Monthly Archives: November 2008


Ato Essandoh has been receiving raves for his performance in David Rabe’s Streamers at the Roundabout (running through January 11). His dramatic writing is also included in One on One: The Best Men’s Monologues for the 21st Century and the upcoming Duo! The Best Scenes for Two for the 21st Century—both from Applause Theatre & Cinema Books. Below is a partial compilation of recent acclaim:


“Carlyle, [is] a volatile man with a fierce temper. He’s the play’s catalyst for trouble and in Ato Essandoh’s fierce, genuinely unnerving portrait, Carlyle is an explosion waiting to happen.”–Michael Kuchwara, AP


"Ato Essandoh is terrifying as Carlyle, the mentally unstable outsider whose jealousy of the other men is manifested in his provocative sexual behavior with Richie."–Simon Saltzman, Curtainup


“As Essandoh superbly plays him, Carlyle is all danger and desperation. At one point, making machine-gun sounds, he slithers drunkenly into the barracks, bringing with him all the primal fears that the homey little cadre room is pitched against.”– John Lahr, The New Yorker


“As played with quiet ferocity by Mr. Essandoh, Carlyle burns with a rage whose roots go deeper than his belittling treatment on the base.”–Charles Isherwood, The New York Times



“Carlyle is depicted with forceful complexity by Ato Essandoh.”–Bryan Clark, Show Business



“Into this stew of simmering relationships bursts Carlyle (Ato Essendoh), a jive-talking operator on permanent KP duty. Representing the lowest stratum of Army life — and whatever past put him there — Carlyle is lonely or crazy or both. And as played by Essandoh, he's as mesmerizing as a writhing serpent.”– Sandy MacDonald, Theatermania



 “Essandoh as volatile Carlyle, lurch[es] between inarticulate rage, suspicion, willful troublemaking and the odd, almost visionary ramblings of a madman.” – David Rooney, Variety


Four young soldiers fresh from boot camp wait anxiously in 1965 Virginia, watching the Vietnam conflict escalate. Streamers is an unflinching exploration of the turmoil and confusion facing young men threatened by forces beyond their control.


The Roundabout:

Harold and Miriam Steinberg
Center for Theatre

111 West 46th St (6th & 7th Aves)
Ticket Services: 212.719.1300


Visit Ato Essandoh's Web site:


Each week the expert staff of the renowned Drama Book Shop in Manhattan, just seconds away from Broadway, recommends one play that's new, interesting, or just flat-out fantastic. Picking the best of published work, they help keep us up to date and aware of the little known, broadening our horizons and encouraging dialogue. Order a play from The Drama Book Shop, read it, and e-mail them with your thoughts–they'd love to hear from you:


The Time of Your Life
by William Saroyan

The Time of Your Life is a period piece that is still significant today. Set at the start of World War II, but written five months prior, Saroyan does what artists have forgotten how to or become afraid of doing: he stays ahead of the curve and comments on where we’re heading, and not on what has already come to pass.

Joe, the wealthy loafer, tries to help his disciple Tom save Kitty Duval, the burlesque queen turned prostitute. We have Nick, the bartender who tries to help everyone he can while keeping his business open when the head of the vice squad threatens trouble. We have another cop who wants to quit his job and his philosopher best friend, the longshoreman, who may come to blows with each other during the workers strike at the docks. We have a budding song and dance team and characters ranging from Arabs, society couples, young men who are ready to take over the world and the nurses who are weary and hesitant to fall in love with them. All of these people are searching for a new path through life when the road has suddenly disappeared before them.

Though the war is a strong focus of the piece, it only manifests itself as a shadow over the play. If it is impossible for art to reach the soldier who is on the verge of killing or being killed, it can get ready for the soldier’s son….war is tentative. Aberration is tentative. Art is not tentative. – Saroyan, 1940.

Also, be sure to read Saroyan’s introduction written in 1940. Topics include art, war, politics, and the much forgotten human experience within those areas. It is a stunning essay that every artist should devour.

Cast: 18 M, 8 W

Monologues/Scenes: With the current trend of producing television drama for the stage and Broadway becoming a community theatre for B-list actors, it’s really refreshing to read a play that is inherently theatrical and so ensemble based that no Hollywood starlet could mess it up too badly. Featuring 26 characters to choose from, almost anyone regardless of age, race, sex or type can find something to work with here.

