The Butterfingers Angel Kicks Off A Hilarious and Heartfelt Holiday Season in Chester County Starting November 30

-Courtesy of Aversa PR & Events
photo by Johanna Austin,

Uptown Knauer Performing Arts Center presents the gift of theatre and celebrates a major new beginning. The West Chester performing arts organization kicks off its new regional theatre program with a smart, original and heartfelt retelling of the greatest story ever told. Written by Tony Award-winning playwright and novelist William Gibson, The Butterfingers Angel, Mary & Joseph, Herod the Nut, & the Slaughter of 12 Hit Carols in a Pear Tree will launch Uptown’s entrance into the regional theatre scene and the holiday season. The show runs from November 30 to December 23, with previews on Wednesday, November 30 and Thursday, December 1, and opening night on Saturday, December 3, 2022. Domenick Scudera directs this hilarious and joyful play that is perfect for a night on the town and family gatherings during the most wonderful time of year. The show is best enjoyed by audiences aged nine to ninety. Tickets are on sale now starting at $35 with discounts and savings available for families, seniors, students and military. Discounts are also available for groups of ten or more. All performances are on the Roy A. Smith Mainstage at Uptown, at 226 N. High Street. For more about shows, subscriptions and other events, visit

“This is the story of Mary and Joseph and the Nativity,” said Uptown Artistic Director Carmen Khan. “It defies the traditional telling of the story by creating a rich tapestry of characters and mood that are fresh and creative. The feel of the play is one of ridiculous hilarity and joy, but underlying that is a sense of the reverent, forgiveness, the miracle of the birth of a child and the hope and love that accompanies that.”

Khan added, “I wanted to find a holiday show that was highly entertaining and also moving. This play does both those things. It is filled with Christmas songs and fun, but the true significance of the occasion is never lost.” 

This holiday season, join us for an original, funny and heartfelt retelling of the greatest story ever told. A fumbling young Angel announces to Mary that she has been chosen to become a mother. But Mary is a free spirit, and her plans do not include marriage, or motherhood! Once a bewildered Joseph is won over, an antic pageant of Tree, Sheep, Donkey, Cow, Kings, and others set off on the road to Bethlehem. The Butterfingers Angel is filled with Christmas songs and entertainment, but the reverence, joy, and true significance of the occasion are never lost.

The Boston Herald-American said the play is, “Angelic…beguiling wit and humor…as likable as it is lively…” The Syracuse Herald said it is “…a gift of love and hope to the world.”

The Butterfingers Angel is directed by Scudera. Scudera is a director, playwright, and theater educator who has worked in the greater Philadelphia area since 1992.  He is Professor of Theater at Ursinus College, where he helped to found the college’s Theater & Dance department over 20 years ago. Ryan Touhey is the Music Director.  He is an eight-time Barrymore Award nominee. He recently led the music for The Arden Theatre’s Into the Woods

Uptown’s inaugural cast is filled with local and regional acting talent. Jenna Kuerzi plays the free spirited Mary. She comes to Uptown after playing Maureen in Media Theatre’s recent production of RENT. She also recently performed her solo show, Johnny Depp: A Retrospective on Late-Stage Capitalism in the Free Fringe, after performing it in the United Kingdom. Neill Hartley is playing Joseph. Hartley is a noted actor, director and educator.  He is the Artistic Director of Acting Without Boundaries and has appeared in several films and television series including seasons 2-4 of Netflix’s House of Cards

DJ Gleason is the Angel. Gleason recently reprised the role of Eugene Morris Jerome in Delaware Theatre Company’s production of Brighton Beach Memoirs. Elise Hudson is the Tree. She recently appeared in The Revolutionists at the Hippodrome in Florida and has appeared in two seasons of She’s Gotta Have It on Netflix. Eric Van Wie plays Herod and the Man in Grey. He has performed Houdini-like escapes with Fred’s Magic World, told historic stories with Once Upon a Nation, and spent 12 years as a member of ComedySportz. He has also brought laughs to the NJ State Aquarium, Phillies, Eagles, and Theater Ariel.

Josh Kachnycz is Lout/King 1. He has worked with the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire since 2017 as a performer and director of fights and stunts. James Ofalt is Lout/King 2.  He recently appeared in the ensemble of Sweet Charity (Bucks County Center for the Performing Arts), as Fagin in Oliver! (Franklin Theatre Works), and Clown #2 in The Thirty-Nine Steps and Harry in The Understudy (Montgomery Theatre). Christopher David Roché is Lout/King 3. He is an actor, singer, producer, director, stage manager, and teaching artist who has appeared on many stages in the region. Paul Harrold is Donkey and others. He is a Philly-based actor and musician who was recently seen as Roger in RENT at New Light Theatre. 

