Saturday, September 26, 2009

How Does It Feel to be a Winner of the NYIT Awards? Part 2

The nominees for the New York Innovative Theatre Awards sit nervously in the dark at the New World Stages waiting for their category to be announced. Then, from the stage comes the boom of "and the winner is....".

For the 2nd year, nytheatre.com wanted to get the instant reaction at that moment from the winners. We asked three questions: (1)What was the absolute first thought you had when you heard them call your name? (2)Who was the first person you called/emailed to tell that you won? (3)What does this award signify or mean to you personally? Here are the answers in the order we received them. This is the second batch of responses (see previous post for the first group).

LEE/GENDARY - Outstanding Production of a Play
Soomi Kim, producer/creator

First thought: “YES!!!”

First called: My good friend Lillie Haws who helped dress me for the event.

Award means: SO much! This project has been a passion of mine for a long time. It is an original play about Bruce Lee. Not only was he the first real Asian American Hollywood star who brought the recognition of Kung fu to millions, he was an icon/iconoclast, martial artist, choreographer, teacher, philosopher an simply a super badass human being. To be able to portray someone of this magnitude and to be able to bring his story to the stage is a dream come true. To have won an award for this production is just icing on the cake. But I also recognize that I know that we won this award for “Outstanding Production of a Play” because I have surrounded myself with Outstanding collaborators and people.

JEFF GROW - Outstanding Solo Performance
Outstanding Performance Art Piece
Creating Illusion

First thought: Wow!! (Then my mind went blank to focus on not tripping on the stairs, etc. and preparing to say something coherent)

First called: Jessi D. Hill, who directed the show and couldn't attend ceremony because she’s working in Chicago.

Award means: It is really nice to have one’s work recognized and it appears people enjoy it, so that gives me inspiration to continue presenting it.

BRUCE STEINBERG - Outstanding Lighting Design
Blue Before Morning

First thought: I was totally floored when I heard my name. I couldn't really think of anything besides remembering to get my thank you list.

First called: I texted my classmates at the graduate design program at NYU. I've been so lucky to learn from and grow with all of them.

Award means: I am really happy that I won for a piece produced by terraNOVA. I've worked with them for three years and think Jen and JD's work is wonderful and challenging.

WILLIAM APPS IV - Outstanding Actor in a Featured Role
Amerissiah

First thought: I was not there for the ceremony because I was in a show that night , but when I got the text message from Derek Ahonen it was intermission of Oedipus the King which was the show I was doing at the time and I was so happy that I had to try so hard to forget about the award , because theres nothing happy about Oedipus.

First called: The fist person that I called was my amazing friend and talented actress Selene Beretta who was also in the Amerissiah in the role of Loni my drug addicted girlfriend.

Award means: What I hope this will do for my career is give me the chances to play roles that others may not think I can do and also give me the opportunities to perform at the higher levels of our wonderful industry.

CONSTANCE PARNG - Outstanding Actress in a Featured Role
Lee/gendary

First thought: Nothing. My mind completely emptied itself. I was stunned.

First called: My brother Walter. It was also his birthday!

Award means: I loved doing Lee/gendary. It was challenging and rewarding. I got to do good work with good people. The award was the icing on top. And it truly wouldn't have been possible without my amazing cast-mates, our director Suzi Takahashi's tireless work and dedication, Derek Nguyen's great script, Lucrecia Briceno's beautiful lighting, Airon Armstrong's expert choreography, our awesome crew, and Soomi Kim's inspired vision of Bruce Lee, whose heart & soul carried the show.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

How Does It Feel to be a Winner of the NYIT Awards?

The nominees for the New York Innovative Theatre Awards sit nervously in the dark at the New World Stages waiting for their category to be announced. Then, from the stage comes the boom of "and the winner is....".

For the 2nd year, nytheatre.com wanted to get the instant reaction at that moment from the winners. We asked three questions: (1)What was the absolute first thought you had when you heard them call your name? (2)Who was the first person you called/emailed to tell that you won? (3)What does this award signify or mean to you personally? Here are the answers in the order we received them. Enjoy!

JILLIAN ZEMEN - Outstanding Stage Manager
Ragtime, Astoria Performing Arts Center

First thought: Oh my God, I hope I don’t throw up when I give my speech. I’m not one for public speaking and I just wanted to get in and get out as gracefully as possible and not forget to thank anyone who was a part of the production.

First called: My parents/sister/family.

