Auditions: Peter and the Starcatcher

Announcing PETER AND THE STARCATCHER auditions! They are August 29 and 30, 7:00-10:00pm. You can sign up for a time slot and find more information on the sign up website.

This fall, the Program in Educational Theatre at NYU will proudly present PETER & THE STARCATCHER, featuring an ensemble of developmentally diverse performers.

PETER & THE STARCATCHER is “a new play about our hero of old (…).” Before Wendy, before Neverland, & yes, before Peter Pan, there was Molly (a girl on the brink of everything—our intrepid hero) & there was Boy (a nameless, homeless, & friendless child so cast down he’d begun to fear his own shadow), whose story begins on the deck of a ship. Boy & his schoolmates are shipped off from Victorian England and sold to the evil king of a distant island. While at sea, the orphans are discovered by Molly & together they identify a mysterious trunk full of Starstuff (a celestial substance so powerful it must not fall into the wrong hands). So, when their ship is suddenly overtaken—seized by the fearsome pirate Black Stache, who’s determined to claim the trunk & its treasure for his own—Molly, the Boy, & his mates resolve to protect the Starstuff… embarking on the adventure of a lifetime.

Our Production: An acting company of developmentally diverse performers will collaborate to fashion a captivating theatrical event accessible to audience members of all abilities.

Often described as a “love letter to the theatre,” PETER & THE STARCATCHER’s dynamic book, by Rick Elise, is an ideal playground for collaborative theatre-makers—perfectly situated to showcase both source material & ensemble. Grounded in the aesthetics of Story Theatre, the world of PETER & THE STARCATCHER is uniquely defined (& redefined) by its players—invoking the collective imagination as found objects, architecture, & other elements of the everyday transform before our eyes. Essentially… everybody plays everything!!! PETER & THE STARCATCHER is, at its heart, an origin story—a pre-history of Pan that has, at its end, a 100-year old beginning (read: this adventure has little to do with being & everything to do with becoming). Our production will be, first & foremost, a love letter to the journey… to personal discovery & self-acceptance—a celebration of the attributes & aptitudes of each individual onstage that, in true Story Theatre fashion, blurs the lines between exposition, scenework, & personal narrative.

NYU’s Program in Educational Theatre encourages performers with & without developmental differences to audition & will provide reasonable accommodations to all individuals who request them. In order to audition, please prepare two sides from different categories from this document. If you have any questions, please reach out to Cassie Holzum (Production Stage Manager and Assistant Director)

If you cannot find a time slot that works for you, we will be accepting walk-ins on a first come, first served basis.
Callbacks will be on Saturday, Sept. 1st 12pm – 5pm and Tuesday, Sept. 4th 7pm – 10pm. Please let me know if you have any further questions!

OF A CERTAIN AGE to Examine the Lives of Aging Actors Through Reversed Casting

Could experiencing the lives of aging performing artists through young actors cause people to rethink their beliefs about aging and disrupt implicit biases? Of a Certain Age-a verbatim performance comprised of eight students portraying 16 performing artists and professionals over the age of 65-will explore this concept through performances at the Provincetown Playhouse from Friday, February 23 to Sunday, March 4.

Suzy Jane Hunt, Josh Batty, and Keith Morris on stage during technical rehearsals.

Suzy Jane Hunt, Josh Batty, and Keith Morris on stage during technical rehearsals.

The experimental performance replicates the voices, intonations, and gestures of aging actors, commentators, and professionals based on interview transcripts, audio recordings, and field notes. Of a Certain Age is a production of NYU Steinhardt’s Program in Educational Theatre in collaboration with The Actors Fund, an organization providing assistance to the entertainment community, and NYU Steinhardt’s Verbatim Performance Lab. Joe Salvatore, playwright and clinical associate professor of educational theatre at Steinhardt, created the play utilizing verbatim performance techniques similar to those in the Off-Broadway production,Her Opponent, an ethnodramatic re-staging of excerpts of the 2016 presidential debates co-created with economist Maria Guadalupe (INSEAD) in 2017.

Eight students conducted interviews with 37 performing artists-ranging from a back up singer for George Michael to an original cast member from West Side Story on Broadway-about their experiences growing older in an industry that has traditionally favored youth. Students will perform interview excerpts word for word and exactly replicate interviewees as they discuss the struggle to land roles, sexism in the industry, forced retirement, age typecasting, and more.

