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The Appointment

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About the Show

Lightning Rod Special (Sans Everything, Underground Railroad Game) presents The Appointment, a musical satire about the American abortion debate. Associated risks include exposure to hypocrisy, absurdity, and rampant misogyny.

Don’t worry. That’s perfectly normal.

Creative Team

Lead Artist: Alice Yorke*
Lead Writers: Alice Yorke*, Eva Steinmetz, Scott R. Sheppard*, and Alex Bechtel*
Composer: Alex Bechtel*
Director: Eva Steinmetz

The Appointment was created by Lightning Rod Special in collaboration with the ensemble Katie Gould*, Jaime Maseda, Lee Minora, Brett Ashley Robinson, Scott R. Sheppard*, Brenson Thomas, and Alice Yorke* Production/Scenic Designer Oona Curley* Costume Designer Jill Keys Lighting Designer Masha Tsimring Sound Designer Liz Atkinson Prop Designer Alicia Crosby Choreographer: Melanie Cotton Music Director Amanda Morton Stage Manager Sara Marinich Bassist Charles Muench Drummer Michael Santa Cruz Community Engagement Coordinator Cat Ramirez Co-Creative Producer Meredith Sonnen Production Management and Technical Direction by Flannel & Hammer Additional creation by nicHi Douglas, Jenson Titus Lavallee, and Mason Rosenthal* Produced in Association with Max Tuttleman

* Lightning Rod Special Company Member

About Lightning Rod Special

Lightning Rod Special is a Philadelphia-based original performance company that creates raucous and contemplative works to ask questions of ourselves, our audience, and the world at large. Our work engages a highly collaborative, actor-driven approach. Exploding complex questions with precision and play, Lightning Rod Special makes live performance from the ground up. Since 2012, we have made six full-length works, toured to 15 cities nationally and internationally. Our award-winning work has been widely recognized and Underground Railroad Game received three Lucille Lortel nominations (including Best Play), two Helen Hayes nominations (including Outstanding Visiting Production), the 2017 OBIE for Best New American Theater Work, an Edinburgh Fringe First, an Edinburgh Stage Award, and was listed by the New York Times’ as one of the 25 best plays of the last 25 years. Lightning Rod Special is Co-Directors Alice Yorke, Scott R. Sheppard, Mason Rosenthal, and company members Alex Bechtel, Oona Curley, Katie Gould, Rebecca Kanach, and Jenn Kidwell.

About the Artists

ALICE YORKE is a Philadelphia-based actor, creator, director, and producer. She is a Co-Director of Lightning Rod Special, with whom she created and performed in Hackles, Let the Dog See the Rabbit, and Sans Everything. She is the lead artist on their most recent work, The Appointment, a dark satire of the misogyny in the American abortion debate. She recently directed White Feminist by Lee Minora, a scorching indictment of white women’s participation in feminism, the hit of the 2018 Fringe Festival. Her performance in The Gap at Azuka Theatre was recognized with a Bonaly Award for excellent performance and a Barrymore nomination for outstanding supporting performance. For five years she has been seen across music venues in Philly and New York as Red 40 and the Last Groovement’s wild dancer Candy Scrapple. She is a proud graduate of the inaugural class of the Pig Iron School for Advanced Performance Training.

SCOTT R. SHEPPARD is an OBIE Award-winning theater artist living in Philadelphia and New York City. He is a Co-Director of Lightning Rod Special. Recent credits: Underground Railroad Game (co-creator/perfomer), named by the New York Times in 2018 as one of the top 25 plays in the past 25 years, currently touring nationally and internationally; Pig Iron Theatre Company’s 99 Breakups and A Period of Animate Existence (deviser/performer); PITC’s Gentlemen Volunteers (performer); George & Co.’s Holden (co-creator/performer); and Arden Theatre Company’s The Stinky Cheeseman (performer, Barrymore nomination). Scott is a recipient of the Independence Foundation Fellowship, an OBIE Award winner for Best New American Theater Work, Edinburgh Fringe First Award. Proud graduate of the inaugural class at Pig Iron’s School Performance and Guild Hall resident artist for 2018. Next up co-creating Nosejob in Drama League Residency for 2019, SPEECH with Misha Chowdhury, and Very Smart and Fragile Boys with Andrew Neisler.

ALEX BECHTEL (Lead Writing Team/Composer) is a Philadelphia-based theatre artist, dedicated to the creation of new works of music, theatre, and musical theatre.  As an actor, composer, sound designer, writer, director, teaching artist, and multi-instrumentalist, Bechtel’s work has been seen all over Philadelphia. With LRS, Bechtel has composed music / sound design for: Hackles, Go Long Big Softie, Underground Railroad Game, and appeared as an actor in Let the Dog See the Rabbit. Barrymore Awards for Outstanding Music Direction, Outstanding Ensemble of a Musical, Outstanding Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical, and Outstanding Original Music. Bechtel is the creator/composer of the musicals The West, Philadelphia Nocturne, and Cheer Up, Dostoevsky. He is a Lightning Rod Special company member, and is now a member of the theatre faculty at his alma mater, University of the Arts.

EVA STEINMETZ is a Philadelphia-based theater artist and administrator. An avid collaborator, Eva works with companies and individuals to develop their own original productions. Local collaborations include The Polyphone Festival (Hart Island Requiem), Alexandra Tatarsky (Sign Felt), Chris Davis (Anna K.), the Pig Iron Theater Company (Zero Cost House; Twelfth Night; A Period of Animate Existence; The Caregivers), Team Sunshine Performance Corporation (JapanAmerica Wonderwave), and Opera Philadelphia (Birdland; Sky on Swings). As lead artist of her ensemble theater company, The Eva Steinmetz Project, she has directed and produced two full-length original pieces: SHUTTLEFISH (2017) and The Trial (2018). Eva participated in (and is immensely grateful for) the Collaborative Arts Mobility Project, 1812 Theater Company’s Jilline Ringle residency, and the HATCH residency. She was also a performer/creator in Josephine Decker’s film, Madeline’s Madeline.

JAIME MASEDA is an artist living and working in Philadelphia. He is one half of No Face Performance Group, a collaborative partnership with NYC-based artist Mark McCloughan. Working with a revolving group of associate artists, they’ve been making performances using a wide variety of processes and sources since 2007. Jaime has also performed/created with Pig Iron, Mel Krodman & Kelly Bond, Miguel Gutierrez, Magda & Chelsea, Azuka Theatre, Orbiter 3, George & Co., and Alex Torra. Next: Indecent at the Arden, May 22 – June 23.

BRENSON THOMAS is a Philly-based theatre maker, performer, and writer. A recent graduate of  Sarah Lawrence College’s MFA in Theatre program, Brenson studied with Dan Hurlin, David Neumann, Sybil Kempson, Stew, and Raja Feather Kelly. Prior to SLC he served as the Assistant to the Director of Dance at the University of the Arts, and performed at 11th Hour Theatre Company, the Walnut Street Theatre, and the Arden Theatre. When he’s not inhabiting the fetus world, Brenson serves as an Academic Advisor at UArts. Much love and gratitude to LRS and their wonderful collaborators, and to my family and Kevin for allowing me to love them.

KATIE GOULD is one of the founding members of Lightning Rod Special. She has worked as a performer creator on many LRS projects, including Let the Dog See the Rabbit and Sans Everything. She is a graduate of the Pig Iron School for Advanced Performance Training, from which LRS blossomed. Katie is also the owner of KG Strong, a woman-powered, body-positive strength studio in the BOK building in South Philly.

LEE MINORA is a theater maker, solo performer and actor based in Philadelphia. Her original solo works have been seen at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, San Francisco’s FURY Factory, Good Good Comedy, The Brick Theater and The Wilma Theater where she was an artist in residence. She is a Haas Emerging Artist Finalist, a Barrymore Nominee and a two time recipient of the Jilline Ringle Performance Grant. Up Next, Lee’s show White Feminist will be presented as part of The Care and Destruction Festival in London.

BRETT ASHLEY ROBINSON is an actor/deviser based out of Philadelphia. She has performed and created work at InterAct Theatre Company, Quintessence Theatre, The Wilma Theatre, The Arden Theatre Company, The Flea, Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Public’s Under the Radar Festival, Ars Nova, Premier Stages, Geva Theatre Center, American Repertory Theatre, and the Ensemble Studio Theater. She is also a proud graduate of The Pig Iron School of Advanced Performance Training.

