The Cast of Aspie Works’ ‘A Different Normal’

This is the cast of Justin Rielly's "A Different Normal," premiered at the MuCCC on June 18, 2014.
This is the cast of Justin Rielly’s “A Different Normal,” premiered at the MuCCC on June 18, 2014.

Aspie Works founder Justin Rielly’s new play A Different Normal had its workshop performance on June 18 at the MuCCC in Rochester, New York.

The play followed a group of young adults with Asperger’s syndrome, and what happened when a young woman who comes to the meeting recognized one of her co-workers in the group.  The cast featured Tom Bigongiari, Danielle Erway, Carl Girard, Susanna Guarino, Jolene Suchy-Dicey and Zak West, with the stage narration provided by Don Bartalo.

The play was preceded by a dance segment, “Passing,” conceived and performed by Laurie MacFarlane.

Aspie Works will return to the MuCCC for the 2014 Rochester Fringe Festival with Wallace Shawn’s solo play The Fever, to be performed on September 25 & 27.

Premiere Reading of ‘A Different Normal’ Comes to MuCCC Fest

This is the poster for the premiere reading of the Aspie Works production "A Different Normal."
This is the poster for the premiere reading of the Aspie Works production “A Different Normal.”

Aspie Works founder Justin Rielly will present the world premiere reading of his new play A Different Normal, on Wednesday, June 18 at the Multi-Use Community Cultural Center, during the week-long MuCCC Fest.

The play follows a regular meeting for the Aspie Pack, a group of young adults who have Asperger’s syndrome, a condition in which a person’s social and/or emotional skills are impaired.  A young woman arrives by request of her boss to attend the meeting, but when she recognizes one of her co-workers in the group, personal revelations are set to emerge.

The ensemble cast features Tom Bigongiari as Daniel, Danielle Erway as Rachel, Carl Girard as Peter, Susanna Guarino as Lizzie, Jolene Suchy-Dicey as Lucinda, and Zak West as Alex; acclaimed actor-director Don Bartalo will serve as stage narrator.  Bigongiari & Guarino starred in the previous Aspie Works production Love in the Style of Will, while Girard appeared in the reading of Rielly’s original play Kind Souls Chasing.  Erway is a prominent member of the Geva Comedy Improv troupe, Suchy-Dicey debuted in John Borek’s recent re-invention of Hamlet, and West received acclaim last fall for his portrayal of Antony in RCP’s Julius Caesar.

Before the reading, the night will begin with dance performances by Laurie MacFarland and Maureen Gorman.

A Different Normal will be presented on June 18 at 7:30pm at the MuCCC (142 Atlantic Avenue, Rochester), as a “pay-what-you-will” event.

Updating Aspie Works: Plays and Other Events

We have been away for a while, but activity with Aspie Works is picking up!  This update provides the latest on company plays and other related events involving Aspie Works personalities.

Company founder Justin Rielly will present a new original project, A Different Normal, for the MuCCC Fest set to take place in June.  The one-act drama follows a group of young adults with Asperger’s syndrome, as they have their regular monthly meeting.  When a young woman who is forced to attend the meeting recognizes one of her co-workers, chaos and revelations occur.  The date and casting have not been confirmed.

Aspie Works’ planned production of Wallace Shawn’s one-person drama The Fever is still set for the Rochester Fringe Festival; the date and venue remain TBA.  Rielly will also take part in another Fringe event, the historical news show You Are Where.  This project is produced and directed by famed Rochester theater artist Don Bartalo, with Rielly joining an ensemble of acclaimed writers including David Henderson (Method Machine), Spencer Christiano (The Rochester Plays) and Kate Royal (The Weekends).  Christiano and Royal are Aspie Works veterans, with the former starring in Rielly’s reading of Come Talk to Me last June and the latter appearing, co-directing & co-producing the Shakespeare project Love in the Style of Will.

On May 5, Rielly will join an ensemble cast of prominent actors & writers for John Borek’s Hamlet, the performance artist’s interpretation of the famed Shakespearean tale about the melancholy Dane.  Writers were asked to take the play’s different scenes, and re-work them for this new version.  Rielly is one of the featured writers, and also signed on to appear as Laertes, the brother of Ophelia and son of Polonius.  John Borek’s Hamlet will be performed on May 5 at 7:30pm at the MuCCC.

