Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sandra Nordgren is 13th Street Rep's New Producing Artistic Director

I am excited and happy to share this particular Good News: 13th Street Repertory Company, which is one of the oldest indie/off-off-Broadway theatre companies in New York, has named Sandra Nordgren as their new Producing Artistic Director. Sandra is a great and longtime friend and supporter of NYTE, and it's terrific to see her hard work at 13th Street Rep recognized with this new appointment.

Here's the formal announcement from the company:
Sandra Nordgren has been named Producing Artistic Director of 13th Street Repertory Company in New York City.

Over the past 12 years, Sandra has been TSRC’s Executive Producer for over 70 plays, more than 150 readings and nine development workshops.

Since 1996 Sandra has recruited and mentored hundreds of students from all over the world. In the past six years alone she trained and supervised over 300 interns (14 - 23 years old) in all aspects of theatre including acting, directing, stage management, lights, sound, script evaluation, playwriting, house management, publicity, arts administration and producing.

Her adaptation of A Christmas Carol has had many productions in NYC and throughout the U.S. as well as in France, Belgium, Switzerland and Puerto Rico. It has been translated into French and German and the French/English volume can be
purchased at Amazon.fr.

In an effort to bring forth works that explore the depths of the human spirit, Sandra founded the New Works of Merit Playwriting Contest in 2003, a contest that seeks socially conscious scripts from around the world. (Learn more about the contest on nytheatre buzz.)

Sandra is a member of the Dramatist Guild, the New York Coalition of Professional Women in the Arts & Media and the League of Professional Theatre Women.

Congratulations, Sandra! Learn more about 13th Street Rep here.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Barn-Raising for THE AMISH PROJECT

The Amish Project, a one-woman play written and performed by Jessica Dickey, had a very successful run last summer at the New York International Fringe Festival (here's our review), and just completed a developmental workshop at Cherry Lane Theatre. Dickey and her dedicated collaborators are hoping to bring the piece to a full-fledged off-Broadway run, but the economic situation has affected these plans. So now they're tackling the fundraising on their own. I asked Jessie to tell the readers of the Good News Theatre Blog more about this project. Here's our cyber-conversation:

Me: What is The Amish Project about? What inspired you to create it and how did you go about developing it?

JD: On October 2nd, 2006, the local milkman of Nickel Mines, PA, walked into a one-room Amish schoolhouse, shot all the girls and then himself. This strange tragedy caused a media frenzy as the gruesome details of the gunman and his young Amish victims emerged. But then the story turned: Hours after the attack, the Amish reached out to the family of the gunman and offered their condolences and forgiveness.

The Amish Project is a fictional exploration of the Nickel Mines shooting, following seven characters (including the gunman’s widow and two Amish girls) through this extraordinary chain of events. Imbued with poetry and humor, The Amish Project is ultimately about the power of forgiveness.

We have an amazing creative team: Directed by Sarah Cameron Sunde, scenic design by Lauren Helpern, lighting design by Nicole Pearce, and sound by Jill BC DuBoff, with stage management by Ryan Raduechel.

Me: What are audiences telling you about the experience of seeing the show that is propelling you forward?

JD: Audience members always express a profound connection with the characters; it’s incredible to perform a play that inspires such universal catharsis... One guy came up to me after the show, tears rolling down his face, and said, “Now I know how to be a better human being.” As sentimental as it sounds, The Amish Project touches on something very profound, something that compels its audience to reach out to one another and discuss.

So when the money fell through for our official world premiere, there was a strong consensus among the creative team that we had a unique opportunity: So many people had already seen the play and been deeply touched (through our run in FringeNYC and our workshop at Cherry Lane) -- if everyone gave even a little, we could raise the money to bring The Amish Project to the wider audience it deserves. Thus began our Barn Raising campaign.

Me: What’s the barn raising idea all about? What are you trying to accomplish and how can readers help?

JD: The Amish have a tradition of rallying around a neighbor in need, and barn raisings are an authentic example—the entire district brings food and works together to build the barn, not for personal benefit, but for the benefit of the community. It seems completely appropriate that in an artform whose main ingredient is community (the creative team, the cast, the audience), and a play that seeks to honor the incredible journey of a particular community, we would find ourselves reaching out to our own community! So The Amish Project is raising a “barn” of $50,000 for our world premiere. And it’s working -- we’re halfway there -- but we still need your help.

It is no coincidence that what is happening with The Amish Project reflects a trend in our theatre community (and indeed our country)—as we face this economic crisis, many will be forced to collaborate to survive. But I believe this is a good thing. The tragedy at Nickel Mines left us much to ponder on forgiveness and faith, but lately I am most struck by the idea of togetherness. Perhaps in our ailing times -- financial, spiritual, and theatrical -- this is the most important ingredient of all.

Please visit our beautiful website to learn how you can get involved: www.amishproject.com.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Some NYTE Good News Updates

Today I want to tell you about some upcoming good stuff here at The New York Theatre Experience, Inc.

First, we've finalized the program for our upcoming Plays and Playwrights 2009 Book Launch Party. It's being held on Sunday, April 5, 2009, at T. Schreiber Studio, starting at 4:30pm. All of the details are here. The centerpiece of the evening will be performances of short scenes from three of the plays featured in the book. The good news is that original cast members from Death at Film Forum, S/He, and Sister Cities will all be on hand to re-create their roles for us. I am very excited to see them all again. I hope many of you reading this can join us!

Second, I wanted to give you a bit of a sneak preview of what's coming up on our nytheatrecast podcast series. This month, I'll be talking to: Dan Kitrosser about his dual careers in kids' and "grown-up" theatre; longtime nytheatre.com contributor Richard Hinojosa and his writing partner Jason Griffith about their new show The Outer Puppets; and Jeff Cohen, hot off his very successful adaptation of Tartuffe, with Good News about the @ Seaport space. We're also planning something new for nytheatrecast: a One-on-One Conversation featuring 2 contemporary playwrights. Matt Freeman will talk to Adam Szymkowicz to kick off this new concept.

And I expect to have one more bit of exciting news to tell you all very soon! Watch this space...

Saturday, March 28, 2009

David H. Koch Theater Gets Aisles

This item came across my desk, and strikes me as very welcome news indeed! Note: The David H. Koch Theater is the Lincoln Center space that used to be called the New York State Theatre. If you've ever seen a show there, you'll know why the aisles are such a necessary innovation.

As construction resumes at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, following a scheduled hiatus for New York City Ballet's winter season, New York City Opera and New York City Ballet announced today that the scope of work for the joint $80 million renovation of the theater is being expanded to include a redesign of the theater's orchestra level seating to add two side aisles.

Because construction work for the entire renovation project has remained on schedule and within budget, the Ballet and Opera are able to take on this new element of the renovation and still be ready for the scheduled re-opening in early November 2009.

The redesign of the orchestra level will maintain the integrity of the theater's seating plan and retain its generous 40-inch legroom and unparalleled sightlines. The new side aisles will be carved into the orchestra's current layout without altering the arc of the rows. The doorways along each side of the orchestra level, which provide convenient access for audience members, also will remain unaltered.

Patrons of the refurbished David H. Koch Theater will enjoy the comfort and visual appeal of entirely new seats, which are being installed throughout the theater. The renovated theater will have a total capacity of 2,576, including standing room positions and prime spaces for patrons with disabilities. The theater currently has a total capacity of 2,763.

"I am thrilled that we have come up with a plan that honors and preserves Philip Johnson's original design for the theater, and at the same time opens up the orchestra level to provide enhanced comfort and accessibility for audiences," said Peter Martins, NYCB's Ballet Master in Chief.

