Bristol Riverside Theatre will kick off its 33rd Season by putting God centerstage in the sinfully funny An Act of God by 13-time Emmy winner David Javerbaum. Seated at the staircase to Heaven, audiences will find national TV, film and comedy star Kim Wayans. The In Living Color alum, and a member of the famous Wayans family, will rule the universe in a new comedy penned by former The Daily Show with Jon Stewart writer Javerbaum. The play, which was a smash hit on Broadway, was based on Javerbaum’s Twitter persona @TheTweetofGod, which now boasts six million followers. An Act of God is directed by BRT Founding Director Susan D. Atkinson. The show will run for 28 performances, from September 17 to October 13, 2019, with the press opening on Thursday, September 19 at 7:30pm. All performances are at Bristol Riverside Theatre in Bucks County, located at 120 Radcliffe Street. Tickets start at $43 and are available online at brtstage.org, at the theatre’s box office, or over the phone at 215-785-0100.
God is back and she has a lot to say – especially when she is played by noted actress, funny woman and writer Kim Wayans. After many millennia, and in just 90 minutes, God (assisted by her devoted angels Gabriel and Michael) will answer some of the deepest questions that have plagued mankind since Creation. The “One” will give the first and last word on everything from monotheism to masturbation.
An Act of God is a mental romp around the Old and New Testaments, with a dissatisfied God who, having grown weary of the original Ten Commandments, has arrived in the theater to offer new version: a fresh set of commandments for a modern world. This sinfully funny comedy delivers a new meaning to the phrase divine intervention!
“I hope audiences see that the self-absorbed, tantrum-prone character introduced was not the true manifestation of God, but rather the collective version of how humans envision God,” said Atkinson. “It has an irreverence, the deity on stage is not the commander of the cosmos per se, but rather the naturally imperfect version of what humankind has tried to make God for eons. I know through the laughter we will see some truths.”
When casting for the greater than life role of God, Atkinson looked far and wide across the country for the “holy” match. Atkinson knew that God was created for a celebrity to fill the greater than life role – and she knew she wanted to have a woman play God. “I thought previous actors did an amazing job playing God. It was obvious to me we wanted a celebrity to play the part. But when I visualized God being played by a woman I was inspired to bring the show to the next level. We didn’t want to recreate what had been done, but instead step out of the box to make something really special. We couldn’t be more thrilled with our choice.”
From the first moment Atkinson saw Wayans on In Living Color, she was taken with the multitalented, strong young woman. “Not only was she a comedienne, she could sing and dance, and yes she was a Fly Girl right along with Jennifer Lopez. Years later, I saw her in a dramatic role, in Pariah and thought it couldn’t be the same person. So when it came to An Act of God I knew what I wanted, but wasn’t sure it existed until I saw my new little niece with a book called, Amy Hodgepodge, a wonderful children’s book about a blended family. It was written by Kim Wayans and her husband and in that moment the solution was crystal clear. I can’t wait to introduce everyone to Kim playing God.”
An Act of God was originally inspired by musings on Javerbaum’s Twitter persona @TheTweetofGod. In 2011, Javerbaum published the book, “The Last Testament: A Memoir By God,” which was billed as God’s celebrity autobiography, written by God as transcribed by Javerbaum. In 2015, the book inspired An Act of God. Charles Isherwood, of The New York Times, called the play “a gut-busting-funny riff on the never-ending folly of mankind’s attempts to fathom God’s wishes through the words of the Bible and use them to their own ends.”
Playwright David Javerbaum is a noted and award-winning writer. He was a staff writer, head writer, and executive producer for The Daily Show Jon Stewart. At The Daily Show, he won 11 of his 13 Emmy Awards. During his time at The Daily Show, he also won a Grammy, three Peabody Awards and Television Critics Association Awards for Best Comedy and Best News Show. He was also one of the three writers of The Daily Show’s textbook parody, America (The Book): A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction and spearheaded the writing of its sequel, Earth (The Book): A Visitor’s Guide to the Human Race. He has been a producer for The Late Late Show with James Corden. He co-created the Netflix Series Disjoined with Chuck Lorre. He was also a consulting producer and one of three writers on Lorre’s show The Kominsky Method on Netflix. He is the author of The Last Testament: A Memoir by God, The Book of Bieb, and the pregnancy parody What to Expect When You’re Expected.
