Dramashop Presents the Musical Lizzie
Punk take on the Lizzie Borden murders opens the theatre company's 2022-23 season
Premiering Friday, Sept. 23
Erie's Dramashop presents a new musical titled Lizzie this September. Based on the book by Tim Maner, Lizzie is a dramatic musical focusing on strong themes such as murder, sexual abuse, and oppression. Premiering at the Living Theater in New York City in 2009, Lizzie is a hard-edged, punk rock take on the legendary Lizzie Borden axe murders.
"In the late summer of 1892, Lizzie Borden was accused of murdering her father and stepmother with an axe," Dramashop's online synopsis reads. Through unreliable testimonies and incomplete evidence, Borden was acquitted. The music — composed by Steven Cheslik-deMeyer, and Alan Stevens Hewitt, with lyrics by Cheslik-deMeyer and Maner — seeks to delve "into the mysterious mind of Lizzie Borden and speculates on the motivations she may have had." These motivations include the loss of inheritance, a history of sexual abuse, mental health issues, and more. In the musical, Borden is joined by her older sister Emma, her maid Bridget, and neighbor Alice, the four women creating a punk rock score illustrating Borden's story, who "took an axe and gave her mother 40 whacks, and why when she saw what she had done, gave her father 41."
The performances are divided into two casts, the AXE Cast (featuring Kate Thiem as Lizzie, Julie Lokahi, Jenna Baker, and Hadleigh Jae Bills), and the ROSE Cast (featuring Anna McJunkin as Lizzie, Tori Lyn Koszegi, Julya Polaski, and Maia Magerle), each with five performances a piece during the three-week run, including Thursday shows, a Dramashop rarity.
Dramashop is set to have a season-opening celebration on Friday, Sept. 23, with a 7 p.m. reception and an 8 p.m. performance by the AXE Cast.
Performances beginning on Thursday, Sept. 29 through Sunday, Oct. 9, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. // Dramashop, 1001 State St., Second Floor // Standard tickets $15 // For tickets (including discounted rates) and more information, go to dramashop.org.