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Jamin Ruhren aka ACID BETTY and Kayvon Zand, two of NYC’s biggest underground stars, lead the cast of Alfred Preisser and Randy Weiner’s CALIGULA MAXIMUS, a new musical disco circus, at House of Yes, March 31st – April 17, 2011.

Click here for video preview.
Click here for metromix.com photo slideshow.

Presented by THE SAINT AT LARGE in association with HOUSE OF YES and LADY CIRCUS, CALIGULA MAXIMUS begins previews March 31st at House of Yes, 342 Maujer St. in Brooklyn, New York, with performances continuing through April 17th.

Helmed by Jen Bender, CALIGULA MAXIMUS features book & lyrics by Alfred Preisser and Randy Weiner (DONKEY SHOW), musical arrangements by Brent Lord and choreography by Richard Kennedy.

CALIGULA MAXIMUS stars Jamin Ruhren aka ACID BETTY as Caligula and Kayvon Zand as Helicon, and features Luqman Brown, Charles Baskerville, Brittany Alexandra Campbell, Matt Dallow, Raelyn Hennessee, Stormy Leather, Isaac Scranton, Xavier Smith, Mia Van De Water and Lady Circus aerialists Anya Sapozhnikova, Airin Dalton and Matt Griffin.

Aptly described by the Village Voice as “a dirty-minded extravaganza,” CALIGULA MAXIMUS combines elements of a musical with songs inspired by a pop icon, a high-wire circus and a nightclub installation.

Set on the last night of the notorious emperor’s life, CALIGULA MAXIMUS is a high-jinks of nudity, frivolity and 70′s-inspired decadence. The debaucherous Emperor of Rome takes on a beautific Jesus Christ in an X-rated wrestling match for the hearts and hard-ons of ancient Rome.

Originally staged to critical acclaim at La MaMa, the sold-out play with music has been overhauled as an all-singing, all-dancing spectacle in which audiences are encouraged to take off their togas for a dip in the Cosmic Pool.

Performances:
Wednesday, April 6 @ 9P
Thursday, April 7th @ 9P
Friday, April 8th @ 8:30P & 11P
Saturday, April 9th @ 9P
Sunday, April 10th @ 8P
Wednesday April 13 @ 9P
Thursday April 14th @ 9pm
Friday, April 15 @ 8:30P & 11P
Sunday April 17 @ 2P

House of Yes is located at 342 Maujer St. in Brooklyn, New York. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/167837

CALIGULA MAXIMUS
Place: HOUSE OF YES
342 Maujer St.
Brooklyn, New York

*Please note: Preshow/doors is scheduled one hour before each performance. Those choosing to attend will find a party: music, a bar and “strange live acts.” (Attendees are encouraged to arrive at the top of preshow.)

Subway: L train to Grand Street

The Saint At Large, gaydom’s longest running underground party and producer of the notorious BLACK PARTY, joins forces with Lady Circus, the sexually charged acrobatic troupe, to present what is sure to be the dirtiest show in town.

CALIGULA MAXIMUS Twitter @caligulamax
http://twitter.com/caligulamax

Updated: 5/4/11
Related Articles:
Nytimes.com: Randy Weiner- He Puts the Maximus in the Circus
BWW Review: CALIGULA MAXIMUS At House Of Yes
fierth.com:Photos-Saint at Large Presents CALIGULA MAXIMUS
CALIGULA MAXIMUS Photos by Caryn Waechter
metromix.com: CALIGULA MAXIMUS photo slideshow by Santiago Felipe.
NY Press.com: Until The Last Star Falls From The Night – The notorious Kayvon Zand meets his match in a retelling of Caligula
gaysocialites.com: Caligula Maximus bring Debauchery Center Stage
Bushwick Culture Weekly Picks 4/7/11
timeout.com: Last-minute plan: Caligula Maximus at House of Yes
daddyhunt.com: Step Right up and See the World’s Amazing Naked Disco Circus Musical
circusnyc.com: CALIGULA MAXIMUS
broadwayworld.com: Kayvon Zand leads CALIGULA MAXIMUS at House of Yes, Opens 4/6
edgenewyork.com: From the Folks Who Give You the Black Party: ’ The Dirtiest Show in Town’
nextmagazine.com: GOSSIP ROUNDUP: Saint at Large Does Caligula
Stephen Pevner Joins CALIGULA MAXIMUS as Lead Producer
6 Questions with Alfred Preisser, Co-Playwright of CALIGULA MAXIMUS
Click here for the CALIGULA MAXIMUS Articles Archive.

Ryan Knowles (center) stars as Caligula, with the cast of  CALIGULA MAXIMUS, directed by Alfred Preisser, at the Ellen Stewart Theatre, 66 E. 4th St. in New York . Photo Credit:  © 2010 Lia Chang

Ryan Knowles (center) stars as Caligula, with the cast of CALIGULA MAXIMUS, directed by Alfred Preisser, at the Ellen Stewart Theatre, 66 E. 4th St. in New York . Photo Credit: © 2010 Lia Chang


In January, Ryan Knowles responded to an audition breakdown: tall, thin, deep voice, good with improv for the role of Caligula in Alfred Preisser and Randy Weiner’s Off-Broadway production of CALIGULA MAXIMUS. Knowles said, “If I had to write a description of myself, it would have been what they were looking for with Caligula. I really wasn’t nervous. The audition went well, and I was off and running.”