Award means: It’s the first award to go to someone in my field, so it’s such an incredible honor to be the inaugural recipient. It’s validation, it shows that my hard work is paying off and people do notice. It pushes me to keep working just as hard to go further and further in the future.

SARAH LOWE - Outstanding Original Music
The Apple Sisters

First thought: Well... I am currently living in Vegas doing the show Jersey Boys... so I didn't hear them call it, but Kimmy was there and she called me & Rebekka and we screamed and gave each other a big hug! We couldn't believe it! The best part is that Rebekka was in town to celebrate my recent engagement!! I am having the best week EVER!

First called: I got the call right as I was heading into the theater... so I called my Dad, my Mom, then told the whole cast!! then, of course I posted it as my facebook status.

Award means: We started as a little comedy show... we had no idea- at least I had no idea- what would happen. We have been so lucky to have found each other. To me, this just means we're gonna keep working... more songs! more shows!! More, more, more!!!

NAT CASSIDY - Outstanding Original Full Length Script
The Reckoning of Kit & Little Boots

First thought: “Oh, shit, try not to curse too much.”

First called: Throughout the show, I kept getting text messages (phone on silent, don’t worry) from people who were, somehow, finding out before I could tell them. So, I guess, technically, the first person I myself told was my mailing list, which is filled with wonderful, beautiful people who haven’t yet told me to stop e-mailing them fart jokes.

Award means: I’m hugely honored, as I’m still relatively new to playwriting. I wrote a lot of short stories (and a few abortive novels) when I was younger, and a ton of sketch comedy throughout my life, but I’ve really spent the majority of my time focusing on acting—constructing full-length playscripts is still kind of a brave new world to me. I was so incredibly excited to even be included in the list of nominees (particularly alongside Mac Roger’s Universal Robots, which was so personally inspiring to me), and it really confirmed for me there will always be an audience for new, intelligent, different, occasionally wacky, but always bold theatre.

MICHAEL P. KRAMER - Outstanding Set Design
Ragtime, Astoria Performing Arts Center

First thought: Holy shit! Did I really hear my name? Sounded like my name, I should make my way to the stage just in case.

First called: I didn’t have cell service in the theatre, when I was done with the press photos, interviews etc. I made my way outside and sent a text to family and friends.

Award means: I am just happy to be recognized and be part of this community. It is an honor to be one of the nominees, and I was lucky enough that the judges and the public voted for me. I have been nominated in the past, but I am really proud to have won for this specific production. It was a very special production for APAC. I think it touched a lot of people. This is the type of show you always hope you are involved with, the type of show you are always trying to create, but somehow eludes your best efforts. I am proud and extremely thankful.

THE GALLERY PLAYERS - Outstanding Production of a Musical
Like You Like It - Heather Siobhan Curran, artistic director

First thought: Oh, my God! 3 times in a row!

First called: My husband

Award means: That The Gallery Players should continue to program new musical theater work as part of their regular season. It also validated my choices as Artistic Director and producer.

NICO VREELAND - Outstanding Original Short Script
The Interview, Elephants on Parade 2009

First thought: A combination of “Is this really happening?” and “Don’t trip on the stairs.” It gets a little hazy after that.

First called: The director of my show was busy texting people while I was backstage, so by the time I turned my phone on, my sister and my mother were already calling me. When I got home, I emailed my girlfriend, who’s in Africa. I haven’t heard back yet.

Award means: As an aspiring artist, it’s great to know that you’re not shouting into a void. It’s a thrill for me that somebody’s watching, and a real honor that they like what they see.

THE BRICK THEATER - Caffe Cino Fellowship Award
Michael Gardner, co-founder

First thought: The Caffe Cino Fellowship Award is actually determined and announced many weeks before the awards event. So it wasn’t any sort of surprise. But the announcement of our name marked the pinnacle of a month’s worth of nervousness over how to address 500 of my peers.

First called: The first person we notified was EVERYONE WE KNEW ON FACEBOOK.

Award means: Caffe Cino was before my time. Which makes it all the more meaningful for me, personally. I studied and devoured literature about 1960s Off-Off theater in undergrad. It was a period of intense creativity and fearlessness that I try to emulate as an artist and venue director on my better days. To be honored in the name of the institution which is credited with launching Off-Off Broadway as we know it is humbling, to say the least. We at The Brick like to think of ourselves as artists and community-builders in equal measure. And to be recognized as such by The New York Innovative Theatre Awards was insanely gratifying.

