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Chicken-Fried Ciccone: A Twangy True Tale Of Transformation: 10 Things To Know About The Show Before You Go (2014 FRIGID NEW YORK FESTIVAL)

by Karen Tortora-Lee on February 14, 2014

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Ten Questions. Ten Answers. And One Big Decision: Rock, Paper, Or Scissors?

J.Stephen Brantley 1

Chicken-Fried Ciccone: A Twangy True Tale Of Transformation

Production Company: Hard Sparks

Armed with an acoustic guitar, actor-playwright J.Stephen Brantley reveals how he got from junkie to functional with a little help from the queen of reinvention. Chicken-Fried Ciccone is one man’s journey to heroin and back, set to countrified covers of new and classic Madge.

Show Times:

  • Wed 2/19 @ 7:05
  • Mon 2/24 @ 5:30
  • Fri 2/28 @ 7:05
  • Thurs 3/6 @ 10:15
  • Sat 3/8 @ 12:30

Answers by J.Stephen Brantley

1. Your tag line is out there on postcards and press releases so we know the PR version of what this play is about.  But when you talk to your family and friends, how do you explain the show to them?

JSB: “I’m sorry, but I had to.”

2. Here’s a scenario: After the show some audience members go have a drink.  What’s the part of the show you hope they’re discussing?

JSB: There’s a secret revealed in this production that won’t be a part of the show in future venues. Maybe it’s that bit. Or maybe it’s the part about the transformational healing power of art. But it’s probably ‘Into The Grooverotica.’.

3. What drives your show – character, theme or plot?

JSB: Yes.

4. In rehearsals, read-thrus, or prior incarnations, what’s the one thing someone said about the show so far that made you (or the team) the most proud?

JSB: “Oh there’s so much freedom!”

5. Let’s fantasize for a moment. Let’s take the “off-off” off. Imagine this show is on Broadway. Would that change the production itself?

JSB: Well…yes. Isn’t this a bit like asking, ‘if birds were fish, how would they be different?’

6. Taking that one step further – after paying everyone what they’re worth of course, what is the most lavish, luxurious, pointless thing you would spend money on if there was no constraints?

JSB: David Beckham.

7. Is there a scene, a moment, a gesture … anything at all in the show that you anticipate may get a completely different reaction depending on the audience that night?

JSB: Yeah, everything. Unless we’re all replaced by some weird race of robots, both the show and the audience are going to be completely different every night.

8. What’s your favorite line from the show?

JSB: “Sex for money is really just site-specific theatre – with buttfucking.”

9. Is the world of this play sustainable outside a theatre? In other words … do you think people live the way the characters do? Would you want a world where they do?

JSB: Is this a trick question? (It is a ‘Twangy True Tale of Transformation.’)

10. You scan the audience and you see a face that stops you dead in your tracks – who is it? And why are you shocked?

JSB: Madonna. I should think the reason why is fairly obvious.


Rock, Paper, Scissors Tournament of DEAAAAATH

In the THM virtual Rock, Paper, Scissors Tournament of DEAAAAATH which FRIGID Show do you take on? And what do you throw?

CHALLENGES: I’ll take on Shooting Abe because I like Charlie Gershman,

THROWS: I will throw paper because he’s a playwright and he might need some.

But may I also use this forum to say howdy and bien venidos to I-DJ because Overtime Theater is coming from my hometown San Antonio and I’m really excited to see their show.


- The Canuck Cabaret who threw ROCK.  That’s a WIN FOR YOU, Twangy!  Let’s see if your winning streak continues …

Shooting Abe who threw SCISSORS.  So even though there was some great synergy there – with Shooting Abe challenging YOU and YOU challenging them right back it was a bit of a crumple for you as your paper gets cut to ribbons.  So with you and Shooting Abe going for two rounds, that’s actually TWO losses for you.

- East In Red who also threw SCISSORS.  Another defeat as your Paper is ripped to shreds.

So that’s one WIN that gets completely lost in the THREE LOSSES that follow.

Oh, Twangy - you’re plucky and fun, and when you call my name it’s like a little prayer, but even the Madonna herself couldn’t save you from this  triple loss.  I’d apologize but I can already hear you saying “I don’t wanna hear, I don’t wanna know Please don’t say you’re sorry”.  Oh, Twangy – how I admire your Madge-like resolve.

Thanks Chicken-Fried Ciccone: A Twangy True Tale Of Transformation for participating in The Happiest Medium’s FRIGID New York Festival 2014 Q&A. And for playing our game! You’re officially PAPER in any and all challenges.  You may win, you may lose – who knows! This is how it works in the crazy world of the Rock, Paper, Scissors Tournament of DEAAAAATH!

For the rest of you don’t forget to check out Chicken-Fried Ciccone: A Twangy True Tale Of Transformation !


Feb 19, 7:05PM
Feb 24, 5:30PM
Feb 28, 7:05PM
Mar 06, 10:15PM
Mar 08, 12:30PM
UNDER St.Marks | $13.00 / $16.00


Horse Trade Theater Group will present the 8th Annual FRIGID New York Festival at The Kraine Theater (85 East 4th Street between 2nd Avenue and Bowery) and UNDER St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place between 1st Avenue and Avenue A) February 19-March 9. Tickets are available for purchase in advance at or by calling 212-868-4444. 

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