November 29, 2012
It’s that time of year again, when nytheatre.com celebrates a group of individuals and companies who have made a significant contribution to the indie theatre landscape in NYC. This is the ninth year in a row that we have recognized a group of theater artists in this manner, and we couldn’t be happier to introduce these folks to you.
The list is based on nominations made by nytheatre.com’s staff of contributors, and then selected by the board of our parent company, The New York Theatre Experience, Inc. Information about our prior honorees is available online: 2011, 2010, and 2004-2009.
So, without any further ado, meet our People of the Year for 2012 and find out what they have in store for 2013.
THE AMORALISTS is a theatre company co-founded by Derek Ahonen, James Kautz, and Matthew Pilieci in 2007. They specialize in new plays that are gritty, dangerous, unpredictable, and morally ambiguous.
One Memorable Thing They Did in 2012: Produced resident playwright Derek Ahonen’s sprawling and ambitious theatre noir, The Bad and the Better, complete with a 26-member cast.
Plans for 2013: The Amoralists are currently prepping their 7th season, which will include the world premieres of Lyle Kessler’s Collision and Derek Ahonen’s The Cheaters Club, and the New York premiere of Rantoul and Die by Mark Roberts.
Learn more at: The Amoralists’ website.
SPENCER ASTE is a veteran character actor of remarkable versatility.
One Memorable Thing He Did in 2012: Delivered another memorable performance as one of the denizens of a Dust Bowl town in AXIS Company’s production of Last Man Club by Randy Sharp.
Coming Soon: Spencer will soon be appearing in AXIS Company’s annual mounting of Randy Sharp’s Seven in One Blow, a winter play for children.
Plans for 2013: He will be featured in Storm Theatre’s production of Le Cid, opening in January.
Learn more at: The AXIS Company website.
FRED BACKUS is a multifaceted actor and director, a longtime reviewer for nytheatre.com, and a veteran of the indie theatre scene.
One Memorable Thing He Did in 2012: Directed the world premiere of Pamela Sabaugh’s funny and moving solo show, Immaculate Degeneration, at the New York International Fringe Festival.
Plans for 2013: Fred and Pamela are looking to mount another run of Immaculate Degeneration (and possibly go out of town with it)at some point during 2013. He will also be on the hunt for more interesting acting and directing projects.
Learn more at: The Immaculate Degeneration website.
ZACK CALHOON is a talented actor and playwright, as well as a devoted theatre blogger and interviewer.
One Memorable Thing He Did in 2012: He wrote Rino, a political comedy inspired by Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, which received its world premiere production at The Brick Theater’s Democracy Festival this past summer.
Plans for 2013: In February, Zack will be reprising his performance of the title role in Boomerang Theatre Company’s production of Hamlet, which will be remounted for a tour of New York City schools. He is also writing a new play, Friday at Jimmy’s, commissioned by Rising Phoenix Rep.
Learn more at: Zack’s blog and Indie Theater Now.
SOL CRESPO is a skilled actor and playwright. She is also the Company Manager of Barefoot Theatre Company, and a company member of Pregones Theater.
One Memorable Thing She Did in 2012: Delivered a pair of memorable performances in Flux Theatre Ensemble’s productions of Menders by Erin Browne and August Schulenberg’s Deinde.
Coming Soon: Sol will soon be appearing in Pregones’ production of Dancing in my Cockroach Killers by Magdalena Gomez, and their workshop presentation of Jorge B. Merced’s Neon Baby.
Plans for 2013: She is in pre-production for Old Maid, a short film which she wrote and will star in. Shooting begins in January.
Learn more at: Sol’s website and the Pregones Theater website.
ADYANA DE LA TORRE is a proficient actor and director, as well as the Artistic Director of Ticket 2 Eternity Productions.
One Memorable Thing She Did in 2012: She produced two plays by Matthew Ethan Davis simultaneously during the summer: Falling Awake (which she directed) at the Midtown International Theatre Festival; and Ticket 2 Eternity (which she starred in) at the New York International Fringe Festival.
