Mrs. Murray’s Menagerie

The creators of a 1970s children’s television program have commissioned a focus group to probe the parents of the show’s target audience. Over stale coffee and donuts, a group of strangers navigates the murky waters of American belief and perception.

Created by The Mad Ones and Phillip James Brannon, Brad Heberlee, Carmen M. Herlihy & January Lavoy
Directed by Lila Neugebauer

“Plays like “Mrs. Murray’s Menagerie” dramatize the idea that history isn’t just what gets recorded in books. It’s what’s happening every moment, perhaps especially the trivial ones.” —JESSE GREEN, THE NEW YORK TIMES, PUPPETS AND POWER MAKE A MARVELOUS MENAGERIE, CRITICS’ PICK

“…delicate and refreshingly anticlimactic, very funny but joke-free, a seemingly unassuming but pointed example of the kind of painstaking group character study that the company has marked as its turf.” —SARA HOLDREN, NEW YORK

“In a recent Times profile of Taylor Mac, the self-professed maximalist asserted that onstage, “subtlety is a privilege” — and although I understand his point, I’m not sure I entirely agree. Nothing blows up in Mrs. Murray’s Menagerie. Tensions of class and race and gender bubble under the surface without boiling over, but, in the words of the Magnetic Fields’ Stephin Merritt, “You can’t use a bulldozer to study orchids.” There’s something both humane and shrewd about the Mad Ones’ project, and in Mrs. Murray, they tread lightly, but they know right where they’re going.”—SARA HOLDREN, NEW YORK

“..engrossing, hilarious and ultimately sobering…The Mad Ones make pressing your nose against the glass a voyeur’s delight.”—DAVID COTE, OBSERVER

Miles for Mary in 360°

"So funny and unexpectedly touching! ‘Miles for Mary’ provides an ideal showcase for The Mad Ones’ strengths."

"This production slides from surface comedy into an unexpected realm of emotional substance, where laughter increasingly comes with a catch in its throat. You register the obvious jokes in each character — the rah-rah gym teachers, the eager disseminator of cheer and calm, the seething milquetoast. But, little by little, you catch glimpses of fraught, often lonely lives hidden behind the caricatures."

"Pure delight and radiating pleasure! Your troubles lift from your shoulders while you’re watching 'Miles for Mary.' Go now, go now. Don’t dare dream it’s over."

"...a virtuosic, unrelenting examination of our possibly hopeless human efforts to understand each other."

It’s 1988 and the planning committee for Garrison High School’s ninth annual Miles For Mary Telethon is fired up and ready to go. Across subcommittee sessions in the Phys Ed teachers’ lounge, The Mad Ones assemble an analog elegy to the camcorder 1980s, Girls Track and Field, and the consecrated American High School.

Created by The Mad Ones in collaboration with Amy Staats and Stacey Yen, Directed by Lila Neugebauer, Set Design by Amy Rubin, Costume Design by Asta Hostetter, Lighting Design by Mike Inwood, Sound Design by Stowe Nelson, Dramaturgy by Sarah Lunnie, Produced by Ann Marie Dorr

Featuring Marc Bovino, Joe Curnutte, Michael Dalto, Amy Staats, Stephanie Wright Thompson and Stacey Yen. assured, you are safe in the hands of some confident new theatrical talents.
— TimeOut NY, Helen Shaw
The New York Times Feature:  For The Mad Ones, Bad Haircuts Make Good Theatre  | Photo | An Rong Xu for The New York Times

The New York Times Feature: For The Mad Ones, Bad Haircuts Make Good Theatre | Photo | An Rong Xu for The New York Times

The Mad Ones are a New York City-based company dedicated to creating visceral, ensemble-driven, highly detailed theatrical experiences that examine and illuminate American nostalgia. Since 2009, we’ve created four full-length plays (and a host of short plays), which have received significant accolades and critical praise, including multiple New York Times Critics’ Picks, Five Star Time Out New York reviews, a Drama Desk nomination and multiple New York Innovative Theatre Awards.

The Mad Ones are Co-Artistic Directors Marc Bovino (performer/writer), Joe Curnutte (performer/writer), Lila Neugebauer (director/writer), Stephanie Wright Thompson (performer/writer); Associate Director Michael Dalto (performer/writer/music director); Company Members Ásta Bennie Hostetter (costume designer), Mike Inwood (lighting designer), Laura Jellinek (set designer), Sarah Lunnie (dramaturg), and Stowe Nelson (sound designer). 

The Mad Ones are company-in-residence at Ars Nova.