This image shows excerpts from the interview transcripts being re-organized by theme in preparation for putting together a draft of the script.

Piecing the script together.

Salvatore said casting choices were designed to disrupt audience expectations. In one scene, a young man depicts an older woman while a second actor on stage discusses being overlooked for voiceover roles, as these are typically given to men.

“Verbatim performance gives us an opportunity to reexamine how we think about aging. Watching gender-reversed and age-reversed actors perform these roles while in dialogue about sexism and ageism forces the audience to challenge their subconscious beliefs. How do we think about actors or celebrities over the age of 65 and how does this change when their experiences are portrayed by young people? The casting deliberately includes moments to shake up the audience’s perceptions; the theatricality is always present,” Salvatore said.

Salvatore said these choices cause an ‘alienation effect’ which forces the audience to reflect on what is being presented in critical and objective ways, rather than simply being immersed in the performance as they would with more a traditional play. This process of ‘making the familiar strange’ helps audiences to challenge their implicit biases and intolerances.

The performance also includes interview excerpts with writer and activist Ashton Applewhite, who recently gave a TED Talk about ageism as the last socially acceptable prejudice. The actor portraying Applewhite discusses the pejorative ways aging celebrities are discussed and structural discrimination in the industry.

Traci DiGesu, Senior Program Volunteer and Activities Coordinator at The Actors Fund, said the project helped participants feel heard by the next generation and discuss prejudices that affect artists of all ages.

“I was hearing from my clients about their experiences of ageism and feeling invisible, but I was also hearing a lot of good stories about how much they were still enjoying their work. It’s important for them to maintain their identities as artists and this project presented a terrific opportunity for participants to talk about their lives with student researchers who were genuinely interested,” DiGesu said.

The project is part of NYU Steinhardt’s newly formed Verbatim Performance Lab, which is committed to using verbatim performance techniques as an investigative tool to challenge and disrupt preconceived notions, implicit biases, and intolerances across a spectrum of political, cultural, and social beliefs and experiences.

“Of a Certain Age” runs Friday, February 23 and Saturday, February 24 at 8 p.m.; Sunday, February 25 at 3 p.m.; Thursday, March 1 to Saturday, March 3 at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, March 4 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $15 general admission and $5 for students and seniors. For tickets, contact NYU Box Office at tickets.nyu.edu, call212.998.4941, or visit in person at 566 LaGuardia Place (at Washington Square South).

“Of a Certain Age” is directed by Joe Salvatore and assistant directed by Andy Wagner. It features scenic design by Andy Hall, lighting design by Daryl Embry and Leah Cohen, sound design by Darren Whorton, props by Sven Nelson, and costumes by Márion Talán. The dramaturg is Sarah Bellantoni and theraturg is Traci DiGesu. The production stage manager is Cassie Holzum and assistant stage manager is Jiawen Hu, with research and assistance from Han Yu. The cast features NYU Steinhardt students Rai Arsa Artha, Josh Batty, Megan Conway, Sherill-Marie Henriquez, Suzy Jane Hunt (appears courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association), Keith Morris, Amalia Ritter, and Hayley Sherwood.

Steinhardt’s Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions, established in 1925, instructs over 1,600 students majoring in music and performing arts programs. Music and Performing Arts Professions serves as NYU’s “school” of music and is a major research and practice center in music technology, music business, music composition, film scoring, songwriting, music performance practices, performing arts therapies, and the performing arts-in-education (music, dance, and drama)

Link to original post on BroadwayWorld.com

NYU Steinhardt to Stage ‘HEAR THEM ROAR’ to Commemorate 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage in NY

Poster advertising the production.NYU Steinhardt’s Program in Educational Theatre will stage two events this month to celebrate the women of New York State winning the right to vote a century ago, exploring the historical context through the individuals who fought for the cause.

A newly created play entitled Hear Them Roar: The Fight for Women’s Rights investigates the untold stories of the suffragists of 1917, including women of color, immigrants, and the men (or “suffragents“) who helped win the vote.

Under the direction of Nan Smithner, clinical associate professor of educational theatre at NYU Steinhardt, the play was devised by an ensemble of 15 actors, who wrote and created the scenarios by deeply researching historical facts of the time.

The show is conceived as an environmental theatre performance, with historical scenes related to the struggle for women’s rights taking place in Washington Square Park. These scenes are connected thematically in Pless Hall’s Black Box Theatre to present day issues.

