The Pumpkin Pie Show

Stories written by Clay McLeod Chapman. Performed by Chapman and Hanna Cheek.

(1996-present)

Celebrating its second decade of performances, the Pumpkin Pie Show is a literary fist in the face. Part storytelling session, part boxing match, part shamanistic ritual, the Pumpkin Pie Show has established itself as an all-points artistic hodgepodge of theatre and literature. We pick and choose the essentials of both mediums, channeling their rocking properties in order to create a more intimate relationship between performer and audience. We want to see the whites of our audience’s eyes. Certain basic rules that we’ve set up for all our shows are: No sets. No costumes. No nothing beyond the text and the performance itself. Our goal is to strip away those elements that we find extraneous to the tale being told, conjuring up an atmosphere of “creating something out of nothing,” as well as focusing on that ethereal connective tissue between the one telling the story and our audience. Packed with enough emotional intensity to feel like a rock concert rather than just spinning a yarn, the Pumpkin Pie Show is pure bedtime stories for adults.

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The Pumpkin Pie Show continues to perform in New York City—including such venues as PS 122, the DR2 theatre, the Ohio Theatre, La Mama, the Red Room, the Kraine theatre, UNDER St. Marks Theatre, the CSV Cultural Center, the Zipper Theatre, the Belt theatre, Culture Project, Galapagos Art Space, Speigeltent NY, Bowery Poetry Club, the Brick Theatre, and Coney Island.

Coverage: "The Pumpkin Pie Show, Night of the Voting Dead," New York Times, October 2016

The Pie’s Piper,” Time Out New York, October 2001
Underneath the Horror, Evidence of Some Heart,” New York Times, October 2008

Events
NYC: 3/24: Pumpkin Pie at Performeteria! »
NYC: 3/20: Pumpkin Pie at Performeteria! »
RVA: 2/23-2/24: The Pumpkin Pie Show: 20th Anniversary »
10/20-11/5: The Pumpkin Pie Show: STUMP SPEECHES »
9/24-10/10: NYC: PUMPKIN PIE SHOW in LABOR PAINS »
8/21-8/23: PUMPKIN PIE SHOW @ VCU »
5/3: Stanley Film Fest: THE PUMPKIN PIE SHOW »
The Pumpkin Pie Show: SEASICK »
11/14-11/15: The Pumpkin Pie Show in Richmond! »
10/10-10/26: The Pumpkin Pie Show: BOOGEDY BOO »
5/4: The Pumpkin Pie Show at The Stanley Film Festival! »
4/5: Reading at Stampede Lab! »
3/11: Commencement/Pumpkin Pie Show: RIP Red Room »
9/4: Horse Trade resident salon »
10/25-10/27: The Pumpkin Pie Show: Halloween All-Stars! »
Related Blog Post
Pumpkin Pie podcast: STUMP SPEECHES live and uncut! »
Review Roundup: STUMP SPEECHES »
STUMP SPEECHES is a NY Times Critics’ Pick! »
The time is nigh for Pumpkin Pie: STUMP SPEECHES »
Pumpkin Pie Show podcast #17: LABOR PAINS! »
Pumpkin Pie Show podcast #12: President of the Fan Club! »
Pumpkin Pie Show podcast #11: Diaper Genie! »
Pumpkin Pie Show podcast #10: “V.D.!” »
Rants Macabre interview »
Pumpkin Pie Show podcast #9: RODEO INFERNO »
Pumpkin Pie Show podcast #8: THE SUITORS WARD! »
Pumpkin Pie Show podcast #7: GRAND MARSHAL »
Pumpkin Pie Show podcast #6: BRIDESMAID! »
Pumpkin Pie podcast #5: MICHELLE »
Pumpkin Pie Podcast #4: OVERBITE »
Pumpkin Pie Podcast #3: LATE BLOOMER »
Fruits of our LABOR PAINS »
Pumpkin Pie Podcast Episode 2: MAMA BIRD! »
Pumpkin Pie Show Podcast! »
Time Out NY gets SEASICK! »
Fango is ready to get SEASICK… »
The time is nigh for Pumpkin Pie… »
TCG’s Crossing Borders {Art | People} salon »
Pumpkin Pie in the Press »
Video interview at TDF! »
All Work and No Play Makes Clay a Dull Boy »
R.I.P. Red Room… »
Pumpkin Pie blowout »
The Pumpkin Pie Show gets profiled in The Brooklyn Rail »
NYtheatre interview »
Genius? Classic? Thank you, Flavorpill! »