Recommended by: Adam



The Drama Book Shop, Inc.
250 W. 40th St.
New York, NY 10018
Tel: (212) 944-0595
Fax: (212) 730-8739

  Order online:


Product Details :

Publisher : Samuel French Inc Plays
Published : 08/01/1996
Format : Paperback 
ISBN-10 : 0573616736
ISBN-13 : 9780573616


If you belong to the Official Liza Minnelli Yahoo group, you’ve noticed the blizzard of e-mails discussing best seats, swaps, and prices from TicketMaster and the box office. Even for people who aren’t part of the hardcore, it would be impossible not to notice Liza peering over a hot mink in ads.  To paraphrase a genius, Fred Ebb said it was like Christmas getting to work with the star.  Now New York is giving her the season:  Liza’s at the Palace 12/3-12/28 singing–along with her standards–songs by godmother Kay Thompson, “Hello, Hello”, “Jubilee Time”, and “I love a Violin” (Minnelli and producer Phil Ramone recorded a studio version–with Hybrid Recordings–available at the Palace during the run, followed by a retail and online release on Feb. 3); she's been appearing on Rosie Live!, Access Hollywood,CBS Early Show, and The Today Show; a special new disc is also out–Liza Minnelli: The Complete A&M Recordings–compiled by Scott Schechter: producer, Minnelli-Garland historian, and developer of Liza’s Web site–  He’s the author of The Liza Minnelli Scrapbook, too (link to AMAZON on the left side of this blog)Lavishly illustrated and including a foreword by her collaborator, accompanist, and confidant Billy Stritch (from Citadel Press/Kensington Publishing, $21.95), Liza has said about the tribute, "All the other books about me are B.S. This is the one that counts."   

Spend the holidays with her:

·         Best-buy tickets for Liza’s at the Palace: <>

·        For access to Schechter’s yahoo group with all the latest Liza news (which she and her people follow): <>

·       To read more about Schechter’s new compilation–Liza Minnelli: The Complete A&M Recordings:

·         For Liza’s Official Website: and others of interest:; her European site:

·       To learn what Billy Stritch is up to:

And to hear more from Liza, below is the November 21, 2008 Playbill interview with her (and link):

DIVA TALK: Chatting with Liza Minnelli Plus News of Bean, Callaway and Murphy

By Andrew Gans

How many times in one's life does the day begin with a call from Liza Minnelli? Even if the interview was only ten minutes long, it would be hard to complain about speaking to the effervescent, good-natured Minnelli, who was calling during a rehearsal break in Milan. In fact, Minnelli seemed genuinely excited about her upcoming return to Broadway in Liza's at the Palace . . .!, which will begin an already-extended engagement at the famed Palace Theatre Dec. 3. The limited run, which is currently scheduled to play through Dec. 28, is an early holiday present for diva fans, who have been eagerly awaiting the Main Stem return of the Tony, Grammy, Oscar and Emmy Award-winning singer-actor-dancer. Minnelli, a three-time Tony winner (for Flora, The Red Menace; The Act; and a 1974 Special Award), was last on Broadway in 1999 in Minnelli on Minnelli, a tribute to her late father, film director Vincente Minnelli. This time around, the powerhouse performer will honor her late godmother, Kay Thompson, the vocal arranger who coached Minnelli's late mother, the legendary Judy Garland. Minnelli spoke with great enthusiasm about Thompson and her new show and her return to Broadway; that brief interview follows . . .

(link for full interview)


Every week the staff of Manhattan’s renowned Drama Book Shop undertakes the formidable challenge of helping actors find the best monologues for auditions and classes; answering hundreds of questions regarding new—and classic—plays from the U.S. and around the world; and recommending theatre craft titles–from lighting design to beating the pavement. They even have a working theatre in their basement!

Here they are on Stage Voices, picking the best of published work to keep us up to date and aware of the little known—the next best thing to actually being in the shop, listening to their wise counsel and sage advice.  


edited by Maria Striar and Erin Detrick

“You are wondering if I have ever had sexual intercourse,” muses a comely female torso, addressing her audience for the first time.

A lonely apartment swoons for its inhabitants as a dreamy incarnation of Justin Timberlake gets all the attention.

Demon Baby, a gnome-like creature that looks like a middle-aged man, renders average citizens helpless while roosting atop their torsos.

