SPRAWL: A WRESTLING PLAY
An honest look at the world of high school wrestling, and the pressures that come with it.
Written by Michael Ronca
WHEN & WHERE:
November 16 – 19, 2023
The Tank – New York, NY
Directors – Jordan Westfall & Danika Jackson
Producer – Danika Jackson
Prod. Stage Manager – Julia Gangemi
Asst. Stage Manager – Corinn Morgan
Lighting Design – Joshua Miguel Ewing
Fight Choreographer – Parker Sack
Vocal/Movement Coach – Barbara Adrian
Choreographer – Troy Barnes
Intimacy Director – Kat Shaw
Sound Design – Kiara Negroni
Set Designer – Emory Kemph
Costumes – Pearl Gopalani
CAST (in order of appearance):
Matt – Joe Marano
Nick – Parker Sack
Will – Andrei Dolezal
Antonio – Devin Lee
Phil – Christian Clements
Ricky – Cameron Walker
Chris – Gideon Klapow
Mitch – Christopher DeSantis
Coach Staples – John Joseph Squires
I first met Michael Ronca in May of 2023 while playing Sam Byck in Assassins at Gallery Players in Brooklyn (Michael made an excellent John Wilkes Booth). It was during the production's tech week that I learned of Sprawl's existence via Michael's bio in the show program, and flabbergasted, I begged him to let me read it.
Thankfully, he did –– and man, it did not disappoint! Sprawl is witty, cuttingly poignant, darkly realistic, and probably most impressively: so familiar, and yet so fresh and new. I mean, it's not every day that full blown, real collegiate-level wrestling is shown on stage in a play. Nor is it everyday that men, let alone young men, are depicted on stage with body issues and eating disorders; or as being held accountable for their toxic social behaviors and emotional shortcomings. But Sprawl does exactly this and more, creating nine richly defined, sharply distinctive characters that each have their own individual journey –– most of which, frankly, end in tragedy.
This production was in many ways a workshop; a world premiere of the play in its entirety, and proudly played four sold out performances at The Tank in midtown Manhattan. Hopefully, that was only the beginning, and this incredible new show is destined for an even longer, more expensive run elsewhere in New York. It truly deserves it.