The Holidays are murder… literally. This year stuff your stocking with rat poison, a pistol, octogenarian sex, a little giggle-weed, and a family hungry for more than Grandma's Christmas dinner. Possessed by greed the family plots and schemes murder in order to get Grandma's money. Let's Kill Grandma This Christmas is a twisted black comedy that says there's no place like six feet under for the holidays.
Robert Nicotra and John Dapolito presented the world premiere of Let's Kill Grandma This Christmas off-Broadway at the Theatre at St. Clement's from November 25th to December 30th, 2012.
The cast included Roxie Lucas (B'way: Damn Yankees, My Favorite Year, Harrigan 'n Hart); Adam Mucci (HBO's "Boardwalk Empire" B'way: You're Welcome America: A Final Night With George W. Bush), Kevin O'Donnell (Film: The Word; Salt TV: "Unforgettable"), Katie Webber (B'way: Catch Me If You Can, Memphis: A New Musical, Rock of Ages, Wicked TV: "Smash," "American Idol"), Brandi Nicole Wilson (Love Me Tinder, MITF Best Actress Nom.; Film: Bert and Arnie's Guide to Friendship, That's What She Said), James Wirt (Saturn Return. Film: Motive, The Order of Things) with Sets and Lights designed by Harry Feiner, Costumes designed by Philip Heckman, Sound designed by Ben Selke, Props designed by Jeena Yoon and Casting by Judy Bowman.
A portion of ticket sales from preview performances was donated to support relief efforts in Staten Island to aid the recovery from Hurricane Sandy.
Press reviews for the 2012 production can be found here and audience reviews here.
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After Grandma Cathy has inked her last will and testament to the grand total of 2.2 million
dollars plus an old-Victorian home with considerable acreage, playwright Brian Gianci asks a
simple question in his off-beat comedy debut, "Let's Kill Grandma This Christmas": is it really
cost effective to keep these old geezers alive much longer? So, over the course of an opportune
Christmas visit to Grandma Cathy's upstate Victorian home, several family members conspire
to blackmail, bribe, and manipulate one another into assisting the poor-old-thing into that
great big blue beyond. But this Grandma's got true grit and moxy so she isn't going anywhere
soon, especially now that she's fallen madly in love with a much younger man. Of course the
family flips-out and the plot despicably thickens with antics and hilarity when she announces
she absolutely must change her will come first thing in the morning.
What Mr. Brian Gianci offers us is belly laughs and an ear to ear smile throughout his moral
tale of family values and spirited individualism. It's well set here against America's mad
world of materialism, blind-obedience and American's desperate need for social conformity.
To me, all the great writers, in even the most dramatic of plays, include some comedy. I think comedy can really open the audience up to the subject matter. I think it's incredibly powerful. Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, Edward Albee. They explore some pretty dark terrain but always make sure to include some laughs. I think that's really important and I try to include a lot of comedy in my plays.
I started writing, "Let's Kill Grandma This Christmas" three years ago in response to an interesting story a friend of mine (who is in his mid-thirties) told me. He had gone on an overnight trip upstate with a couple of friends. They were all going to spend the night at one of the friends' grandmothers' house to celebrate her birthday and enjoy a few drinks – and perhaps smoke some illegal (in most states) plants. My friend said that the grandmother was a very free spirited woman with "young eyes". And apparently these "young eyes" held some kind of secret. He said that by the end of the night, all of his friends had gone to sleep and he and the grandmother stayed up into the wee hours talking. It was very clear, he told me, that he and this woman had a deep spiritual connection. What was confusing however was that he also felt a strong physical attraction to her, and she was more than twice his age.
In the end he never acted on the impulse, but I began to think this could be a very interesting concept for a play; the idea of a loving intimate relationship between a young man and a much a much older woman. This was the initial inspiration. From there I thought about how this type of relationship could really mess with the dynamics of family – especially where money is involved. So, after writing a couple of drafts I decided to do a workshop production. That was when John Dapolito came on board as the dramaturg and director. The play got an amazing response from the audience and immediately after, John Dapolito and Robert Nicotra approached me about optioning the play for an Off-Broadway run. I was pretty ecstatic. I knew that John was a Jedi master when it comes to the mechanics of story and also an awesome director. So having him on board was going to be huge. I also knew that Robert was a great producer and one of the funniest people I know so his tutelage was also going to be incredibly beneficial especially with the comedy elements. So the three of us spent the last year or so work-shopping and tweaking and then tuning, and now we feel like we've got the play in a really great place. It's going to be quite a thrill to see it with a new audience.