Stay tuned for the latest on Aspie Works here on this website, on, and on Twitter (@AspieWorks!)

Mid-Spring Quiet Will Lead to an Exciting Summer & Fall

Right now all is quiet on the Aspie Works front, with no new shows coming during the spring.

Starting this summer, the label and its creative force are set to take part in several projects.

Aspie Works will return to the Rochester Fringe Festival in September with Wallace Shawn’s one-person play The Fever, directed by company founder Justin Rielly.  The play follows an entitled traveler who recalls their experiences in a Third World country undergoing social and political crises.  Casting, dates and the venue of performance are TBA.

Rielly is also collaborating on producer John Borek’s reinterpretation of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, scheduled to be performed on May 5 at the MuCCC.  The show features 20 writers revising the play’s 20 scenes.  Rielly is also set to participate in the new Rochester sketch project Burn the Pinkos, when they launch a month of new shows in June.

Stay tuned for more Aspie Works news on this website, on Twitter (@AspieWorks) and on Facebook!

‘Love in the Style of Will’ is a Triumph

Love in the Style of Will


From Aspie Works founder Justin Rielly:

Thank you to the cast and crew of LOVE IN THE STYLE OF WILL for an incredible performance last night.  The time and efforts put into this show left an impression on the audience who came, which for the record, may have been the biggest audience for anything I’ve ever done, for Aspie Works or anything before the company’s launch.

I am overwhelmed with happiness, with the feeling of victory.  It will be hard to top, and yet it will be great to see what happens next.

There Will Be Bard on Valentine’s Day!

Love in the Style of Will


This week marks the most ambitious project in the young history of Aspie Works, and with Shakespeare, it had to be ambitious.

And it’s going to be on the holiday of Cupid, the day where love is feasted upon.

The anthology show Love in the Style of Will faces the MuCCC stage this Valentine’s Day (Friday, February 14) at 7:30pm at the theater located at 142 Atlantic Avenue in downtown Rochester.  It will feature scenes from seven different plays, and several of Shakespeare’s legendary sonnets.  It will be presented as a “pay-what-you-can” event, with all proceeds going to the MuCCC, to continue its mission to presenting great local theater.

For more information on Love in the Style of Will and Aspie Works, continue checking out this site, along with our feeds on Twitter (@AspieWorks) and Facebook!

‘Love in the Style of Will’ Poster Now Revealed!

Love in the Style of Will 

This is the full-length official poster of Aspie Works’ Valentine’s Day production Love in the Style of Will!

This poster was designed by artist Teke Cocina, who has had exhibitions in Rochester and Buffalo.

The show will be performed on February 14 at 7:30pm at the MuCCC (142 Atlantic Avenue, Rochester), and is being done as a “pay-what-you-can” presentation.

Keep checking out this site, and our Facebook & Twitter feeds for more details!

‘Love in the Style of Will’ Poster Sneak Peek!



This is a portion of the poster for the upcoming Aspie Works production Love in the Style of Will!

The poster was designed by Rochester-born artist Teke Cocina, whose work has been in several exhibitions in Buffalo and recently at Rochester’s Genesee Center for the Arts and Education.

Love in the Style of Will is an anthology of Shakespeare love scenes and sonnets, with selections from Romeo and JulietHenry VAs You Like It, and Much Ado About Nothing among the plays.  The show will be performed on Friday, February 14 at 7:30pm at the MuCCC (142 Atlantic Avenue, Rochester).

How About Shakespeare on Valentine’s Day?

In honor of Valentine’s Day, the Rochester theater company Aspie Works will present a night of Shakespeare with Love in the Style of Will!