OONA CURLEY is a New York based lighting and scenic designer and Lightning Rod Special company member. Previously with LRS: Underground Railroad Game (Hewes Design Award Nom). Recently in Philly: Nina Simone: Four Women (People’s Light), Sweeney Todd (Curtis), Poison Cookie Project (Bearded Ladies), Mahagonny/The Medium (Curtis), ¡Bienvenidos Blancos! (Team Sunshine), The Light Princess (Arden Theatre), Andy: A Popera (Opera Philadelphia/Bearded Ladies). Elsewhere: Lashed but not Leashed (Martha Graham Cracker/Guthrie), Bonnie’s Last Flight (Next Door NYTW), Macbeth (Trinity Rep), Macbeth in Stride (The Public/UTR), Paradise Blue (Long Wharf), Circus – Wandering City (BAM), Good Grief (Vineyard), Magic Flute (Indy Symphony Orchestra), Tin Cat Shoes (Clubbed Thumb), The Homecoming Queen (Atlantic Theater Co.), in a word (Lesser America). Associate artist with Bearded Ladies Cabaret. Recipient: J.S. Seidman Award for Design Excellence, Weston Award for Design, Zonta Award for Theatre Arts. Nominee: Princess Grace Award. MFA NYU/Tisch.

JILLIAN KEYS is a UArts graduate (2011), and former Walnut St. Theatre Apprentice (2011-2012). Along with managing the Drexel University Costume Shop and doing children’s theater at Upper Darby Summer Stage between seasons, she has designed costumes for Pig Iron Theater Company, The Arden, 1812 Productions, Orbiter 3, The Walnut St. Theatre, Theatre Exile, Act II Playhouse, The Lantern Theatre, Inis Nua, EgoPo, InterAct, The Berserker Residents, Azuka Theatre, Applied Mechanics, and Simpatico Theater Project among others. For other fun facts please visit:

MASHA TSIMRING is a NYC-based lighting designer for performance. Recently: Kleptocracy (Arena Stage); Minor Character (Under the Radar/New Saloon); Noura (Playwrights Horizons); Intractable Woman (PlayCo); Romeo & Juliet/Our Town (Alabama Shakespeare); Pride & Prejudice (Pittsburgh Public); Electric Lucifer (The Kitchen); Sarabande (LA Dance Project); The Garden of Forking Paths (Nichole Canuso Dance Co); Frontieres Sans Frontieres (Bushwick Starr); Ultimate Beauty Bible (Page73); The Marriage of Figaro (Charlottesville Opera); The Wolves (Marin Theatre Co); The Gap (Azuka); Into the Breeches! (Chautauqua Theatre Co.); As You Like It (CalShakes); Constellations (Wilma); My Fair Lady (Playmakers Rep); MFA – Yale School of Drama.

ELIZABETH ATKINSON is delighted to be working with Lightning Rod Special for the first time. Liz is currently residing in Philadelphia, after many years in Pittsburgh where she was Resident Sound Designer at the City Theatre Company. Her freelance career includes regional theatre credits at Arden Theatre Company, The Wilma, Theatre Exile, Simpatico Theatre Project, InterAct Theatre, Inis Nua Theatre, People’s Light and Theatre Company, Walnut Street Theatre, Yale Repertory Theatre, Hartford Stage, Quantum Theatre, and Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette named her sound designer of the year in 2003, 2006, and 2007. Liz has also had the honor of exhibiting at the 2007, 2011 and 2015 Prague Quadrennials.

ALICIA CROSBY is a Philadelphia based designer, creator and performing artist who specializes in new and devised works. Alicia has recently designed props for Pig Iron Theatre, The Bearded Ladies Cabaret, Bristol Riverside Theater and Team Sunshine. Alicia is a performer/creator of Dear Diary LOL with Antigravity Performance Project and Lead artist of a new Pussy Pop Rock band, Girl Poop. Alicia is a graduate of the Pig Iron School and has earned a BFA from Tyler School of Art.

MELANIE COTTON is a Philadelphia native and a graduate of the Freedom Theater Performing Arts School. She was a principal dancer and contributing choreographer for Montazh PAC and a principal dancer with Rennie Harris: Puremovement. Melanie has been featured in Bill Irwin’s Happiness Lecture, 1812 Productions’ It’s My Party: The Women in Comedy ProjectIn The Heights at Walnut Street Theater, co-collaborator/ performer for Pig Iron’s The Swamp is On, as well as choreographer for The Best Songs in the World for the Polyphone Festival. Most recently she was choreographer for Arden Theater’s productions of The Legend of Georgia McBride and Touch Tones.

