Medicine Show Theatre Ensemble

Todays Date: 06/27/22
Last Update: 09/23/12 02:40:05 AM
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Is a Company of professional theatre artists dedicated to offering creative alternatives to conventional theatre by creating and presenting works that experiment with languge, music, movement, form and ideas, and meld the strengths of theatrical tradition with innovation. We offer provocative theater for professional theatergoers!

The works are chosen to delight the mind, honor creativity, confound empty convention, encourage active compassion and present the many facets of the American experience within a global community. We are committed to the belief in theater as an art form that inspires, challenges, questions and entertains. This commitment is reflected in our choice of repertory and the multi-ethnic composition of the Emsemble.

Schedule of Upcoming Productions

No New Productions Scheduled

Production History

Bruce Morris & Medicine Show  | Open: 02/02/05 Close: 02/23/05
Almost 20 years after working together on Kenneth Koch's "Popeye Among the
Polar Bears," Medicine Show and Butch Morris re-unite to will present a
series of performances in which Morris will conduct Medicine Show actors as they interpret texts as a group.
Don Juan In Hell  | Open: 02/02/06 Close: 02/26/06
Written in 1901 and set in Shaw's idea of Hell (a virtual paradise), "DON JUAN IN HELL" features a most unusual Devil who engages the unregenerate Don Juan in a brilliant debate over which power governs the Earth: Life or Death. Joining them in the argument are Dona Ana, a recently deceased former flame of the Don's who's fiercely proud of her beauty and position, and her father the Commander, slain by Don Juan years ago and a recent escapee from dullness of Heaven. This oddly matched quartet pursues a deadly accurate--and very funny--war of wits that addresses life and death, war and peace, love and marriage, and the Meaning Of It All.

The play, which uses characters from Mozart's opera "Don Giovanni," is rarely seen as a fully-staged production as it will be at the Medicine Show. The company originally presented "DON JUAN IN HELL" in New York and on tour in 1977.

Fifty Million Frenchmen  | Open: 10/24/12 Close: 11/18/12
Medicine Show artistic director Obie-award winner Barbara Vann will appear in and directs the production. Other cast members are Jarrod Bates, Cari Bell, Robert Bellsey, Mark J. Dempsey, Beth Griffith, Richard Gross, Michael Levi Harris, Renee Hermiz, Maria Hoffmann, Evan Kaplan, Richard Keyser, Gulshan Mia, Marvin Riggins, Becca Shimkin. Andrew Sotomayor is musical director, conducting a live band including Jake Lloyd on keyboards.


This was Cole Porter's first successful full-length score. It includes hits like You Do Something to MeYou've Got That Thing and Find Me a Primitive Man. The show originally opened at the Lyric Theatre on Broadway in November 1929, just one month after the stock market crash, and was designed to be enormous fun. At the time, fellow great song writer Irving Berlin called it, "The best musical comedy I've seen in years." Medicine Show staged a version back in 1983, which reviewers said was "highly effective" filled with "antic cheerfulness" and "knocking over wisecracks." The title is a reference to a hit, not by Cole Porter, called Fifty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong. The plot revolves around the tale of an ex-pat American millionaire in Paris who, on a bet, must woo a young woman he adores while pretending to be penniless.


Medicine Show's most recent Cole Porter musical, last season's Paris, garnered rave reviews. The Travalanche website called it "funny and farcical" and Talent in Motion magazine said, "We loved the show."

Finnegans Wake  | Open: 04/01/05 Close: 04/30/05
Set in a Dublin pub, "FINNEGANS WAKE" is a boisterous, mind-bending theatrical experience that traces one night in the life of Finnegan, who dreams of primal guilt and is whirled into a comic nightmare as family history and world history become one and the same. The entire Finnegan clan (along with various denizens of the pub) live, fight, drink, dream, assume the roles of mythic & historical figures, and hope that their lives will eventually lead to some kind of spiritual rebirth. Their stories are brought to life by an inventive cast of 10, who act, chant, sing, dance, stomp and howl the piece. With its juxtapositions of the elevated and the vulgar, "there's lots of fun at Finnegans Wake."
Fire Exit  | Open: 04/27/06 Close: 05/27/06
Not seen since its original production in 1952, "FIRE EXIT" modernizes the timeless myth of Eurydice and Orpheus by resetting it in the early 1950s. Eurydice is a beautiful and innocent young orphan who's been raised by a cadre of warm-hearted circus folk, all of whom are anxious for her to "learn an act" now that she's coming of age. But Eurydice yearns for much more in life than just the circus. Her prayers are seemingly answered when she meets Orpheus, a talented young musician, and falls deeply in love with him. He goes on to become a major star of the classical music world and the two are wed. But the career-oriented and egotistical Orpheus has little interest in his new wife, and Eurydice starts to realize that her life isn't the fairy tale that she had hoped for.
Nize Baby  | Open: 06/04/10 Close: 06/26/10
NIZE BABY is a comic celebration of the brilliantly mangled English of immigrants in the Bronx in the 1920's.  At the time, the New Republic said that Milt Gross' accents were "all the more hilarious for being phonetically accurate."  Michael Chabon calls Gross "a lost wonder of the American literary funhouse."  Gross was extraordinarily popular in his day, and enthusiastically engaged the conventions of low genres like slapstick comedy, vaudeville, comic strips and silent comedies, which perhaps accounts for his slipping from the critical view; his work was, at times, as insanely inventive as James Joyce, as outrageous as Ionesco, but also resolutely populist.

Milt Gross, an extraordinarily popular humorist of the early 20th century, is now experiencing a revival as a profound influence on everything from Art Speigelman to Philip Roth to television comedy.  NIZE BABY was almost turned into a big budget movie in 1927, but Gross' anarchic surrealism resisted interpretation... until now.


The Republic of Poetry  | Open: 06/09/05 Close: 06/26/05
"THE REPUBLIC OF POETRY" comprises the work of 11 poets, each of whom has written a short verse play especially for this project ranging from 2 to 20 minutes in length.

Some of the highlights:

Filip Marinovich's "Salient Mourners," in which the Army presents its official policy on fallen soldiers in Iraq with doublespeak and euphemism

Denise Duhamel's "Pituitary Theft," which is composed entirely of fake English subtitles from Hong Kong movies

Harry Matthews' "Trial Impressions," a suite on the changeability of love.

The poets who've contributed to the evening include Martin Espada, who has been called "the Latino poet of his generation" and whose latest collection of poetry received the Paterson Award for Sustained Literary Achievement and was named an American Library Association Notable Book of the year. His poems have appeared in the New York Times Book Review, Harper's, The Nation, and The Best American Poetry; Arnold Weinstein, librettist for the opera "A View From The Bridge" and lyricist for William Bolcom's "Casino Paradise"; Harry Matthews, whose latest novel "The Journalist" was acclaimed by the New York Times and Time Out; as well as Bayard, Denise Duhamel, Vincent Katz, Roy Lisker, Filip Marinovich, Simon Pettet, Miriam Sagan and Bruce Weber.