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Proud Hofstra theater alumni debut in Manhattan

By Cody HeintzBusiness Manager “On the Rocks” is shaping up to become an all-Hofstra affair as the off-off-Broadway productions begins its weeklong run on December 13.  The production is written, directed and starring Hofstra alumni Louis Aquiler and Chris D’Amato, and the supporting cast is made up of members of the Hofstra community.  The show which began as a 10-minute weekly series at Hofstra’s Cabaret will be performed at the 70-seat capacity 133rd Street Arts Center in Manhattan. During their time at Hofstra, both Aquiler and D’Amato were members of Spectrum Players and Masquerade. Aquiler was a part of WRHU and D’Amato performed with Tequila Mockingbird. Both Aquiler and D’Amato graduated in 2009, both majors in Hofstra’s drama department. “On The Rocks” is a noir comedy set in Chicago during the 1920s.  Aquiler plays Jack Bullet, a depressed, sharp-tongued and misanthropic private detective who gets partnered with D’Amato’s Sal Malone, a jolly sweet-hearted family man. Besides starring Aquiler and D’Amato, the cast is stocked with several other Hofstra alumni. The cast includes Richie Pepio ’10, Andrew Huber ’10, Laura Henry ’10, Lily Goodman ’09, Pat Harman ’11, and Lauren Cook ’10  and Christopher Dippel, who is an adjunct professor of drama at Hofstra. Hofstra is well represented not only in the cast but also in the people behind the scenes. The show’s lighting design is by Matt Rubin ’08, set design by Gary Ferrar ‘06, sound design by Brendan Bailey ‘10, costume design by Laura Duell ‘11, and marketing by Christian Titus ’12. The show is being produced by the Synapse Theatre Ensemble, which was founded by Hofstra alumni Jeremy Benson ‘09 and Lauren Cook  ’10. “It is thrilling to be doing this in the city with these friends who I’ve grown to trust and love so much over the past seven years,” Aquiler said. “We get to bring all of our unique talents to the table, and I’m constantly dazzled by how many incredible people I know.” The show will run from December 13 to December 19, but even after the show is over, Aquiler and D’Amato have many ideas in mind. “I think the ideal medium for “On the Rocks” would be a highly stylized animated series on Adult Swim or HBO,” D’Amato said. “That’s the hope long-term, but for now we’re constantly improving and refining the material we have. We need to get people talking and saying ‘Hey, there’s this bizarre new thing these two guys are doing that’s pretty great! Let’s go do something with those guys!’”

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