HomepageNewsScudera, Zura Bring Contemporary Nativity Story to Local Stage

Scudera, Zura Bring Contemporary Nativity Story to Local Stage

The two Ursinus Theater faculty members are involved with a contemporary and comedic retelling of the Christmas classic for West Chester’s Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center.

Most people are familiar with the nativity story and the journey of Mary and Joseph, but a local production directed by Professor of Theater Domenick Scudera is putting a contemporary and comedic spin on it just in time for the holiday season.

Scudera is at the helm for The Butterfingers Angel by William Gibson, which is the first production to be staged at the Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center in West Chester. Shannon Zura, associate professor of theater and dance in design & technology at Ursinus, is the sound designer.

Scudera says theatergoers are invited to relate to the characters and are encouraged “to see ourselves somewhere within the story, wherever we are in our lives or circumstances.”

“Rather than making us witnesses, Gibson welcomes us to actively participate through our relationship with the characters,” Scudera said. “Gibson has removed the iconic status of these traditional and well-loved characters and has created relatable people with whom we may identify. This is the playwright’s brilliant way of turning this familiar story into something fresh, surprising, and inspiring.”

Scudera is a longtime collaborator with Uptown Artistic Director Carmen Khan, who was the founder and executive director of the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theater, for which Scudera directed Taming of the Shrew, Much Ado About Nothing, Two Gentlemen of Verona, and more. He also directed a production of The Butterfingers Angel for Khan in 1996, and the two find themselves collaborating once again 26 years later.

Zura has also worked with Khan at the Shakespeare Festival and said, “Although I work with Domenick regularly within the theater department at Ursinus, it has been great getting back to our roots of working together in the professional world. The Butterfingers Angel is such a unique telling of the story of the birth of Christ, loaded with modern humor and coupled with a message of hope. Its timing is perfect for a post-pandemic world.”

Two of the original actors from the 1996 production are performing in this show, and Scudera says working with them again in addition to a new company of artists has been a special experience.

“The play starts as a silly and jubilant celebration intended to make us laugh and sing. It evolves, by the second act, into a more complex re-imagining of the Christmas story with a clear message of hope,” Scudera said.

The Butterfingers Angel runs now through December 23. For information, click here. To view a story about the production on WPVI-TV featuring Scudera, click here.

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