"We look forward eagerly to performing in the enhanced auditorium. I know that our audiences will be excited by the improved theater when we welcome them to our 2009/2010 season," stated George Steel, General Manager and Artistic Director of New York City Opera.

Begun in July 2008, the renovation will expand the orchestra pit of the David H. Koch Theater to accommodate a larger orchestra. The pit will gain further flexibility with the addition of a mechanical lift and a modification of the stage apron. These changes will allow the orchestra to play in a pit at any depth, or as high as stage level for concert performance. The new flexible pit will both increase the presence of the orchestra's sound in the theater, and improve conditions for the Opera's singers, who will benefit from a clearer and more direct exchange with the conductor and Orchestra.

Other acoustical interventions, including the removal of carpet from the auditorium and the installation of entirely new seats that have been carefully tested for sound absorption, are also being made to improve the musical experience for the audience.

Another enhancement of the artistic experience will come from a new and upgraded lighting system including a sophisticated new light board, additional positions for stage lamps and a new system of lighting ladders, which permit lamps at the sides of the stage to be raised or lowered automatically.

The renovation also will bring the David H. Koch Theater into the 21st century with the installation of dynamic new media capabilities including a complete onsite media suite with all equipment necessary for the capture and distribution of high-definition images and digital sound of performances, rehearsals and any other activities taking place in the theater. The suite also will include digital storage capabilities for materials captured by the new system, as well as materials from the Ballet and Opera archives. The theater itself will be outfitted with a number of robotic, remote-controlled cameras, as well as approximately 60 broadcast service plates located throughout the theater, providing maximum flexibility for temporarily installing and changing camera positions as needed.

While these improvements will benefit audiences of the Ballet and Opera first of all, they also will enhance the experience of other users of the theater throughout the year.

Friday, March 27, 2009

nytheatre.com is Ready for Internet Explorer 8

Microsoft has just released a new version of the Internet Explorer web browser (version 8). I spent a couple of days this week testing all of NYTE's websites -- nytheatre.com, indietheater.org, nyte-inc.org, nytesmallpress.com, and nytheatrecast.com -- and I'm happy to announce that all of them are now fully compatible with Internet Explorer 8!

Our sites are also fully compatible with the latest versions of other popular browsers, including Safari and Firefox.

We've also made some small design changes (that are hopefully improvements) to our websites. Please send me feedback -- now and any time -- if you find things that don't seem to be working properly, or that could be improved, from your perspective.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Crystal Skillman: On Location with Annie at A Class Act NY

Andrea McArdle leads the special Annie workshop at A Class Act NY


(Editor's Note: Today, we welcome playwright Crystal Skillman to the nytheatre i's Good News Theatre Blog, with a great story about the Annie workshop at A Class Act NY.)


It’s about 11 am on a Saturday morning as I arrive at the Ripley-Grier Studio, where I hear the driving, rousing melody of “It’s Hard Knock Life” seeping through the studio door. All the parents waiting in the hallway are a little nervous. Partly because they’re anxious about how their child is doing learning a new dance in the next room. The other reason is that Andrea McArdle, the actress who originated the role of Orphan Annie on Broadway, has just come into the hallway.

Here to lead an Annie Workshop with 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,” Andrea strides up in her black leather jacket to meet Jessica Rofe, A Class Act’s fearless artistic director, as if on cue. Jessica fills Andrea in: the younger class is running through "Hard Knock Life" to show her what they’ve learned thus far. The group of older kids are still rehearsing and will come in later. Jessica leads Andrea into the room, encouraging me to follow.

Instantly, I’m greeted with the image of about 10-15 very young kids – girls, with one boy – on their knees with white rags and red buckets to their side.

“You’re lucky – these buckets are lighter than the ones we had to use in the show,” Andrea remarks. The kids instantly give her attention. If this Annie school is in session, Andrea is the principal of the day. She warmly greets Jordan, an actor and Class Act NY Instructor who has been teaching the kids their choreography thus far with incredible patience and enthusiasm. Andrea wastes no time jumping in, kneeling with the kids.

“Think about what orphan you want to be. Are you the angry one? Whiny? Protective? Are you tough like Annie?”

There are questions of course. The boy in the room asks if he can be a different character like Daddy Warbucks. Andrea’s quick to list off the other fun male roles: Mr. Bundles (laundry guy), Bert Healy (radio guy), President (FDR guy).

It becomes settled that he’ll play the orphan July in the song, but they can all call him Johnny.

They keep rehearsing and the dance gets stronger and stronger. After a round of congrats for the younger group’s impressive hard work learning the dance of scrubbing floors and orphan antics, the older kids come in and share the same routine they’ve rehearsed. The younger kids watch, impressed themselves, and are so excited when they’re invited to join them. Suddenly the room is filled with roughly 30 kids, all sizes and ages. When they run towards the rehearsal mirror, pulling back their fists on the imagined audience, Andrea herself among them, hitting home the final cords of "Hard Knock," it is clear these are not kids to mess with! And they are having the time of their life.

But what is it about Annie? Why do so many young girls want to play her? This question sticks in my head as we break for lunch. As a fan of the show myself, first listening to Annie on my record, lovingly kept safe in its precious bright red album cover, I know the power of the show. From the moment it debuted on Broadway in the late '70s with Andrea singing her heart out, her ever faithful Sandy by her side, this show has inspired countless young kids to dream of playing Annie or simply sing the songs along with her or to act out her role in their room.

A lot of this pondering has directly affected one of my most interesting projects – a musical called That’s Andy, about a young boy who wants to play Annie. Co-collaborator Bobby Cronin came up with the great idea and brought together Kevin Carter as composer and myself as a playwright. All of us have felt a connection to Annie (for me harkening back to Harold Gray’s strip, the original inspiration) and the idea of someone whose dream it is to be that kind of leader – to do more than fit in – to inspire people to change.

This comes up in the food court at Ripley-Grier with one of the moms, who has gotten some food herself. Her daughter has always wanted to play in Annie and has been involved in several productions, like the Junior Annie series, both professionally and locally. She knows why these girls want to be Annie:

“She’s just so – heroic!”

Her words stick with me as I return. The students are huddled around Andrea, all eating lunch together.

“My friend was one of the chipmunks in The Wizard of Oz!”

“Ah, you mean munchkins,” Andrea figures out as she smiles. One girl asks about Sandy.

“He was the most amazing dog,” Andrea shares with them, reminding them that he came from a shelter, an orphan himself.

Jessica keeps things moving along, but before we get started again the students have an opportunity to take pictures with Andrea and/or get autographs. I’m floored by this younger generation who have come in with some older materials – songbooks, souvenir booklets – one girl has even brought in a photo of herself as Annie from when she was in the show which Andrea signs, remarking on how great her costume and the wig are.

Well, of course! Even hero needs her outfit.

After a group photo and Andrea showing everyone how the original Annie auditions worked by having everyone sing happy birthday (which these students do, complete with cha-cha-chas!), we move onto scene work.

The groups break off, rehearse and present their scenes, some even staged. Andrea praises them for being so believable. When one younger actress struggles in the opening scene, where the orphans all look to Annie as Molly cries missing her mother, Andrea offers:

“Miss Hannigan isn’t really in charge. It’s Annie – she’s the leader of this team, wears the pants in this family. Has unshakable confidence. That’s why when she’s gone, it all goes to heck because she’s the voice of reason.”

If that isn’t the description of a real hero I don’t know what is!

Nearing the end of the four-hour workshop, the students start to share 16 bars of their music with Andrea. The quality of all the students is impressive, but time is running out.

