Saturday, February 28, 2009

Actors Fund Performances of "Shrek" and "The Third Story"

The Actors Fund is presenting special benefit performances in March of two current shows:
  • The Third Story by Charles Busch, starring Kathleen Turner and Charles Busch, on Sunday March 8, 2009, at 7 pm
  • Shrek: The Musical starring Sutton Foster and Brian D’Arcy James on Sunday, March 15, 8 pm
Each year, companies on and off-Broadway generously donate their time and talent by adding an extra performance to their already rigorous schedules to benefit The Actors Fund. To purchase tickets call 212.221.7300 ext. 133 or email

The Actors Fund is a national human services organization that helps all professionals in performing arts and entertainment. The Fund, which helps actors and performers and everyone behind the scenes who works in theatre, film, TV, music, dance, radio and opera, is a safety net, providing social services and emergency assistance, health services, employment and training programs and housing support for those who are in need, crisis or transition. Learn more about The Actors Fund at

Friday, February 27, 2009

Actorscomfort -- A Resource for NYC Actors

We were happy to learn, by way of a Back Stage article, about the website Actorscomfort, founded by Steven Leon as a resource for actors in New York City. In the article, Steven kindly said this about us:, created by theatre connoisseur Martin Denton, provides reviews, blogs, and news about this bustling, low-cost alternative to Broadway and Off-Broadway.

Thanks, Steven! I surfed around his website and there does seem to be a variety of interesting and useful material there--take a look!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Public Theater: A Couple of Bits of Good News

From our friends at The Public Theater:

First--announcement of some free talkbacks/discussions in conjunction with their current show Tales of an Urban Indian:
  • Tuesday, March 3: The post-show discussion will focus on “Native Theater in New York City Today.” Panelists for this introduction to New York’s local Native theater scene, moderated by The Public Theater’s Literary Associate Liz Frankel, include Steve Elm of Amerinda, The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian’s Heye Center director John Haworth, Spiderwoman Theater’s Muriel Miguel, and Mixed Phoenix Theatre Group’s Danielle Soames.
  • Tuesday, March 10: Cherokee director Betsy Theobald Richards will join with artists from the formative years of the Native Theater movement to discuss “The Rise of Native Theater in New York City in the 1960s and 70s.” Panelists will include writer and advocate Suzan Shown Harjo, actor and producer Soni Moreno, and Spiderwoman Theater’s Muriel Miguel.

And second--an exciting announcement about the summer Shakespeare Lab at the Public:

The Public Theater announced today that The Shakespeare Lab, the theater’s professional actor development program, will be tuition-free in 2009. The decision to make the program free this year builds on The Public’s long tradition of free Shakespeare in the Park and the theater’s ongoing commitment to building a community of classically trained artists. Shakespeare Lab 2009 will run from June 15-July 24.

Under the direction of Barry Edelstein, The Shakespeare Lab immerses a carefully-selected company of professional, mid-career actors in a six-week intensive exploring the rigors, challenges, and joys of performing Shakespeare. The Shakespeare Lab is a unique opportunity for working American actors in mid-career to hone their craft and expand their classical skills. It aims to build a strong and diverse collective of classically trained actors which will expand The Public Theater’s community of artists.

“This is a major step for The Shakespeare Lab, and stems from the ongoing democratic nature of the Public Theater,” said Public Theater Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. “We need to make the best training available to the most diverse group of artists, regardless of their ability to pay. I am proud that in this tough economic climate we are able to make this move.”

The Lab’s workshops in Shakespearean performance are led by some of the most respected figures in American classical theater training, including Christopher Bayes, Lisa Benevides, Barry Edelstein, Robert Perillo, J. Steven White, Grace Zandarski, Janet Zarish and others. Guest artists, including eminent members of The Public Theater community and other leading Shakespeareans, will frequently visit the Shakespeare Lab.

Shakespeare Lab 2009 will run from June 15 to July 24. Membership in the Shakespeare Lab Company is by audition only. Requirements and other information can be found at

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

NY Youth at Risk Sponsors Singspiration at Brooklyn Opera

This is from our friends at Brooklyn Repertory Opera Company:

Beginning on February 28, 2009, Brooklyn Repertory Opera will introduce a new lecture/performance series for children called Singspiration. The first three-unit module is designed for boys from 12-16 years of age. Conceived by bass Ilberto Lagana, Singspiration will introduce children to opera and classical music through interactive instruction and will conclude with a performance at the end of the series. The classes are being taught Mr. Lagana and his teacher, Metropolitan Opera star Peter Volpe. The first class begins on February 28, from 1:00 - 3:00 PM, the second class is on March 21 from 12:00 - 2:00 PM and the final class is on April 4 from 2:00 - 4:00 PM.

Singspiration is being sponsored by NY Youth at Risk ( NY Youth at Risk is a not-for-profit, volunteer-driven organization committed to transforming the lives of young people through persistent and compassionate mentoring. Their mission is to decrease the at-risk behavior of youth and to enhance the effectiveness of the people who live and work with them. Youth At Risk currently provides both prevention and intervention services.

