Monday, June 27, 2011

Tonight - CABARETION 2.0! Honoring Charles Busch

The New York Innovative Theatre Foundation, the organization dedicated to celebrating Off-Off-Broadway,

will Charles Busch with the 2011 Innovative Theatre Luminary Award
at CABARETION 2.0!

[KA-ba-'RAY-sh-un !], noun - The fusion of contribution, performance, and celebration of the Off-Off-Broadway community.

Monday, June 27, 2011
6 - 9 pm

Therapy's upstairs lounge
348 West 52nd Street

Tickets begin at $40 per guest and can be purchased at www.nyitawards.com/shop.

Host:  Harrison Greenbaum

Performers:
Internet sensation Drew Droege
Three Tenors in Search of an Act
Tracie Franklin
Christopher Weikel

Special Guests:
Charles Busch
Julie Halston
Carl Andress

In a special presentation by Julie Halston, the 2011 Innovative Theatre Luminary Award will be presented to Charles Busch. A luminary is someone who is an inspiration to others and has achieved eminence in their field.

As an Off-Off-Broadway alumnus, Busch knows the challenges that face artists in this sector. Busch was one of the founders of the legendary OOB company Theatre in Limbo in the 1980's, where he honed his skills on such plays as Sleeping Beauty or Coma and Psycho Beach Party. It was the Theatre in Limbo's production of Vampire Lesbians of Sodom that first propelled Busch into the lime light. While he has reached great success, he continues to be a part of the OOB community. He was the first host for the Innovative Theatre Awards in 2006, celebrating the Off-Off-Broadway community and his roots. His productions of Shanghai Moon (1999) and The Divine Sister (2010) both premiered at the OOB house, Theatre for a New City. His dedication, generosity and numerous talents continue to be an inspiration to his fellow artists.

"I'm enormously touched to be recognized by the Innovative Theatre Awards," says Mr. Busch. "From the beginning, my career has taken me on a twisted and frequently fascinating back road. I'm delighted if my experience has in some way illuminated that path for young artists to travel."

The $40 ticket includes:

The special award presentation

Cabaret performance

1 hour of passed hors d'oeuvres

3 hours of open beer & wine bar


CABARETION 2.0!
Monday, June 27, 2011
6pm to 9pm
At Therapy - The Upstairs Lounge
348 West 52nd Street (between 8th & 9th Avenues)
Tickets begin at $40 per guest and can be purchased at www.nyitawards.com/shop.

Friday, June 24, 2011

New York Neo-Futurists to Present 5th Anniversary Edition of LGBT-Themed "Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind" This Weekend

Recipients of the 2010 New York Innovative Theatre Awards Cafe Cino Fellowship
“Best Performance Artists in New York”-Village Voice
“2009 Artists of the Year”-Artists Forum Magazine
“2009 People of the Year”-nytheatre.com

Recipients of The 2009 NY Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Ensemble NEW YORK NEO-FUTURISTS are pleased to present their 5th anniversary special edition of Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind, benefiting LGBTQ advocacy and activism in Uganda for the second year in a row. TOO MUCH PRIDE MAKES THE BABY GO GAY: 30 GAY PLAYS IN 60 STRAIGHT MINUTES will be presented at The Kraine Theater (85 East 4th Street, New York, NY 10003) on Friday, June 24th and Saturday, June 25th at 10:30pm.

30 short plays, curated from the past five years of LGBTQ-themed Neo-Futurist plays (with several newly commissioned works written exclusively for this Pride Show), reveal the struggle, the joy, the power of being out and proud in New York City in support of acceptance and freedom for all the world's citizens.

Too Much Pride Makes the Baby Go Gay: 30 Gay Plays in 60 Straight Minutes, will be raising money to benefit LGBTQ advocacy in Uganda through the Fund for Global Human Rights, in an effort to combat the continued push for legislation that could make it a criminal offense to be gay, with punishment by imprisonment and even execution, and to reverse the hatred and violence which led to recent murder of gay Ugandan activist David Kato.

The cast will include current New York Neo-Futurists Christopher Borg, Roberta Colindrez, Cara Francis, Ryan Good, Nicole Hill, Jacquelyn Landgraf, Dan McCoy, Joey Rizzolo, brand new Neo-Futurists Cecil Baldwin and Kate Jones, and Neo-Futurists alums Yeauxlanda Kay and Sarah Levy. Founding New York Neo-Futurist and award-winning slam poet Regie Cabico is scheduled to open both shows with a spoken word performance.

Tickets are $20.00. Advance tickets can be purchased online at http://www.nyneofuturists.org/ or by calling 212-352-3101.

For more information visit http://www.nyneofuturists.org/

THE NEW YORK NEO-FUTURISTS are an ensemble of dynamic writer/performer/directors who present the critically acclaimed, energetic show of original short plays, Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind--a non-illusory collage of the comic and tragic, the political and personal, the visceral and experimental, while embracing chance, change, and chaos. Developing out of the format that has been a success in Chicago since 1988, the New York NeoFuturists have roots in NYC from the mid 90’s. Since opening TML in New York, they have created over 2,300 plays and continue to present new and vital work every weekend in the East Village. For more info: http://www.nynf.org/

FUND FOR GLOBAL HUMAN RIGHTS Securing basic dignity and freedom for people worldwide requires that front-line organizations challenge abuse wherever it occurs. The Fund finds and funds local human rights heroes who often work at great personal risk to strengthen and bring global attention to their struggles. For more info: http://www.globalhumanrights.org/

Monday, June 20, 2011

1ST ANNUAL OFF BROADWAY ALLIANCE AWARDS RECEPTION TO BE HELD AT SARDI’S JUNE 21

The Off Broadway Alliance, the organization of Off Broadway producers, theaters, general managers, press agents and marketing firms, will present the inaugural Off Broadway Alliance Awards Reception on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 at Sardi’s.   Honorees will be on hand to receive their awards and Romulus Linney, Ellen Stewart and Lanford Wilson will be posthumously inducted into the Off Broadway Hall of Fame.

The announcement was made today by Peter Breger, Chairman of the Off Broadway Alliance.

“Off Broadway’s vibrant contributions to the cultural and economic fiber of New York City are on display from Broadway to the Bowery, from the Upper West Side to the Lower East Side, in theaters, concert halls, places of worship and even a hotel,” said Breger.  “What an auspicious time to honor the best of Off Broadway past and present and to celebrate the 2011 theater season.”

Among the attendees will be Legend of Off Broadway honorees Charles Busch, Julie Halston, Tom Jones, Everett Quinton and Blue Man Group.  Tanya Berezin, a founder of Circle Repertory Theater, will posthumously honor Off Broadway Hall of Fame inductee Lanford Wilson and Laura Callanan will posthumously honor her husband, Hall of Fame inductee Romulus Linney.

Other honorees scheduled to appear include producer Tom D’Angora and Christine Pedi accepting the award for Best New Musical for NEWSical the Musical: Full Spin Ahead; Playwright Mark St. Germain and the cast of Freud’s Last Session accepting the award for Best New Play; Lori Fineman, executive director of The Transport Group, accepting the award for Best Musical Revival for Hello Again; Punchdrunk accepting their award for Best Unique Theatrical Event for Sleep No More; and Colin Lewellyn and Danielle Pakradooni accepting the Best Long-Running Show Award for Blue Man Group.

Other distinguished guests include The Book of Mormon’s Andrew Rannells and Lewis Cleale as well as Rita Gardner and Blaire Stauffer – the original Luisa and Mute in the 1960 company of The Fantasticks.

The awards honor outstanding achievement in Off Broadway theater for the 2010-2011 season.  Admission to the awards ceremony is by invitation only.

The Off Broadway Alliance is a non-profit corporation organized by theater professionals dedicated to supporting, promoting and encouraging the production of Off Broadway theater and to making live theater increasingly accessible to new and diverse audiences.  The Alliance holds monthly meetings and membership is open to everyone in the Off Broadway theater community. 

Among its initiatives, The Off Broadway Alliance founded and sponsors 20at20, the biannual event where you can buy $20 tickets to dozens of Off Broadway shows twenty minutes before curtain.  It produces a free Seminar Series focusing on the culture, business and history of Off Broadway featuring major players from the Off Broadway scene.  It also administers the free "This Day in Off Broadway History" online calendar. The Alliance released the first ever Off Broadway Economic Impact Report, which detailed Off Broadway's $461 million annual impact on the economy of the City of New York.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Liza Minnelli Tickets On Sale Friday at 10 AM

LIZA MINNELLI
ON SALE THIS FRIDAY, JUNE 17 AT 10AM



Join Liza as she performs her biggest hits and holiday songs in NJPAC's beautiful Prudential Hall.

Friday, December 16, 8:00PM

NJPAC

Newark, NJ

Tickets: $39 - $125 (plus applicable fees)

**On Sale Friday, June 17 At 10AM**

Buy Tickets

Liza Minnelli is a star who’s truly earned the status of “living legend.” For her work on stage and screen, Minnelli has won all of the entertainment world’s major awards, including the Oscar (for her iconic performance in Cabaret), the Emmy, the Tony, and the Grammy. For this NJPAC engagement, Minnelli will bring a holiday-themed concert that’s sure to light up NJPAC’s Prudential Hall with some major star power.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tom Judson Returns to Dixon Place in "The Tom Judson Show"

In the wake of the smash run of his Canned Ham at Dixon Place this past March, Tom Judson returns for a special two-performance preview of his new show, The Tom Judson Show, which will run in Provincetown, MA from the end of June through mid-September. Prepare yourself for a tune-filled evening of songs both familiar and new; including a handful written by Tom himself.

“Since the musical sections of Canned Ham went over so well,” explains Tom, “I thought I’d try to do something along the lines of a more straightforward cabaret evening. Of all the different genres I’ve worked in over the years, cabaret (as opposed to Cabaret) is one form that I’ve missed. I think it’ll be fun.”

This time, though, he’ll stick to just the piano. Of course The Man Who Was Gus Mattox won’t disappoint the fans of his adult work. Skin will most likely be bared. “Y’know, to sell tickets,” says Tom. “I’ve never had a problem with gratuitous nudity.”

“Mostly, though, I have this great trove of terrific, little-known songs that I’d like to share with people. Of course there will be some stories from my crazy life thrown in, and some give-and-take with the audience. Maybe I’ll have a Q&A so they can ask me about things I didn’t cover in Canned Ham. I might even interview them.”

The Tom Judson Show
Written and Performed by Tom Judson
Directed by Michael Schiralli

Friday, June 24th - 7:30PM
Saturday, June 25th - 7:30PM

Dixon Place
161A Chrystie Street
(Delancey/Rivington)

Tickets: $15 / $12 (stu/sen) in advance; $18 / $15 (stu/sen) at the door


Broadway Bares XXI: Masterpiece Announces Special Guest Stars

BROADWAY BARES XXI: MASTERPIECE
ANNOUNCES SPECIAL GUEST STARS
MORE THAN 200 OF BROADWAY’S HOTTEST DANCERS TO BE JOINED BY

BETH LEAVEL, JUDITH LIGHT, PATINA MILLER,
RORY O’MALLEY, JIM PARSONS,
DAVID HYDE PIERCE, ROGER REES,
MICHAEL RIEDEL and CHRISTOPHER SIEBER

BROADWAY’S HOTTEST NIGHT TO BE HELD
SUNDAY, JUNE 19 (9:30 PM & MIDNIGHT)
AT ROSELAND BALLROOM

PRODUCED BY AND BENEFITING
BROADWAY CARES/EQUITY FIGHTS AIDS

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER JERRY MITCHELL

PRESENTED BY M·A·C VIVA GLAM

A priceless collection of Tony winners and nominees will be making this year's BROADWAY BARES XXI: MASTERPIECE a truly "starry night" as they join more than 200 of Broadway's sexiest dancers in an auction-themed burlesque show that would make any art critic blush. BROADWAY BARES XXI: MASTERPIECE, which is produced by and benefits Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, will be held Sunday, June 19, with two performances only (9:30 PM and midnight) at Roseland Ballroom (239 West 52nd Street).

This year's BARES will feature Tony Award winner Beth Leavel (Baby It's You) singing an original opening number, "Going, Going, Gone," written by Chad Beguelin and Matthew Sklar. Tony nominee Patina Miller (Sister Act) will perform the finale, “The Final Masterpiece.” Other special guests include Tony nominee and Emmy Award winner Judith Light (Lombardi), Tony nominee Rory O'Malley (The Book of Mormon), Emmy winner Jim Parsons (The Normal Heart), Tony and Emmy winner David Hyde Pierce (La Béte), Tony winner Roger Rees (The Addams Family), Tony nominee Christopher Sieber (La Cage aux Folles) and the always provocative New York Post columnist Michael Riedel.

The opening number is available now for download exclusively at broadwaycares.org/masterpiecesingle. “Going, Going, Gone” carries on a BARES tradition of featuring an original song to start the show. A collection of 13 original BARES opening numbers, recorded by the Broadway stars who debuted them, also is available at http://www.broadwaybares.com/.

It's been said that “all art is erotic” and Broadway's sexiest bodies will prove that to be true as the 21st edition of BROADWAY BARES takes you inside an auction too hot for Sotheby's and Christie's. The most delectable dancers in New York will emulate the art world's seductive nudes and give life to history's sultriest sculptures.

BROADWAY BARES XXI: MASTERPIECE is produced by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, executive produced by Tony Award-winner Jerry Mitchell (Catch Me If You Can, Legally Blonde) and directed by Josh Rhodes (Sondheim: The Birthday Concert, The Drowsy Chaperone, Working at the Broadway Playhouse in Chicago).

BROADWAY BARES, the hotly anticipated annual event combining the naughtiness of burlesque and the razzle-dazzle of Broadway, has been a smashing success since its inception in 1992. The event has become one of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS' signature events. The first BROADWAY BARES featured seven dancers performing choreographed stripteases on a bar and raised more than $8,000. In all 20 editions, BROADWAY BARES has collectively raised more than $7.5 million for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

TICKETING INFORMATION FOR BROADWAY BARES XXI: MASTERPIECE

Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.broadwaycares.org/ or by calling 212.840.0770, ext 268. For more information and merchandise, visit http://www.broadwaybares.com/.

Ticket packages include:

9:30 PM SHOW: $750 Reserved Table Seating, includes reserved seat on the VIP mezzanine at a cocktail table and open bar before the show; $275 VIP Standing, includes non-reserved standing ticket on the VIP mezzanine or in VIP area closest to stage with open bar before the show; $125 Priority Standing, includes non-reserved standing ticket in priority viewing area near the stage; $60 General Admission, non-reserved standing ticket.

MIDNIGHT SHOW: $750 Reserved Table Seating, includes reserved seat on the VIP mezzanine at a cocktail table and open bar before the show; $275 VIP Standing, includes non-reserved standing ticket on the VIP mezzanine or in VIP area closest to stage with open bar before the show; $60 General Admission, non-reserved standing ticket.

For the first time, BC/EFA also is offering the "Stripper Spectacular" package ($2,500) for either show. It includes a reserved table seat at one of the best center locations on the VIP mezzanine, admission to a private cocktail party at the home of Jerry Mitchell before the performance, a backstage tour, an exclusive gift bag, a poster autographed by the cast, a Broadway Bares: Openings CD and the Broadway Bares: Backstage Pass coffee table book.

About Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is one of the nation’s leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. By drawing upon the talents, resources and generosity of the American theatre community, since 1988 BC/EFA has raised over $195 million for essential services for people with AIDS and other critical illnesses across the United States.

BC/EFA awards annual grants to more than 400 AIDS and family service organizations nationwide and is the major supporter of seven programs at The Actors Fund, including the HIV/AIDS Initiative, the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative, the Al Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic and more.

BROADWAY BARES XXI: MASTERPIECE is presented by M·A·C VIVA GLAM

and generously sponsored by United Airlines




# # # #

Follow BC/EFA on Twitter: @BCEFAFind BC/EFA on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BCEFA

For more information on BROADWAY BARES, please visit:

http://www.broadwaybares.com/ or http://www.broadwaycares.org/

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Broadway Sings for Pride - Monday, June 27th

Over fifteen Broadway and National Tour performers will join notable personalities on Monday, June 27, 2011 at 7PM to celebrate New York City's Gay Pride at The LGBT Center in Manhattan. Broadway Sings for Pride: A Benefit Concert is being produced by Neal B of NealB.tv and will benefit The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center. Attendees will enjoy the vast array of songs from Lady Gaga to The Beatles, along with a plethora of Broadway hits. Musical performances will feature cast members from The Book of Mormon, Wicked, Jersey Boys, Rent, Wonderland, Mamma Mia, Anything Goes and many more! Jim Lahti will serve as the evening’s musical director and Carly Jibson (Broadway’s Hairspray and Cry-Baby) will emcee. Musical accompaniment will be provided Jim Lahti on piano, Sean Harkness on acoustic & electric guitar and David Silliman on percussion. There will also be American Sign Language interpreters signing for the hard of hearing and deaf community.

Audiences will also hear first-hand stories of pride from some of New York's famous: Sonja Morgan ("The Real Housewives of New York City"), Reichen Lehmkuhl (“The Amazing Race”, “The A-List: New York”), Randy Jones (multi-platinum recording artist, founding member of Village People), Darius de Haas (Broadway's Kiss of the Spider Woman, Carousel), Marti Cummings (Broadway Speaks OUT) and Matt Martin (Real Housewives of Twitter) will share their stories of pride.

The show will begin promptly at 7PM and will consist of speeches, and musical performances.

100% of the event’s proceeds will be given to The LGBT Community Center of New York City

FOR TICKETS AND INFO: http://gaycenter.org/node/6779

Musical guests currently scheduled to perform are: Rory O'Malley (Broadway's "The Book of Mormon"), Raymond J. Lee (Broadway’s “Anything Goes”, “Mama Mia!”), Athena Reich (Singer/TV Personality, Outmusic Awards’s Best Outstanding Pop Song of 2009), Russell Fischer (Broadway's "Jersey Boys" ), Tracy McDowell (Broadway's Final Cast of "Rent"), Rebecca Larkin (Broadway's "Avenue Q" & "South Pacific"), Matt Leisy (Off Broadway's "The Fantasticks"), King Aswad ("Rent" Hollywood Bowl Los Angeles, "Rent" National Tour), Renee Marino (Broadway’s “West Side Story” “Wonderland”), Antoine L. Smith ("Cats" National Tour, Regional Tour of "Rent"), Luis Villabon (Associate Choreographer "A Chorus Line" National Tour, Off Broadway's "Naked Boys Singing"), Moeisha Mcgill (Broadway's "Rent" and "Mamma Mia"), Heather Parcells (Broadway's "Wonderland" "A Chorus Line", "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang"), Anthony Lee Medina (National Tour of "Spring Awakening"), Jenn Furman (National Tour of "Wicked"), Erica Ash (Broadway’s “Baby It’s You”), Derek St. Pierre (Broadway’s “Rock of Ages”), Will Sheridan (Villanova basketball player, musician), Cristy Candler ("Wicked"), Cedric Leiba Jr. ("Miss Saigon" National Tour, "Rent" National Tour), Joshua Min (Singer/Songwriter), Tonya Thompson (Regional Tours of Little Shop of Horrors, Drowsy Chaperone)

Planet Connections Interview - Diánna Martin of "Carry On"

By Byrne Harrison

Name: Diánna Martin
Play: Carry On
Relationship to production: Director
Website: http://www.carryontheplay.com/

How did you first get involved in theatre?

I was around theatre all of my life, due to my family being in the entertainment business, my mother a Tony Award-winning actress, my father and acting teacher and director. I studied theatre both here and abroad, the former in acting, the latter giving me the opportunity to direct as well as act in at school in London. I was away from it for a few years while I worked in television and radio, and then about ten years ago I threw myself back into it completely. My emphasis is in theatre because it's so immediate and the choices huge; there is nothing to go back and edit, it's larger than life. The feeling of the audience's energy, being able to hear the audience breathe, gasp, laugh, cry, or be silently pensive as they take in the performance, or the applause at the end (assuming they applaud and don't throw tomatoes) is incredible. As a director, it is just as heightened, but you are watching from the audience or the wings, breath held as you observe the actors go forth and conquer.

Who are your biggest influences?

My parents, actress Ann Wedgeworth and director/teacher Ernie Martin. They paved the road for me to take steps to where I am now. My father was also instrumental in how I approach actors when I direct.
In terms of directing, two favorites are Mike Nichols (after having seen his production of HurlyBurly on stage in the early '80s, I was mesmerized) and Sam Sheppard (who is fascinating to watch direct his work, such as A Lie of the Mind). Others would include Alexander Dinelaris (who has directed me) and Paul Alexander (a mastermind of minimalist staging, and yet another playwright who does a fantastic job directing his own work).

What is your show about?
Set in 1980 in NYC, this play has so many things going for it; it's a fascinating pair of character studies, and it's also a tale of how those two collide. On the one hand, this play is a love story. On the other, it's a commentary of how we as human beings continually, and without fail, have an uncanny knack of getting in our own way. I think the latter is especially true for people who live in New York City; those amongst the single people who are lonely, isolated, and caught in their own world, who find good things come along and inevitably they push them away.

What inspired you to direct it?

To begin with, it was written by Jim Tierney, who I think is one of the best playwrights working in New York City today. His characters are always rich and brilliantly damaged, a feast for any director or actor to get their hands on. He often sets them in situations that often have the same appeal as a car accident: you can't tear your eyes away, but sometimes you don't want to look to see what happens because it's so uncomfortable. Or, he puts them in "any man" situations, and due to their character quirks they turn the mundane into the sublime. He's brilliant. He has the knack of making you truly laugh out loud one second and go through angst for the characters the next. Having directed his work three times (including Banshee of Bainbridge at last year's Fringe Festival) I find the more I dig deeply into his work, I find so many layers to bring to the table with my actors and designers.

Besides being a groupie of Jim's, I was thrilled to be asked on board to direct another play for Planet Connections this year. I was very fortunate to direct a play in the festival last year for MTWorks, Good Lonely People, by Carol Carpenter, and it was an incredible learning experience. Planet Connections is a great festival that brings a lot of gifted playwrights, actors, directors, and designers out to play.
I've also worked with both of the actors, Louise Flory and Ivan Goris before, as a fellow actor and/or director; they are wonderful. Our Stage Manager, Jenna Lazar, is someone I've worked with several times, and who is one of the best out there. Our lighting and sound designers, Chris Weston and Darien Shulman are brilliant; in a festival setting with other people having access to your boards and space, you need to have professional designers who can help you through any situation. It's a great team.

Why was it important to you to be part of an eco-friendly theatre festival?

This piggy-backs onto what I started to go into above about Planet Connections Theatre Festivity. On the one hand you have a plethora of talent, but on the other you have this incredible opportunity to give back to the community and the planet - and do it while you're doing your art!!! I think the idea is wonderful, because if we can encourage people to make smarter choices about their use of our planet's resources while enjoying incredible theatre, then we're really doing all right.

