A fun, ‘Twisted’ take on B-movie classics opens in the East Village Thursday

Cast of Twisted at Theater for the New City in East Village
The cast of ‘Twisted’ backstage at the Theater for the New City
Photo by Bob Krasner

This is one “Twisted” story in the East Village! 

Murder, mayhem, incest, an ancient curse and a has-been starlet — it’s just another day in the life of the Delacroix family as depicted in the live action B-movie mashup that is “Twisted,” Joel Greenhouse’s “dark comedy with music.”

Opening on Sept. 28 at the Theater For The New City in the East Village, the production features a multi-talented cast and a multi-tasking one as well. Director Joe John Battista plays guitar in the band as well, and choreographer Sevin Ceviker also appears onstage in various dancing roles.

The play’s genesis dates back to a year before the pandemic; Greenhouse headed up to the Catskills to finish it during the lockdown.

“The idea came from a photo still from a B-movie — a half man/half alligator,” he recalled. “It’s influenced by every lousy movie I’ve ever seen and loved. The worse the better!”

The work slowly evolved — there was no music in the original draft and the theme of motherly love came later — and he couldn’t be happier with the result.

“I love all of the show,” he admits. “I love anything that gets a laugh.”

The creative team behind ‘Twisted’, L-R: Sevin Ceviker (Choreography) Joel Greenhouse (Playwright/Lyricist), Hillary Wyatt (Producer), Peter W. Dizzoza (Composer) , Joe John Battista ( Composer/Director)
Robert Z Grant and Penny BalfourPhoto by Bob Krasner
Penny Balfour vamps it up as Renee FlamePhoto by Bob Krasner
Maude Laudner Burke and Larry FleishmanPhoto by Bob Krasner

Brian Belovitch, who plays the matriarch Lavinia Monteblanc Delacroix, relishes the role.

“It’s so wrong in so many ways!” he declares. “I’m not a mean, nasty bitch, but it’s fun to be outrageously rotten. I love being able to explore that part of me.” 

Brian Belovitch communing with the spiritsPhoto by Bob Krasner
Brian Belovitch and Christine Weiss BeidelPhoto by Bob Krasner
Brian Belovitch putting the finishing touches on Lavinia Monteblanc DelacroixPhoto by Bob Krasner

Of the play, Belovitch notes that it is “very well written — very zany and kooky, in the vein of the Ridiculous Theatre Company.”

Battista, meanwhile, is glad to have “a script that you can birth your visions from.” He notes that the time is right for the play, after the pandemic years of “isolation and death.”

“It’s time,” he says, “to perform and be free, and be happy that we’re alive.”

Robert Z Grant and Brian BelovitchPhoto by Bob Krasner
Sevin Ceviker getting in the mood backstagePhoto by Bob Krasner
It’s not about brotherly love…..Robert Z Grant and Andrew Ryan PerryPhoto by Bob Krasner

We’re not going to spoil anything by revealing the play’s body count, but Greenhouse does note that “the most sympathetic character is the serial killer daughter.”

Throw in a priest, an insane doctor, hookers, a creepy housekeeper, the slimy manager a family with a supernatural secret, and a few other unsavory characters, and you’ve got what Greenhouse simply calls “a plain old good time.” 

See it for yourself through Oct. 15 at the Theater for the New City. For show information, visit theaterforthenewcity.net/shows/twisted.