GODS & MONSTERS

Based on the novel by Christopher Bram

Adapted for the stage by Thomas Mullen

Directed by Paul Oakley Stovall

PRESENTED BY FRAME OF REFERENCE PRODUCTIONS IN ASSOCIATION WITH the WOODEL inspiration fund

May 2024. Theater Wit, Chicago

The Story


Gods & Monsters is based on the novel by Christopher Bram, which became a major motion picture and won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay by Bill Condon.


This newly imagined stage production combines the issues of race and sexuality into it’s original storyline with a deeper focus on what it means to be an outsider

from alternating viewpoints.


Former Hollywood film director best known for Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein, and Show Boat, James Whale is now retired and slowly facing dementia. His caring housekeeper, quietly disapproves of Whale's faceless, nameless parade of young gay lovers, but when the director takes an interest in new gardener and former Marine, it seems to be for something more than his usual casual conquest.



Gods & Monsters to Get Stage Adaptation Via Chicago's Theatre Wit

Paul Oakley Stovall and Tom Mullen are bringing a version of Frankenstein screen director James Whale to the stage that puts more focus on race.

BY LOGAN CULWELL-BLOCK

DECEMBER 11, 2023


Chicago's Book & Lyrics Theatricals will premiere a new stage adaptation of Gods and Monsters, based on Christopher Bram's 1995 novel Father of Frankenstein and its 1998 screen version. The work will play a limited run beginning on May 9, 2024


The project is a collaboration between writer-actor Paul Oakley Stovall and director Tom Mullen. In a role reversal, Stovall will direct the premiere while Mullen is writing the script. The mostly fictionalized story centers on the final days of real-life film director James Whale, noted for his work on the classic horror films Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein, along with the first full-screen adaptation of the Broadway musical Show Boat. The work tracks the director as his health is failing while simultaneously falling for a young landscaper, Clayton Boone (Whale was openly gay throughout his career, a trailblazer ahead of his time).

Photography Brandon Dahlquist

In Mullen's take, the fictional Boone will become a Black man, a choice inspired by Mullen's research into Whale's Show Boat and its casting of Black activist Paul Robeson as Joe. Going back to Bram's novel after changes were made for the 1998 film version, Mullen's take will also depict Whale's housekeeper as a Mexican immigrant, part of a larger goal to bring race to the center of the story while exploring how Whale's homosexuality helped to unlock the then-uncommon empathy for outsiders and the oppressed that is present in his screen work. The changes have been approved by Bram, who says in a statement that "[m]y story is in excellent hands."


"The title Gods and Monsters almost implies a tale of good and evil, of a benevolent force versus a destructive one," says Stovall in a statement. "But what draws me to this story is that it’s all about the places in between. It’s about what’s just under the surface in all of us and how people who can seem so different are always so very similar because we are all made of the same star stuff. We live in the same world and we want the same things."


CAST

Rashun Carter

Clayton Boone


Ethan Check

Edmund Kay & Others


Mayra Echevarría

Maria Ramirez Understudy



Norman Woodel*

James Whale


Michael Stejskal

David Lewis & Others


Joshua David Thomas

Clayton Boone Understudy


Ryan Christopherson

Edmund Kay & Others Understudy

Doreen Calderon*

Maria Ramirez


Scott Westerman

James Whale Understudy


Rick Adams

David Lewis & Others Understudy

*Denotes member of Actors Equity Association

CREATIVE TEAM

Writer

Tom Mullen


Director

Paul Oakley Stovall


Composer

Michael Sobie


Fight & Intimacy Director

Charlie Baker


Scenic Design

Ben Lipinski


Production Manager

Kim Whitfield


AEA Production

Stage Manager

Matthew Silar*



Sound Design

Andre Pluess


Lighting Design

Levi Wilkins


Projection Design

Mike Tutaj


Costume Design

Marquecia Jordan


Prop Design

Ellen Markus


Associate Director

Mitchell Fain


Assistant Director

Evan Ozer




Marketing &

Social Media

Andrea Beschel


General Management

& Casting Director

Christopher Pazdernik


Photography

Brandon Dahlquist


Box Office Manager

Josh Nordmark


Press Representative

Jeffrey Ward



*Denotes member of Actors Equity Association

Thank you to our sponsor

“The only monsters are here”

James Whale