Upcoming Shows

The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity

February 21 - March 23


Professional wrestling comes to the theatre stage as Chad Deity makes his elaborate entrance in Charlotte!  Mace is a great professional wrestler, but he is not the champion — that’s the impossibly charismatic Chad Deity. When Mace discovers a young Indian-American Brooklyn kid whose charisma rivals that of the champ, Mace decides to get him a job in the company. Only problem is, the boss has a very specific plan to put the duo onscreen as terrorists. Kristoffer Diaz’s The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity is a serious-minded comedy about wrestling, geopolitics and raisin bread.


CAST presents The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and winner of the 2011 Obie Award for Best New American Play. Kristoffer Diaz received the 2011 New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award and the 2008 National Latino Playwriting Award.

Performances are Feb. 21 through March 23, 2013.
Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 8 p.m.

No late seating. This performance contains profanity, body slams, head locks, power-bombs, super-kicks and some sweet chin music.


Mike Collins of WFAE’s Charlotte Talks interviews award-winning playwright Kristoffer Diaz, actor JR Jones and director Michael R. Simmons about “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity.” Click here to listen to the interview

“CAST pins CHAD DEITY to the mat… The four leads all play at full-out intensity but varying and appropriate levels of sound… Call this ‘theater in the square.’… director Michael Simmons exploits all of the room; actors break the fourth wall and talk to us frequently, sometimes asking questions.” — Lawrence Toppman of The Charlotte Observer. Click here to read the full review.

“Even if you’re not a fan of professional wrestling (as I am not), this is a very impressive show. The main actors are triple threats: shifting between mythic and real identities, handling long speeches with distinction, and slamming their bodies against each other and the arena floor. The play reveals the many tricks and hypocrisies of this scripted sport, parodying yet honoring it as an ‘art form.’ And, in a final twist of the curtain call, director Simmons makes it doubly meaningful.” — Mark Pizzato of ARTS à la Mode. Click here to read the full review..

“As a member of the audience, you get to play the part of a wrestling fan. In this bizarre piece of engaging, high energy theater, the characters interact with the audience more than they do with each other… These guys are not only telling us the stories of their lives, but they’re throwing each other around while they do it.” — Sam Post of SamPost.com and The Salisbury Post. Click here to read the full review.

“Carolina Actors Studio Theatre’s Chad Deity Is a Winner-Take-All Guilty Pleasure… The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity is both an exposé of and an ode to professional wrestling. While deconstructing the fakeries of pro wrestling and examining its crude nationalistic stereotypes, playwright Kristoffer Diaz gives a set of skilled actors ample opportunities to demonstrate the spectacle’s glorious action … (T)he clincher for me was Robert Paolino as EKO. With graying slicked-back hair, wielding a cigar in a loud and vulgar dinner jacket, Paolino becomes the ultimate bigshot sleazeball, an ignorant-yet-crafty genius of a promoter who is forever mercenary and unpredictable.” — Perry Tannenbaum for CVNC. Click here to read the full review.

“The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity… is a play about professional wrestling and American imperialism and it’s nearly perfect. (Director and Managing Artistic Director) Simmons is to be applauded for the strength of the script selection as well as the audacity of programming a work that deserves to be seen in Charlotte… While Michael Smallwood doesn’t exactly look the part, he turns in a performance that is winning in the extreme…. JR Jones does great work here, crafting a nearly seamless mask of ego and marketability as the brightest star of the wrestling world. — Matt Cosper for Charlotte Viewpoint. Click here to read the full review.


Everett K. Olson (EKO): Robert Paolino
Macedonio Guerra (Mace): Michael Smallwood
Chad Deity: J.R. Jones
Vineshwar Paduar (VP): Denny Valentin
Bad Guy, Billy Heartland, Old Glory: Dominic Weaver
Understudies, Undercard Wrestlers, EMTs, Camera Ops: Josh Lucero, Anthony Brooks.
Ring Girls, EMTS: Elizabeth Heffner, Mandy Kendall


Director: Michael R. Simmons
Assistant Director: Heather Byrd
Video Technician: Pierre Arbajian
Stage Manager: Lauren Dunlap
Set Designer: Dee Blackburn
Assistant Set Designer: James Burns
Lighting Design: Michael R. Simmons, Dave Meeder
Sound Design: Chad Deity cast and crew
Costume Design: Erin Amelia White
Costume Assistant: Noele Bondy
Properties Design: Jackie Hohenstein
Technical Director: Tim Beany
Assistant Technical Director: Garth C. Beany, Anthony Brooks
Scenic Charge: Catherine Colley
Photography: Shannon J. Hager
Graphic Design: Casey Sussman