BRAT Productions Kicks Off 20th Season with World Premiere of The Lid During the Philadelphia Fringe Festival

BRAT Productions, Philadelphia’s go-to source for rock 'n roll and theater hybrid performance events, kicks off their 20th season by producing The Lid during the 2015 Fringe Festival. This world premiere theatrical rock opera, written by emerging Philadelphia singer songwriter Pat Finnerty, features 14 originally penned British invasion songs. What’s underneath the lid? Will it change our mundane existence or be more of the same old same old? Find out on Friday September 4, 2015 at 9:00pm (featuring a special after party set by Philadelphia favorite Black Landlord); Saturday, September 5, 2015 at 11:00pm and Sunday, September 6, 2015 at 8:00pm. All performances will be held at the Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill St, Philadelphia, PA. Tickets are on sale now for $20, or $15 for students and 25 and under, at (FringeArts members save 30%).

The Lid tells the story of Lee (Pat Finnerty), a man who lives a “no fun” life trudging back and forth between his simple boring house and his simple boring job working for The Moustache Man (Brian Ashby).  Lee’s world is “all fish and no chips,” “all bones and no meat,” until one day he discovers a lid in a meadow. What’s underneath that lid? A chance to break the drudgery and finally have fun or just more of the same old same old? The story is told through 14 original songs that blend 1960’s inspired Brit rock melodies with irreverent comic satire. Finnerty thinks of The Lid as a concept album that allows him to address a larger creative thesis about our modern day struggles looking for significance while becoming increasingly more dependent on imperfect technologies to get through our days.

Rock siren Ali Wadsworth (Satellite Hearts, Unlikely Cowboy) and BRAT Producing Artistic Director Jess Conda are featured as Finnerty’s back up singers and are also working with Finnerty offstage co-producing and directing the show. The cast includes Pat Finnerty, Jess Conda, Ali Wadsworth, Brian Ashby (The Teeth, Purples), Brian Langan (Langor, Needle Points, Kock 107, The Sw!ms, Sweatheart, Rose Luardo (Comedy Dreamz, Sweatheart), Gretchen Lohse (Yellow Humphrey) and script consultation by Bob Babajak.

This collaboration brings Philly’s indie rock music community directly into the heart of the theater community in a way that only BRAT Productions can, creating a performance art experience that is authentically rock and roll. “If the pattern of BRAT’s recent work has been turning theater people into rock and rollers, this time around we’re taking rock and rollers and turning them into theater people,” said Conda.

Conda met Finnerty at a house party this spring at Wadsworth’s house in Fishtown. This meeting sparked conversations about how Pat had always wanted to turn The Lid into a theatrically staged production. With Fringe on the horizon, and BRAT poised as a promoter of rock and roll based theater, it was the perfect time for BRAT to produce this rock-theater event with Finnerty. “Pat is a textbook BRAT artist: he writes with brutal deadpan honesty and then filters those feelings through pure joyfulness and rock and roll showmanship,” added Conda. “This show is a real return to that ‘Old School BRAT’ feeling--comedy, sex, and beer soaked social commentary set to virtuosic rock musicianship. It’s also a return to our favorite digs at Underground Arts, plus a chance to introduce this very tall creative talent to the theater and music communities.”

The Lid is a result of Finnerty’s creative riffing on the road while touring and spending hours in the tour van. “When touring in a van, there’s not much left to do once the combos run out, said Finnerty. “ I used to go into an English accent and tell a story in the van about a guy who found a lid in a meadow.  The band enjoyed it.  I wrote the first song because I had recently got a new computer and wanted to record something.  I wrote another one because I really enjoyed singing in the accent, and then the story just kind of appeared.  I wrote the other 12 because I love The Beatles, The Kinks, and comedy.”  

All performances will be held at the Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill St, Philadelphia, PA. Tickets are on sale now for $20, or $15 for students and 25 and under, at (FringeArts members save 30%). Audiences 21 and up only with identification.

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Pat Finnerty grew up in Scranton, PA where he learned guitar from his father, a local gigging musician. Pat has been working as a musician in Philadelphia since 2004, playing and touring in local bands Sweatheart, Pat Finnerty & the Full Band, And the Moneynotes and Okay Paddy. He has recently launched a career as an independent songwriter. In 2014, his song "You're Pretty and I Like You" was featured on the SyFy Network's show, ZNATION. THE LID is Pat's first full length album, and he has always envisioned staging it as a theatrical production.

