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Monsters of the American Cinema

By Christian St. Croix
Directed by Rachel Lampert

Sept 20 - Oct 1, 2023

A poignant, theatrical family story

When his husband dies, Remy Washington, a Black man, finds himself both the owner of a drive-in movie theater and a caregiver to his late husband’s straight, white teenage son, Pup. Monsters of the American Cinema is a haunting and deeply honest tale about fathers and sons, ghosts and monsters.

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Please note that masks are optional in all public spaces at Kitchen Theatre Company. We encourage anyone who would like to wear a mask to please do so.


Monsters of the American Cinema runs approximately 95 minutes with no intermission. The KTC bar will be open before and after performances. 


This show is recommended for ages 14+. The production contains strong language. For more details on specific content warnings, please see this page.

Pay What You Will tickets are available at the Box Office one hour before the preview performances, Wednesday, September 20 and Thursday, September 21. 

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Our standing show-related extras:

  • Wednesday, September 20 at 7 pm and Thursday, September 20 at 7 pm | Preview Performances - Talkback after the show

  • Friday, September 22 at 7 pm | Opening Night - Party after the show

  • Friday, September 29 at 7 pm | Meet the Artists - Talkback after the show

  • Saturday, September 30 at 7 pm | Affinity Night

AFFINITY NIGHT | Saturday, September 30 at 7 pm

For this production's Affinity Night, we especially invite those who are members of the BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities to join us.

Read more about Affinity Nights here.

Before this performance there is a Kitchen Table Talk "Finding Community Through Horror," and after the performance, Kenneth McLaurin & Trece Stevenson return to the Kitchen with "Singing Notes & Slinging Jokes" - a unique blend of music, song, storytelling, and comedy. 



Screening of



Friday, September 29 at 10 pm

Reserve your free seat by emailing

Free and open to the public, cash bar

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Important conversations happen in the Kitchen. To deepen those important conversations, we host "Kitchen Table Talks" before or after some performances throughout the season. These talks are a dialogue between you - our audiences - and community leaders, subject experts, originating artists, or others. We hope you'll join us for these extra events!

Thursday, September 28 at 6:45 pm
Teens, Parents and Monsters in Horror Movies

How do grief, shame, and other negative feelings manifest in the horror genre? How do these feelings specifically relate to the adolescent experience? In this talk, we will consider how Monsters of the American Cinema takes on topics such as angst, parenting, and monsters.


Hira Mahmood is a PhD student in Performing and Media Arts at Cornell University. Her work examines negative states of girlhood, such as disgust and shame. She has worked as a writer and curator along with founding Ecology Records, a DIY tape label that releases compilations of local bands.

Content consideration for this talk: Some of this discussion will involve gender based and sexual violence, as well as other challenging content. Some of the material may be triggering for some participants.

Saturday, September 30 at 6:45 pm - AFFINITY NIGHT
Finding Community Through Horror

Woody Chichester & Melisa Crumrine discuss how they each were able to find and build community from a young age through their early and enduring love of horror films.


Woody Chichester (they/them) has been a horror fan since they were a kid, and a film fan in general. When not watching or talking or thinking about movies, they might be found reading or perhaps eating cheese. 


Melisa Crumrine is an Ithaca native. She is a painter, writer, and illustrator by training, and a public library employee by trade. Melisa has been neck-deep in the horror world for as long as she can remember, having watched “Poltergeist” at the tender age of five and never looking back. Her first crush was The Creature From the Black Lagoon. Melisa currently resides in Ithaca with her spouse, Bubba, her tarantula, Yuri, and her ever-expanding VHS collection.

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Christian St. Croix (Playwright) (he/him) is a playwright based in San Diego, CA. He was named a Theatre Worker You Should Know by American Theatre Magazine in 2021. The San Diego Union-Tribune has called him “one of the nation’s fastest-rising playwrights, thanks to his ability to write multidimensional characters with wry humor and truth, as well as unique stories told from his perspective as a queer Black writer.” His plays include “Monsters of the American Cinema”, winner of Italy’s Carlo Annoni International Drama Award, :We Are the Forgotten Beasts”, a 2022 Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Conference Finalist, and “ZACH”, winner of the 2021 Young-Howze Theatre Award for Best Comedic Writing.

