Ohio MFA Playwriting Alumni Merri Biechler’s new play “Tammy Faye’s Final Audition” will have a production this June at the Cincinatti Fringe. The production is through her company, Brick Monkey Theater Ensemble, which is compiled of Ohio Drama faculty, including Shelley Delaney who will be starring in the play as Tammy Faye. Their mission statement ” is to challenge, engage and inspire the residents of our community with explosive and thought-provoking theater. Brick Monkey develops and produces new theater works, as well as contemporary and classic plays. With a commitment to collaboration and a desire to integrate our art into the fabric of our region, we strive to explore, confront and affirm what it means to be alive.”
The play was also featured in a recent article about Fringe shows to watch out for! Here is an excerpt from the article, which you can read in full here
“When people think of Tammy Faye, they think of the crying and the makeup,” said Merri Biechler, an adjunct professor of theater at OU. “But she was actually the first evangelical to embrace gay people back in the 1980s. (The evangelical movement) was more inclusive back then, the idea that anyone could find Jesus, that Jesus loved everyone.”
“Tammy Faye’s Final Audition” is a dreamy exercise where she auditions to create one final TV talk show called “Tammy Faye Wins At Life.” Whether the audition exists inside or outside her head is up to the audience. Throughout, she interacts with all the important men in her life, such as her ex-husband, Jim, her son, Jay, her current husband, Roe Messner, and her one-time co-host, J.J. Bullock, an HIV-positive gay man who also starred in the sitcom, “Too Close For Comfort.” Miechler said the piece was inspired by the fact that Tammy Faye granted an interview to CNN’s Larry King literally seven hours before she passed away from cancer. “She had a real drive to be in front of an audience,” Miechler said. “Call it ego or a last message of love to her fans. It comes from an internal drive that the play tries to understand.”
Congrats Merri on getting this awesome play put up! If you are in the Cincinnati area, go check this play out!!
Play Summary: Tammy Faye Bakker’s quest for one final TV show.
Tammy Faye Bakker was the sweetheart of Christian TV in the 1970’s and 80’s, until it all came crashing down. As she nears the end of her life, she attempts a comeback. In a fevered dream, she enlists the men in her life to audition for one final TV show. “Tammy Faye’s Final Audition” goes beyond the makeup and the tears to the naked truth.
Tue, June 2 @ 6:30PM
Fri, June 5 @ 8:15PM
Sat, June 6 @ 2:10PM
Fringe venue: First Lutheran Church 2, Cincinatti, OH
For more info/purchase Tickets: click here
More about Merri
Merri Biechler is an adjunct instructor of Playwriting and Text Analysis in the Theater Division. Her classes include Elements of Performance, Text Analysis, Playwriting, and numerous seminars. Her plays include Bombs, Babes and Bingo (Mortar Theatre Company world premiere 2012; P73 Playwriting Fellowship semi-finalist; Clubbed Thumb biennial commission finalist); Confessions of a Reluctant Caregiver (Princess Grace Award finalist; Jane Chambers Student Playwriting Award winner; Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Competition finalist; WordBRIDGE Playwrights Laboratory participant, and the recipient of grants totaling $40,000 to use the play as a teaching tool for medical students); and Real Girls Can’t Win (Centenary Stage Company Women Playwrights Series winner; Stavis Award nominee; David Mark Cohen Award finalist; Victory Gardens Theater workshop; Productions at Ohio University, Centenary College, Augustana College, and Indiana State University). Merri spent three years writing for ABC’s movie-of-the-week division and received her MFA in playwriting from Ohio University.
She attended the Professional Actor Training Program at North Carolina School of the Arts and studied acting with Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse and at his private home on the island of Bequia, West Indies. NY theater credits include: Tony ‘n Tina’s Wedding (Off-Broadway), Pathological Venus (EST), and over a dozen original works with the Edge Theatre. Her film and TV credits include: He Said, She Said; The Thing Called Love; Trailerpark; E.R.; Judging Amy; and Murphy Brown. Merri is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild, Writers Guild of American, and the Dramatists Guild.