About Me

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I dig jazz and single-malt scotch.  I write plays; I direct them too. I love STAR WARS more than is healthy. I walk my dogs every day, unless it's raining or terribly cold.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Original Cast of RENT reassembles in NYC for anniversary



Another Season of Love: The Original Cast Reassembles for a 'Rent' Anniversary

By ANTHONY TOMMASINI

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of "Rent," the original cast members performed the show in a semistaged version at the Nederlander on Monday.


From left, Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Anthony Rapp, Jesse L. Martin and Byron Utley in a 10th-anniversary performance at the Nederlander, another milestone for a show that is much loved around the world.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Brown New Play Fest April 26-30

Brown University Literary Arts Program and Brown University/Trinity Repertory Consortium present:

NEW PLAYS FESTIVAL
April 26-30, 2006
McCormack Family Theater, Brown University



Providence, RI — The work of three extraordinary playwrights once again finds voice in New Plays Festival 24.2, which opens at the McCormack Family Theatre at 8pm on Wednesday, April 26th. The plays are performed in repertory throughout the week. Each play is as unique as its writer. Sam Marks’ dark humor peoples a 1960’s Catskills comedy club with a dysfunctional duo (The Joke). An apparently innocent dinner party in middle-class suburbia gets dirty when unexpected visitors arrive in Andy Bragen’s Food Porn and teenage sex games grow up in Don’t Stop by Molly Rice. Working under the inimitable guidance of Pulitzer Prize winner Paula Vogel the playwrights find truly original ways to envision the rules by which we construct our lives. Having served as a forum for the early work of playwrights like Nilo Cruz (2003 Pulitzer Prize for Drama), Sarah Ruhl (Pulitzer Finalist), and Shay Youngblood (Kennedy Center Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award 1993), the New Plays Festival in its 24th year continues to be instrumental in bringing the work of today’s most exceptional playwrights to the world stage starting right here in Providence!

Featured Works:

Food Porn by Andy Bragen, directed by Geordie Broadwater
On a snowy night in Columbus, Ohio, aspiring gourmet Maggie Redd prepares the meal of her life, and everything goes wrong. Food Porn is a brutal comedy about war, doughnuts, and haute cuisine.

Don’t Stop by Molly Rice, directed by Brigitta Victorson
The spirit of Don Juan is ignited in the body of an adolescent girl. A robot programmed to seduce unleashes his powers on the audience. Men surrender, women dance for each other, and bodies crack wide open. Watch their shapes change as they pick their way through a twisted forest of desires.

The Joke by Sam Marks, directed by Annie Piper
Struggling to find fame in a Catskills comedy club in 1965, two comedians find that they are able to talk to each other solely through their jokes. As the jokes become darker and more personal, Doug and Ed must decide whether to stay together as a duo or learn to talk to each other in another way.

Performance schedule:

Wednesday, April 26th
8:00pm:Food Porn

Thursday, April 27th
8:00pm: Don’t Stop

Friday, April 28th
8:00pm:The Joke

Saturday, April 29th
2:00pm:The Joke

Saturday, April 29th
8:00pm:Food Porn

Sunday, April 30th
3:00pm:Don’t Stop


New Plays Summit, a colloquium of writers, directors, and producers of new works currently working in the industry, will follow the Saturday afternoon performance, starting at 3:30pm.
All performances are free and seating is first-come, first-served.

New Plays Festival 24 is organized and presented by the Brown University Literary Arts Program in conjunction with the Brown University / Trinity Repertory Consortium. The playwrights are second year MFA candidate students in playwriting at Brown University and develop their work under the direction of Pulitzer Prize winner and Seaver Professor of Playwriting Paula Vogel. Working with them are the students of acting and directing in the Brown/Trinity Consortium MFA program who study under the talented direction of Curt Columbus (Artistic Director, Trinity Rep), Amanda Dehnert (Acting Artistic Director 05-06 Season, Trinity Rep), Erin Cressida Wilson, and Stephen Berenson (Chair of the Consortium) among many others.

Boots on the Ground @ Trinity Rep looks at the War in Iraq



Last night I went to see BOOTS ON THE GROUND @ Trinity Repertory.

Whoa.



It's a piece of documentary theater culled from interviews gathered last fall from Rhode Island residents. It brings a unique personal perspective to the impact of the war in Iraq. By illuminating the details of the lives of Americans close to home and at war I have gained a level of intimacy with the soldiers and their families that had not entered my strata before seeing this play.

Early in the performance I found myself wondering, "Why isn't this a film documentary? How is this theater?" Soon after that thought I found myself abandoning the notion of "play" and "theater" and became involved with the stories, with the woven storylines, and tapestry storytelling being played before me.

