Writers Block: Paul Iacono - The Last Great Dame
A New Play
What does it mean to be a performing artistfirst, last and always? Broadway legend Luella Merritt can answer that. When the 88-year-old firecracker injures herself weeks before opening night of her latest (and probably last) Broadway musical, the show is put on hold. Her indomitable will to perform is challenged further when the show's producer and longtime friend, Langston Moorehead, is quoted blaming the accident on Luella's lifetime battle with booze.
Making matters worse, Merritt's longtime assistant suddenly quits, citing years of abuse. While bitterly recovering alone at her residence at the Regency, Luella serendipitously reencounters Chip, a young struggling actor she shared the stage with a decade prior. As Merritt convinces Chip to become her assistant and help her save the show, an unlikely bond flourishes in this madcap comedic-drama about an almost forgotten legend's last days surviving showbiz. The story is loosely inspired by my relationship with the late, great, Elaine Stritch.
A graduate of Manhattan's Professional Performing Arts High School, Iacono is best known for his portrayal of the title character on MTV's The Hard Times of RJ Berger. Paul was first featured on The Rosie O'Donnell Show at age eight, after she discovered his unique talents for impersonating Frank Sinatra and Ethel Merman. Favorite stage credits include Mercury Fur (The New Group), Bridget Everetts Rock Bottom at The Public Theater, Noël Coward's Sail Away starring Elaine Stritch at Carnegie Hall, Mame opposite Christine Ebersole at The Paper Mill Play House, as well as Children of Eden (Original Cast Recording), Transport Group's The Dark at the Top of the Stairs with Donna Lynne Champlin, and Michele Pawk and John Guare's Landscape of the Body at Signature Theater starring Lili Taylor and Sherie Rene Scott.
On the big screen Paul starred in MGM's remake of Fame, Drew Barrymore's Animal, Darren Stein's G.B.F. and is upcoming in "Baked In Brooklyn," "Delinquents," and "Dating My Mother" with Kathy Najimy. He was also seen last year on HBO's Girls.
Iacono's first written play, Prince/Elizabeth, premiered at The Teatro LATEA Theater, and his musical memoir, Where's The Fucking Kid? with John McDaniel at 54 Below. Currently, Paul is premiering his newest cabaret show, Psychedelic Hedonism, at Joe's Pub on Tuesday, September 6th. He hosts a bi-weekly Wednesday night party, "HUMP" at Rumpus Room on the Lower East Side, ranked second best gay dance party by New York magazine. Instagram: @psychedelichedonism Twitter: @paul_icon
About The Writers Block:
The Writers Block Festival was created by Howl! Happening: An Arturo Vega Project to showcase the vision of contemporary writers, performers, and artists many of whom got their start in the nightclubs, seminal performance spaces, and theaters associated in the EV/LES. The festival serves as a benefit for Howl! HELP, providing emergency financial assistance and social service support to artists who have made or continue to make their careers in New Yorks East Village and Lower East Side arts communities. 100% of ticket sales benefit the Actors Fund.
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