An Act of God runs at Bristol Riverside Theatre from September 17 to October 13, 2019. Bristol Riverside Theatre is located in Bucks County, at 120 Radcliffe Street, Bristol, PA. Tickets start at $43 and are available online at brtstage.org, at the theatre’s box office, or over the phone at 215-785-0100. Subscriptions for the 2019-2020 season are still available.
Following An Act of God, Bristol Riverside Theatre presents one of Broadway’s most compelling hit musicals, Next to Normal running October 29-November 24, 2019 with music by Tom Kitt and book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey. Winner of three Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize, this heartbreaking, humorous and unflinching musical takes an authentic look at a seemingly normal modern family struggling with the effects of bipolar disorder.
In 2020, Bristol Riverside Theatre welcomes New York City’s acclaimed Bedlam Theatre to the BRT stage January 28-February 16, 2020 with King Lear by William Shakespeare. Led by director Eric Tucker, Bedlam brings a fresh interpretation to one of the greatest tragedies ever written.
In March, BRT brings to life the Kander and Ebb smash hit Cabaret running March 10 – April 12, 2020. With a book by Joe Masteroff, this musical set in a nightclub with World War II knocking on its door is directed by Keith Baker and features many Broadway standards including “Willkommen”, “Maybe This Time” and “Cabaret”.
The season concludes with A Leg Up by Bucks County’s own Ken Kaissar, running May 12 – May 31, 2020. Charles’ family money is gone, and his rich wife wants a divorce. His future rests on the new XR-3000, an intelligent prosthetic leg designed for a US Senator. Unfortunately, the malfunctioning leg is randomly kicking people, Charles’ Ukrainian maid is threatening to quit, his bisexual mistress announces she’s pregnant, his transgender business partner is lonely, the Senator is having an affair with the gay robotic engineer, and it’s not even lunchtime yet. The world-premiere farce will be directed by Amy Kaissar.
Bristol Riverside Theatre continues to enhance the theater-going experience with pre- and post- performance programs during the run of each production, including: Post-Show Discussions (first Tuesday and Wednesday of each run); Opening Night (first Thursday of each run) featuring a post-performance reception; Friday Festival (first Friday of each run) featuring beer and appetizers; Wine-Down Wednesday (second Wednesday evening of each run) featuring pre-show crudité, desserts, and wine, and Thirsty Thursday (third Thursday of each run) featuring unique beer selections from local breweries.
Susan D. Atkinson (Director) Susan’s theatrical career spans 40 years of directing and producing on both the east and west coasts. She has directed well over 150 plays and musicals in her career, including world and area premieres from such playwrights and composers as Doug Katsoras, Mark St. Germain, Jon Marans, Alan Knee and Larry Gatlin. For BRT, Ms. Atkinson has directed such shows as The Good Earth, Wintertime, Irma La Douce, Alive and Well, The Price, 110 in the Shade, A Sunbeam, Inspecting Carol, A Moon for the Misbegotten, Arsenic and Old Lace, A Little Night Music, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, Holiday, Talley’s Folly, Proof, Little Women, A Raw Space, Steel Magnolias, What A Glorious Feeling, Inherit The Wind, Tuesdays With Morrie, Little Shop of Horrors, Always…Patsy Cline, An Enemy of the People, Bus Stop, Mountain: The Journey of Justice Douglas, A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline, Witness for the Prosecution, Quartet, Time Stands Still and last season’s On Golden Pond. In 1998, Ms. Atkinson directed Larry Gatlin’s Texas Flyer both here at BRT and at Theatre Under The Stars in Houston, Texas.
ABOUT BRISTOL RIVERSIDE THEATRE
Since 1986, BRT has continued to bring critically acclaimed professional theatre to Bucks County. The theatre is the recipient of over 71 Barrymore Award nominations for Excellence in Theatre, given annually by Theatre Philadelphia. Under the direction of Artistic Director Keith Baker, Founding Director Susan D. Atkinson, and General Manager David J. Abers, the theatre serves as a cultural hub for the community. In addition to its Mainstage productions, BRT offers four concerts, including the holiday tradition An American Christmas Songbook, the new play development series America Rising, and the summer theater arts camp ArtRageous. For information, visit www.brtstage.org.