Genre: Comedy
Written by award-winning playwright and Opera critic Joanne Sydney Lessner. Directed by Donald Brenner

Heiress Productions is pleased to present the world premiere of CRITICAL MASS, by Joanne Sydney Lessner, directed by Donald Brenner (December Fools, A Tale of Two Cities). CRITICAL MASS will play a 3-week limited engagement at The Lion @ Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street). Performances begin Friday, October 22nd through Sunday, November 7th. Proceeds from CRITICAL MASS will benefit The Lustgarten Foundation, dedicated to funding pancreatic cancer research.

Press are cordially invited Friday, October 22nd  at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday, October 23rd at 8:00 pm & Sunday, October 24th  at 3:00 p.m.
(Unofficial press dates will be accommodated, upon request.)

In Joanne Sydney Lessner’s new hilarious revenge comedy, a pair of married opera critics are forced to reexamine their priorities when the tenor whose career they ruined moves in with them.

Carrie Greenlea is an opera critic who enjoys skewering singers for everything from bad high notes to bad nose jobs. Her husband and fellow critic, Norman, prefers to equivocate rather than hurt anyone’s feelings. When Stefano Donato, a mediocre Italian tenor whose career they have jointly ruined, moves in with them, he proceeds to exact revenge. Events reach critical mass when their household is further invaded by their Bette Davis-impersonating editor; a marginally talented, but resourceful soprano; and Stefano’s desperate wife. For Critical Mass, playwright Joanne Sydney Lessner drew on her own experience reviewing recordings and performances for Opera News over the past decade.

“Writing Critical Mass was my way of working through what I consider to be a solemn responsibility,” says Lessner. “To find the comedy, I took one of my fears as a critic – finding myself face to face with someone whose performance I didn’t like – and drew it out to the extreme. There are
moments when the play borders on farce, and there’s a fair helping of operatic excess, but it does explore, quite seriously, the nature and purpose of arts criticism. I think critics can lose sight of the fact that they have the power not just to derail a single career, but also to squelch a vulnerable art form. But because I’m still also an active performer, I can appreciate both sides of the equation.”

Featuring Aaron Davis*, Laura Faith, Marc Geller*, Zac Hoogendyk*, Shorey Walker*, and Leigh Williams*.

Mary Willis White and Laura Faith are the producing directors. Set design by Chris Minard, costume design by Ashley Rose Horton, lighting design by Melissa Mizell, and sound design by Hidenori Nakajo. The production stage manager is Taylor Crampton.

CRITICAL MASS plays the following schedule through Sunday, November 7th:

Wednesdays through Fridays at 8pm
Saturdays at 2pm & 8pm (there will be no Saturday matinee on 10/23)
Sundays at 3pm

Tickets are $18 and are now available online at or by calling 212-239-6200. Tickets may also be purchased in-person at the Theatre Row Box Office, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

Running time: 2 hours including one intermission

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*Appearing Courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association.
Equity Approved Showcase.

Open:   10/22/10
Close:   11/07/10

Wednesdays through Fridays at 8pm
Saturdays at 2pm & 8pm (there will be no Saturday matinee on 10/23)
Sundays at 3pm
Theater:   Lion Theatre @ Theatre Row
Address:   410 West 42nd Street
New York, NY
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Buy Tickets Online or Call: Telecharge at 212-239-6200
Company: Heiress Productions         Official Web Site: