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 . . .

Circus: Valentine's Day Shows @ STREB S.L.A.M.

Photo by Virginia Wills,
featuring Megan Heflin.
Tomorrow the wife and I will embark on more original aerial silks performances at STREB, this time in the "adult" shows with a Valentine's Day theme.  You can read a bit about my past performance in the venue and my plans for this weekend's over at the Aviary.  I'll be performing my own choreography, playing a lonely travelling businessman caught in the rain and missing his certain someone. The shows will start at 10:00pm Friday and Saturday nights, which is rather a bit later than I'm accustomed to strenuous exercise, but I expect sheer panic will keep me spritely.

The Puppeteers: A Wonderful Weirdness in Oz

Image compiled by David Zarko.
This weekend my first production as a director with Zuppa del Giorno - The Puppeteers - opens.  You can buy tickets here, but why do that before you've had a chance to check out some of the development first?  Our process outside of the rehearsal room has been recorded on a 'blog: http://thepuppeteersproduction.blogspot.com/.  Check us out!

Speaking to the Dead

Tonight we open Sharon Fogarty's Speaking to the Dead at TheatreLab.  The show has a very limited run from tonight, December 2nd through Sunday the 5th.  Details may be found below.

This is in many ways a kind of workshop production - with no formal set and simply thematic costuming - but Sharon has worked and developed her script to the point that it's an entertaining hour of comedy and music.  It's also the first musical I've been in for almost ten years now, and in spite of my best efforts I have been afforded the opportunity to sing a solo in it.  Just a little one, right near the end.  I play a gameshow host with a duplicitous approach to the world who learns how to be true to himself when he falls in love with the ghost-whisperer that's the star of the show.

Speaking to the Dead
A new comedy by Sharon Fogarty
Dec. 2-4 @ 8:00pm & Dec. 5 @ 2:00pm
$18 - tickets available at https://www.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/790185

Featuring: Tony Di Sante, Kaira Klueber, Sarah Ecton-Luttrell, Matthew Porter, Danny Stix, Renee Torriere, Karen Christie-Ward, T.D. White, Jeff Wills & D. Zhonzinsky.

Reading: The Widow Ranter

Tomorrow I get the opportunity to redeem myself for a reading I had to miss last year, by participating in the latest reading of it.  I'm talking about a developmental reading for Adrienne Thompson's The Ranters, based on the play The Widow Ranter, by Aphra Behn.  The reading is closed and for the purposes of further revision, but Adrienne (whom I know through my work with NYU's playwriting division) has been collaborating with Karen Carpenter on the script, so I'm excited to see how things go.  I'll be playing someone well out of my range - the 60-something Colonel Junius Ranter - but that's fun stuff too.  I like bluster; especially the English variety.

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!

Reading: The New Me

Today I'm reunited with several people through work of Artistic New Directions and a playwright, Margo Hammond.  I participated in a developmental reading of her play The New Me back in October of last year, and now I'm back in a different role - that of the private investigator who develops a romantic interest in his suspect. This reading also reunites me with Princess and Laid Plans director Kay Long, and occasional NYU pal, Christa Kimlicko Jones.  It's at 7:00 pm Sunday at Shetler Studios.

Circus: Halloween Shows @ STREB S.L.A.M.

Tomorrow my wife and I will perform our aerial silks routines for two shows - 3:00 and 7:00 pm - as a part of Streb lab's Halloween performances.  Our slots are the children-appropriate ones, but there's also a couple of burlesque circus shows at 11:00 pm Friday and Saturday evenings.  This is my silks debut, and I'll be doing a comic piece of my own devising that features a supposed circus strongman (handle-bar mustache and all) trying to get at a glowing pumpkin that's way up on the ceiling.  Call Streb S.L.A.M. for details: (718) 384-6491.

Zuppa del Giorno: The Puppeteers, Meeting #1

This weekend we'll have the first cast-inclusive collaborative meeting to discuss direction for Zuppa del Giorno's new production slated for January 12th: The Puppeteers; or, In Spite of It All.  Over the course of the weekend we'll discuss story elements, explore potential characters, and maybe even train a little at the kind of expansive physical comedy the show will undoubtedly incorporate.  We'll go in blind, and come out a little less blind and with germs that will hopefully infect with enthusiasm.

