«Back to all Press Releases

«Back to all ArtsWestchester Press Releases

Axial Theatre presents Crimes of the Heart, the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Beth Henley

Axial Theatre Presents Crimes of The Heart: Pulitzer Prize-Winning Play by Beth Henley Explores the Bonds of Sisterhood Amid a Family Crisis

Runs Friday, May 4 through Sunday, May 20


WESTCHESTER, NY – From Friday, May 4 through Sunday, May 20, Axial Theatre of Pleasantville will present its spring mainstage production, Beth Henley’s Pulitzer Prize- winning Crimes of The Heart, directed by Axial ensemble member and actor/director/faculty member Rachel Jones. A tale of Southern hospitality, sisterhood and how to make lemonade when life gives you lemons, the play tells the tale of the Magrath sisters and how they pull together when one of their own needs saving.

The play debuted in Louisville in 1979, ran Off-Broadway soon after before enjoying a long run on Broadway. Frank Rich of The New York Times wrote, “Miss Henley shows how comedy at its best can heighten reality to illuminate the landscape of existence in all its mean absurdity. But the heightening is not achieved at the price of credibility.” The Times’ Charles Isherwood called a 2008 revival, “a durable showcase for actresses” saying: “A little bit Chekhov and a little bit Eudora Welty, it tells a twangy story of three Southern sisters loving, feuding and fussing through a very bad day.” A 1986 screen adaptation of Crimes garnered several Academy award nominations.

It tells the story of Lenny, the unmarried, oldest sister who has spent her life as the family caregiver; Meg, the black sheep of the family, beautiful, talented and troubled, who fled to California to pursue a singing career; and Babe, the youngest and family favorite, who stayed in Hazelhurst, Mississippi and rose to the heights of society through marriage. Babe is in trouble with the law and Lenny and Meg have come to her rescue.

Crimes of the Heart is finally the story of how its young characters escape the past to seize the future. ”We’ve got to figure out a way to get through these bad days here,” says Meg. “That can’t happen for any of us until the corpses of a childhood are truly laid to rest.”

The Axial actors include Julia Boyes as Babe who recently appeared as Ophelia in Nu.Ance Theater’s Hamlet and performed a sold-out one-woman show at Lincoln Center; Catherine (Cat) Banks (of Ossining) as Lenny, an Axial actor/director/and faculty member, who formerly headed an Off-Broadway production company and will be Axial’s co-artistic director this September; and Maria Oppedisano, who has appeared on Off-Broadway stages and in indie films.

The cast also includes Axial Ensemble members and associates Lori Franzese of Carmel, Dan Walworth of South Salem) and Michael Boyle Jr. of Ossining.

Set design is by Heather Kornreich (of Mount Kisco); lighting design by Shane Cassidy; sound designer is Jim Simonson; stage manager is Stephanie Opper; technical director, Jerry Pedroza; production manager, Mary Cate Mangum.

Crimes of the Heart performances are Friday, May 4, 11 and 18 and Saturday, May 5, 12 and 19 at 8 p.m. plus matinees each Saturday at 3pm and Sundays May 6, 13 and 20 at 4 p.m. at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 8 Sunnyside Avenue, Pleasantville 10570. Tickets are $27.50; $22.50 for students and seniors; Opening Night will include hors d’oeuvres and sweet treats. Reservations can be made by calling 1-800-838-3006. Tickets can be purchased online at brownpapertickets.com (search Axial).



Founded in 1999, Axial Theatre is a professional theater company that presents contemporary theatrical hits, timeless stage classics, and original works, in mainstage fall and spring productions, plus a series of book-in-hand staged readings. Axial’s affiliated Howard Meyer’s Acting Program offers acting classes for young people through adults, as well as workshops for voice, movement, auditions and improvisation. Playwriting classes also are offered.

Media Contacts for Axial Theatre:

Evelyn Mertens


914.263.9129 (cell)

[email protected]

Bruce Apar

  1. 275.6887(cell)
    [email protected]

Betsy Klampert


[email protected]

Caption: L-R: Julia Boyes as Babe, Maria Oppedisano as Meg and Cat Banks as Lenny star in Axial Theatre’s
upcoming production of Crim
es of the Heart, May 4 – 20 in Pleasantville.