NEW YORK NEO-FUTURISTS - Outstanding Ensemble
(Not) Just a Day Like Any Other, Christopher Borg

First thought: Because I’m on the staff, when I heard them announce the recipient, there was a flash moment where I thought “am I in trouble?” then “there was a mistake!” – but after the initial flash of confusion I was overcome with such a feeling of elation and gratitude. It was one of the best feelings I have ever experienced, frankly.

First called: My sister, Meg! I texted her as soon as I got to my phone. And then I twittered it, of course!

Award means: It is especially meaningful to have received THIS particular award (Ensemble) for THIS particular production! The Neos always work as an ensemble, so we value this recognition above all others. But “(Not) Just a Day…” is by FAR the most ensemble-driven piece of theatre I have ever worked on. It was intensely personal and vulnerable to create an autobiographical piece, but the high-level of support and artistic guidance from the rest of my ensemble (Eevin, Kevin and Jeffrey) enabled me to open up and tell my part of the story honestly and openly. The show was one of the most gratifying theatrical experiences of my career and receiving the IT Award made me more proud and honored to be a part of my ensemble and my community in general. I couldn’t be happier. It couldn’t happen to a better group.

NEW YORK NEO-FUTURISTS - Outstanding Ensemble
(Not) Just a Day Like Any Other, Eevin Hartsough

First thought: Well, I was wishing they’d say the show’s name in my head and at the same time bracing myself to hear something else. So I was saying it over and over in my head “(Not) Just A Day . . . (Not) Just A Day . . .” and then that’s what Charles Bush said and what surprised me was the lack of jolt – the lack of dissonance – that what I was saying in my head was what the presenter said. Then I thought “hurry up! We only have a minute!” so I moved it . . .

First called: Exiting New World Stages I updated my facebook status which, in effect, let a lot of people know. My husband was with me so I didn’t need to tell him. I called my mom first thing in the morning.

Award means: (Not) Just A Day . . . was a complete labor of love for me. The New York Neo-Futurists had decided to produce one “Prime time” (as opposed to our usual late night) show in addition to our weekly Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind. There was a rigorous proposal process within the company and my journey began when the company chose my show concept to go forward. From that moment on, I felt a strong sense of obligation to the New York Neos – not to let them down. My first sigh of relief was when audiences responded so well to the play; my second was when we managed to pack our little house up at the Red Room and I didn’t loose the company any money. It was a huge acknowledgement to have been even nominated for the award – this was the first piece I’d ever done before as the Captain of the ship, so to speak. To win feels to me like something to be personally very proud of and it feels like something great!

SUZI TAKAHASHI - Outstanding Director
Lee/gendary

First thought: For the last few days my boyfriend had been telling me that I was going to win. Of course, I did not believe him, as I usually am not the sort of person who wins things… So, my first thought was, “I can’t believe he is right!” Then, I thought that if I kissed him, I would smear my lipstick. Then, I hoped I would not forget to thank my parents; unfortunately, I did forget. Thank you Mom and Dad!

First called: The first person I called was artistic director of BVT, Karin Bowersock. She is the person who insisted that I start directing, and subsequently has given me many of my first opportunities as a director. One day this past summer, she told me that she had a dream in which I won a big award and did not thank her. Apparently, in this dream my omission caused us to have a big fight. Therefore, I was sure that she was the first person I thanked both publicly and privately.

Award means:Winning the IT Award for directing came at a significant moment for me personally. I began directing later in my “career,” and starting over at the beginning has at times been disheartening. A few days ago, I was having a serious conversation with myself about whether I had started too late to ever be able to make a career of it. I asked myself, “When is the moment that a person knows it is time to alter dreams for the sake of pragmatism?” Being acknowledged at the IT awards reminded me that the best art comes out of love for the craft, and in that type of love there is no easy pathway; no pragmatics to fall back upon. To be honored by my peers, who all struggle, create, and dream in the same ways, is a touching reminder that though the audience may be small, there are people out their watching who care about innovative work and believe in me.

KIMMY GATEWOOD - Outstanding Original Music
The Apple Sisters

First thought: Holy crap! (then) Ahhhhhh!

First called: My co-winners: My “sisters", Rebekka Johnson & Sarah Lowe, and the boys, Jeff Solomon & Andy Hertz, who are all on the west coast!

