Reading: On Rachmaninoff's Birthday

Tonight I'll be appearing in a private reading of On Rachmaninoff's Birthday, a three-act play by Alejandro Morales. I'll be playing Vladimir Nikolayovich Zubokov, a repressed Russian piano student in Leningrad in 1960, as well as the same fellow in Cuba, in 1989. I'm looking forward to it (even scraping the rust off my Russian dialect), as I like the script and have yet to work with Alejandro. I've met him through my association with Packawallop Productions. Communism: still bringing people together.

Reading: Princess

A year-and-a-half ago I performed in a short play called Princess, by Jason Schafer. It has been expanded into a screenplay, greatly revised, and yet somehow I'm still involved! In tonight's reading - free and open to the public - I'll be playing Heath, a father of a different stripe than the one I played back in 2010. The details:


Princess
@ The Soho Playhouse (15 Vandam Street between 6th & Varick) at 7:00 pm.

CAST:
Ben Curtis ... North
Liz Douglas ... Marina
John Gardner ... Ace/Dean
Shira Levin ... Screen Directions
Michael Gnat ... Pappy/Pastor Bob/Policeman
Ian Scott McGregor ... J.J./Griffin
Heidi Schreck ... Gretchen
Jeff Wills ... Heath
Amy Wilson ... Sarah

Sacred Ground

"Rehearsing a drama about abandoned babies" is the answer to the question where on earth I have been for the past month. I play Father William, a young, newly appointed Catholic priest suddenly in charge of a very large congregation. Tomorrow, Thursday June 16th, is an invitational dress rehearsal for Sacred Ground, Friday is preview, and Saturday is opening. It runs every night except Sundays, at 7:30pm, until the 30th. Some more details:

The Harold Clurman Laboratory Theater Company presents SACRED GROUND by Christina Gorman, directed by Shelley Butler, at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting (31 West 27th Street, Floor 2). 
Former socialite Genevieve Barrows spends her days gardening in the church cemetery at the graves of abandoned newborns, while her church pastor and the local police sergeant keep a protective eye on her as she doggedly pursues her daily task. When a guileless young woman invades the trio’s turf, her presence threatens to upend their uneasy alliance. Inexplicably drawn to the cemetery, these four unlikely sentinels clash over grief, law, secrecy and redemption. Featuring Sarah Lord*, Angela Vitale*, Jeff Wills* and Noel Wilson. Presented in conjunction with the Actors Equity Association of North America.
 It's a good play, and a nice chance to re-team with Christina Gorman, with whom I worked on As Far As We Know. Tickets available here.

Robowar

Last weekend I began upon an epic adventure: Acting in a mock-buster. Mock-busters, for those of you at all outside of this obnoxiously hyphenated lingo, is a low- or micro-budget film that borrows heavily from other films. They're not actually trying to mock said films - that just kind of happens when you're trying to do Avatar, for example, while funding it with your Discovery card. Anyway, the working title of our little science-fiction epic is Robowar (which I badly hope gets changed) and I play Rathbone, a brass-polishing former space mercenary. It's being directed by Andrew Bellware through his company, Pandora Machine. Did I mention there's no money? Did I mention it is ridiculously fun? We film over the next few entire weekends, no idea how long it will take to produce, but in the meantime there are photos.

NYU: Festival of New Works

Today I'll be performing in a reading of Jeremy Greenberg's screenplay, Song of Zion, at NYU. The script tells the story of a young Hasidic man who discovers punk culture and comes into conflict with his community and its expectations of him. I'll be playing the young man's older, estranged homosexual brother, who finds him once he's growing away from their family and religion and urges him to turn back. Conservative, I can do. Properly pronouncing Hebrew . . . we'll just have to see . . .

Reading: Closure

I'm posting after the fact, and radically pre-dating, in the interests of keeping my involvement in a play that's still in development discrete.  I swear it's that, and not me being behind on my posting.  Honest.

Tomorrow, November 8th, I'll be participating in a developmental reading of James B. Nicola's latest script, Closure.  (You may remember James as the director of a reading I participated in earlier this year: Joseph Warren.)  The reading is for feedback and revision purposes, but will also be before a small audience to harvest responses and critique.  It's difficult to explain my role without betraying some mysteries of the plot, but suffice it to say that I will be tested in my dialect flexibility and accuracy - I'll be going for Cockney, Brooklyn, and a tongueless chap in addition to my plain ol' normal (somewhat) neutral dialect.  Wish me luck!

Laid Plans


On Saturday, July 17th, I'll be appearing in Josh Sohn's short play, Laid Plans, which is being presented as part of The Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival. The play is directed by Kay Long (with whom I recently worked on Princess), my fellow actors are Lucia Brizzi and Kristine Niven, and you can purchase tickets to this thirty-minute masterpiece at Ticket Central. Be sure it's for the 9:00pm slot on the 17th!

I'm posting this one a bit earlier because, apparently, room is limited and tickets are selling out fast. I know: That's the standard pitch. It's really truly true this time. That having been said, it is an Equity showcase, so my fellow AEA members can take that free-ticket gamble if they so choose. I'm excited about this one. It's a script I'm quite fond of, and Josh and I have been conversing about it in one respect or another for almost a year now. Plus, I'll be playing no less than five characters in it, which is a nifty reunion with my Zuppa del Giorno roots for me.

Reading: Joseph Warren


This Friday kicks off three performances of a staged reading of a new play: Joseph Warren: A True Patriot. It's a drama by Robert Blecker, directed by James B. Nicola, and I'll be playing the titular character, an often over-looked major player in the early stages of the American Revolution. (Yes: That guy on the right there -- typecasting...?) The performances will be held at the New York Law School at 185 West Broadway on the following dates and times:
  • Friday, April 23 at 7:45pm
  • Saturday, April 24 at 4:30pm
  • Monday, April 26 at 6:15pm
Those wishing to attend should contact Jessa [jfarkas{at}nyls.edu] specifying which performance and how many seats. Let me know, too, so I can direct my oratorical prowess in your general direction.

NYU: Graduate Playwriting

What, again? Yes: Again. And with the same playwright, same story, no less:
"I'll be playing an extremely aggressive character trying to get a rather disturbing idea put into action."
The playwright has done some revisions, possibly extensive. I'm looking forward to working on the script again. It's not often that I play a hardened character such as this and, as we all know, half the fun in that is finding the cracks.

NYU: Graduate Playwriting

Tonight I'll be working once again with the NYU playwrights as part of their regular Tuesday night class. It's been rather a long time since I've done this, so I'm looking forward to seeing who's around (and who actually remembers me). I'll be playing an extremely aggressive character trying to get a rather disturbing idea put into action. I will, in fact, be playing at least twenty years older than I perhaps ought, due to being (I believe) a last-minute replacement. I like that about these venues; in the work-a-day acting world you have to aim for what people can see you as, but here the play is free.

NYU: Film Department

The Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film & Television is certainly keeping me busy lately. Today I'll be back again for the first of a two-part filming of a student project. The second part is to be filmed on October 9th. The assigment is to make something out of an arbitrary section of dialogue, and this director has cast me as a poisonous murderer, with a conscience. Some of these gigs are more fun than others...

Update: The director of these pieces, Jonathan Hurwitz, has posted them online in two chapters:

Reading: Our Country's Good

SHHHHHHHH!
I'm performing in a super-secret reading, just about at this very moment, of Our Country's Good, by Timberlake Wertenbaker. I'll be playing Harry Brewer and John Wisehammer , and the whole thing is a surprise for the birthday of one Miss Cynthia Hewett. Cynthia played Amanda in the production of Glass Menagerie that introduced me to Pennsylvania audiences years ago, and it's a perfect reunion to be able to act with her once again.

NYU: The Maltese Falcon


Denny Lawrence comes through with interesting work once again, this time with more of a performance twist than an educational one. On Friday I'll be filmed as Sam Spade (personal fantasy of mine, now fulfilled) in an excerpt from The Maltese Falcon as a part of Michael Bow's final project for Denny's Sight & Sound class. It should be a good time, and good reel material; Monday's rehearsal was a blast. It seems I missed my era, at least insofar as popular film genres go . . .

Burning Leaves


Back in July I did a developmental reading for Tom Rowan's play: Burning Leaves. This Sunday a revised version will open in a more fully realized staged reading as part of the Ensemble Studio Theatre's Octoberfest. The dates for the two performances are Sunday, November 16, at 5:00 PM, and Wednesday, November 19, at 9:00 PM. A new director, Gaye-Taylor Upchurch, will be on board and the performance will include some skeletal staging.

For those of you who couldn't make it out for the first reading, Burning Leaves is the story of a former New York actor just moved to middle America in order to teach high school drama. I'll be playing the teacher himself. The play is funny, sad and oh-so-very true. More details:
The Ensemble Studio Theatre
Octoberfest 2008
presents
A staged reading of Burning Leaves, a new play by Tom Rowan,
directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch with:
Kevin Confoy*, Abigail Gampel*, Allison Goldberg*, Hana Kalinski, Alexander Paul Nifong, and Jeff Wills*

Leaving behind the wreckage of his life in New York, Matt takes a job teaching at a small high school in the middle of nowhere. He desperately needs a fresh start, but a talented and troubled student makes his new life anything but simple. A new play by the author of Kiss and Cry, David's Play, and The Second Tosca. Two performances: Sunday, November 16, at 5:00 PM Wednesday, November 19, at 9:00 PM.
THE ENSEMBLE STUDIO THEATRE
Second Floor Mainstage
549 West 52nd Street (between 10th and 11th Avenues)
Manhattan Reservations: 212-247-4982 x105
This is a free event; donations gratefully accepted.

Between Adults

This Friday, at 8:00 pm, you can catch me in a reading of Josh Sohn's play-in-progress, Between Adults. The reading will be held in the lovely Montauk Club, in Brooklyn, and is free, free, free. So come on out, have yourself a Park Slope kind of Friday and enjoy seeing me play a very confused middle-aged man. Hey: boyish charm can only get you so far.

The promo email:
Brooklyn is the best borough, by far. That's generally accepted. But what you may not know, though it's proven by science and scientists, is that Brooklyn is the greatest place in the known universe when autumn is beginning. The air is fresh, the buildings are short and people are in a stupidly good mood. So why not make tomorrow evening a Park Slope evening? Have a nice dinner, window shop, admire architecture and fantasize about Walt Whitman.

The best part? I've got a free theatrical event for you to attend. That's right! Your entertainment decision/expense is covered! This Friday, October 3rd at 8 PM at the beautiful
Montauk Club in Park Slope (View Larger Map'>25 8th Ave.), you can catch these folks:

Andrew Elliott

Chelsea O'Connor
Jennifer Gordon Thomas
&

Jeff Wills

in a staged reading of Between Adults, a play-in-progress by Josh Sohn. The reading will run about 90 minutes and there will be a short intermission, so please come and feel free to bring whomever. You deserve a change of scenery. You deserve free developmental theatre. Don't try to tell me I'm wrong. You deserve it. It's science.

NYU: Steinberg Lab

I will once again be returning (with even more redundancy) to act for the undergraduate playwriting lab at NYU. This Monday, midday, the play we'll be putting on its feet (or, rather, on chair legs) will be Rebecca Ellis's DIZZY, a quirky drama of the complicated confusion that can arise when female puberty meets male mid-life crisis. I'll be playing a young aspiring priest, the new teacher at an all-girls Catholic school. But I'm not the one you have to watch out for . . .

NYU: Steinburg Lab

This Monday, in addition to acting in an industrial, I will be participating in my first table reading of the new school year down at NYU. The reading is to help a playwright in their Steinberg Lab develop his (or her?) dramatic work, entitled The User Guide, and I will be playing the Guide, a somewhat mysterious figure who lives beneath the floorboards and reminds one of a butler. Michael Caine, I summon thee...