Frank Sumption, known for creating “Frank’s Box,” aka “ghost box” or “spirit box” — essentially a modified AM/FM radio said to allow communication by spirits from the Other Side by sweeping over different radio signals and forming messages from the various audio fragments — passed away this August.  

He lived modestly in Littleton, CO and there is a Go Fund Me campaign to raise money for Sumption’s funeral expenses. 

Whether or not the voices are “real” is irrelevant to me.  If the idea of Frank's box makes you roll your eyes or you're caught up in "debunking" it you're missing the point and need to check your ego at the door and try again.  As I say in my show, life is full of magic and meaning if you'll only open your eyes -- all  3 of them.

A descendant of Frank’s box, the mass-produced P-SB7, has proven a trusty tool for me in my autobiographical black comedy theatrical performance which concludes with a real, audience-led seance combining the spirit box and an antique ouija board in an earnest attempt to contact the dead, and which I wrote about last Halloween in the Washington Post's On Faith section as well as numerous times in my blog.

Thank you, Frank, wherever you are, for your terrific tool/prop/broken radio/supernatural device, depending on your beliefs.  Despite the naysayers I will continue using my spirit box with pride, fascination, and curiosity both on and off the stage.

                                                                                                            - Jeffrey Stanley
                                                                                                               August, 2014

"I try contacting the spirit world before live audiences to keep an element of hope simmering on the back burner of my mind." - Jeffrey Stanley in the Washington Post

After a highly successful world premiere in the 2013 Philly Fringe in September and an extended post-Fringe run in the fall, Jeffrey Stanley's Boneyards is back this summer 2014 and features a special guest
appearance by New York actor Michael Wiener

There's a little taphophile in all of us

Saturday 7/26/14 at 9pm
Sunday 7/27/14 at 2pm
Very limited seating
$10 tickets here

Shivtei Yeshuron-Ezras Israel
(doors open 45 minutes early to allow the audience time to wander the 3 floors
of this
118-year-old storefront synagogue before descending to the cellar)

2015 S. 4th Street
Philadelphia, PA
2 short blocks north of Snyder Avenue on the corner of 4th and Emily

         location video                                              voices from the dead                                          press                                       playbill                                         contact       

Press Contact:


Philadelphia, PA - The ongoing seance-as-theatre experiment continues.  After a highly successful run in the 2013 Philly Fringe and a post-Fringe extended run last fall, BONEYARDS is back from the dead to rock your underworld for 2 performances in late July. Come in from the heat and peacefully rest in a cool, dark, coal cellar.  Same autobiographical, spooky show, same mouldering location, same real ghosts, but now featuring an appearance by special guest artist Michael Wiener who will be sharing the crypt with the show's creator Jeffrey Stanley.

Shows are Saturday 7/26/14 at 9pm and Sunday 7/27/14 at 2pm.  Doors open 45 minutes early to allow the audience time to wander the 3 floors of this century-old storefront synagogue before descending to the cellar.
Tickets: $10, purchased here

About the Show
A funeral for the living. A coming-of-age embalming. A suicidal decapitation by coal train. A cross-dressing hillbilly named Doodlebug. This metatheatrical, taphophilic, true-to-life monologue resurrects and converses with the cadaverous--from Philly’s Laurel Hill Cemetery to a British colonial era graveyard in India to ancient Greek tomb worshippers. Is there a meaning to the universe? Is the spirit world speaking to you right now through this press release? If so it should be testable, no? Thrill as Stanley points to a tombstone and researches the forgotten dead beneath it, forming connections with the deceased who rise to the surface halfway around the world in a Kolkata graveyard, and in his own Appalachian family. Shriek and shimmy as Stanley worships the dead in song. Be amazed as a live seance yields messages for audience members. Psychism? Telepathy? Subconscious ideomotor impulses? Watch, decide, leave smiling, healed and redeemed.  Paranormal activity guaranteed.

BONEYARDS. There's a little taphophile in all of us.

A Unique Location

Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe and beyond crowded South Philadelphia in the 1880s.  They pushed south from the original "Jewish Quarter" near South Street, opening Jewish schools, hospitals and some 140 synagogues along the way. In 1909 Orthodox members of Shivtei Yeshuron-Ezras Israel became tenants in a former storefront on the corner of South 4th and  Emily Streets (2015 S. 4th Street just two short blocks north of Snyder Avenue). In 1914 they bought the building and members of the congregation completed most of the renovations themselves.  Today it is virtually unchanged.  Similar to New York City's Lower East Side Tenement Museum, the synagogue is a living memorial to turn-of-the-century immigrant life in Philadelphia.  An active core group of congregants continues to hold monthly services in the synagogue, fondly nicknamed "the little shul," and hopes to keep it alive as a religious, historical, artistic and cultural center in the neighborhood.   BONEYARDS was the first ever Fringe show to take place here, and we are thrilled to still be calling it our home.  More at  Doors open 45 minutes early to allow the audience time to wander the 3 floors of this 119-year-old storefront synagogue before descending to the cellar.

About Writer-Performer Jeffrey Stanley
Jeffrey Stanley's play Tesla's Letters (Samuel French, 2000) premiered to rave reviews Off Broadway in 1999 and went on to the Edinburgh Fringe and most recently a Chicago premiere. He has been a religion blogger for the Washington Post and is a film and theatre faculty at both New York University Tisch School of the Arts and at Drexel University. Other plays include the 2003 Medicine,Man commissioned by the Mill Mountain Theatre in Virginia and most recently produced at Theatre Three Dallas, and Beautiful Zion: A Book of the Dead which premiered in the 2011 Philly Fringe. In the 2012 Philly Fringe he produced Bidisha Dasgupta's hit classical Indian and Modern dance show Einstein/Tagore: Seashore of Endless Worlds. He was a 2011-12 artist-in-residence at Plays & Players Theatre. Stanley is a past president of the board of directors of the New York Neo-Futurists experimental theatre ensemble. He has been a resident of prestigious artists' colony Yaddo, a Copeland Fellow at Amherst College, and a guest lecturer at the Imaginary Academy summer theatre and film workshop in Croatia sponsored by the Soros Foundation. He has appeared as a guest writer in  The New York Times, New York Press and Time Out New York, and he was an editorial advisor to Boston University's Center for Millennial Studies' book on apocalypse movements The End That Does (Equinox Books, 2006). Stanley holds an MFA in Dramatic Writing and a BFA in Film & Television from NYU Tisch School of the Arts.

About Performer Michael Wiener
Special guest Michael Wiener is a New York-based film and theater actor, performer and writer. Films as an actor have won awards and press acclaim at Sundance, Tribeca, Comic Con and internationally. Commercials include a celebrated drug awareness campaign directed by Darren Aronofsky. Michael has guest starred on the Onion News Channel, IFC. His many projects with Liz Magic Laser have been seen at the Kitchen, Plays & Players Theatre for Philadelphia FringeArts, CNN, MoMA PS1, Times Square via Times Square Alliance/Franklin Furnace and as the Opening Night Film at the Armory Show. Michael is a member of St. Fortune Collective, which presented a revival of Tom Murrin's musical Cockstrong at La MaMa; Wood Music, a site specific theater commission with director Elena Araoz at the Great Plains Theater Conference; and soon, Whiskey Jack at the NYC Fringe. This summer Michael will appear in a workshop of Sibyl Kempson's adaptation of Ibsen's Wild Duck directed by Sarah Benson at NYTW. Wiener's music project The Children... is part rock opera, part environmental soundscape, a collaboration with Jim Coleman of Cop Shoot Cop and Phil Puleo of Swans.  The trio composed music for director Beth B.'s burlesque documentary Exposed now in national release, and have appeared at the Ohio Theater, St. Mark's Church, WFMU, and in fashion boutiques and rock clubs. Recently, Michael published an autobiographical essay in Jews, A Peoples' History of New York. He also curates a performance series at the Gershwin Hotel, Dixon Place, Red Room at KGB and other spaces.