Andrea suggests we do a “group sing” of "Tomorrow." She’s actually been rehearsing for a NY Pops concert at Rose Hall with a choir of folks all doing "Tomorrow" and talks about how powerful the song can be to sing together.

She starts, kneeling in the center of the room.

“The sun'll come out …”

Andrea continues, on and on, building. Hitting every note. As she does, you can see that girl who played Annie so many years ago through the woman she’s become today. Strong, confident, and a professional who loves to share her love of this role and this play in order to help these students envision their own future in theatre.

As she hits the chorus and invites us to join in, I watch the faces of the students, teachers, and even the pianist, all singing, reflected in the mirror across from us. I see the pure joy this song brings. The hope each person in the room personally share. With all we’ve gone through recently, with a new president coming in bringing change, while our economic climate is beginning to mirror the Depression era Annie is actually set in, this is quite a feat. It strikes me how the song is timeless, and always will be, because there always will be a tomorrow.

It’s pretty emotional at the end, everyone saying goodbye. Parents have now come into the room full of excitement, thanking Andrea, Jessica, and Jordan. It’s very clear that A Class Act NY’s mission has fulfilled these families expectations again and again. Some of these students will go on to be professionals, some just want to learn something new, but in either case, these kids all have an experience to remember for sure.

As Andrea is on her way out, I get the chance to thank her. I tell her how impressed I am with her enthusiasm teaching this next generation of young actors and actresses.

She smiles.

“You can’t fake that.”

Just what a hero might say.

* * * * * *


Learn more about A Class Act NY here: http://www.aclassactny.com/.
And huge thanks to guest blogger Crystal Skillman! Let me know if you want to see more stories by Crystal in this space. Crystal and her collaborators are working on That's Andy, aiming for a reading this fall. Learn more about Crystal here: http://www.nytesmallpress.com/pp08int_skillman.php.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Kimberlin and Mazda Team Up at Horror Fest

Playwright V.E. Kimberlin and actor/director Richard Mazda are teaming up for an appearance at the 2nd annual Institute of Horror, Fantasy & Science Fiction celebration on Saturday, March 28, from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Queens Library in Flushing, New York.

Long-time readers of nytheatre.com may recall that Ms. Kimberlin was for several years a regular contributor of reviews to our website.

The event is being hosted by The Horror Writer Magazine and Sapphire Publications and is free to the public. The afternoon will feature author readings, film presentations, Q&A panels and an art gallery. All writers, artists and filmmakers from all levels and genres are encouraged to come and network.

Ms. Kimberlin’s fantasy-genre short story, “The Hanged Man,” was published in the print book anthology ABACULUS 2007 by Leucrota Press. (Visit www.leucrotapress.com for more information.)

The story will be read/performed by British actor Richard Mazda, who is also the artistic director of The Queens Players in Long Island City, New York. Mazda has helped to reintroduce The Grand Guignol (or Theatre of Horror) to New York audiences in the past few years with his mainstage productions of Grand Guignol classics as well as new original plays written in the Grand Guignol style. Kimberlin has had several plays produced by Mazda and The Queens Players in various one-act festivals and is currently writing her own Grand Guignol-inspired play. (www.thequeensplayers.com)

Kimberlin and Mazda will make their presentation between noon and 2:30 p.m. Kimberlin will be available throughout the event for questions and book signings. ABACULUS 2007 and the recently released ABACULUS II will be available for sale at her table.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

People's Improv Theatre Launches College Comedy Series

The PIT (aka People's Improv Theatre) tells us that they've gone on the hunt for the new, up-and-coming New York City comedians. The PIT will regularly seek out the funniest comedy groups playing sold-out rec halls, dorms, and auditoriums on college campuses around the city in order to pair them with some of the city’s hottest comedy acts for one night!

The first pairing will happen on Saturday, March 28, at 9:30pm, and will feature the acclaimed sketch group Harvard Sailing Team and New York University sketch troupe HammerkatzNYU. Tickets are $10 and are available now for purchase at www.thepit-nyc.com.

Are you part of a college comedy group, or know of one that made you laugh? Email Teresa Bass at tbass@thepit-nyc.com to recommend a group or find out about submission guidelines.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Get LIT; See Tovah

Today, a couple of quick items worth noting.

First--The League of Independent Theater is presenting the first in what promises to be a monthly series of events called "Get LIT" in which industry notables will be invited to speak to, and informally socialize with, the organization's members. Here's the official info about this:
Get lit with LIT! A Monthly Cocktail Salon hosted by LITNY board member Leonard Jacobs. Each month the League will invite an important VIP from our sector to join our membership for cocktails and intimate question and answers. Our first guest will be Robert Zukerman, Theatre Program Director, New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) and will be held at: Center Stage, 48 West 21 Street, 4th Floor, Buzzer 401. TUESDAY March 24th. Doors open at 7pm. Free admission for members and $5.00 for non-members.

Learn more about the League on their website: http://www.litny.org/.

Second--The producers of Irena’s Vow (the new Broadway play starring Tovah Feldshuh) have generously donated a limited number of tickets for the opening night performance on Sunday, March 29th at 6:30 PM at the Walter Kerr Theatre to benefit The Actors Fund. Ticket prices are $98.00. To purchase tickets please call The Actors Fund at 212-221-7300 ext. 133 or visit www.actorsfund.org.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Last Call for Launching Plays and Playwrights 2009

We're getting ready to have our third and final free public event celebrating the release of my new anthology of indie theater, Plays and Playwrights 2009. Our first event, at Axis Theatre, ended up falling on the night of the season's biggest snowstorm, and so many of you may have missed it. So here's an opportunity to catch up!

The details:

- It will be held on Sunday, April 5, 2009
- Doors open at 4:30pm for a reception where you can schmooze with the playwrights
- Performances of excerpts from three of the plays featured in the book (Sister Cities by Colette Freedman, S/He by Nanna "Nick" Mwaluko, and Death at Film Forum by Eric Bland) start at 5pm
- A talkback with the authors, moderated by yours truly, wraps up the evening

Books will available for sale ($19) and to be signed by the playwrights. The event itself is FREE.

Where is this happening, you ask. At T. Schreiber Studio, 151 West 26th Street, in Chelsea. Thanks to Terry Schreiber, Cat Parker, and all the wonderful folks at the Studio for hosting us!

There's additional info here. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Judith Malina Receives Edwin Booth Award

Judith Malina, the co-founder (and still, after 60 years, the artistic director) of The Living Theatre, will receive the Edwin Booth Award from the Doctoral Theatre Students Association. The presentation will be on Wednesday, March 25 at 8pm at the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center at The City University of New York, 365 Fifth Ave.

The presentation to Malina culminates two evenings of tributes to this remarkable theatre artist and leader. On Monday, March 23, there will screenings all day long of films by/with/about Malina and The Living Theatre, with the famous Paradise Now+Emergency at 6:30pm, followed by a discussion with Malina. On Wednesday, before the award ceremony, there will be more screenings plus a couple of discussion panels, performance excerpts from some Living Theatre shows, and a tribute by Malina to Julian Beck (co-founder of the company) and Hanon Reznikov.

All of these events are free and may be attended on a first come, first served basis.

Judith Malina received the New York Innovative Theatre Foundation's Artistic Achievement Award last year at the same ceremony where NYTE was honored with the Stewardship Award.

This sounds like quite a couple of days!