For his star turn in the title role of CALIGULA MAXIMUS, which recently ended its twice extended run at the Ellen Stewart Theatre on April 17th, Knowles (Disney’s Aladdin, Nickelodeon’s ME:TV) is riding high on the best reviews of his career. Preisser and Weiner’s CALIGULA MAXIMUS , an outrageous theatrical extravaganza, combining elements of a circus, a play with music, and a nightclub installation, was for Ryan Knowles and the 30-plus cast, a “marathon” and an “erotic rollercoaster ride”.

 Ryan Knowles and Tracy Jack in CALIGULA MAXIMUS at the Ellen Stewart Theatre. Photo by Lia Chang

Ryan Knowles and Tracy Jack in CALIGULA MAXIMUS at the Ellen Stewart Theatre. Photo by Lia Chang


Lauren Wissot of TheaterOnline.com referred to Knowles as Mick Jagger-resembling…A charismatic performer,” while Dan Bacalzo of Theatermania.com said, Knowles takes control of the stage…A dynamic presence…appropriately seedy charisma. He also has a deep baritone which he utilizes to good effect.” “[The producers] wisest decision is the casting of Ryan Knowles. He carries the entire production on his slim shoulders, imbuing [it] with charisma, intelligence, tenderness, and a sense of irony, said Backstage’s Clifford Lee Johnson II. NYTheatre.com’s Mark Roberson said, “Ryan Knowles is perfect! A Jagger-Hedwig hybrid, Knowles hits all the right moments!”

A commercial run of Preisser and Weiner’s CALIGULA MAXIMUS is in development, and will be produced by Stephen Pevner, Hammerstein & Weiner, LLC, Christopher McElroen, Alfred Preisser and Kingsize, USA. Stayed tuned to http://www.caligulamaximus.com.

Ryan Knowles as Brenda, The Wicked Witch of the Westside in <em>OZ: The Musical</em>, written and directed by Todrick Hall.

Ryan Knowles as Brenda, The Wicked Witch of the Westside in OZ: The Musical, written and directed by Todrick Hall.


Actor, singer, comedian Knowles is no stranger to the art of transformation. He recently played Brenda, the Wicked Witch of the Westside, in the National Tour of OZ: The Musical, written and directed by Todrick Hall (American Idol), and was recruited by Disney to portray “The Genie” in Disney’s Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular, directed by Francesca Zambello (The Little Mermaid), a role for which he wrote his own material. He has starred in everything from musical comedy to children’s television; feature films to stand-up comedy. Off-Broadway, Knowles originated the roles of “Nick Bottom” in the hit Shakespeare musical Fools In Love at the Manhattan Ensemble Theatre and “Prospero” in Tempest: The Musical at the Cherry Lane Theatre, for which he co-wrote and adapted the book from Shakespeare’s original with composer Daniel Neiden, working with concept author Thomas Meehan (Annie, Hairspray, The Producers). On television, Knowles brought his comic appeal to millions of children nationwide every weekday as a host on Nickelodeon’s live 2-hour program Me:TV. On film, Knowles portrayed the demonic villain in Holedigger Films’ 2009 supernatural thriller Camp Hope. As a Stand-Up Comedian, he became the first American in history to win the WUDA World Championship in Stand-Up Comedy in Glasgow, Scotland. Aside from performing, Knowles is also the author of 5 plays and musicals and co-founder of INTERPROD, a national theatre institute and production company.
Ryan Knowles as the Genie in Disney’s Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular, directed by Francesca Zambello

Ryan Knowles as the Genie in Disney’s Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular, directed by Francesca Zambello

In June, the award-winning actor and playwright will debut his first solo show, DIG & BE DUG: The Gospel of Lord Buckley, at the Gene Frankel Theatre (24 Bond St.) from June 3-15, 2010, as part of the Planet Connections Theatre Festivity in New York. Written and performed by Knowles and helmed by David Kraft, DIG & BE DUG: The Gospel of Lord Buckley is the inaugural New York production of INTERPROD THEATRE.

The production features musical arrangements by Peter Saxe, projection design by David Kraft, illustrations and graphic design by Dan Mazanec, costume design by Ryan Knowles, sound design by Luqman Brown and stage management by Mike Yrigoyen.

On a sunny afternoon in April, Knowles and I sat down on the steps of The New York Public Library to chat about his new show DIG & BE DUG: The Gospel of Lord Buckley, produced by INTERPROD THEATRE, a production company he co-founded with David Kraft, and his experience with CALIGULA MAXIMUS.

Justine Joli as Caesonia with Ryan Knowles as Caligula in CALIGULA MAXIMUS at the Ellen Stewart Theatre. Photo by Lia Chang

Justine Joli as Caesonia with Ryan Knowles as Caligula in CALIGULA MAXIMUS at the Ellen Stewart Theatre. Photo by Lia Chang


You recently reigned as the roman emperor Caligula in Preisser and Weiner’s CALIGULA MAXIMUS at La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart Theatre. How will playing Lord Buckley be different from playing Caligula?
Knowles: How won’t it? (Laughs.) I mean, there are some similarities between the two shows, in that each is about an extraordinary personality who actually existed and each are about 75 minutes long. But the similarities stop there. Caligula is an outrageous and fun character, sure, but he’s also evil and despicable. He’s only likable in the sense that he’s an abstract entity that exists only in that theatre netherworld. If he lived next door to you and your family, I don’t think you’d welcome him to the neighborhood. Whereas with Buckley, the story of his life, career and message are extremely likable, relatable and inspiring. He’s the kind of performer that is easy to listen to and watch. You immediately feel as if this guy is onto something. It’ll be a fantastic challenge to try to create that feeling in the context of this show. I’m looking forward to it.

