Chiller Theater

James Michael Shoberg, Rage of the Stage’s artistic director, tackles a world-premiere adaptation.

When James Michael Shoberg contacted Lionsgate Films about adapting one of its movies for the stage, he thought it was a long shot. Shoberg, the artistic director for Pittsburgh’s Rage of the Stage Players, was a fan of the independent horror film The Hamiltons, which was picked up by Lionsgate after being honored with jury prizes at the Malibu and Santa Barbara International Film Festivals. Shoberg knew that, first, he’d have to convince the directors—a duo known as The Butcher Brothers, who had also written and produced the film—that he was up to the task. Much to Shoberg’s surprise, they were immediately enthusiastic.

“He presented the idea and how he wanted to proceed with the project in a way that spoke to us,” said Mitchell Altieri, one half of the Brothers. “It just felt right.”

There certainly aren’t many companies more suited to present a gritty, terrifying thriller like The Hamiltons than Rage of the Stage. The company, currently in its tenth year, specializes in bringing horror stories to the Pittsburgh theater scene. It’s built a loyal fanbase while tackling everything from twisted fairy tales to the classics of literary terror, with a lot of stage blood and a good bit of fun mixed in.

And so, with the blessing of The Butcher Brothers and a track record of spooky success, Shoberg lobbied Lionsgate to give him a crack at The Hamiltons, and Hollywood said yes. Shoberg finished adapting the script in late August; rehearsals are now under way for the production, which will be staged at South Park Theatre this month.

Pittsburgh magazine caught up with Shoberg to discuss The Hamiltons, the horror genre and how he adapts films for the stage.

Q+A

What drew you to The Hamiltons?  
First and foremost, it’s a quirky drama about a family of four dysfunctional, orphaned siblings. The horror aspect is another layer entirely. It had such a theatrical feel to it that I instantly started viewing it through that perspective.

How do you approach adapting a film for the stage?  
Theater doesn’t provide the luxury of cutaways, exterior shots or full sets for every location. The environments must be cleverly condensed, and scenes must be able to fluidly move from one to another without becoming cumbersome or time-consuming. That, in and of itself, is a challenge. The level of detail in the effects must be perfect.

The Hamiltons isn’t the most violent film, but it’s certainly not for the faint of heart. Who will The Hamiltons be appropriate for?  
We wouldn’t want to alienate any members of the Rage’s fanbase, and age-appropriateness is very subjective due to the alternative, liberal-minded audiences we draw. We always make a point of thoroughly addressing the content of any show we are producing at a given time and allowing people to make those decisions for themselves.

Horror is an under-represented genre in theater. How do you convince people to see something they’re not familiar with?  
It’s difficult to [convince] those who are put off by horror to give it a chance. That’s why we depend heavily on our devoted fanbase and on word-of-mouth. Since the show is running over Halloween, though, we hope that even those who wouldn’t ordinarily be drawn to such fare might indulge themselves in the spirit of the season.

What does producing The Hamiltons mean to Rage of the Stage?  
The prospect of such an opportunity for a small company such as ours—especially here in Pittsburgh—is unprecedented. It will be an amazing experience.

(South Park Theatre, Corrigan Drive, South Park. Select dates 10/21 through 11/5. Info and ticket information: 724/292-8427)

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

A History of Pittsburgh, in 50 Artifacts

A History of Pittsburgh, in 50 Artifacts

For a city only two centuries old, Pittsburgh has amassed a surprising amount of history. To assemble this collection of 50 of the region’s most fascinating historical artifacts, we hunted through museums, archives and private collections. We also looked for things many of us might pass each day without appreciating their significance.
The Origins of Isaly’s: It's Not What You Think

The Origins of Isaly’s: It's Not What You Think

Tracing the story of the chain back to its roots — which, surprisingly, are not in Pittsburgh.
In the Frame: Julie Sokolow Sees the Future

In the Frame: Julie Sokolow Sees the Future

After making films focused on Pittsburgh, Sokolow is rising through the ranks of U.S. women documentarians.
Restaurant Review: Salem's Market & Grill in the Strip District

Restaurant Review: Salem's Market & Grill in the Strip District

Salem’s offers accessible and delicious meals for Pittsburghers of all stripes.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

1,000 Points Earns Crosby His Own Primanti Bros. Sandwich

1,000 Points Earns Crosby His Own Primanti Bros. Sandwich

Unlike previous Penguins-inspired sandwiches, Crosby’s “The Captain” could be on the menu for years to come.
Pittsburghers Get Fewer Robocalls Than The National Average

Pittsburghers Get Fewer Robocalls Than The National Average

Next time you get a call from a telemarketer, just be thankful you don’t live in Atlanta.
Four Pittsburgh Chefs Honored on James Beard Long List

Four Pittsburgh Chefs Honored on James Beard Long List

The four are semifinalists for James Beard Foundation Awards, considered the most prestigious of the nation's culinary honors.
Is Pittsburgh About to Become the Next Detroit?

