Wednesday, August 19, 2009


The Astoria Performing Arts Center (APAC) is pleased to announce that Martin McDonagh’s The Pillowman and Steven Schwartz’s Children of Eden will be the mainstage productions for their ninth Season in Astoria. With these choices, APAC continues its tradition of bold choices in the ever evolving Astoria, a place mentioned in A.O. Scott’s review of the film, Julie and Julia, “Queens [is] demographically the most cosmopolitan of the five boroughs and something of a foodie mecca.” APAC is partnering with some local cultural institutions and the local restaurants Scott alludes to, enhancing the overall experience of their productions.

Artistic Director, Tom Wojtunik, who directed last season’s sold-out production of the musical Ragtime, will direct both productions, honing his artistic vision for APAC and uniting the shows both creatively and thematically. He addresses the surprising similarities of the projects, “On the surface the mainstage productions this season couldn’t be any different: McDonagh’s The Pillowman centers around a series of gruesome child murders, while Stephen Schwartz’s Children of Eden is a family-friendly retelling of the Book of Genesis. Still, I found the pairing intriguing--both are highly theatrical works that explore and celebrate the art of storytelling, albeit to very different ends. I think APAC audiences will find our season entertaining and thought-provoking as we explore what social responsibilities, if any, we have as storytellers.”

The season commences November 5th with Martin McDonagh’s The Pillowman. The play, which will run through November 21st, is a dark comedy about the interrogation of a fiction writer, whose short stories have eerie similarities to local horrific child murders. Nominated for the 2005 Tony Award for Best Play The Pillowman will run through November 21st. A change in this year’s performance schedule, the shows will now run Thursday thru Saturday at 8 pm with no show Sunday and an added Saturday matinee at 2 pm.

In May APAC will be producing Stephen Schwartz’s musical, Children of Eden, book by John Caird, based on a concept by Charles Lisanby, a show which has never had a full production in New York City (closest was a 1998 production at Papermill Playhouse and a benefit production presented by the York Theatre for World AIDS Day in 2003). Children of Eden takes its plot from the most influential of stories, the Bible, with the first act centering on Adam & Eve and Cain & Abel and the second act involving Noah and his ark. Ultimately it's a musical about family and parental responsibility that affects the audience without being overtly religious.

The 15/20s annual series begins on September 24th with Heartbreak Help by Justin Tanner in which four women share a motel room in Joshua Tree for a spiritual retreat. The play premiered in LA with strong reviews including Variety, "Tanner's ear remains sharply satirical. Even as he revels in his characters' ridiculousness, he draws them with a sly sympathy. At their most pathetic, they are at their most human,” and the LA Times, "His strongest and funniest piece yet. In a gleaming style all his own he milks the world of aromatherapy and vision quests ruthlessly and brilliantly for laughs.” The second reading will be The Final Jewth. The 15/20s: Staged Readings of New Works introduces APAC audiences to the development process and paves the way for new work in the regular mainstage programming. The 15/20s will be produced under the AEA Staged Reading Guidelines, which allows 15 hours of combined rehearsal and performance time for actors (20 hours for musicals), hence the name The 15/20s. by Alex Goldberg on December 10.

was founded in 2001 by actress Susan Scannell as an Off-Off Broadway theater company that complements main-stage productions with community programming, including writing and performance programs for Queens youth and senior citizens. APAC's 2004 production of Is There Life After High School? was recognized with an Off-Off Broadway Review Award. APAC's 2006 production of Forever Plaid was honored with three New York Innovative Theatre Award nominations, in the categories of Production, Direction, and Choreography. Our productions of A New Brain, Proof and Triumph of Love received nominations for Outstanding Set Design. Triumph of Love also received two more nominations, Outstanding Production of a Musical and Outstanding Actress in a Lead Role (Abby Baum). Most recently, the sold-out production of Ragtime received two nominations for Outstanding Production of a Musical and Outstanding Scenic Design (Michael P. Kramer). For more information about APAC, including a downloadable media kit, visit

Thursday, August 06, 2009

The heat is on

The New York International Fringe Festival, a production of The Present Company, takes place from August 14th through August 30th, 2009.

