MvVO Art Launches AD ART SHOW
Off Broadway

Jason O’Connell an Actor on the Rise and the Reason To See Happy Birthday, Wanda June 

Jason O’Connell an Actor on the Rise and the Reason To See Happy Birthday, Wanda June 

One of the best shows we saw this season was early on. Happy Birthday, Wanda June played Off-Broadway at the Gene Frankel Theatre, produced by the Wheelhouse Theatre Company. Written by novelist and short story writer Kurt Vonnegut Jr. in the 70’s, the play is even more relevant today.

Jason O'Connell

Jason O’Connell

Happy Birthday, Wanda June takes a searing and darkly comedic look at American culture through the brilliantly perverse lens of Kurt Vonnegut. After being presumed dead for eight years, respected war veteran and big game hunter, Harold Ryan, returns home and brings with him an old way of thinking, celebrating a Hemingway-esque machismo and American exceptionalism. Harold soon discovers that the society he returns to has made attempts to progress into a more modern, enlightened cultural narrative. Happy Birthday, Wanda June is a dynamic and often hilarious meditation on toxic masculinity and a capitalistic America’s failed attempts at progress cloaked in honor and morality. Simply put, and as the first few lines of the play state, this is a play about men who enjoy killing, and those who don’t.

One of the reasons to see this show Happy Birthday, Wanda June  Jason O’Connell. O’Connell’s performance is over-the-top, running the gambit from whisper to roar. His accents and alpha-primate physicality make this role fully fleshed out. He is menacing and vulnerable making us care and fear for him all in the same breath. He is the macho male whose intelligent makes him truly frightening.

O’Connell studied theatre before moving to New York, working steadily as an actor ever since. He is known for his work Off-Broadway in Pride & Prejudice, ​Sense & Sensibility and​A Midsummer Night’s Dream. O’Connell spent multiple seasons at Texas Shakespeare Festival (Hamlet, Mercutio) and Nebraska Shakespeare Festival (Richard III, Petruchio), and has appeared numerous times at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival in NY.  Roles there include Benedick, Thersites, Claudius, Berowne, Kent, Parolles, and the lead in David Ives’ The Liar. Jason will return to the festival next summer with his adaptation (with co-writer Brenda Withers) of Cyrano DeBergerac, in which he will play the title role. He also wrote and performs a one-man show about his lifelong obsession with the Batman movies, The Dork Knight, which has enjoyed very successful runs in NYC and beyond..

T2C had a chance to talk to this amazingly talented performer.

Happy Birthday, Wanda June returns for a special return engagement October 18th – November 29th at The Duke on 42nd Street, 229 West 42nd Street.

Off Broadway

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. Currently she has a screenplay in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She was the Broadway Informer on the all access cable TV Show “The New Yorkers,” soon to be “The Tourist Channel.” email: suzanna@t2conline.com

More in Off Broadway

Dana H. Speaks Out at the Vineyard, Recorded and On Point

RossFebruary 26, 2020

CSC’s Frankenstein Stumbles and Rises, But Sadly, Dracula Cancels

RossFebruary 25, 2020

Beware Rules of Desire Gives You More Than You Bargain For

Suzanna BowlingFebruary 25, 2020

Blues for an Alabama Sky Lingers Until It’s Story Has Run Out

Suzanna BowlingFebruary 23, 2020

St. Ann’s Warehouse/Gate’s Intense Hamlet Cloaked in Death and Pain

RossFebruary 22, 2020

Boom, Boom Fun at Elsie Rooftop’s High Tea Brunch

ElizaBeth TaylorFebruary 19, 2020

Meet Emil Varda Restaurant Entrepreneur and Writer of Theatre

Suzanna BowlingFebruary 18, 2020

Kathleen Chalfant, Marsha Mason, Michael Urie, Gabriel Ebert and More Join Keen Company’s Arsenic & Old Lace

Suzanna BowlingFebruary 18, 2020

Happy Birthday Doug. Grab a Drink, and Join in with the Festivities!

RossFebruary 16, 2020