Carnegie Mellon University
July 29, 2013

Press Release: Carnegie Mellon School of Drama Sends Team of 20 to NYC Fringe Festival

Contact: Pam Wigley / 412-268-1047 /

Drama Group at FringePITTSBURGH—Current students and alumni from Carnegie Mellon University's School of Drama will join forces to present "Gertrude Stein SAINTS!" at the 17th Annual New York International Fringe Festival (FringeNYC), Aug. 9 - 25, in New York City. FringeNYC is the largest multi-arts festival in North America, with more than 200 companies from around the world performing more than 1,200 shows in 16 days at more than 20 venues.

When Stein's work debuted in 1934, it revolutionized how the world viewed opera. This presentation builds on the original production of "Four Saints in Three Acts" that CMU presented in spring 2013, which emphasized language and rhythm, plus the fusion of hip-hop, rap, spoken word and gospel music. The updated "SAINTS!" features an original score developed by 15 of the CMU troupe members and adds a sermon, a New Orleans parade, bluegrass and jazz, among other musical genres.

"The response to the original production here at CMU was overwhelmingly positive and became an invitation for more," said director Michelle Sutherland, a John Wells Directing Fellow at the School of Drama. "We have since added an all-female 'Saints and Singing,' featuring an original musical score inspired by American music created by insanely talented performers. The two works are combined to create 'Gertrude Stein SAINTS!' - a powerhouse that explores gender, a theatre that replaces conflict with joy, and America."

Taylor Harrison Speegle, a 2013 graduate of the School of Drama, is one of the show's producers and also serves as project manager of the school's upcoming Centennial Celebration in 2014. He said the group is thrilled to be performing at La MaMa "because of its reputation as a launching ground for innovative theater work." Ellen Stewart founded La MaMa in 1961 in a tiny basement on Manhattan's Lower East Side. Today, La MaMa is a world-renowned cultural institution recognized as the seedbed of new work by artists of all nations and cultures.

In addition to Sutherland and Speegle, the CMU students and alumni participating in "SAINTS!" feature Chante Adams, Daniel Bellomy, Deneé Benton, Veladya Chapman, Molly Griggs, Amanda Leigh Jerry, Johari Mackey, Mitch Marois, Jimmy Nicholas, Jordan Phillips, Carter Redwood, Cara Ronzetti, Kelsey Tarantino, Joe Ventricelli and Jacob Vine.

Assistant directors are Lauren Adleman (New York University) and Jordan Harrison. The dramaturgist is Emma McFarland, costumes are by Erik Larson and scenes are by Grace Min. Media/Producer is Jordan Harrison and Stage Manager is Rachel Piero.

Dates and times for the production are listed below. Tickets are available at or by phone with credit card from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily at 866-468-7619.

Performance details:
"Gertrude Stein SAINTS!" will be presented during FringeNYC from Aug. 9 - 14 at The Ellen Stewart Theatre @ La MaMa at the following times:

  • Friday, Aug. 9: 10:15 p.m.
  • Saturday, Aug. 10:  4:45 p.m.
  • Monday, Aug. 12:  7:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Aug. 13:  7:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 14:  4:45 p.m.


Pictured above are (back to front) Daniel Bellomy, Jacob Vine, Jordan Phillips, Mitch Marois, Jimmy Nicholas, Joe Ventricelli and Carter Redwood.