Who is Lord Buckley and what is your fascination with him?
Knowles: Lord Buckley was a show business original; a pioneer of comedic and jazz performance, a revolution in spoken word so ahead of his time that, sadly, he is nearly forgotten today. We’re talking about the man who inspired Lenny Bruce and countless other legends of comedy and music. He was the rare breed of performer who needed to do what he did, regardless of money or attention: he had a Gospel to preach, and he testified his message of Hipness wherever he found an audience. I just love this man’s work. Buckley’s brand of entertainment is a thought-provoking spoken art that continues to inspire. Something occurred to me when I discovered him completely by chance on YouTube. There is very little footage of him actually performing. I’ve been ripping off this guy’s act and never knew it. Similar in two ways, his act blends two personas, his British Lord, which is his ostensible persona, speaking with a faux British accent. He comes from LA. His other persona is a southern black preacher, jazz man, and hipster. It was never a racial impersonation, but more of a cultural incarnation.

Why write and perform your own one man show?
Knowles: It’s actually something I’ve consciously avoided doing for a while. When I first came to the city, for the first few years of my urban incubation, it seemed that every actor and performer in the city had a solo show. Big stars, nobodies, everyone had some gimmicky vehicle that ostensibly played to their strengths. I saw an incredible amount of them. Some, brilliant. Most, not so much. So I didn’t just want to do a one-man show for the sake of doing a one-man show. The pitfall, I think, in doing a solo show, by its very nature, is that it doesn’t take a lot for it to become masturbatory. It’s the whole “vanity project” angle to some solo shows that is a big turnoff for me regarding the genre. There needs to be another reason, besides self-promotion, to do a solo show. I discovered Lord Buckley a while ago and have felt a sort of artistic kinship with him. Though we’re by no means similar in most regards, I feel that our shtick is in sync. And I find it criminal that this brilliant man is not better known today. But the thing you notice, what I’ve found in talking to people about Dig & Be Dug, is that the people who do know Lord Buckley can’t stop talking about him. They worship the guy. To know him is to love him. So, I’m trying to get more people to make His Lordship’s acquaintance. Buckley seemed to represent the idea that it is just as important for people to dig the messenger as it is for them to dig the message. He held an affection for his audience that was palpable and he seemed to make every performance more than a passive entertainment, but a visceral celebration of that affection. That’s the kind of feeling I aim toward creating in a theatre. And that’s why I wrote this show.

Ryan Knowles and the cast of CALIGULA MAXIMUS. Photo by Lia Chang

Ryan Knowles and the cast of CALIGULA MAXIMUS. Photo by Lia Chang


Aside from Lord Buckley, who are some of your inspirations?
Knowles: The things I enjoy, the people that inspire me, are usually a mix of the classic and the new. When it comes to comedy, I can’t get enough of legends like Lucille Ball, Jack Benny, Groucho Marx, Eddie Cantor; on the flipside I think Trey Parker, Matt Stone and “South Park” are about as funny as it gets. To get a little more obscure, my biggest comedic influence would have to be a guy named Phil Hendrie. He’s a brilliant comedic radio performer who invented a type of entertainment he calls “Theatre of the Mind.” He’s nearly impossible to describe yet amazing to behold. I seem to like anything that takes a classic form, a knowledge and respect for what came before it, and turns it on its ear, bringing something entirely new to the existing creative context.

What are your plans for DIG & BE DUG after the run at the Gene Frankel Theatre?
Knowles: David Kraft and I are talking about doing a mini tour of DIG & BE DUG –Ft. Lauderdale, Miami and Orlando – in August or September. We are also thinking of taking it to California and Chicago next year. The idea is to do it in a small version in New York, take it on the road, it changes and it grows. Then we’ll bring it back to New York to play in an Off Broadway house.

As a production in the Planet Connections Theatre Festivity, DIG AND BE DUG, will be benefiting a charity. Which organization have you chosen and why?
Knowles: Myself and director David Kraft, as well as our production company INTERPROD Theatre, are thrilled to be benefiting CityMeals-on-Wheels, a spectacular organization that I’ve admired for years. We’re still in the planning stages, but we intend on having benefit performances, a special event to raise funds and awareness for CityMeals-on-Wheels, as well as offering information on the organization in our show materials and during the production’s run. Lord Buckley was someone that cared for and about his fellow man. He toured with the USO, gave his talent and passion to countless causes and benefits, and preached a hip Gospel of love and human harmony. I think it is quite fitting that the world premiere of DIG & BE DUG be done with a similar social conscious and charitable spirit.

What will you take away from your experience with CALIGULA MAXIMUS?
Knowles: I take with me the knowledge that I should be doing exactly what I’m doing. Actors doubt themselves all the time. In my experience, you wonder because this is so hard. It’s not easy to pursue acting in New York, much less anywhere. Doing this production of CALIGULA MAXIMUS has emboldened me. I feel I am on the right path doing exactly what I ought to be doing and headed in the right direction. I am completely emboldened for the future, my future. How can you not be having played that role? Everything about it is exciting.

Performances for DIG & BE DUG: THE GOSPEL OF LORD BUCKLEY, at the Gene Frankel Theatre, 24 Bond St. in New York are:
Thursday 6/3 @ 5pm
Sunday 6/6 @ 1:30 pm
Monday 6/7 @ 7:15 pm
Saturday 6/12 @ 9:30 pm
Tuesday 6/15 @ 7 pm
Tickets are $18 and can be purchased online at www.planetconnectionsfestivity.com.

