I'm honored to have been invited to be the 15th Roe Green Visiting Director at Kent State University, directing HEDDA GABLER--which opens tomorrow! It's been a pleasure to work with the wonderful students, faculty and staff to create a HEDDA that. explores Ibsen's themes of class and gender in exciting ways for a 21st century audiences and I'm excited to share this fantastic group's work with the world starting tomorrow! I'm told the production is selling extremely well, so get your tickets now!
Come spend a Saturday as a modern-day Groundling! I'll be directing a scene from As You Like It as part of New York Shakespeare Exchange's latest installment of their popular interactive ShakesBEER series! The dates are May 13th and 20th, from 3:00-6:00pm at Parkside Lounge on the L.E.S. Tickets are $49 and include four drinks! Get your tickets and more info HERE.
I'm thrilled and honored to be directing four different original monologues, to be filmed here in NYC as part of Cleveland Play House (CPH) education department's C.A.R.E. (Compassionate Arts Remaking Education). Supported by a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, this one-of-a-kind program for K-5th students is being developed to improve social emotional learning (SEL) skills and increase literacy learning through the use of real-time professional development, high-quality digital tools and Common Core standards-based instruction integrating Drama, English Language Arts and SEL. CPH has commissioned a diverse group of nearly two dozen playwrights from across the country to create original monologues as program teaching tools. I'm directing two pieces by Philip Dawkins (Charm), one by Kimber Lee (Brownsville Song [b-side for tray]), and one by Lisa Loomer (Roe), all of which feature bilingual characters. Once the pilot phase is completed, the program--and these monologues--will be disseminated for use in schools nationwide.
I'm looking forward to spending a week at the University of Connecticut/Connecticut Repertory Theatre with a group of BFAs, MFAs and faculty developing Oracle, a new play by Aoishe Stratford. It will also be a welcome reunion with dramaturg--and UConn faculty member--Lindsay Cummings, who I first met while working as an intern at Portland Stage Company many years ago. I believe this Oracle holds good omens!
Tonight I had the pleasure of being a guest of The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, the nation's first school of acting (Est. 1884!). I spent the evening with as an auditor for mock auditions with 25 talented young actors finishing up an Audition class. I look forward to seeing these artists join the ranks of AADA alums like Robert Redford, Grace Kelly, Paul Rudd, Jessica Chastain, and Cecille B. DeMille!
I'm thrilled to be joining The Playwrights Realm as Artistic Associate this month. I've long admired this unique, playwright-centric organization and the unique and meaningful ways in which they help writers write (and make a living doing it!). Among other duties, I'll be producing the annual INK'D Festival of New Plays, featuring works by The Realm's 2016-17 Writing Fellows; producing multiple internal readings and development processes; and spearheading logistics related to the creation of an exciting new open submission program (more details available this spring!).
This fall I'll be working with a very talented--and very funny--young musical theatre writer, Billy Reece, on his new musical political satire, Wally Weasel's GOP Jamboree. I'm looking forward to diving in to this fantastically over-the-top mash-up of political extremism, family dysfunction and American theme park culture with Fordham University-Lincoln Center students and staff! Tickets and more information HERE.
I'm excited to have been invited to return to Kent State University July 26-28 to lead a directing workshop for South Korean students taking part in the Porthouse Theatre International Academy. I led brief 3-hour session last summer, and I look forward to having an expanded 3-day period to work with these amazing young artists!
Throughout the three-week program, PITA students will experience life on an American college campus; take classes in dance, acting, directing and voice; strengthen their language skills through ESL classes; and and observe rehearsals of a Porthouse Theatre production. I'm so pleased to be a part of this unique experience.
I'm excited to be continuing "Doctors in ACTion," a program I created in collaboration with CWRU and University Hospitals for 1st year medical interns, beginning this Wednesday.
Each spring for the past four years I've had the opportunity to work with 30-40 young doctors from across the country--and the globe--as part of their clinical skills training. Using activities ranging from simple sound-and-movement exercises to Viewpoints we explore how the terms, ideas and techniques we use in theatre can help the interns be more present and open; be more capable, holistic, “extraordinary” listeners; use simple scene analysis techniques to help respond to impulses and successfully accomplish their "objective" in any situation; and employ empathy as a part of effective communication.
I always love blending the Arts and Science in this way. It's such a unique collaboration, and like all good collaborations we all come away surprised and inspired by each other.
I'm honored to be directing the premieres of several plays commissioned by Cleveland Play House from its Playwrights Unit and other affiliated writers. They are: Two Joans by George Brant (Grounded, Marie & Rosetta), CPH RAW by Eric Coble (The Velocity of Autumn), and Faye Sholiton, Artistic Director of InterPlay Jewish Theatre, and Dramatist Guild Regional Representative . A total of ten playwrights' work makes up The CPH Centennial Plays, a collection of short plays exploring the Play House's first 100 years to be performed as part of the Centennial Celebration Weekend.
Two Joans is inspired by the true story of two young actresses, one Swedish and one British, who survived torpedo attacks on their ships as they traveled to Cleveland to study and perform Shaw's Saint Joan at CPH during WW II. CPH RAW is a hilarious and highly physical satire which imagines the ups and downs of CPH's last twenty-five years as a WWE-style smackdown--with a happy ending for all. Faye Sholiton has written ten 60-second transition scenes which seamlessly connect the individual plays, using moments of CPH history--real and imagined--ranging from the impact of childrens' theatre programs on one family during the depression, to a seven-year-old Joel Grey's (nee Joel Katz) audition for his first acting job CPH, to what the company's founders might think of its current status as community touchstone and Tony Award recipient.
For information on FREE performance times for The CPH Centennial Plays check out THIS article about the CPH Centennial Open House (which I'm also producing...!).