By Jacques Lamarre
Based on The Raging Skillet: The True Life Adventures of Chef Rossi, A Memoir with Recipes
The Julie Harris Stage | August 22 – September 15, 2018 | Previews August 22 and 23
“After 13 years hosting BITE THIS on WOMR and WFMR for the world’s most intelligent, (and attractive) radio audience, I am KVELLing (Jewish for thrilled and proud at the same time) that the hysterical and delicious play about my life RAGING SKILLET is coming to the Outer Cape! You’re gonna laugh your kishkas off”. – Chef Rossi
RAGING SKILLET is one woman’s story of cooking her way through some of life’s biggest challenges in New York City’s most unlikely kitchens. Talking her way into any cooking job she could get. A self-taught and self-made Rossi ended up owning one of the most sought-after catering companies in the city.
Chef Rossi grew up “orthodox light” (her family kept the meat and dairy dishes separate but ate McDonalds’ fish sandwiches). A rebellious daughter, she was shipped off from her Hungarian Yiddish family to live with a Chasidic rabbi in Brooklyn. Feeling restless, Rossi broke free from religious and familial constraints to create a life of her own. What began as a revolt against the microwave turned into a quest to make food that is fearless, fun, and, most importantly, delicious.
SHANEL SPARR (ROSSI) is honored to make her WHAT debut as Chef Rossi. A professional actress in New York, Shanel graduated from the Bachelor of Fine Arts Program at The University of Central Florida. Some of her favorite credits include Sister James in Doubt: A Parable, Maggie in Lend Me a Tenor, and Susy in Wait Until Dark. Shanel has been seen in New Hampshire’s professional Summerstock Theatre at Winnipesaukee Playhouse as Hallie in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and Annie in Round and Round the Garden. July 12th, 2018 marked the premiere of award winning feature film, Seekers of the Lost Worlds, in which Shanel stars as the lead role of Rita. Upon her return to New York, Shanel will be portraying Margret Ogilvy in the premiere of ShadowPlay, an immersive experience based on the life and work of J.M. Barrie.
KATHRYN KATES (MOM) has worked for over 30 years in film, tv and theatre but is probably best known for her recurring role on Seinfeld in the iconic episodes, “The Marble Rye” and “The Babka.” She currently recurs as Fred Savage’s mother in season 2 of the Netflix series Friends From College; as Judge Marlene Simons on Law & Order: SVU; and as Jason Bigg’s mother on Orange Is the New Black. She appeared in season 1 ofJennifer Lopez’ NBC hit Shades of Blue as Mrs Saperstein. She has worked on Broadway and Off Broadway, most recently in Roundabout Theatre’s Significant Other; in LAByrinth’s Nice Girl, directed by Mimi O’Donnell; at NYTheatre Workshop in Food and Fadwa; on Theatre Row in Herman Kline’s Midlife Crisis; and starred along with Greg Mullavey and Gaby Hoffmann in The Last Seder. She spent over 25 years in LA where she was a founder, acting member and producer of the award-winning Colony Theatre. Kathryn is represented by McGowan Rodriguez Management and Headline Talent Agency. www.kathrynkates.com
Michael Patrick Trimm
MICHAEL PATRICK TRIMM (DJ Skillet) This is Michael’s first time working with Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater. New York City Credits: The Public Theater (Julius Caesar), New Wave Theater Collective (The New Sincerity), Sanguine Theater Co. (Jessica), Manhattan Repertory Theatre (The BC Boys). Regional Credits: The Kitchen Theatre Co. (Hand to God), Ithaca Shakespeare Co. (Henry IV, A Midsummer Night’s Dream), 4615 Theatre Co. (Dracula), City Theater (The Young Playwright’s Festival), Prime Stage Theater (Everything’s Fine). Awards: SALT Award (nominee) for Hand to God. Michael is a graduate of the Ithaca College, BFA Acting program.