AMANDA MORTON is a Music Director and Senior Lecturer at University of the Arts. Select credits include: The Bridges of Madison County (Philadelphia Theatre Company); Anne of Green Gables (Merry Go Round Playhouse); Passing Strange (Wilma Theater, Barrymore recipient); KPOP (Ars Nova); A Period of Animate Existence (Pig Iron Theatre Company); The Color Purple, Peter and the Starcatcher, A New Brain, Into the Woods (Barrymore recipient), Spring Awakening (Theatre Horizon); A Year With Frog & Toad (Barrymore nomination), The Secret Garden, Passion, Parade (Arden Theatre Company); Grey Gardens, Broadcast, Kiss of the Spider Woman, A New Brain, Side Show (11th Hour Theatre Company); Malpractice Makes Perfect (York Theatre Company); Peter & I (American Theatre of Actors); We Tell the Story: The Songs of Ahrens & Flaherty (Lortel Theatre). Upcoming: Minors (Lantern Theater Company); Into the Woods (Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival). She has a B.F.A. in Musical Theatre Performance from Ithaca College.

SARA MARINICH (she/they) is a Philadelphia based artist and stage manager. They are the Artistic Fellow at The Wilma Theater for the 2018/19 season. Sara has worked with Opera Philadelphia, The Bearded Ladies Cabaret, Lightning Rod Special, Subcircle, Red 40 & The Last Groovement, and Ninth Planet. They are a graduate of The University of The Arts and are a member of The American Guild of Musical Artists. More about Sara at

CAT RAMIREZ is a Philly native who directs and produces devised work, new plays, and events that subverts societal norms. As a producer, Cat has conceived and spearheaded a variety of programs including, the only Asian American-focused craft fair in Philadelphia, Philadelphia Asian Performing Artists’ inaugural production of Tiger Style! by Mike Lew, and 2 separate residency programs to support Asian American performers and playwrights. They are the Creative Director for Philadelphia Asian Performing Artists (PAPA) and the Public Programs Producer for Asian Arts Initiative. As a director, Cat has turned boiler rooms into dilapidated mansions, office spaces into drunken time warps, and bars into dreamscapes for queer love stories. They have presented with SoLow Fest and have worked with Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival, Arcadia University, Director’s Gathering, and Philadelphia Young Playwrights (among others). Cat earned a B.A. from Vassar College in Drama.

MEREDITH SONNEN is a freelance Project and Production manager for TV, theatre, and architecture. Recent projects include Skittles the Musical, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, and Poison Cookie Cabaret with The Bearded Ladies. Love to the family and community.

FLANNEL & HAMMER SCENE SHOP is a Philadelphia based business. The company was founded by Lauren Tracy (Flannel) and Joe Daniels (Hammer). With over 10 years’ experience and 100 productions under their (tool) belts they have the knowledge and skills to bring any scenic construction to life. Their work can be seen onstage here and all season with Azuka Theatre, Inis Nua Theatre, Simpatico, and Theatre Exile.

Post-Show Events

Audiences are warmly invited to participate in several contextual programming events to engage with the themes of The Appointment, including reproductive rights and access, sex education, and equity.

Friday, March 22: Get Pegged Cabaret: The Naughty Femme Edition featuring some of the cast of The Appointment, and co-hosted by John Jarboe and Alice Yorke.

Saturday, March 23 (matinee): Long Table discussion with community stakeholders, including Elicia Gonzales, Executive Director of Women’s Medical Fund and moderated by Carol Zou, Intercultural Leadership Institute Fellow.

Sunday, March 24: Reproductive Rights Crafternoon in the FringeArts conference room to create crafts in response to the themes of the performance.

Wednesday, March 27: Post-show panel with The Appointment’s partner organization, Allentown Women’s Center.

Friday, March 29: Sex Ed Trivia Night hosted by Dr. Timaree Schmit, featuring prizes that include a generous donation from Sexploratorium.

Nerd Out

Alice Yorke, Lead Artist of The Appointment and Co-Director of Lightning Rod Special and Elicia Gonzales, Executive Director of Women’s Medical Fund, sat down to talk about the research and rehearsal process Lightning Rod Special went through and what the American abortion debate really means for issues of health care, education, race, and more on our podcast, Happy Hour on the Fringe. Read the full transcript on the FringeArts Blog or listen to the episode on your favorite podcasting platform.


The Appointment was developed, in part, with assistance from The Orchard Project (), Ari Edelson, Artistic Director; Abby Marcus, Managing Director

The Appointment was developed, in part, during Camp Fringe 2018, at FringeArts Philadelphia.

