Shut Up, Emily Dickinson

[dcs_heading size=”2″ align=”left” sub=”Tanya O’Debra, New York, NY”]Shut Up, Emily Dickinson[/dcs_heading]

Venue Know Theatre
Running Time 60 minutes
First Time? Returning Participant
Connect with  
Tags Comedy, Drama, Theatre,
Multimedia, Women's Themes,
Adult Content





Wednesday, May 29 @ 8:45pm
Saturday, June 1 @ 7:00pm
Sunday, June 2 @ 7:00pm
Tuesday, June 4 @ 8:45pm
Friday, June 7 @ 9:15pm


[dcs_flat_tabs tab1=”The Basics” tab2=”About the Artists” tab3=”Reviews” tab4=”Media”]


A pseudo-historical, quasi-biographical psycho-romance about America's most annoying poetess.

By Tanya O’Debra
Original Music by Andrew Mauriello
Directed by Stephen Brackett
Starring Tanya O’Debra & Gregg Bellon

From the creators of last year’s sold out hit Radio Star comes Shut UP, Emily Dickinson, a pseudo-historical, quasi-biographical psycho-romance about America's most annoying poetess. Holed up in her bedroom for eternity, crazy old Emily Dickinson unsuccessfully woos the object of her affection, a disembodied voice. She’s a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma smothered in mental illness on a bed of terrible personality.

“A virtuoso performer and a clever writer.” – Rick Pender, City Beat
“Brilliant.” – New York Magazine




Tanya O'Debra (Emily) is a writer/performer/funny lady. One half of the ECNY Award nominated comic sister duo, The O'Debra Twins, Miss O’Debra has spread mirth and filth all over NYC. Their annual O’Debbie Awards garnered a Best of New York Award from The Village Voice. Her play Fuck You won The Excellence Award in Overall Production at Fringe NYC. Published by Original Works, her play Radio Star has been produced all over the world, receiving numerous awards and accolades. Winner of the Miss Fag Hag Pageant, other theater credits include Patrice O’Debra in Straight Up Vampire (Joe’s Pub), The Evil Queen in Snow White (The New Acting Company) and Amanda McCloud in The Ultimate Stimulus (Dixon Place).

Andrew Mauriello (Composer) A composer with over 15 years of experience including his studies at Berklee College of Music, Mr. Mauriello has been incorporating his songwriting into a variety of settings with a vast spectrum of musical styles. He has performed at Boston's Symphony Hall, crowded basements in Philadelphia, sold out shows at the late CBGB's in New York City, and seemingly everywhere in between. His music for Radio Star garnered a New York Innovative Theatre Award nomination for Outstanding Original Music.

Stephen Brackett (Director). NY credits include: The Material World (Dixon Place), American River (Lesser America), After (Partial Comfort), Be A Good Little Widow (Ars Nova), The Tenant (Woodshed Collective), David Mixner’s From the Front Porch (Dixon Place), The Sporting Life (Studio 42), F#@king Up Everything (NYMF), Whore (Summer Play Festival) and PN1923.45LS01 Volume 2 (FringeNY). Regional credits include: The Trouble With Doug (TheatreWorks) and Kilroy Was Here: A Styx Rock Opera (Williamstown). Assistant Director: Passing Strange (The Public and Belasco Theaters).

Gregg Bellon (Master) is a performer, director, writer, designer, and production manager. Recent credits: Dumporama (by Cheri Magrid, Centenary Stage); Flood (by Kirby Fields, Samuel French One-Act Festival); Conexion Sin Hilo (by Julie deGrandy, Hudson Exploited Theater Company). Founder and Director of Production Consolidated, a full-service production company dedicated to a holistic approach to theater production; for more info, check out As always, for Nick.