More information may be found here: http://web.gc.cuny.edu/mestc.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Vital Children's Theatre Wins Prestigious Grant

Vital Theatre Company Education Director Linda Ames Key and Principal Martin Coren are pleased to announce that Brooklyn Theatre Arts High School is one of 10 national recipients of “DISNEY’S HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: THE MUSIC IN YOU GRANT PROGRAM” that encourages middle and high schools across the U.S. to put on their own school stage production of Disney’s High School Musical.

Awarded by NAMM Foundation and Disney Channel, the initiative is designed to utilize the popularity of the High School Musical movies to encourage kids to get involved in music and the arts in school. The grant program supports a $5,000 monetary grant and school license to produce an adapted version of High School Musical. The funds are to support music and arts-related educational costs of the production such as hiring music and dance coaches, and to help schools that do not have sufficient lighting and sound equipment for the production.

Vital Theatre Company is lead arts partner at Brooklyn Theatre Arts High School. Their children's theater program, headquartered at the McGinn/Cazale Theatre, is one of the most popular family venues in NYC.

The 10 grand award winners of the Disney/NAMM contest are: Brooklyn Theater Arts High School, Brooklyn, NY, Bucyrus High School, Bucyrus, OH, Carver Edisto Middle School, Cope, SC, Mt. Zion High School, Jonesboro, GA, Mather High School, Chicago, IL, Necedah High School, Necedah, WI, Parkway Middle School, Kissimmee, FL, Saginaw Arts and Sciences Academy, Saginaw, MI, South Dade Middle School, Homestead, FL, Troy Middle School, Plainfield, IL.

Congratulations to the worthy folks at Vital--I'm sure they will keep us posted about their work at Brooklyn Theater Arts High!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Miller-McCune Looks at the Future of Arts Journalism

Here's an interesting article by Tom Miller for the online magazine Miller-McCune:

http://www.miller-mccune.com/article/will-critique-work-for-food-1062

It's entitled "Will Critique Work for Food." The "tag" is:

As print newspapers listen nervously to the tolling of the bell, the fine arts and cultural journalism they once hosted searches desperately for a new place to chime.
This is an important subject, and Tom interviewed jouirnalists and critics in a number of different disciplines from all over the country, including (he modestly adds) yours truly.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Barefoot Theatre Company Celebrates Israel Horovitz's Birthday

NYC Indie Theater troupe Barefoot Theatre Company is celebrating the 70th birthday of playwright Israel Horovitz with a year-long slate of events. Here's some basic info from their announcement (courtesy of press agent Penny Landau):

NYC’s Barefoot Theatre Company will present THE 70/70 HOROVITZ PROJECT, a worldwide, year-long celebration of the 70th birthday of internationally-acclaimed playwright ISRAEL HOROVITZ. Barefoot will lead over 50 theatre companies from around the globe including France, Italy, Greece, Czech Republic, Scotland, Australia, England, Scandinavia, the Middle East, Japan, Korea & the United States, performing readings, staged readings & fully staged productions of 70 of Horovitz’s plays. THE 70/70 HOROVITZ PROJECT will begin with a gala and a reading of Sins of the Mother (directed by Jo Bonney) at the Theatres at 45 Bleecker Street on Israel's birthday, March 31, 2009, and will continue throughout the following year, ending on March 31, 2010. The evening will be hosted by Barefoot Theatre Company Advisory Board Member, Pierre Dulaine. The entire Barefoot Theatre Company will be present at the event to greet all guests, along with the Horovitz family.

One of the world's most prolific contemporary playwrights, Israel Horovitz has written more than 70 plays which have been translated & performed in as many as 30 languages, worldwide. As producer of the event, Barefoot Theatre Company will present both readings & fully staged productions in NYC, as well as hosting both the opening & closing ceremonies. Barefoot Theatre Company will be hosted in New York City by such theatre venues as the Bleecker Street Theatre, Theatre for the New City, La Mama, The Cherry Lane Theatre, American Ballroom Theatre, Horsetrade Theatre, IONA College & Brooklyn College. Joining the Barefoot ensemble on the East Coast are The Rising Phoenix Repertory, The R.E.A.L Theatre, KEF Productions, Stella Adler Studio & Gloucester Stage Company.

Events will feature drinks sponsored by Barefoot Wines & Bubbly as well as Live Music including, a brunch with Barefoot Ensemble & playwright Israel Horovitz. Scheduled is the fully staged NYC revival of Horovitz’ most controversial play, The Widow's Blind Date, featuring Barefoot Artistic Director Francisco Solorzano & directed by Barefoot founding member Michael LoPorto. Barefoot Theatre Company will present over 30 titles which will include four fully staged productions. Several events will be followed by Audience Talkbacks with playwright Israel Horovitz, cast and directors. This year-long event is sponsored by The Theatres at 45 Bleecker Street, Barefoot’s official headquarters. A portion of the profits from
Barefoot’s presentation will be donated to charity.

Israel Horovitz, one of America’s most produced playwrights at home & abroad, is author of such award-winning plays as The Indian Wants the Bronx, which introduced Al Pacino & John Cazale in its 1968 NYC premiere; Line, which introduced Richard Dreyfuss (a revival of Line has been running for 36 consecutive years at Off-Broadway’s 13th Street Repertory Theatre); The Primary English Class, which starred Diane Keaton in its NYC premiere; Park Your Car in Harvard Yard, which starred Jason Robards in its Broadway premiere; My Old Lady, which is now performing in more than a dozen countries around the globe. Horovitz’s many awards include the OBIE (twice), the Prix de Plaisir du Théâtre, The Prix Italia (for radio plays), The Sony Radio Academy Award (for Man in Snow), The European Academy Award & The Writers Guild of Canada Best Screenwriter Award (both for Sunshine), The Christopher Award, the Drama Desk Award (twice), an Award in Literature of the American Academy of Arts & Letters, the Elliot Norton Prize, a Lifetime Achievement Award from B’Nai Brith, the Literature Prize of Washington College, an honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Salem (Massachusetts) State College, Boston Public Library’s Literary Lights Award, the Walker Hancock Prize, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts & many others. Mr. Horovitz is Founding Artistic Director of Gloucester Stage & the New York Playwrights Lab.

Barefoot Theatre Company was founded in 1999 & has since produced over sixty plays including readings, workshops & fully staged productions. Barefoot most recently developed & mounted the stage adaptation of Sidney Lumet's 1975 Academy Award winning film, Dog Day Afternoon. Currently residing at the Theatres at 45 Bleecker Street with the bareNaked Reading Series (evenings designed to foster playwrights & new works), Barefoot has presented plays by Mary Gallagher, Israel Horovitz, Joe Pintauro, Carmen Rivera & emerging playwrights Joseph Sousa, Stephen Gracia & students of South Side High School in Rockville Centre, NY.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:

March 31, 2009: Opening of the festival on Horovitz's 70th birthday at the Bleecker Street Theatre as Jo Bonney directs a reading of his full length play, Sins of the Mother. The Red-Carpet event will begin with a cocktail hour at 6:30pm sponsored by Two Boots Pizzeria, Starbucks Coffee, Samuel French Play Publishers, Barefoot Wines & Bubbly & Smith & Krauss. The cocktail hour will also feature live music and NYC artists' original paintings inspired by Horovitz's Sins of the Mother. The reading will begin at 8pm. 90 minutes running time. No intermission.
Admission: $35 in advance/$40 at the door includes VIP Seating, Cocktail Hour w/complimentary wine, beer & drinks, hors d'oeuvres & Gift Bag.

April
Open Rehearsals of three short critically acclaimed political dramas: Security, A Mother's Love, & Beirut Rocks being presented as a workshop with Security as a reading, A Mother's Love as a staged reading & Beirut Rocks being fully staged. The workshop will culminate with a presentation at a special bareNaked Reading Series at he Bleecker Street Theatre (admission: $10) & on Friday, April 17th at IONA College in New Rochelle (free admission). The open rehearsals prior to the Bleecker Street Theatre & IONA College performances will take place in New York City. The workshop will be directed by Barefoot resident director & co-founder Michael LoPorto & feature Barefoot cast members who originated the roles in all three plays including, Francisco Solorzano, Victoria Malvagno, Christopher Whalen, Ana Maria Correa & Gil Ron.

May
A reading of one of Horovitz's earlier short plays, Acrobats paired with one of his latest, The Marriage Play, will be presented at The American Ballroom Theatre Company on Saturday, May 9th in a festive evening of ballroom dancing, drinks & a silent auction. Admission: $20.

Open Rehearsals of Horovitz's drama The Widow's Blind Date will also be scheduled at the Stella Adler Studio Theatre - (Free Admission)

June
The New York City Revival of Israel Horovitz's The Widow's Blind Date featuring Barefoot Producing Artistic Director Francisco Solorzano & Sean Meehan & directed by Michael LoPorto.

The Cherry Lane Theatre hosts the Barefoot Theatre Company in reading of four full length plays including Unexpected Tenderness, North Shore Fish, Captains and Courage & Barking Sharks on four consecutive Mondays. Admission: suggested donation of pay what you can.

July
Barefoot Theatre Company goes West the first week of July, with a cast of celebrities reading classic & recent plays at prominent theatre venues in Hollywood, CA.

September/October
Theatre for the New City presents the Barefoot Theatre Company with the fully staged production of 6 Hotels which includes: The Hotel Play; brand new plays: 2nd Violin, Speaking of Tushy & Fiddleheads & Lovers; & Fat Guy Gets The Girl.

Barefoot Theatre Company celebrates its 10th Anniversary with a brunch open to the public with theatre companies from all over New York City coming together. Readings of The Indian Wants the Bronx, Hopscotch, the 75th, Shooting Gallery & Rats.

An evening of poetry by Israel Horovitz will be read at a prominent NYC poetry club.

November
Reading of Horovitz's earlier short plays such as The Honest-to-God Schnozzola at a site specific location.

Development & workshop of Horovitz's full length drama, Henry Lumper begins at Brooklyn College. The fully staged production will take place at prominent Off-Broadway venue in March.

December
During the Holiday Season, The Horse Trade Theatre Group presents the Barefoot Theatre Company with the fully staged production of Horovitz's adaptation of A Christmas Carol: Scrooge & Marley along with readings of plays such as Morning, The P-Word, CatLady & more during off nights.

February
Open Rehearsals - Barefoot's rehearsal/development of Henry Lumper presented at Brooklyn College, City University of NY.

March
The New York City Off-Broadway Premiere of Henry Lumper featuring the Barefoot Theatre Company.

CLOSING EVENT: on March 31, 2010, the event will culminate with the screening of a film documenting this year-long event. The film will be put together by Horovitz's youngest son, Oliver Horovitz. The evening will also include a reading & live music, as well as food & drinks.

Collections of Israel Horovitz's plays, courtesy of Smith & Krauss, Samuel French Play Publishers & Dramatist Play Service will be available at all events for purchase.
www.barefoottheatrecompany.org

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Juggling Festival in Brooklyn

Here's an announcement that came across my desk that sounds unusual and fun:
JUGGLE THIS!
NYC's 8th Annual Juggling Festival

What: Juggling, workshops, games, shows, prizes, special guests, a raffle, and more!! All events open to the public.
When: April 3-5, 2009
Where: Pratt Institute, Brooklyn Campus (200 Willoughby, Brooklyn)
More info: http://jugglenyc.com/fest_09.html

JUGGLING AT PRATT ACTIVITIES RESOURCE BUILDING
FREE and open to the public. No experience necessary.
Friday, April 3, 5-10:30 pm (open juggling)
Saturday, April 4, 10 am-7 pm (open juggling & workshops)
Sunday, April 5, 10 am-5 pm (open juggling, workshops, & games)

SHOW SPECTACULAR AT PRATT MEMORIAL HALL
Saturday, April 4, 7:30 pm; Admission $10. Tickets available in the Pratt ARC during the festival. Produced by Playful Productions. Featuring world-class local and international talent: Get the Shoe, Maria Grimmy, Viktoria Grimmy, Mark Hayward, Karas & Paris, Greg Milstein, Véronique Provencher, David Sharps, Sticks and
Bones

Juggle This! is hosted by Jugglers Anonymous: the Pratt Chapter with support from the NYC Jugglers. All events take place at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn campus (200 Willoughby Ave, Brooklyn, NY). Find out more at jugglenyc.com/fest_09.html.

KRAPP, 39 Event: Show, Talkback, and a Free Drink

On Wednesday, March 25, Soho Playhouse invites you to a special evening of Krapp, 39.

Krapp, 39 is the solo play written and performed by Michael Laurence that began life at FringeNYC last summer and has gone on to a hit off-Broadway run this year. I published it in my latest anthology, Plays and Playwrights 2009.

This special one-night-only event features:

- A performance of Krapp, 39 by Michael Laurence
- A talkback following the show, moderated by yours truly (Martin Denton)
- A complimentary beverage (beer or wine) at the Huron Club (lower level of the theatre), available from 7:00pm until the show begins
- Copies of Plays and Playwrights 2009 will be available for sale and Michael will sign your copy!

All of this is just $20! (Tickets are regularly $39.) USE CODE "PLUM" when you order your tickets, either by calling 212-691-1555 or online at http://www.sohoplayhouse.com/. You must use the special code to receive the $20 ticket price!

Here's my review of Krapp, 39.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Going Green: A Discussion at CUNY

For Earth Week, the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center at The City University of New York Graduate Center is presenting a discussion about the impact of "going green" on performers and theatre artists/staff. The event takes place on Thursday, April 23 at 6:30pm. It's free. Their address is 365 Fifth Avenue at 34th Street (diagonally across the street from the Empire State Building).

Here's the data from their press release:
Join the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center during Earth Week 2009 to explore how theatre artists and production staff are affected or inspired by climate change. The event will feature a discussion with theatre artists and administrators, and an excerpt of Sheila Callaghan's Water, a multimedia piece shaped through consultations with the Deptartment of Environmental Conservation. Panelists include Gideon Banner, Bob Usdin, Benno Van Noort, Daniella Topol, Marda Kirn, Ben Todd, and Seema Sueko. The discussion will explore building performance and renewable energy, facilities management, closed loop set design and construction, and intelligent recycling. Free, for information call 212-817-1860.

Find them on the web at www.gc.cuny.edu.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Women's Project Throws a Carnival

Here's an event that offers a fun and unusual take on fundraising:

COME ONE, COME ALL and support the fabulous artists of Women’s Project!

WP Spring Carnival - It’s FUN for the whole Family!

Salute the sun with Yoga at noon and entertain your kids with face painting, arts & crafts, cake walks and circus workshops throughout the afternoon - all the while savoring delectable dishes from talented NYC restaurateurs.

At 6pm, you’ll be moved by the lyrically prone and vocally crystalline vocalist Addie Brownlee followed by the amazing magic acts of celebrated magician Jeff Grow.

Click HERE for full details.

Saturday, March 21, Noon – 8:00 pmJulia Miles Theater, 424 W. 55th Street, just west of 9th Avenue

ENTRY IS FREE. Tickets to each activity start at just $2.00. Special value tickets : 10 tickets for $15.00 and 20 tickets for $20.00

FREE RAFFLE TICKETS! Simply RSVP HERE and receive your free raffle ticket when you arrive at WP’s Spring Carnival.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Storytelling Marathon at LaSalle Academy

I'm printing the press release verbatim for this unique event:
Diane Wolkstein and CelebrateStory are proud to present a marathon telling of the great epic: Monkey King: Journey to the West.

