Monthly Archives: October 2019


The men of Chekhov do not bathe, as we did at that time, in their own sorrow. Just the opposite: they, like Chekhov himself, seek life, joy, laughter, courage. The men and women of Chekhov want to live and not to die. They are active and surge to overcome the hard and unbearable impasses into which life has plunged them. It is not their fault that Russian life kills initiative and the best of beginnings and interferes with the free action and life of men and women. (MLIA)


(Jesse Green’s article appeared in The New York Times, 10/23; via Pam Green.)

When “Macbeth” meets McDonald’s, a meaty new musical is born.

When classics get adapted or updated, I often find myself asking: What’s the added value? What do you get from Shakespeare with penguins that you don’t get better from Shakespeare straight up?

That’s the chip I had on my shoulder when I went to see “Scotland, PA,” a musical riff on “Macbeth” that opened on Wednesday at the Laura Pels Theater. It’s not as if the great tragedy hadn’t been plundered enough already; earlier “Macbeth” mash-ups include a “Macbett,” a “MacBird!” and even a “MacHomer,” in which Banquo is reconfigured as Ned Flanders.

And I already knew that this one, a world premiere commission from Roundabout Theater Company, was based on a 2001 film by William Morrissette that moves the action to the 1970s — not the most appealing era for updates. I worried the witches would be Charlie’s Angels.

But “Scotland, PA” — in which the witches, happily, are stoners instead — turns out to add some delicious value to both the original play and the film. Its smart book (by Michael Mitnick) and agreeable songs (by Adam Gwon) are often laugh-out-loud funny, something no one ever said about the version that opened in 1606. The show, directed by Lonny Price, is also quietly insightful, making piquant connections between Shakespeare’s drama of political powerlust and the consumerist mania of our own fast-food culture.

(Read more)

Photo: Credit…Rachel Papo for The New York Times



In talking and acting so that the spectator does not understand either the words or the problems of the actors, all that the actor really accomplishes is the letting down and lowering of the interest of the spectator in the performance and the general tone of his spiritual state of being. (MLIA)


“David’s Play” by Tom Rowan to be performed at the NYC International Fringe Festival. 


Express Lane Productions is proud to present David’s Play, a new play by Tom Rowan (Kiss and CryThe Second Tosca) that will be presented October 27 to November 3 as part of this year’s NY Fringe BYOV Festival. The show will play at the Chain Theatre Main Stage, 312 West 36th Street in Manhattan, which is serving as a Fringe venue for the first time this season.


A close-knit group of college friends reunites in New York several years after graduation to celebrate a milestone. Can a recently discovered manuscript get their lives back on track? David’s Play is a serious comedy about love, loss, musical theatre, and the power of friendship. 

In an art-imitates-life (or is it the other way around?) approach, this production casts the play mostly with a group of young actors who really did go to school together—at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, one of the nation’s top BFA Acting programs. 

“David’s Play” will be performed at 

Chain Theatre Main Stage

312 W. 36th Street New York, NY 10018

(between Eighth and Ninth Avenues)

Fourth Floor


Performance dates are:

October 27th at 8:00 PM

October 29th at 6:00 PM

October 31st at 8:30 PM 

November 2nd at 2:00 PM 

November 3rd at 4:00 PM 



AMANDA: Callee Miles* 

MOLLY: Katie Ailion*

LEO: Joseph Dean Anderson

IAN: Morgan Hahn

BARRY: Alex Gagne

JOSHUA: Will Valles

DAVID: Avery Whitted*



Tom Rowan: Playwright 

Greg Pragel*: Director 

Dickson Lane*: Producer 

Robert Neapolitan*: Stage Manager

*AEA members – “David’s Play” is an approved AEA Showcase. 


For tickets please visit:


Please follow “David’s Play” on Instagram: @DavidsPlay2019 and through their Facebook Event:


For more information please visit:



Theater Resources Unlimited
TRU Love Benefit:
Follow Your Art, Fulfill Your Dreams
Honoring James Morgan and Haley Swindal
Sunday, December 8, 2019

(via Michelle Tabnick)

Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) presents the 2019 TRU Love Benefit: Follow Your Art, Fulfill Your Dreams, on Sunday, December 8, 2019 at 12noon at Caroline’s on Broadway, 1626 Broadway (between 49th & 50th Streets). Tickets start at $85 (show only, and two drinks). For additional information and ticket tier pricing, please visit

