Penguin Rep Theatre Presents New York Premiere of “Sex and Education”

“Sex and Education”
By Lissa Levin, Directed by Joe Brancato, Starring Lizbeth Mackay
Beginning Friday, June 27, in Stony Point, NY

HighRes_9177June 11, 2014 — Stony Point, NYPenguin Rep Theatre presents the New York premiere of Sex and Education, a comedy by Lissa Levin, directed by Joe Brancato, and starring award-winning actress Lizbeth Mackay, from June 27 through July 20 in Stony Point, New York.

“In this hilarious homage to educators everywhere, we meet Joe Marks, a basketball star whose college scholarship is suddenly in jeopardy when his poorly-written, profanity-laced note to his girlfriend is intercepted during a final exam”, says Mr. Brancato. “We also meet Miss Edwards, his high school teacher on her last day of teaching, who decides to teach Joe a lesson – on life, love, and the power of words.”

Sex and Education, which features explicit language, “is for mature adults who don’t shock easily and for every high school and college kid who probably won’t be shocked in the least!

The cast of Sex and Education includes Lizbeth Mackay, who has starred on Broadway in The Price, All My Sons, Picnic, The Heiress, Doubt, Abe Lincoln in Illinois, Death and the Maiden, and Beth Henley’s Crimes of the Heart, for which she won Theatre World, Outer Circle Critics and Hollywood Drama-Logue Awards. She recently appeared in Bruce Norris’s Domesticated at Lincoln Center Theatre, and played Delia in the George Street Playhouse, Williamstown Theatre Festival and Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre productions of Lewis Black’s One Slight Hitch.

Ms. Mackay is joined by Bridget Gabbe and Logan Sutherland.

Playwright Lissa Levin is also a librettist/lyricist and twenty-five year veteran of television as a writer/producer. She won the prestigious Kleban Award for her libretto for Twist of Fate, her musical with Ron Abel, composer, which also won L.A. Weekly’s Musical of the Year, two L.A. Drama Critics Circle Awards, and was nominated for an Ovation Award for Best Musical.

Ms. Levin’s television credits as a writer and/or producer, include the Emmy Award-winning Mad About You and Cheers; WKRP in Cincinnati, Family Ties, the Showtime series Brothers (which garnered her a cable ACE Award nomination), Complete Savages, the UPN drama, Live Shot, Thunder Alley (with Ed Asner), Mr. Belvedere, A Different World, and the All in the Family spin-off Gloria (with Sally Struthers), among many others.

Ms. Levin is currently writing the book for the Broadway-bound musical Hazel, based on the iconic cartoon and TV character, with composer Ron Abel and lyricist Chuck Stephen.

Sex and Education was previously presented at the Kennedy Center Page-to-Stage Festival, the D.C. Capital Theatre Festival, the Victory Theatre in Los Angeles, and Burbank, California’s The Colony Theatre.

Director Joe Brancato’s Off Broadway credits include The Devil’s Music: The Life & Blues of Bessie Smith (Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, Off Bway Alliance & Audelco Award nominee), which he also staged at the Montreal Jazz Festival, Cleveland Play House and Hartford Stage; Tom Dudzick’s Miracle on South Division Street (St. Luke’s Theatre); Fall to Earth and Freed (Audelco Award nominee) at 59E59; Tryst (Outer Critics nomination for Best Play) at the Promenade Theatre and Irish Repertory Theatre; Cobb (Drama Desk winner) produced by Kevin Spacey in NYC and LA; From Door To Door at the Westside Theatre; and One Shot, One Kill at Primary Stages.

As founding artistic director of Penguin Rep he has directed 150 productions including premieres by Arthur Laurents, Lanie Robertson, William Mastrosimone, James Sherman, Steven Dietz, Richard Vetere, Allan Knee and Tom Dudzick.

The production team for Sex and Education includes designers Patrick Rizzotti (set), Marianne Custer (costumes), Todd Wren (lights), and Emily Auciello (sound); choreographer Lorna Ventura; properties/technical director Kyle Bridwell; and production stage manager Michael Palmer.

Performance days and times for Sex and Education are: Thursday evenings at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00 p.m., with matinees on Saturdays at 4:00 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. A special reduced-priced weekday matinee performance is slated for Friday, June 27, at 2:00 p.m.