American bass Peter Volpe continually receives critical and popular acclaim on four continents. Possessing a vast and ever-expanding repertoire of over 80 roles in 6 languages, he commands an impressive expanse of style and interpretive skill. Mr. Volpe made his notable Metropolitan Opera debut in their new production of Prokofiev's War and Peace, and subsequently returned for new productions of Berlioz's Les Troyen, Strauss's Salome, Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov, as well as Falstaff, Gianni Schicchi, Carmen, Aida, I Vespri Siciliani, Cyrano di Bergerac, and Andrea Chenier.

The mission of Brooklyn Repertory Opera, is to give back to the community by nourishing the soul of music lovers everywhere, by offering top quality performances that are accessible to everyone, regardless of income level, without language barriers. They provide aspiring performing artists a forum for their talents, while providing cultural enrichment to all in the community.

The Singspiration series is $25, or $10 for each individual class. Brooklyn Lyceum is located at 227 4th Ave, Brooklyn, New York (located on the corner of President and 4th Avenue). It is accessible to the R Subway at the Union Street stop. For reservations or more information, call (866) 469-2687 or visit

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Plays and Playwrights 2009 Book Launch at Axis Theater

Today's Good News is a reminder about our first public event celebrating the publication of Plays and Playwrights 2009. It's one of our signature Book Launch Events--a combination of a book party and a performance event. It's going to be an amazing evening! It's at Axis Theatre in Greenwich Village on Monday, March 2. And it's completely FREE.

Doors will open at 7:30pm for a pre-show reception. The folks at Axis are providing wine and NYTE is bringing lots of hors d'oeuvres and finger food. Partake in the theatre lobby or in the theatre itself...and schmooze with playwrights featured in Plays and Playwrights 2009 along with many alumni from our previous volumes whom we are also expecting!

At 8:00pm we will begin the presentation. I will be the host, and joining me to perform short excerpts from four of the plays in our book will be:
  • Chris Harcum (from his own solo play American Badass, or 12 Characters in Search of a National Identity)
  • Arthur Aulisi (with other cast members from Linus & Alora by Andrew Irons)
  • Ernesto De Villa Bejjani and Hugh Sinclair from Carlos Lacamara's Nowhere on the Border
  • Michael Laurence (from his own solo play Krapp, 39)

After the show, we'll continue the reception, and we'll also have a book signing. Buy your copy of Plays and Playwrights 2009 and have the authors personalize it! (The books are $19.)

Free refreshments, great entertainment, stimulating company...what more can you ask for on a March evening? I hope many of you will join us.

There's more information about this event here:

And if you haven't checked out the current show at Axis Theater, Edgar Oliver's remarkable one-man play East 10th Street, you should! Info is here and my review is here.

Monday, February 23, 2009

NYTE's Annual Report for 2008 Now Available

We've just released The New York Theatre Experience, Inc.'s Annual Report for 2008. I hope you'll check it out: it contains a great deal of information about who we are and what we do here at NYTE--lots of facts and figures along with some narrative about our mission, accomplishments during the past 12 months, and the ways we work with the theatre community in NYC.

Download it here.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Monday Night Poetry Reading Series at KGB Bar

Here's info about a free weekly event from contributor Megin Jimenez:
The legendary KGB Bar Monday Night Poetry Reading Series kicks off its Spring 2009 season on February 23rd at 7:30 PM with readings by Jill Alexander Essbaum, author of the surprising new book of poems Necropolis, and Robert Polito who will read from his much anticipated new book Hollywood and God. Other poets scheduled to read in the weekly series include former Poet Laureate, Billy Collins; editor of the prestigious Wave Books, Joshua Beckman; Whiting Award Winner Linda Gregg; as well as highly acclaimed poets J.D. McClatchy, Ron Padgett, Jean Valentine, and C.K. Williams.

The series is curated and hosted by poets Laura Cronk, Megin Jimenez and Michael Quattrone.

KGB Monday Night Poetry Reading Series Spring 2009
Monday nights at 7:30pm; Admission is FREE
  • February 23 Jill Alexander Essbaum & Robert Polito
  • March 2 Jason Schneiderman & Elaine Equi
  • March 9 Wendy Mnookin & J.D. McClatchy
  • March 16 Larry Felson & Linda Gregg
  • March 23 Elena Karina Byrne & Joshua Beckman
  • March 30 Sally Ashton & Nin Andrews
  • April 6 Farrah Field & Philip Fried
  • April 13 Monica Ferrell & Jean Valentine
  • April 20 Laura Sims & Matthew Rohrer
  • April 27 George Green & Billy Collins
  • May 4 Bill Zavatsky & Ron Padgett
  • May 11 Florence Cassen Mayers & C.K. Williams
  • May 18 Justin Marks & Jeffrey Yang
  • May 19 @ Bryant Park: Jennifer Michael Hecht, Paul Violi & David Lehman

KGB Bar, 85 East 4th Street, New York, NY 10003
Phone: 212-505-3360

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Wreckio Ensemble Goes Green!

Wreckio Ensemble, who are presenting their newest piece Rooftops in March at the Milagro Theatre at CSV Cultural Center, are working hard to make their company "80% green"! Here are some of the things they're doing, according to their publicist Katie Rosin:

  1. They have partnered with American Forests: Members of the audience can donate $1 to American Forests and the organization will plant a tree on their behalf. This offsets the audience member's carbon footprint for viewing the show.
  2. They are printing 1/4 of the postcards they normally do, on recycled paper.
  3. There will be no program. A lobby installation piece will feature materials from the show to represent that person's work. For example a swatch of fabric from costume or wood from set with designer's name.
  4. They are attempting to build the set entirely out of reused items, such as from Materials for the Arts or donated.
  5. Flower Girl, the shop right down the street, is donating flowers for the show--ones that would be wasted otherwise.
  6. WRECKIO is working to get used stuff donated any way possible, such as posting on Facebook for used baby dolls.
  7. Their focus is on online marketing as opposed to print.
  8. They are attempting to get LED lighting to supplement the lighting provided by the space.
  9. The lighting designer touched base with a band, who traveled around Mexico powering their amps with bikes, to see if they can use on of these special bikes to power the lights or a TV prop.
  10. Whole Foods gave them a grant to help them purchase the organic food which is needed as props.

Huzzahs to these environmentally-minded folks! I'd love to post other stories about companies going "green" -- send them to me for the Good News Theatre Blog on the nytheatre i!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Stolen Chair Explores a New Funding Model

Check out this very interesting cyberinterview with Jon Stancato, artistic director of Stolen Chair Theatre Company:

In it, Jon talks in detail about a new funding initiative his company is working on, based on the model of Community Supported Agriculture.

Learn more about this innovative young theatre company here:

Thursday, February 19, 2009

SketchfestNYC 2009 Accepting Applications

This is from Alexander Zalben, longtime friend to

SketchFest NYC is pleased to announce that applications for New York City’s fifth annual international sketch comedy festival are now available online at The Festival will run June 11-13, 2009; at The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre; 307 West 26th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

The line-up of performances celebrating the Festival’s fifth anniversary will be announced in the upcoming months.

The last four years of the Festival have been a huge success, featuring over seventy-five different sketch comedy groups from across North America, sold-out shows, standing ovations, and industry attendance from ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, HBO, MTV, VH1, Fuse, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, TV Land/Nick at Nite, Discovery Channel, Just For Laughs, Miramax, Tribeca Films, William Morris, ICM and many more.

Since 1999, SketchFests have been popping up all over the country. Along with the original festival in Seattle, annual SketchFests are held in Chicago, San Francisco, Portland, Los Angeles, Montreal, Vancouver, and Toronto.

As with other SketchFests, SketchFest NYC is dedicated to promoting the art of sketch comedy. Sketch comedy, which is different from improv and stand-up, consists of short written scenes, rehearsed beforehand, usually presented by a group of people that can range in size from one to twenty. In recent years, the definition has expanded to include the explosion of comedy groups creating short films, and distributing them online. SketchFest NYC is once again proud to welcome applications from video-only sketch comedy groups.

The early application deadline is March 15th. The deadline for late applications is March 27th. For the second year in a row, we will also be holding Live Applications, February 21st, 2009 to allow younger groups without a demo tape based in New York the opportunity to audition for the Festival. Applications and info are available online at

Sponsorship Opportunities are also now available for the 2009 Festival. If interested, please contact us at, with “Sponsor” in the subject line. Past sponsors include: Lifetime, American Airlines, 23/6, Crackle, The Sound of Young America, The Onion, Very Short List, Red Bull, New York Press, Animal Planet, and many more.

SketchFest NYC is produced by Alexander Zalben, with Shayna Ferm, Kimmy Gatewood, Alex Goldberg, Jason Kalter, Chris O’Connor, Jon Pack, Nate Sloan, and Marni Zalben. For more information, please visit the festival website at

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Resources for FRIGID Festival Fans

We've just finished two big projects here at that will help audiences navigate this year's FRIGID New York Festival.

In case you're not familiar with it, FRIGID is a winter theatre festival produced here in NYC by Horse Trade Theatre Group and the Exit Theater. There are 30 different productions playing at the three Horse Trade venues in the East Village (The Red Room, Under St. Marks, and the Kraine Theatre). The festival runs from February 25 - March 8.

We have just made available online a podcast preview of the festival. This episode of our nytheatrecast series is hosted by the inimitable Trav S.D. and features artists from half a dozen of the shows in the festival. You'll hear:
  • A short scene from Are We Freaks?
  • A tantalizing excerpt from Y, marilyn unstitched
  • The first five minutes of The Surprise
  • Snippets from habeas corpus
  • A lively interview with "Killy" Dwyer of Hysteri-Killy!
  • Behind-the-scenes info about The Expatriates

Check it out! There's an episode guide here and you can download the episode here. Subscribe to nytheatrecast on iTunes here.

You may also want to take a look at our exclusive FRIGID Festival Previews. These are short cyberinterviews with artists from productions in the festival that give readers a terrific idea of what each of the shows will be like. We've gotten responses from 26 of the 30 shows in this year's festival, so it's pretty comprehensive. The gateway to FRIGID Previews is here.

Once the festival starts up, we'll be planning to review all 3o shows, providing you with yet another resource to learn about what's hot in this year's FRIGID festival.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

B.B. King Offers Discounts to Folks Feeling the Economy's Punch

I'm just going to give this Good News to you, straight from the horse's mouth (so to speak):
Can’t count on a stimulus package? Going to be awhile before you get your tax return back? Present proof of unemployment (a copy of your latest unemployment check, government issued card, pink slip, job referral letter, etc) along with a picture ID to our box office and we'll take 50% off the price of tickets to evening shows* at B.B. King Blues Club for the month of February and March!

Even though you've lost your job, you can still see:
· ... soul and Broadway superstar ANGIE STONE on February 17 for only $15!
· ... bluegrass legend RALPH STANLEY on February 18 for only $15!
· … timeless funk master GEORGE CLINTON on February 26 for only $21!
· … classic rock balladeer CHRISTOPHER CROSS on March 4 for only $18!
· … celebrity comedienne PAULA POUNDSTONE on March 6 for only $19!
· … hip hop superstars PUBLIC ENEMY on March 15 for only $15!
· … seventies R&B groovers AVERAGE WHITE BAND on March 19 for only $14!
· … jazz upstarts VICTOR WOOTEN and JD BLAIR on March 25 for only $15!
· … the original lineup for BONE THUGS-N-HARMONY on March 31 for only $18!
· … and many more!

And because times are tough all over, we’re offering discount tickets to one and all for select shows in February and March. Visit to get half off tickets for:
· DR. K’S 50 YEAR MOTOWN REVUE on February 23
· BUCKWHEAT ZYDECO on February 28
· Superharp Blues Legend JAMES COTTON on March 26·
. Tributes to RADIOHEAD on March 6, SLY STONE on March 16 and ELTON JOHN on March 29
· And many more!

Sometimes you've got to sing the blues, but you shouldn't have to break the bank to do it.

*Promotion excludes Saturday and Sunday weekly brunch shows and Valentine's Day; maximum of two tickets per person; fifty half-price tickets available per performance; offer only valid in person at our box office, open 11am to 1am seven days a week.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Foundry Theatre Presents Public Forum on NYC Public Schools

The Foundry Theatre (who just opened a show called Telephone at the Cherry Lane) are partnering with The Center for Place, Culture, and Politics and The Nation Institute to present a series of free public discussions about various topics of importance to the NYC community. The purpose of this series is "to nurture deeper engagement between the arts and social justice sectors to imagine and work toward a more just city (and world)." That's just to kind of extracurricular activity that we want folks to know about here on the Good News Theatre Blog.

Coming next for The Foundry and its partners is a discussion about NYC Public Schools. Here's the scoop, from their press release:
What is the future of our public schools -- the last remaining universal public good in the United States? As cities like New York increasingly operate as hubs for international finance and global media conglomerates, how are our children serving as their new and emerging markets?

Guests at this dialogue will include speakers from the Center for Immigrant Families (CIF), Daphne Farganis of the Hip Hop Theater Festival, journalist Deepa Fernandes, Edwin Mayorga from the New York Collective of Radical Educators (NYCoRE), and artists Nilaja Sun (No Child) and Una Aya Osato (Recess).

Saturday, February 21, 4-6PM
St. Mark's Church, Parish Hall, 131 E. 10th St. (@ 2nd Ave)
Spanish-English Interpretation and childcare provided
RSVPs are required

Learn more about this project here:

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Indie Theater = Community

Here's a brief, inspiring Good News post from our friend Addie Johnson of Rising Phoenix Rep:

Just got off the phone with Daniel Talbott & Denis Butkus and we kind of thought it was worth sending to ya just in case, and even if not that it was sort of just a cool thing to share. Daniel and Denis went to Manhattan Theatre Source this morning to help set up rehearsal for a Rattlestick reading of a new Christine Evans play and when they got there they were feverishly loading in for Mac Rogers's play Universal Robots. Everyone was there pitching in -- Mac and the actors were there helping build their own set, the head producer Lanie [Zipoy] was mopping the floor and D was just thinking how much he loves going over there cause it always seems like such an amazing reflection of what indie theatre is all about and kind of what the roots of theatre have been forever -- everyone all coming together to make it happen and taking on any job or aspect of it that helps and makes it happen in this really really wonderful way. I don't know if that makes sense at all but it just seems like a quintessentially indie theatre thang and so much a part of what we're all trying to do, and something you wouldn't really see in many (or really any) commercial productions or at bigger non-profits.

I concur.

Check out Universal Robots, which is a play I liked so much that I published it Plays and Playwrights 2008; and check out Rising Phoenix's new show Nobody; and check out Denis Butkus in Othello at Theatre for a New Audience.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Odyssey House Announces Theatre Project for Youths Struggling with Abuse and Illness

Odyssey House, founded in 1967, which has provided comprehensive and innovative services to those who abuse drugs, alcohol and struggle with mental illness, will collaborate with City Lights Youth Theatre on a series of workshops entitled the Odyssey House Theatre Project.

On March 16, 2009, 15 Odyssey House teenagers will begin a three-month acting and playwriting intensive, which will culminate on June 8th with the presentation of a collection of their original work at the Theatre Row Studio Theatre on 42nd Street.

Odyssey House President Peter Provet says the motivation behind the project, funded by a grant from the Elizabeth & Barets O. Benjamin Charitable Foundation, is: “to enhance the treatment experience of young men and women who are struggling with drug abuse and other behavioral problems through performance and creative writing, and to expose them to new ways of self expression with the support of professional acting teachers and directors.”

City Lights Youth Theatre, founded in 1991 by Myrna Greenberg, and led by Executive Director Melissa Fenton Herrod, provides drama immersion residencies for thousands of New York City students from diverse backgrounds. City Lights’ professional teaching artists create a supportive environment that encourages risk-taking and promotes the discovery of individual strengths.

Directing the artistic and instructional elements of the Odyssey House Theatre Project will be Tom Demenkoff, Education Director for City Lights. Tom says that he is thrilled about the valuable connections these students will make by meeting artists from The Public Theatre, Classical Theatre of Harlem and LaGuardia High School.

Training in partnership with professional interdisciplinary City Lights Teaching Artists, and a host of specially invited guest artists, the 15 students will work on-site at the Odyssey House Teen Leadership Center. Flexing the body, voice, mind and heart through improvisation, playwriting, music and art, the students will train as a professional ensemble through a disciplined progression of activities designed to create a working theatre company.

You can learn more about this exciting new partnership at the official website.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Andrea McArdle Will Teach a Workshop for Kids at A Class Act NY

This announcement comes to us from the folks at A Class Act NY Acting Studio, whose mission is: "to enrich children’s lives through the magic of the performing arts in a fun, safe and supportive environment." They're welcoming Andrea McArdle (Broadway's original "Annie") for a special workshop. Here's the info:
What little girl growing up in the 1980’s didn’t want to be little orphan Annie in the show that took Broadway by storm? At just fourteen years old, the mega-hit propelled Andrea McArdle to stardom. She was the youngest child to be nominated for a Tony Award® in Broadway history. The show still captures little girls’ hearts all over the world in school and regional productions.

Annie debuted on Broadway thirty-two years ago but Andrea’s voice is what you hear on the original cast recording. Girls work tirelessly in their bedrooms trying to fashion their voices to sound just like hers. But there is only one original, only one Andrea McArdle and she will be teaching a special One Day Weekend Workshop on Saturday, March 7th at A Class Act NY, New York’s award-winning acting studio for kids and teens.

The lucky students will work with Andrea on material from Annie, including songs, scenes and a dance combination. To top it off, there will be a Q & A session in which kids and parents can pick Andrea’s brain about what it was like to be a child star in one of Broadway’s most celebrated shows!

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to work with a Broadway legend! Your kids will leave this workshop with special memories they will cherish forever!

Indie playwright/friend to and the indie community Crystal Skillman is planning to sit in on this workshop and will write something for us about the experience. We can't wait! (One of Crystal's upcoming projects is a musical about a little boy who wants to play Annie -- so you can see she has a special link to this material.)

Learn more about A Class Act NY (and find info about this workshop) at:

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Fourth Arts Block Hosts Meet and Greet

Fourth Arts Block is playing a more and more active role in supporting indie theater in the East Village. I got this invite from Lauren Parrish, their Special Projects Coordinator, and pass it on to interested individuals:

Please join Fourth Arts Block and the Third Street Music School Settlement for another meet and greet of the arts & non-profit professionals in the East Village*. We got together almost a month ago and there were great conversations, ideas, and drinks to be had, so let's do it again. We will be congregating at Jimmy's No. 43 on Monday, February 23, 2009 from 6:00PM to 7:30PM.

Let's review the details below and answer a few key questions...

WHO'S INVITED: Arts professionals who work in the East Village*, local professionals in any kind of non-profit, artists who also administer/produce arts activities, and interested friends. If you came last time, make sure to bring someone new!

WHAT: An informal get-together for local arts professionals to meet each other, share info and exchange ideas.

WHERE: Jimmy's No. 43, 43 East 7th Street (between 2nd and 3rd Aves.)Downstairs - you will find us at a large table near the back.

WHY: Well there are a lot of Why's to be asked. For example:1) Why the East Village? 2) Why just arts professionals? These answers are easy: 1) The East Village is home to many arts groups, but no centralized body that builds partnerships and visibility. 2) We all could get a lot out of knowing about and of each other, from partnerships to a great conversation.

COST: No entrance fee. Cash bar.

* If you are asking "Am I in the East Village?" there is an easy way to find out. If you are located, work, or primarily present arts events south of 14th Street, north of Houston, and east from Broadway to the river, then yes, you are in the East Village.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

New York Innovative Theatre Awards Honorary Awards Applications Now Online

The New York Theatre Experience, Inc. was the proud recipient of the 2008 Stewardship Award from the New York Innovative Awards Foundation. Seems like that great evening was only yesterday--yet here comes word that applications for the 2009 awards are now online! The deadline is May 1. Here's the scoop, from Katie Rosin's press release:
The New York Innovative Theatre Foundation, the organization dedicated to celebrating Off-Off-Broadway is pleased to announce that applications for the 2009 Honorary Awards are available online now and are due by 6pm on May 1, 2009. Now in their 5th year, the IT Awards have honored over 500 of the brightest and most influential artists from the Off-Off-Broadway community.

The Honorary Awards are:
* The Artistic Achievement Award, presented to an individual who has made a significant artistic contribution to the Off-Off-Broadway community;
* The Stewardship Award, presented to an individual or organization demonstrating a significant contribution to the Off-Off-Broadway community through service, support and leadership;
* The Caffe Cino Fellowship Award, presented to an Off-Off-Broadway theatre company that consistently produces outstanding work. This award also includes a grant ($1,000-$5,000) to be used toward an Off-Off-Broadway production.

The Honorary Awards Committee is comprised of people deeply grounded in the Off-Off-Broadway community. A complete list of committee members is available on the IT Awards website at:

Previous recipients include:
Artistic Achievement - Basil Twist
Stewardship Award - Ellen Stewart, LaMaMa, ETC.
Caffe Cino Fellowship – Inverse Theater Company

Artistic Achievement - Tom O’Horgan
Stewardship Award - The Field
Caffe Cino Fellowship - Vampire Cowboys

Artistic Achievement - Doric Wilson
Stewardship Award - Alliance of Resident Theatres/NY
Caffe Cino Fellowship - Rising Phoenix Repertory

Artistic Achievement - Judith Malina
Stewardship Award - Martin & Rochelle Denton, New York Theatre Experience
Caffe Cino Fellowship - Boomerang Theatre Company

“Receiving the Stewardship Award from NYITA was particularly meaningful to us because it signifies that our peers and colleagues in the indie theater community really value what The New York Theatre Experience has been doing for the past ten years” said 2008 recipient, Martin Denton. “It inspires us want to keep doing a better and better job in the future.”

The New York Innovative Theatre Foundation is a not-for-profit organization recognizing the great work of New York City's Off-Off-Broadway, honoring its artistic heritage, and providing a meeting ground for this extensive and richly varied community. The organization advocates for Off-Off-Broadway and recognizes the unique and essential role it plays in contributing to American and global culture. They believe that publicly recognizing excellence in Off-Off-Broadway will expand audience awareness and foster greater appreciation of the New York theatre xperience.

Sponsors: Kampfire Films PR, United Stages, Yeungling Beer, Tekserve

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Brick Theater Announces Rental, Co-Production Opportunities

Today's Good News comes from our friends at the Brick Theater in Williamsburg:

The Brick is now accepting applications for Co-Productions in 2009 and 2010! LIMITED SPACE! Apply now! Click here for more info.

In addition to Co-Productions, The Brick is now renting space during the day for rehearsals, film shoots and other events! $15-$20/hour for rehearsals and $50/hour for shoots and other events. To book, email us at

Monday, February 9, 2009

Kids Go Free (and Get a Free CD) this February at The Fantasticks

This special offer just arrived in my email box:
The Fantasticks invites kids to see the show for free at select weekend performances throughout February. Children age 16 and under will receive a free ticket and a free Fantasticks CD sampler with each paying adult for performances on Saturdays at 2 PM and Sundays at 3 PM and 7:15 PM. The Fantasticks plays at The Snapple Theater Center, 210 West 50th Street at Broadway.

To take advantage of the offer, call the box office at (212) 921-7862 or at (212) 307-4100 and use the code KIDS09. Tickets must be purchased by Monday, February 23.

Learn more about The Fantasticks here.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

ZOMBIE Announces Post-Show Discussions

Bill Connington's one-man play ZOMBIE, which is based on Joyce Carol Oates's novella of the same name, returns to NYC following a successful run at the New York International Fringe Festival last summer. In ZOMBIE, a Jeffrey Dahmer-esque serial killer by the name of “Quentin P__” describes the murder, torture and rape of his young male victims. A sexual psychopath, he aspires to create zombie slaves to meet his every need.

Bill will be hosting a variety of guest speakers for post-show discussions at certain performances. Here's the rundown:

February 21 - A special opening night post-show event with Joyce Carol Oates, Bill Connington and Thomas Caruso.

February 20 - Dr. Alan Newman, a forensic psychiatrist at Georgetown University Hospital and a highly regarded expert on serial killers.

February 27 - Dr. Michael Stone, a highly regarded forensic psychiatrist who hosts Most Evil, a television program about serial killers on The Discovery Channel. Dr. Stone specializes in infanticide, sadism, severe personality disorder and serial sexual killings. Stone teaches at Columbia University and is widely published.

March 6 - Dr. Jeremy Butler, a forensic psychiatrist at Columbia University, who also teaches at NYU on the interplay between media and mental illness.

March 14 - Dr. Jacqueline Basha, a psychiatrist at Columbia University, who trained as a resident at Harvard and Roosevelt Hospital. Dr. Basha has a life-long interest in serial killers.

March 22 - Dr. Abby Stein, a forensic psychologist and associate professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Dr. Stein is the author of Prologue to Violence, about the deeper origins of violent crime.

Get more information about ZOMBIE here.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

African American Theatre Artists Come Together for Panel

On Monday, February 23 at 7pm, six New York theater institutions will participate in a special panel discussion featuring five current and upcoming shows. Harlem Stage (150 Convent Avenue at West 135th Street) will host producing companies Classical Theatre of Harlem, Manhattan Theatre Club, Playwrights Horizons, The Public Theater, and Signature Theatre Company in an evening titled I’VE KNOWN RIVERS: A Conversation with Christina Anderson, Charles Fuller, Lynn Nottage & Liesl Tommy.

Moderated by actress Sabrina LeBeauf (Three Sisters, Classical Theatre of Harlem in partnership with Harlem Stage, February/March), the evening’s four panelists will be Christina Anderson (author, Inked Baby, Playwrights Horizons, March/April), Charles Fuller (author, Zooman and the Sign, Signature Theatre Company, March/April), Lynn Nottage (author, Ruined, Manhattan Theater Club, January-March) and Liesl Tommy (director, The Good Negro, The Public Theater, March/April).

The event title comes from a poem by Langston Hughes, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers.”

Admission to the event is FREE. Reservations are required and may be made by calling the Harlem Stage box office at (212) 281-9240 ext. 19/20 or via e-mail at (limit two per person). Harlem Stage Gatehouse is located at 150 Convent Avenue at West 135th Street. Subway directions: 1 to 137th Street at Broadway. Walk south to 135th Street and walk east two blocks to Convent Ave. and 135th Street. A, B, C, D to 125th Street at St. Nicholas Avenue. Walk east one block to Morningside Drive. and 125th Street. Walk north to 135th Street and Convent Ave (Morningside Drive. turns into Convent Ave. past 127th Street). Entrance to both the Gatehouse and Aaron Davis Hall are located on Convent Ave.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Battle of the Bards

The fourth annual "Battle of the Bards" -- a great and innovative fundraiser put on every year by Partial Comfort Productions -- takes place on February 20th at The Canal Room, 285 W. Broadway in TriBeCa. For as little as $15 you can see excellent indie theater companies like Naked Angels, Ma-Yi Theater Company, Ensemble Studio Theater’s Youngblood, Electric Pear Productions, The Fire Dept, Flux Theater Ensemble, and (of course) Partial Comfort duke it out in a one-act play competition. Info about this benefit event is here.

I asked co-artistic directors Molly Pearson and Chad Beckim to share some of their experiences with "Battle of the Bards" with our readers. Here's what they sent me:

The "Battle of the Bards" is one of Partial Comfort Productions' proudest accomplishments. This one-of-a-kind event first began in 2005 when we noticed a relative lack of camaraderie in the downtown theater scene; while many smaller companies knew one another, there was little cohesion, and few events that brought the community together. Thus kicked off the Battle.

For those unfamiliar with the event, it's one of the most entertaining nights in the NYC theater scene, pitting seven companies in a "Battle of the Bands" style theater contest, in a winner-take-all competition in front of a crowd of hundreds of devotees with a panel of celebrity judges. This year's judges range from Pulitzer Prize winning playwrights (David Auburn, Proof; Susan-Lori Parks, Top Dog/Underdog), Emmy & Golden Globe Winners (John Slattery, Mad Men), and some of the business's finest theatrical reviewers and casting directors.

Since its inception, the Battle has grown into a pretty rare and wonderful thing. Whether you're a mainstay theater aficionado or an occasional patron, this is undoubtedly an event that is not to be missed. This event is a celebration of YOU--of everyone who reads Martin blog--because we, all of us who believe in indie theater, deserve a big ol'party in our honor, and that is what the battle is. We go out of our way to keep the ticket prices affordable (a mere $15.00) and have free beer for the first hour, and giftbags for the first 100 people through the door. Come out and celebrate with the rest of the indie theater community ... it's the swanky, sexy, fun party that we all deserve.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

NYC Clown Anna Zastrow Brings Smiles to Kids in Cambodia and Thailand

Here is a great story that everybody needs to know about. Anna Zastrow, who is a NYC-based actor and clown (her credits range from Jean Cocteau Repertory's Romeo & Juliet to Breathe...or you can die!, her one-woman clown show in the 2006 FringeNYC festival), spent the last three months of 2008 in Thailand and Cambodia, where she taught clowning to disadvantaged children. "Through clown play," she writes, "the kids will have the opportunity to exercise their self-expression, spontaneity and imagination, building their self-esteem and sense of possibility & accomplishment."

Anna has documented this extraordinary, worthy project in her blog, and I wholeheartedly recommend that you read about her journey. The blog is filled with great photos and observations about these two Asian countries along with vivid descriptions of her work with the kids:

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Celebrating New Federal Theatre's Woodie King, Jr.

In honor of Black History Month, the Maysles Film Institute, located at 343 Malcolm X Blvd (Lenox Ave. /127 & 128th St.), is sponsoring a month-long salute to Woodie King, Jr., featuring films, readings, receptions, and a book party on February 19th. The Book event will kick off with readings from various plays and excerpts from the books Mr. King has had published. There will be books available to purchase and signed by Mr. King at the Reception following readings.

Woodie King, Jr. is the artistic director of New Federal Theatre, one of the longest-running and most invaluable indie theater institutions, especially because of their commitment to supporting work of people of color and other underserved groups.

Get more details about this celebration here.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

440 Studios Renovation is Complete

This good news comes to us from our friends at Playwrights Horizons:

Playwrights Horizons announces completion of a major renovation to 440 Studios, which is Lower Manhattan’s largest rehearsal space complex (located at 440 Lafayette Street). The $1.2 million project took 8 months for demolition and renovation.

440 Studios is the third and fourth floors of the Playwrights Horizons Theater School. When not in use by the School for classes, workshops, and productions, the rehearsal studios and theaters are rented out to hundreds of New York City cultural groups each year. The School and the studios are an integral part of Playwrights Horizons and perform a vital service for students, the theater community and the surrounding neighborhood. The renovation of the third floor was made possible, in large part, through generous capital funding from New York City and New York State.

Playwrights Horizons took occupancy of the third and fourth floor at 440 Lafayette Street in 1993; the previous tenant had made few changes to the third floor during their 20-year occupancy. The renovations to the third floor, which were overseen by the New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC), included soundproofing, replacing walls and flooring, widening the hallways and improving the floor layout, adding new storage space, creation of a lobby and box office for the theater space, lighting upgrades, electrical work, and installation of a new HVAC system. These improvements constitute a gut renovation and have vastly improved the facility.

