Here to talk about his new play Mad Mel and the Marradians.
Gary Morgenstein is co-host of the popular MediaBlvd Purple Haze radio show, Sundays at 9PM/ET, at blogtalkradio.com/mediablvd. Morgenstein has published four novels: Loving Rabbi Thalia Kleinman, about a divorced man who falls in love with a beautiful woman rabbi; Jesse’s Girl, a powerful story about a father’s search for his missing adopted teenage son; Take Me Out to the Ballgame, a political baseball thriller, as well as The Man Who Wanted to Play Center Field for the New York Yankees, along with the dating and relationship book How to Find a Woman…Or Not.
His plays include Ponzi Man, A Tomato Can’t Grow in the Bronx and Mad Mel and the Marradians. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, surrounded by lots of books and rock and roll CDs. Morgenstein is Director, Communications, for the Syfy Channel.
A brief synopsis
In the sci-fi political comedy Mad Mel and the Marradians – which will be performed beginning Monday, July 11 at the prestigious 12th Annual Midtown International Theatre Festival — the ambitions of Imperial Chancellor Larynx of Marradia — a planet very far away — to become High Priest Dubya are threatened by writer Melvin Worthington. In his best-selling “scholarly” books about the Marradians and their visit to Earth 30,000 years ago (which he thinks he has totally made up), Worthington stumbles upon a secret that threatens the existence of the human race, bringing the aliens to Manhattan to stop him. In pearls. Pray.
What made you decide to write this play?
I’ve always been a sci-fi geek, going back to the original Star Trek TV series. I read sci-fi, see sci-fi movies – and work at Syfy Channel! Plus I’m a political junkie. There are very few sci-fi plays. Perhaps because many people think science fiction means spaceships and special effects which would make the production costs prohibitive, when sci-fi is really broad-based speculative fiction and only requires imagination. So I wanted to combine my love of the genre with my love of politics and work this into a fun play that goes from Malakkian Mind Scoops and Michele Bachman to Jon Stewart. Sort that out. Well, we hope people will laugh. You never know until the lights come up. The beauty of theatre.
Where did the title come from?
Excellent question and darned if I know. One day the muse that takes care of writers put the title in my brain. Along with other peculiar things.
Do you always write in this genre?
Believe it or not, this is my first science fiction work since my senior year in college when I wrote a massive, 500 page novel, which remains unpublished to this day, called A Giant Step Back, about a master alien race leaving something extraordinary to help humans. If the humans could control their anger. Otherwise….
What was your inspiration to write and when did you start?
I started the play last summer, had an informal reading during the winter and, in the spring, it was accepted by the Midtown International Theatre Festival. Though I suppose my love of reading started me writing way back in my college days.
Do you have a website to share?
Not really. I am baffled by the demands of maintaining a website and my current one features a picture of me at my bar-mitzvah. But here is information about the play. A Co-Production of the Midtown International Theatre Festival, Mad Mel and the Marradians will be directed by the award-winning Carlo Fiorletta. It will star Jordan Auslander (Phlegm), William Beckwith (Larynx), Rachel Caccese (Joan), Rob Gaines (Mel) and Mary Riley (Anita). The play will be performed at the Main Stage Theatre, 312 West 36th Street in New York on Monday, July 11 at 6PM; Saturday, July 16, at 2:30PM; Tuesday, July 19, at 8:30PM; Sunday, July 24, at 6PM; and Thursday, July 28, at 8PM. Tickets are $18-$15 and are available at
or by phone at 866-811-4111.
Rob Gaines as Mel
Mary Riley as Anita in
Mad Mel and the Marradians.
Photograph By Andy Mars Photography.