When Angel meets Cupid in a bar and her band gets an opening slot on a tour, life takes some unexpected turns into a past she tried to leave behind. Part rock show, part booze-soaked road trip through the dive bars and dark clubs of the late 90s east coast music scene, ANGEL NUMBER NINE shows us that the things we need are sometimes found on the roads we tried to avoid.
Rorschach will transform the two-level former retail space at 1020 Connecticut Avenue NW into the 90s bars and rock clubs of ANGEL NUMBER NINE, complete with drinks for purchase, and a pre-show experience with curated listening stations, vinyl for sale and an exhibit highlighting hidden histories of DC music.
ANGEL NUMBER NINE will also serve as the culmination of 2022/2023 Psychogeographies Project DISSONANT CITIES. The show can be appreciated with or without participation in the seven-chapter, year-long project.
This show contains mature content. For more detailed descriptions visit here.
ABOUT THE PLAY
Adapted by James L. Rogers III and Jenny McConnell Frederick
from the novel by James L. Rogers III
Original Music composed by Shawn Northrip
Directed by Jenny McConnell Frederic
James L. Rogers III is a writer, lyricist, voice over artist and professional problem solver. He is a former Lucas Arts writer-in-residence and winner at the Source Theater Festival. His short plays and poetry have been featured on numerous DC stages, some of which he helped construct. His work explores the darker side of human nature through irreverence and humor.
Jenny McConnell Frederick is a Director, Producer, and maker of impossible theatre. She’s the co-Artistic Director of Rorschach Theatre which she founded in the summer of 1999 with Randy Baker. For Rorschach, she has directed more than a dozen shows including the Helen Hayes Nominated VOICES UNDERWATER and GOD OF VENGEANCE, as well as both of the sold-out runs of Neil Gaiman’s NEVERWHERE. In 2020 she co-conceived the PSYCHOGEOGRAPHIES concept for Rorschach. In 2015, she conceived and directed TRUTH & BEAUTY BOMBS, an original work based on the Canadian webcomic, “A Softer World.” She co-created CHAMBERS OF THE HEART and MOVE!, two immersive dance/theatre projects at Word Dance Theatre. She served as Artistic Director of CulturalDC’s Source Festival and Mead Theatre Lab Program. In that capacity she oversaw the selection, development and production of more than 200 works for the stage over nearly a decade. She graduated cum laude from Virginia Commonwealth University with a BFA in Theatre and briefly joined Mensa for the free pencils. She lives in Takoma, DC with her husband and their long-term collaboration, a son named Thane.
“There’s an intoxicating interplay of community and anonymity in dive bars and dark rock clubs, “ McConnell Frederick says, “so it’s an ideal backdrop for a story about figuring out who your people are and how to make peace among the dissonance.”
“The idea of a piece of theater punctuated and highlighted by a series of rock concerts seemed, to me, to be the perfect next life for Angel’s story,” Rogers says of adapting the novel with McConnell Frederick. “I wanted to hear those songs come off the page and fill a room. I wanted, for myself and for the audience, to experience the highs and lows, the visceral emotions, of these characters, and these songs, in an immediate and physical way.”
Shawn Northrip is a playwright and composer with a penchant for writing rock musicals. His most notorious show is a punk rock Titus Andronicus, which just celebrated 20 years of life, most recently as presented by the Brazen-faced Varlets, where it also ended up as a tattoo on the lead’s body, which is the highest honor the show has received. Shawn also teaches high school, has membership in the Dramatists Guild, was an Inaugural member of Playwrights’ Arena, and brags about his NYU MFA. Shout out to Boinkee Bonson for never turning down a gig.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
Cast & Production Team
ANGEL NUMBER NINE will be directed by Jenny McConnell Frederick and feature Ian Armstrong (He/Him) as Fred, Billy Bob Bonson (He/Him) as Wally, Veronica Bundy (She/Her) as Delia, Lauren Farnell (They/Them) as Connie, Kate Kenworthy (They/Them) as Angel, Irene Hamilton (She/Her) as Christa, Bri Houtman (They/She) as Daniel, Max Johnson (He/Him) as Billy, James Carlos Lacey (He/Him) as Jesus, CC Meade (She/Her) as Sophie, and Robert Bowen Smith (He/Him) as Cupid.
