The latest from the Drama Desk-nominated The Mad Ones: a lo-fi ode to the Kodachrome 1970s, rock and roll antics, and the mystical American Southwest: The Essential Straight & Narrow recalls a roadside layover in Pinos Altos, New Mexico, where passing the time becomes reliving the past. Between original country rock songs, bouts of $10,000 Pyramid, and late night craft time, The Mad Ones turn out an intimate anthem about regret and reinvention. 

*American Theatre Wing's Henry Hewes Design Award Nominations for Laura Jellinek, Asta Bene Hostetter, and Mike Innwood. New York Times Critic's Pick




Created by The Mad Ones in collaboration with the ensemble, Directed by Lila Neugebauer, Set Design by Laura Jellinek, Costume Design by Asta Hostetter, Lighting Design by Mike Inwood, Sound Design by Stowe Nelson, Music Direction by Michael Dalto

Featuring Marc Bovino, Joe Curnutte, Michael Dalto & Stephanie Thompson, with Clare Barron, Jonathan Bock, Blake DeLong, Maya Lawson, Matthew Summersgill, & Merlin Whitehawk

The Essential Straight & Narrow is supported by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and the Puffin Foundation. The Essential Straight & Narrow was developed through the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Process Space Residency, a SPACE on Ryder residency, and the Archive Alliance.


"If it’s a single as good as 'The Essential Straight & Narrow,' play it again.” - The New York Times, Alexis Soloski

"Say what you will about the Mad Ones, they don’t pander." - The New York Times, Alexis Soloski

“Ingenious and tricksy, its story lines tantalize and confound. But just when you’re ready to dismiss it as a postmodern goof, it shoots straight at your heart. With excellent aim.”- The New York Times, Alexis Soloski

"The Mad Ones luxuriate in retro melancholy.” - TimeOut NY, Helen Shaw, 4 Stars

"No one does period like The Mad Ones...there’s a party straight out of Fellini, a Cassavetes hangdog vibe, a pair of jeans borrowed from Jane Fonda. The band jams briefly, and though you’ll keep reminding yourself that there never was any such group, you’ll miss it keenly. I still hope they get back together. Maybe they’ll tour?" - TimeOut NY, Helen Shaw, 4 Stars

“ ...easily one of the best shows I’ve seen this year." - Blog Critics, Jon Sobel

“The Mad Ones produce a fierce and powerful show, with Lila Neugebaur tightly directing a cast that has a palpable history together...It’s a joy to watch the piece slowly unfold.”- New York Theare Review, Ryan Hudak

“Artists, theatre companies and bands are created and destroyed every single day. When the people are gone, the only thing left is the work, and the only place for it to live is in the memory. Despite any regrets that Jo might have, the band plays on in her mind. It’s a thrill to listen in.”- New York Theare Review, Ryan Hudak

“With The Essential Straight & Narrow they have built a beautiful dollhouse of a play. It is Immersive and detailed in miniature, but abstract when taken as a whole.It’s billed as a play, I’ve called it an LP, but it’s also a dance. Every moment choreographed and then shrugged off, spontaneous and yet precise. A wonderful night at the theater.” - NY Theatre Now, Jona Tarlin