Award means: This award was so unexpected. When Rebekka, Sarah & I formed the Apple Sisters, it was out of pure joy and love of the music and sensibility of the 40s. So to be recognized by our peers means so much more. Music and lyrics are the ultimate expression of an emotional moment. The Apple Sisters are the ultimate expression of flying food products and pratt falls. I am so thrilled our tunes moved people, even with pudding smeared on our faces. Thank you NYIT Awards (in 3 part harmony).

NEW YORK NEO-FUTURISTS - Outstanding Ensemble
(Not) Just a Day Like Any Other, Jeffrey Cranor

First thought: Sadly, I couldn’t be at the ceremony, because I was in tech for a new show, but I got a text message from the NY Neo-Futurists who were in attendance. In fact, I got about 6 text messages. But the very first one was from my mother-in-law in Houston. So my first thought was “HTF did she know I won??!” (She was watching the webcast.)

First called: I told my wife, who was with me at tech rehearsal.

Award means: I’ve never received a theater award before. It’s great! It really is. And it’s not just the pride but the sense of recognition & belonging within this amazing community of New York artists. That’s the most exciting thing.

ELYSE MIRTO - Outstanding Actress in a Lead Role
Any Day Now

First thought: First thought when my name was called was that it was an echo. My name was said last when they read the nominees. Next thought "Sh*%! I have nothing prepared to say because I thought Jan Maxwell would win.

First called: Got outside the theatre on the street, called my mom Karen in Las Vegas and we both squealed like little piggys as my date watched and laughed.

Award means: I took a big chance moving to NYC 18 months ago. Leaving agents, a relationship and a life behind because I felt stagnant in LA. I had $60 left over after my headshots last year. I started waitressing and pounding the pavement. This award means more than I can write here but it is validation that my instincts to return to theatre and start over in the Big Apple were right and now Don Buchwald&assoc has signed me for 3 years so I'm staying!

Monday, September 7, 2009

50/50 in 2020: Parity for Women Theatre Artists - Part 2

Playwright Crystal Skillman continues her report on 50/50 in 2020: Parity for Women Theatre Artists, a panel and working event sponsored by the League of Professional Theatre Women, New Perspectives Theatre Company, and Women’s Project. To be kept up to date about this topic, check out their Facebook page.

“Get it in Print.”

Alexis Greene (critic/author) and Milly Barranger (author) hit home how to share our work, create a record of history and gain production, as well as career opportunities, all through one simple act – publishing. Getting your work in print and knowing your history matters. Because as Milly pointed out, voices are missing from history. Ours. Both Alexis and Milly fight against this in the publications they edit or write, as well as their work in education. Alexis’s recent book Front Lines: Political Plays by American Women (with co-editor Shirley Lauro) is one of my favorite new additions to my library and it was great to hear Alexis remind us playwrights not to freak out about publishing non-produced plays. It not only creates a record of the work, but can go around to universities and school where there is a call for work by women. These classes want published work by contemporary women writers that can be studied and performed. Another Alexis – playwright Alexis Clements, who is in the Women’s Project playwriting lab with me, filled me in with some awesome notes she feverishly scrawled on the working group that Alexis Greene led later in the night:
- Publishing is an important and powerful tool for disseminating women’s work and also for establishing a critical dialogue about the work
- In American there is more squeamishness about publishing ahead of production. For example, in Britain, it’s very common for a work to be published before production.
- Traditional publishing has a very long time-scale 2-5 years to get a book done, but in purchasing a distribution package though a company like
lulu.com, you can get your book published with an ISBN and distribution to major outlets within a matter of months.

During the panel, playwright Caridad Svich’s work publishing playwrights from her group No Passport was also mentioned as a great model. She’s created NoPassport Press that has not only brought great attention to their diverse group of writers, but allowed new readers and possible producers to experience these plays. In short the message is get the work out there, and the more we have in print, the more of a chance we have for future generations to know our history and the work we’ve created.

Soooooo say you already sent off your play to lulu.com. Or you’re putting together a group of plays to be published. Now, how are you going to continue to engage that conversation about you and your work?

