

     

    In 2005, the dead arose once more, as the show was completely overhauled and overheated for a sparkling new engagement at the Red Room, now updated to a swinging 70s Playboy-meets-Jess Franco setting, with six new dances and an eyepopping visual motif.  The return of DMT director Frank Cwiklik to the NYC stage after a brief hiatus, and the unveiling of a new, tech-and-video driven look and style for his work, this production garnered rave reviews and sellout business.  It was also was the genesis of the soon-to-be-legendary burlesque troupe the Peach Tartes, as the show's ghoulish girlies later christened themselves, who embarked on a world-conquering reign as one of the most popular and successful group acts in neo-burlesque, and another future Miss Coney Island, Rita Menweep (aka Jessica Silver).  Likely the biggest mainstream success in DMT's Ed Wood series, the show is still spoken of in reverent tones, and has inspired and influenced comedy and burlesque shows throughout the NYC area.

     

     

  • GALLERY/CLIP

    "Wolfman and Mummy Show" sequence from 2005 Red Room production

  • PROMO

  • CREDITS

    2001 SURF REALITY PRODUCTION:

    WRITTEN BY EDWARD D. WOOD, JR.

    PRODUCED BY TRAV S.D.

    ADAPTED, DESIGNED AND DIRECTED BY FRANK CWIKLIK

    IN ASSOCIATION WITH MOUNTEBANKS

    Your Cast of Characters in order of their appearance on our stage...

    TRAV S.D. as Himself * CHRISTIAAN KOOP as Linda * MICHAEL LESTER as Bob * IAN W. HILL as the Wolfman

    ADAM SWIDERSKI as the Mummy (understudy: MATTHEW GRAY) * ROBERT PINNOCK as the Emperor of the Dead

    MICHELE SCHLOSSBERG as the Empress of the Dead

    and THE DELICIOUS DAMSELS OF THE DEAD

    featuring... SARAH JANE BUNKER * AMY CAITLIN CARR * MISS LORA MARIE * MICHELLE CARLO * LYNN THE SIN * THE WORLD FAMOUS BOB * MISS KELLY WEBB * SIR REAL

    and EXTRA SPECIAL SURPRISE GUESTS!

     

    2005 RED ROOM PRODUCTION:

    starring

    BRANDON BEILIS * CAROLYN DEMISCH * MATTHEW GRAY * SHOSHANA HOFFERT * MADAME ROSEBUD * SARAH MARCK JOSH MERTZ * SCARLET O’GASM * JESSICA SAVAGE * MICHELE SCHLOSSBERG * JESSICA SILVER

    ADAM SWIDERSKI * GWEN WARKULWIZ

    Adapted from and inspired by the movie by Edward D. Wood, Jnr.

    Produced by FRANK CWIKLIK and MICHELE SCHLOSSBERG

    Adapted, Designed, and Directed by FRANK CWIKLIK

The Red Room, May/June 2008

"A torrent of sensory invention...  The cast is uniformly terrific...  Knock-down, drag-out, tight and versatile...  Cwiklik's fertile imagination is evident from the moment the audience enters."

--  Michael  Criscuolo, NYTheatre.com

The Brick, July 2009

  • ABOUT

    There is a legend spoken of in hushed whispers amongst connoisseurs of mystery, adventure,  romance, and fine living… a legend of an island paradise inhabited solely by a tribe of powerful and beautiful women… Amazons! Deep in the forbidden tropics they reside, their existence a closely guarded secret, their location an inscrutable mystery! It is this legend that spurs an over-the-hill actor-turned-nature-show-host and his beleaguered, put-upon sidekick to their greatest adventure yet! Aided by a sexy young starlet hungry for fame and fortune and a young photographer with a chip on her shoulder and nothing left to lose, their journey begins – only to be cut short by plane trouble and catastrophe! Now, the womanizing Jake Manley is about to learn that you should be careful what you wish for, when he finally encounters… THE WILD, WILD WOMEN OF WAKKY-NUNU!

