On and around a beach in Malibu

The University Theatre presents

Psycho Beach Party

by Charles Busch

Cindy Gendrich

Set Designer
Mark Pirolo

Lighting Designer
Jonathan Christman

Costume Designer
Lisa Weller

Sound Designers
Kate Bashore*
Cindy Gendrich

Luau Choreography
Christina Tsoules-Soriano

Stage Manager
Katharine McEnery*

February 16-17 & 21-25, 2007



Adam Humenansky

Tom Badger

Mary-Hollis Williams*

Stephanie Glagola

Lauren Gaston*

Chris Hayes*

Dowd Keith*

Alex Ewen

Stowe Nelson*

Stephany Rayburn

Erich Jones*

Mike Casby*

Laura Halsey*

Laura Lutkefedder*

Eric Pearce

Jackie Phillps

* Member of The Anthony Aston Players



Technical Director
Trevor Anderson

Costume Studio Supervisor
Lisa Weller

Assistant Costume Designer
Alice Barsony

Audience Services Coordinator
Leslie Spencer

Assistant Stage Managers
J.C. Bobbit, Ainsley Johnston

Prop Master
Abby Suggs

Master Electrician
Amber Chapel*

J.C. Bobbitt

Master Carpenter
Mike Casby*

Kris Karstedt*

Scene Shop Assistants
Kate Bashore*, Alex Beiter*,
Rachel Field, Drew Grindrod,
Erich Jones*, Laura Lutkefedder*

Scenic Artist
J.C. Bobbitt, Sissie Strope

Guest Scenic Artist
Heather Ho

Costume Assistants
Alyssa Alexander, Lauren Gaston*,
Hannah Guthrie, Ainsley Johnston*,
Connie Miller

Costume Crafts
Alice Barsony

Jenny Malarkey

Hair Stylist
Lisa Weller

Fly Rail
Micah Andrews

Light Board Operator
Caroline Tanzy*

Sound Board Operator
Carly Mauch

Poster Design
Dave Urena

Bill Ray III, Jonathan Christman,
Leslie Spencer

Box Office Staff
Sara Elaine Armstrong, Caitlin Bauman,
Stephanie Glagola, Laura Halsey*,
Mary Kate Lyons, Daniel Mullins,
Stephany Rayburn, Susan Walters

House Manager
Bethany Novak

Publicity Managers
Allie Gervasio, Matt Gutschick, Ben Whiting

Pre-show and Intermission Party Direction
Dowd Keith*

* Member of The Anthony Aston Players


Little Theatre of Winston-Salem
North Carolina School of the Arts
Debbie Best
Kathy Grillo and the NCSA Dance Costume Shop
Woody Hood
Beth Homan
Paul Marley
Michael Huie
Sharon Andrews
Brook Davis
Pete Giovagnoli
Ron Tuttle



It’s true. You’ve come to see a spoof of the movie Gidget—one that draws heavily on Three Faces of Eve, Spellbound, sixties surfer culture, and more. But this play also gives us a chance to shake things up, enjoy oddly combined existentialist references, and revel in the spirit of happy cross-dressing. It may come as a surprise to you, but dear old Wake Forest has enjoyed drag performance since 1836. In Wake’s first theatre production on the all-male old campus, a man in a dress played a maiden in distress. I think you’ll find Psycho Beach Party quite a different take on drag, but it’s rooted in a tradition that goes back, not just to our school’s origins, but to the Golden Age of Greece about 2500 years ago.

Drag has also been the subject of intense academic scrutiny in recent years—revealing, among other things, how stereotypes emerge far more readily than complexities when we play someone who we perceive as fundamentally different from ourselves. This can be problematic if the stereotype is simply accepted, but, seen another way, revealing stereotypes is the first step in understanding how absurd they are and how much we may limit ourselves (and others) in a desire to contain and therefore control. As Psycho Beach Party suggests, it also shows how much behavior is rooted in a desire to conform, rather than coming to know and honor our own authentic needs.

As a little girl, I was never much for baby dolls and playing house. I like digging in the mud, playing sports, and climbing trees. In fact, I still do. But I also like lipstick and romantic movies and all kinds of hair and bath products. You can find me with a hammer in my hand one minute and baking cookies the next—and most of you probably don’t find that strange. My guess is that people like me are far more prevalent than those who subscribe to a purely masculine or feminine identity. Ask yourself, is there ANY combination of “typical” gender behaviors (both masculine and feminine) that fits you? I daresay, if you probe deeply enough, there is—and if there’s not, I’m sorry, because you’re missing a lot. I figure, why worry about transgressing what’s “normal and natural” to one’s gender? After all, if such behavior were natural, it would come, well, naturally, wouldn’t it?

I’ve come to one conclusion: basing my identity as a woman on a fantasy of someone else’s making seems a pretty sure way to mental illness. And in some ways that’s what Psycho Beach Party is all about. Sure, it’s a lighthearted spoof of 1960s beach movies and teen-exploitation films. At its heart, though, it has less to do with Frankie Avalon than with our yearning to be full people—on our own terms—revealing, as our play says, “the many aspects of [our] kaleidoscopic persona[s].”

Maybe I love Psycho Beach Party because it suggests that we’re all more than our surfaces might reveal, more than even we allow ourselves to be. And that gives me hope and courage. Why be afraid of who we are or could be, of admitting what and who we love? Why not accept ourselves and each other? Let’s laugh, limbo, let go, and see where it all takes us. At least for tonight, it’s just a party.


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