Coming Soon: In December, Adyana will be appearing in readings of Nina Mansfield’s The Gym Play (or, I Want to Look Good Naked) and Tracking by Matthew Ethan Davis.
Plans for 2013: She plans to continue her acting studies with Terry Schreiber.
Learn more at: Adyana’s website and Ticket 2 Eternity’s website.
RICHARD HINOJOSA is an expert playwright and puppeteer, the Artistic Director of Sick Little Productions, and a longtime reviewer for nytheatre.com.
One Memorable Thing He Did in 2012: He wrote Awkward Levity, an evening of three dark comic one-act plays (one of which he directed), which world premiered for Sick Little Productions last winter.
Coming Soon: In December, Richard will be performing as a puppeteer in Alphabet Arts’ production of Sweatshirt Man, a found object bunraku puppet show.
Plans for 2013: Richard has written three more short dark comedies and three new puppet shows, all of which are currently in development with his theatre company.
Learn more at: Sick Little Productions’ website, Indie Theater Now and the Alphabet Arts website.
JOHN HURLEY is a prolific and accomplished director, and the Artistic Director of Impetuous Theater Group.
One Memorable Thing He Did in 2012: Directed a newly re-imagined version of Jules Feiffer’s Feiffer’s People for The Brooklyn Comics & Graphic Festival and The Brick Theater.
Plans for 2013: John will be directing the world premiere of Johnna Adams’ new verse play, Lickspittles, Buttonholers and Damned Pernicious Go-Betweens, for Boomerang Theatre Company’s 2013 rep season.
MARIAH MACCARTHY is a savvy, inventive playwright and the Producing Director of Caps Lock Theatre.
One Memorable Thing She Did in 2012: Wrote and produced The Foreplay Play, about a potential foursome between a straight couple and a lesbian couple, which was given an intimate, site-specific production inside an actual Brooklyn apartment.
Plans for 2013: Mariah’s company, Caps Lock Theatre, will be presenting Sarah Shaefer’s play, The Gin Baby, along with another edition of PUSSYFEST, their popular showcase of new playwriting about the body. Mariah will also be developing the film adaptation of The Foreplay Play, workshopping her latest script, Lysistrata Rape Play,and working with Lauren Hennessy on a new web series about strippers.
Learn more at: Caps Lock Theatre’s website and Indie Theater Now.
MICHAEL MRAZ is a gifted and ubiquitous actor, and a frequent reviewer for nytheatre.com.
One Memorable Thing He Did in 2012: He starred in Serious Theatre Collective’s production of The Apocalypse of John, which ran at boththis year’s New York International Fringe Festival and Philadelphia Live Arts Festival & Philly Fringe.
Plans for 2013: Michael will be appearing in Melisa Annis’ new play, Pit, which opens at Theater for the New City in February. He will also be appearing regularly in Our Bar, Project: Theater’s monthly series of bar-centric one-act plays.
KIA ROGERS is an inventive and omnipresent lighting designer, and a creative partner with Flux Theatre Ensemble.
One Memorable Thing She Did in 2012: She designed lights for 59E59’s acclaimed production of In the Summer Pavilion by Paul David Young.
Coming Soon: Kia’s work can soon be seen in Flux Theatre Ensemble’s production of Hearts Like Fists by Adam Szymkowicz.
Plans for 2013: Kia plans to tour with Mary Lou Quinlan’s solo show, The God Box: A Daughter’s Story, design lights for the Spanish dance company Noche Flamenca, and continue her partnership with Flux.
Learn more at: Kia’s website, the Flux website, and Mary Lou Quinlan’s website.
TERRANOVA COLLECTIVE is a theatre company founded in 1996 and dedicated to supporting playwrights and the development of new works for the stage.
One Memorable Thing They Did in 2012: They produced their 9th Annual soloNOVA Arts Festival, which showcases the art of solo performance. This year’s edition featured performers Daniel Irizarry, Avery Pearson, Kelly Kinsella, and David Calvitto, among others.
Currently Playing: terraNOVA is currently presenting two productions: the world premiere of Robert Askin’s P.S. Jones and the Frozen City, and a return engagement of Adam Szymkowicz’s solo play UBU, directed and performed by Daniel Irizarry.