Is Pittsburgh About to Become the Next Detroit?

No offense to the motor city, but auto companies are eyeing the steel city to develop the next generation of driverless vehicles.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

A History of Pittsburgh, in 50 Artifacts

A History of Pittsburgh, in 50 Artifacts

For a city only two centuries old, Pittsburgh has amassed a surprising amount of history. To assemble this collection of 50 of the region’s most fascinating historical artifacts, we hunted through museums, archives and private collections. We also looked for things many of us might pass each day without appreciating their significance.
The Origins of Isaly’s: It's Not What You Think

The Origins of Isaly’s: It's Not What You Think

Tracing the story of the chain back to its roots — which, surprisingly, are not in Pittsburgh.
In the Frame: Julie Sokolow Sees the Future

In the Frame: Julie Sokolow Sees the Future

After making films focused on Pittsburgh, Sokolow is rising through the ranks of U.S. women documentarians.
Restaurant Review: Salem's Market & Grill in the Strip District

Restaurant Review: Salem's Market & Grill in the Strip District

Salem’s offers accessible and delicious meals for Pittsburghers of all stripes.
Pittsburgh Penguins Share Tips for Parenting on Ice

Pittsburgh Penguins Share Tips for Parenting on Ice

In a year when youth-hockey participation is expected to increase, Pittsburgh Penguins players weigh in on the role of the hockey parent.
Face the Frost: Go Daytripping on Winter Hikes in Pittsburgh

Face the Frost: Go Daytripping on Winter Hikes in Pittsburgh

There’s a magical, snowy landscape right in your backyard.
Edit Module
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


1,000 Points Earns Crosby His Own Primanti Bros. Sandwich

1,000 Points Earns Crosby His Own Primanti Bros. Sandwich

Unlike previous Penguins-inspired sandwiches, Crosby’s “The Captain” could be on the menu for years to come.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Union Standard Will Open This Weekend

Union Standard Will Open This Weekend

The highly anticipated restaurant from Derek Stevens opens is located in the Union Trust building Downtown.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

These spots are tailored for couples who are looking for a simple, chill night out on Valentine’s Day (or any other day). If your significant other isn’t the type to be wooed by expensive wines and chocolates, this is the list for you.

Comments


Social House 7 Is Okay ... But There's This Really Weird Thing About It

Social House 7 Is Okay ... But There's This Really Weird Thing About It

While it's not among Downtown's best, Social House 7 is a fine place for a drink and a bite — but we're stuck on a bizarre element of the décor.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Love Affair Between Pittsburgh & Keisel is a Two-Way Street

Love Affair Between Pittsburgh & Keisel is a Two-Way Street

Where else but Pittsburgh would a football player, two years removed from his playing days, be able to raise about $85,000 in one night for the staging of an event that involves the gathering of a crowd to watch a man shave?

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Tantalizing Textiles for the Table

Tantalizing Textiles for the Table

Check out the chic decor from Pittsburgh-based artist and designer Janice Nelson.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Great Wall Crumbles, Fist Fight Whiffs

Great Wall Crumbles, Fist Fight Whiffs

Reviews of "The Great Wall" and "Fist Fight," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Our Favorite Unique Centerpiece (That’s Not Flowers)

Our Favorite Unique Centerpiece (That’s Not Flowers)

This couple’s centerpiece from our Real Pittsburgh Weddings shines brighter than the traditional table bouquet.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
The Candle Lab Ready To Make Its Debut in Lawrenceville

The Candle Lab Ready To Make Its Debut in Lawrenceville

The Columbus-based store, where you can customize your own candle fragrance, is expected to open in March.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Get a Behind-the-Scenes Look at ‘Fences’

Get a Behind-the-Scenes Look at ‘Fences’

An art director from Warner Bros. Studios will visit La Roche College to talk about the Oscar-nominated film with ties to Pittsburgh.

Comments