“Theatre Can Be About People You Know”

One of my favorite moments of the night was when Linda Winer (critic/television host) spoke. She described coming from Chicago where it wasn’t such a big deal to be a woman theatre critic. But when she came here it was very different for her. Still it wasn’t until she was sitting watching Wendy Wasserstein’s Uncommon Women & Others that she realized the above comment she shared with us. She realized she was never seeing plays that spoke to her directly and over time, as we know, she became an amazing champion of women’s work. But print is in huge trouble as we know. Also as we know, this has put criticism in the hands of so many more people and blogsters have been able to discuss theatre in a totally new way. It was emotional for Linda, sharing her concern of print being at such a crossroads. There is barely the right amount of attention being given to larger shows, not to mention anything below Broadway. But I think for all of us this crisis can bring up how we can really use these postings, reviews, essays in a way that can benefit us all. This is part of a larger conversation and one I’m only stepping into now, but I’ve already seen how exposure with on-line articles, blurbs and reviews can draw attention to those voices that are just not being heard on stage to help raise them up. Shortly after, in the Q & A section, Randy Gener (American Theatre Magazine) stood up and shared some amazing ideas of his own. He talked about looking for ways to get people to write “think pieces” about your work — to start conversations.

And these conversations need to include all generations and backgrounds – we really need to reach out to each other. The panelists themselves remarked on how they wished there was more diversity in the already packed theatre. I noted some of the younger artists who I’d seen in previous meetings were absent. It’s important to keep this in mind because only by working together, in ways that each of us can do best, can we have true momentum, keeping our ideas for solutions as diverse as the work we’re trying to bring attention to.

“We’re Responsible for Each Other.”

Natalia L. Griffith (NYC Commission on Women’s Issues), wrapped up the night in an inspiring way by opening up this conversation to the injustices of racial and gender inequality throughout the world and how important it is to take action. This reminds me of a point Susan Jonas brought up earlier – a call for a need to track statistics “regularly and with a consistent methodology to measure actual progress against perception. And against specific goals”. We need not only to understand the state of things, but measure our own possible effects in the years to come.

When the groups broke off and started brainstorming, groups on the stage, in the aisles, in the lobby, spilling onto the streets I saw people gravitating towards their passion – be it producing, publishing, criticism. This is the key for me. What can each of us do that uses our skills and what skills can we share and/or learn that helps the cause, while enriching our lives as artists and helping any of our neighbors whose stories are not being told? Because if you stand up for others to have their stories told, stories which are having difficulty being heard in the world, you open up possibilities for your own work to be produced. Maybe who you mentored will be getting their first production or reading their first review (yikes!) on-line or in the paper. Maybe for the first time they’ll get to direct a large cast or have a budget to hang lights or create a set. Maybe they’ll get to produce a show. Maybe it’s even yours. I hope so. Cuz I’ll be there. Front row. And maybe, just maybe by 2020 the program from this meeting, this very article, these 50/50 buttons will be in some museum, because they won’t be needed anymore. Maybe Julie Crosby said it best: “Nothing would make me happier than to see the mission of the Women’s Project obsolete.” To keep adding to this conversation or to learn more about 50/50 in 2020 please check out their page/become a fan on Facebook.


Crystal Skillman is a playwright, published in Plays & Playwrights 2008, and contributer to nytheatre.com. Her upcoming projects include Hack, a play in the Vampire Cowboy’s Saloon Series kicking off on Sept. 12th and That’s Andy, a musical about a boy who wants to play Annie, receiving a developmental reading at the York Theatre Oct. 6th at 3 PM.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

50/50 in 2020: Parity for Women Theatre Artists

Playwright Crystal Skillman is back with a full report on 50/50 in 2020: Parity for Women Theatre Artists, a panel and working event sponsored by the League of Professional Theatre Women, New Perspectives Theatre Company, and Women’s Project. To be kept up to date about this topic, check out their Facebook page. Here is Crystal's summary and her thoughts on what she considers a most exciting evening:

On Tuesday, August 25th at 6pm I stepped into the already packed lobby of the Julia Miles theatre. We’d all gathered for 50/50 in 2020: Parity for Women Theatre Artists, a panel and working group event sponsored by the League of Professional Theatre Women, New Perspectives Theatre Company and Women’s Project. Moderator, Melody Brooks (artistic director, New Perspectives) explained that the panel would share their insight into the ongoing struggle for women to have their voices heard in theatre. And for the first time in this ongoing conversation solutions were to be discussed, not only on the panel, but in working groups we’d break off into later.

Solutions! I hadn’t even heard that word used yet regarding this issue. It kinda made me a bit giddy inside to be honest. Being a writer and not really a reporter, in this piece I’d like to focus on creating a working guide to some of the solutions discussed that night for those that couldn’t make it as what’s most exciting about this insight is how we can use it on our own as working theatre artists as well as a collective.
“We can’t stand on the shoulders of giants unless we know who they are.”