Ali Wadsworth is the daughter of a rock musician/chemical engineer and a tapestry weaver. Life and her father's job brought her all over the world, including Moscow to study opera, musical theater in exotic North Jersey and Jazz at The University of Vermont. Her rock band UNLIKELY COWBOY brought her to Philly, which split off into GOOD OLD WAR, and Ali joined forces with her sister and formed GOLDIEBOX and Philadelphia super-group FANTASY SQUARE GARDEN. When these bands disbanded, Ali and her little sister Claire decided to give national television a try. The Wadsworth Sisters were asked to audition for NBC's The Voice, and spent the summer of 2012 living in a Los Angeles hotel singing and filming. Ali's self titled solo record with mega producer Bill Moriarty (Dr. Dog, Floating Action, Man Man, The Sheepdogs) was a collection of songs given to her by her favorite local songwriters. Ali has appeared on countless records (Don McCloskey, Hoots and Hellmouth, Aaron and The Spell, Andrew Lipke, Good Old War, Toy Soldiers). She recently sang "God Bless America" for the Phillies at Citizen's Bank Park and is currently performing with her backing band The Satellite Hearts.

Jess Conda is the Producing Artistic Director of BRAT Productions. She is a graduate of the Pig Iron School for Advanced Performance Training (Inaugural class of 2013). A two time Barrymore nominee for Outstanding Ensemble, Jess’s recent onstage credits include 99 BREAKUPS (Pig Iron), ALWAYS COMING SOON: THE FUTURE (BRAT/Painted Bride) and five seasons with Shakespeare in Clark Park. Jess sings vocals for Red 40 and the Last Groovement, currently in residence playing First Fridays at FringeArts. As a cabaret performer, Jess has sang with The Peek A Boo Revue, The Martha Graham Cracker Cabaret, Cabaret Red Light and others. She recently completed two national tour singing backup vocals for Peter Matthew Bauer, opening for Delta Spirit and The War on Drugs. Jess was featured in Philadelphia Magazine in 2013 as a “Best Star Power” theater artist to watch, and also in their “Fringe Artists to Watch features in 2011 and 2012.  


BRAT Productions --

Founded in 1996, BRAT Productions has evolved from an unknown “fringe” entity to an award-winning company with a fiercely loyal local audience and artistic reputation. With signature boldness and bravado, BRAT explores new work and re-envisioned classics. We are committed to being a home for Philadelphia's edgiest artists to take their biggest creative risks, fostering new and emerging talent, and inviting audiences to hear stories that expand beyond the mainstream and into the counter-culture.

In recent years, BRAT has become known for their signature "rock and roll cabaret" performance style, which mixes rock concert sensibilities with theatrical storytelling. Current Producing Artistic Director Jess Conda is leading the company into a new era of neo-cabaret and rock music infused performance, and BRAT’s current artistic mission is focused to “change the way that music is seen and theater is heard.” Under Conda's leadership, BRAT is poised to speak to a new generation of scrappy, irreverent theater makers and audience members who are incorporating rock music into theatrical performance and crave new takes on original experimental hybrid performance art now more than ever.

Notable BRAT productions include A 24 HOUR THE BALD SOPRANO, a looping 24 hour performance marathon/audience participation spectacle; THREE CHORD FICTION, a cabaret mixer series that pairs actors with rock bands and won the Ted and Stevie Wolf Barrymore Award for New Approaches to Collaboration in 2007; and EYE 95, which premiered in the first Fringe Festival in 1997 and was remounted by the festival in 2007 (EYE 95 RE-TARRED), earning a Barrymore Award nomination for Outstanding Original Music.

The Fringe Festival -- 
September 3rd to September 19th, 2015

The Fringe Festival, presented by FringeArts, is a 17-day, city-wide celebration of innovation and creativity in contemporary performance. Each September, the Festival explodes into every nook and cranny in neighborhoods across Philadelphia with more than 1,000 artistically daring performances, including national and international performances curated by FringeArts, and works that are produced by independent artists and promoted by FringeArts. The party continues late night, every night, with music, food and drink at FringeArts’ center on the Delaware River waterfront. This vast assemblage of curated and self-produced innovators offers an unparalleled opportunity to see a cross section of the world’s greatest experimenters at one time, in one city.

FringeArts --

Philadelphia’s home for contemporary performing arts showcases arts innovators from around the globe and cultivates world-class Philadelphia-based artists. FringeArts plays a vital role in Philadelphia’s vibrant artistic community by presenting a year-round programming series of cutting-edge dance, theater, and music performances presented at its striking venue on the Delaware waterfront; the annual Fringe Festival which takes over Philadelphia with hundreds of artistically daring and socially engaging performances; and by providing opportunities for Philadelphia artists to develop and showcase new work. FringeArts believes in art making that tests boundaries—inspiring new ideas, passionate discussion and conceptual thinking, all essential for a healthy and vibrant society.

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