The design and production team includes Nadir Bey as Set Designer, Kylos Brannon as Video Designer, James Morrison as Lighting Designer, Ian Vespermann as Sound Designer, Ashlynn Ludwig as Costume Designer, Christian Sullivan as Technical Director, Caraline Jeffrey as Stage Manager, and more artists to be announced.
McConnell Frederick and the design team will transform a former clothing store at 1020 Connecticut Avenue NW into a hazy, vibrant dive bar in which audiences can have a total evening of experiences.
When the audience enters the space, the ground floor will offer a fully immersive history of DC music. There will be vendors selling vinyl records and Rorschach’s PSYCHOGEOGRAPHIES chapters, as well as mixtape listening stations curated by local experts Amanda Mackaye, Dunia Best, Aram Sinnreich and others to be announced.
When they descend the stairs into the basement they will find a space transformed into a 90s-era rock club, like local favorites the Black Cat or DC9. The audience will be able to sit in a mix of cocktail and cabaret tables throughout the space as the story unfolds all around them. Guests will be able to purchase drinks at the in-house – and in-story – bar before and after the show. The space allows for audiences to come early and stay late to enjoy the immersive experience – they may even bring dinner from local restaurants to eat before the show!
ANGEL NUMBER NINE FACT SHEET
Adapters: James L. Rogers, III, and Jenny McConnell Frederick.
Original Music composed by: Shawn Northrip
Director: Jenny McConnell Frederick.
Featuring: Ian Armstrong, Billy Bob Bonson, Veronica Bundy, Lauren Farnell, Kate Kenworthy, Irene Hamilton, Bri Houtman, Max Johnson, James Carlos Lacey, CC Meade, and Robert Bowen Smith.
Designed by: Nadir Bey (Set), Kylos Brannon (Video), Ashlynn Ludwig (Costumes), James Morrison (Lights) and Ian Vespermann (Sound).
With: Caraline Jeffrey (Stage Manager) and Christian Sullivan (Technical Director).Produced by: Randy Baker and Jenny McConnell Frederick.
Location: Performing at Rorschach @ Washington Square, 1020 Connecticut Avenue NW. For more information, please visit here.
Performances: July 7-30, 2023. Pay-What-You-Can Previews July 7-9.
Tickets: Ticket Prices ($10-$45): $45 Adults / $30 Students and Seniors. Tickets may be purchased here. More discounts, including information about our limited $10 tickets can be found on our website here.
Rorschach Theatre Mission Statement: Through uncommon uses of environment and intimate passionate performances, Rorschach Theatre seeks to lure its audiences beyond the limits of ordinary theatrical experience so that they may discover new elements of their own humanity.
Rorschach Theatre Founding Artistic Directors: Jenny McConnell Frederick and Randy Baker
For Information: 202-399-7993 ext. 180, rorschachtheatre.com
ABOUT RORSCHACH THEATRE
Through uncommon uses of environment and intimate passionate performances, Rorschach Theatre seeks to lure its audiences beyond the limits of ordinary theatrical experience so that they may discover new elements of their own humanity.
Rorschach Theatre tells stories that allow for innovative design and visceral performances. The company treats productions as “installations” that surround the audience with the world of a play. Our work centers on the intersection of magic or impossible moments and every day human experiences. Without proselytizing, it provides a complex, intellectual catalyst for self-exploration of challenging subjects. Catalyzed by the circumstances of 2020, the company leveraged our unique strengths to create Psychogeographies, a groundbreaking project that combines history, fiction, magic realism and real world excursions in a new kind of theatrical experience. This season-long immersive narrative takes participants to lesser-known spots around their city as a story unfolds through letters, artifacts, and objects mailed in monthly chapters.
Beginning during the Covid-19 pandemic, Rorschach began producing “Psychogeographies” – season-long immersive narratives that take participants to lesser-known spots around their city as a story unfolds through letters, artifacts, and objects mailed in monthly chapters.
Rorschach is also a vital launching pad for emerging artists. By trusting early-career actors, directors, playwrights and designers with substantive artistic responsibilities, and surrounding them with established professionals and ample resources, the company has become an essential showcase for new talent. In addition to its regular season, Rorschach produces “Magic in Rough Spaces,” an annual new play development series; “Klecksography,” an annual new artist development event (for actors, local playwrights, and directors); and “Fight Camp,” a stage combat training program held every summer.