Click here for the CALIGULA MAXIMUS Articles Archive.

Myra Adams, Tim DAX, Dave Palumbo and Roxanne Edwards on the set of CALIGULA MAXIMUS, at the Ellen Stewart Theatre in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

Myra Adams, Tim DAX, Dave Palumbo and Roxanne Edwards on the set of CALIGULA MAXIMUS, at the Ellen Stewart Theatre in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

Justine Joli, Roxanne Edwards and Myra Adams, who were featured in the cast of Alfred Preisser and Randy Weiner’s Off-Broadway production of CALIGULA MAXIMUS, which recently ended its twice extended run at La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart Theatre on April 17th, were interviewed by Dave Palumbo on The Heavy Muscle Show. 

The Heavy Muscle Show: Episode 5! The Cast of Caligula Maximus is in the Studio– Justine Jolie, Roxanne Edwards, and Myra Adams.

Roxanne Edwards, Dave Palumbo and Justine Joli Photo by Lia Chang

Roxanne Edwards, Dave Palumbo and Justine Joli Photo by Lia Chang

Set on the last night of the infamous dictator’s life, CALIGULA MAXIMUS is an outrageous theatrical extravaganza, combining elements of a circus, a play with music, and a nightclub installation, co-written by Alfred Preisser (ARCHBISHOP SUPREME TARTUFFE) and Randy Weiner (THE DONKEY SHOW). Ryan Knowles starred as Caligula, adult film star and Penthouse Pet Justine Joli as his wife Caesonia, Lady Circus troupe aerialist Anya Sapozhnikova as his sister Drusilla and JerZ Short as circus master Helicon. The show featured award-winning competitive bodybuilders Tim DAX, Myra Adams and Roxanne Edwards, and an outrageous collection of over two-dozen circus performers, wrestlers, showgirls and freaks.

 A commercial run of Alfred Preisser and Randy Weiner’s CALIGULA MAXIMUS is in the works, and will be produced by Stephen Pevner, Hammerstein & Weiner, LLC, Christopher McElroen, Alfred Preisser and Kingsize, USA. Stayed tuned to www.caligulamaximus.com.

Click here for the CALIGULA MAXIMUS Articles Archive.

Gladiator Germanicus (Tim DAX) dances the Hoka Hoka in Alfred Preisser and Randy Weiner’s CALIGULA MAXIMUS. Photo by Lia Chang

Gladiator Germanicus (Tim DAX) dances the Hoka Hoka in Alfred Preisser and Randy Weiner’s CALIGULA MAXIMUS. Photo by Lia Chang

 Tim DAX is currently shooting his first starring role in a heavy metal murder musical feature film entitled,  “Mr. Bricks”.

DAX recently appeared as Incitatus, Caligula’s horse and gladiator Germanicus in Alfred Preisser and Randy Weiner’s Off-Broadway production of CALIGULA MAXIMUS, which recently ended its twice extended run at La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart Theatre on April 17th.

Set on the last night of the infamous dictator’s life, CALIGULA MAXIMUS is an outrageous theatrical extravaganza, combining elements of a circus, a play with music, and a nightclub installation, co-written by Alfred Preisser (ARCHBISHOP SUPREME TARTUFFE) and Randy Weiner (THE DONKEY SHOW).

Ryan Knowles starred as Caligula, adult film star and Penthouse Pet Justine Joli as his wife Caesonia, Lady Circus troupe aerialist Anya Sapozhnikova as his sister Drusilla and JerZ Short as circus master Helicon. The show featured award-winning competitive bodybuilders Myra Adams and Roxanne Edwards, and an outrageous collection of over two-dozen circus performers, wrestlers, showgirls and freaks.

A commercial run of Alfred Preisser and Randy Weiner’s CALIGULA MAXIMUS is in the works, and will be produced by Stephen Pevner, Hammerstein & Weiner, LLC, Christopher McElroen, Alfred Preisser and Kingsize, USA. Stayed tuned to www.caligulamaximus.com.

CALIGULA MAXIMUS director and co-writer is flanked by competitive bodybuilders Tim DAX, Roxanne Edwards, Raheem Green and Myra Adams. Photo by Lia Chang

CALIGULA MAXIMUS director and co-writer is flanked by competitive bodybuilders Tim DAX, Roxanne Edwards, Raheem Green and Myra Adams. Photo by Lia Chang

The actor and Coney Island Sideshow tattooed muscleman was riveting in CALIGULA MAXIMUS.  

“Tim DAX is a work of art,” said Alfred Preisser, CALIGULA MAXIMUS director and co-writer.  ” In a lot of ways,  he embodies the essential spirit of our CALIGULA MAXIMUS, which on many levels is a celebration of individuality.”

Of his experience with CALIGULA MAXIMUS, DAX shared, “Pride in knowing I helped create, nourish and sustain moments that most people can’t even dream. Unless you experience live theatre you cannot completely fathom the spirituality of it. I act on camera and in the theatre and nothing can replace the living, breathing, evolving, emotional and vulnerable collective each of us is connected to in CALIGULA MAXIMUS.

I will take with me a smile. Whenever I think back to this moment in time it will cause me to smile and appreciate the life I live.

My goal  is to be in Hollywood very soon making rock-um sock-um, kick ass, action, sci fi, horror and any other type of film. And then of course on to children’s films… but that’s further along my path.”

http://mrbricksmovie.blogspot.com or http://www.myspace.com/bricksmusical

Tim DAX Website
Click here for the CALIGULA MAXIMUS Articles Archive.