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Rachel Lampert (Director) is returning to lead the theater for the 2023-24 Season. She served as the Artistic Director from 1997-2017. During her twenty-year tenure, she focused on expanding the repertory to include new plays, alternative theatrical formats, solo performances, movement-based work, and original musicals. A strong advocate for young theater artists, she gave first-time directing opportunities to many young directors, mostly women, who continue to make theater nationwide. She championed playwrights by producing early-career writers on the KTC Mainstage and broadened the experience of the audience by hosting Kitchen Counter Culture, a series devoted to BIPOC solo performers. Her solo play The Soup Comes Last and original musicals written with composer Larry Pressgrove, including Precious Nonsense, Tony & the Soprano, Bed No Breakfast, Comfort Food, and The Angle of the Sun, were popular box-office hits. She received the SALT Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018 when she retired from the Kitchen. “I am surprised to be back, but forever grateful to all the artists, technicians, supporters, and the public who helped build the theater and are now working to find a sustainable future. As always, together is better, and I expect that together we will make it possible.”

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Darian Dauchan (Remy) is an award winning actor, writer, poet, and musician who has appeared on both Broadway(Twentieth Century starring Alec Baldwin and Anne Heche) and Off Broadway theater(Classical Theatre of Harlem's Cherry Orchard starring Wendell Pierce). TV and Film credits include Law and Order, Nickelodeon's Bet the House as Darian the "SoundFX" Guy, and the Lionsgate feature film Things Never Said. Darian is most known for The Brobot Johnson Project, an Afrofuturism, Sci Fi Hip Hop transmedia piece which won for Outstanding Comedy Series at the LA Web Festival and BEST soundtrack at the Escape Velocity Festival sponsored by the Museum of Science Fiction. The show The Brobot Johnson Experience is a critically acclaimed Ben Brantley New York Times Critics' Pick. More recently Darian was nominated for a Drama League award for Darian's piece Brobot PSA in the AFO Solo Short series, a contributing voice-over actor for the short doc Lynching Postcards directed by Christine Turner, produced by Fireflight Films and MTV Studios which won the Image Award for Outstanding Short Form Special, and is a New Music USA grantee. Darian's also the narrator for the recently released audiobook Master Class on Being Human published by Beacon Press. Darian's music Doin' it Live and Ohm can be found on all streaming platforms. 


Jackson Janowicz (Pup) originally hails from the cornfields of Indiana, but is now more easily recognized from his work on the east and west coasts. Recent theatre credits include: The Inheritance Part 1 and 2 (ZACH Theatre), The Play That Goes Wrong (Florida Studio Theatre) and the world premiere musical For the Love of a Glove (Los Angeles). Jackson can be seen in many Film/TV projects and has also been a regular improviser with ComedySportz. He would like to thank his family and friends for their constant love and support! More at:

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Sarah Plotkin (Associate Director) is a director, educator and community-engaged artist who specializes in new play development and devising. She returned last fall to her hometown of Ithaca after more than a decade in New York City and Boston. Directing / devising credits include: Something Blue (Walking on Water Productions), Through our Eyes (Urbano Project), Molting (Center at West Park), Every Feeling I’ve Ever Felt (Ars Nova), Earthrise (Dixon Place), and Welcome to the Doll Den (The Tank). Sarah is the Founder and Lead Facilitator of Artist Gym, a collaborative creation workshop series rooted in accessibility, justice and the power of creativity. She was also the Founding Artistic Director of Electric Eye Ensemble, a theatre company exploring American myths through a revisionist, feminist lens. Sarah received a Humanities New York Action Grant for her upcoming community-engaged production, Play of Delights, which will be co-produced by Story House Ithaca and Civic Ensemble next spring. Sarah holds an MA in Theatre Education and Applied Theatre from Emerson College, and a BA in Directing from Sarah Lawrence College. Associate Member of SDC.