That’s from Susan Jonas (author), who kicked off the panel. Susan wrote, with Susan Bennett, in 2002 the Report on the Status of Women in Theatre, based on a three year national study. It found, like the most recent studies, that women artists were under represented in theatre. (a copy of the report can be obtained by sending an email request to rd@nytheatre.com) It’s clear it hasn’t gotten better and only worse, which is what rekindled this all recently. And it’s been going on for a long time. As Susan read the list of women playwrights in history - Elizabeth Inchbald, Cicely Hamilton, Eva Le Gallienne, Margaret Webster, Hallie Flanagan - I realized I didn’t know who they are. Any of them. And I’m a theatre geek!

Elizabeth Van Dyke (Producing Artistic Director of Going to the River at EST) started reciting the women she had supported in her festival (which this year includes Melody Cooper, Naveen Bahar Choudhury, N.N Ewing, as well as Kara Lee Corthron, Kia Corthron, Lynn Nottage and Desi Moreno-Penson) I’m embarrassed to say I knew about four. That was a wakeup call for me. And this brings up a sobering thought which underscored the urgency of this issue – the names of those gathered in this room and those of the future generation of women theatre artists could be lost to the issue of parity we’ve all gathered here to face if we don’t act now. So what do we do? These issues not only face us, but anyone writing, directing, producing, designing something new or pushing the envelope in theatre today. But what can these unheard voices actually do?

“There is No Scarcity of Extraordinary Work by Women to Choose From.”

Julie Crosby (Artistic Director, Women’s Project) is a producer who knows, as we do, that there are incredible women theatre artists working in the theatre today. From Lucy Thurber’s Killers and Other Family at Rattlestick to Bekah Brunstetter’s Oohrah! at the Atlantic, both opening this month, not to mention Women Project’s and New Perspectives upcoming seasons (as well as the great women playwrights we’ve all met through various workshops) this is clear. So, how do we continue becoming more visible, seen on a consistent basis and continue to encourage further diversity? She reminded us first and foremost that “getting a job in this business” requires connections. She stressed that we must spend time networking - from the League of Professional Theatre Women to Facebook to the bar at Angus. She also reminded us that we must SEE the work of those theatres, programs, producers that we want to work with. This really meant a lot to me because it’s through seeing certain productions that I know where my work belongs. It’s totally true. And if we are really upset about gender and racial inequality in the theatre then “put your money where your mouth is”. Go to see these shows and support them. But the point Julie made that most folks came out quoting was about getting a mentor. Julie shared how she’s been “fortunate and had amazing mentors – mainly men – who have provided a backlog of support and guidance whenever I have asked for it. My career would not be where it is today without my mentors.” She urged us to “build a cabinet of people” who are not afraid of sharing their connections with you. “And if you are established in your career, then begin to mentor someone. Be generous. George Bush would never believe this, but your power will not diminish when you give good information to those who are asking to hear it.” But let’s say you’re already following through on these great suggestions – what do you do as these connections gain momentum?


“Attention to the Work”

Elizabeth Van Dyke shared with us a great example right there – Going to the River, a festival that has promoted women playwrights of color through readings and workshops at Ensemble Studio Theatre over the years and is kicking off again this Sept. 9th, is now going to PRODUCE the work. They’ll have to start with short plays in order for this to be do-able but this is a huge leap and it was wonderful to hear Elizabeth Van Dyke, whose speech was one of the most impassioned of the night, share her insight of how she came to the conclusion that “attention to the work” must be paid in production. Because as wonderful as the festival has been, she continues to see the writers championed there under represented by production. She recognized they were helping writers build a body of work but they were treading water. These plays have to be done to gain recognition. Wow – if every theatrical organization that only uses its development funds to do readings and workshops realized this, American theatre would be changed overnight. Not only will I be paying more attention to the list of writers Elizabeth’s festival is championing, but now I can SEE their work, which is so important. Okay but what if you’re moving towards this step but not quite there yet as a theatre artist to produce? You’ve got that play and you’re ready to go. What can you do most immediately and more affordably?

****
Check back tomorrow for the second part of Crystal's article.

Crystal Skillman is a playwright, published in Plays & Playwrights 2008, and contributer to nytheatre.com. Her upcoming projects include Hack, a play in the Vampire Cowboy’s Saloon Series kicking off on Sept. 12th and That’s Andy, a musical about a boy who wants to play Annie, receiving a developmental reading at the York Theatre Oct. 6th at 3 PM.