A User’s Guide to Hell, featuring Bernard Madoff

A User’s Guide to Hell, Featuring Bernard Madoff

By Pulitzer, Tony, and Olivier Award Nominee Lee Blessing

Directed by Michole Biancosino

September 5-28, 2013

at 16th Street Theatre (in Atlantic Stage 2 complex)

About the Play

In the time after his downfall, Bernie Madoff is taken on an entertaining tour of hell (New York City) by his blue collar guide, Verge. As Bernie encounters the inhabitants of hell, including many of the other “worst criminals in history,” he begins to learn the truth about life, death, and the special punishment he has earned. A User’s Guide to Hell, featuring Bernard Madoff examines how the most hated man in America might actually be a reflection of our most admired American values.

An Interview with Playwright Lee Blessing


Lee Blessing (Playwright): Broadway and London’s West End: A Walk In The Woods (also seen on PBS’s “American Playhouse”.  Off-Broadway: When We Go Upon the Sea, A Body of Water, Going to St. Ives, (Outer Critics Circle Award, Best Play, OBIE for ensemble performance); Thief River (Drama Desk nomination, Best Play); Cobb (Drama Desk award, best ensemble); Chesapeake, Eleemosynary and Down the Road.  1992-93 Signature Theatre season: Fortinbras, Lake Street Extension, Two Rooms and the world premiere of Patient A. Notable world premieres: Seven Joys (part of The Bomb: A Partial History, a ten-play cycle produced by the Tricycle Theatre, London); Wood for the Fire (part of The Great Game, a twelve-play cycle produced by the Tricycle Theatre, London); Great Falls, Humana New Play Festival of the Actors Theatre of Louisville; A Body of Water, Tyrone Guthrie Theater; Lonesome Hollow, Flag Day and Whores, Contemporary American Theatre Festival; The Scottish Play, La Jolla Playhouse; Black Sheep, Florida Stage and The Winning Streak, George Street Playhouse. Other plays include Riches; Independence; Oldtimers Game; Nice People Dancing to Good Country Music; Perilous Night; A User’s Guide to Hell: Featuring Bernard Madoff; A View of the Mountains and For the Loyal.  Recent adaptations:  Heaven’s My Destination, from Thornton Wilder’s picaresque 1935 novel, commissioned by the Cleveland Play House and Courting Harry, commissioned by the Weissberger Group, from “Becoming Justice Blackmun” by Linda Greenhouse, world- premiered at History Theatre, St. Paul, MN.  Profile Theatre in Portland, OR devoted its entire award-winning 2010-11 season to Blessing’s work.  In October, 2011 Tricycle Theatre in London produced a revival of Blessing’s play A Walk in the Woods.  Additional awards: The Steinberg/American Theater Critics Association Award and Citation, the L.A. Drama Critics Award, The Great American Play Award, The Humanitas Award and the George and Elisabeth Marton Award among others. Nominations for Tony and Olivier awards, as well as the Pulitzer Prize. Blessing is married to playwright and TV writer Melanie Marnich and lives in New York.  For the last decade he has headed the graduate playwriting program at Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University.

Blessing is a current member or alumnus of the Writers Guild of America, west; the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis; New Dramatists in NY and the Societe des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques.

About the Cast

Directed by Project Y Theatre Co-Founding Artistic Director Michole Biancosino, the play features Edward James Hyland (“Boardwalk Empire,” and Broadway’s Arcadia) as Bernard Madoff and David Deblinger (“Damages” and “The Sopranos”) as Verge. Eric Sutton (member of Woolly Mammoth Theatre) and Erika Rose (Theater J’s In Darfur) play residents of hell.

About the Design Team

Kevin Judge (Scenic Designer)

Emily DeAngelis (Costume Designer)

Ben Hagen (Lighting Designer)

Judy Bowman Casting