The audience for Hear Them Roar: The Fight for Women’s Rights will meet at the Black Box Theatre, located at 82 Washington Square East (entrance on Washington Place), and will stroll from scene to scene throughout the performance. Audience members should dress warmly and wear comfortable shoes. In case of rain the performance will move inside Pless Hall.

Hear Them Roar: The Fight for Women’s Rights runs for seven performances between Friday, October 20 and Sunday, October 29. For a list of performance dates and times, visit the NYU Events Calendar. Tickets are $15 general admission and $5 for students and seniors. For tickets, contact NYU Box Office at tickets.nyu.edu, call 212.998.4941, or visit in person at 566 LaGuardia Place (at Washington Square South).

The Thursday, October 26 performance will feature a talk back after the show with Professor Burt Neuborne, who held the Inez Milholland Chair at NYU Law for the past ten years, and NYU Journalism Professor Brooke Kroeger, who wrote the recent book The Suffragents: How Women Used Men to Get the Vote (SUNY Press, 2017).

The Program in Educational Theatre will also present Upon a White Horse, the latest event in its Storytelling Series at the Provincetown Playhouse, produced by storyteller and NYU Steinhardt adjunct professor Regina Ress.

While many fought for women’s suffrage, one woman in particular stands out for her aptitude for drawing attention to the cause: Inez Milholland, a 1912 graduate of the NYU School of Law. Milholland may be best remembered sitting astride a white horse, channeling Joan of Arc, and leading parades down New York City’s Fifth Avenue and Washington, D.C.’s Pennsylvania Avenue to fight for women’s rights.

Called the New York Times’ “Poster Girl of Radicalism,” this labor lawyer, war correspondent, and outspoken crusader for social justice literally worked herself to death for the cause of women’s suffrage. Storyteller Darci Tucker will bring her back to life on Sunday, October 22 at 1 pm at the Provincetown Playhouse (133 Macdougal Street).

Upon a White Horse is free and open to the public, and is appropriate for adults and youth 12 and older. For more information, visit the NYU Events Calendar.

Steinhardt’s Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions, established in 1925, instructs over 1,600 students majoring in music and performing arts programs. Music and Performing Arts Professions serves as NYU’s “school” of music and is a major research and practice center in music technology, music business, music composition, film scoring, songwriting, music performance practices, performing arts therapies, and the performing arts-in-education (music, dance, and drama).

Link to original post on BroadwayWorld.com

Two Weeks with the Queen Opens Tonight!

Tonight I caught the dress rehearsal for Two Weeks with the Queen, a fantastic show you won’t want to miss!
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Based on a popular Australian novel by Mary Morris, Two Weeks with the Queen is a moving TYA play that appeals to people of all ages. While it explores some serious subject matter, director Philip Taylor ensures that the story is told with humor and warmth to create an uplifting experience about overcoming fear and handling the challenges that life has to offer. Fast paced, funny and skillfully directed, the show highlights a very talented ensemble of actors. Meghan Crosby gleefully and beautifully portrays the spunky and determined 12 year old Colin, while the rest of the gifted cast, including Cheryl Brumley, Maggie Bussard, Brendan Chambers, Eric Gelb and Shannon Stoddard, impressively play a variety of memorable characters. What a pleasure it was seeing them all work together so well, each making strong choices to create many lovely moments on stage.
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The designers and crew also deserve praise, including Daryl Embry’s clever set design, Leah Cohen and Daryl Embry’s appealing lighting, Meaghan Cross’s delightful costumes, and Kari-Noor Thompson’s effective sound design. The production stage manager Sarah Brown, assistant stage manager Jiawen Hu, and assistant director Andrew Gaines are also to be congratulated for their hard work in helping to create this remarkable show.
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Poignant and full of hope, Two Weeks with the Queen is a production with a lot of heart!
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David Montgomery

Poster advertising the production of Two Weeks with the Queen.

Spring 2017 Main Stage: “Two Weeks with the Queen”

The Program is excited to announce that the spring show will be Two weeks with the Queen, a play about brotherly love in the face of a devastating disease. Auditions for this Theatre for Young Audiences classic will be in December. Based on an Australian novel by Morris Gleitzman and a stage adaptation by Mary Morris, Educational Theatre faculty member, Philip Taylor, is delighted to be directing this show in our landmark Provincetown Playhouse. All students are welcome to audition.

Two Weeks with the Queen advertisement.