Choose from a dark comedy that examines the experience of sex in the modern age (The Books), an arctic chronicle of a woman's journey down below (The Antarctic Chronicles), a woman who's unexpected illness challenges her relationships (Look After You), and an indestructible man's leap into love (Eli and Cheryl Jump.)

The Antarctic Chronicles
Produced by Sister Fantastic Productions
Written by and Starring Jessica Manuel
Directed by Paul Linke

Striving for individuality and freedom, Jessica Manuel found herself living and working in Antarctica as a fuels operator. The Antarctic Chronicles explores her biographical journey through multiple characters: her parents, friends, roommates, and bosses. A story of love, courage, absurdity and madness, Jessica shares what happens living in an isolated community void of sun for months. Loss of memory and black urine are just a taste of the experiences she endured while trying to create a life worth examination.

Venue # 19 The Players Loft (115 MacDougal St, 3rd Fl)
Sat, Aug 15 @ 11:00 pm | Sun, Aug 16 @ 4:00 pm | Mon, Aug 17 @ 8:15 pm | Wed, Aug 19 @ 3:15 pm | Fri, Aug 21 @ 5:00 pm | Sat, Aug 22 @ 8:45 pm.

The Books
Produced by Imperfect People
Written by Michael Edison Hayden
Starring Aadya Bedi, Scott David Nogi, and Bradley Anderson
Directed by Matt Urban

An offbeat love story of a professional dominatrix, Mistress Chimera, and her agoraphobic client, Mark, The Books chronicles the unique development of their relationship. After Mark loans Helen a copy of James Joyce’s Dubliners, their personal relationship deepens, complicating their sadomasochistic rituals. Before the couple can truly fall in love, they both must accept that some people may never fit into society.

Venue # 13 The Cherry Pit (155 Bank Street)
Fri, Aug 14 @ 10:00 pm | Tue Aug 18 @ 5:00 pm | Wed, Aug 19 @ 5:15 pm | Mon, Aug 24 @ 12:45 pm | Thu, Aug 27 @ 7:45 pm.

Eli and Cheryl Jump
Produced by Ignited States and Crosstown Playwrights
Written by Daniel McCoy
Starring Cassandra Vincent and Charles Linshaw
Directed by Nicole A. Watson

Accident-prone Eli is magically shielded from death. Maybe. Mythology, personal history and recent tragic events collide in a story spanning 15 years, and 1,000 miles. When Eli and Cheryl jump it's only the beginning of their journey.

Venue # 19 The Players Loft (115 MacDougal St, 3rd Fl)
Fri, Aug 14 @ 8:45 pm | Mon, Aug 17 @ 6:30 pm | Thu, Aug 20th @ 7:15 pm | Mon, Aug 24 @ 3:15 pm | Fri, Aug 28 @ 11:00 pm | Sat, Aug 29 @ 12:45 pm.

Look After You
Produced by Maieutic Theatre Works
Written by Louise Flory
Starring Jason Altman, Lowell Byers, Louise Flory, and Adi Kurtchik
Directed by Michele Pace

MTWorks (Anaïs Nin Goes To Hell) returns with Look After You. When a photographer's life is threatened by illness, everything she thought was secure turns upside-down, testing friendships, family and love.

Venue # 1 6 The SoHo Playhouse (15 Vandam St.)
Fri, Aug 14 @ 5:00 pm | Sun, Aug 16th @ 3:00 pm | Wed, Aug 19 @ 8:15 pm | Fri, Aug 28 @ 9:30 pm | Sat, Aug 29 @ 1:30 pm.

Tickets are $15.00. $10 senior citizens (65 years or older), and for those who purchase groups of 20 or more tickets to a single performance.