     

    Following up on the comedy smash successes of 2005’s Orgy of the Dead! and 2006’s The Sinister Urge!, this was writer/director Frank Cwiklik's first original comedy since the acclaimed Sugarbaby! of 2002.   Backstage Pop culture mayhem! Sex, skin, and debauchery! Violence! Grass skirts! Tikis! Really tasteless jokes about sexual anatomy! Hot chicks pummeling dumb guys with blunt instruments! All this and an intermission!  An ambitious, over-stuffed comedy about the war between the sexes and the war against intelligence, and one of the most daft, delirious works we've ever staged.

     

  • GALLERY

  • PROMO/IMAGES

  • CREDITS

    starring

    PATRICK PIZZOLORUSSO * BECKY BYERS * SAMANTHA MASON * KEVIN MYERS * SARAH E. JACOBS

    and DOUGLAS MACKRELL as Hickory “Toot” Sweet

    with JESS BEVERIDGE * SARAH BRODSKY * LEAH DIETRICH * LAURA MUZERALL * CELESTINE RAE * CANDACE YOSHIOKA

    and FRANK CWIKLIK as Jake Manley

    Publicist EMILY OWENS PR

    Choreography SARAH E. JACOBS

    Co-Producer MICHELE SCHLOSSBERG

    Written, Designed, Produced, and Directed by FRANK CWIKLIK

     

  • ABOUT

    Cabaret on steroids, the Badass Record Collection launched with this electric, eclectic tribute to one of the most acclaimed and revered of modern songwriters, the mighty Elvis Costello.  A late-night rockfest launched at the legendary Brick theater in Williamsburg, Taking Liberties was a live event, part concert, part performance, part theater, part cabaret, a fast-moving, energetic revue using Costello's music as a starting point for daring visuals and high-energy performances.  Playing to packed houses, DMT's first live musical in five years successfully bridged the gap between the music in your head and the world of live theater, and earned rave reviews and enthusiastic audience response.

     

    Starting as a live taping of an imaginary Ed Sullivan-style variety show, the slow slowly morphs into a subconscious journey through heartbreak, hope, love, and the little dramas of daily living, all sung and performed by a talented cast of musical theater powerhouses, and framed with DMT's typical radical style and daring verve.  Referencing everything from girl groups to Marlene Dietrich to silent comedy to punk rock to past, present, future, and beyond, Taking Liberties was bold, loud, and bracing.

  • GALLERY

  • PROMO

  • CREDITS

    starring

    CAROLYN DEMISCH * ADAM ENRIGHT * AARON FUKSA * COLLEEN HORAN * ELAINE MORAN * ADAM SWIDERSKI * EVAN TOTH * BRIANNA TYSON

    and THE BADASS STUDIO ORCHESTRA:

    Adam Swiderski, guitar/musical director

    Stacy Rock, keyboards

    Jamie Boyaca, bass

    Sharon Fischman, drums

     

    Inspired by and featuring the music of Elvis Costello

    Musical Director ADAM SWIDERSKI

    Choreographer BECKY BYERS

    Co-Producer MICHELE SCHLOSSBERG

     

    Conceived, Produced, Designed, and Directed by FRANK CWIKLIK

  • ABOUT

    When his beloved rug is micturated upon as a result of comically mistaken identity, layabout ruffian the Knave embarks on a journey of epic proportions, encountering manipulative aristocrats, seductive artists, murderous consorts, and the worst theater troupe in the world, all aided and abetted by his bombastic friend Sir Walter of Poland, against a backdrop of ninepins, taverns, and pipesmoking.

     

    Two Gentlemen of Lebowski is an extraordinary work from filmmaker/playwright Adam Bertocci which reimagines the cult classic motion picture as a Shakespearian farce, creating an amazing new work from the heightened language and surreal comic landscape of its inspirations.  Initially a viral sensation, Bertocci's script has been published around the world and remains a top-selling cult classic, delighting fans of both Shakespeare and movie comedy.  Immaculately crafted and riotously funny, this instant classic was also the inaugural production of DMT’s American Shakespeare Factory, an exciting project intended to present all of the Bard’s works in eclectic and innovative new productions, and to present new works exploring the connection between the great classical texts and the demands of modern theater.  The fastest-selling show in NYC Indie theater history, and the biggest smash in DMT's repertory by far, the show attracted audiences from around the country, and from as far as the UK, Switzerland, Germany, and Australia, and remains a sensation to this day, over five years after its closing date.