Jennifer Thal with her husband Guns N' Roses guitarist Bumblefoot, Penthouse Pet Victoria "Dr. Z" Zdrok, CALIGULA MAXIMUS director and co-writer Alfred Preisser, Penthouse Pet Ryan Keely and castmembers Lady Circus Troupe aerialist Anya, and Justine Joli at the closing night party of CALIGULA MAXIMUS at the Ellen Stewart Theatre on April 17, 2010. Photo by Lia Chang

Jennifer Thal with her husband Guns N' Roses guitarist Bumblefoot, Penthouse Pet Victoria "Dr. Z" Zdrok, CALIGULA MAXIMUS director and co-writer Alfred Preisser, Penthouse Pet Ryan Keely and castmembers Lady Circus Troupe aerialist Anya Sapozhnikova, and Justine Joli at the closing night party of CALIGULA MAXIMUS at the Ellen Stewart Theatre on April 17, 2010. Photo by Lia Chang

Guns N’ Roses guitarist Bumblefoot and his wife Jennifer Thal, Penthouse Pets Victoria “Dr. Z” Zdrok (Pet of The Year, 2004, clinical psychologist, PhD Drexel University) and Ryan Keely (October 2009), and Fetish model Darenzia partied with the cast of CALIGULA MAXIMUS after the closing night performance at the Ellen Stewart Theatre on April 17th.  Special thanks to Lainie Speiser of Penthouse and V2 Vodka.

The outrageous theatrical extravaganza, combining elements of a circus, a play with music, and a nightclub installation, co-written by Alfred Preisser (ARCHBISHOP SUPREME TARTUFFE) and Randy Weiner (THE DONKEY SHOW) and directed by Preisser, is set on the last night of the notorious emperor’s life.

CALIGULA MAXIMUS director and co-playwright Alfred Preisser celebrates with his cast after the closing night performance at the Ellen Stewart Theatre on April 17, 2010. Photo by Lia Chang

CALIGULA MAXIMUS director and co-playwright Alfred Preisser celebrates with his cast after the closing night performance at the Ellen Stewart Theatre on April 17, 2010. Photo by Lia Chang

Ryan Knowles starred as Caligula, adult film star and Penthouse Pet Justine Joli as his wife Caesonia, Lady Circus troupe aerialist Anya Sapozhnikova as his sister Drusilla, Luqman Brown as Sulla, the Peanut Vendor and JerZ Short as circus master Helicon. The show featured award-winning competitive bodybuilders Myra Adams and Roxanne Edwards, Coney Island Sideshow tattooed muscleman Tim DAX and an outrageous collection of over two-dozen circus performers, wrestlers, showgirls and freaks.

Alexandra Bernard, Greg Bornstein, Angela Buccinni, Claire Buckingham, Alicia Giangrisostomi, Jeff Goldfisher, Raheem Green, Sarah Hassan, Naima Yetunde Ince, Tracy Jack, Bill Johnson, David King, Jessica Krueger, Andrews Landsman, Elinor Lerner, Channing McKindra, Alexandra Petrova, Charletta Rozzell, Alicia St. Louis, Tricia Storie, Aaron Strand, Miriam Tabb, Jenny Weinbloom and Elian Zach rounded out the cast.

Ryan Keely, Victoria Dr. Z. Zdrok, Darzenia and Justine Joli at the closing night party of CALIGULA MAXIMUS, at the Ellen Stewart Theatre in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

Ryan Keely, Victoria Dr. Z. Zdrok, Darenzia and Justine Joli at the closing night party of CALIGULA MAXIMUS, at the Ellen Stewart Theatre in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

CALIGULA MAXIMUS has sets and rigging by Evan Collier, costumes by Laura Clarke, lighting by Christopher McElroen, musical direction and lead guitar by Joe Shavel, musicians Kareem Clarke (bass), Jeremy O’Brien (drum/mayhem), Brendan Scharen (rhythm guitar), Joel Siegel (drums/conga), whip consulting by Chris McDaniel, stage management by Mike Yrigoyen, and press by Lia Chang.

A commercial run of Alfred Preisser and Randy Weiner‘s CALIGULA MAXIMUS is in the works, and will be produced by Stephen Pevner, Hammerstein & Weiner, LLC, Christopher McElroen, Alfred Preisser and Kingsize, USA. Stayed tuned to www.caligulamaximus.com.

Click here for the CALIGULA MAXIMUS Articles Archive.

Aaron Strand as Jesus, Mike Y.- his handler in the lobby of the Ellen Stewart Theatre. Photo by Gillian Crosson

Aaron Strand as Jesus, Mike Y.- his handler in the lobby of the Ellen Stewart Theatre. Photo by Gillian Crosson


Thanks to Gillian Crosson for her great photos of CALIGULA MAXIMUS. Ms. Crosson came to photograph Alfred Preisser and Randy Weiner’s CALIGULA MAXIMUS, which recently ended it’s twice extended run at La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart Theatre on April 17.

Ryan Knowles starred as Caligula, adult film star and Penthouse Pet Justine Joli as his wife Caesonia, Lady Circus troupe aerialist Anya Sapozhnikova as his sister Drusilla, Luqman Brown as Sulla, the Peanut Vendor and JerZ Short as circus master Helicon. The show featured award-winning competitive bodybuilders Myra Adams and Roxanne Edwards, Coney Island Sideshow tattooed muscleman Tim DAX and an outrageous collection of over two-dozen circus performers, wrestlers, showgirls and freaks.