Lightning Rod Special receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

This project is made possible, in part, through a grant from the Network of Ensemble Theaters’ Travel & Exchange Network (NET/TEN), supported by lead funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Support provided by the Philadelphia Cultural Fund.

Support provided by Charlotte Cushman Foundation.

Support for High Pressure Fire Service has been provided by the Wyncote Foundation.

Lightning Rod Special gratefully acknowledges their generous donors:

Andrena Williams, Andrew Thompson, Anonymous, Cass Meehan, Chris + Cathy Kerr, Christopher Kozey, Cindy + Gene St. Clair, Deb Douglas, Doug Yorke, Eli Sweet, Eric Held, Eve Chamberlain, Gene Bishop, Jack Meaney, Jay Berkowitz, Jesse Paulsen, Joel Price, John Muse, Jordan Strauss, Judy Golden, Julia Burch, Kaitlyn Macauly, Kyle Harpole, Leslie Stahl + Peter Kendrierski, Lori Kushner, Lucas Nguyen, Bill Kennedy + Lydia Martin, Max Tuttleman, Marcia Ferguson, Mark Dichter, Mary Flahive, Matt Rosen + Sarah Godner, Maya Choldin, Nancy + Steven Sheppard, Nancy Lanham, Natalie Pompilio, Natasha Dravid + Brom Snyder, Nathan Singh + Abby Green, Dana + Neil Cohen, Nick Kerr + Jessica Kasten, Nick Maxwell + Sasha Greif Maxwell, Nick Mirra, Oliver Lee, Page Talbott + Jim Gould, Pamela Tew + Jon Tew, Randy Paulsen and Sally Bowie, Renee Blinkwolt, Robert Sinclair, Robert Weinberg, Sandra Chaff, Sarah Bishop Stone, Shelley Green + Michael Golden, Terry + Paul Guerin, Trish Kelly, Zach Blackwood

Special thanks to the following individuals for their help with The Appointment:

Lori Felipe-Barkin; Richard Quinn; Renee Blinkwolt; Zach, Katy, Tenara, Nick, and the FringeArts team; Abby and Christopher of Foxtrot Farm; Jen Conrow; KG Strong; Kim, Tristina, and the Allentown Women’s Center Team; Asian Arts Initiative; Amy Smith and Headlong; Shon and Temple University

Next up for The Appointment:

New York Theatre Workshop: Next Door Series, April 18-May 4. Learn more about the show at:

Coming up at FringeArts

The Appointment is part of High Pressure Fire Service (HPFS), FringeArts’ presentation series of new works by Philadelphia’s most innovative performers. The series takes its name from FringeArts’ historic building, the first high pressure pump house in the country. Opened in 1903, the station pumped water from the Delaware River to fire hydrants across Philadelphia, connecting the city and helping it grow and thrive. This history of creativity and connectivity is at the very heart of the High Pressure Fire Service festival.  There are four more new works coming up this April through June, and you can still purchase a 3–4 show HPFS subscription to save 15% on tickets. We hope to see you for our next HPFS show!

Broccoli, Roosevelt and Mr. House!
April 12—14

An unpredictable, vibrant comedy for all ages from The Berserker Residents

A Hard Time
May 1—12

An outrageous alt-comedy and futurist cabaret from Jess Conda, Jenn Kidwell, and Mel Krodman of Pig Iron Theatre Company.

The Sincerity Project #3 (2019)
June 4–8

Team Sunshine Performance Corporation explores aging, shifting expectations and identities in the third installment of The Sincerity Project.

Circuit City
June 20–22

A futuristic exploration of public-private ownership, housing, and technology from poet and noise musician Moor Mother.

FringeArts Historic Building Tours

Join us on Mondays at 5:30pm in La Peg for free building tours. Get a behind-the-scenes look at the theater, studio spaces, and restaurant, and learn how FringeArts has revamped the fire pump house to promote contemporary art as innovative as the history of the building.

April Scratch Night
Mon, April 1 at 7pm

Come see a roster of Philly’s most talented artists perform new material from shows they are working on in this fast-paced sampling of contemporary theater, dance, performance art, and everything in between. This month’s performers include Rose Luardo, Magda San Millan, Fred Brown & Gina Murdock, Paloma Irizarry, and Marcelline Mandeng.

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Help FringeArts present world-class, contemporary performing arts that challenge convention and inspire new ways of thinking.