     

    Infamous, influential, irreverent, and peculiarly brilliant, nearly banned on its initial run, and likely never to happen again, it was a piece of New York theater history, and one of the best costume parties, Ever.

     

    DIRECTORS' NOTES, 2010:

     

    So, that happened.

     

    Producing and directing this show was like trying to ride a wild beast, and I can't even imagine what Adam was going through fending off lawyers, agents, and Lebowski fanatics. It's also the most extraordinary experience we've ever had -- the love and enthusiasm for this show from all over the world was overwhelming, and we had some of the most giving, excited, and generous audiences I've encountered in my nearly two decades of working in and around show business. I was gratified by how many people got it, how many understood that this was as much a commentary on pop culture, Shakespeare, and performance in general as it was a cult comedy. We took an enormous risk on our interpretation of this beast, and our incredible cast and crew, plus the glorious lunatics at Horse Trade, were totally committed to making that gamble pay off. The response from our audiences, many of whom are still contacting us with warm affection and regards as of this writing, over a month later, proved that we were right to treat this as an event and not as a cheap gimmick.

     

    It was the hardest and most draining show I've ever done, and I can't begin to tell you how proud I am of it, and the cast and crew that pushed themselves, sometimes beyond exhaustion, sometimes to tears, to make sure that this show lived up to expectations. Certain Unnamed Persons are hellbent on ensuring that this show is never seen again, but for those of us who were there, dear God it was something special.

     

    I'm such a sap.

  • PROMO

  • GALLERY

    NOTE:  A particularly rabid Lebowski fan with terrific front row seats was good enough to film the first twenty minutes of the last performance of Two Gentlemen and upload them on the YouTubes.  Due to various ridiculous legal nonsense courtesy of Churlish Persons Who Shall Remain Unnamed, it's not wise for us to embed them here.  It would be a shame if we were to accidentally include a link to them, though.  Like this one.  Whoops. Oh, did it again, sorry.

  • CREDITS

    Kevin Orzechowski...William Shakespeare, tourist

    Josh Mertz...The Knave

    Craig Kelton Peterson and Dan Phai... Blanche and Woo, thugs

    Bob Laine... Sir Walter of Poland, a veteran

    Stewart Urist... Sir Donald, a bowler

    Matt Gray... Mr. Brandt, personal assistant

    Ed Lane... Sir Geoffrey of Lebowski, achiever

    Becky Byers... Lady Bonnie Lebowski, trouble

    Devin Landin... Oliver aka Karl Hungus, nihilist

    Devin Landin... Jack Smoke, pacifist

    Matt Gray... Joshua Quince, pederast

    Craig Kelton Peterson... Liam O’Brien, lackey

    Brianna Tyson... Maude Lebowski, artist and feminist

    Craig Kelton Peterson and Dan Phai... Nihilists, germans

    Shiloh Klein... Player Queen

    Devin Landin... Player Hungus

    Melissa Opie... Player Bonnie

    Kelly McCormack... Player Whore

    Erin Posanti... Mistress Quickly, bowling green and tavern proprietress

    Craig Kelton Peterson... Knox Harrington, odd duck

    Devin Landin... Doctor Butts, no applause please just throw money

    Courtni Wilson and Erin Posanti... Incredibly Serious Performance Artists,

    incredibly serious performance artists (grants pending)

    Shiloh Klein... Pilar, nurse

    Dan Phai... Lawrence, punk

    Matt Gray... Clown, obviously quite upset about the whole thing

    Devin Landin... Jacques Treehorn, actor/manager

    Dan Phai... Brother Seamus, hot on the trail

    Craig Kelton Peterson... Burke O’Hare, Gravedigger

     

    AND INTRODUCING THE MIGHTY MARTY DANCERS:

    Shiloh Klein * Kelly McCormack * Melissa Opie * Erin Posanti * Courtni Wilson

     

