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They're Coming Back, Angrier than Ever

Three photos from "The Nude Scene," one of a series of skits in "Angry Young Women in Low-Rise Jeans with High-Class Issues." In the dressing room of a film studio, an actress dreading her first nude scene is reassured by her mischievous best friend. L: Devon Pipars, R: Rachel Nau. Photos by Jonathan Slaff

Jonathan Slaff

Theater for the New City presents Angry Young Women in Low-Rise Jeans with High-Class Issues, written and directed by Matt Morillo, a raunchy look at the psychology of nervous urban goddesses.

To share an East Village hit of last season with a wider audience, Theater for the New City will present "Angry Young Women in Low Rose Jeans with High Class Issues," written and directed by Matt Morillo, from January 4 to February 11, 2007. The comedy has been slightly re-written, extensively re-designed and partially re-cast, but retains most of the ensemble--The Kings and Desperate Men Players--who rocked East Fourth Street's Duo Theater for six weeks last season.

Humorist Matt Morillo didn't think "Sex in the City" was funny enough. So he set out to write his own play about what makes foxy women tick, while avoiding the long shadow of "The Vagina Monologues." He began with a series of character studies based on simple listening, discovery and whatever flew into his head. Out came "Angry Young Women in Low-Rise Jeans with High-Class Issues," a light-to-serious look at the psychology of urban goddesses.

It's one thing to be beautiful by an act of God. It's another to be paying for it every day of your life. These girls are coffee-driven, sensitive, wired, misunderstood and fuming with awkward issues. Who'd have dreamed that when she bares her soul, Temptation could be so self-conscious? The play parades a series of foxy, witty and anxious women who bear the expectations of the world like an itchy muffler. They are frustrated with the way of the world, the perceptions men have of them and their own reactions to it. How, for example, do you resolve contradictions like dressing as a hooker and still being a feminist? So they go head to head with such issues as Electra complexes, bikini waxes, low rider jeans, their oversexed mothers, thongs, brazen teenagers, men's sexual fantasies, side effects of birth control drugs, mean teenagers on the subway, sympathy sex and the artistic integrity of penises and vaginas in independent films.

The show bills itself as "An Outrageous Comedy" and its postcards declare, "Even though it's a play, it doesn't suck." Reviews of last season's production were uniformly affirming:

New York Cool (Sharsten Senior) cheered, "Angry Young Women In Low-Rise Jeans with High Class Issues is a must see for any Sex and the City fan. Matt Morillo writes, directs, and produces this series of skits which captures the unexplainable yet undeniable differences between men and women. After seeing this play the first thing on my mind was, 'Wow, Morillo sure has been through some high class issues with women.' The play is so well written I could only assume that these situations were once his own. The casting was perfect. The actors fit the parts and their jeans. And as sure as I am a woman, I will be re-attending."

Backstage (Tom Penketh) observed, "Despite the handicap of being male, the playwright-director seems able to grasp deeply many of these situations -- from daddy issues to the emotional roller coaster of 'the pill'."

Offoffonline (Timothy John Papp) added, "It is nearly impossible to find a reason not to laugh at this ingenious farce. 'Angry Young Women' is an entertaining show, questioning the ideals of what women want to be, what men want women to be, and what both men and women are willing to do to get what they want. 'The Nude Scene' is worth the price of admission by itself, a truly great piece of theater."

Audience members of last winter's production emailed the show's website with such testimonials as "It's like Sex and The City on stage" (Elissa Soule, Kew Gardens, NY) and "Hard to believe a guy who's never worn a thong would capture the anger and the thoughts of women everywhere! Imagine if he ever did wear a thong?" (Anne Stampfel, Malverne, NY). The piece evidenced wide appeal: it drew equally from both sexes and its audience was split evenly between Manhattanites and suburbanites.

Before "Angry Young Women," playwright Matt Morillo had been a fixture on the New York independent film scene for seven years. He is a producer, writer/director and "other half" (with Rich Barbadillo) of KADM Productions. He debuted auspiciously at the age twenty-three with his romantic comedy, "The Pretenders." His next project, "Good Tidings," a fifteen minute short film about a young girl suffering through her parents' divorce, was deemed "A thought-provoking drama powered by Jessica Durdock's moving performance" (Don Lewis, Film Talk). Thom Bennett wrote in Film Scouts, "Morillo's strengths lie in his appreciation of the subtle nuances of family and the ability to elicit fine performances from his actors." Morillo's last film, the comedy "Maid Of Honor," won Best Short Film at Long Island International Film Expo, Best Honorable Mention at Cinekink Festival, Second Place at Zoie Sexy Short Film Festival, and had sold out screenings at the Long Island International Film Expo and at the Independent Film Group Series. Beside his work in independent film, he has collaborated with stand-up comedians Beth Lynn Kelly, Brooke Haselton and Ray Wetz.

Morillo was raised in Hicksville, graduated Hicksville High in 1994 and attended college at C.W. Post.

The play is written and directed by Matt Morillo. Most of last year's cast--The Kings and Desperate Men Players--will be returning. The ensemble will be: Rachel Nau, Thomas J. Pilutik, Devon Pipars, Angelique Letizia, Nicholas J. Coleman, JessAnn Smith and Martin Friedrichs.

Lighting design is by Amith A. Chandrashaker. Set design is by Jana Mattioli.

January 4 to February 11, 2007
Theater for the New City (Cino Theater), 155 First Avenue (at E. 10th Street)
Presented by Theater for the New City in association with Matt Morillo, Jessica Durdock and Richard Barbadillo.
Show's website: angryyoungwomen.net
Thursday through Saturday at 8:00 PM, Sundays at 3:00 PM.
$20 Thursday through Saturday, Sundays "pay what you can."
SMARTTIX (212) 868-4444; www.smarttix.com


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