If you, like I, have been zonking out at the kitchen sinks of various suburban homes as relatives and lovers get drunk and finally tell one another the truth, the plays in this Clubbed Thumb anthology will snap you awake line by line, image by image and play by play. And if you’re lucky, they’ll pull you through that sink spigot, twist you through the maze beneath and push you out the other side transformed.

If you’re not already familiar with the anthology’s articulate and intriguing authors – including Carson Kreitzer, Erin Courtney and Sheila Callaghan, whose plays are mentioned above – you should be; Clubbed Thumb has an impeccable ear for talented voices. As a group, these authors are enamored with, not encumbered by, language and form. They play with ferocity and experiment with glee but don’t sacrifice substance for style. Their plays are energetic, clever, fun, raw and above all, truthful.

Ultimately, though, you should read these plays because they are a reflection of a restless, changing world — not content to remain in one place and dwell on what is. They sing, thrash and lunge toward their next incarnation, away from the standard proscenium, toward new possibility, toward what can be.

Scenes/Monologues: Both, especially for those looking for something atypical, challenging (i.e. not for a commercial audition).

Recommended by: Matthew


The Drama Book Shop, Inc.
250 W. 40th St.
New York, NY 10018
Tel: (212) 944-0595
Fax: (212) 730-8739

Order online:     

The Typographer's Dream by Adam Bock
Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake) by Sheila Callaghan
Demon Baby by Erin Courtney
16 Spells to Charm the Beast by Lisa D'Amour
Inky by Rinne Groff
Dearest Eugenia Haggis by Anne Marie Healy
Freakshow by Carson Kreitzer

Publisher Description: Clubbed Thumb, the Obie Award-winning downtown theatre company, has made it their mission since 1996 to produce funny, strange, and provocative new plays. This anthology contains seven thought-provoking, edgy, and entertaining works that have been developed and produced by Clubbed Thumb. Playwrights include Adam Bock, Sheila Callaghan, Erin Courtney, Lisa D'Amour, Rinne Groff, Anne Marie Healy, and Carson Kreitzer.

Press quote:
"This anthology represents the jazziest, most edgy writers in contemporary American drama today. And Clubbed Thumb has more nerve, more guts, more class per square inch than any not-for-profit small theatre in New York. Reading these writers makes me want to go back to my own computer and try harder, dare more, and storm the barricades for funding for this rising generation." -Paula Vogel, Pulitzer-winning author of How I Learned to Drive


Product Details

Publisher : PlayScripts, Inc

Published : 04/01/2007

Format : Paperback 

ISBN-10 : 0970904622

ISBN-13 : 9780970904621


PRICE: $19.95

Keep the artistic dialog going—email the Drama Book Shop regarding their selections: 


Lower East Side 1930. A young man finds his voice. A desperate mother finds her strength. A solitary old man learns to open his heart.



Finalist at Humana Festival; winner of 2001 Berilla Kerr Grant


From the 11/19/08 New York Times review:



“Lillian Yuralia” could have gone so wrong.

A fragile woman and her teenage son are being forced out of their longtime home on the Lower East Side after the death of the boy’s father. They’ve been cut off financially because Lillian (Barbara Eda-Young, who is also the playwright) and the man never married. The boy, Yidl (John Magaro), isn’t speaking to her because he has just learned this shattering news — living in sin being less open in 1930 than now

As mother and son prepare to leave and take a bus to Pennsylvania, where they’ll live with her relatives, Lillian collapses, possibly because she added an overdose of laudanum to her afternoon tea . . .

(Link here to read full review:)


Lighting Design: Alexander Bartenieff
Costume Design: Catherine Siracusa & Sid Levitt
 Sound design:  Barry McBrien
Stage manager: Livia Tabor Hill
 Press representative: Jonathan Slaff

*member Actors Equity Association


  November 13-30, 2008
   LaMama, 74A East Fourth Street
   Thursday-Saturday, 8pm
   Sunday, 2:30 and 8pm
   $18 tdf/v
(Austin Pendleton’s playwriting work is included in the Applause books One on One:  The Best Men’s Monologues for the 21st Century and the upcoming Duo!:  The Best Monologues for Two for the 21st Century.)


Featuring invited and volunteer testimonials, visual and performance artist KAREN FINLEY will lead I NEED MY SPACE to share our emotional responses to the election and the various needs for space it exposed–physical, social, cultural and psychological.

