Monday, March 21, 2022

Renown Filmmaker Paul Schrader's Play Takes the Stage In Northern NJ

The Cleopatra Club
by Paul Schrader

Thursday, March 24, through April 10. The show runs Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 8:00PM
Black Box Performing Arts Center, 49 E Palisade Ave., Englewood
TICKETS: General seating $35; $30 students and seniors
Due to limited seating, audiences are strongly encouraged to reserve seats online at!
For further information, please contact, call (201) 569-2070, visit, or @blackboxpac on socials.

"At the fore of theater’s slow recovery in the state is Englewood’s plucky repertory company, Black Box PAC," noted NJ critic
Patrick Maley almost one year ago. Throughout the last twelve months, the intimate black box has trudged through the pandemic, staying open thanks to a tenacious commitment to creating art and thorough safety policies put in place for both actors and audience. Black Box PAC has indeed been a leader in the finally reactivated local arts scene, offering high-end regional premieres of shows most local audiences have never seen before.

BBPAC's #SaveOurStage Season kicked off in Fall 2021 with a new workshop of acclaimed playwright/actor Eric Bogosian's 1+1, now in ongoing development. Mr. Bogosian himself remarked that BBPAC's production left him "very happy. This play has not been seen in NYC and is one of my favorites."

BBPAC continued to mount new or under produced works courtesy of world-class playwrights such as Caridad Svich, John Guare, Neil Labute, and most recently staged the NJ premiere of Craig Lucas's Ode to Joy.

Starting later this week is The Cleopatra Club by Paul Schrader, one of the few works for the stage by the legendary filmmaker. "It didn’t seem to have the commercial muscle of a motion picture," Mr. Schrader told the BBPAC team. "It seemed more like a sketch, so I was drawn to writing it as [basically] a two 
character play." The show follows an over-the-hill film critic and a once-celebrated movie producer as a mysterious robbery in a Cairo hotel spurs them to search for meaning in the twilight of their Hollywood careers—and to finally come to terms with their mutual friend's untimely death. "AIDS redefined my life as it did the lives of most everyone I knew," reflects Mr. Schrader. "It was the defining event of the decade."

"The Hollywood disgust in The Cleopatra Club is long dead," remarks Mr. Schrader, but audiences can get a rare chance to decide for themselves at Black Box PAC in Englewood.

Featuring Michael Gardiner, Mike Marcou, Luke Shibbo, Isabel Bertelson, and Arthur Pugh, Paul Schrader's The Cleopatra Club is designed by Ilana Schimmel and directed by Matt Okin.