Olivia Gendron is Herod’s Woman, Girl Child, and others. Her multi-media company OJ Productions presented Romeo and Juliet in this year’s Philadelphia Fringe Festival.  Maggie O’Connor is Cow and others. She is a Philadelphia based actor. She is also the Assistant Director of Education at West Chester Studio, Uptown’s Education Department. Sharese Salters is Sheep and others. She is a recent graduate of Villanova University’s Theatre MA program. This year she completed a children’s tour with Bright Star Touring company and played Marianne in The Revolutionists.

The design team includes designers who have taught at local colleges and universities and created on many of the stages in the area. The set is designed by Dirk Durossette. His design showcases that the characters are on the road to Bethlehem and includes a highway. Durosette has designed sets at several theatres in the region including The Wilma Theater, Azuka Theatre, Act II Playhouse, Lantern Theatre Company, Delaware Theatre Company, and more. He is also a Senior Lecturer at Rowan University.  The set is built by Philadelphia Scenic Works. Kelly Myers is the Costume Designer. Myers has designed at several regional theatres. She recently designed costumes for The Chairs at Quintessence Theatre Group.  Jerry Forsyth is the Lighting Designer. He has designed over 350 productions to date and has designed at most theatres in the region.  Shannon Zura is the Sound Designer. She is a professor of design at Ursinus College with Scudera.

About The Playwright
William Gibson was born in 1914 in New York City. He wrote poetry, fiction, and scripts for stage, television, and films. His plays include The Miracle Worker (Tony Award, Best Play 1960), which was originally produced for TV’s “Playhouse 90”; Two for The Seesaw; A Cry of Players; Golda; The Butterfingers Angel; Monday After the Miracle; Goodly Creatures, and Handy Dandy. He wrote a novel, The Cobweb,  as well as the musical version of Clifford Odets’ Golden Boy. His several books include The Seesaw Log, A Mass for the Dead,  a study of his family, and a volume of poetry entitled Winter Crook. Mr. Gibson’s book A Season in Heaven,  takes a look at metaphysics and the creative process, and his book Shakespeare’s Game was a critical study. He was married to the psychoanalyst Margaret Brenman-Gibson, whose biography, Clifford Odets, American Playwright, appeared in 1982. Gibson passed away in 2008.

About the Director
Domenick Scudera is a director, playwright, and theater educator who has worked in the greater Philadelphia area since 1992.  He is Professor of Theater at Ursinus College, where he helped to found the college’s Theater & Dance department over 20 years ago.  At Ursinus, he has directed over 40 productions, and teaches Acting, Directing, and a variety of Theater History classes.  He has directed for the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theater, Delaware Theater Company, Historic Philadelphia Inc., Waitstaff Comedy Troupe, among others.  He is currently writing a play inspired by the life of Bert Savoy, considered to be America’s first camp drag queen.  Domenick also devotes much of his time to pet therapy, visiting hospitals with his 3 dogs who are certified therapy dogs.  His unique dogs are each two-legged and have large followings on social media (such as Instagram and TikTok) at 2legdogs.

Tickets for The Butterfingers Angel are on sale now starting at $35 with discounts and savings available for families, seniors, students and military. Ticket buyers can still become Theatre Society Subscription Members. Subscriptions  include the same seat for the entire season, legacy seating for the 2023-24 season, no package or exchange fees, and exclusive presales for year-round Uptown performances of music, dance, comedy, and special events. Discounts are available for groups of ten or more. 

Audiences can plan a holiday celebration in West Chester with lunch or dinner at the wide variety of restaurants within walking distance of the theatre or a pre-show cocktail at Mac’s Foxhole Lounge and Bar in Uptown’s lobby. Nearby parking is available within a block of the theatre. They can enjoy West Chester’s Lights Up Holiday Weekends including lights on Gay, Market, and High Street and the 25-foot Christmas tree on the lawn of the courthouse. Uptown donors enjoy discounts at Uptown’s Dining Partners – Limoncello, Greystone Oyster Bar, Roots, Opa Taverna, Sedona Taphouse, Dolce Zola, Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant, Mae’s West Chester, and others. 

Uptown’s 2022-2023 theatre season continues in the new year with Katori Hall’s spellbinding reimagination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s final hours in the Olivier Award-winning Best New Play, The Mountaintop, running February 1 to February 26, 2023. The season concludes in the spring with a family-friendly finale as audiences experience a classic story through Laura Eason’s adaptation of Mark Twain’s novel, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer running April 19 to May 7, 2023.

For more information about the upcoming theatre season and all the music, dance, comedy, film and special events happening at Uptown, visit and follow Uptown on Facebook and Instagram @UptownWC

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.