Founded in 1997, The Dysfunctional Theatre Company is a collective dedicated to producing ensemble works that challenge the status quo without taking themselves too seriously. The company officially incorporated in 1998, achieved non-profit status in 1999, and has produced over 30 shows in its history, many of them original works.
Some early Dysfunctional highlights include Alien Sex Cult Clones Madonna!, a late-night satire of tabloid journalism, which ran successfully for almost a year in various downtown venues, its sequel, Princess Di’s Brain Kept Alive in Graceland!, which ran for nearly six months, and Vampire Stewardesses from Hell!!, which played to sold-out houses at Under St. Mark’s Theater.
Dysfunctional shows have been described as “gripping, well-made drama staged with economy and sensitivity and intelligence”, “eclectic, quintessentially off-off Broadway” and “Grade-A avant-garde downtown theatre”.
In 2009 the company launched its Dysfunctional Classics series with Arsenic & Old Lace. The mission of the Classics Series is to produce underperformed scripts from the previous centuries or to give a new take on “classic” plays of past centuries. All of these works are considered Dysfunctional; the idea is to encourage the audience to perceive them in a new light and to realize that dysfunction isn’t a product of 21st or even 20th century life; it’s a product of the human condition. Arsenic & Old Lace challenged expectations of audiences by its very presence on the off off Broadway stage, and was called “just as humorous and captivating as the 1941 movie starring Cary Grant” by NY Press and “a highlight of the indie theater calendar” by Martin Denton of NYTheatre. Other Classics productions include A Voluminous Evening of Brevity, A Cavalcade of Curiosities, A Clamour of Cabaret: A Volume of Vaudeville Varietals and I Shall Forget You Presently.
Recent notable productions include:
Brew of the Dead (2008) & its sequel, Brew of the Dead II: Oktoberflesh (2011) Said W. Kenton of Culture Capitol, “”[A] supremely post-ironic moment has arrived in the Brew of the Dead franchise.” The original Brew of the Dead is currently being adapted into a motion picture.
Unlicensed (2011-2012), an eight part serialized comedy by Josh Hartung, about an alternate reality where the 30th Amendment has put government controls on entertainment and criminalized indietheatre.
Of Dice & Men (2012), Dysfunctional presented the NYC premiere of Cameron McNary’s play on D&D and the Iraq war as part of The Brick’s Game Play Festival.
I Shall Forget You Presently (2012/2014) originally presented in a 10 minute version at the Brick’s Tiny Theater Festival, I Shall Forget You Presently, based on the poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay was expanded into a 60 minute play with music and presented as part of FRIGID 2014 to glowing reviews.
Currently the company is producing Summer to Your Heart, a companion piece to I Shall Forget You Presently as an installation work on Governors Island. The company is also developing their first musical with company member & playwright Patrick Storck as well as a time travel play by Mim Granahan.
Going forward Dysfunctional continues its mission to show audiences the joys of live theater, give exposure to new playwrights, rediscover forgotten scripts from previous centuries, provide a supportive environment for artists to grow and expand their work and to prove that a small theater company can be self-sustaining in the competitive and crowded NY theater scene.