Tickets can be purchased at or 866.468.7619. Tickets may also be purchased in person at FringeCENTRAL, the main box office for the Festival, up until 24 hours before the actual performance. On the day of the performance, tickets must be purchased at the venue where the show is playing. Venue box office opens 15 minutes before the performance. (Cash only.)

A recent Reuter's article "Black Culture Lights up the Great White Way" (Sunday Jul 12 2009 By Christine Kearney) raised the point, “As the presidential visit cast a spotlight on Wilson's revival, playwrights and theater observers say both Obama's election and more open theaters and audiences have helped bring more stories of black culture to the New York stage this year. Both on Broadway and off-Broadway, plays and musicals about black culture or issues of race are being praised and more productions are in the works.”

…ANOTHER MAN’S POISON, which opens Off-Broadway on August 12th, follows in this vain. But this team of producers aren't doing it with the backing of a large not-for-profit, with corporate sponsorship, as in Lincoln Center, like Joe Turner's Come and Gone, in fact they are pulling themselves up by their boot straps following an entrepreneurial spirit and raising money from within their community, filling a niche in costly Commercial Off-Broadway where a Black female producer, producing a Black playwright is a historical rarity.

…ANOTHER MAN’S POISON is a new script that has been infused with a sense of urgency because these socio-economic “seismic” moments come all too seldom. President Obama and The First Lady have added another dimension, another layer of excitement for American stories that can and should be told on the Great White Way. .…ANOTHER MAN’S POISON is about a hard working comedian, who in 1970 gets his own TV show and his imminent stardom threatens to reveal the hidden conflict and mounting turmoil of his personal life.

Orielle Creative Company presents

Written by GEORGE O. BROME



AUGUST 12 – AUGUST 23, 2006
416 West 42nd Street

…ANOTHER MAN’S POISON uncovers the irony of success, juxtaposed with the fascinating backdrop of prime time television. When Frankie Masters, a struggling comedian, gets the opportunity to have his own network television show in 1970, his imminent stardom threatens to reveal the hidden conflict and mounting turmoil of his personal life. Taking place prior to the celebrity tabloid when exposés were the norm, it takes a close look at lives intertwined—where each character confronts personal sacrifices that will forever impact them.

…ANOTHER MAN’S POISON takes place during a pivotal time in history when the Vietnam War, exposing the racial divide, and the politicizing of sexual identity, all conspire to add depth and texture to the drama.

A quintessential Hollywood story with a distinct New York bite, …ANOTHER MAN’S POISON is full of pointed humor, straightforward drama, and allows audiences to concede to their incessant desire to be a voyeur to the reality of "making of a celebrity." It is a story of family, ambition, and the choices that are made along the way.

…ANOTHER MAN’S POISON plays the following regular schedule through Sunday, August 23:

Wednesday (8/12) at 7 p.m.
Wednesday (8/19) at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Thursdays at 7 p.m.
Fridays at 7 p.m.
Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Sundays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m

Tickets are $75.

Tickets are available online at or by calling 212-279-4200. Tickets may also be purchased in-person at the Playwrights Horizon’s Box Office, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

Running time: 2 hours two (2) intermissions.

The production features scenic design by Kevin Lee Allen, costume design by Ali Turns, and lighting design by Burke Wilmore. Sean O’Halloran is the sound designer, Dave McDaniel is the technical director and Bayo is the stage manager.

"Shrunken Heads marks the modern American Theatre's chance to experiment with high comedy...Ribalow is writing very much about today for today's audiences and his work isn't imitative in any way. But I trust he won't be offended to have it compared to the polished bent of such previous masters of the genre as George Bernard Shaw, George S. Kaufman and, particularly, S.N. Behrman." (The Star-Ledger)

"Hilarious and insightful...Ribalow exhibits a brilliant ear for conversation, a vivid imagination for situations, an immense reservoir of personality studies from which to draw and elaborate, and a genuinely funny wit... resoundingly successful." (Daily Register)




Off-Broadway’s Peter Jay Sharp Theater (416 West 42nd Street)

Thursday, August 27 - Sunday, August 30

Dr. Bob Hyde, a successful psychiatrist, just wants to have a quiet, peaceful weekend at his country estate, where he can commune with nature and relax in his Jacuzzi, far away from his patients. No such luck. The various women in his life interfere--from his neurotic patient Dorothy Putney, to his daughter Caroline and ex-wife Jennifer, determined to drain him of all his money. Head games come alive in this fast paced farce, where family drama plus biting wit equals Shrunken Heads: a case of high comedy.