    For DMTheatrics:

    Managing Director, Michele Schlossberg

    Artistic Director, Frank Cwiklik

    For Horse Trade Theater Group:

    Managing Director, Erez Ziv

    Horse Trade Technical Director, Elaine Jones

     

    Costume Designer STEPH CATHRO

    Production Technical Director luckydave

    Scenic and Prop Design ELAINE JONES

    Choreographer BECKY BYERS

    Co-Producer MICHELE SCHLOSSBERG

    As writ by ADAM BERTOCCI

    Produced and Directed by FRANK CWIKLIK

     

    Special thanks to Dina Gray and Karen Flood for costume support

     

    This production of The Two Gentlemen of Lebowski is not endorsed by or associated with the Coen Brothers,

    the writers and directors of the film “The Big Leboswki”, or Working Title or Universal Pictures, the producer

    and distributor of the film “The Big Lebowski”.  Any and all stage rights in and to “The Big Lebowski” are

    reserved to the Coen Brothers.

     

"Has to be seen to be believed!... Cwiklik's direction is crisp and clean... an incredible cadre of young and talented performers... FLAWLESS!"

-- Michael Roderick, broadwayworld.com

 

Kraine Theater, March/April 2010

The Kraine Theater, January-February 2011

  • ABOUT

    Flying saucers over London! Flying saucers over Hollywood! Flying saucers over Washington, DC! It's a panic! It's a riot! It's the end of the world! It's PLAN NINE FROM OUTER SPACE!

     

    On a windswept Autumn night, a trio of flying saucers descends on a sleepy suburban outpost of Los Angeles, its nefarious power rays dragging the lifeless husks of the recently dead up from their graves, desecrating their undead bodies by transforming them into shambling zombie thugs ready to do the bidding of their extraterrestrial masters! Only Lt. Matt Carson and his faithful assistant Randy Stone can prevent the armies of the beyond from overtaking Hollywood... and then the world! SEE Zombies on the loose! SEE a beautiful young newlywed wrenched from her inner sanctum by the mouldering arms of evil! SEE fried chicken and Dr. Pepper! SEE bumbling aliens and rockribbed military men! SEE the secret Pentagon base where UFOs are discussed and secretly examined! SEE about one hour and fifty minutes of random crap!

     

    Playing to rollicking, sold-out houses during the Fall 2010 season and straight through to Halloween (nice), DMT finally presented the most beloved and best-known of Wood's clumsy opuses, the movie often called the Worst Ever Made, Plan Nine From Outer Space.  In the tradition of DMT's Sinister Urge! and Orgy of the Dead, Plan Nine was given the full Mel Brooks/Zucker Brothers treatment, with wild  digressions, lunatic set pieces, a zombie dance number, a chorus of Belas, armies attacking flying saucers live on stage, and more more more!  The biggest audience hit of DMT's comedies, receiving rave reviews in the New York Times, NYTheatre, Time Out New York, The Village Voice, and others, it cemented director Frank Cwiklik's reputation as a creator of bugnut crazy pop theater par excellence and remains a cult classic in irs own right.

     

  • GALLERY

  • PROMO/EXTRY SPATIAL SECRET CLIP

    This video was originally created as a thank you to backers of our Indiegogo campaign, which means it was sent to only about a dozen people.  Probably none of whom even watched it.  So, you're probably the first to see this, is what we're saying.  So.  Yeah.

  • CREDITS

    DMTHEATRICS PRESENTS IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE BRICK

    PLAN NINE FROM OUTER SPACE!

    Starring PETER SCHUYLER * STEWART URIST * JERARD-JAMES CRAVEN * ALEXANDRA COHEN-SPIEGLER * CRAIG KELTON PETERSON * ANN BREITBACH * TOM REID * BOB LAINE * KRISTIN WOODBURN * JUSTIN PLOWMAN * BRYAN A. MARSHALL * VICTORIA MILLER * LINDSEY CARTER * ADAM FILES * with CEDRIC JONES as Space Commander Bunny * and featuring MR. DOUGLAS MACKRELL as the Narrator

    Props/special effects/cool stuff ELAINE JONES

    Based on and inspired by the screenplay by EDWARD D. WOOD, JR.