·         How do our national political relationships inform or dialogue with the workplace, family, community and friends?

·         How do the race, gender, class and identity issues raised in the campaign continue to be discussed?

·         Finley will also address the transformation of the memory of Chicago's Grant Park (and the 1968 Democratic Convention) from a site of pain and loss into one of celebration and unity on November 4th, as well as legacies of Vietnam War protests and the Civil Rights Movement embodied in that space.

·         Audience participation in the meeting is encouraged.

·         I NEED MY SPACE will last approximately one hour, with the hope of providing a therapeutic and supportive group environment for those needing space in their own lives.

When: Tuesday, November 25, 6:30 pm
Where: Studio-X, 180 Varick Street, Suite 1610,
1 train to Houston Street

Refreshments provided by BAREFOOT WINES

Free and open to the public

STUDIO-X is a downtown studio for design and research run by the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation of Columbia University.

STUDIO-X locates itself in the heart of New York's creative community to establish a productive workspace and a rendezvous point for regular gatherings of colleagues dedicated to emergent thought.

STUDIO-X provides an open infrastructure for short-term collaborative projects by a collective of GSAPP faculty while acting as a base for some of the school's long-term experimental research units.

STUDIO-X brings together a new generation of architects, historians, theorists, graphic designers, spatial data analysts, media analysts, video artists, and landscape designers who have already established their independent practices.

STUDIO-X extends the daily operations of an architectural school devoted to all aspects of the built environment further into the public domains of design competitions, reports, publications, commissions, exhibitions, and events.

STUDIO-X dedicates itself to removing the lines between education and action, information and transformation.


Following is the link to the November 24, 2008 article on David Rabe and his work in The New Yorker.

Life and Letters

Land of Lost Souls

David Rabe’s America by John Lahr

On the wall of David Rabe’s television room, at his home in Connecticut, is a photograph of him as a football player at Loras Academy, the Catholic high school in Dubuque, Iowa, where he was a hard-driving running back and linebacker; in the image, he is being tackled, pushed into the dirt by three opponents. Rabe, now a large, white-haired sixty-eight-year-old with an athlete’s body and a writer’s stoop, writes the way he used to run: at full tilt, instinctively feeling for an opening, then plunging forward into the unknown. “I get a sentence, an idea, an image, and I start,” he said. “I don’t know anything beyond it. I follow it . . .

(Excerpts from David Rabe’s work are included in One on One: The Best Men’s Monologues for the 21st Century just published by Applause Theatre & Cinema Books.)


What follows is the final monologue from Carol Lashof’s play Gap.


Pomp and Circumstance plays in the background.  As the music fades out, SHERYL, a middle-aged woman, begins speaking to the audience.



Of course I was proud.  Any mother would be proud.  There she was—my daughter, my Maggie, addressing an audience of hundreds, no, thousands of people.  Seven hundred and twenty students in the graduating class, plus parents, and grandparents, and teachers, and siblings.  So maybe . . . three thousand people, give or take.  So much to be proud of.  She won a scholarship from the local TV station, “The Phoenix Scholarship,” for students who overcome difficult backgrounds in order to excel in school. 



She didn’t learn how to read at the first grade level until she was nine or ten, even though we always had lots of books in the house when she was little, and I read to her every night and took her to the library for story time on Saturdays. For a couple of years, they had her tracked in Special Ed.  Then, finally, one of Maggie’s teachers in seventh grade realized she was really very smart and had her tested for dyslexia.  That changed everything.  So I am grateful to that teacher.






When Maggie won the scholarship, the TV station interviewed her in front of the high school building and one of her friends was standing next to her.  She was jumping up and down and clapping, and she said, “Oh, Maggie, you’re so perfect for the ‘Phoenix’ thing.”  It was very sweet.  Even the weatherman said so after the camera cut back to the studio and before he gave his forecast:  “Morning fog.  Clearing in the afternoon.”

So I deserve to be proud, don’t I?  In the fall, she’s going to Brown University on a full ride scholarship.



In her speech, Maggie said that her life changed in middle school.



(Pause.  Gathers her courage.) 



Her life changed when Child Protective Services took her away from me and made her a ward of the state.  That’s what she said to all those thousands of people.  All her amazing success, she said, she owed it to her foster parents and to her teachers and her friends. 