The new space includes eight rehearsal studios and a 68-seat theater. (The fourth floor, which didn’t require renovation, features an additional nine rehearsal spaces.) Formerly the Linhart Theater, the theater has been renamed the Robert Moss Theater in honor of the founder of Playwrights Horizons. Bob Moss founded the award-winning theater company in 1971 and was Artistic Director from 1971 to 1980. He was the Director of the Playwrights Horizons Theater School from 1990 to 1996.

Renters at 440 Studios include: BAM, Blue Man Group, Classic Stage Company, Culture Project, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Flea Theatre, Fresh Fruit Festival, fringeNYC, Hartford Stage, HERE Arts Center, Howl Festival, Jean Cocteau Repertory, LAByrinth Theatre Company, Manhattan Theatre Club, Moises Kaufman/Tectonic Theater Project, Naked Angels, Noche Flamenca, New York Theatre Workshop, Pig Iron, Public Theater, Tribeca Arts Festival, Upright Citizens Brigade, and Vineyard Theatre.

More information about 440 Studios is available here.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Plays and Playwrights 2009 Book Launch Events

I'm excited to make the first official announcement of the free events we will be presenting to launch our newest book, Plays and Playwrights 2009!

These events will introduce you to the eleven plays and playwrights who are featured in this anthology. Each one includes performances of excerpts from some of the plays, almost always by members of the original casts. A book signing follows the performances. The March 2nd and April 5th events will feature a brief pre-performance "meet and greet" reception where you can chat with the playwrights and yours truly.

Here's the rundown, with all the details we know so far:

MONDAY, MARCH 2 at the Axis Theater (1 Sheridan Square in Greenwich Village)
We will be presenting scenes from four plays:
  • Krapp, 39, written and performed by Michael Laurence
  • American Badass, or 12 Characters in Search of a National Identity, written and performed by Chris Harcum
  • Nowhere on the Border, written by Carlos Lacamara; performed by members of Repertorio Espanol
  • Linus & Alora, written by Andrew Irons; performed by original cast member Arthur Aulisi

All of these four playwrights will be on hand--including Carlos, who is coming in from L.A. to be with us! Doors will open at 7:30pm, with performances to begin at 8:00pm.

THURSDAY, MARCH 12 at the Drama Book Shop (250 West 40th Street in the Theatre District)
We love to launch our books every year at Drama Book Shop (they've hosted events for us every year since the first book back in 2000!). We're back again this year with a very exciting program:

  • Tim Collins will perform a section from his solo play A Fire as Bright as Heaven
  • Lenora Champagne will introduce a performance from her play TRACES/fades
  • I will moderate a talkback with Tim and Lenora afterward

This event begins at 6:00pm. Stick around afterward for a book signing in the store. And be sure to take a look at the great selection of theatre books at Drama Book Shop while you're there!

SUNDAY, APRIL 5 at the Gloria Maddox Theatre at T. Schreiber Studio (151 West 26th Street in Chelsea)
We will be presenting scenes from four plays:

  • Sister Cities, written by Colette Freedman
  • SH/e, written by Nanna "Nick" Mwaluko
  • Death at Film Forum, written by Eric Bland
  • Krapp, 39, written and performed by Michael Laurence

I'll have more details on this event in a few weeks. Doors will open at 5:00pm.

All of our events are FREE! And they are always a great deal of fun. Please join us for one or more!

There's info about Plays and Playwrights 2009 here, and detailed info about these free events here.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Parker, Simpson, Edelstein, and Clancy Answer Your Questions on Upcoming Podcast

A while back I told you about our planned nytheatrecast episode in which a panel of directors will answer questions posed by readers/listeners/audience members. Well, I am now happy to announce who will comprise our panel--it's quite a distinguished group! We have:
  • John Clancy - 2006 Obie winner for sustained excellence in direction; co-founder of the New York International Fringe Festival
  • Barry Edelstein - Director of the Shakespeare Initiative at the Public Theater
  • Cat Parker - Producing Director, T. Schreiber Studio
  • Jim Simpson - 1999 Obie winner for direction; Artistic Director of the Flea

All four of our panelists have long and impressive lists of directing credits and years of experience working as directors in the theatre. So they will have enormous insight to offer as they respond to the queries posed by our audience.

We will record this podcast on Thursday, February 5th. So there is still time to send in your questions! Please email them to me. The completed episode will be available for download at or iTunes on February 11th.

And while we're on the subject of our nytheatrecast series... let me quickly mention some of the other programs we are planning for the month of February. We've just released a terrific episode featuring The Nonsense Company, a Madison, Wisconsin-based troupe who are visiting NYC this month with their double bill of Great Hymn of Thanksgiving and Conversation Storm. They perform a brief, electrifying excerpt from Conversation Storm in the podcast.

Coming up later this month will be an interview with Brian Rogers and Sheila Lewandowski of the Chocolate Factory Theatre in Long Island City; a discussion with director Jose Zayas and playwright Caridad Svich about their collaboration at Repertorio Espanol, a stage version of Isabel Allende's The House of the Spirits; the second installment of our series of talks with authors from Plays and Playwrights 2009, featuring Chris Harcum and Tim Collins; and a preview of this year's FRIGID Festival, hosted by Trav S.D. Stay tuned to to keep up to date; or subscribe to our podcast on iTunes so you don't miss a single episode!