Audition Announcement: Brief Encounter

Brief Encounter logo

NOËL COWARD’S BRIEF ENCOUNTER

 

This play deftly explores the wild anticipation, tenderness, and heartbreak of an illicit English romance, circa 1938. Alec and Laura meet at a London train station. Both are happily married; both are content to be so; and both are naïve to their own latent desires for intimate connection, as well as the unbearable pain of unrequited love. Emma Rice’s adaptation of BRIEF ENCOUNTER integrates the songs of Noël Coward with his timeless, personal, and poignant text, bringing us one of the most exhilarating romances to hit the stage.

 

ADAPTED BY: Emma Rice
DIRECTED BY: Amy Cordileone
PERFORMANCE DATES: February 26 – March 6, 2016 (Provincetown Playhouse)

 

REHEARSALS BEGIN: Saturday, January 23, 2016

 

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LOOKING FOR: ACTORS, SINGERS, & MUSICIANS

 

Performers of all ages, races, ethnicities, sizes, & genders are encouraged to audition.

 

AUDITIONS:

Sunday, December 6, 2015

10 AM – 2 PM (10 min. appts.)
Pless Acting Lab

 

CALLBACKS:

December 6, 2015

3 PM – 7 PM (As Needed)
Pless Acting Lab

 

Email Amy Cordileone to request an audition appointment.

 

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WHAT TO PREPARE:

  • Text: Sides will be provided upon confirmation of audition appointment. No monologue needed. All roles require a British dialect – either Received Standard or Southeast/Estuary English (see the CHARACTER DESCRIPTIONS below). Dialect references available.

 

  • Music: Please prepare 1-minute (16 bars) of an early-20th century standard (Gershwin, Porter, Berlin, Coward, etc.). Feel free to email with questions or clarifications as needed. Piano accompaniment will be available. If you play an instrument and can accompany yourself, please do so (note: if you anything other than piano, please bring your own instrument to the audition).

 

Scripts will be available for checkout & perusal beginning Wednesday, Nov. 11, at 35 West 4th Street, Room 1207 (12th floor).

Tales of the Lost Formicans – Last Chance

#NYUformicans has four performances remaining. Get your tickets now!

Congratulations to the cast, crew, and director, Nan Smithner, of the spectacular Tales of the Lost Formicans. I’ve just come from the first of our two student matinees which had our audience emotionally engaged with a family on the brink and thoroughly entertained with songs, 80s costumes, and an especially physical performance from an ensemble of aliens. They sing; they dance; they narrate; they abduct–this production is not to be missed! And with the Halloween festivities coming this weekend, I might encourage you to get into the spirit with your own 80s flavored ensemble so that you too can travel back in time with us. – Jonathan Jones

 

Four performances remain:
Thursday, October 29 – 8PM
Friday, October 30 – 8PM
Saturday, October 31 – 8PM
Sunday, November 1 – 3PM

 

Tales of the Lost Formicans logo

Q&A with Constance Congdon

While preparing the resource guide for our upcoming production of Tales of the Lost Formicans, Jonathan Jones sent some questions to playwright, Constance Congdon.

What was your inspiration when you wrote TALES OF THE LOST FORMICANS?

I don’t believe in inspiration, altho’ it has been known to strike WHILE I’m writing and sometimes it’s good. I had just come off of a huge adaptation project and decided that my next play would be for me. I also had started thinking about what culture was I from? Well, I’m from Formica.

What are you hoping teenage audiences, or any audience, will take away from seeing this play?

I hope any audience member would enjoy and be moved by it. It’s about transience.

As you celebrate the 25th anniversary of the publication of the play, has its meaning changed over time?

You know, it has remained a true picture of this time in which we are living.

What advice would you give to young people interested in a future career as a playwright?

First of all, “career” is the wrong word. Would you talk about someone’s career as a poet? Playwriting is a calling. What to do? Just write plays and don’t judge them. Enjoy your own work. Genius is just doing your work on a particularly lucky day. Persistance. And fun.

Do you have other plays that may be appropriate for young audiences?

They are published by Smith and Kraus and are in the many volumes that Craig Slaight of the Young Conservatory of American Conservatory Theater has published over the years. He’s gotten many major playwrights to write for young audiences. Mine are:  MOONTEL SIX; THE AUTOMATA PIETA; NIGHTENGALES.

Tales of the Lost Formicans opens Friday night, October 23. Tickets can be purchased at the event website.

Tales of the Lost Formicans poster