ALBANY, NY Harbinger Theatre will continue its 2023 season with “The Motherf**ker with the Hat” by Stephen Adly Guirgis as its 9th consecutive Capital Region premiere! Directed by Brian Sheldon (who will be making his directorial debut with us), we will present at the historic Albany Civic Theater.

“The Motherf**ker with the Hat” touches on heavy topics such as struggles with addiction, friendship, love, fidelity, and the challenges of adulthood. Our characters are Jackie, a petty drug dealer, who is just out of prison and trying to stay clean. He’s also still in love with his coke-addicted childhood sweetheart, Veronica. Ralph D. is Jackie’s too-smooth, slightly slippery sponsor. He’s married to the bitter and disaffected Victoria, who, by the way, has the hots for Jackie. And then there’s Julio, Jackie’s cousin, a stand-up, “stand by me” kind of guy.

“We aren’t perfect. These characters have the ability to remind us of that,” said Sheldon. “Angelique Powell, after seeing our production of Dig, said that the show was a reminder to all that we’re just doing our best. These characters are from completely different backgrounds in completely different locations with entirely different palettes of problems and hurdles. The human condition is learning how to live and stay alive… how we do it can be a direct result of how we were trained to do so.”

According to the Contemporary Playwrights of Color, Stephen Adly Guirgis graduated from The State University of New York at Albany. He is a former Co-Artistic Director of LAByrinth Theatre Company in New York City and an educator in New York City area prisons, schools, shelters, and hospitals for conflict resolution and HIV/AIDS prevention. Guirgis’s plays have been performed throughout the US and across 5 continents. He won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play Between Riverside and Crazy. Awards include the Lucille Lortel Award, the PEN/Laura Pels Award, the Yale Wyndham-Campbell Prize, The Harold & Mimi Steinberg Award, Whiting Award, the TCG fellowship, Fringe First Award, NY Drama Critics Circle, and the L.A. Drama Critics Prize. He is also an actor and has appeared in theater, film, and television.

“The Motherf**ker with the Hat” is described as a play about addiction, love, friendship, growing up, and misplaced haberdashery. This show made its Broadway debut in 2011 at the Schoenfeld Theatre in New York City, directed by Anna D. Shapiro. This premiere starred Chris Rock, Bobby Cannavale, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Annabella Sciorra, and Yul Vasquez and was nominated for six Tony Awards, including ‘Best Play’.

“Guirgis takes amusing swipes at the 12-step psychological doctrines of recovery programs, and how their sanctimonious adherents can justify all kinds of self-serving, duplicitous behavior,” said David Rooney of the Hollywood Reporter in 2011. “While it’s unprintable in the consumer press, the play’s title is a perfect fit.”

Harbinger was formed during the pandemic seeking to produce impactful work by underrepresented playwrights creating more opportunities for all participants (audiences and playmakers) interested in change. We’re thrilled to present this on the ACT stage where the Harbinger participants have been involved in dozens of shows. It’s another shining example of Capital Region Theater growing through collaboration and cooperation.

“When Sheldon suggested this show for Harbinger’s season, it immediately rang every bell that we wanted. It’s inclusive, funny as hell and folks have been trying for years to get it produced in the Capital Region. We have a killer cast that loves this play and it needs to be done,” said Patrick White, co-founder of Harbinger Theatre.

The role of ‘Jackie’ will be played by David Quiñones Jr. The role of ‘Veronica’ will be played by Siobhan Shea. The role of ‘Ralph’ will be played by James Alexander. The role of ‘Victoria’ will be played by Victoria Nieves. The role of ‘Julio’ will be played by Daniel Michael Perez. Out of over 70 actors that have starred in our shows throughout the past year and a half, we are welcoming four new actors to the Harbinger family. We are also proud to say that in this production, we will have a Latinx-dominant cast!

Shows will be held on June 16, 17, 23, and 24 at 7:30 p.m. and matinee shows on June 18 and 25 at 3 p.m. Albany Civic Theater Inc is located at 235 Second Avenue Albany, NY 12209. Tickets will be $15 for general admission and are available for purchase at Harbinger Theatre’s Eventbrite

There will be a free preview night held on Thursday, June 15, and two talkbacks with the cast and crew on Friday, June 16, and Friday, June 23.

It is the intent of Albany Civic Theater to provide education and training in acting, directing, writing, speech, staging, producing, reviewing, and other aspects of the dramatic arts. We aim to encourage and foster community interest and participation in the dramatic arts through the non-profit sponsorship of plays, lectures, publications, workshops, study groups, drama libraries, and related activities.

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