A Bitter Pill

What happens when Big Pharma pushes a new mental health diagnosis for children and their dangerous drugs to treat it?

A Bitter Pill, written by Gayle Damiano Waxenberg, brings to light how the pharmaceutical industry and leading physicians receiving incentives, victimized a generation of children with a fabricated disease and medications not tested or approved for use in children and adolescents. The play shows the epidemic of over diagnosing and medicating children through the tale of a family dealing with a child’s incorrect mental health diagnosis and the dangerous and misused medications used in treatment.

A Bitter Pill received development in January 2016 as part of the Venus/Adonis Theater Festival at the Hudson Guild Theater. It is presently being rewritten and further developed for a future presentation.

Cast & Creative

Cast & Creative from 2016 Hudson Guild Theater production

WHITNEY BIANCUR (Fran/Bi-Polar Disorder, etc.) Recently seen in Kings County S2E3 & Girls in the Bathroom E3. NY credits: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Gallery Players), Romeo & Juliet (Snow Falcon), and more. Regional: Macbeth (Madison Lyric Stage). Training: BADA, Pearl Conservatory, ESPA, SLC, Wagner-Iovanna Vocal Studio. www.whitneybiancur.com

STEVEN J. CAMBRIA (David) is a prolific SAG-AFTRA television, film, and commercial actor. He has be seen on Louie, Law & Order Criminal Intent, Blue Bloods, One Life to Live and recurring role on All My Children. Countless regional, national and international commercials for such companies as John Handcock, Charmin, Axa, and The NY Times. He has lent his voice to Video Games such as Eden Studios “Alone in the Dark”, and Rockstar Games “Grand Theft Auto” Franchise.

MARISSA CRISAFULLI (Alyssa, etc.) A recent transplant from LA to NY, Marissa is thrilled to be part of this production. Marissa is a multiplatform artist and award-winning filmmaker. She graduated from Chapman University, winning the Steve Ambriz award. She just completed her first documentary film “Moonstone” which explores finding peace after tragedy, and actively supports the charity To Write Love On Her Arms. New York credits include Romeo and Juliet and Up To Date. Films in 2015 festival circuit include Carved, Refuel, and Catch 22.

BRANDON DUNCAN (Paxil, etc.) is thrilled to be part of A Bitter Pill, and to see how it’s evolved over the past year. Credits include Little Shop, Forever Plaid, and The 39 Steps. Thanks to Daniel and The Telling Company! BrandonKduncan@gmail.com. www.BrandonKduncan.com

LEO GIANNOPOULOS (Doctors, etc.) Past NY credits: Marty in The House of Yes (Bridge Theatre), Howard in Three Pillows (Abington Theatre), Dimitri in The Lemon Tree (Wild Project Theatre), Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet (Inwood Shakes), Malcolm in Macbeth (American Globe), Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing (Random Access Theatre), Gratiano in The Merchant of Venice (Inwood Shakes). Short films: Ex Histanai, Kung Fu Punked, Choice, the daytime drama One Life to Live, and in the upcoming mockumentary, “Tend Hard”. BFA graduate of Salem State Univ.

ALESANDRA NAHODIL (Chloe) has a BA in Drama NYU, Tisch; trained at The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute, Stella Adler Studio, Stonestreet Film & Television Studio. Recent credits – The Flea: Student Body (Liz), The Old Masters (Olive), The Mysteries (Eve, King Herod, Virgin Mary); Spookfish Theatre Co.: Advance Guard (Anise); Theater Row: Iphigenia in Tauris (Athena); Sniffen Court Theater: Picasso at the Lapin Agile (Suzanne). AlesandraNahodil.com

ALEXANDER NIFONG (Adam) thinks the people who are making this performance with him are amazing- and he must be pretty lucky, as he’s been on a streak of that lately. He’s been on TV and in Movies, and will be performing at Studio 54 in February with No Bully’s Broadway Against Bullying. Talk to him, he’s friendly.

NICOLE O’BRIEN (Ava) has worked as an actress, director and producer. Most recently, she was the Asst. Director for TTC’s award winning film Influence and an Associate Producer for The Process Studio Theatre’s Fall 2015 production of Bonfire of the Vanities, the Opera. She is thrilled to be a part of TTC’s A Bitter Pill.

DANIEL NEIDEN (Director) has mounted independent, socially responsible projects at Kennedy Center, The Public, Village Gate, Bryant Park, Perry Street Theatre, Theater at St. John’s, SOPAC, BAM, Symphony Space, The Lion, The Odyssey, and Cherry Lane Theater, which garnered Drama Desk nominations and VSArts/DC awards. Mr. Neiden is a graduate of Drake University, and the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center.

GAYLE DAMIANO WAXENBERG (Playwright) is a born playwright, sporting a journal before it became fashionable, and a born advocate, constantly using her voice to raise awareness of those less fortunate. Recognizing the power of the stories she captured, she launched TTC, as a forum for telling real-life stories influencing social change through art. Gayle is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America, The Off Broadway Alliance, Theater Resources Unlimited and an associate member of the League of Professional Theater Women. She is also President of The Graham School Education Foundation and a board member of Danza Espanza, The American Spanish Dance Theater.

JUNE RACHESLON-OSPA (Lyric Contributions) June and Daniel Neiden won the VSArts Award and have had their work performed at The Kennedy Center; Bergen County Players; The Midtown Children’s Musical Theater Fest and The Public Theater. Broadwayvoiceless.com

RACHEL KAUFMAN (Music Director) is a multi-instrumentalist who has music directed and/or played for well over 300 musicals and cabaret shows world-wide. She can also be seen playing for auditions, classes, improv comedy groups, at piano bars, and during the summer, on cruise ships. Rachel holds a B.A. in Music (and Russian) from the University of Chicago.

REBECCA KANE (Stage Manager): Rebecca has worked with acclaimed companies in NYC and Orlando such as Untitled Theater Company #61, Atlantic Theater Company, Third Rail Projects, Orlando International Fringe Festival, and Orlando Shakespeare Theater.

JONATHAN BACH (Assistant Stage Manager): New York: Wicked (Upcoming), Clinton The Musical, Revolution in the Elbow of Ragnar Agnarsson Furniture Painter, Amas Musical Theatre: Fame, 9 to 5, Marry Harry, TADA! Youth Theatre: Princess Phooey; Currently studying at UNCSA.


TTC to Present A Bitter Pill as Part of Venus/Adonis Theater Festival


“It is my hope that this wonderful play can help educate,
so that one day all children have an equal chance for a healthy, happy life.”
~ Jerry Lewis

Kritzerland, Peter Filichia
“A Bitter Pill, which plays a limited gig, should move to points beyond.”
“Superb… a most tragic situation…”
“Don’t be surprised if people who planned to have children might think twice after seeing A BITTER PILL”

“A Bitter Pill… should be presented again in additional venues.”
“The ensemble acting shepherded by director Daniel Neiden is spot on.”
“The staging, musical accompaniment, pace, atmosphere, sets, and lighting… superbly showcase the universal themes”
“Worthy of a wider audience.”

Hi! Drama
“A Bitter Pill is a play about getting a child with mental health issues well again.”
“The dire consequences of how these drugs can ruin a person’s life.”
“The actors were very earnest and I hope to see to them again.”

Time Square Chronicles
“The overmedication of children is a subject that needs to be explored.”
“A Bitter Pill… does just that… Mr. Nifong wins us over…”
“The show really comes alive”

The Splash
“…A compelling portrait shedding considerable light on the scandalous connection between the psychiatric community and the greed of Big Pharma.”

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