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Passion play: Mill Basinite writes musical about people who fly off the handle

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It’s a chorus line of catharsis.

A Mill Basinite has written a musical about the little things that get under people’s skin, which will debut at Hunter’s Steak and Ale House in Bay Ridge on Oct. 17 and 18. The production, titled “Stick A Fork In Me … I’m Done!,” explores the inner rage that its mild-mannered author feels over the smallest transgressions.

“It’s kind of my story — even though I have female leads in the play,” said Ben Stiefel, a retired public school music teacher of 25 years. “It’s about someone who the little things in life make them nuts, and I’m kind of like that — that’s how I live. I get to have my actors act out the rage I feel even though I’m usually on the calm side.”

Characters Judith and Sheila are sisters who represent a divided self — Sheila is the calm one and Judith has a hair-trigger temper. Hilarity ensues when Sheila enlists a new-agey spiritual guru named Solstice to help quell her sister’s fury, Stiefel said.

Brownsville native Peter Anthony Moore plays Solstice. Moore cut his teeth as an original cast member in the hit Broadway adaptation of Disney’s “The Lion King,” and the musical veteran brings wrings every bit of comedy out of the script, Stiefel siad.

“He’s hysterical,” he said. “He brings a lot of humor.”

Stiefel penned all the words and music for the show. The latter is full of rock-inspired riffery that mirrors Judith’s explosive nature, he said.

But the production is also a family affair. Stiefel’s wife, Elizabeth, is helping produce and direct. She was also an important sounding board, Stiefel said.

“My wife is a singer and a musician as well, and if I’m writing a song, I will play it for her and always get an honest opinion,” he said.

Stiefel has a weekly gig at Hunter’s and said he chose to stage his musical there because of its prime location.

“Everyone is doing their stuff in Manhattan, but I’m not a big fan of Manhattan, because its so congested,” he said. “It’s easy for my friends and family to get to Bay Ridge.”

“Stick a Fork in Me … I’m Done” at Hunter’s Steak and Ale House [9404 Fourth Ave. between 94th and 95th streets in Bay Ridge, www.ben.ticketleap.com/fork]. Oct. 17 at 6 pm and Oct. 18 at 3 pm. $15.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at mjaeger@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @JustTheMax.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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