‘Saint of Darkness’ dramatizes real-life Philly police case at Olde Brick Theatre in Scranton Nov. 1-11
From a press release:
Diva Productions continues its 2018/2019 season at the Olde Brick Theatre in Scranton with Jeff Boam’s new original stage drama “Saint of Darkness,” based on real events.
Set in 1979, the play finds a team of risk-taking detectives, led by Lieutenant Gerald Baker, using a mix of ingenuity, innovation, and old-fashioned police work as they try and find a serial rapist before his agenda turns to murder.
Boam came to write this stage play after befriending Baker in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Baker, then a decorated captain in the Philadelphia Police Department, asked Boam to “tell my story.” After the former passed away in 2003, a piece of loose-leaf paper was found with his will – a handwritten list titled “Stories to Tell Jeff” with the “Jogging Rapist” case coming in at the top spot.
This case, which involved a man sexually assaulting or raping 17 young girls at night in Northeast Philadelphia and New Jersey, made national headlines in 1979 and established Baker’s career. After interviewing some of the detective’s colleagues, poring through his personal papers, and doing years of additional research, Boam was finally able to make good on his promise to his late friend.
Director Paige Balitski has assembled an amazing cast, with 12 actors taking to the Olde Brick stage. The production stars Sam Falbo as Lt. Jerry Baker, the tenacious lead detective; Michael Madajeski as Lt. Jim Connell, his number one; Scott Colin as Capt. Richie Ross, their boss; Mike Lally as Hal Morgan, the chief of detectives; Melanie Speakman as Sharon Carnady, a mother of a victim; Eric Lutz as George Grey, the suspected rapist; Laura Osborn as Lorraine Jones, a bystander; and Rebekah Conrad, Grace Kapacs, Lily Opshinsky, Emma Ross, and Mickey Strasburgeras the victims. Sandra Connolly is the stage manager, Meggie Roche is the assistant stage manager, Dominick Azzarelli is the set designer, and Bob Balistki is the light and sound designer.
Showtimes at the Olde Brick Theatre (126 W. Market St., Scranton) are on Nov. 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, and 10 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 4 and 11 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 for general admission and $10 for seniors. Call 570-209-7766 for reservations. Free parking is available in the lot behind the theater and on the street.
This is the fifth collaboration for Balitski’s Diva Productions and Boam’s Richlier Moving Picture Company. Their short film, “Charlie Chaplin’s Body,” won Best Filmmaker in a press poll and screened at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival’s Short Film Corner. A new cut of the film recently screened as part of the 2018 Scranton Fringe Festival. The film was based on Boam’s first play, the one-act “Charlie Chaplin’s Body,” which won the University of Scranton’s 1998 Playwright’s Festival and was revived by Diva in 2003.
In 2015, Boam’s second play, the full-length drama “Behind the Six,” was produced by Diva and went on to win Best Production in a local press poll as well as rack up four Northeastern Pennsylvania Theater Alliance Awards, including Best Original Production and Best Overall Production. It was the first time in the Alliance’s history that an original piece won the top prize. Boam’s third play, the full-length drama “The Judas Sheep,” was produced by Diva in November of 2016 with several sold-out shows. The production would later win multiple Northeastern Pennsylvania Theater Alliance Awards, including Best Original Production and Best Supporting Actress.
Boam’s fourth play, the full-length comedy “Man on a Canvas,” was produced by Diva last year with most of the shows selling out. Earlier this year, the production won multiple Northeastern Pennsylvania Theater Alliance Awards, including Best Original Production and Best Supporting Actor.
Learn more about Boam and his theatre work in Episode 34 of the NEPA Scene Podcast: