Several Theatre Alumni Work on 'Straight Line Crazy' at The Shed

Theatre alumni Benita de Wit ’16, Alison R. Simone ’19, and Robbie Armstrong ’22 work on Straight Line Crazy, currently running at The Shed.

Anastasia Ellis
November 07, 2022

Theatre alumni Benita de Wit ’16, Alison R. Simone ’19, and Robbie Armstrong ’22 work on Straight Line Crazy, currently running at The Shed. The show, which stars Ralph Fiennes (Schindler’s List, The English Patient), transferred to The Shed after a successful run at the Bridge Theatre in London earlier this year. De Wit serves as the Assistant Director, Simone as the Assistant Stage Manager, and Armstrong as the Sub Stage Manager. Straight Line Crazy’s NYC run is currently sold out; it began previews on October 18, opened on October 26, and will close on December 18, 2022.  

Straight Line Crazy, written by David Hare, is set in the 1920s through the 1960s in New York City and centers around the story of Robert Moses (Fiennes). Moses was an American urban planner and public official in NYC during the early to mid-20th century who, though never elected to public office, was regarded as one of the most powerful people in New York City and NY State government at the height of his career. His infrastructural development and urban planning work shaped the generation of engineers and architects that followed him, and he revolutionized how cities across America were designed and built. An ostensibly charming, well-intentioned man, Moses’s reputation was sullied and his intimidation tactics were revealed in Robert Caro’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Moses, The Power Broker, published in 1974. Straight Line Crazy explores Moses’s questionable legacy and enduring impact on New York City. The production is co-directed by Nicholas Hytner and Jamie Armitage. 

De Wit has been with the show since its time in London, where they went to rehearse the production in preparation for its transfer to New York. They also direct understudy rehearsals. Simone and Armstrong joined Straight Line Crazy during its tech rehearsals in New York City, and will remain with the show for the duration of its New York run. 

Benita de Wit, a graduate of the Directing concentration, is a New York-based Australian director and the resident director for SIX: The Musical on Broadway. Previous credits include: The Moors (Theatre Row), The Laramie Project (Pace University), Slaughterhouse (Belvoir St Theatre), Razorhurst (Hayes Theatre Co), Salty (Access Theatre), and Bat out of Hell (New York City Center, US & UK tours, Associate Director). They have directed multidisciplinary projects with new music collective Kinds of Kings, a music video for Tenderheart Bitches, and two documentary projects with Long Island University. De Wit is on faculty at Circle in the Square Theatre School.

Alison R. Simone, a Stage Management alumna, was last seen backstage at Shakespeare Theater Company working on Our Town and the co-production of The Merchant of Venice with Theatre for a New Audience. Previously, Simone enjoyed working as the stage manager on the 10th-anniversary production of Rock of Ages at New World Stages. Simone is a proud AEA member. Straight Line Crazy marks her debut at The Shed. 

Robbie Armstrong’s Broadway credits include Paradise Square and Moulin Rouge. In television, Armstrong has worked on The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City and the Disney+ streaming show, The Big Fib. He has been involved in numerous regional projects, including Sing Street, May We All, and A Walk On The Moon. Armstrong has worked with NYC Ballet and WP Theater. In addition to his status as a Stage Management alumnus, Armstrong has a BA and MA from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.