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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.

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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.


Caligula Maximus: The Emperor Joneses
Posted on: Monday, March 29, 2010 @ 01:12 AM Posted by: Michael Dale

4-#6-92 Ryan Knowles (center) stars as Caligula, with the cast of Alfred Preisser and Randy Weiner’s CALIGULA MAXIMUS, directed by Alfred Preisser. Photo by Lia Chang

Ryan Knowles (center) stars as Caligula, with the cast of Alfred Preisser and Randy Weiner’s CALIGULA MAXIMUS, directed by Alfred Preisser, at the Ellen Stewart Theatre, 66 E. 4th St. in New York through April 17. Photo by Lia Chang


“Bertolt Brecht achieved the impossible; making me forgettable!”

In Alfred Preisser (playwright/director) and Randy Weiner’s (playwright) peppy and perverse celebration, Caligula Maximus, the title character, (played with heavy doses of playful charisma by Ryan Knowles) is more than a little peeved at how popular culture has depicted his reign as Roman Emperor (“Gore Vidal, you don’t get me. Bob Guccione, you don’t know me. Camus turned me into a term paper!”) but is happy to let the masses (that’s us) experience the joy of being like him.

“You’ve traded wonder for science,” he scolds, but for seventy-five impish minutes Caligula Maximus invites us to kick back and enjoy some trashy fun, some elegant erotica, a bit of pro wresting (steel chairs included) and maybe even a lesson or two about the political power of charm.
Click on the link below to read the full article:
Broadwayworld.com Review: Caligula Maximus: The Emperor Joneses by Michael Dale

Click here for the CALIGULA MAXIMUS Articles Archive.