“[There is] a new generation of theater artists reared on a diet of vampires, zombies and charming serial killers. Call this movement the Theater of Blood… At the forefront is Clay McLeod Chapman, whose “Pumpkin Pie Show” channels the spirit of H. P. Lovecraft.”
– The New York Times

“A taste of Southern Fried American Gothic that will send shivers down your spine.”
– Time Out New York

Like Father, Like Son

Radio play for Glass Eye Pix's "Tales from Beyond the Pale"

Glass Eye Pix, the fiercely independent film company behind STAKE LAND, THE INNKEEPERS and I SELL THE DEAD, in association with Clay McLeod Chapman’s FEAR-MONGERS: FIRESIDE CHATS ABOUT HORROR FILMS, is taking its successful audio dramas TALES FROM BEYOND THE PALE out of the studio and onto the stage. A new twist on the vintage radio shows of yesteryear, Larry Fessenden and Glenn McQuaid’s TALES FROM BEYOND THE PALE has already thrilled fans of the macabre with it’s first season of creepy dramas released last year. Now they are upping the ante and recording 8 original audio shows before a live audience.

Journey beyond the pale the first four Tuesdays in October as Fessenden and Co. present a double-bill of original genre stories performed by an exciting cast of special guests, and featuring live music, live foley, and live sound effects by a team of audio artisans. A feast for eyes and ears.

"Like Father, Like Son," was performed live at Dixon Place on October 2, 2012, featuring Larry Fessenden and Vincent D'Onofrio, along with Joe Maggio's "Ram King."

For more info on Tales from Beyond the Pale, go to: http://talesfrombeyondthepale.com/

 

Events
9/13: Listen to Tales from Beyond the Pale Season 2 online! »
Related Blog Post
Free Double-bill of Tales from Beyond the Pale Streaming Online! »
Ain’t It Cool News Digs Like Father, Like Son! »
Tales from Beyond the Pale launches nationwide! »
New pix from Glass Eye’s Tales from Beyond the Pale! »
From the pale depths of tech rehearsal… »
Entertainment Weekly goes Beyond the Pale! »
Ghoulish poster art for “Like Father, Like Son” »

The Penalty

Inspired by the novel “The Penalty” by Gouverneur Morris, and its film adaptation written by Charles Kenyon and directed by Wallace Worsley.

(2013)

New York City. 1920. A legless beggar pleads with the oncoming foot-traffic for spare change. Barely a nickel comes his way. But what these pedestrians don’t know is—this deformed derelict at their heels is none other than Blizzard, kingpin to the seedy underbelly of the Lower East Side. With an army of dancing girls at his beck and call, Blizzard is hell-bent on executing his master plan: Get his revenge against the prominent doctor who left him in this condition—and against the city that could’ve cared less. Enter the good doctor’s daughter, Sofie, an artist living in the LES. When she asks our vengeful vagrant to pose for a new portrait, completely unaware of Blizzard’s history with her father, the stage is set for a showdown between this trio.

Three people. Four legs. One game of revenge.

Inspired by the novel “The Penalty” by Gouverneur Morris, and its film adaptation, starring Lon Chaney, written by Charles Kenyon and directed by Wallace Worsley.

"The Penalty" is a commissioned piece by The Apothetae, along with Dixon Place. The Apothetae is a company dedicated to the production of full-length plays about the "Disabled Experience." 

 

Events
6/14-6/29: The Penalty! »
3/20: The Penalty at The Lark »
9/1: Reading of The Penalty at The Kennedy Center »
Related Blog Post
The Penalty makes The New York Times pay! »
THE PENALTY is coming! »
Play reading at The Kennedy Center! »

Commencement

(2009)

One actress plays three women drawn together in the grim aftermath of a high school shooting—the mother of the shooter (staph infection), one of the shooter's victims (early release), and the mother of that victim (keynote speaker). It is a deep exploration of the lives of three women that, according to SEE Magazine "... will leave you wringing your hands in helpless empathy."