Featuring 26 amazing storytellers from the United States and Canada: Rita Auerbach, Laura Bobrow, Ruth Danziger, Julie Della Torre, David Elyha, Therese Folkes-Plair, Mark Horn, Linda Humes, Joy Kelly, Justin Jaron Lewis, Jack McKeon, Stuart Nager, Ron O'Reilly, Norman Perrin, Eli Rarey, Regina Ress, Thelma Ruffin Thomas, Mary Ann Schmidt, Ken Setterington, Ellen Shapiro, Ron Sopyla, Karen Thibodeau, Gioia Timpanelli, Kira Van Deusen, Rivka Willick, and Diane Wolkstein. Each storyteller will tell a section of the epic. Your three-day ticket grants you admission to as little or as much of this historic event as you wish: come to see your favorite section, or stay for the whole adventure! This adventure story of self cultivation is appropriate for children 8 and up. Reservations are encouraged as space is extremely limited.

Friday - Sunday, March 20-22, 2009
Friday: 7pm-10pm
Saturday:
10am-10pm
Sunday: 10am-6pm
La Salle Academy, 38 Second Avenue (at 2nd
Street, 2 blocks from the F/V Train)
Subways: F/V to 2nd Avenue, 6 to
Bleecker
3-Day Admission: $40, 1-Day Admission: $25
Reservations: (212)
929–6871 or monkeykingepic@gmail.com

Learn more here: http://www.monkeykingepic.com.

Friday, March 13, 2009

45 Bleecker Opens an Art Gallery

This information comes to us from publicist Susan L. Schulman:

Louis Salamone announced today that the Theatres at 45 Bleecker Street will open a new gallery space in the lobby on March 24th with a display of Sir Shadow’s Line Art.

Sir Shadow is a unique 21st century artist whose style is both exciting and fascinating in its content. His ability to express love, music, poetry, and to create art through the manipulation of one line, creating shapes and forms that dance, sing, and swing with Jazz music that it depicts is sheer genius.

Sir Shadow said: “I call my writing and artwork Flowetry, which is the act of positive thinking in action. This is my contribution towards life and my immortality. This gives me the right to live my moments in peace and harmony.”

The Gallery at 45 Bleecker Street will open with a reception for Sir Shadow on March 24 from 6 to 10 PM. The public is welcome.

The Theatres at 45 Bleecker Street is a multi-use theatre complex with three performance spaces open 19 hours a day, seven days a week. The main space, called The Bleecker Street Theatre, seats between 199 and 330; The Green Room Theatre on the lower level seats between 99 and 155 and The Lobby Café/Gallery can host up to 50 people for readings, workshops, art exhibits, cabaret and special events.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Brand New Theatre Company Opens Its Doors

Apple Core Theatre Company joins the ranks of NYC's indie theatre community this month. Co-founders Allison Taylor and Walter Hoffman launch their troupe with a double bill of plays by James McLure and Steven Gridley called Won and Lost. Is the middle of an economic downturn the best time to start a new company? I asked Allison about the new venture:

Q: Why did you decide to start a new theatre company? Why not just hook up with an existing company?

A: Several years ago, I read Helen Epstein's biography about Joseph Papp, and it just blew my mind. I've always been in theater, but before, it was in a far more academic sense, more about analyzing texts and studying history than involvement in production. But hearing about what Papp did -- fighting to bring theater to the masses for free -- it completely inspired me to change my direction, to expose as many people as possible to the art form that I love. I have no interest in performing on a flatbed truck in Brooklyn and getting rocks thrown at me, but deep down, I'll always want to be Joe Papp.

I know I can't do what Papp did -- I'd be foolish to think I could. But I do want to make theater as accessible and affordable as feasibly possible. I also want to build up a new kind of audience, like he did. I want the traditional theatergoer to love us, but I also want a diverse fan base in terms of age, race, and background. Unfortunately, most theaters price a lot of people out, especially right now. Even if a theater is discounting, sometimes you have to be in the "know" to hear about it. I want to personally invite people to ACTC who don't even think about theater as something to do on a Friday night, and I hope to keep all the tickets at $15.

As for why I never hooked up with another theater... well, I knew my vision was so specific that the only way to bring it to fruition was to do it myself.

Q: What are some of the particular challenges you’re encountering starting up at this particular time? Obviously the economy is an important factor for everyone right now – how are you handling trying to launch a company in this economic climate?

A: Here's the thing: starting a theater company is just hard economically, no matter what, unless you have a bottomless trust fund. Commercial theater is an impossible business model, and the nonprofits have been built to rely too heavily on contributed income. The challenges I'm facing today are the challenges people were facing a year ago. The only difference is, now it's extremely hard to ask people for money. I've had to teach myself how not to feel guilty about it, and I still do. I've tried to focus on asking a large number of people for small donations -- as opposed to a few key people for very large donations -- and those numbers have fortunately added up. Above all else, this recession certainly makes me extra appreciative of the Apple Core donors.

But because we're all in the same financially leaky boat, everyone has been really kind and supportive. The folks at TBG Theatre, where Won and Lost will be, have been extremely kind and accomodating, even though we're strapped for cash. The artists with whom we're collaborating have volunteered to help out with additional tasks. If the economy has done anything, it's actually brought out the best in us.

Q: What’s the greater challenge, from your perspective: launching a new company right now in this Recession; or launching a new company in New York City, where there is so much competition?

A: Oh, the oversaturation of theater in New York City, by far. It's difficult to make your voice heard in a crowd of so many companies, all going to the same group of traditional theatergoers. On a practical level, that's just another reason why it's necessary to expand to new audiences -- to put in the extra effort to talk honestly to people about theater and then invite them to a show.

Q: What educational/job experiences do you think have prepared you best for the challenges you are facing right now in forming the new company?

A: This May, I'm finishing up an MFA in dramaturgy at Columbia University. While there, I've received invaluable advice from theater professionals and made industry connections that never would have happened otherwise. I've also taken the opportunity to learn as much as possible about the "business" end of theater: development, marketing, contracts, unions, all the departments that use fine print. I've also, of course, met artists and producers that I hope to work with for a long time. Steven Gridley, who I met at Columbia and whose play we're producing as part of Won and Lost, is certainly one of them.

Q: What are the artistic goals of the company? Who are your major influences artistically?

A: The director of Won and Lost, Walter Hoffman, and I founded this company in part because we kept talking about how much we loved American theater and how often we saw British playwrights being produced. We want to celebrate in a down-to-earth, straightforward style the richness of American theater -- its optimism, its humor, its sincerity, and especially its emotional power. My favorite feeling is watching a play and feeling so moved that I cry. Real catharsis. I want to lose myself in stories that make me feel something in my heart. That's what Apple Core Theater Company strives to do every time we present a play.

The warhorses -- Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, Eugene O'Neill, August Wilson -- certainly have informed that aesthetic, and I also deeply respond to traditional American comedy, especially Kaufman and Hart. But until we get some dirt under our nails, I doubt we'll approach those lions. We also want to unearth some lost American gems and work with new playwrights who also tap into that traditional, gripping, heartfelt style. Won and Lost -- which pairs a revival of James McLure's Pvt. Wars with Steven Gridley's new play The Return of Odysseus -- encapsulates exactly that.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cherry Lane Turns Bank Street Theatre Into the Cherry Pit

Cherry Lane Theatre is opening their third and newest venue, the 90-seat Cherry Pit (formerly the Bank Street Theatre) in the West Village. The Cherry Pit, at 155 Bank Street, joins the Cherry Lane Theatre's existing spaces at its historical location on 38 Commerce Street--the recently-renovated 179-seat mainstage theatre and its 60-seat Studio Theatre--to create a trio of stages that fulfill Cherry Lane's mission to develop and present new American works for the theatre.