Emily Dickinson (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886) is considered to be one of the greatest American poets of the 19th century. Little is known about her life, because many of her letters were burned after her death by her sister, Lavinia*, as per the poet's wishes. It was in the process of destroying these papers that Lavinia discovered Emily's hidden collection of poems. What we do know is that Dickinson never married and rarely left her Amherst, MA home, preferring the solitude of her bedroom to the company of visitors. She lived in the Dickinson Homestead her whole life, except for a brief period where the Dickinson family lived in a house where Emily's bedroom window overlooked a graveyard. Dickinson was an avid gardener, baker, and sender of sympathy notes. The letters that survive show a woman who was needy, demanding visits from people that she refused to visit herself, and sometimes only speaking to the visitors from behind her bedroom door. She received one such visit from an editor, Thomas Wentworth Higginson. After meeting her, Higginson wrote in a letter to his wife that he was never "with any one who drained my nerve power so much. Without touching her, she drew from me. I am glad not to live near her." Nicknamed the "woman in white", Emily took to wearing the late 1800's equivalent of sweatpants, a white wrapper dress. She died of the historical kidney disease, Bright's disease, and her final wish was for her coffin to be carried by people through a field of buttercups. Emily Dickinson's poems have continuously been in print since 1890.

*Lavinia is also a spinster on top of being a crazy cat lady, but that's another story.

Past Fringe Festivals:

New Orleans Fringe Festival
Cincinnati Fringe Festival
San Francisco Fringe Festival
Montreal Fringe Festival
Orlando Fringe Festival
Edinburgh Festival Fringe
NY International Fringe Festival




Shut UP, Emily Dickinson (Review)- By Rick Pender

Review: "Shut UP Emily" is smart, snarky, terrific- By Jackie Demaline

Behind the Curtain Cincinnati:

Shut UP, Emily Dickinson (Review)- By Rob Bucher

Make Cincinnati Weird

Emily and The Master – by Jean Lerma


Shut UP, Emily Dickinson – by Matthew Ruehlman



Coming soon!



[dcs_darkspliter size=”large” bottom=”20″] 


  1. I want a t-shirt of Emily "Shut Up"!

  2. I caught this show at the Orlando Fringe and just loved it. Absurd, funny, touching – do not miss it!

  3. Can't wait to see this show!!!

  4. Very Funny! Totally worth seeing!

  5. Randy Waterhous

    1*- Sorry I saw it
    2*- Glad I saw it
    3*- I recommend it
    4*- I would see it again
    And a second rating to cover degrees of weirdness ( a Fringe Festival standard)
    Fringy, Fringier, Fringiest

    Shut Up, Emily Dickinson

    Randy 2.5* Suzana 3* Fringier

    This is high quality theater. The acting, staging, and writing are excellent. With a starting premise of how unpleasant Emily Dickinson is, and will be for the audience, I found myself sympathetic to this fellow human who suffered within her own confined world. There are lots of counter balance to unpleasantness with humor and clever references that are very much part of our world and not of hers. I only scored it as low as I did due to taste. I appreciate drama, irony, and black humor, but it often not my preferred entertainment. This piece deserves a supportive audience and, from what I hear, there are plenty of my fellow citizens who love this piece.

  6. Christine Wands

    I always knew Emily Dickinson was nuts.  Taking her craziness into the 21st century, putting it into a totally new context, is hilarious.  Tanta O'Debra is wonderful in the role, and her nemesis/master/imaginary friend, as played by Gregg Bellon, is the perfect foil.

    Obviously, this had only a tenuous connection to the real Emily Dickinson, but I don't mind one bit.  Rather, I think of it as similar to a jazz musician riffing on a fundamental tune, creating something different and new.

    Great show.  Ms. O'Debra has a strange and wonderfully weird imagination.  I can't wait to see what she dreams up next!

  7. This play is very funny and unique. The pop culture references mixed in with the life and times of Emily Dickinson make for great humor. She was presented with such craziness and annoyance that that you feel sad for her and especially for those around her. In fact it was done so well that by the end of the show some of the humor lost the edge and wittines of the earlier scenes. I left the show feeling a little more sad than happy.

Comments are closed