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Guild Hall in association with Creative Alliance presents A Virtual Reading of SQUEAKY by Jeff Cohen
Hamptons Arts Network THAWfest Featured Program
Directed by Bob Balaban
Starring Jessica Hecht, Marc Kudisch, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Ben Shenkman, and Harris Yulin
Drama Desk Award winner Jeff Cohen (The Soap Myth, The Man Who Ate Michael Rockefeller) has penned an audacious autobiographical comedy about his eccentric dad, Stan “Squeaky” Cohen. SQUEAKY is about wrestling with end-of-life issues while maintaining your sense of humor.
Characters & Cast
SQUEAKY (Harris Yulin) is the man who was banned from every Old Country Buffet in the metro Baltimore area – for stealing cake. He can’t remember where he lost his car. He lives in Baltimore’s most crime-ridden neighborhood in a ramshackle house that is a city inspection away from being condemned – and refuses to move.
JEFF (Marc Kudisch) is the writer living in New York who finds himself battling his brother Rob over what is best for their father. He is being forced to reckon with childhood events he’s spent a lifetime trying to forget.
ROB (Ben Shenkman) is Jeff’s libidinous older brother who just recently joined the “mile high club” with a stranger he met in first class. Rob is a charmer with a felonious past for drug trafficking.
CONNIE (Latanya Richardson Jackson) is Squeaky’s long time roommate and caretaker. She greets strangers at the front door with a baseball bat. In short, she is a kook.
SANDY (Jessica Hecht) is Jeff and Rob’s estranged mother, now dying in a hospice in Baltimore. She wore black to Jeff’s Bar Mitzvah, arrived late and stormed out early. She was a strong proponent of Werner Erhard’s EST – which explains all you need to know about her.
Note: While SQUEAKY depicts real people and real events it is also a work of fiction from the playwright’s memory. It may not be wholly accurate but it strives to be truthful.
After studying in Los Angeles with the splendid, black-listed actor Jeff Corey, Yulin spent 20 months living in Europe and Israel, dubbing films into English, and performing a night club show with William Burroughs at the Club Montparnasse in Paris.
He made his New York debut in 1963 in James Saunders’ Next Time I’ll Sing To You, with James Earl Jones and Estelle Parsons at the Phoenix Theatre. Many plays, Broadway, off-Broadway and elsewhere followed.
Recent appearances: Long Day’s Journey into Night at the Court Theatre, Chicago; Death of a Salesman at the Gate Theatre, Dublin; Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the Chautauqua Festival, and ever trying to get it right, his third try at Claudius in Hamlet at the Classic Stage Company in New York.
He has appeared in and presented many evenings at Guild Hall including the initial production after the renovation in 2009, The Glass Menagerie with Amy Irving, and last September Are You Now or Have You Ever Been.
His production of Horton Foote’s The Trip to Bountiful with Lois Smith and Hallie Foote played an extended run at the Signature Theatre in New York, receiving four Lucille Lortel Awards (Outstanding Lead Actress, Outstanding Featured Actress, Outstanding Production, Outstanding Director), and subsequently moved to The Goodman Theatre, Chicago.
His first film was in 1968, an adaptation by Terry Southern of John Barth’s End of The Road, directed by Adam Avakian with longtime friends James Earl Jones and Stacy Keach. Other fondly remembered but not necessarily widely seen efforts include Candy Mountain directed by Robert Frank and Rudy Wurlitzer; Short History of Decay script by Michael Maren; 75% In July by Hyatt Bass; and more widely seen production including Clear and Present Danger directed by Philip Noyce; and Scarface directed by Brian de Palma.
He has many TV appearances including WIOU, about a CBS newsroom where he played a troubled anchorman; and Mister Sterling, set in the U.S. Senate, written by Lawrence O’Donnell.
He has taught, acted and directed at the Juilliard School for ten years.
He has narrated many films for PBS and others and done extensive work on radio including dramatizations of Ross MacDonald detective novels with casts of fifty subsequently released as audio books as was Norman Mailer’s last novel, The Castle and
He has worked in all the venues and mediums available to him, even singing and dancing in John Osborne’s The Entertainer, in which his efforts in these disciplines were properly third-rate.
Marc Kudisch, a three-time Tony award nominee, has starred in over a dozen Broadway shows including Girl From the North Country, The Great Society, Finding Neverland, Hand To God, Assassins and Thoroughly Modern Millie. Marc’s TV credits include Dr. Gus on “Billions”, Ty Rathbone on “The Tick” and Henry Mitchell on “House of Cards.”
Ben Shenkman received a Tony Award nomination for the play "Proof" and a Golden Globe and Emmy Award nomination for "Angels in America." Ben starred as Curtis Gates in "Damages," Jeremiah Sacani in "Royal Pains," Roger Gunn in "For the People," Roger Swindell in "Curb Your Enthusiasm," and Ira Schirmer in "Billions." He recently starred as Leonard Weinglass in Aaron Sorkin's feature film "The Trial of the Chicago Seven."
Latanya Richardson Jackson
Latanya Richardson Jackson received a 2014 Tony award nomination for "A Raisin in the Sun" opposite Denzel Washington. She co-starred in such blockbuster films as “U.S. Marshals,” “Sleepless in Seattle,” and “Malcolm X”. LaTanya is married to Samuel L. Jackson.
Jessica Hecht was nominated for a primetime Emmy Award for the Netflix series Special. She was nominated for a Tony Award for A View From The Bridge opposite Scarlett Johansson and Liev Schreiber. Among her numerous TV credits she played Susan Bunch, the wife of Ross Geller’s ex-wife, in Friends.
Bob Balaban’s directing credits include the long running off-Broadway play The Exonerated (Drama Desk award, Outer Critic’s Circle award), The Blue Deep at Williamstown, and the world premiere of Lawrence Wright’s play Cleo at Houston’s Alley Theater.
He directed Susan Sarandon and Ralph Fiennes in HBO’s Bernard and Doris (Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG nominations,) Lifetime’s Georgia O’Keefe with Joan Allen and Jermey Irons (Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG nominations,) and created, produced, and co-starred in Robert Altman’s Gosford Park (Academy Award, Bafta Award, SAG Award, Golden Globe Award).
Bob has appeared in over a hundred movies including Midnight Cowboy, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Absence of Malice, Waiting for Guffman, Moonrise Kingdom, Monuments Men, and Wes Anderson’s soon to be released French Dispatch.
Jeff Cohen has been an actor, playwright, producer and director during his four-decade award-winning theater career. His work has won every major theatrical award short of the Tony, including the Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, Drama League, Outer Critics, Obie and AUDELCO. He won a special 2002 Drama Desk Award for The Tribeca Playhouse Stage Door Canteen, his response to the tragedy of 9/11 in which stars from Broadway came downtown to entertain "the troops," the rescue and recovery workers at Ground Zero. His plays include The Soap Myth (starring Ed Asner and Tovah Feldshuh), The Man Who Ate Michael Rockefeller (Critics Pick in New York Times and Time Out New York) and Men of Clay (Best New Play 2005 in The City Paper, Critics Pick in Time Out New York). He may be best known for his contemporary American adaptations of such classic plays as Uncle Vanya/Uncle Jack, Woyzeck/Whoa-Jack!, Tartuffe and The Seagull/The Hamptons whose various productions have featured such actors as Laura Linney, Tammy Grimes, D.B. Sweeney, Marin Hinkle, Chris Collet and Neal Huff.