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‘Provocative’ puppetry on stage in ‘Hand to God’ at WCSU

image of poster for 'Hand to God'

image of poster for 'Hand to God'DANBURY, Conn. — The Western Connecticut State University Department of Theatre Arts will present Robert Askins’ “Hand to God” from Feb. 28 through March 8, 2020, in the Studio Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the university’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury. A preview performance will be at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 27 (high school night). Public showings will be at 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 28; Saturday, Feb. 29; Friday, March 6; and Saturday, March 7; with 2 p.m. matinees on Saturday, Feb. 29; Sunday, March 1; Saturday, March 7; and Sunday, March 8.

According to WCSU Professor of Theatre Arts Sal Trapani, the show’s director, ‘“Hand to God’ is a terrifyingly funny and provocative play that is not for the faint of heart. This dark comedy forces us to confront our religious and spiritual beliefs in a uniquely hilarious way. It was a big hit on Broadway and I know audiences will enjoy the creative genius on display by our wonderful company of actors, designers and technicians.”

“Hand to God” premiered off Broadway in 2011. It appeared again in 2012 and 2014, and won the Off Broadway Alliance Award for Best New Play in 2014. The same year, Steven Boyer received a Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play. It opened on Broadway at the Booth Theatre in 2015 and was nominated for five Tony Awards, including Best Play, Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play, Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play, Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play and Best Direction of a Play.

The WCSU cast includes Zach Brown, of Griswold, as Timmy; Jordan Cowan, of Sherman, and Jamie Leo, of Southbury, as Jessica; Tyler Gallaher, of Wappingers Falls, New York, as Pastor Greg; Kelsey Lepesko, of Stratford, and Chelsea Weaver, of Tolland, as Margery; and Will Stewich, of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, as Jason.

The crew includes Director Trapani; Scenic, Costume and Puppet Designer Elizabeth Popiel; Associate Puppet Designer Emily Pelella; Lighting Designer Scott Cally; Sound Designer Silvio Sweet; Technical Director JP Misciagna; Technical Coordinator Kori Hansen; Costume Shop Supervisor Christina Beam; Production Manager Frank Herbert; Producer Pamela McDaniel; and Production Stage Manager Abigail Murray.

Also on the crew are Assistant Stage Managers Tyler Dolak-Wilson and Crystal Hilton, Assistant Director Katie Girardot, Dramaturg Sydney Maher, Props Master Lane Shoemaker, master Carpenter Hunter Wells, Assistant Lighting Designer/SFX Dominick Walsh, Master Electrician Jacob Kelsey, Scenic Charges Ashley Raymond and Christina Vlamis, Assistant to the Set Designer Michael Pertoso and Assistant Costume Designer Colleen Callahan, with Hair and Makeup/SFX by Colleen Callahan and Julia Bussel.

The production contains profanity, with language and themes suitable for mature teens or older. Seating is limited and the best way to guarantee a seat is to purchase tickets in advance. For tickets, visit Tickets, if any remain at the door, can be purchased by cash or check only.

For more information, call the Box Office at (203) 837-8732.



Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.