Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It's 2009!


Happy New Year!

The whole point of the Good News Initiative here on the nytheatre i is to celebrate what's best about the New York theatre community in 2009.

I hope you'll permit me, on this first day of the year, to mention some of what's coming up here at nytheatre.com and The New York Theatre Experience, Inc., that we hope will contribute some positive energy to the NYC theatre community:

Starting in just a few weeks, we're going to launch our new anthology, Plays and Playwrights 2009, with a series of public events--live and online--that will help theatre-goers get acquainted with the 11 amazing writers whose work is included within it. Look for a series of cyberinterviews (moderated by our colleague nytheatre mike 2.0) on our NYTE Small Press site...podcasts featuring each of thus year's playwrights...and some really fun theatre events that will celebrate the publication of the book. Details are coming soon!

You'll also be hearing about two brand new ventures from NYTE in the next few months. The Indie Theater Companion is a wiki about indie theater, being created from the ground-up by the very folks who make indie theater. And we hope that the pilot episode of our TV series, Indie Theater Now!, will be taped within the next couple of months. Don't worry--we'll keep you posted about both of these exciting endeavors!

Our weekly email newsletter is getting a new look for 2009. And for later this year, we've got a bunch of new features and enhancements planned for nytheatre.com...plus version 2.0 of mobile.nytheatre.com!

Your comments and feedback are essential to ensuring that the projects we embark on in 2009 are the ones that add the most value to each of your personal New York theatre experiences! So please post your thoughts in the comments section on this blog...or send me an email.

Here's to a safe, peaceful, and very happy 2009!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Talkback with Indie Playwrights Saviana Stanescu & Jack Hanley

No. 11 Productions continues its series of free staged readings of plays from the Plays and Playwrights anthology series with a double-bill of short pieces from the 2006 edition. The two plays are Aurolac Blues by Saviana Stanescu and Self at Hand by Jack Hanley. The event takes place on Monday, January 5 at 7:30pm at Manhattan Repertory Theatre.

Following the performance, yours truly will moderate a talkback featuring both of these remarkable playwrights. I am excited to chat with them--they truly represent the cutting-edge of American drama, and I know they will have a lot of valuable insights to share with the audience.

This free event offers theatre enthusiasts several great benefits. First, it's a chance to check out a lovely intimate space that you may not have ever been to before (Manhattan Rep, right in the heart of Times Square, is still one of NYC theatre's best kept secrets!). Second, it's a chance to see an ambitious and talented young company essay a couple of unusual plays. And third, it's a chance to meet Saviana and Jack and engage with them about their work. Saviana's most recent play, Aliens with Extraordinary Skills, opened the current season at Women's Project. Jack's next play will be at Dixon Place in a few months.

There's more info here: http://www.eavesdrop.net/

Monday, December 29, 2008

Talkback Series to Feature Playwright Neal Bell

Rabbit Hole Ensemble is presenting the world premiere of Neal Bell's Shadow of Himself, from January 8 - 31 at Access Theatre. This play, a modern adaptation of the legend of Gilgamesh, sounds fascinating. The good folks at Rabbit Hole have also announced a talkback series in conjunction with this production -- I quote from an email I received from them:

"Join us for the show on Friday, January 16th or Sunday the 18th, and stick around for a FREE talk and Q&A about the play and its themes with some fascinating speakers! First up is OBIE Award-winning playwright of Shadow of Himself, Neal Bell, on January 16th! Also appearing, on the 18th is psychologist Dr. Christopher Bayer. Dr. Bayer will be discussing issues of fear, highlightng themes in the play including fear of loss, fear of failure, and fear of death. NYU Professor Marion Wrenn will also be joining us, on a date to be announced, and will be discussing themes of masculinity. We couldn't be more pleased to host Neal, Dr. Bayer, and Prof. Wrenn, for what we are sure will be enlightening evenings."

Here's a link to more info: http://www.rabbitholeensemble.com/

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Culturemart Coming to HERE Arts Center

(In photo: Erin Orr & Rima Fond in a scene from Don Cristobal, Billy-Club Man; photo by Chris Green, courtesy of HERE Arts Center)

HERE Arts Center is presenting their annual Culturemart festival from January 7 - February 4. This event provides theatergoers with a rare opportunity to see works-in-development by some of indie theater's most inventive artists. Among the folks presenting work this year at Culturemart are: Corey Dargel; Geoff Sobelle, Trey Lyford & Steve Cuiffo; David Michael Friend; Sheila Callaghan & Daniella Topol; and HERE artistic director Kristin Marting.