The show will feature scenes from seven plays – As You Like ItHenry VMuch Ado About NothingRichard IIIRomeo and JulietThe Taming of the Shrewand The Tempest.  Presentations of some of Shakespeare’s sonnets will serve as transitions between scenes.  The show will be performed on Friday, February 14 at 7:30pm at the Multi-Use Community Cultural Center (MuCCC) at 142 Atlantic Avenue in Rochester.  It will be a “pay-what-you-can” presentation, with all proceeds benefitting the MuCCC.

Aspie Works founder Justin Rielly, an Artist-in-Residence at the MuCCC, is developing the project.  Mr. Rielly is a playwright and theatrical artist who has written and produced original works including She Will Have Her Way and Kind Souls Chasing, and performed monologist Spalding Gray’s discussion pieceInterviewing the Audience at this September’s Rochester Fringe Festival.

Joining Mr. Rielly as co-producers are SUNY Geneseo theater alumni Melyssa Hall and Kate Royal.  Miss Hall directed a production of Rajiv Joseph’sGruesome Playground Injuries at the Fringe Festival, and Miss Royal directedRomeo and Juliet at Geneseo.  She is also participating in the MuCCC’s New Play Festival on February 7 with her original production The Weekends.

MuCCC Artists-in-Residence James Landers & Jacqueline Moe join Mr. Rielly, Miss Hall and Miss Royal as scene directors.  The show’s ensemble cast includes Tom Bigongiari, Emily Cirincione, Stella Dacquisto, Jarvis Davis, David DeGennaro, Susanna Guarino, Max Hanna, Erin Moriarty, Kristin Rielly, Stephen Robb, Lucy Roberts and Nicole Skelly; with Mr. Rielly, Miss Hall, Miss Royal and Miss Moe also set to appear.  Cassandra Kelly is the executive producer for Aspie Works.  John Borek & Doug Rice are the executive producers for MuCCC.

For more information on Aspie Works, continue checking out this site – along with our pages on Tumblr (, Twitter (@AspieWorks) and on Facebook!

The Afterword to ‘Kind Souls Chasing’

Last night was the inaugural performance of Kind Souls Chasing, a play close to my heart and from there.  About a dozen people came to the MuCCC to attend the performance, with many of them staying for the talkback session afterwards.

I knew casting Carl Girard and Marcy Savastano in the roles of the two friends, playwright Matt Bennett and actress Ophelia Jacobs, was the right decision.  They committed to this project during the summer, and even while they were doing other projects in the time in between, they never wavered from doing the show.  They gave an emotional investment to their characters, and it showed.  The reaction from the audience throughout the show was incredible – from the laughter (especially during Ophelia’s phone sex monologue, which displays her acting talent) to disbelief (the friends’ last confrontation, with some of Ophelia’s dialogue attacking Matt).  This is a cliche to say (a line often used in the show), but the atmosphere was electric.

During the talkback with Melyssa Hall (who also provided the stage narration, an underrated task to which she did an amazing job), the audience asked questions about the show and the personal feelings behind it.  I’ll mention just a few here, and my responses.

– Was there ever a moment to give Matt and Ophelia any romantic tension?  No.  The play was always going to be about friendship, because it was inspired by a friendship.  Any romantic leanings would have changed the show dramatically.

– What was the writing process?  I wrote out an extensive outline for the story, and managed to follow it from start to finish.  There were five brief monologues Ophelia performed, with some written for the show and others considered for performances but were rejected or previously performed in a different light.

– Will there ever be a show in which Ophelia explains herself?  I had thoughts about doing the flip-side through a show-long monologue exploring Ophelia’s psyche or perhaps a sequel involving Ophelia and even Matt.  For now, there are no plans for either, but as long as I keep writing, “never say never.”

This play will return someday, whether in the form it was performed last night or with some more changes.  For now I’m going to let it rest, with the eventual opportunity to resurrect it to come at a later time.  I closed the talkback by saying this play was cathartic to write, and even more so to see it performed.  I used the image of having a bag of rocks glued to my hands, only to have the glue finally crack, releasing them.  I didn’t look back to see the rocks fall; I just kept going.

Kind Souls Chasing will go down as one of the most emotionally satisfying experiences of my life, and I’m proud of it.  And I stand by it.


Founder, Aspie Works / Playwright, Kind Souls Chasing