A commercial run of Alfred Preisser and Randy Weiner’s CALIGULA MAXIMUS is in the works, and will be produced by Stephen Pevner, Hammerstein & Weiner, LLC, Christopher McElroen, Alfred Preisser and Kingsize, USA. Stayed tuned to www.caligulamaximus.com.

Click here for the CALIGULA MAXIMUS Articles Archive.

Alicia St. Louis as Aquitania in Alfred Preisser and Randy Weiner's CALIGULA MAXIMUS. Photo by Lia Chang

Alicia St. Louis as Aquitania in Alfred Preisser and Randy Weiner's CALIGULA MAXIMUS. Photo by Lia Chang

Alicia St. Louis played Aquitania and a member of the tribe in Alfred Preisser and Randy Weiner’s CALIGULA MAXIMUS, which recently ended it’s twice extended run on April 17.

Ryan Knowles starred as Caligula, adult film star and Penthouse Pet Justine Joli as his wife Caesonia, Lady Circus troupe aerialist Anya Sapozhnikova as his sister Drusilla, Luqman Brown as Sulla, the Peanut Vendor and JerZ Short as circus master Helicon. The show featured award-winning competitive bodybuilders Myra Adams and Roxanne Edwards, Coney Island Sideshow tattooed muscleman Tim DAX and an outrageous collection of over two-dozen circus performers, wrestlers, showgirls and freaks.

A commercial run of Alfred Preisser and Randy Weiner’s CALIGULA MAXIMUS is in the works, and will be produced by Stephen Pevner, Hammerstein & Weiner, LLC, Christopher McElroen, Alfred Preisser and Kingsize, USA. Stayed tuned to www.caligulamaximus.com.

Alicia St. Louis

Alicia St. Louis

“I take so many things with me from this experience with CALIGULA MAXIMUS- gaining more courage to create, a real sense of letting go and allowing things to happen…A strong sense of community with this cast and crew of 30 people from all walks of life, all avenues…

The connection is so deep with this cast. It has been such an honor to be a part of such an amazing journey…Every night we come back is like a gift. Alfred really gave us freedom to explore- which takes you to a completely different level as an artist…I thank him for giving me this amazing opportunity,” said Ms. St. Louis.

A graduate of Notre Dame de Namur University in Northern California, Ms. St. Louis attended the Stella Adler Studio Conservatory in NYC. Her New York theater credits include 8 Women: A Karaoke Murder Mystery (Professor Thom’s Loft), Who Will Carry the Word? (Red Fern Theatre Co./ Center Stage), House of Yes(Samsara Theatre Co.), Christmas Revels (Symphony Space), Twelfth Night (Aisling Arts/Play Outside Festival) and Escape from Happiness (Stella Adler Studio). Regional credits include Julius Caesar, Hidden Prayer and Summer and Smoke. She recently appeared in the independent film, Shades of Gray, in Massachusetts. In July, she will perform in “Trojan Women Redux,” on a farm in East Hampton. She is also a hair model and event planner.

Click here for the CALIGULA MAXIMUS Articles Archive.

Belly Dancer Sarah Hassan Photo by Lia Chang

Belly Dancer Sarah Hassan Photo by Lia Chang


New York based belly dancer Sarah Hassan takes great delight in being recognized from her performance in Alfred Preisser and Randy Weiner’s CALIGULA MAXIMUS, which recently ended it’s twice extended run at La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart Theatre. The outrageous theatrical extravaganza, combining elements of a circus, a play with music, and a nightclub installation, co-written by Alfred Preisser (ARCHBISHOP SUPREME TARTUFFE) and Randy Weiner (THE DONKEY SHOW) and directed by Preisser, is set on the last night of the notorious emperor’s life.
Belly Dancer Sarah Hassan, circus performers and musicians perform in the lobby of the Ellen Stewart Theatre before the performance of CALIGULA MAXIMUS. Photo by Lia Chang

Belly Dancer Sarah Hassan, circus performers and musicians perform in the lobby of the Ellen Stewart Theatre before the performance of CALIGULA MAXIMUS. Photo by Lia Chang


Ryan Knowles stars as Caligula, adult film star and Penthouse Pet Justine Joli as his wife Caesonia, Lady Circus troupe aerialist Anya Sapozhnikova as his sister Drusilla, Luqman Brown as Sulla, the peanut vendor and JerZ Short as circus master Helicon. The show features award-winning competitive bodybuilders Myra Adams and Roxanne Edwards, Coney Island Sideshow tattooed muscleman Tim DAX and an outrageous collection of over two-dozen circus performers, wrestlers, showgirls and freaks.

A commercial run of Alfred Preisser and Randy Weiner’s CALIGULA MAXIMUS is in the works, and will be produced by Stephen Pevner, Hammerstein & Weiner, LLC, Christopher McElroen, Alfred Preisser and Kingsize, USA. Stayed tuned to www.caligulamaximus.com.

Belly Dancer Sarah Hassan and Alexandra Bernard backstage at the Ellen Stewart Theatre in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

Belly Dancer Sarah Hassan and Alexandra Bernard backstage at the Ellen Stewart Theatre in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

Hassan shared, “I believe the true question, in my situation, is what won’t I take away from my CALIGULA experience! I had the good fortune, or dumb luck, depending on how you look at it; to be invited to join the CALIGULA family late in the rehearsal process, coming from absolutely no theater experience, save for a few belly dance shows in the New York City metro area. I had no reputation when I auditioned; two weeks prior to joining, I had returned from living overseas in Mongolia, in a tiny village on the Siberian boarder where I taught English as a Peace Corps volunteer. When I was contacted by Mike Y. to drop by Great Jones Street to see CALIGULA in it’s last stages of development and possibly lend my talents to the production, I had no idea what CALIGULA was or who was involved; but when I saw all those sexy, expressive, giving bodies writhing on the floor in gleeful harmony, hearing the back story of circus debauchery and sideshow revelry, I knew I had come to the right place. I got on board immediately after Alfred gave me the thumbs up, having only seen me dance for approximately ten seconds, and the next day, I started rehearsals for the ‘Nitty-Gritty’ and Gospel scenes.
Belly Dancer Sarah Hassan in Alfred Preisser and Randy Weiner's CALIGULA MAXIMUS at the Ellen Stewart Theatre. Photo by Lia Chang

Belly Dancer Sarah Hassan in Alfred Preisser and Randy Weiner's CALIGULA MAXIMUS at the Ellen Stewart Theatre. Photo by Lia Chang


I have been, for the past ten years, a belly dancer, first and foremost, as a means of creative expression. Stage lights beam down on me only when I am dressed to the nines in sequins, coins, feathers, and tassels, so joining a cast where I could keep the costume yet step outside the ‘belly box,’ was invaluable. Belly dancers are a group of performers unto themselves; only recently have we been used in venues and shows not specifically made for us or without a strong Middle Eastern bent. Now, belly dancers are touring the world with rock bands and promoting their artistry all over the web. It’s an incredibly exciting time to be a belly dancer, and I am so fortunate to have been able to join a production such as CALIGULA, which speaks to the vaudeville, circus, side-show freak inside of me, that for too long has been wanting to crawl out, horns and all, and grace the public with visions of another world, which is exactly what CALIGULA is all about. To have shown up, night after night, and applied false eyelashes and rouge next to some of the most dedicated, talented and gregarious artists I have ever encountered has not only been a pleasure, but a gift. CALIGULA MAXIMUS has changed my life, by inviting me in to a world of show that I truly understand and never want to leave.”

Ms. Hassan was a member of the Harem Belly Dance Studio from 2000-2004, where she became fluent in Egyptian and Turkish cabaret under the tutelage of the late Renate Wallasch and performed with Jewels on the Path, The Turkish Delights, and The Harem Belly Dance Troupe. Over the past seven years, she has studied cabaret belly dance with Yousry Sharif and Raqia Hassan, American Tribal Fusion dance with Isis, Trisha McBride, and Elisheva, Flamenco with Victorio Korjhan, and Ballet with Barbara Forbes. Her performance credits include Nadia Moussa’s showcases at Kush (New York City), Amara Al Amir’s showcases at Katy Daly’s (Long Island),ASAmed’s Winter Showcases (New York City), The 2009 Festival of the East (Long Island), and in 2008 she was the premier dancer of Il Cedri, a restaurant in Florence, Italy. Ms. Hassan has taught at Sarah Lawrence College, where she also received her B.A, in dance studios and sports club on Long Island, and in Mongolia, where she was a Peace Corps volunteer. In addition, she has choreographed pieces for the students of Sarah Lawrence College and the Harem Belly Dance Studio. Her work is influenced by the Ballets Russes, the folk dances of Central Asia, Spain and India, and the cabarets of Europe during the turn-of-the-century.

See what inspires Belly Dancer Sarah Hassan by checking out her blog , where she posts dance tidbits, upcoming performances, photos and dance inspirations.

Click here for the CALIGULA MAXIMUS Articles Archive.

Get your Funk on at Luqman Brown’s BUDDHABUG RECORDS monthly dance party, FUNK-YOU on April 24, when his band MACKIE RIVERSIDE & THE STREET PUSHERS, will play with jazz arkestra BURNT SUGAR at KENNY’S CASTAWAYS, 157 Bleeker St. in New York.Tickets and info at www.mackieriverside.com.

As the Peanut Vendor Sulla in Alfred Preisser and Randy Weiner’s Off-Broadway production of CALIGULA MAXIMUS, Luqman Brown is the first and the last character you see and hear. In the preshow, he is selling his wares, and during the course of the play which takes place on the last night of the infamous dictator’s life, he foretells Caligula’s demise. CALIGULA MAXIMUS is an outrageous theatrical extravaganza, combining elements of a circus, a play with music, and a nightclub installation, co-written by Alfred Preisser (ARCHBISHOP SUPREME TARTUFFE) and Randy Weiner (THE DONKEY SHOW), which recently ended it’s twice extended run at La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart Theatre on April 17.

Luqman Brown hawks his peanuts as Sulla, the Peanut Vendor, in Alfred Preisser and Randy Weiner's CALIGULA MAXIMUS. Photo by Lia Chang

Luqman Brown hawks his peanuts as Sulla, the Peanut Vendor, in Alfred Preisser and Randy Weiner's CALIGULA MAXIMUS. Photo by Lia Chang


Ryan Knowles starred as Caligula, adult film star and Penthouse Pet Justine Joli as his wife Caesonia, Lady Circus troupe aerialist Anya Sapozhnikova as his sister Drusilla and JerZ Short as circus master Helicon. The show featured award-winning competitive bodybuilders Myra Adams and Roxanne Edwards, Coney Island Sideshow tattooed muscleman Tim DAX and an outrageous collection of over two-dozen circus performers, wrestlers, showgirls and freaks.

A commercial run of Alfred Preisser and Randy Weiner’s CALIGULA MAXIMUS is in the works, and will be produced by Stephen Pevner, Hammerstein & Weiner, LLC, Christopher McElroen, Alfred Preisser and Kingsize, USA. Stayed tuned to www.caligulamaximus.com.