Playscript available from Original Works Publishing: http://bit.ly/QjeYuL

 

Events
1/13: Commencement in NYC! »
5/13: COMMENCEMENT in LA »
Related Blog Post
Bonus COMMENCEMENT performance in Los Angeles »
Jahnavi’s Senior Thesis »

“'Commencement' is a powerful, heart wrenching experience that will stay with you long after it's over…”
– Canadian Broadcasting Center

“Another cocktail of powerful emotion... Will leave you wringing your hands in helpless empathy.”
– SEE Magazine

SCKBSTD

Based on an orignal story by Bruce Hornsby. Book by Clay McLeod Chapman. Music & lyrics by Hornsby. Additional lyrics by Chip deMatteo.

(2011)

SCKBSTD is a new American musical featuring music & lyrics by Bruce Hornsby. Lyrics by Chip deMatteo. Book by Clay McLeod Chapman. Directed by John Rando.

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Coverage for SCKBSTD:
Beyond Whiskers and Kittens,” NY Times article

Events
3/20: Developmental reading for Hornsbical STRANGER »
Related Blog Post
The New York Times honks our Hornsbical »
STRANGER reading in NYC »
STRANGER, the new Hornsbical, pulls up »

“SCKBSTD, the ambitious theater project based on the songs of Bruce Hornsby, is a new musical with an old-fashioned feel about it. The theme of the outsider who shows up and impacts the lives of those he encounters is a classic in Southern literature… One wonders if Hornsby has read many short stories by Flannery O’Connor and Eudora Welty?”
– The Daily Press

“A dark and paranoid version of small-town America, SCKBSTD is a highly ambitious effort to create what has become a rare find in theater—a musical with a plot or, at the very least, a story line… SCKBSTD is the most ambitious and challenging new work of the current theater season. Broadway hasn’t had a show like it in a while.”
– The Virginian-Pilot

Fear-Mongers

Fireside Chats About Horror Films

Dixon Place, New York City. 2010 to 2012. 

Everybody has a horror movie that scared the bejesus out of them as a kid. Every actor has one, too. Fear-Mongers: Fireside Chats about Horror Films enlists top-shelf artists to pay homage to their guiltiest pleasures: horror movies. Our guest lecturers will present personal essays on those particular celluloid terrors that continue to resonate with them today. And for the truly putrid piece de resistance, each evening’s installment will include a “Behind the Slashers Studio” with a special celebrity guest. We here at Fear-Mongers focus solely on those roles that haunt our star’s IMDB page, having candid conversations about life on the set of their most infamous films and their relationship with the genre. Part talk-show, part reading-series, Fear-Mongers is an entertaining evening for both horror fans and general spectators alike...

Curated and hosted by Clay McLeod Chapman. Past guests have included:

Sept 2010: Denis O’Hare (True Blood), Ashley C. Williams (The Human Centipede), Adam Lowenstein (author, Shocking Representation), Abe Goldfarb.

Oct 2010: NY Times critic Jason Zinoman, JT Petty (director, S&Man), Dennis Paoli (screenwriter, Re-Animator), Douglas Cheek (director, C.H.U.D.).

Nov 2010: Gunnar Hansen (Texas Chainsaw Massacre), Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni (Opera), Mariano Baino (director, Dark Waters), Filippo Brunamonti.

Dec 2010: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (writer, Big Love, The Stand graphic novel), Robin Sherwood (Tourist Trap), Steven C. Boone, James Comtois.

March 2011: John Amplas (Martin), Larry Fessenden (Glass Eye Pix), Samuel Zimmerman (Fangoria), Sarah Langan (Audrey's Door).

June 2011: Lori Cardille and Gary Klar (Day of the Dead), puppeteer/FX-man James Godwin (I Sell The Dead) and Catherine Mary Stewart (star of The Last Starfighter).

Oct 2011: Guest Host: Jason Zinoman (Shock Value), Laura Miller (Salon), Noel Carroll (The Philosophy of Horror), Graham Reznick (director, I Can See You), Stephen Garrett (trailer director), Joshua Rothkopf (critic Time Out NY), and Steven Boone.