In seventh grade, she told her teacher that when she came home from school in the afternoons, there wasn’t anyone to help her with homework, except prostitutes and drug dealers.  If she remembers it that way, I can’t necessarily argue.  When you’re schizophrenic, you lose chunks of your life.  So I don’t know. 



But what I remember was a house full of musicians and artists.  And yes, there were parties.  And yes, there were drugs.  But where is it written that a drug dealer can’t help you with your Algebra homework?  Or that a prostitute knows nothing about Catcher in the Rye?

I can tell you this much:  no one in that house was ever anything but kind to her.  And I never did anything but love her, or ever wanted anything except what was best for her.  



I had to leave the graduation after Maggie’s speech.  What with all those thousands of people sitting there in the sun despising me.  So I didn’t get to see her receive her diploma.  I wish I had been able to stay for that. I wish . . .



Well, there’s a whole lot of things I wish.  A lot of stuff I wish were different.



(Pause.  Change of tone.)



But mostly I just wish for her to be happy.  I wish for her to get everything she wants, every good thing in the world . . . She deserves it all.




(Carol Lashof’s work is included in One on One:  The Best Men’s Monologues for the 21st Century and the forthcoming DUO!:  The Best Scenes for Two for the 21st Century—both from Applause Theatre & Cinema Books.)


© All Rights Reserved 2008

For further inquiries contact:

Carol S. Lashof

1807 Grant St.

Berkeley, CA 94703

(510) 486-0863


"ALBUM has been known over the years for being a show where young talent is discovered: Kevin Bacon, Megan Mullally, Anthony Edwards, Eric Stoltz, Jennifer Grey, Alec Baldwin, Dana Hill, Tracy Pollan, Griffin Dunne, Brad Hall are among the many young actors who started their careers with this show.

"The cast at LaGuardia is just as talented as anyone who's ever been in the show.  It includes: Jocelynn Catasus as PEGGY, Bridgit Giuffrida as TRISH, Aaron Berke as BILLY and Christopher Diaz as BOO.”—David Rimmer

A major critical and popular success, Pulitzer Prize finalist, and a long-running Off-Broadway hit. "…when Mr. Rimmer opens up his characters' anxieties and dreams…ALBUM really soars; the play takes on the romanticism of a rougher-hewn, latter-day Ah, Wilderness'! —NY Times. "Rimmer has drawn his kids with fidelity and understanding humor." —NY Post. "I must report that my juniors in the audience responded with joyous recognition to every flick of the action." —The New Yorker.

THE STORY: Divided into eight scenes, which span their years at Martin Van Buren High School, the play chronicles the coming of age of two teenaged couples during the turbulent sixties. The language is frank, but unfailingly funny, as the four struggle with impending adulthood and their awakening sexuality. The action ranges from summer camp, to dormitory bedrooms, to senior prom, with the popular music of the period—Bob Dylan, The Beatles, The Beach Boys—ever present as a telling counterpoint to, and emotional anchor for, the lives of its young foursome. As the years spin deftly by it is also apparent that maturity will bring differing perils and problems for each of them, although all will continue to recall the special excitement—and poignancy—of these last few carefree years together.


If you weren’t there, you’ll wanna be . . .

If you were . . .
you probably don’t remember it . . . 


written and directed by

David Rimmer

co-produced and co-designed by William J. Koolsbergen and David Rimmer

November 19-21 (6 shows)

Wed: 2pm, 7pm

Thurs: 9:30am, 4pm, 7pm

Fri: 7pm

The Black Box Theater

Room M-122

LaGuardia Community College


Please write to for directions to LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City (a few stops from Grand Central on the 7 line)


David Rimmer wrote ALBUM, which played for a year at the Cherry Lane Theater Off-Broadway, went on to be a Pulitzer Prize finalist, was published by Dramatists Play Service, and has been playing at regional and community theaters, colleges and secondary schools, ever since. It was originally developed in a series of workshop productions at some of New York’s most prominent theaters, including Playwrights Horizons, the WPA Theater, the Phoenix Theater, Theater at St. Clement’s and HB Studios. He's also the author of the recently published (by Samuel French) NEW YORK, which has had many productions in the Tri-State and New England areas. His work is included in One on One:  The Best Men’s Monologues for the 21st Century and One on One:  The Best Women’s Monologues for the 21st Century (Applause Theatre and Cinema Books).