Suddenly Seymour, and Audrey Too

(All photos by Chianan Yen)

It seems like only yesterday that I was being eaten, daily, by a carnivorous plant. While our Little Shop may have closed, the doors to reflective practices are ever wider. Thinking back, I am realizing that so much of what I have learned and experienced through my classes and extra-curricular work in this department have shaped me into the performer (/artist/educator/person) who appeared on that folding set.

Some takeaways which come to mind are:

  • the use of urgency during performance from Judyie Al-Bilali/Uta Hagen’s missing object exercise in the Acting: Fundamentals class
  • using improv within structure from David Montgomery’s Forum Theatre unit in the Intro to Educational Theatre class
  • learning to be authentic performer from Jonathan Shmidt Chapman’s Theatre for Young Audiences class and subsequent friendship
  • using presentational and physical styles of acting from all the work I have done with Nan Smithner

While these are potent examples, they are only a few which have contributed to my current artistry and I can’t wait to see how my experiences in Little Shop and other aspects of my final year as a student in the Program in Educational Theatre add to that growing list.

– Andrew Anzel (Seymour)

As a first semester graduate student, I figured there was no better way to learn about the Program in Educational Theatre than to throw myself into a departmental musical. I have never been a part of a university production where there was such a wide range of ages, backgrounds, and future plans. As an undergraduate Musical Theater major, the students in my department were all basically in the same place in our lives and had very similar career goals. Little Shop of Horrors provided a fascinating theatrical environment when both graduate and undergraduate students could work together building a show. The points of views, past production experiences and energy levels made the rehearsals and performances an incredibly colorful and rich environment and I thank whoever’s idea it was to let both the younger and older kids play together and put on a show.

– Bethany Moore (Audrey)

Little Shop of Horrors Opens This Week!

Little Shop of Horrors
Book and Lyrics by Howard Ashman
Music by Alan Menken
Based on the film by Roger Corman, Screenplay by Charles Griffith
David Montgomery, Director
Program in Educational Theatre

LOCATION: Black Box Theatre
ADMISSION: $15 General, $5 Students & Seniors
For tickets, contact NYU Box Office
ONLINE: tickets.nyu.edu
BY PHONE: 212-998-4941
IN PERSON: 566 LaGuardia Place (at Washington Square South)

Friday, October 24 at 8pm
Saturday, October 25 at 8pm
Sunday, October 26 at 3pm
Thursday, October 30 at 8pm
Friday, October 31 at 8pm
Saturday, November 1 at 8pm
Sunday, November 2 at 3pm

The entire cast and crew is made up of undergraduate and graduate students in the Program in Educational Theatre at Steinhardt. The cast includes Andrew Anzul as Seymour, Bethany Moore as Audrey, Zak Ferentz as Mushnick, Katie Braun as Audrey II, Andrew Coopman as the Dentist and Rachel Gubow, Chelsea Flores and Alexandra Richardson as the street urchins.

Other cast members include Josephine Cho, Liana Costable, Kordell Draper, Emma Vissicchio, Christopher Gooley and Alexis Lounsbury.

The production will include four puppets, the pods, to showcase the man-eating plant at various stages of its growth. Josephine Cho, Kordell Draper and Christopher Gooley will serve as puppeteers.

Steinhardt doctoral student Rachel Whorton is the show’s musical director with Dr. Amy Cordileone, a teacher from the Program in Educational Theatre, choreographing.

The crew includes Elizabeth Lozado, Shayna Blecherman, Seohee “July” Bok, Sophie Rosenthal (dance captain), Ashley Miskoff (dance captain), Mark Lussier (assistant stage manager), Orianna Miles (assistant stage manager), Jamie Lerner (assistant director) and Talia Krispel (production stage manager).

The Teacher’s Resource Guide for the show is available here:

http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/scmsAdmin/media/users/ec109/Little_Shop_of_Horrors_Resource_Guide.pdf

And visit Playbill.com for an announcement about the show:

http://www.playbill.com/news/article/little-shop-of-horrors-sets-halloween-downtown-return-at-nyu-332913

The School for Scandal – Opening This Weekend!