Jacques Lamarre (Playwright) premiered I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti at TheaterWorks in Hartford, CT and has received nine subsequent productions from Maine to Florida. He contributed “Merry Christmas, Blockhead” and “A Miserable Life” to TheaterWorks’ holiday tradition, Christmas on the Rocks . His comedy Born Fat was workshopped at the Philly Fringe, premiered at Seven Angels, and was remounted for the Midtown International Theatre Festival in NYC (Outstanding Solo Show). Other MITF productions include Save the Robots and Gray Matters. His newest comedy My Vhite House Christmas Spashial vith Melania was workshopped at Seattle’s Jewel Box and his “Scientollywood” comedy Honey LaBrea – The Lonely Thetan recently premiered at the Farmington Valley Stage Company. He was commissioned by the Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation to celebrate their 50th anniversary with Ned and Sunny, starring Jill Eikenberry and Michael Tucker. Jacques has co-written thirteen comedy shows for drag superstar Varla Jean Merman, as well as the screenplay for Varla Jean & The Mushroomheads .
Sasha Brätt (Director) is grateful to be directing his first production at WHAT. Upcoming productions include CONEY ISLAND CHRISTMAS, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, and the musical FIRST DATE. Directing:(Selected): Playhouse on Park: (OTHELLO –Winner Best Play 2013 – broadwayworld.com; THE REVISIONIST; TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE; THE DINING ROOM); Ivoryton Playhouse: (BILOXI BLUES; SIX DANCE LESSONS IN SIX WEEKS; IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE: A LIVE RADIO PLAY); FringeNYC: (LADY MACBETH AND HER LOVER; BABY HUBRIS; PILOT FISH); Source Festival: (QUALITIES OF STARLIGHT); Seven Angels Theatre: (ROMANCE LANGUAGE). Midtown International Theater Festival: (FRAME 313); Capital Fringe: (THE WEBCAM PLAY; A YEAR OF GIVING; OBLIVION). Sasha has served as an Assistant Director at Woolly Mammoth Theater Company (BOOTYCANDY), Folger Shakespeare Theatre, New York Music Theatre Festival, Olney Theatre Center, and the Academy of Classical Acting. He is the creator and curator of the Playwrights on Park new play reading series at Playhouse on Park in West Hartford, CT. Currently, Sasha is the Assistant Professor of Theater at Naugatuck Valley Community College in Waterbury, CT. He has taught or lectured at Trinity College, University of Hartford – President’s College, and Pace University. He has been awarded a National Endowment of the Humanities Fellowship for the Teaching Shakespeare Institute at the Folger Shakespeare Library and was a member of the Visiting Professionals Residency at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. Sasha holds degrees in Theatre Education (MA) and Directing (MFA) from Catholic University. He is an associate member of SDC. xoJAMSxo. @DirectorSasha
“As is to be expected, the production values at WHAT are top-notch….Heartfelt, funny and smart, this ostensible tale of a caterer’s success is really about her very personal, entertaining journey. You should see this show. You will, as the press release promises, “laugh your kishkas off.” (Google it!) You may also, as my companion did, weep because of the depth of emotions portrayed.” Carol Panasci, Cape Cod Times
“The cheeky comedy begins like a live cooking show, but the graffiti covered walls (scenic design by Richard Wadsworth Chambers) and accompanying DJ are the first clues that Chef Rossi is no Martha Stewart.” Ellen Whalen, Cape Cod Chronicle
“‘Provincetown Magazine is how I started writing professionally and how I had the closest experience with my mother, and here now I’m back, like this wonderful circle thing that I mean I don’t even have the words for it anymore; it’s just very humbling,’ says Rossi.” Melissa Yeaw, Provincetown Magazine
“A Jewish mom, it seems, has once again left an indelible imprint on her child, and on the art, both edible and audible, that her child has produced.” Howard Karren, Provincetown Banner
“Forget everything you ever thought about catered food; especially the Caterer (and the food).” Joni Rapp, CapeCodToday
“Chef Rossi is a wild spirit : a cutting edge chef caterer with a taste for the weird and wonderful who turned her colorful Jewish past into a best selling memoir and hit play. Quick witted, wickedly funny she talked to QUEERGURU about THE RAGING SKILLET and how as a feminist lesbian punk she just loves to stir it all up.” Roger Walter-Dack, QueerGuru (video)
Chef Rossi, Shanel Sparr and Christopher Ostrom talk Raging Skillet, storytelling, food, and the immortalization of Mom with Jeannette de Beauvoir on WOMR Arts Week (at the 5 minute mark):
Chef Rossi and Kathryn Kates met up on WOMR’s Bite This:
Chef Rossi’s beautiful tribute to her mom – and the blurred line between actors and the people they portray: “She” on Medium