Contact us through:

Rachel Viola
United Talent Agency


Marc Bovino (Performer/Writer/co-Artistic Director): The Mad Ones: Miles for Mary (The Bushwick Starr), The Essential Straight & Narrow (New Ohio Theatre), Samuel & Alasdair: A Personal History of the Robot War (New Ohio Theatre, The Brick, Ars Nova), The Tremendous Tremendous (The Brick), and Inspector Pennywhistle and the Nefarious Case of the Sweet Shop Murder (Clubbed Thumb, SummerWorks Hot Dish). New York: Be The Death of Me (The Civilians, Irondale Center) Trade Practices, Lush Valley, Rus(h) (HERE). Regional: A Christmas Carol, Dracula (Actors Theatre of Louisville), Uncle Sam’s Satiric Spectacular (Humana Festival), A Christmas Carol (Hartford Stage).

Joe Curnutte (Performer/Writer/co-Artistic Director): The Mad Ones: Miles for Mary (The Bushwick Starr), The Essential Straight & Narrow (The New Ohio), Samuel & Alasdair: A Personal History of the Robot War (New Ohio Theatre, The Brick, Ars Nova), The Tremendous Tremendous (The Brick), and Inspector Pennywhistle and the Nefarious Case of the Sweet Shop Murder (Clubbed Thumb, SummerWorks Hot Dish). Also a writer/actor of Unnatural Acts: Harvard’s Secret Court of 1920 (CSC, multiple Drama Desk nominee). Regional: Two Men of Florence (Huntington), Dracula (Actors Theatre of Louisville). TV: The Get Down (Netflix), American Odyssey (NBC), Person of Interest (CBS), The Story of Vice (NatGeo), I Just Want My Pants Back (MTV), As the World Turns (CBS), All My Children (ABC). Featured in Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto V.

Michael Dalto (Performer/Writer/Associate Director) The Mad Ones: The Essential Straight & Narrow (The New Ohio Theatre) Samuel & Alasdair: A Personal History of the Robot War (New Ohio Theatre, The Brick, Ars Nova), The Tremendous Tremendous (The Brick). Regional: Pride and Prejudice and Shipwrecked! The Amazing Adventures of Louis De Rougemont (Actors Theatre of Louisville), Brink! (Humana Festival 2009), Man of La Mancha and A Christmas Carol (Virginia Stage Co.), Lemony Snickett’s The Composer is Dead (Virginia Symphony Orchestra). BA in Religious Studies, Rollins College; previously a member of the 2008/09 Apprentice Co. of Actors Theatre of Louisville.

Lila Neugebauer (Director/Writer/co-Artistic Director) is an Obie, Drama Desk, and Princess Grace Award-winning director. Recent directing: Annie Baker’s The Antipodes; Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ Everybody; Albee’s The Sandbox, Fornes’ Drowning, and Kennedy’s Funnyhouse of a Negro (as an evening, Signature Plays); A.R. Gurney’s The Wayside Motor Inn (all at Signature); Sarah DeLappe’s The Wolves (The Playwrights Realm, NY Stage & Film); Abe Koogler’s Kill Floor (LCT3); Mike Bartlett’s An Intervention (Williamstown); Amy  Herzog’s After  The Revolution, 4000 Miles (Baltimore Center Stage); Zoe Kazan’s Trudy and Max in Love, Eliza Clark’s Future Thinking (South Coast Rep); Lucas Hnath’s Red Speedo (Studio Theatre); Dan LeFranc’s Troublemaker (Berkeley Rep); Partners, O Guru Guru Guru (Humana Festival); Annie Baker’s The Aliens (SF Playhouse, Studio Theatre). With The Mad Ones: Samuel & Alasdair: A Personal History of the Robot War, The Essential Straight and Narrow, Miles for Mary and Inspector Pennywhistle. Drama League alum, Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, Ensemble Studio Theatre member, New Georges Affiliated Artist, New York Theatre Workshop Usual Suspect.

Ásta Bennie Hostetter (Company Member, Costume Design) With the Mad Ones: The Essential Straight & Narrow (The New Ohio). With Lila Neugebauer: Wolves (Playwrights Realm), Arcadia (Juilliard), 4000 Miles and After The Revolution (Baltimore Center Stage), NYC: Men on Boats (Playwrights Horizons), Fulfillment Center (MTC), The World My Mamma Raised (Clubbed Thumb), The Terrifying (Abrons Arts Center) Porto, (Bushwick Starr), Picnic/ Come Back Little Sheba (Transport Group), Coriolanus (Red Bull Theater), Smokefall (MCC), John (Signature), 10 out of 12, Generations (Soho Rep) Member: The Mad Ones, minor theater, Target Margin Theater.