LOCATION: Provincetown Playhouse
ADMISSION: $15 General, $5 Students & Seniors
For tickets, contact NYU Ticket Central
ONLINE: nyu.edu/ticketcentral/calendar
BY PHONE: 212 352 3101
IN PERSON: 566 LaGuardia Place
(at Washington Square South)

Friday, February 28 at 8pm
Saturday, March 1 at 8pm
Sunday, March 2 at 3pm
Thursday, March 6 at 8pm
Friday, March 7 at 8pm
Saturday, March 8 at 8pm
Sunday, March 9 at 3pm

Announcing Auditions for The School for Scandal

Please come out to audition!! All ages, sizes, shapes and levels of experience are welcome!!

The School for Scandal, a Restoration comedy, has been called a superbly crafted laugh machine, and  “timeless in delivering delectable comeuppance to a viper’s nest of gossip mongers!” Written by Richard Brinsley Sheridan in 1777, the play demonstrates his narrative vivacity, verbal sheen and degree of wit in purely polished stagecraft — indeed, his theatre sense was acute and he knew how to write rewarding roles.

Masquerading behind the veneer of polite London society, malicious prattlers trade gossip like gamblers. After all, what could be more fun than a good scandal?

Come on, Ed Theatre, let’s do some COMEDY (of manners)!

Performance dates encompass the last weekend of February and the first week(end) of March.

Audition dates (please sign up in the Ed. Theatre office): 

Wednesday 12/4 7 – 10pm, Acting Studio, Pless Basement
Friday 12/6 5 – 6:30pm Room 303, Education Building, 35 W. 4th

7 – 10:00pm, Acting Studio, Pless Basement

Saturday 12/7 10:00am – 1:00pm, Acting Studio, Pless Basement
Saturday 12/7 CALL BACKS  2 – 4:00pm, Acting Studio, Pless Basement
Please prepare a 2 minute comedic monologue, either classical or contemporary. Please note: willingness to work in a dedicated creative ensemble is essential.

 

Directed by:

Dr. Nan Smithner
Clinical Associate Professor
Program in Educational Theatre
Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions

META By Deborah Zoe Laufer Opens This Weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

META
By Deborah Zoe Laufer

What if the Gods, Goddesses, Nymphs and Sirens of Greek myth congregated nightly at their favorite downtown dive?  What happens when these tragic heroes wrestle with fate and contemplate hubris through song as the impending flood bears down?  META… That’s what! Join us for the most cathartic fun this side of Olympus!

Program in Educational Theatre
LOCATION: Black Box Theatre

ADMISSION: $15 General, $5 Students & Seniors
For tickets, contact NYU Ticket Central.
ONLINE: nyu.edu/ticketcentral/calendar
BY PHONE: 212 352 3101
IN PERSON: 566 LaGuardia Place (at Washington Square South)

Friday, October 25 at 8pm
Saturday, October 26 at 8pm
Sunday, October 27 at 3pm
Thursday, October 31 at 8pm
Friday, November 1 at 8pm
Saturday, November 2 at 8pm
Sunday, November 3 at 3pm

Audition Notice: Myths of the Metamorphoses

Myths of the Metamorphoses***

(*** official title forthcoming)

Written and Developed by Deborah Zoe Laufer (with assistance from the ensemble)

Directed by Amy Cordileone

Musical Direction by Rachel Whorton


Join the Program in Educational Theatre for an exciting new venture this fall… a brand new, mainstage play with music & movement!


The creative team is excited to collaborate with an ensemble of 12-16 diverse female and male storytellers (including singers and dancers) interested in weaving select tales from among the 360 myths of Ovid’s epic poem, The Metamorphoses.


Actors, singers, and/or dancers interested in auditioning should email Amy Cordileone to schedule an appointment & receive more specific information regarding the audition itself, amy.cord@nyu.edu ^^


^^ Auditions will be scheduled in 10-minute increments on the date listed below. Please email Amy with a preferred window of at least 90 minutes during which your 10-minute audition and dance call will be scheduled (given times will be honored, should times within said window continue to be available).

Auditions and callbacks will take place at the Provincetown Playhouse (133 MacDougal Street).