According to Cherry Lane Theatre's Artistic Director Angelina Fiordellisi, "We were just at that point of discussing how beneficial it would be for our playwrights and audiences to have a mid-size theatre to see full productions of the new work we champion when, out of the blue, the president of the board of Westbeth, Arnold Warwick, called to see if we would be interested in taking over the Bank Street Theatre. We fell in love with it and now, here we are like nervous brides with a 10-year lease on The Cherry Pit, where we can do off-Broadway runs of new plays. We also intend to offer the Cherry Pit as a home to other theatre companies who increasingly come to us when they've lost their own theatre or are in need of an alternative. As we expect the Cherry Pit will bring more people--especially more young people--into the Westbeth neighborhood, it feels like an irresistible circumstance in which everybody wins."

The Cherry Pit debuts with the new play Jailbait, starting performances on March 19.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Wingspan Arts Presents Artopia, A Free Family Arts Event

Wingspan Arts holds its first-ever ARTOPIA event on Saturday, March 14 from 11:00am to 2:00pm. This action-packed, one-day-only kid-centric arts festival takes place at PS 9, 100 West 84th Street (at Columbus Avenue). This event is FREE and open to families. Suggested donations at the door will benefit WingspanArts scholarship fund exclusively.

ARTOPIA delivers three hours of interactive arts programming for students and their parents in a festival environment utilizing different spaces within PS 9. Performances by Wingspan Arts school programs and Conservatory students and film screenings will run Mainstage in the school's auditorium, while in other rooms, participants enjoy master classes in Capoeira, Drumming and Dance, Hip Hop, and other interactive arts. Between master classes and mainstage performances, festival-goers can browse the Wingspan Arts bake sale, contribute to a mural, learn about stage makeup techniques, or experience face painting, among other offerings. Additionally, interested young filmmakers will have the opportunity to make a movie during the three-hour festival, and a screening of this original movie will close out the afternoon's events.

This event is fully subsidized by grant money. All other day-of donations will directly benefit students in the Wingspan Arts Tuition-Free Summer Theatre and Film Conservatory.

Learn more abotu Wingspan Arts here: www.WingspanArts.org.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Parallel Exit Presents a Free Night of Physical Theatre

Here's news about an exciting FREE theatre event from Mark Lonergan, artistic director of the innovative physical theatre company Parallel Exit:
Parallel Exit, New York City’s award-winning physical theatre company, offers audiences a free opportunity to see some of New York’s most exciting physical and visual theatre artists in MOVE IT! Featuring brand new physical theatre from Parallel Exit’s Joel Jeske, Mike Dobson, and Spencer Novich, dance-theatre from The Chase Brock Experience, clowning from Ishah Jannsen-Faith, and juggling from World Champion juggler Tony Duncan, MOVE IT! is presented at HERE Arts Center on Thursday March 19th at 8:30pm.

Parallel Exit launched MOVE IT! in the fall of 2006 in order to support and promote the work of quality physical theatre artists and companies in New York City. This performance series appears throughout the year to invite audiences to experience the diversity and excitement of physical and visual theatre artists working in dance-theatre, mime, puppetry, clown, and circus.

For Tickets & Information: www.here.org
212-352-3101

This production is being presented through HERE’s Supported Artist Program, which provides artists with subsidized space and equipment, as well as technical and administrative support.

I have been to a few of the past installments of this showcase, and they've always been terrifically entertaining! This is a great way to expose yourself to the variety of physical theatre and to meet some excellent artists you may not be acquainted with.

Learn more about Parallel Exit here.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Metropolitan Playhouse Interfaces With Its Neighbors

I recently recorded a podcast with Alex Roe, artistic director of Metropolitan Playhouse. One of the things we talked about at length is the way that Metropolitan interacts with its neighbors in the East Village and Alphabet City. Alex indicated that there are several defined annual programs that bring the theatre in contact with nearby people and institutions in the course of creating new work -- this is a great "Good News" concept that I suspect happens more than we realize throughout the indie theater community.

Listen to Alex on the podcast:

http://www.nytheatrecast.com/pcast/nythpod276.mp3

And share your own stories about how your company interacts with its neighbors on a future nytheatre i blog post -- write me with details.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Cheap/Free Tickets from Wreckio Ensemble

Here's another Good News announcement from the folks at Wreckio Ensemble -- they're offering some great deals on tickets to their current show at CSV Cultural Center, Rooftops. Here's the scoop:
  • Starving Artist Nights: On Mondays, theater professionals get $10 tickets with union card, business card, or headshot
  • 2 for 1 Bailout Nights: On Thursdays, buy one full price ticket and get your second ticket free
  • Pink Slip Performances: Recently laid off? On Sundays, bring your "pink slip" and get a free ticket
  • Member of a Union?: Bring your union card and get a $10 ticket
  • Group Discounts: Groups of 10 or more pay only $10 per ticket
  • Student Discount: Students get $10 tickets with valid school ID

I think the folks at Wreckio have the right idea: let's fill the theatres AND give folks a break on ticket prices!

By the way--does everybody out there know about nytheatre.com's Ticket Discount Page? We list discount offers for our readers here, along with standard student/senior discounts. Make sure that you are letting us know about these discounts when you list your shows on nytheatre.com! Discounts for indie shows are also listed on indietheater.org. This is a great way to let audiences know about your show. Learn more about promoting ticket discounts on nytheatre.com and indietheater.org here.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Another Green Theatre: News from At Hand Theatre

A couple of weeks ago I posted info about Wreckio Ensemble's efforts to "go green" with their production of Rooftops. I ended that piece by asking others to send in more Good News along these lines. Justin Scribner of At Hand Theatre took me up on that, providing this info about his company's upcoming show Trickster at the Gate:

At Hand Theatre is striving for sustainability! With the ever-increasing costs of producing theatre, we are making a concerted effort to change the way we present theatre – from the ground up. We are thinking about our budgets and we're thinking about global ethics. We have been uneasy contributing to the waste and disturbed by the amount of wood, hardware, paper and recyclable goods we've seen thrown away after each production we've worked on. We want to feel good about the work we do as a company.

We have altered our mission to adopt a "greener" approach. Our productions will focus more on story and performance rather than the production elements surrounding them. Our concerns are environmental, economic, and energetic. By using sustainable practices, we will reduce the amount of resources and materials we use, without sacrificing the environment or the high standards of our designers.

We reduce, reuse, recycle wherever we can, from daily operations to building our sets. Here are a few examples of how we're living out our mission:
  • We use vintage or re-used clothing in our costume designs
  • We get the most use out of only the basic lighting plots in the theatres that we rent
  • We get the most use out of only the basic sound equipment for each production
  • We implement recycled / eco-friendly set materials in our productions
  • We recycle all paper, bottles and cans in office and theatre facilities
  • At Hand's Playbill recycling program
  • We print on 100% recycled content paper, and only when we really need to print (as we are a digital company)
  • We paint with only nontoxic paint (100% low or no VOC) on all scenery
  • At Hand is a member of Materials for the Arts, which provides recycled materials (paints, wood, fabrics, etc.) to non-profit companies to reuse, reducing the waste in our city's landfills
  • We buy goods and contract services from environmentally-friendly companies

Thanks for the update, Justin! Readers can find out more about At Hand's green project here: http://www.athandtheatre.com/being-green.php

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Plays and Playwrights 2009 Reading/Signing at Drama Book Shop

Please join us on Thursday, March 12, 2009 at 6:00pm for our annual Reading/Book Signing Event at Drama Book Shop!