Reading: Speaking to the Dead

Tonight I'll be participating in a reading of a new one-act musical by Sharon Fogarty entitled Speaking to the Dead.  I'm connected to Sharon through various friends stemming from Manhattan Theatre Source, including Daryl Boling and Jason Grossman, with whom I recently worked on Love Me.  This reading is a sort of introductory rehearsal for a brief run as part of a festival going up at the start of December, and I'll be playing a game-show host who falls hard for the psychic featured on said game show (played by fellow Love Me alum Kaira Klueber).  It's fun, and doesn't require me to sing, just fall down a lot.

Training: Corporate Role-Play

Tomorrow begins a string of days throughout the month of October during which I will be serving as an actor facilitator for Bi-Jingo's corporate training program (see 8/10/10 for details).  This series won't be stated here in full posts, just because it would get ridiculously repetitive (all right - MORE repetitive than usual).  The dates I've booked are September 29, 30, October 5, 13, 22 and December 7; there's also a possibility of pick-up dates in November.  All of these dates will be working with a different company and format than my first assignment, which is encouraging, as is the fact that I've been entrusted to act in an opening scenario and lead a brief analysis of the scene afterwards.  Great work if you can get it.

Zuppa del Giorno: Welcome Meeting

Today is the first of many meetings to lay groundwork for the upcoming original Zuppa del Giorno comedy.  We're working with an entirely new player this time - Elizabeth Hope Williams - and so I'll be meeting briefly with her to give her some context before we start tossing around ideas.  We'll look at photos from our past shows, discuss her experience and generally fill in any gaps she may have as it pertains to the commedia dell'arte.  It's exciting to return to this work, and more story-development meetings are bound to crop up as the fall progresses.

Community: The Pack

Tomorrow evening is the first meeting of it's 2010-'11 season of a collaborative feedback group I've been invited to join: The Pack.  The Pack is a division of Packawallop Productions, a theatre company based here in NYC, and I was invited to join by former collaborators Josh Sohn and Laura Pestronk.  I don't know exactly what to expect, beyond the fact that it's a group that fosters work from just about every role in the theatrical process - actors, playwrights, directors and more - and I'm eager to be involved in that kind of critical support again.  Whatever its use to me may prove to be...

Workshop & Production: Marywood University

Tomorrow I'm off to Scranton once again to co-lead a week's workshops in the commedia dell'arte for Marywood's undergraduate theatre students, all of it culminating in a performance of an original commedia play in the town square on Labor Day - La Festa Italiana.  It's been two years since I participated in this annual course, and I'm very excited to get back to it.  It's supported by the Electric Theatre Company in conjunction with The Portal Project, which works to integrate education with the community at large.  This workshop is immensely rewarding every time, so I'm eager to return to it.

Training: Corporate Role-Play

Tomorrow I'll be embarking on a new endeavor - working as an "actor facilitator" for a UK-based corporate development firm called Bi-Jingo.  Tomorrow is a short event to introduce and practice their methods, with which just from reading I find myself in complete alignment.  Facilitators role-play scenarios with managers, and those scenarios are framed around potentially difficult feedback conversations with employees or team members.  The emphasis is on specificity, and keeping a balance between the task a person needs to achieve and one's relationship with that person in the moment.  Great stuff; very curious.

Reading: Southampton Writers Conference, yet again

This Friday the 30th I'll be returning to the SWC's playwriting division, this time on invitation from playwright Thomas Higgins. He's having a reading of his new play, Wild Animals You Should Know, in which I'll be playing an enthusiastic scoutmaster - Rodney - with a secret. (Said secret being the one you probably immediately imagined.) Joe Mantello will be directing the reading, which I confess is rather a thrill, and we'll rehearse for a few hours during the day before performing the invitational reading that evening.

Reading(s): Southampton Writers Conference

More than a touch late on announcing this one, but since it's the sort of thing that requires ID badges (we need stinking badges) I don't feel too bad. From July 21st through the 25th I worked as an actor at the Southampton Writers Conference, with the playwriting division. This was in conjunction with the The Ensemble Studio Theatre, and involved working with all the playwriting attendees on their workshopping, as well as acting in two invited developing plays:
  • Tom Rowan's Burning Leaves; in which I once again played Matt Leland, a former NYC actor who moves to a midwestern town called Pittsville to teach high school theatre and discovers that work to be more personally challenging than he could have possibly expected.
  • Ben Rosenthal's Neptune Kelly; in which I played Edgar Thorne, another teacher, but this one from a small town in the Northeast who is coping with a recent, rather extreme decision he made for himself.
Stay tuned and hear what teacher I'll play next!

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.