Joseph Ritsch to perform as his drag persona, Sunrize

For three nights only, a loving satire of contemporary musical theater divas created by the Rep Stage producing artistic director.

Rep Stage, the professional regional theater in residence at Howard Community College in Columbia, Maryland, will present a special engagement of Sunrize “With A Z” Off-Off…OFF Broadway, November 19–21, 2021, created and performed by Producing Artistic Director Joseph W. Ritsch.

Joseph W. Ritsch. Photo courtesy of the artist. Text excerpted from The Sun(rize) will come out tomorrow…’

Sunrize “With A Z” Off-Off…OFF Broadway is a loving satire of contemporary musical theater divas. With her unique song stylings interspersed with whimsical reflections, sage advice, and insightful backstage stories, Sunrize shares her ups and downs in the “business we call show.” The production, created by Joseph W. Ritsch as a benevolent tribute to the musical theater artists he adored as a child, is a creative endeavor that combines his work as both a drag artist and a musical theater performer.

Joseph W. Ritsch as Sunrize. Photo by Michael Wakefield.

“I hope that you will discover that what has made Sunrize so endearing is her naivete, her giant heart, and her passion for entertaining. Her story is at times bumpy, humorous, vulnerable, and celebratory, but always focuses on finding our true selves, defining our own personal meanings of success, and living with a commitment to love and kindness,” says Ritsch. “I am so excited to share this piece of my history with you at an evening that will leave you with a smile on your face and warmth in your heart.”

Joseph W. Ritsch as Sunrize. Photo by Michael Wakefield.

Sunrize was a critically acclaimed staple of the New York City nightlife and cabaret scene, headlining in such prestigious venues as The Duplex, Judy’s, and Fez, as well as touring across the U.S. and internationally, with such reviews as “You’ll laugh so hard tears will roll down your cheeks” from New York Newsday.

Joseph W. Ritsch as Sunrize. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Sunrize “With A Z” Off-Off…OFF Broadway is produced in partnership with Howard Community College’s Educational Foundation. A percentage of all tickets sales will go toward funding meal kits that are distributed by the college food pantry to students who face food insecurity. Collection bins will be at each performance for donations of canned and dry goods, as well as personal care products.

Joseph W. Ritsch as Sunrize. Photo by Michael Wakefield.

Sunrize “With A Z” Off-Off…OFF Broadway opens November 19, 2021, for three performances through November 21 in The Rouse Company Foundation Studio Theatre of the Horowitz Visual and Performing Arts Center, 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway
Columbia, MD. Tickets are $35 for general admission and $20 for students with a current ID. For tickets and additional information, visit www.repstage.org or call the box office at 443-518-1500.

The Horowitz Visual and Performing Arts Center COVID safety policy is here.

CAST
Sunrize: Joseph W. Ritsch

ARTISTIC TEAM
Creator & Director: Joseph W. Ritsch
Sound Design: Bryan Schlein
Lighting Design: Conor Mulligan
Costume Design: Matthew Smith
Projection Design: Daniel Ettinger
Wig Design: Lucy Wakeland
Video Production/Editing: Carl Merritt
Stage Manager: Tiffany Ko

ABOUT REP STAGE
Rep Stage, the professional regional theater in residence at Howard Community College, produces engaging and evocative contemporary American classics and new works. Led by Producing Artistic Director Joseph W. Ritsch, Rep Stage is dedicated to collaborating with regional artists in its commitment to bringing richly diverse work to audiences. Recognized as a professional Washington, DC, metropolitan-area theater company by Theatre Washington, Rep Stage has a proud history of Helen Hayes Award–winning productions and nominations over its 28 years. The theater is a member of the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance and Theatre Communications Group. Performances are made possible by Howard Arts Council, Maryland State Arts Council, Howard County and Maryland state governments, and generous individual donors.

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