Laura Jellinek (Company Member, Set Design) is an opera and theater designer based in Brooklyn.  With The Mad Ones: Samuel and Alasdair… and The Essential Straight and Narrow.  With Lila Neugebauer: Intervention (Williamstown); Trudy and Max… (Southcoast Rep); Angels in America (Juilliard).  Selected Theater: Marjorie Prime, Your Mother’s Copy of the Kama Sutra (Playwrights Horizons); Oklahoma! (Bard Summerscape); The Nether, The Village Bike (MCC); Buzzer (The Public); Small Mouth Sounds, Jacuzzi (Ars Nova); To Kill A Mockingbird (Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park).  She regularly works with The Debate Society and often collaborates with directors Daniel Fish, Anne Kauffman, Emma Griffin, and Jordan Fein.  Selected Opera: Dialogues of the Carmelites, Owen Wingrave (Opera Philadelphia); Don Giovanni (Boston Lyric Opera); The Cunning Little Vixen(Juilliard); Messiah (Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra); Orlando Paladino (Manhattan School of Music).  Laura has upcoming projects at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Playwrights Horizons, and Opera Theater of St. Louis.  She received the 2013 Obie for Sustained Excellence in Set Design.  She holds a BA in Mathematics from Brown University and an MFA in design from NYU, where she is an adjunct faculty member.

Mike Inwood (Company Member, Lighting Design) With The Mad Ones: The Essential Straight and Narrow (2014 American Theatre Wing Henry Hewes Design Award nominee), The Tremendous Tremendous, Samuel and Alasdair. NYC: HIR (Playwrights Horizons); Small Mouth Sounds (Ars Nova/Signature Theatre); Stupid Fucking Bird (Pearl); Out Cold/Zippo Songs (BAM); Half Moon Bay (Lesser America/Cherry Lane). Regional productions with: Boston Lyric Opera, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Magic Theatre, Theatre Horizon, Pittsburgh Opera, Perseverance Theatre, Company of Fools, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. Emmy Award (NBC, 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games).

Sarah Lunnie (Company Member, Dramaturg) is the literary director at Playwrights Horizons and the house dramaturg with the Mad Ones. Selected dramaturgy: Lucas Hnath’s A Doll’s House Part 2 (Broadway), The Christians (Humana Festival, Playwrights Horizons), nightnight and Death Tax (Humana); Heidi Schreck’s What the Constitution Means to Me (Clubbed Thumb); and the Humana premieres of new plays by Mallery Avidon, Mona Mansour, Charles L. Mee/SITI Company, and Anne Washburn, among many others. Also with the Mad Ones: The Essential Straight and Narrow and Samuel & Alasdair: A Personal History of the Robot War. She was previously the literary manager at Actors Theatre of Louisville.

Stowe Nelson (Company Member, Sound Design) is a sound designer based in New York City.  With the Mad Ones: Miles for Mary, The Essential Straight & Narrow, The Tremendous Tremendous, Samuel & Alasdair (Drama Desk Nom).  New York: Animal (Atlantic); The Skin of Our Teeth (Theatre for a New Audience); The Wolves (Playwrights Realm); Small Mouth Sounds (Lortel Nom, Ars Nova); Indian Summer (Playwrights Horizons); The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek, The Wayside Motor Inn (Signature). Regional Theatre: What Would Crazy Horse Do? (KC Rep); Cry It Out, I Now Pronounce (Actors Theatre of Louisville); The Book of Will (Denver Center).  More info:

Stephanie Wright Thompson (Performer/Writer/co-Artistic Director): The Mad Ones: Miles for Mary, The Essential Straight & Narrow, Samuel & Alasdair: A Personal History of the Robot War, The Tremendous Tremendous. Other credits: The Messenger (Clubbed Thumb), The Subtle Body (59E59), The Hatmaker’s Wife (Playwrights Realm), Mission Drift (The TEAM), Habit (PS122), The Bird and the Two-Ton Weight (EST), 1Rove (The Bushwick Starr), Tigers Be Still (Partly Cloudy People), Have You Seen Steve Steven? (13P), Michael and Edie (Greenpoint Division). Regional: Six Years and Neon Mirage (Humana Festival), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Actors Theatre of Louisville), tempOdyssey (New Jersey Repertory Theater).



Our work is not possible without your support.  EVERYTHING MAKES A DIFFERENCE! Please consider making a tax-deductible donation today.

*The Mad Ones is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions for the charitable purpose of The Mad Ones must be made payable to "Fractured Atlas" only and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.  


Over the years, we have formed our own approach to the generation of new material and formation of plays. Organizations and ensembles can take part in workshops led by our ensemble members focusing on collaboration in theater through the generation of material using The Mad Ones unique methodology. 

If your school or organization is interested contact us below.

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