The folks at Drama Book Shop -- especially Allen Hubby -- have been great supporters of NYTE Small Press from the very beginning, and they've invited us back for the eighth year in a row to celebrate the publication of our new anthology, Plays and Playwrights 2009. This event is going to be very special:
  • Lenora Champagne will be presenting an excerpt from Part I of her play TRACES/fades, which is a play about Alzheimer's and our national inability to remember history. Joining her will be original cast members Joanne Jacobson and Amelie Lyons.
  • Tim Collins will be performing Chapter 4 of his solo play A Fire as Bright as Heaven, which is an epic look at the last seven years of American upheaval.
  • I will moderate a talkback with Lenora and Tim following the performances.
  • Book signing in the store follows.

This event is totally FREE. Books will be available for sale for $19 at the event. Take time while you're there to browse Drama Book Shop's incomporable selection of plays and theatre books. Support independent theatre and support independent book stores!

There's more info about the event on Drama Book Shop's website and on this online flyer. There's more info about Plays and Playwrights 2009 here.

***

And I've posted photos of our Axis Company Plays and Playwrights 2009 event here.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Young Playwrights Latino Challenge Launches Workshops and a Competition

Young Playwrights Latino Challenge is launching FREE Playwriting Workshops for High School Students. Presented by TeatroStageFest in partnership with Young Playwrights, Inc. Pre-Registation is required.

WHEN: Saturdays, March 14, 21, 28; 1-4pm

WHERE: Young Playwrights Inc., 431 Fifth Avenue, Between 38th & 39th Streets

TeatroStageFest, the annual artistic, educational, and cultural celebration produced by the Latino International Theater Festival of New York, Inc. (LITF/NY) is partnering once more with Young Playwrights Inc. to bring the Third Annual Young Playwrights Latino Challenge (YPLC), a program that fosters the spirit of achievement among New York City high school students through playwriting. The program will provide three Free Playwriting Workshops for all NYC high school students, led by established playwrights and directors. Students will be able to read scenes from their works-in-progress and share their questions. They may choose to attend one, two or all three sessions. Free Metrocards will be provided to registrants. Seating is limited so pre-registration is required.

The Saturday workshops will lead up to the YPLC Playwriting Competition, open to ALL high school students citywide. First Prize Play will receive a $500 cash award, and a staged reading with professional actors during TeatroStageFest (June 15-28, 2009). Second and Third Prize Plays: $250 each. All students submitting a play to the competition will receive professional feedback, a Certificate of Merit, and two tickets to a TeatroStageFest 2009 production.

YPLC WORKSHOP REGISTRATION AND COMPETITION GUIDELINES: www.teatrostagefest.org or 212-695-4010.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Manhattan Theatre Source is Having a Book Sale

Our friends at Manhattan Theatre Source -- home, at the moment, to the revival of Mac Rogers's excellent play Universal Robots -- is having a used book sale. MTS has a lovely theatre book shop on the second floor of its facility, just outside the theatre space. Here's the news about the Big Sale from MTS representative Lanie Zipoy:

Manhattan Theatre Source will hold a blowout book sale on gently used theatre books on Friday, March 6, and Saturday, March 7 at its Washington Square Park home (177 MacDougal St.).

Everything – plays, play anthologies, biographies, monologues, scene study books, and reference books – in the theatre's collection of more than 3,000 theatre-related books will be on sale. Hundreds of plays are on sale for one dollar ($1); hundreds of others are only two dollars ($2), and everything else is buy one, get one free.

Some of the highlighted items include a 1925 edition of Eugene O'Neill's Desire Under the Elms, The Hairy Ape, and Welded; The Yale Shakespeare editions of The Winter's Tale, Much Ado About Nothing and others; A Handbook of Fist Puppets (1935); Scene Design and Stage Lighting; and The Annotated Shakespeare (Three
Volumes in One).

The sale will held from 12:00 pm until 6:00 pm on Friday, March 6, and Saturday, March 7. Cash and credit cards will be accepted.
For more information on Manhattan Theatre Source, visit http://www.theatresource.org/.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Open Variety Night at Galapagos

Galapagos in DUMBO is announcing a new series, Monday's Open Variety Night They tell us that they're very excited about this program because it will provide opportunities for a lot of artists.

Beginning this March, Galapagos will co-present Open Variety Night--illuminating the best of the American Variety arts--with the world renowned Bindlestiff Family Variety Arts!

If you're a performer and would like to be part of these nights, send an email to: variety@galapagosartspace.com.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Arts in Bushwick: Spectators Interacting with TemporalEntertainments (SITE) Festival

Here's information about an interesting event coming up in Brooklyn next weekend:

Arts in Bushwick is pleased to announce Bushwick Spectators Interacting with TemporalEntertainments (SITE Fest), a two-day interdisciplinary event highlighting the diversity of performance in Bushwick. The festival will be held on March 7 - 8, 2009, 1pm-9pm. SITE arises in response to the amazing outpouring Arts in Bushwick receives every year for BETA Spaces and Open Studios, giving performance artists the opportunity to display work in a collaborative environment. Encompassing theatre, dance, music, and other forms of live art, SITE seeks to expand the interaction between spectators and spectacle, as both creators and visitors move through a plethora of spaces, media, and styles.

SITE Fest focuses around three hub spaces: Chez Bushwick, the Bushwick Starr, and Lumenhouse. All three represent major forces in the Bushwick art scene; additionally, each offers its own clear curatorial presence and voice. The hubs will be divided by genre: Chez Bushwick will feature primarily dance; the Bushwick Starr primarily theatre; and Lumenhouse a range of mixed-genre performances.

In addition to the hub events, performances will take place in a variety of alternative spaces: apartments, studios, street corners, and within galleries, including Ad Hoc Art and Grace Exhibition Space. This offers spectators the opportunity to engage across genre and audience-structure, encouraging a dialogue about the nature of performance and the parts we play within its various contexts.

In conjunction with SITE Fest, Arts in Bushwick is excited to announce ionSOUND: a two day music festival at Goodbye Blue Monday, one of Bushwick’s hotspots for live music. ionSOUND will take place on March 7 & 8 as well, with performances from 4 PM - 1 AM on the 7th, and 4 PM - 11 PM on the 8th.

In keeping with our mission of neighborhood sustainability and accessibility, Arts in Bushwick is also producing a panel discussion on local political engagement within the Bushwick arts community as part of SITE. SITE Fest will conclude with an after-party at 3rd Ward from 9 PM – midnight on March 8, where artists and spectators alike can congregate to discuss the events of the day, breaking down the "fourth wall" separation for drinks and dancing together.

Programs for SITE Fest containing a map and a complete listing of exhibits and events will be available one week prior to the festival. Admission (suggested donation) will be $5 per hub show; $10 for a day pass; or $15 for a weekend pass. Tickets and passes will be available through http://www.artsinbushwick.org/ beginning February 25. They can also be purchased at hub spaces during the event itself. Performances taking place outside of hub spaces will be free of charge.

For further information on SITE Fest, please visit http://www.artsinbushwick.org/, or contact Chloë Bass at performance@artsinbushwick.org. For further information on ionSOUND, please contact Todd Leibowitz at music@artsinbushwick.org.