September 14th, 2017- October 15th, 2017

Hand To God




By Robert Askins


Thurs.-Sun. at 8:00pm.


Dark: Thurs. 9/21, Fri. 9/22, and Fri. 9/29


After the death of his father, meek Jason finds an outlet for his anxiety at the Christian Puppet Ministry, in the devoutly religious, relatively quiet small town of Cypress, Texas. Jason’s complicated relationships with the town pastor, the school bully, the girl next door, and—most especially—his mother are thrown into upheaval when Jason’s puppet, Tyrone, takes on a shocking and dangerously irreverent personality all its own. HAND TO GOD explores the startlingly fragile nature of faith, morality, and the ties that bind us.
"HAND TO GOD' is so ridiculously raunchy, irreverent and funny it's bound to leave you sore from laughing. Ah, it hurts so good." - New York Post
Shari Cohen Shari Cohen (Margery) is thrilled to return to Black Box Performing Arts Center to perform with such an incredibly talented cast. Shari made her BBPAC debut as "Stevie" in The Goat Or, Who Is Sylvia? and most recently played "Tzippy Nussfogel" in Skip and Rifka's Not-So-Kosher Wedding Experience. Other recent theatre credits include "Sonia" in Godspell, "Rosie" in Bye Bye Birdie, "Velma" in Hairspray and "Vi" in Footloose. Shari is also an attorney and worked as a legal news reporter, covering many high profile trials across the country. The last time Shari performed in New Jersey was as an on-air TV news reporter for WWOR-TV's 10 PM newscast.
Michael Gardiner Michael Gardiner (Jason/Tyrone) is thrilled to be back at Black Box Performing Arts Center playing his dream role(s). He was most recently seen as "Petruchio" in Hudson Shakespeare Company's The Taming of the Shrew. Black Box PAC credits include "Betty/Gerry" in Cloud 9, "Jonah" in Bad Jews, and "Sam" in Twist of Faith. Michael graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University with a BA in Theatre Arts. Some credits from the Fairleigh Dickinson University stage include The Crucible (John Proctor), Merrily We Roll Along (Joe Josephson), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Oberon/Theseus), and Little Shop of Horrors (Mushnik).
Sara Giacomini Sara Giacomini (Jessica/Jolene) is a recent graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University's Musical Theatre program. Some of her favorite credits include Cloud 9 (Maude/Lin), Blood Brothers (Linda) at BBPAC, The Crucible (Abigail Williams) & A Midsummer Night's Dream (Hermia). "Never apologize for your art." saragiacomini.com
Joseph Ramondino Joseph Ramondino (Timothy) is a recent graduate of SUNY Purchase. Past performances at Black Box PAC include Twist of Faith (Baruch) and Cloud 9 (Harry/Martin) . Other credits include Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Frankenstein, and Twelfth Night. Joe made his off-Broadway debut recently in the first production of Blunt Civility.
Laurence Wallace Laurence Wallace (Pastor Greg) is thrilled to return to the BBPAC for this production of Hand to God, on the heels of playing "Isaac" in Disgraced. Laurence was also in Skip & Rivka's Not-So-Kosher Interactive Wedding Experience in May/June 2017, Cloud 9 (as Clive/Edward) in March 2017, Edward Albee's The Goat Or, Who Is Sylvia? (as Martin) in December 2016 - all at BBPAC. His previous theater credits include Red, The Realistic Joneses, Purlie Victorious, A Soldier's Story, ART, The Death of a Salesman, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Learned Ladies of Park Avenue, and True West.

