Stephanie Layne

“I think Fat Men in Skirts is about family and love and how that love can manifest itself and completely alter who a person becomes if they let it,” said Stephanie. “I really liked the way that there are serious, awful moments that still make you laugh. I also loved the emotions toward the end of the play. It’s sweet and tender and funny and uncomfortable all in one show… I hope audiences are able to look past the humor (which is plentiful) and see the heart of the piece.”

Working on a multi-layered show is pure joy for Stephanie. She is a consummate actress who disappears in into the roles she plays. She made her HITW debut in 2009’s Night of the Living Dead as “Kitten.” Since then she has appeared as “Mary Lane” in Reefer Madness, “Jackie O” in The House of Yes, “Sonia” in Life X3, “Riff Raff” in The Rocky Horror Show and others. “I read the script a few times before I begin rehearsals – first just as a reader, then with more attention paid to my character and then again from the perspective of my character. How does she feel about what everyone else is saying or doing? How does that affect her? What is revealed about her past in the course of the play that may color her perspective of the world?”

Stephanie plays two roles in Fat Men: porn star, Pam and paranoid schizophrenic, Popo Martin. “Pam is a porn star turned mistress of Howard, a movie director,” said Stephanie. ‘She is a little damaged but I think she’s one of the most likable characters in the show. She is genuine and doesn’t want to hurt anyone and is trying to make her way through this bizarre world she’s entered. Popo Martin is in the psych ward where she meets Bishop, the play’s protagonist (or antagonist depending on how you look at it). Popo is very cheerful and I think she also means well despite her mental instability. She’s also hilarious.”

Over the years, Stephanie has established a reputation as being an adept, versatile actress with wide range. This play is chocked full of surprising and shocking moments; however, there are hints of truth at every turn. “The only way to make moments relatable for an audience is to play them as true to life as possible,” she said. “If you can show the audience that you 100% believe in your character’s reaction, they’re with you. As soon as they can see that you’re an actor and you don’t agree with your character’s choice, the audience can no longer suspend disbelief.”

Stephanie has been an active member of HITW’s Board for many years now. She has seen many generous volunteers come through the door. “I think the multi-faceted talent at HITW is something unique. Many of our actors aren’t just actors. I routinely do scenic design and costuming for shows, (Fellow cast member) Roy Donnelly is a drummer with The Rude Mechanicals (and PhD), (cast member & husband) James DeMarco has designed many of our posters, (Director) Scott Stephen Kegler is a writer, actor and director and the list goes on and on. I think that when our actors have so many skill sets, it leads to a more complete, well-rounded production.”

Fat Men in Skirts runs March 27 & 28, April 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 & 18 at HITW on 116 Main Street in New Britain, CT. Tickets are $20.00 (general admission) and $15.00 (students and seniors).  They can be purchased at the door and online at The March 3rd show will be our Pay What You Can performance.  In keeping with our tradition of presenting theater to everyone, HITW is offering a reduced ticket price of $12.00 to our patrons for Opening Night. We encourage you to bring a friend and enjoy a great night of theater.