Audition Date: Saturday, Aug 31 (10:00 am – 1:00 pm & 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm)

Callback Date: Sunday, Sep 1 (10:00 am – 5:00 pm)


For the audition, participants will be asked to:

tell a 1-2 minute story & sing a 1-2 minute a capella piece

learn a group movement piece


Rehearsal days/dates: Tuesday – Sunday (Sep 3 – Oct 24)


Show Dates:

Friday, October 25 at 8 pm
Saturday, October 26 at 8 pm
Sunday, October 27 at 3 pm

Monday, October 28 at 10 am (school show)
Thursday, October 31 at 8 pm

Friday, November 1 at 10 am (school show)
Friday, November 1 at 8 pm
Saturday, November 2 at 8 pm
Sunday, November 3 at 3 pm

They Be Calling Us Witches: A Cast Member’s Take on The Crucible

By Mel Ridgway

On March 1, 1692, the townspeople of Salem, Massachusetts began to hold trials accusing its citizens of witchcraft. Exactly 321 years later, the lights went up on the Educational Theatre program’s re-creation of these trials, The Crucible by Arthur Miller. Twelve graduate and undergraduate students, both in and out of the program, came together to take on this daunting task. I was lucky enough to be one of those twelve.

Photo by Chianan Yen

The idea of performing in an American classic like The Crucible – and trying to string it all together in only six weeks– was a very scary and exciting thought. To add to the stakes, this year marks the 60th anniversary of The Crucible‘s first Broadway production. Luckily we had the motivational push from our wonderful stage manager Talia Krispel and her assistant stage managers, Cody Allyn Page and Kathleen Turner and the aid of our director Dr. Philip Taylor and our dramaturg/assistant director Jonathan Jones.

Photo by Chianan Yen

The rehearsal process was, to say the least, memorable and challenging. The show is emotionally draining and forces you to really open your eyes. If the plot of this show is not enough to exhaust the cast, trying to figure out the grammar and language of the text was even harder. But, through an amazing cast bond we formed from the hours spent together, we challenged each other to leap past these hurdles and bring each other to the finish line. It was truly an ensemble effort to get to where we were.

One of the most interesting realizations in the process occurred during one of our talk-backs with high school students. One of these students raised their hand and asked, “Now why do the costumes look modern, the set pieces look like they’re from colonial times and the projections look like they’re from the 1950s?” The cast was baffled until one of our cast members, Cara Arcuni, answered this question.

“The themes of this show are timeless.”

I realized she was absolutely right. Somehow, in a strange yet understandable way, all of these time periods connected to each other. It reminded me of a quote our director introduced us to in the beginning of our rehearsal process:

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

And this is exactly what has happened. We have forgotten about the message this play is supposed to teach us and, as punishment, we are still hunting witches to this day, only these witches take on the form of illegal immigrants, members of the LGBTQ community and union workers just to name a few examples. The observation this high school student made was exactly Arthur Miller wanted. We are supposed to think it is strange that all of these different time periods relate to each other, and still relate to us now and in 60 years, if we do not listen to this quote, we will be having this conversation once again.

Photo by Chianan Yen

The Crucible Opens!

The Crucible is currently in performance at The Provincetown Playhouse. As some of the performances were sold out, be sure and get your tickets for next weekend soon as this production is not to be missed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remaining performances are:

Thursday, March 7 at 8pm
Friday, March 8 at 8pm
Saturday, March 9 at 8pm
Sunday, March 10 at 3pm

Additionally, be sure and look at the blog for the show, featuring contributions by cast and crew. The blog can be accessed here.

And here is a sample post, written by Peter Duncanson:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My name is Peter Duncanson. I get to play John Proctor. Recently I have been grappling with the idea of freedom. I have become keenly aware of the chains that bind us in today’s culture. Cages of the mind that are laid pole by pole as we grow up until we are all grown up and find that cage comfortable. At least some of us do. We find ourselves in places, occupations, and relationships that don’t fit. These are the foundations we base our belief systems on, influenced by culture, religion, friends, and family as well as the need to survive. We learn make choices that hold survival at the pinnacle of virtue.

