Wrestling Will Be Center Stage at Second Stage

PlayBlog   Wrestling Will Be Center Stage at Second Stage
Off-Broadway's Second Stage Theatre began rehearsing its prized new Second City import, Kristoffer Diaz's wrestling play, The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, on March 30.

An incendiary mix of race, politics and hip-hop in the improbable arena of a wrestling ring, the play is Diaz's first produced effort. Critics loved it when it world-premiered in fall 2009 at Chicago's Victory Gardens Theater; The script was picked Best Play of 2009 by the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times and TimeOut Chicago.

Eddie Torres, artistic director of Teatro Vista, did the direction (avoiding anything that smacked of "fight choreography") and will repeat the assignment in NYC.

Three of the original five-man cast will be reprising their performances. Desmin Borges, who was singled out for a star-making turn, is the play's narrator and perennial bad-guy-in-the-ring, Macedonio Guerra, aka The Mace. Usman Ally is the partner he discovers, a charismatic, trash-talking Indian kid from Brooklyn named Vigneshwar Paduar aka VP — and together they form a tag-team of terrorists and go after the good guy of the title. The third original ring player is Christian Litke, who is the good-guy grist for their mill with names like Billy America and The Patriot.

Terence Archie, the Coalhouse Walker Jr. understudy in Broadway's recent Ragtime, plays the title character, the All-American world champion.

The ring announcer who bosses about all of the above, exploiting stereotypes in the name of ratings, is Michael T. Weiss, last seen in Broadway's Impressionism.

Previews will start April 27. Opening night is set for Thursday, May 20.

New York theatre's previous brush with a wrestling theme — Claire Luckham's Teaneck Tanzi: The Venus Flytrap with Andy Kaufman and Deborah Harry — was unhappy. It opened (and closed!) on April 20, 1983, at the Nederlander — this after the theatre's seats had been expensively replaced with wrestling-arena pews.

— Harry Haun

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