New Play Explores Family Dynamics

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Playwright Jeff Cohen penned "SQUEAKY."

In association with Baltimore’s Creative Alliance, the John Drew Theater at Guild Hall in East Hampton will present a virtual reading of “Squeaky,” a new play by Jeff Cohen. The production, which will premiere on Guild Hall’s YouTube channel on Sunday, March 28 at 7:30 p.m., is directed by Bob Balaban and features a multi-award-winning cast including Jessica Hecht, Marc Kudisch, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Ben Shenkman, and Harris Yulin.

Penned by Drama Desk Award-winner Jeff Cohen (“The Soap Myth,” “The Man Who Ate Michael Rockefeller”) this audacious autobiographical comedy is about his eccentric father, Stan “Squeaky” Cohen. Squeaky is the man who was banned from every Old Country Buffet in the metro Baltimore area for stealing cake. He can’t remember where he lost his car. He lives in Baltimore’s most crime-ridden neighborhood in a ramshackle house that is a city inspection away from being condemned — and refuses to move. His son Jeff is a writer living in New York who finds himself battling his older brother Rob, a charmer with a felonious past for drug trafficking, over what is best for their father. He is also being forced to reckon with childhood events he’s spent a lifetime trying to forget. At its core, “Squeaky” is about wrestling with end-of-life issues while maintaining a sense of humor.

“When I was writing the play I was flooded with memories,” Cohen says. “Capturing my father on the page felt like he was there with me, over my shoulder, speaking to me, making me laugh. I felt a combination of sadness that he was gone and happiness that, just by thinking of him, I could conjure him and keep him alive.

“Writing the play gave me something very precious — the gift of spending more time with him.”

Originally titled “Squeaky Cohen,” the play was developed at Manhattan’s Emerging Artists Theatre as part of its new-work series.

This program is free of charge with the option to make an additional donation to Guild Hall. Registration is required at guildhall.org. A link to access the program will be emailed 24 hours prior to those who register. For more information about Creative Alliance, visit creativealliance.org.

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