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Alexandra Bernard in Alfred Preisser and Randy Weiner's CALIGULA MAXIMUS. Photo by Lia Chang

Alexandra Bernard in Alfred Preisser and Randy Weiner's CALIGULA MAXIMUS. Photo by Lia Chang


Alexandra Bernard’s raises the roof with her glorious voice as the “Voice of the Empire,” in Alfred Preisser and Randy Weiner’s outrageous circus themed theatrical extravaganza CALIGULA MAXIMUS, currently playing at the Ellen Stewart Theatre through April 17th.

Since receiving her Bachelors degree from The City College of New York, Alexandra has been performing workshops of new musicals, and revivals of old plays and musicals: J.E. Franklin’s Black Girl, whose legacy includes actresses Ruby Dee and Angela Bassett, and a production of Yip Harburg’s lesser known gem Flahooley. A proud member of the Harlem Repertory Theatre since its inception in 2004, Alexandra has performed in over 14 productions and is a two-time AUDELCO Award nominee for her work with the company. Past roles include Asaka in Once On This Island and Effie in Dreamgirls. She was recently featured in maneandchic.com.

Alexandra Bernard (The Voice of the Empire) and Ryan Knowles (Caligula) sing The Nitty Gritty with the cast of Alfred Preisser and Randy Weiner's CALIGULA MAXIMUS, at the Ellen Stewart Theatre. Photo by Lia Chang

Alexandra Bernard (The Voice of the Empire) and Ryan Knowles (Caligula) sing The Nitty Gritty with the cast of Alfred Preisser and Randy Weiner's CALIGULA MAXIMUS at the Ellen Stewart Theatre. Photo by Lia Chang

What will you take away from your experience with CALIGULA MAXIMUS?
The first production I saw of Alfred’s was Ain’t Supposed to Die A Natural Death in a nightclub. I was under the drinking age, and I got in with a fake ID. It was a musical piece that had great singing and dancing, but at the same time there was this air of danger; it was so gritty. That show made me an instant fan of Alfred’s. I feel so fortunate that I finally got to work with him on this show. CALIGULA MAXIMUS puts me right back at that cabaret table – it gives me that same feeling of pure wonder. Now, I’m actually a part of it!

I was amazed everyday by the people around me in rehearsals. Everyone in this cast is so special and unique, and we were able to come together so easily. I looked forward to coming to rehearsal everyday. I loved the fact that this show was challenging for me. If there was one thing I can say I took away from this experience, was to not limit myself. Maybe it was the right combination of people, because Alfred and this cast really made me feel like I can do anything. I think we created something really special with our production of CALIGULA MAXIMUS, and I’m coming out of this show a lot more receptive, open minded, and confident.

CALIGULA MAXIMUS director and co-writer Alfred Preisser says of Bernard’s performance, “I think she’s great, every time she opens her mouth, the show gets better.”

CALIGULA MAXIMUS castmembers Miriam Tabb and Alexandra Bernard celebrate their opening night performance with André De Shields at the Ellen Stewart Theatre on March 19, 2010. Photo by Lia Chang

CALIGULA MAXIMUS castmembers Miriam Tabb and Alexandra Bernard celebrate their opening night performance with André De Shields at the Ellen Stewart Theatre in New York on March 19, 2010. Photo by Lia Chang

Set on the last night of the infamous dictator’s life, 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 Druscilla, Luqman Brown as Sulla, the peanut vendor, JerZ Short as circus master Helicon, and 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.

Rounding out the cast in multiple roles are Angela Buccinni, Claire Buckingham, Alicia Giangrisostomi, Jeff Goldfisher, Raheem Green, Sarah Hassan, Naima Yetunde Ince, Bill Johnson, David King, Jessica Krueger, Andrews Landsman, Elinor Lerner, Channing McKindra, Alexandra Petrova, Charletta Rozell, Alicia St. Louis, Tricia Storie, Aaron Strand, Miriam Tabb, Jenny Weinbloom and Elian Zach.

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.

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.wordpress.com.

Ellen Stewart Theatre
66 E. 4th St. (btwn 2nd Ave & The Bowery)
Tickets are $30, $25 for students and seniors

Click here for the CALIGULA MAXIMUS Articles Archive.

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