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Lynnea Benson - College Fun Interview

The Frog & Peach Theatre Company will stage a one-night-only benefit premiere of "College Fun" a startling new comedy by Ted Zurkowski. Directed by Lynnea Benson, the "College Fun" performance will take place on Friday, May 12 at 8 PM at the Marjorie S Deane Little Theatre in New York. The cast includes popular performers from Frog & Peach's recent smash hit, As You Like It.
Join the charming but hapless Professor Jones (Ty-Quan Payne) in the slightly mad Office of Diversity & Inclusion at an elite university in Southern California. His Inquisitors include the seductive & deranged Dr. Ram (Alyssa Diamond), the flamboyantly vigilant Dr. Queeg (Jonathan Reed Wexler), and the widely feared Dr. Pane (Anuj Parikh). The Production Stage Manager is Erica Cafarelli.
The May 12th premiere performance will be followed by a Champagne Reception in the Y's Social Justice Room. Tickets are available from
Ahead of the performance, I spoke with director Lynnea to chat about the show.

Together you set up Frog and Peach Theatre Company. What was the motivation behind that and where does College Fun fit into the ethos of the company?

We both love all kinds of plays- I can’t speak for Ted but I thought it was weird that so many of our friends, neighbors & even colleagues had so little knowledge of Shakespeare. We started Frog & Peach as an experiment, to create Shakespeare productions that were fast, well acted and accessible. People really responded! We’ve brought thousands of New Yorkers their first taste of Shakespeare, and they seem to love what we do. Ted is a frequent composer for our Main Stage, but his life has been music for quite a while. 

As a producer, I’ve always devoured the new manuscripts I receive, and I do get a lot. But when much of your work life is Shakespeare, your standards are pretty high. You want funny, sexy, thrilling, suspenseful AND relevant. And you want something that really moves!

When Ted gave me College Fun to read, I was doubly astonished. For one thing, it is alarming, subversive, timely and very, very funny. Plus I didn’t even know he wrote plays! He’s kind of shy about it. Weirdo. 

Where did the inspiration come from the piece?

You’d have to ask Ted, but we both have an interest in language and how it adapts to cultural trends. We also know folks in the corporate world. 

How do you both reflect on your own time at college?

During my college years, I was mostly just happy to be in NY. 

How much fun is it getting to reunite with artists you've worked with previously?

It’s SO MUCH FUN. I have a ball with these folks. Alyssa Diamond is a comic actor on a par with Judy Holiday, just brilliantly funny and believable and very sneaky. Jonathan Wexler is one of the most daring, versatile, and consistently wonderful young actors I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. Ty-Quan Payne & Anuj Parikh are two fantastic actors who came to us a little more recently. It is a pure joy to watch these terrific performers unearth the comic treasures of this play. And they make it look easy. 

What would you want an audience member to take away from seeing College Fun?

I’d like audiences to remember: any one of us can become a monster. 

Could you describe the show in 3 words?

3 words? See COLLEGE FUN!

College Fun premieres on May 12th at the Marjorie S Deane Little Theatre in New York. Tickets are available from

Lynnea Benson

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