Plans for 2013: terraNOVA will co-produce The Correspondent by Ken Urban (with Rattlestick Playwrights Theater) in the spring; they will present workshop presentations of new works developed by their Groundbreakers Playwrights Group; and their 10th Annual soloNOVA Arts Festival is slated for May/June.
Learn more at: terraNOVA Collective’s website.
ERIN TREADWAY is an accomplished actor and a company member of Loading Dock.
One Memorable Thing She Did in 2012: She gave an outstanding performance as the title character in Leegrid Stevens’ play, Spaceman, which received its world premiere at Incubator Arts Project in October.
Plans for 2013: Erin will continue to develop Stevens’ latest work, The Dudleys!, through the Alec Baldwin Fellowship at The Singers Forum. A production is planned for the fall of 2013.
Learn more at: Erin’s website and Loading Dock’s website.
UNITED SOLO THEATRE FESTIVAL is the world’s largest solo theatre festival, led by Artistic Director Omar Sangare.
One Memorable Thing They Did in 2012: They presented the third installment of their annual festival, which featured performers Bob Brader, Tim Collins, Anita Hollander, Herb Newsome, Antonio Sacre, and Elizabeth Claire Taylor among dozens more.
Plans for 2013: United Solo aims to continue growing and elevating the careers of solo performers from all over the world. Submissions for their 4th annual festival will open in the spring.
Learn more at: United Solo’s website and Omar’s website.
JORDANA WILLIAMS is an imaginative director and a company member of Gideon Productions.
One Memorable Thing She Did in 2012: She directed the world premieres of Mac Rogers’ epic science fiction trilogy – Advance Man, Blast Radius, and Sovereign – for Gideon Productions.
Plans for 2013: She and the Gideon team are currently developing two new plays by Rogers: Frankenstein Upstairs, a re-working of Mary Shelley’s classic tale; and an as-of-yet untitled play about the sci-fi writer James Tiptree, Jr.
Learn more at: The Gideon Productions website.
[Editor's Note: Thanks to Michael Criscuolo, a previous Person the Year himself, for helping compile information about this year's honorees]
June 17, 2012
Here’s information about a unique, upcoming course being offered by our friends at Parallel Exit. If were younger and more limber I’d sign up myself:
Don’t let your summer fly by without some laughs.
Come learn from the very best! Join members of the Drama Desk-nominated company Parallel Exit for a week of physical comedy training that will excite, inspire, and challenge you.
Whether you’re an actor, dancer, singer, or variety performer, this workshop is catered for you and your performance needs.
All levels welcome.
The Intensive will cover:
o Character work
o Comic timing
o Body control and expression
o Moving and dancing with intention
o Creating and developing material
o Honing an act
o Solo, duo, and trio roles and dynamics
o Physical improvisation
o Working with a musician and music
Monday August 27 – Thursday August 30, 10am-6pm
Friday August 31 – 12-8pm (including a special informal showing)
305 West 38th Street
Special Early Bird Rate: $600 (if sign up by June 30)
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your spot
June 13, 2012
I first became aware of Theatre World when I was a teenager living in Maryland in the 1970s; back then, these glorious volumes, rich with beautiful production photos of shows, were one of my few lifelines to the exciting world of New York theater (the annual Tony Awards show and the occasional touring company at the National Theatre or Kennedy Center being the only others).
As theater more and more became my avocation, I built up my Theatre World collection, and I now have every volume, save one, from the very beginning (1944-45 season) through 2004-05. (The one I’m missing is 1960-61, apparently a particularly rare edition.)
These are lavish, expensive books, and the fact that through the course of my day job nowadays I pretty much receive most of the same photos and press releases and other resources that Theatre World‘s staff culls to make their books means that investing in them doesn’t make much sense for me. The folks at Theatre World Media generously sent me a copy of the newest volume, covering the 2010-11 theatre season, for review. And so now the question is whether I can suggest to folks who don’t run a theatre website whether this book might be worth the $50 price tag to add to their libraries.
