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Pulitzer Prize FINALIST



the Connelly theater

June, 2022


PRODUCTION PHOTOS: Nina Goodheart & Emilio Madrid


Conceived and Written by

Michael Breslin and Patrick Foley


Directed by Rory Pelsue 

Featuring Catherine María Rodríguez 

Dramaturgy by Ariel Sibert 

Video design: David Bengali


Scenic DESIGN: Steph Cohen

Costume design: Cole McCarty

Sound design: Kathy Ruvuna

Stage ManageMENT: Codey Leroy Butler




Michael Breslin, Patrick Foley,

Catherine María Rodríguez 


Most of the textual collaborators (the fifth is the virtuosic director Rory Pelsue) have dramaturgy backgrounds, and the play bristles with as much commentary and marginalia as a grad student’s copy of Brecht…


In-person viewers at the Connelly Theater [watch] the company film the show for the streaming audience at home. Perks for the in-the-flesh audience include being able to take in all of Stephanie Osin Cohen’s beautiful stage picture, a Boschian profusion of industrial lights and set pieces and rolling cameras tied together by a snake pit of cables. You also see how hard it is to make this many filthy jokes in a row, how much physical discipline the farce requires, which communicates itself to the audience as a kind of riotous intoxication. A huge television screen hangs overhead, showing us what the digital audience is seeing live — two shows for the price of one.

 Helen shaw, vulture

This is the smartest, funniest comedy to come out of the pandemic...Circle Jerk made its 2020 debut in an exclusively online format. Rather than giving audiences a poor substitute for live theater (which so many streaming shows are), the creators of Circle Jerk were able to tell their story on the screens and through the memes that constitute the Internet culture they so gleefully skewer….they now present it in front of a live studio audience while continuing to stream online using a multi-cam setup. Seeing it in person feels like attending a taping of the lost gay episode of I Love Lucy…


Stephanie Osin Cohen has designed a full living room set upstage for the broadcast, but the in-person audience can also see the complicated technical equipment it takes to make it work. Director Rory Pelsue has choreographed both the on-camera and off-camera business with precision, so watching how they pull it off is half the fun. Most importantly, the technical competence of the production (stage-managed by Codey Leroy Butler) allows the actors to deliver performances that are irresistible in their outrageous extremity.

— Zachary stewart, theatermania

Circle Jerk is still required viewing, it is a must-see, both if you saw it back when or have yet to experience it is a camp classic like no other, and is absolutely something you can brag about seeing to your gay friends at brunch years from now. Plus, where else can you get a coaster that says “I pledge allegiance to the fag”? 

— christian lewis, theaterly

Circle Jerk nods to a fabulous gay theatrical past – specifically the late Charles Ludlam’s Ridiculous Theatrical Company – even while it….jerks?….towards a tech-savvy theatrical future.

— Johnathan Mandela, New York theater

RORY PELSUE director

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