Because of this, the character John Proctor resonates deeply with me. I see him as a man who has a fierce darkness and filled with passion, both good and evil. Trapped in a culture that he has come to see as nothing but a cage. It is as if both his defeats and victories tear at his heart pulling in opposite directions. Yet a part of him is acutely sensible and clear. It is this earnest sense of morality he has come to find that has no place in the culture in which he resides. Let the journey begin!

http://cruciblenyu.tumblr.com

Reflections on Salvation Road: Music, Improv, and the Hurricane

By Natalie Mack

Family feuding, religious cults, the strong ties of friendship, and live music made D.W. Gregory’s Salvation Road a must-see, main-stage production in Steinhardt’s Program in Educational Theater. Under the direction of Dr. David Montgomery, the ensemble of Salvation Road worked closely to create a performance that suspended audiences between the past and present as its main character Cliff (Jack Dod) took us along his wild journey to rescue his sister Denise from an oppressive religious cult. His adventure was sprinkled with fond memories of life before Denise disowned her family, which came in the form of flashbacks that Cliff would seamlessly narrate audiences in and out of.

Natalie Mack and Jessica Honovitch perform. Photo by Chianan Yen.

As I played the cult-member and former rock-star sister Denise, I was given the rare opportunity to write music to be played live in the show. This process was a blast as I worked side-by-side with Assistant Director Jess Honovich (who played Denise’s band-mate, Patty) to create original songs written from the perspective of the character, and immersing the audience into the tight-knit, cause-driven, and comical musical world of Patty and Denise.

The process began with me bringing in a couple of original tunes that I had previously written, which we would then tweak and write lyrics for in the mindset of our characters. After reworking the songs, we’d develop vocal harmonies, catchy melody lines for our Casio keyboard player, and Jess would write parts for the Ukulele and Mandolin to top it all off.

My favorite song in the show “We’re Lost Horizon,” a foot-stompin’, mandolin strummin’, folk song, describes the back-story of the band’s name: Lost Horizon. The idea for the song came to me on my walk back from a high-energy rehearsal on a Friday night…I actually started mumbling the words of the chorus into the voice recorder on my iPhone as I walked eastward down Broadway (getting some funny looks from passerbys!). The next day I came into rehearsal with the scattered recording, and David, Jess, Dan (ASM & ensemble member), Talia (SM), and I began improvising on the original riff. Within about a half an hour with Jess on mandolin, and the rest of us coming up with words and stomp-clap rhythms (with Talia at the dry erase board jotting all of this madness down!), we came up with the band’s title song. Needless to say, our process involved serious collaboration, some quick-witted improv, and a whole lot of good old-fashioned fun.

Speaking of improv, the opening weekend of Salvation Road took an unexpected turn, to say the least. After an exciting opening night with the playwright in attendance, news of Hurricane Sandy began flooding headlines across the East coast. By the time the cast and crew were getting ready for our Sunday matinee, the vibe in the theatre (both onstage and off) was unsettling. The brave souls who came to the show entered Pless wearily in hopes of being able to return home safely, while the Salvation Road cast costumed up backstage, pondering the thought: If this storm really hits, this could be our last show… That afternoon our fearless director led us in a warm-up, knowing full well that it could be our last, and even under those ominous circumstances he reminded the cast of the hard-work , talent, and love that was poured into the production, and urged the Salvation Road family to ‘make it count.’

Undergraduate students Marco Santarelli, Marshall Burgart, and Jack Dodd share a moment during the show. Photo by Chianan Yen.

As we all know too well, the storm did in fact hit hard and the long-awaited school shows and second weekend of performances were sadly cancelled. Instead of a week filled with classes and performances for busloads of kids, the cast, crew, and entire NYU campus were faced with power outages, flooding, and little means of communication and transportation. It was not until the university reopened, that there was talk of remounting the show.

In just two days time, Dr. David Montgomery was able to wrangle the cast and crew back together to put on one final show on the Wednesday following the reopening of campus. The cast and crew were only able to get into the theatre 30 minutes prior to curtain. The spectacular cast and crew were costumed, made up, warmed up, and the stage and technical elements were ready to go in just a half hours time – the energy was way, way, up and the cast and crew were incredibly happy to be safely reunited for a final go.