The following is a republished press release from the Kitchen Theatre and NOT written by the Ithaca Voice … click here to submit community announcements directly to The Voice, or contact me at msmith@ithacavoice.com.

ITHACA, NY: Kitchen Theatre Company opens its 26th Main Stage Season with the regional premiere of Robert Askins’ delightfully shocking Hand to God, directed by Rachel Lampert, September 4 – September 25.

Previews began Sunday September 4 with Opening Night on Thursday September 8.

Nominated for 5 Tony Awards, Hand To God is irreverent, hilarious and profoundly truthful about the human condition and its relationship to death, religion, sexuality, and family dynamics. Kitchen Theatre Company’s cast includes Karl Gregory* (Jason/Tyrone), Erica Steinhagen* (Margery), Aundre Seals (Pastor Greg), Montana Lampert Hoover* (Jessica), Michael Patrick Trimm (Timothy) – and some very rude puppets. (*Member, Actors’ Equity Association)

Pastor Greg has given Margery the job of running the church puppet club. Still reeling from the death of her husband and the emotional retreat of her teenage son Jason, Margery can hardly keep her own life in order, much less wrangle a group of ornery adolescents running on hormones and with no real interest in puppets.

When Jason’s puppet seems to be possessed by the devil, all hell breaks loose. Will the demonic puppet Tyrone get his way? Will Cypress, Texas ever return to normal? Hand to God outrageously and uniquely tackles life’s biggest questions with wild abandon, unleashing the dark side and revealing our humanity.

“It’s a risky and magnificent play!” says artistic director, Rachel Lampert. “With this topnotch cast and creative team, we’re all planning a no-holds-barred, side-splitting, uproarious evening with magic, bad behavior and outlandish situations making it all the merrier.”

(Karl Gregory and Erica Steinhagen in Hand to God by Robert Askins. Photo: Dave Burbank.)

The creative team includes Erik Herskowitz (lighting design), Kent Goetz (scenic design), Scott Hitz (director of puppetry), Lisa Boquist (costume design), Lesley Greene (sound design), and Katherine McGeorge (puppet builder). Jen Schilansky is production stage manager.

In conjunction with the Ithaca premiere of Hand to God, Kitchen Theatre Company will present a number of ancillary events. Post-show talkbacks are scheduled for two Fridays: September 9 & 16 (facilitated by Lee Rayburn of WHCU). September 16 performance is Under-40 Night and includes a free wine tasting. On Wednesday, September 21 at 6:30 PM, there will be a free reception and talk by Puppet Director Scott Hitz on “Puppet Hitztory.” Please check our website for more events:www.kitchentheatre.org.

Kitchen Theatre Company’s production of Hand to God is Underwritten by Travis Hyde Properties and sponsored by Elissa Cogan and Barry Chester. The Media Sponsor is Cayuga Radio Group. Pre-Show receptions before every performance are sponsored by Agava Restaurant, which is also providing delicious food for the Opening Night reception on September 8.

Tickets are available by calling (607) 272-0570 or on line at www.kitchentheatre.org. Season subscriptions are available over the phone at (607) 272-0570, or in person at the Kitchen offices (409 W. State St.) Monday-Friday, 10:00 AM-6:00 PM and at the theater (417 W. State St.) Saturday-Sunday, 12:00-4:00 PM. Hand to God contains adult language and situations and is recommended for ages 16+.

(Featured photo: The cast of Hand to God. From left, Montana Lampert Hoover, Karl Gregory, Erica Steinhagen, Aundre Seals, Michael Patrick Trimm. Photo: Dave Burbank.)

(Karl Gregory and Montana Lampert Hoover in Hand to God by Robert Askins. Photo: Dave Burbank.)

Michael Smith

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at msmith@ithacavoice.com, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.