. It’s not well known that Coney Island USA’s founder and artistic director Dick Zigun (the man and the organization behind the Mermaid Parade, the Coney Island Circus Sideshow, the Coney Island Museum etc) got his training at Yale School of Drama. Almost nobody knows this but at heart Zigun is a playwright, and has been since the beginning (almost 40 years). His writing has always had strong currents of borrowings from American pop and folk culture, popular theatre, vaudeville, burlesque, sideshow and so forth. It was natural for him to begin producing in the depressed neighborhood of Coney Island back in the 80s, and all of his popular, much more famous programming grew out of that early work. But he never stopped writing and producing his plays through CIUSA’s theatrical producing arm, Funhouse Philosophers. He’s about to open his latest show, which incorporates true facts about Al Capone and the voice of Jimmy Durante (and live hot jazz) to talk about Coney’s criminal past. Performances begin this week! For more info go here.