Aspie Works is a theatrical label founded by playwright-performer Justin Rielly. Its mission is to present projects geared towards understanding the human condition, and how humans try to identify with each other in a complicated world.
The company was formally launched on August 28, 2013, weeks before the presentation of its inaugural work, Spalding Gray’s discussion piece Interviewing the Audience. This piece was performed at the second Rochester Fringe Festival.
This was followed by a staged reading of Rielly’s original play Kind Souls Chasing on January 10, 2014, then by Rielly’s performance of Spalding Gray’s inaugural monologue Sex and Death to the Age 14 on January 12.
February 14 came with the Shakespeare project Love in the Style of Will, an ensemble show of love scenes and sonnets from the Bard; Rielly directed and co-produced the show with Melyssa Hall & Kate Royal, joined on the directing front by MuCCC Artists-in-Residence James Landers & Jacqueline Moe. Aspie Works then presented the workshop premiere of Rielly’s original play about Asperger’s, A Different Normal, on June 18. The label presented Wallace Shawn’s monologue The Fever for the 2014 Rochester Fringe Festival, performed September 25 & 27. It was followed by an encore workshop reading of Rielly’s 2013 drama Come Talk to Me, presented in November.
The label kicked off its 2015 run with a staged reading of the Shakespeare poem The Rape of Lucrece at the Rochester Brainery on April 24. Rielly returned with two new original plays, Practicing Godot and Ghost Light, and Aspie Works co-produced Vivien Leigh: The Last Press Conference with Screen Plays. The label also presented the debut work of the collaborative duo Kindred Soles, with a staged reading of The Writer’s Fairytale before wrapping up the year with Gray’s Swimming to Cambodia at the 2015 Rochester Fringe Festival. Cambodia was resurrected that December for a two-night encore run, with the first night featuring a post-show Q&A by Gray’s widow, Kathleen Russo (who prepared the adaptation performed on stage at the MuCCC).
2016 saw a milestone in Aspie Works’ first full production with a revised version of Ghost Light, featuring long-time collaborator Jacqueline Moe as director and a top-notch ensemble including Stephen Cena, Colleen DiVincenzo, James Lockhart and Laura Thompson. The play also led to Aspie Works’ first online fundraising campaign to cover costs, which proved successful for the company. The play ran for four performances March 3-5 to great success. This was followed by the post-9/11 drama The Guys, which hit the 2016 Rochester Fringe Festival and the TANYS Festival. A second workshop of Kind Souls Chasing premiered in October.
2017 opened with a charity reading of Lauren Gunderson’s play The Taming, followed by the staged reading anthology Five Shorties and a Fake Ad. May featured the two-night reading event This is Happening as a co-production between Aspie Works and DVC. This was followed by the staged reading of Stephen Metcalfe’s Vietnam one-act trio Sorrows and Sons, presented as part of the MuCCC’s week of programming on the Vietnam War. The Fringe Festival followed with Aspie Works’ most ambitious Fringe programming yet, with two shows – the original political anthology Human Politics and the Bard-inspired comedy When Shakespeare’s Ladies Meet.
2018 begins with Cormac McCarthy’s The Sunset Limited, a co-production with Aspie Works and Hummingbird Theater Co., directed by Gary DeWitt Marshall.
Outside of theater, Aspie Works is also involved in the world of freeform radio with The Justin Rielly Show; officially debuting in November 2015 on WAYO 104.3 FM, the show features Rielly playing any kind of music and also presenting interviews with talented individuals from all walks. It currently airs Sunday afternoons at 4:00pm ET on 104.3 FM in Rochester, and online everywhere at wayofm.org.
AspieWorks.com was launched on January 23, 2014, preceding the company’s establishing of links on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.