March 2012: Lloyd Kaufman (Troma Pictures), Jack Ketchum (The Woman), Jim Mickle & Nick Damici (Stake Land) and Trav S.D. (No Applause, Just Throw Money)

June 2012: Glenn McQuaid (I Sell the Dead), Alan Rowe Kelly (I'll Bury You Tomorrow), Rob Kuhns (Year of the Living Dead), and Mac Rogers (The Honeycomb Trilogy)

Events
10/2: Tales from Beyond the Pale! »
6/19: Fear-Mongers: Fireside Chats about Horror Films »
3/27: Fear-Mongers: Fireside Chats about Horror Films »
Related Blog Post
Tales from Beyond the Pale: LIVE this October! »
NY Times: No Rest for the Wicked, Undead or Ghoulish »
There is nothing to fear but Fear-Mongers itself… »
Goodnight, all you fraidy cats… »
Fangoria loves Fear-Mongers! »
3/27: Fear-Mongers is baaaaaaaaaaack! »

“NYC's best (and only?) speaking series/live talk show on horror...”
Fangoria Magazine

Hostage Song

Book by Clay McLeod Chapman. Music & lyrics by Kyle Jarrow.

(2008)

Two Americans are bound and blindfolded in a war-torn country. Facing an uncertain fate, they take refuge in music, memory and each other in this unconventional new indie-rock musical. Hostage Song is the new indie-rock musical developed by a powerhouse combo of downtown favorites: playwright and novelist, Clay McLeod Chapman (The Pumpkin Pie Show), Kyle Jarrow (A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant), and director Oliver Butler.

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Coverage for Hostage Song:
Captive Audience,” Time Out New York, April 2008:
Hostage Rock Musical Resonates Chillingly with Sutherlands,” Denver Post

 

Events
Hostage Song in London! »
1/29-2/1: Hostage Song in Wisconsin! »
6/20: Hostage Song in Florida! »
5/5: Hostage Song in Chicago! »
Related Blog Post
Hostage Song Takes the UK… um, well, Hostage »
The reviews are in for HOSTAGE SONG »
Hostage Song vs. Commencement »
Hostage Song is coming to Chicago! »

“...A high-decibel romantic comedy with a seriously unnerving edge. Chapman’s delicately rendered scenes flow effortlessly into Jarrow’s songs... It brings a punk aesthetic to a common dilemma: the desire to connect with the most horrific stories of the day”
– The New Yorker

“In this season of unlikely musicals, on Broadway and off, Hostage Song may be the oddest of all… The tone of Hostage Song is both blunt and barbed. The show takes some risky comic flights of fancy but mostly plays it straight, telling a grim story with journalistic detail and understated compassion...”
– Charles Isherwood The New York Times

Junta High

(2006)

In Junta High, Clay McLeod Chapman crafts a Sweet Valley-styled high school for terrorists where cheerleaders double as suicide bombers and guidance counselors are taken hostage by the A/V club. Holy causes worth dying for galvanize school spirits, blood is shed on the football field every Friday night and the marching band fervently plays on.

Original music performed by the Hungry March Band. Premiered at Performance Space 122.

“Junta High is not metaphor, but something akin to Brecht's alienation effect: a fresh light that forces you to read in a new, left-field context the bloody international headlines that have grown dull with repetition. ”
Time Out New York

volume of smoke

(2005)

The original text for Volume of Smoke is available online at Blackbird Journal: http://bit.ly/H2FB2s

Volume of Smoke was an original commissioned work for The Firehouse Theater (Carol Piersol, Artistic Director) in Richmond, Virginia. Premiere: February 2005. Directed by Isaac Butler and Chapman. Original music by Erik Sanko.

Sections adapted from John F. Watson's "Calamity at Richmond, Being a Narrative of the Affecting Circumstances Attending the Awful Conflagration of the Theatre in the City of Richmond, on the Night of Thursday, the 26th of December, 1811."

 

“Volume of Smoke succeeds in its ability to offer an affecting meditation on tragedy in a post-Sept. 11 context... For a play steeped in history, Volume of Smoke manages to offer some surprising insight into our own times. ”
Backstage