Terry Burnett (Puppet Design) is a lonely person who still loves to play with dolls and harbors the naïve belief that The Arts can save us all. When not living out childhood angst and severe character flaws through the manipulation of cloth, Terry has had the great privilege to have worn many hats in his long careen (sorry, career!) in theatre. As an actor, Terry has performed in London, New York and numerous regional theatres across the country, mostly in NJ. He attended Montclair State University in NJ and the Webber-Douglas academy of Dramatic Arts in London. He is currently a part of Pushcart Player's production of The Last, The Very Last...Butterfly, which has been touring since 1997. Terry received the Star-Ledger Award for Best Actor in a Play for his performance in Three Days Of Rain with Dreamcatcher Rep. As a puppeteer he worked for many years with POKO Puppets in Brooklyn, NY. He also designed and built the puppets for Pushcart's productions of Peter and the Wolf, Happily Ever After and Alice In Wonderland. He is currently working with the storyteller, Gerald Fierst on a Science themed multi media, live action and puppet piece entitled Imagine The Moon.


Jason Felix (Assistant Director/Production Designer) is an aspiring actor in both realms (theatre & film). Raised in a Colombian/ Dominican household, Jason's BBPAC credits include the titular role of "Skip Gold" in Skip & Rivka's Not-So-Kosher Interactive Wedding Experience, Stage Manager for Twist of Faith, Production Stage Manager and "Soldier" in Cloud 9, "Jake" in Evil Dead: The Musical, "Sammy/Mr. Lyons" in Blood Brothers: The Musical, and more.

Huey Esquire from Black Box Studios Huey Esquire (Producer) is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, playwright, filmmaker, improviser, and veteran of the early days of Black Box Studios. "Recovering" from a 20 year career as an entertainment and intellectual property lawyer, Huey co-founded Black Box Performing Arts Center, where he is Managing Director, resident Musical Director, and Improv Headmaster. In late Summer 2015, Huey began a developmental workshop of his original musical This Time, A New Musical Romance – for which he has written book, music, and lyrics – that continues development after an Off Broadway run. Recent production credits at BBPAC include The Goat Or, Who Is Sylvia?, Bad Jews, The Whipping Man, and Disgraced. Recent musical direction credits include Green Day's American Idiot, Blood Brothers A Musical, Evil Dead The Musical, Hair, RMTI’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and Heathers The Musical: High School Edition, and a concert version of his own This Time.
Matt Okin from Black Box Studios Matt Okin (Director) founded Black Box Studios in 2007 and opened Black Box Performing Arts Center in November 2015. Recent directing credits include: Heathers The Musical: High School Edition (teens), Disgraced, Cloud 9, Skip & Rivkah's Not-So-Kosher Interactive Wedding Experience, The Goat Or, Who Is Sylvia?, Blood Brothers A Musical, Evil Dead The Musical, Bad Jews, RMTI's new production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, True Groove Productions' Diana & Navy & The Golden Tooth, The Pillowman, and Passing Strange (all at BBPAC); the Off-Broadway premiere of Huey Esquire's This Time, A New Musical Romance (at Theater For The New City, as well as BBPAC); and the BBS Ensemble's Falsettos "In Concert", House Of Blue Leaves, and Next To Normal (bergenPAC), among many others. As a playwright, director, and composer, Matt's original musicals include: Beltsville/Rockville, Part One: Rise Of The Goatman (NJ workshops), Out Of Whack: The All-Kids Rock Musical (devised, at Theater For The New City), Soul Searching (45th Street Theater, DR2 Theater, D-Lounge, and the NYMF), Generations (various NYC venues and NYMF), and A Match Made In Manhattan: The Interactive Jewish Wedding Experience (NYC and national tours). Other original plays, produced both in New York and on national tours include: Second Chances, Twist Of Faith, Walter Liked To Sit In His Big Backyard, Cherry Hill, The Ugly Wife, and Pigs. Matt received a BFA in Dramatic Writing from New York University's Tisch School Of The Arts. He has two college/grad school-age daughters, Rachel and Arielle.
HAND TO GOD is presented in special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc., NY.
Photos courtesy of Glenn L. Photography.
(l to r) Sara Giacomini, Michael Gardiner, Tyrone,  and Joseph Ramondino in "Hand To God".(l to r) Sara Giacomini, Michael Gardiner, Tyrone, and Joseph Ramondino in Hand To God.