(l-r)Ryan Knowles, JerZ Short, Luqman Brown and the cast of Alfred Preisser and Randy Weiner’s CALIGULA MAXIMUS. Photo by Lia Chang

(l-r)Ryan Knowles, JerZ Short, Luqman Brown and the cast of Alfred Preisser and Randy Weiner’s CALIGULA MAXIMUS. Photo by Lia Chang


The talented composer, musician and performer is a graduate of the rock and roll streets of New York City. This hard-won education led to the founding of such seminal bands as FunkFace, Dope Sagittarius, and MACKIE RIVERSIDE & THE STREET PUSHERS. Between these and other entertaining endeavors, he has toured the US and the world since he was 17, recently showcasing Dope Sagittarius at the FIFA European football championships in Austria. Theatrical projects in the works include taking the mantle of musical director in SummerStage’s upcoming 25th Anniversary celebration production of “Etymology of a Bird”; followed by a first time father/son collaboration – he’ll team up with his father Carlyle Brown (writer of Little Tommy Parker’s Celebrated Colored Minstrel Show , and Pure Confidence), performing in his one-man show The King of 8th Street, which Carlyle will direct.
Justine Joli and Luqman Brown at the curtain call for Alfred Preisser and Randy Weiner's CALIGULA MAXIMUS. Photo by Lia Chang

Justine Joli and Luqman Brown at the curtain call for Alfred Preisser and Randy Weiner's CALIGULA MAXIMUS. Photo by Lia Chang

“Working on CALIGULA MAXIMUS was a great opportunity to stretch into theater as an actor, which is a new venture for me,” mused Brown. “As a musician/performer, it was an amazing experience to see the different approach to a live collaborative effort that exists in theater. The translation from word to action guided by the interpretation of the director’s thought, and how the actor takes that thought and makes it real. It has broadened my thoughts on live musical performance where there are many similarities. A great friendship and bond was created with the cast. Such a varied and wonderfully talented bunch of folks. I’ve enjoyed the other forms of art and personality that are represented in the cast as well as the play. I’ve learned a lot from these people. I also learned that people will purchase anything, if it cost only one dollar. All in all its been an amazing time as Sulla the Peanut Vendor.”
CALIGULA MAXIMUS director and co-playwright Alfred Preisser, Living Colour lead vocalist Corey Glover, Kareem Clarke, Luqman Brown and Yvonne Glover on the set of CALIGULA MAXIMUS at the Ellen Stewart Theatre on April 3, 2010. Photo by Lia Chang

CALIGULA MAXIMUS director and co-playwright Alfred Preisser, Living Colour lead vocalist Corey Glover, Kareem Clarke, Luqman Brown and Yvonne Glover on the set of CALIGULA MAXIMUS at the Ellen Stewart Theatre on April 3, 2010. Photo by Lia Chang


Other theater credits include: Little Tommy Parker’s Celebrated Colored Minstrel Show (Actor), Taking Steps 313, the Musical adaptation of Crime and Punishment (Musical Director/Orchestra Leader/Actor). He worked on the film Afro-Punk and in the dance world, as musical director on Brown Girls Burlesque’s Grind High. Additional Musical Highlights for Brown include appearing on the Tony Hawk video game soundtrack, Project 8, writing interstitial jingles for Nickelodeon. He has been featured on various albums, compilations and singles in the US and abroad, shared great stages with a cadre of great musicians, and is literally in the Smithsonian for his impact as a musician.

Friend and colleague Living Colour lead vocalist Corey Glover and his wife Yvonne came to show their support and Brown was recently featured on www.boldaslove.us for his turn as Sulla in CALIGULA MAXIMUS. His record label BUDDHABUG RECORDS, plans to inject the world with new sounds and events in 2010 including the upcoming release ‘KILL THE DJ’ from electro/hiphop/punk band DOPE SAGITTARIUS (www.myspace.com/dopesagittarius), and two brand new singles from his alter-ego MACKIE RIVERSIDE & THE STREET PUSHERS.

Click here for the CALIGULA MAXIMUS Articles Archive.

Updated: March 3, 2011
Performances for CALIGULA MAXIMUS 2011- to be announced- at the House of Yes in Williamsburg, New York. Stayed tuned.

Thanks to the talented team of Roberto Serrini, Michelle Vergara and Jamie Ward of www.concretebrothel.com for their superb coverage of CALIGULA MAXIMUS.
The Concrete Brothel gets a V.I.P. pass to the hottest urban theater action in NYC – Caligula Maximus – at the La Mama theater in the heart of the East Village.
Director: Alfred Preisser
Writers: Alfred Preisser, Randy Weiner
Starring: Ryan Knowles, Justine Joli, Jerz Short, and many many more.

Visuals: Michelle Vergara, Roberto Serrini
Editing: Roberto Serrini
Audio: Jamie Ward




Presented by La MaMa, e.t.c., CALIGULA MAXIMUS is a project with Hammerstein & Weiner, LLC, Christopher McElroen, Alfred Preisser and Kingsize, USA.

Performances for CALIGULA MAXIMUS, at the Ellen Stewart Theatre, 66 E. 4th St., are on Thursday and Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 8pm and 10pm, through April 17th. Tickets are $30, $25 for students and seniors and can be purchased online at http://www.lamama.org or by calling the box office at 212.475.7710. Tickets must be picked up at the box office which is located at 74A E. 4th St. For more information, visit www.caligulamaximus.com.

Click here for the CALIGULA MAXIMUS Articles Archive.

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