Follow Your Art, Fulfill Your Dreams will honor James Morgan, Producing Artistic Director of The York Theatre Company, and recipient of the TRU Spirit of Theater Award; and performer and producer Haley Swindal, recipient of the TRU Entrepreneur Award. The benefit starts with cocktails, followed by luncheon, a live auction and performances celebrating these honorees who have enriched the theater community as artists who help artists. A live auction will include Yankee Legends Suite baseball tickets, and a seven night, eight day Uniworld European River Cruise for two including transfers and shore excursions. Performances and award ceremony will be directed by Will Nunziata with music direction by  Tracy Stark.
     What is ‘TRU Love’? In 2001, TRU created the Spirit of Theater Award to recognize members of the theater producing community who have shown exceptional generosity of spirit, helping TRU itself and also giving opportunities to up-and-coming members of the theater community, with a special focus on aspiring producers. The TRU Entrepreneur Award was created in 2010 to acknowledge and encourage self-producing artists; the intention has broadened to recognize the initiative of a range of successful producing artist members of the community.
     In the words of Bob Ost, president of TRU, “We are giving our 2019 “TRU Spirit of Theater Award” to passionate musical theater enthusiast James Morgan, Producing Artistic Director of the York Theatre Company for 22 selfless years, and a guiding force of the company for 45 years. He led The York into its unique dual mission of producing and developing new musicals as well as rediscovering significant works from our musical theater history, and has helped assure the future of musical theater by nurturing new writers through York’s Developmental Reading Series, NEO (new/ emerging/ outstanding) concerts, and other programs. We salute his positive spirit and genuine love of this singular art form, as well as his own great artistic gifts as a scenic and graphic designer and occasional director.”
     Ost continues, “Our 2019 TRU Entrepreneur Award goes to artist and producer Haley Swindal, for successfully balancing her career as a theater, film and concert performer with a passion for producing. Haley has spent the last year starring as Mama Morton in Chicago on Broadway and giving concerts while simultaneously producing two shows in London. She is upbeat, generous and business savvy, with a creative flair and warmth that infuses everything she does, a multi-faceted Renaissance woman and an inspiration. And she has generously given her time and insights to members of TRU’s producer development program.”
     Will Nunziata (director)is a New York City based theatre and concert director. The concert director for Platinum recording artist Jackie Evancho, Tony Award winner Lillias White, Broadway’s Haley Swindal, and Soul Train Award winner Nicole Henry, Will is also developing a slew of new plays and musicals with writers and composers in New York City, London, and Los Angeles. He recently conceived and directed the critically-acclaimed off-Broadway theatre revue Our Guy, Cy: The Songs of Cy Coleman starring four Tony Award winners who all worked with the late-great composer Cy Coleman – Lillias White, Cady Huffman, Randy Graff, and Judy Kaye. A few years ago, Will directed a revised version of the Kander & Ebb musical The Act starring Julia Murney, Randy Graff, Cady Huffman, Anna Chlumsky, Mamie Parris, Karen Mason, Stacie Bono, and more. This past year Will collaborated with Tony Award winner Cady Huffman and wrote and directed a one-woman musical about Peggy Lee. A graduate of Boston College with a B.A. in Theatre, he is also a professional singer and entertainer who recently headlined Carnegie Hall with the NY POPS alongside his twin brother, Anthony. Will is a proud member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC). He is repped by Paradigm.
     Pianist/Arranger/Conductor/Singer Songwriter, Tracy Stark is an 11-Time MAC Award winner (Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs), in the categories of Music Director, Piano Bar Entertainer, and Song of the Year.  She is also a Bistro Award winner for Musical Direction and has won Cabaret Hotline’s Songwriter of the Year Award. Tracy has worked with Sarah Dash (Labelle), Randy Jones (Village People), Lesley Gore, Phoebe Snow, Karen Black, Barb Jungr, Brenda Braxton, Eric Millegan (Bones), Tonya Pinkins, Nathan Lee Graham, and hundreds of other rock, jazz, and broadway vocalists.   She stays busy creating and music directing 75-100 different shows per year and has 3 CD’s of original music in her catalogue. She has conducted, played, and sung at all the finest and the sleaziest venues all over the world. She has played/conducted on numerous television shows, including The Today Show. Her songs are included on at least 20 different compilations and have been winning accolades in songwriting competitions for the past 2 decades. Her 3rd CD of original music, “Shades of Beautiful,” was released on the Miranda Music label, exquisitely produced by Richard Barone, with world class vocalists, including Lillias White, Nona Hendryx, Ann Hampton Callaway, Lesley Gore, Jane Monheit, Janis Siegel, Karen Black, Barb Jungr, and other great artists.
     The Benefit Producing Committee includes chair Cheryl Davis, producers Merrie L. Davis and Sandford Silver, York associate producing director Amber Wallace, and TRU board members Bob Ost, producer Cody Lassen and Courtney Sweeting.