    Produced by FRANK CWIKLIK and MICHELE SCHLOSSBERG

    Adapted, designed, manhandled, and directed by FRANK CWIKLIK

"The best time I've had in the theatre in quite some time... brilliantly designed, riotous... A MASTERPIECE OF FUN!”

-- Andrew Rothkin, NYTheatre.com

 

The Brick, Sept/Oct 2010

  • ABOUT

    The third installment in the BADASS RECORD COLLECTION series, Bible and Wine was an extraordinary blend of music, movement, dance, story, and design, using the music of pop maestro Eric Matthews as inspiration for a meditation on history, faith, lust, and immortality. Loosely inspired by Chaucer's masterwork The Canterbury Tales and the art of the high Middle Ages, Bible and Wine was a daring and unique event which combined director Frank Cwiklik's trademark immersive theater mindscapes with movement, dance, and performance, set to the music of one of the most engaging and exciting recording artists of the past twenty-five years.

     

    As night falls on a museum of Medieval artifacts, the souls and spirits of the ancient past slowly materialize, embarking on a haunting pilgrimage through the tattered remnants and haltingly reassembled fragments of the art and architecture that once surrounded and defined them. As we follow them through the halls of the quiet cloisters, their lives, loves, deaths, dreams, and desires once again become flesh and substance in a compelling and moving journey through time and faith.   This show also served as the world premiere of two new tracks from Eric Matthews, recorded and prepared especially for the project.

  • GALLERY/TRAILER

    Original trailer for BIBLE AND WINE (December 2010)

  • PROMO

  • CREDITS

    starring SAARA FALK * ADAM FILES * AZUMI FUKUMURA * SHILOH KLEIN * ERIK MAGNUS * HEATHER MEAGHER * RAYMOND MILLER * LARA JEAN MUMMERT * KEVIN ORZECHOWSKI * DENISE OZER * MARISSA STANIEC

    Words and music by Eric Matthews

    Scenario by Frank Cwiklik

    Co-produced by Michele Schlossberg

    Costume Fairy/Fabric Warrior:  Jillian Tully

    Sound mixed to 6-channel DMT fancypants surround sound at Youthquake! Studios NYC

    Props and special costumes by Elaine Jones

    Choreographer/Co-Director Shiloh Klein

    Produced, Designed, and Directed by Frank Cwiklik

     

  • ABOUT

    The culmination of DMT's relentless ransacking of the Ed Wood repertory came in the Summer of 2012, when the second of DMTheatrics' festival tributes to Wood, FINAL CURTAIN: THE LAST OF ED WOOD, played as the company's bittersweet swan song to its longtime home, the Red Room.  Consisting of five startlingly different productions of Wood classics and obscurities (see below), this month-long extravaganza was both the most ambitious and most audacious project yet attempted by director Frank Cwiklik, its unique and daunting scope attracting press attention from the New York Times, Time Out New York, and others.  Seemingly the final word on the glory of Ed from his most unlikely postmortem collaborator, this extraordinary festival was among the last of its kind, a heartfelt farewell to a misunderstood artist and a vanishing era.  See our Ed Wood repertory page for individual show listings (Bride of the Monster, Night of the Ghouls, The Violent Years, Hot Ice, and The Sinister Urge!)

  • GALLERY

  • PROMO/TRAILER

    Original trailer for FINAL CURTAIN (May/June 2012)

  • CREDITS

    DMTHEATRICS IN ASSOCIATION WITH HORSE TRADE THEATER GROUP PRESENTS

    FINAL CURTAIN: THE LAST OF ED WOOD

    Production Stylist ANN BREITBACH * Fight Director ADAM SWIDERSKI

    Choreographer SHILOH KLEIN

    Based on works by EDWARD D. WOOD, JR, ALEX GORDON, and A.C. STEPHENS

    Co-Producer MICHELE SCHLOSSBERG

    Produced, Designed, and Directed by FRANK CWIKLIK

    June 20th thru July 1st 2012

    The Red Room, 85 E 4th St, third floor