There was humor mixed with the horror, with the hardship, with the unknown. One woman told the story of a beer can that she treasured, keeping it on its place on her night table until the return of her husband. A pastor told the story of a fallen soldier from his parrish, and in the soldiers wallet was a picture the pastor had given as a gift at the soldier as a boy, and how he had presided at the soldiers funeral.

The tales of camel spiders -- who ever heard of such a thing -- and they dared us to look them up online -- and you can -- CAMEL SPIDERS They are CREEPY...!

After the performance of the play (ACT I) -- the audience is invited to have a public discussion of the work, of the war, of ourselves (ACT II). The first woman who spoke last Staurday was the mother of a soldier in Iraq. She and her husband had come to the performance and had worn their United States Marine Corps shirts -- embroidered in gold on black heavy-wieght cotton sweatshirts. She said that only one person had asked her about her shirt all evening, and that was revealing to her. She was afraid that this play would not change people's attitiudes about the war -- actually, not so much attitudes, I think, as awareness. We walk around not seeing the war. We only feel it at the gas pump.

It was also noted that had the interviews been done in the past several months and not last year, that the tone of the piece would have been very different regarding the people's feelings about the Bush Administration. That a nation contemplating the impact of the war in Iraq post Hurrican Katrina and with gasoline prices over $3 in Rhode Island would demand a greater examination and response in the dialogues and monologues presented.

These are all interesting and valid points. To the mother of a soldier who sat with us last Saturday night, I can say that this play has made me aware of the war, of the soldiers fighting the war, and of my own consideration of those facts and those people.

It woke me up.

BOOTS ON THE GROUND plays thru May 21 at the Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, Rhode Island.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Final Planning Stage for Spring series @ Westerly

Last night was the final installment for Spring 2006 @ the Westerly Library for the Planning Stage. We had a record 48 people in the audience.

It looks like we may have to move future readings at the library to a larger room, because between the people and the sculpture it was a bit cramped in the art gallery.

Still, the actors were great and the two featured playwrights got a lot out of the public airing of the plays.

All in all -- a good event and strong finish for our second series held at the Westerly Library.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

The Planning Stage: CUT reading


Here's a slightly blurry pic of Heidi Harger and Michael McGuire at the reading of CUT by Anna Maria Trusky last Wednesday evening at the Westerly Library. It was a packed house in the art gallery.

The reading series continues on 4/19 at 7:00 PM with WAR AND PIZZA and DEER IN THE HEADLIGHTS. Got to The Planning Stage for more info.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Call for Artists for June 17 Event @ The Egg

Call to Artists!!

Dancers, Actors, Musicians, Poets, Mimes, Puppeteers, or any combination thereof, and open to suggestion - for the Third Annual Narrative Assemblage Event on June 17, 2006 @ The Dragon's Egg in Ledyard, Connecticut.

The text/ story this year will be, (in keeping with our past two explorations of hell and not hell, via the Inferno and Faust):

Orpheus and Eurydice - Don’t Look Back

Contact me for more info or go to Arts Caravan to read the press release.

FYI: This is a vounteer, arts collective event. Artists create/perform/rehearse/organize their individual contributions and the whole production is assembles on the day of the performance. Plays/poems/songs/performance art projects are up to 5 minutes in length each.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Von Trapps: The Next Generation


A New Bunch of von Trapps, as Alpine as Sushi and Apple Pie
By STEVEN McELROY

In "The Sound of Music," when the young von Trapps weren't playing practical jokes on their governess, they were bicycling around Salzburg singing "Do Re Mi" and entertaining at fancy parties. Now a new generation— the great-grandchildren of Baron and Maria von Trapp — is running up and down scales for an audience. Sofia, 17; Melanie, 15; Amanda, 14; and Justin, 11; perform professionally together, sometimes going so far as to don lederhosen onstage.

Indeed, it seems as if the von Trapp Children, as they are known, are leading 21st-century versions of their predecessors' careers. They may have their own Web site, (vontrappchildren.com), but just like their forebears, including their grandfather Werner (called Kurt in the musical), they travel extensively giving concerts and have recorded albums of folk melodies, Christmas classics and songs from the musical. They'll even play themselves in a movie next year. From a hotel in Arizona, one stop on a tour that includes their New York debut this month at the Lamb's Theater, the children spoke by phone about the von Trapp life.

Read excerpts from the conversation at:
www.nytimes.com/2006/04/09/theater/09mcel.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Bullying piece peace

Last tuesday we worked out what we'll be doing with the Bullying Issue Piece. Thre are 5 kids willing to perform, so that's who I am rehearsing with. The performance has been downgraded to a short performance at the theater that will be video taped. And there will be a pizza party for the kids.

We'll use the video to show the work at an inter-school sharing day in May. Also, the kid will video tape some of the monologs seperately -- ina video studio -- and they will be shown at the sharing day too.

See? A solution. Whew.