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Time Out New York Review


Theater review:

The Secret Lives of Edward Gorey

will surely draw you in

By David Cote

link to Time Out New York review

The men onstage know each other intimately but maintain a respectful, almost shy distance. They range from college-aged to senior citizenry. Yet as they trade observations on childhood, first loves and the pains of growing old, little gestures of affection emerge: a reassuring pat on the shoulder, a hand resting innocently on a knee during a juicy bit of gossip. They might be chatty relatives or an odd trio of roommates. In fact, they are phases of Edward Gorey (1925–2000), the genius illustrator and writer who produced nearly a hundred books over 47 years. Each was meticulously drawn in his signature style of dense cross-hatching, depicting Edwardian gentlemen and neurasthenic feather boa’ed society ladies, plus the occasional menacing urn, smug cat or creeping creature. If, in this fictional portrayal, the man who created that tremulous, midnight realm keeps his own self at arm’s length, it makes sense. “Why be one person when you can be…hundreds?” Gorey 1 (Andrew Dawson) queries. Like Whitman, the camp-gothic bard contained multitudes—and was perfectly happy to be lost in the crowd.

Travis Russ’s lovingly crafted 75-minute play is less concerned with the nitty-gritty of Gorey’s publishing career or his approach to drawing (lots of grumbling and self-criticism) and more with his breezy evasions and elliptical musings on an eccentric, solitary life. A dandyish student at Harvard (his roommate was poet Frank O’Hara), Gorey moved to New York in the 1950s, working in advertising while shopping his weird, cryptic portfolio to magazines. His black-and-white world of tweedy figures and sere landscapes, often captioned with nonsense verse, eventually gained a cult following—a fandom that increased when his art was used in the credit sequence for PBS’s



Never married and self-admittedly asexual, Gorey spent the last 14 years of his life in a rickety ex–sea-captain’s home on Cap Cod. The play, which costars Phil Gillen as a twentyish, moony Gorey and Aidan Sank as the artist in bearded, relatively confident middle years, takes place in an imaginary version of that house, crammed floor to ceiling with all manner of rusty tools or antique toys that Gorey obsessively accumulated. It’s Grey Gardens with a better work ethic. The mood flits gently from whimsical to melancholy and dryly bemused.

For the proud owner of the anthology 


and its sequels,

The Secret Lives of Edward Gorey

is a visit to an old friend who always amuses and sometimes surprises. Newcomers, take care: Gorey’s macabre, intricately detailed universe can addict and overwhelm. The man himself was an object lesson.

Sheen Center (

Off Broadway

). Written and directed Travis Russ. With Andrew Dawson, Phil Gillen, Aidan Sank. Running time: 1hr 15mins. No intermission. Through Jan 14. Click


for full ticket and venue information. 

Gorey: The Secret Lives of Edward Gorey- The New Yorker

The playwright and director Travis Russ has devised a 

brilliant solution for dramatizing this contradictory and solitary man: three actors, all of 

them excellent and in perfect tune with one another, play the artist simultaneously at three

 different ages, delivering a collective autobiographical monologue, sometimes delightedly

 affirming each other’s accounts, sometimes gently contradicting them.

Read More

America is Hard to See- Life Jacket Theatre

Honored to be a part of the first, developmental reading of Life Jacket Theatre's new and challenging play AMERICA IS HARD TO SEE...

Based on verbatim interviews and archival research, this ground breaking play investigates the lives in and around Miracle Village, a rural community for sex offenders, buried deep in Florida's sugarcane fields.

This uncomfortable and disruptive play tells tough, thoughtful and real stories about darkness, uncertainty and the painful process of healing in small-town America. Seven actors embody over 50 roles including Miracle Village residents, law officials, clergy, and other figures on opposing sides of this controversial community.

For more information,

click here for Life Jacket's website


The Inn at Lake Devine opens!

Wonderful opening last night after a few previews...come see us if you get the chance!


play 'Karl Berry,' a sweet husband and father who loves to forage for mushrooms.

It's a great coming-of-age comedy that touches on more meaningful themes about families, faith, and falling in love. We have 15 more shows, and I would love it if you came to see it!