     The illustrious committee assembled to support these beloved honorees includes Pat Flicker Addiss, producer (Tony winner for Vanya & Sonia & Masha & SpikeDesperate Measures, A Christmas StoryPromises Promises, Spring Awakening); Catherine Adler, producer (Tootsie, Tony winner for Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike, A Gentleman’s Guide…, Skylightrevival, Angels in America revival, The Ferryman); Nancy Anderson, actress (Broadway: A Class Act, revival of Wonderful Town; York Theatre: Fanny Hill, Jolson & Co., Yank!); Mary Cossette, producer (Broadway: Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike, Bonnie & Clyde; off-Broadway: Desperate Measures, Nevermore); Jamie deRoy, cabaret legend, producer (Tony winner for The Norman Conquests, Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike, A Gentleman’s Guide…,  Angels in AmericaOnce on This Island, The Band’s VisitThe Ferryman; currently: The Inheritance, Slave Play, Tina, The Great Society, Beetlejuice, Tootsie, Ain’t Too Proud, To Kill a Mockingbird); William Franzblau, producer (Rocktopia, Tony Nominated Best Play Say Goodnight Gracie, American Buffalo and Wonderland on Broadway; off-Broadway This One’s for the GirlsSistas, Jewtopia, Evil Dead the Musical); Evans Haile, music director-conductor, producer, Executive Director of the York Theatre Company; Pamela Hunt, director (Musical of Musicals at the York, Outer Critics Circle winner Carnival at the York); Riki Kane Larimer, lead producer (Cagney the musical in New York, LA and Salt Lake City), co-producer (On the TownGigi on Broadway; Bright Colors, Bold PatternsGeorgie off- Broadway; Enter Laughing at The York), York Board Member; Jim Kierstead, producer (Hadestown, The Inheritance, Ain’t Too Proud, Tony awards for Kinky Boots and Pippin revival, Yank!, Thrill Me – the Leopold and Loeb Story)Richard Maltby Jr.,Tony winning director (Ain’t Misbehavin’, Fosse), lyricist (Starting Here, Starting Now, Closer Than Ever, Baby, Big, Miss Saigon); Gerry McIntyre, actor (Once on This Island, The Audience,  Anything Goes, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat), director-choreographer (Hallelujah Baby at the York, Spamilton); W. David McCoy, Chairman of the Board of The York Theatre Company; Charlotte Moore, artistic director/co-founder Irish Repertory Theater; Jana Robbins, actress (Tale of the Allergist’s Wife, Gypsy), producer (Yiddish Fiddler on the Roof, Company in London and Broadway, Ragtime revival, Little Women); Dominique Sharpton, producer, actor and activist; Joan Ross Sorkin, playwright, librettist, lyricist, President of the Board of the York Theatre; Elisa Loti Stein, actress, York Board Member; Jack Tantleff, Head of Theatre Literary and Content Department, Paradigm Talent Agency; Cheryl Wiesenfeld, producer (The Great Society, Ain’t Too Proud, Tony winner for Elaine Stritch: At Liberty, The Gershwin’s Porgy and BessVanya & Sonia & Masha & SpikeAll the Way); Stuart Wilk, producer (Yank! at the York, Meet Me in St. Louis at Irish Rep); and Charles Wright, writer & editor, Co-President of The Drama Desk. 
Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) is the leading network for developing theater professionals, a twenty-seven year old 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created to help producers produce, emerging theater companies to emerge healthily and all theater professionals to understand and navigate the business of the arts. Membership includes self-producing artists as well as career producers and theater companies.
     TRU publishes an email community newsletter of services, goods and productions; offers a Producer Development & Mentorship Program taught by prominent producers and general managers in New York theater, and also presents Producer Boot Camp workshops to help aspirants develop business skills. TRU serves writers through a Writer-Producer Speed Date, a Practical Playwriting Workshop, How to Write a Musical That Works and a Director-Writer Communications Lab; programs for actors include the Annual Combined Audition.
     Programs of Theater Resources Unlimited are supported in part by the Montage Foundation and the Leibowitz Greenway Foundation.
     For more information about TRU membership and programs, visit



The prevalent mistake of beginning stage directors and actors is that they think that the heightening of tone is the quickening of tempo; that playing in full tone is loud and quick talking and strained action. But the expressions the “heightening of tone,” “full tone,” “quickening of tempo” have nothing to do with the actor and all with the spectator. (MLIA)


The Love Suicides at Sonezaki

U.S. production premiere

October 19–22, 2019 Rose Theater, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall

At the turn of 18th-century Japan, a clerk and a courtesan committed suicide in the forest of Tenjin. The Love Suicides at Sonezaki, a tragic play based upon these events, was banned after its 1703 premiere for more than two centuries. For this U.S. production premiere, renowned artist Hiroshi Sugimoto presents a bold, contemporary interpretation of the classic drama using bunraku puppet theater with music by Living National Treasure Seiji Tsurusawa and video by Tabaimo and Sugimoto. The puppets, imbued with life, captivate audiences with their lively movements rivaling the eloquence of actual human beings.

“Sugimoto breathed souls into the lifeless wooden puppets.”

– Le Monde