Ace Young to Headline Controversial New Play About Sexual Abuse Within the Catholic Church
Posted by: Official_Press_Release 09:59 am EDT 09/28/22



(New York, NY) - Vatican Falls, the controversial play written by Frank J. Avella that closely examines the Catholic sex abuse scandal while telling real survivor stories and exploring the fictional journey of one particular survivor will make its world premiere this Fall in a limited engagement run Off-Broadway.

The cast of Vatican Falls features Ace Young* (Broadway's HAIR , GREASE as well as, of course, AMERICAN IDOL season 5 Top 10), Carlotta Brentan (Lured), Tucker Aust (Moonchildren), Alice Barrett Mitchell* (Heels) with James Gracia, Danny Hilt*, Kenon Veno, Edward L. Simon*, Ryan Wright* and Jacopo Constantini. (*Member of AEA).

The production begins previews on Thursday, October 27th and will run through Sunday, November 20th at The Tank, 312 West 36th Street in Manhattan. The play will be co-directed by Avella and Carlotta Brentan (Lured) and is a High Voltage co-production with The Tank. Tickets can be purchased here: https://ci.ovationtix.com/35658/production/1136481?performanceId=11146951

Vatican Falls has had 7 world premieres canceled in 4 different countries in the last decade, most notoriously in Rome, Italy in 2011 at Teatro Vascello, when the plug was pulled on the show by fearful producers the night before opening amidst controversy and claims of death threats.

Based on factual accounts, spanning decades and set against the backdrop of the continuously-swelling Catholic sex abuse scandal, Vatican Falls is a sweeping multi-genre work that follows survivor journeys examining the feelings of shame and confusion that ultimately turn to anger and revenge. This fast-paced, non-linear suspense-thriller jets from Boston to Rome to New York to Los Angeles as our radicalized protagonist falls in love with a Vatican operative and, along with his Fellowship, plots vengeance on the institutional power players that allowed the rape and torture of countless children and young adults.

The play features three prominent LGBTQ+ characters including the fellowship leader, Vi, a proud queer whose desire for retribution fuels the group.

Performances will run Thursdays through Sundays at 7:00pm, except on 11/5, 11/12 & 11/19 when performances will be at 3:00pm.

Set and Projection Design is by Tony DiBernardo. Lighting Design is by David Shocket. Costume design is by Shirlee Idzakovich. Sound Design by Zëk Stewart. Publicity is by Daniel DeMello / DDPR, Casting by Judy Bowman. Social Media will be managed by John David West. The Stage Manager is Elena Jenson.

Frank J. Avella recently wrote and directed his first film, the multi-award-winning short Fig Jam. He is the recipient of an International Writers Residency at Arte Studio Ginestrelle (Assisi, Italy), a Bogliasco Foundation Fellowship, a Helene Wurlitzer Residency Grant and a NJ State Arts Council Fellowship Award. Frank's feature length screenplays include Consent, Lured, and Screw The Cow which, along with Fig Jam have won over 33 awards and are selections/finalists in over 200 Festivals/Contests worldwide. He has written numerous plays including Vatican Falls, (2021 O'Neill semifinalist), Lured (2018 O'Neill semifinalist, produced in NYC & Rome, co-directed with Ms. Brentan), and most recently, Lockdown. Frank is also a film journalist for Awards Daily and Edge Media Network, a member of the New York Film Critics Online and the Studio Liaison for GALECA—the Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics.

Carlotta Brentan is a New York-based theater artist specializing in the development of challenging new plays as an actor, producer, director and translator. Stage highlights: World Premieres of Frank J. Avella's Lured, (also co-directed, sold-out runs at Theater for The New City in NYC and OnStage! Festival in Rome), Paolo Bignami's The Journey I Never Made (also translated from the original Italian, Cherry Lane Theatre), Erik Ehn's Clover (La MaMa ETC) Carlotta is also a film actor, prolific voiceover artist and award-winning audiobook narrator.

High Voltage Productions was birthed by Ashley Garrett and Frank J. Avella. HVP produced the award-winning short film, "Fig Jam," in 2021.

Founded in 2003, The Tank is an Obie Award-winning, multi-disciplinary non-profit arts presenter and producer, which provides a home to emerging artists working across all disciplines, including theater, comedy, dance, film, music, puppetry, and storytelling. Led by Artistic Director Meghan Finn, Managing Producer Molly FitzMaurice and Director of Artistic Development Johnny G. Lloyd, The Tank champions emerging artists engaged in the pursuit of new ideas and forms of expression. In doing so the company removes the economic barriers from the creation of new work for artists launching their careers and experimenting within their art form. From the company's home with two theaters on 36th Street, The Tank serves over 2,500 artists every year, presents over 1,000 performances, and welcomes 36,000 audience members annually. The company fully produces a curated season of 13-18 theatrical World or New York premieres each season. During the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis, The Tank has launched CyberTank, a virtual gathering space and programming platform for artists to share work. With weekly themed variety shows, ongoing series and evening-length shows made for the virtual frame, CyberTank has already presented the work of over 4,093 artists in over 468 performances to over 20,000 audience members across the country and the world. Recent Tank-produced work includes The New York Times Critics' Picks Taxilandia by Flako Jimenez (2021); OPEN by Crystal Skillman, directed by Jessi D. Hill (2019); Red Emma & The Mad Monk by Alexis Roblan, directed by Katie Lindsay (2018); and The Offending Gesture by Mac Wellman, directed by Meghan Finn (2016), as well as Drama Desk Award-nominated productions The Hunger Artist (2018), The Paper Hat Game (2017), the ephemera trilogy (2017), Ada/Ava (2016) and youarenowhere (2016).
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