THE INN AT LAKE DEVINE, adapted by Jake Lipman, based on the novel by Elinor Lipman

Oct. 7-24, 2015 @ 7:30 pm (no shows Mondays, matinee Sunday Oct. 18 @ 2:30 pm)

Theatre 54 @ Shetler Studios, 244 West 54th Street, 12th floor

Tickets: $18 @

and 212-868-4444

The Inn at Lake Devine- First Read Through

Off and running with the production of "The Inn at Lake Devine."

Tongue in Cheek's world premiere of the play with music, based on the novel by Elinor Lipman, features 15 actors, directed by Kimberly Faith Hickman and assisted by Molly Ballerstein.  Philip Rothman is the music director and sound designer, Lisa Renee Jordan is the costume designer, Tyler M. Perry is the scenic designer, and Richard T. Chamblin III will light the show.

Theatre 54 @ Shetler Studios, October 7-24, 2015.  Tickets are $18 at

 and at 212-868-4444.

The Inn at Lake Devine- October 7th through 24th

Pleased to have just been cast as Karl Berry in the stage adaptation of THE INN AT LAKE DEVINE. More information below...

October 7-24, 2015



NEW YORK CITY – Tongue in Cheek Theater Productions (Jake Lipman, producing artistic director) will premiere its adaptation of the popular novel, 

The Inn at Lake Devine


Elinor Lipman

 (Vintage Contemporaries) in October 2015. The new play with music will run for 16 performances, October 7-24, 2015, in midtown NYC with Kimberly Faith Hickman directing.

The New York Times


, “in her delightful novel, 

The Inn at Lake Devine,

 Elinor Lipman waltzes fearlessly though a minefield of identity politics. Anti-Semitism, intermarriage, ethnic cuisine and Anne Frank are some of the unlikely, loaded subjects of this witty romantic comedy.”

The Inn at Lake Devine

 begins in 1964. When Natalie Marx’s mother inquires about summer accommodations in Vermont, she gets the following reply: “The Inn at Lake Devine is a family-owned resort, which has been in continuous operation since 1922. Our guests who feel most comfortable here, and return year after year, are Gentiles.” For twelve-year-old Natalie, who has a stubborn sense of justice, the words are not a rebuff but an infuriating, irresistible challenge, setting in motion events that will change her life.


Kimberly Faith Hickman

 assistant directed on Broadway with Bruce Norris on 

Clybourne Park,

 Lynne Meadow on 

The Assembled Parties,

 and Susan Stroman on 

The Scottsboro Boys.

 Off-Broadway, Hickman has directed on Theater Row 

(The Other Man, Tummy Bubbles, Derivatives)

 and terraNOVA Collective; regionally for Williamstown Theatre Festival, Omaha Playhouse 

(Enron, Jesus Christ Superstar),

 among others.

Elinor Lipman’s books include 

Then She Found Me

 (adapted and directed by Helen Hunt into the film by the same name), 

Isabel’s Bed

The Way Men Act

The Family Man

The View from Penthouse B


The Ladies’ Man


among others. She has been compared to Jane Austen for her cheeky view of romantic relations and smart female leads.

Founded in 2006 by Jake Lipman, Tongue in Cheek Theater’s mission is to produce thought-provoking comedic works. In May 2014, TIC’s company-created comedy 

Buffalo Heights

 by Adam Harrell was the recipient of a 2014 

Puffin Foundation

 grant. In 2013, The Huffington Post recognized the company’s tenure, saying, “Tongue in Cheek is an Off-Off-Broadway company celebrating its eighth season, a major achievement in and of itself.”

The Inn at Lake Devine 

has been developed over the first half of 2015 for Tongue in Cheek Theater’s 31st production and 10th anniversary season. Producing artistic director 

Jake Lipman

 explains, “Although Elinor Lipman and I are not related, I feel a true kinship with her work, and the humor and heart throughout 

The Inn at Lake Devine 

fits perfectly with TIC’s mission.”


Elinor Lipman

 shares, “I've always hoped that one of my books could be adapted for the stage, but whom to trust? I found that answer from the first conversation I had with Jake Lipman. Yes, I said; yes! For me, this theater and this book are a match made in adaptation heaven. I'm excited to see my characters—especially these, who are very dear to me—brought to life.”

The play 

The Inn at Lake Devine

 will run October 7-24, 2015 at Theatre 54 @ Shetler Studios, 244 West 54 Street, 12th Floor, New York, NY. 

Tickets are now on sale


(c) 2018 Andrew Dawson