HotCity to Perform 'Whammy!' at New York International Fringe Festival

By Christopher Reilly
In Culture

wHAMMYNew York City is indisputably the center of theater in North America and beyond. Most theater companies would jump at the opportunity to perform there, and that’s just the opportunity St. Louis’ own HotCity Theater has been given.

Invited to perform its original play, “Whammy! The Seven Secrets to a Sane Self,” at the New York International Fringe Festival later this month, the popular theater company known for its contemporary, issue-oriented works will present two benefit performances of the show locally August 9-10 at 8pm at the Centene Center for Arts & Education.

FringeNYC is among the most prestigious fringe theater gatherings in the world. “It’s a juried festival,” says author and associate director of HotCity Theatre Chuck Harper.  “And it’s in New York, which for theater people…” (His voice trails off and there’s no reason to complete the thought.) Four years in the making, “Whammy!” is a multimedia dance/theater extravaganza, part 1960’s dance party and part nightmare. Born from Harper’s suspicions about self-help movements, the show features Dr. Phil, daily affirmations and Diazepam, crashing head-first into sexual addiction, suicide and the Shirelles. “I have an inherent distrust of anyone making money off other people’s problems,” Harper says.

In addition to the benefit performances at the Centene Center, HotCity is also running an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, where the organization has already raised more than the $6,000 it sought. That doesn’t mean that’s all the funding it needs. Travel and housing the performers in New York doesn’t come cheap. Along the way, the company will stop in Columbus, Ohio, for two additional benefit performances there.

“Whammy!” originally premiered in St. Louis in 2011. The FringeNYC version is 20 percent new material with a couple of different actors, Harper says. Tickets are $15 and $10 for students and seniors, and can be reserved by telephone and paid for by cash or check at the door of Centene Center for Arts, 3547 Olive Street in Grand Center. Donations can be made on HotCity’s Indiegogo page. HotCity Theatre, 314.289.4063.

Recent Posts