Tyler M Perry

Tyler M. Perry (Scenic, Lighting, and Projection Designer) (he/him) is an award-winning designer for theatre, television, and live events. At Kitchen Theatre Company he has designed over 30 main stage productions. Favorites include Bright Half Life, Throw Pitchfork, Peter and the Starcatcher, I and You, The House, and Opus. He has designed regionally at theatres including Florida Repertory Theatre, Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Northern Stage, and Hope Summer Repertory Theatre. For television, his work has been seen on BravoTV, Peacock, ABC, NBC Sports, Fox Sports 1, and many other networks. Tyler is the Assistant Lighting Designer for 2017 Broadway revival of Miss Saigon, and national tours of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, and Beautiful: The Carol King Musical. Tyler is the Technical Theater Director at Riverdale Country School. BFA: Ithaca College, MFA: University of Idaho.

Lisa Boquist

Lisa Boquist (Costume Designer) has designed costumes at the Kitchen Theatre Company for two decades.  Highlights include THE WHIPPING MAN, PRIVATE LIVES, THE MOUNTAINTOP, BUYER AND CELLAR, SANTALAND DIARIES, EVERY BRILLIANT THING, THE THANKSGIVING PLAY, three productions of PRECIOUS NONSENSE, and others.  She is the Costume Shop Manager at Cornell University’s Schwartz Center, teaching costumes in the Production Technology Laboratory, as well as instructing her student staff in all aspects of costume construction for live and mediated performance within the department.  Additionally, she creates specialty costumes for advertising, television, and film.

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Lesley Greene (Sound Designer) is a sound designer, playwright, composer, and event producer. She worked for 20 years at the Kitchen Theatre Company as a producer, grant writer, and theatrical jack-of-all-trades. She is co-director of Story House Ithaca, co-founder of Porchfest, and author of The Turnaway

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Jen Schilansky (Production Stage Manager) has been the resident stage manager for the Kitchen Theatre for over 55 main stage productions. KTC favorites include: The Royale, Ironbound, Peter and the Starcatcher, The Mountaintop, Paloma, The Whipping Man, Darian Dauchan's Death Boogie and Brian Dykstra Selling Out. Based in Groton, NY Jen spends most of her time working in Ithaca, NY and spending time with her young daughter, Maya. Previous work includes PSM for Seussical at SUNY Cortland, Jazz Nutcracker SUNY Binghamton, PSM for The Cherry Arts and their English World Premieres Heading into Night, A Day, Hotel Good Luck, The Fan, and Felt Sad, Posted a Frog. She has also served as the Production Stage Manager for the Hangar Theatre’s Pride and Prejudice, Dégagé, and A Doll’s House Part 2. Prior to moving to Ithaca, she spent five years as the resident stage manager for Stageworks Theater in Hudson, as well as Stage Managing for Half Moon Theater in Poughkeepsie and Bard College. Jen has been an Equity member since 2007 and is a graduate of Lycoming College in Williamsport PA. 

Deletris Bryant

Deletris Bryant (Assistant Stage Manager) is a director, stage manager, and sound designer from the Greater Washington, D.C., Metro Area.  A few of their recent credits include: Production Stage Manager for  “BANKSY: A New Play” (Dir. Denis Jones), Sound Designer for “Do You Feel Anger” (Kitchen Theatre Company), and Assistant Director for “Moments: An Evening of the Work of Douglas Lyons” (Ithaca College). They are a graduate of Ithaca College School of Music, Theatre and Dance.


Thank you to our generous show sponsors!

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Monster Media


Check out our Press Release on

Read about the play's origin story in this interview with playwright, Christian St. Croix

Listen to Rachel Lampert's interview about the play with Greg Bostwick on WVBR

Check out the MONSTERS OF THE AMERICAN CINEMA program for the full production and staff list and bios

Read our newsletters about the show here and here

Watch the promo video below!
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