Performances are scheduled at Penguin Rep Theatre’s intimate, 108-seat theatre located at 7 Crickettown Road. The facility, a converted 1880s hay barn which was upgraded in 1986 and 2007, features air conditioning, wheelchair accessible rest rooms and entrance, upholstered theatre seats, and plenty of free parking.

Following Sex and Education in Penguin Rep’s 2014 season is The Fabulous Lipitones, a comedy by John Markus (head writer for The Cosby Show) and Mark St. Germain (Freud’s Last Session, Becoming Dr. Ruth), in its New York premiere (August 8 – August 31).

When a barbershop quartet tries to bounce back after the loss of one of its prized voices, it is forced to recruit a replacement whose music and culture couldn’t be more different from theirs. “This leads to a very funny story – complete with songs — about what it takes to create real harmony,” says Mr. Brancato, “and will leave you singing, smiling, and thinking about how to embrace our differences.”

Closing the season will be the New York premiere of Playing the Assassin, described by Mr. Brancato, who will stage it, as “an explosive look at hero worship and sports violence, inspired by a true story. Football heroes seem to be the ‘gladiators’ of our time, and this story about a compelling meeting between a passionate young TV interviewer and one-time NFL star Frank Baker, who decades before had been dubbed ‘The Assassin’ for his brutal tackles, is as timely as today’s headlines”.

Playing the Assassin will be presented September 19 through October 12.

Subscriptions are on sale now and start as low as $80 for the three plays.

Individual tickets to Sex and Education are priced at $40 each (plus a $1 per ticket service charge). An early ordering discount ($32) is available if tickets are purchased prior to June 29. Discounts are also available for groups of 10 or more and young people (30 and under).

To order tickets or for further information, visit Penguin Rep’s website at or call 845-786-2873.

Under the dynamic leadership of Mr. Brancato and Mr. Horn, Penguin Rep Theatre has grown in 36 years from a summer theatre in a converted 1880’s hay barn to become one of the Hudson Valley’s most influential nonprofit cultural institutions.

Founded in 1977 by Mr. Brancato and trustee Francine Newman-McCarthy, Penguin now reaches tens of thousands of theatergoers, students, and artists each year at its home theatre in Stony Point, in New York City and beyond – with plays and productions premiered by Penguin moving to Off Broadway and to stages across the country and around the world.

Hailed by The New York Times as “the gutsiest little theatre” and by The Journal News for its “wondrous productions”, Penguin Rep is Rockland’s only professional theatre employing members of Actors’ Equity Association.

Penguin Rep Theatre’s 2014 season is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Penguin Rep also gratefully acknowledges the support of Rockland County and the Town of Stony Point, as well as the Shubert Foundation, the Cory and Bob Donnalley Charitable Foundation, and the Richtenthal Foundation.

2014 Mainstage Productions

Sex and Education

A comedy by Lissa Levin
Directed by Joe Brancato

June 27 – July 20, 2014

Meet Joe Marks, a basketball star whose college scholarship is suddenly in jeopardy when his poorly-written, profanity-laced note to his girlfriend is intercepted during a final exam. Meet Miss Edwards, his high school English teacher on her last day of teaching. In this hilarious homage to educators everywhere, Miss Edwards uses the note to teach Joe a lesson – on life, love, and the power of words. Warning: Explicit language and excessive hilarity. New York premiere.


The Fabulous Lipitones

A comedy by John Markus & Mark St. Germain                                                                                                                                                        Directed by Peter Flynn

August 8 – August 31, 2014

When one of its founding members dies just before a competition, an a cappella singing group together since high school reluctantly recruits a replacement whose music and culture couldn’t be more different from theirs. This leads to a very funny story about what it takes to create real harmony. By John Markus, head writer for The Cosby Show, and Mark St. Germain, author of Freud’s Last Session and Becoming Dr. Ruth. New York premiere.

Playing the Assassin

A drama by David Robson
Directed by Joe Brancato

September 19 – October 12, 2014

Inspired by a true story, this is an explosive look at hero worship and sports violence. Decades ago, NFL star Frank Baker was dubbed “The Assassin” for his brutal tackles. Now, down on his luck, he’s offered the chance of a lifetime – a live TV interview before the Super Bowl. But just when he thinks his luck has changed, Frank — and his passionate young interviewer — are both forced to face truths they had long avoided. New York premiere.

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