National Recognition for Perfectly Normel People
May 21, 2013
By Kristin Hackler
Premiering at the Footlight Players’ theater during Piccolo Spoleto 2012, the play Perfectly Normel People by West Ashley business owners Judy and Heath Thomas received rave reviews from night one, though one review proved to be quite portentous:
“This show by the Charleston husband-and-wife playwriting team…may well roll on to the New York stage,” wrote journalist Carol Furtwangler of CharlestonToday.net on June 3, 2012.
Less than a year later, the Heath’s were amazed to find out that, out of more than 800 entries, their play was selected to show during the 2013 New York International Fringe Festival in August.
Perfectly Normel People is the second play by the Heaths in as many years. Drawing from their shared history as actors in New York City, the couple penned a comedy titled The Sunset Years in 2010, which was performed by the Village Rep Theater to sold out audiences. Their second play, written less than a year later, proved their writing talent when it was selected by Piccolo Spoleto after a 2011 stage reading at the South of Broadway Theater Company in North Charleston. In 2012, Perfectly Normel People became “the highest grossing non-musical in the thirty-plus year history of the event for the 250 seat Footlight Players Theatre,” according to the Heath’s website.
Perfectly Normel People follows the life of an 18-year-old aspiring writer who leaves his home in Kansas to attend New York University. While in the city, he stays with a large Italian family with the apt last name of Normellino. The curious combination of city-savvy Italian Americans and a country boy with a limited vocabulary results in several comedic and a few quite touching scenes.
“The festival is thrilled to have our first play from Charleston,” says Elena Holy, Artistic Director of FringeNYC. “Thomas and Judy have created a funny and poignant story that we feel will have universal appeal to our audiences.”
FringeNYC is the largest multi-arts festival in North America, with select companies from all over the world performing for 16 days in more than 20 venues. In order to keep a little bit of the charm that made the Piccolo premiere of Perfectly Normel People so successful, the Heaths plan on taking a little taste of Charleston with them to the performance.
“We’re leading a caravan of cast and crew up the east coast to New York, so it’s going to be a crazy and memorable road trip,” says Judy.
“Our goal has always been to get this show an extended run in New York, so being a part of the Fringe Festival gets us one step closer,” says Thomas.