The production stars David Gelles-Hurwitz (Close Ties (Ensemble Studio Theatre), Edgewise, Thicker Than Water) as Carlyle Peckinpah III, Diana Henry (After The Rainoined At The Head, No Exit) as Jennifer Todhunter Hyde, Mel House (BaalEast of the Sun, West of the Moon (Baltimore's Center Stage), 4960Allison Layman (Monomoy Theatre in Chatham, MA) as Caroline Hyde, Ean Sheehy (Forensic Accountant Joshua Simmons on Law & Order Criminal, Precious (Winner: Sundance Film Fest 2009), Sundance (EST) as Norman Putney, Don Striano (The Sopranos, 9/12 (Culture Project), Our Lady of Allapattah) as Robert Hyde, and Kim Weiler (intense acting program at the William Esper Studio) as Dorothy Putney. (Theatre Four), J (Looking Glass Theatre), (Winner: Slamdance Film Fest 2008) as Polly Hyde,

The production features scenic design by David Meyer, costume design by Ghislaine Sabiti, and lighting design by Graham Posner. Bruce Edwards is the sound designer, Shamina Mehta is the scenic artists/prop designer, Carl Everett Wiemann is the associate designer, Jacob Platt is the master electrician, Gary Neiheisel is the sound engineer and Cynthia Degros is the stage manager.

SHRUNKEN HEADS plays the following schedule:

Thursday, August 27th at 8pm
Friday, August 28th at 8pm
Saturday, August 29th at 2pm & 8pm
Sunday, August 30th at 2pm

Tickets are $18 and are now available online at or by calling 212-279-4200. Tickets may also be purchased in-person at the Theatre Row Box Office, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

Running Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes with a 15-minute intermission

Monday, August 03, 2009

Neighborbee jumps into FringeNYC with Daniel McCoy

Karen Tortora-Lee interviews playwright Daniel McCoy (Eli and Cheryl Jump) for Theatre Buzz (Neighborbee Blog).

...One very special show which will be featured this year at the Fringe Festival is Eli and Cheryl Jump, a poetic, haunting play written by Daniel McCoy. I got a chance to chat with Daniel and find out what it’s like to be part of the Fringe, what sparked him to write this play, and what he hopes it will mean to the audience.

To read the full interview, click here.

Pictured: Cassandra Vincent* (Cheryl et al) and Charles Linshaw* (Eli), appearing in ELI AND CHERYL JUMP by Daniel McCoy, directed by Nicole A. Watson | Aug 14-30, 2009--The New York International Fringe Festival, Venue #9 The Players Loft | Photo Credit: Martha Goode

Kampfire FringeNYC Playwrights on JSTGY

In Patrick Lee's first in a series of several Quick Q&A columns featuring artists who have work, or who will be seen in work, at this year’s Fringe Festival at his site Just Shows To Go You, he featured three Kampfire clients that are sure to sizzle your summer: Playwrights Michael Edison Hayden (The Books), Daniel McCoy (Eli and Cheryl Jump) and Louise Flory (Look After You). Below are the questions, to read the answers, click here.


The Books

What is the story of The Books?

Is it fair to say it’s about breaking out of those rituals?

What do you hope to get out of your experience artistically at The Fringe?


Eli and Cheryl Jump

What is Eli and Cheryl Jump about?

How is it staged?

What were the main qualities you were looking for in casting?

What do you want the audience to leave with?


Look After You

Tell me about Look After You.

How long have you been working on the play?

Are you taking anything into your own performance that you got from watching others read it?

Will you be seeing other shows in the Festival?