Sadly, I can’t really say yes. The new design of the book is unwelcoming right from the outset, resembling a textbook more than a collectible/coffee table book. Inside, quality control problems are frequent enough to merit mention here, starting with the first entry in the table of contents, which promises “Color Photo Highlights” devoted to the current Broadway season, when in fact all of the photos in the book, including the ones in this section, are black and white. The photos themselves–more than 800 of them, according to the press release (and I believe it; the book is filled with them)–are of variable quality, with many of them appearing pixilated as if they were incorrectly resized with the wrong resolution in Photoshop. This is disappointing: the best thing about the Theatre World series is the wealth of beautiful photos, and the inconsistency of them here is disturbing.
The book covers New York and regional U.S. theatre; the breakdown is 112 pages devoted to Broadway, 120 to off-Broadway, 72 to off-off-Broadway, 64 to regional theatres across the country,and 44 pages about theatre awards. (There are also sections in the back listing the longest-running Broadway and off-Broadway shows and the past year’s obituaries.) Each of the main areas of the book begins with an essay: Adam Feldman of Time Out-New York handles Broadway, Linda Buchwald (TDF Stages and StageGrade) writes about off-Broadway, Shay Gines of the New York Innovative Theatre Awards discusses off-off-Broadway, and Rob Weiner-Kendt (American Theatre magazine) deals with regional theater. Shay–who [disclaimer] is someone I know and respect, and believe to be a huge champion of indie theater–uses her space to talk about the dwindling number of off-off-Broadway spaces. Important as that issue is, I would have liked to see some of the artists and plays of the 2010-11 off-off-Broadway season mentioned in this volume.
Of course, its comprehensiveness notwithstanding, this isn’t a book about indie theater but instead one about Broadway and mainstream off-Broadway, and as a reminder of the season it is serviceable and pretty timely. I just wish it were as consistently well-put-together as its ancestor volumes from decades past.
May 23, 2012
This is written by Chris Leidenfrost-Wilson:
Broadway stars Chip Zien and Jonathan C. Kaplan will be joining the group of original “Marvin Trilogy” cast members appearing at a benefit dinner supporting Long Island Crisis Center, Long Island’s oldest suicide prevention and crisis intervention agency, and its LGBT youth initiative, Pride for Youth. The dinner also will feature appearances by original In Trousers, March of the Falsettos, and Falsettos stars Michael Rupert, Alison Fraser, and Stephen Bogardus.
The event is being produced by Off Sides Entertainment, Inc., in conjunction with their limited Equity Showcase run of William Finn and James Lapine’s award-winning musical Falsettos. Off Sides is hoping to raise over $5,000 for Long Island Crisis Center, and will be hosting the pre-show dinner on June 2 at Le Pain Quotidien, sponsored by MELLOHAWK Logistics, Inc. The evening will also include an auction of rare Falsettos memorabilia including a signed copy of Stephen Bogardus’ original script, an original costume from March of the Falsettos, and Michael Rupert’s own “Falsettos” Broadway show jacket! The production will play at Manhattan’s The Theaters At 45 Bleecker Street from May 30 to June 15, after its critically acclaimed run on Long Island at Lantern Theatre. Falsettos will appear as a part of Planet Connections Theatre Festivity, New York’s premiere eco-friendly and socially-conscious theater festival.
The Planet Connections production will be directed by Rick Leidenfrost-Wilson. Watch for one the plays he wrote, The Declaration, coming soon to Indie Theater Now’s Planet Connections Collection.
April 26, 2012
The League of Independent Theater, Inc. will have its Annual Meeting this Saturday, April 28, at 5:00pm, at The Living Theatre, 21 Clinton Street.
If you’re a member of the League, please do attend if you can. And if you’re not a member yet, you are absolutely invited to come and learn about what the organization is doing. This past year has been one of great transformation and revitalization for the League and I encourage everyone who is actively working in the world of indie theater in NYC to be part of it.
Membership in the League is now free. (You do need to be qualified for membership by demonstrating some experience working in the indie sector.)
