Rockland County No Vaudeville

Conceived, Written & Produced by AXIS COMPANY

Directed by Randy Sharp

February 22 - March 31, 1996

Thursdays - Sundays at 8PM
General Admission $10

Rockland County No Vaudeville by Randy Sharp and Michael Gump in an original play inspired by the tabloid spectacle surrounding the case of a Manhattan art dealer and his assistant who were suspected luring a young male model from a New York nightclub and torturing him to death in a house in Rockland County. The dealer was never tried for the crime, but the "The Death Mask Murder" achieved notoriety and is now held as an icon of sicknesses in our time -- homosexual panic, drug addiction and gross capitalism. Director Randy Sharp deconstructs the incident with wild comic vulgarity and desperate Vaudeville.

Sages know that true evil is neither insane nor stupid, but few appreciate a villain's hyper anxiety and frantic efforts of self-vindication. At the moment of a truly bestial act, there is such imaginative denial and self-justification that it cries for the stage, and this is what Axis Theatre Company has done. The central figure is an insidious Groucho-cum-Cowardly Lion who has a vile henchman named Ogle. The rest of the cast are the human forces of his life: a female gallery employee who loved him, the mother he blames for the crime, the artist he made most famous, the buyers who made him rich and, of course, the victim. The multimedia production opens with a film establish the crime, then offers up a series of scenes from the murderer's mind. Everything is done in Vaudeville pastiche. The play begins when the gun is cocked and ends at the moment the trigger is pulled. By setting a late-day crime in the archetypal black-and-white images of early movies, the play is meant to be a fin de siecle burlesque on the sicknesses of our whole century. The piece reverberates with Jolson, the Marx brothers and the Three Stooges (there's even some fractured Macbeth). The set and costumes are an enveloping, exaggerated cartoon retro spectacle evoking early Vaudeville B/W film through those made in bleeding color.


Featuring: Robert Ierardi, Michael Gump, Paul Dawson, Maximiliano Hernández, Sue Ann Molinell, Wren Arthur, Vivian R. Jordan

Directed by Randy Sharp
Written by Randy Sharp and Michael Gump
Scenery and Costumes Designed by Ian Falconer
Lighting Designed by Michael Gilliam
Films by Roberto Espinosa
Dances Choreographed by Laurie Kilmartin
Stage Management by Chris Deitner

Business Manager: Jeff Resnick
Sound Designer: Randy Sharp
Sound Recorder: Michael Birnbaum | Applehead Sound Recording & Production
Theatrical Sound Engineer: Steve Fontaine
Sound Operator: Russell Hames
Assistant Lighting Designer: Philip Widmer
Light Board Operator: Marcin Zaccaria
Electricians: Scott Sloan, John Tees III, Tiffany Yelton
Head Rigger: Scott Sloan
Technical Assistant: Jeff Duer
Costume Builder: John Schneeman Studio
Wig Maker: Michael Potter
Assistant Stage Manager: Laurie Kilmartin
Box Office Manager: Heath Stanwhyck
Publicist: Jonathan Slaff
Graphic Designer: Paul Dawson

Performed at Cherry Lane Theatre, 38 Commerce Street, New York, NY


  • Michael Gump, Robert Ierardi - photo by Jonathan Slaff
  • Robert Ierardi, Michael Gump - photo by Jonathan Slaff
  • Robert Ierardi - photo by Jonathan Slaff




“Sly... compelling... a genuine curiosity... a Bonnie and Clyde thriller as enacted by Burns and Allen.”
—HX