High Critical Praise for Robert Cucuzza’s Cattywampus in NYC

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CalArts faculty member Robert Cucuzza’s (Theater MFA 11) play, Cattywampus, was showcased at REDCAT’s Now Fest last September, and made its way to NYC this month (Jan. 4-21) to the Incubator Arts Project in Manhattan. The production, which Cuccuzza directed, featured actors Jillian Lauren, D.J. Mendel and Jenny Greer (Theater MFA 11). The play received positive reviews from The New York TimesBackstage, newyorktheatre.com and Time Out, New York.

A short synopsis of from the Backstage review:

A disturbingly dirty redrafting of the 1888 August Strindberg tragedy Miss Julie, Cattywampus is an unsettling yet riveting look at the combustive power of sexual heat fueled by social-class differences and psychological instability.

Greer, who the New York Times said, “[performed] with amusing, surly truculence,” played the part of Chrissie, the meek, working-class underdog, in both the LA and New York productions. “I was grateful for the chance to perform in the production again in New York for a longer run,” she said. “Between REDCAT and New York, [Cucuzza] rewrote parts of the script, which really strengthened the play.”

Backstage also noted the play’s music, which was performed by two CalArtians:

Aiding immeasurably in conveying the play’s dramatic essence is the eerie, often foreboding country-rock music that plays almost like underscoring throughout much of the 70-minute show. Composed for electric guitar and synthesizer by Juli Crockett with Michael Feldman and played live by Jacob Loeb and Mike Iveson under the musical direction of Loeb, the atmospheric score is terrifically chilling, particularly during the play’s key offstage sex scene, when an exciting musical passage assumes the storytelling responsibilities.

West Coast theater fans will have another chance to see the production when Cucuzza’s production company Transit Authority remounts the play June 22-24 at South Coast Rep in their Studio SCR series in Costa Mesa, Calif.

For more about the production from Cucuzza, read the The LA Stage Times article from last fall.

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