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Dead Man’s Cell Phone

Dead Man’s Cell Phone

By Sarah Ruhl

Directed by David M. Jenkins

Extended! Jun. 3 – 27, 2010

Thu. – Sat. 8pm, Sun. 4pm

Tickets: $24.50

Shimberg Playhouse, Straz Center for the Performing Arts

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Creative Loafing Best of the Bay

What It's About

An incessantly ringing cell phone in a quiet café. A stranger at the next table who has had enough. A dead man with a lot of loose ends. So begins Dead Man’s Cell Phone, a wildly imaginative new comedy by playwright Sarah Ruhl, recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Grant and Pulitzer Prize finalist for her play The Clean House.

Dead Man’s Cell Phone is an odyssey of a woman forced to confront her own assumptions about morality, redemption and the need to connect in a technologically obsessed world.

Jean (Meg Heimstead, who stunned Bay area audiences last year in Rabbit Hole) is sleepwalking through her life until she answers a dead man’s (Steve Garland, 2007 Best of the Bay – Best Actor) cell phone.

It turns out to be a wake-up call that sends her to an uncomfortable encounter with the dead man’s mother (Elizabeth Fendrick, making her Jobsite debut), a date with his brother (Michael C. McGreevy, most recently seen as Sgt. Match in What the Butler Saw), a drinking binge with his wife (Katrina Stevenson, 2004 Best of the Bay – Best Actress), and a mysterious rendezvous with a strange woman (Summer Bohnenkamp, who just completed Jobsite’s run of boom! as the pink-coiffed museum docent), not to mention trips to the afterlife and the black market.

In this quirky modern adventure, Jean reconnects to her own spirit and learns that life is for the living.

Meg Heimstead in Jobsite's Dead Man's Cell Phone.
Steve Garland and Meg Heimstead in Jobsite's Dead Man's Cell Phone. (Photo by Brian Smallheer.)

… beguiling new comedy … Ms. Ruhl’s work blends the mundane and the metaphysical, the blunt and the obscure, the patently bizarre and the bizarrely moving. – New York Times

Ruhl's zany probe of the razor-thin line between life and death delivers a fresh and humorous look at the times we live in. – Variety

Critic Reviews

A fine production.... Original, unpredictable, poignantly lyrical.... Expect humor, whimsical plot developments, sudden insights and an all-too-justifiable fixation on death. There are several coups-de-theâtre.... The Jobsite team delivers fully with every performance. – Creative Loafing

The six-person cast, directed by David M. Jenkins, is phenomenal, delivering some of the most uniformly excellent acting you're likely to see on a Tampa stage this year. – St. Petersburg Times innovative play ... tender yet exasperated, as though [Ruhl's] head-flicking us and asking why we don't do a better job connecting. ...the cast [is] hugely talented, subtle and charming. – Tampa Tribune


Cast & Crew

  • David M. Jenkins – Director
  • Xylina Golding – Stage Manager


  • Summer Bohnenkamp – Mystery Woman
  • Elizabeth Fendrick – Mrs. Gottlieb
  • Steve Garland – Gordon
  • Meg Heimstead – Jean
  • Michael C. McGreevy – Dwight
  • Katrina Stevenson – Hermia


  • Greg Newcomb – Graphic Designer
  • Shawn Paonessa – Video Engineer
  • Brian M. Smallheer – Scenic, Lighting & Video Designer
  • Krystalle Voecks – Asst. Stage Manager

Patron Reviews

Just got back from your most recent production. Really enjoyed it and the cast was great. Everyone did a great job, but is was especially nice to see Steve Garland back. We look forward to seeing the next play and re-subscribing for next season! Keep up the great work – John and Lori Pate

Had a great time at Dead Man’s Cell Phone and at The Independent afterwards. Folks, do yourself a favor and go see the show. Some wonderful stuff and lots of laughs there! – Caroline Jett

Had a great time last night at Dead Man’s Cell Phone, Jobsite Theater. Support the arts and an awesome cast and crew. – Jan Farrell Ray

While eating lunch I ponder; “Who would be on my planet?”… Then go see Jobsite Theater’s Dead Man’s Cell Phone to understand. Fantastic show by dir. David Jenkins and an amazing cast including: Meg Heimstead, Steve Garland, Michael C. McGreevy, Katrina Stevenson, Summer Bohnenkamp, and Elizabeth Fendrick. Go SEE IT!” – Spencer Meyers

So worth it, Dead Man’s Cell Phone was my fave @jobsitetheater show short of #Pericles. Everyone should go. Mandatory viewings! – laughterkey

Charmingly existential, witty, & smart & 1 of the best monologues I’ve ever heard! @jobsitetheater ‘s #DMCP is amazing! – daidaloslost

I believe this is the best play I’ve ever seen at Jobsite … The show is subtle and real, and just my kind of theater experience … If you haven’t had the chance to see this piece of art, go. It is worth it. – labelleartiste (via Creative Loafing)

Amazing show! Amazing cast! Once again a fantastic performance and a great show! – Mike Corrao

In attendance for the preview. Packed house. Crowd was enthusiastic. Play is a light but thought-provoking look at the way we give meaning to our lives (at least that’s my take.) All you need to know is that Steve Garland and Katrina Stevenson are awesome and make the show worth seeing just for their performances. – Anthony Salveggi

Saw Jobsite’s Dead Man’s Cell Phone last night. Another fantastic show. Loved everything about it. – Kim Smallheer

Great show last night. The performances were brilliant. Thank you for a lovely evening at the theater. – Mike Laquerre

Dead Man’s Cell Phone was great. Gordon’s monologue was great! – jmasc6

Loved Dead Man’s Cell Phone @jobsitetheater funny, poignant, clever. Great acting, directing, set. Next season looks great. Reupped tonite. – Susan Oliver

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