(I am on the League’s Board of Directors.)
The website www.litny.org has some info what the latest projects being pursued by the League.
I hope to see many of you there on Saturday!
April 15, 2012
From nytheatre.com reviewer Paul Hufker:
I’m having a reading on April 24th of two plays of mine. The reading starts at 7:00pm and ends at 9:30. Its location is The Drilling Company, 236 w. 78th st, 3rd floor.
The first piece is entitled Small Pox in the Blankets and features the wonderfully talented Jennifer Laine Williams, Susan Quinn, and Scott Baker.
Synopsis: A pathetic clown has lost his way. His young daughter resents the hell out of him. Like any addict, his need for applause has alienated the precocious youngster and enraged her. To make matters worse, along comes a step-mommy which tortures and patronizes the bright, broken girl. Suddenly, ultimatums, threats, violence. Sure, the clown is a performer, but what does he owe his audience? His daughter? What does the daughter owe him and what in the world is this woman doing here? Come find out. It’s good. I promise.
The second piece in the evening is a coming-of-age full-length that is both touching and tenuous, affectionate and edgy. It’s entitled The Wet Woods and stars immensely talented actors Josh Bywater and Max Davis.
Synopsis: Paul and Anthony have been friends since birth. Paul said his first word in Anthony’s kitchen. But screw Missouri. Screw high school. Screw freshman year. They wanna live in this really cool patch of woods Paul found. Girls are coming! With f-ing beer! This is going to be a very good night. Paul is eager to touch the goodies. He’s seen lots of stuf. Porn. Starting at age eight? Yikes. Where the hell are the girls? What’s keeping them? Anthony’s room is always clean. Paul’s tired of his filthy house. He’ll have Anthony rake and get the leaves up and keep the dirt in straight lines like Paul wants. Paul will hunt the food. Anthony is pretty f-ing nervous. What happens when the girls get here? Paul wants Anthony to do to the girls what the guys do to the girls in the Hustler he brought. It involves lots of things. Fingers. Fists. Anthony cries. He likes animals. He’d rather talk about the rabbits he keeps in his mom’s garden. Paul is having serious troubles with his digestive tract. There’s blood when he wipes. It won’t stop. Will his older friend Rob show? He’s great with girls. Will he bring his dad’s gun? Paul’s seen him shoot it.
Suddenly, the sounds of the woods are electronic. Suddenly they are older. They’re coming back here. What has life done to each of them? Rob was wounded in Iraq. His wife took the kids. PTSD, they think. Works the night shift at the Mobil on Lindbergh. Anthony’s wife is having their second child. He’s an activiist? Who would have thought? He was such a docile kid. Vegetarian? Yea, we saw that coming. Paul? What about Paul? He says he’s got a nice set up somewhere with a friend, but. Does he? And. There’s still blood. Only much more this time.
“Anthony? Help. Please”
March 13, 2012
As many of you know, I sit on the Board of Directors of the League of Independent Theater. This group is getting ready to launch (in August) an ambitious and commendable new undertaking — a fund that will be for the benefit of the indie theater community in NYC, with the money coming from a tiny percentage of ticket sales (a nickel per ticket sold, donated by indie companies and supporters).
To ensure that this fund works to the benefit of our community, LIT has devised a very brief survey that I invite you to fill out. This is a great way for your voice to be heard as this new program is shaped and developed. Here’s an official request from LIT Executive Director John Clancy:
We need to hear what you want to do.
To the Independent theater community and its supporters,
As most of you know, The League of Independent Theater is working on a new project, The LIT Fund. The LIT Fund will be a pool of money that will be collected and then made available to the Indie theater community in the form of grants.
We recognize the importance of obtaining feedback and input directly from the independent artists, companies and venues that we serve. We have created a brief survey that will help us prioritize how the collected money for the Fund will be distributed. Please take a minute to fill out the survey by clicking on the link below. If you have any additional thoughts, feel free to comment in the noted section or to email us at email@example.com
Thank you for your time and your great work.
I hope you’ll take a few minutes to fill out the one-screen survey. I’ll post about the results when they’re available.