In addition to the diverse and interesting work that will be on view during this month, Culturemart also provides you with an opportunity to see the newly renovated HERE facility, which re-opened last summer following extensive construction work (HERE purchased their space a couple of years ago, and has now set it up quite beautifully). If you haven't seen the new HERE, you should check it out!

Information about Culturemart, including video and audio previews, are here: http://www.here.org/.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Australian Aboriginal Theatre Initiative Benefit

Coming to La MaMa on January 8th is a play from Australia called Yanagai! Yanagai! It's a co-production with the Australian Aboriginal Theatre Initiative (AATI), which is a New York-based organization founded in 2003 by Karen Oughtred to present new plays to an American audience by established and emerging indigenous playwrights.

The opening night performance of Yanagai! Yanagai! is a benefit for AATI. Tickets are $50 and will include the show and an after-show reception at Eight Mile Creek Restaurant. For benefit ticket purchase information go to: www.aboriginaltheatre.com/index.php/support/benefit.php.

Friday, December 26, 2008

52nd Street Project Helps Kids, Breaks Ground for New Theatre



Do you know about The 52nd Street Project? Founded by William Reale, this organization matches professional theatre artists with inner-city kids in NYC to create original plays specifically for these kids. Coming up from January 30 - February 1 at the TBG Theater will be Don't Be Late, the culmination of The Project's Two-on-Two series, in which each of six duos of kids (ages 13-15) is paired with two professionals: one who writes a play for them, and another who directs.

Some great indie theater artists are involved with Don't Be Late, including Winter Miller, Graeme Gillis, Michael Lew, and Sharyn Rothstein (all members of EST's Youngblood playwriting group) and directors Dave Dalton and Carlos Armesto, among others.

Now here's the really good news: The 52nd Street Project just broke ground on the site for their new theater, located on the west side of Tenth Avenue between 52nd & 53rd Streets, in the Archstone-Clinton development. The facility's opening is slated for summer 2009.

Learn more here: http://www.52project.org/

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Sketch Comedy on Your Cellphone


Boldly going where no (or at least not many) sketch comedy troupes have gone before, the New York-based duo Nathan Phillips and Joe Schiappa are presenting a new show via cellphone and Twitter. Starting January 1, 2009, Nathan & Joe will begin the world’s first comedy show performed via text message. A series of sketches, short films, and comedy jokes will appear on the cellphones of subscribers as Twitter messages. It’s free (though you must pay for your text messages).

Learn more about it at: http://nathanandjoe.com/?p=1.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Introducing THE GOOD NEWS INITIATIVE

Today, THE NYTHEATRE I heads off into a new direction.

One of my new year's resolutions for 2009 is to reinvent this blog as a nexus (fancy word) or playground (fun word) for all the positive, uplifting, unheralded great stuff that's happening in the world of indie theater.

So today -- Christmas Eve 2008 -- I am happy to announce The New York Theatre Experience, Inc.'s Good News Initiative, which will live for the next 365 days (at least) right here on the nytheatre i.

What you'll see here is a new posting every day that reminds us of the amazing contributions indie theater companies and artists are making to our town -- culturally, politically, socially, artistically, educationally, and above all passionately.

I know there are lots of problems and issues happening right now to be concerned about: disappearing venues, diminishing arts funding, audiences hit in the pocketbook by the difficult economic climate, and so on. I'm no ostrich: my head is not in the sand! But I am a natural optimist, and I want to use my energy to keep everybody focused on the good stuff that's going on.

Good news doesn't usually make the front page the way that bad news does. But it will always be front and center on the nytheatre i throughout our Good News Initiative.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

1776!

Hello, nytheatre i fans! Sorry I have been MIA for a while. Many busy doings at nytheatre.com HQ. I will have news for you about this blog (and other stuff) soon.

But for now...

I want to commend to you a new website that I have just become aware of that I am very impressed with:

www.1776themusical.us

It is, as its title suggests, a site devoted to the 1969 musical 1776. The site is curated by Keith Edwards, who is the son of Sherman Edwards, the composer/lyricist and driving force of the show. I really like what Keith has done with this website: he's provided a living, in-depth archive about the show that's appropriate for scholars, students, theatre artists who are interested in performing the show, and general audience members. Take a look!