Planet Connections donates a portion of the box office for each show to a charity.  What charity has your production chosen and why?

We have chose CEDARS, which is a organization benefiting children who have been the victims of abuse, neglect, or homelessness. Their services include foster care, outreach, and preventative programs that include life skills, counseling, and community intervention. They provide children with safe havens and communities with the knowledge to prevent the cycle of abuse and neglect to begin in the first place.
Well, for starters it's a wonderful organization that really strives to make a difference for kids who really need help. In the play, Kate's son has an alcoholic absent father, but is fortunate enough to have a mother who loves him dearly. As a single mom, it's difficult to balance work and time with her child, but she does it. Thinking about all the children who don't have that parent who can make it work, and who fall through the cracks was an impetus for us to choose CEDARS.

What's next for you after Planet Connections?

I am directing Jim's Mush in Fringe this summer, and then working on things for the IT Awards this Fall, since I have now become part of the Innovative Theatre Foundation staff. I also teach acting and I'm working with some fellow actors and directors regarding putting together readings and one-acts for the fall.

And finally, if your play was food, what kind of food would it be?

If this play was a food...it just might be a really awesome cheese sandwich, perfect for getting caught in a thick 1980's moustache. You'll have to come see the play to figure out why.

Carry On
Wednesday, June 01 at 5:30PM
Saturday, June 04 at 3:00PM
Sunday, June 05 at 5:00PM
Friday, June 10 at 9:30PM
Tuesday, June 21 at 5:00PM
Thursday, June 23 at 8:30PM

The Gene Frankel Theatre
24 Bond Street

Planet Connections Interview - Stacy Glen Tibbetts of "Dialing for Donna"

By Byrne Harrison

Name: Stacy Glen Tibbetts
Play: Dialing for Donna
Relationship to production: Composer/lyricist
Website: http://www.dialingfordonna.com/
http://www.stacyglen.com/

How did you first get involved in theatre?

Performing in pit orchestras, then participating in NOMTI, Berklee College of Music’s New Opera and Music Theatre Initiative writing workshop. http://www.nomti.org/. I’ve also been a member of TRU (Theatre Resources Unlimited -- http://www.truonline.org/) for ten years, and am a member of ASCAP, the AFM, and the Dramatists Guild.

Who are your biggest influences?

Rodgers, Loewe, Bernstein, Kern, Arlen

What is your show about?

From the website: Flamboyant radio talk show host Donna Corleone has always enjoyed the support of her loyal Brooklyn-Italian listeners. But just as her family advice show starts to founder, an old flame returns to the neighborhood, seeking to buy out her station and come between Donna and her business partners. Can Donna stop him? Can her wacky station crew save their own jobs? Not before timeless bonds of loyalty and community have been stretched to the limit -- and sometimes broken -- in this family-friendly new musical.

"In the end, it always comes back to a family. Always. And by a family, I mean a group of people who lives by the rules I am telling you about. That's how it is." -- Donna Corleone, Dialing for Donna, WMFU, 86.2 FM

When asked about the inspiration for the character of Donna Corleone, librettist Pam Monk likes to say that she is a comic mix between Ann Landers and the Godfather. Advice you can’t say no to…

What inspired you to become involved with it?

My strong relationship with and trust in the librettist, with whom I’d previously written another musical, kept me interested in writing the songs. The opportunity to work with the amazing performers in this cast inspires me to write and produce.

Why was it important to you to be part of an eco-friendly theatre festival?

It’s become more obvious over the last five years that we are facing a possible global environmental crisis. We need to do what we can to raise awareness and change our consumption habits.

Planet Connections donates a portion of the box office for each show to a charity. What charity has your production chosen and why?

The Actors Fund – because trained actors often can’t make a living at it, and some have no other means. An obvious and worthy choice.

What's next for you after Planet Connections?

A solo singer/songwriter gig at an outdoor music festival, coming up on the day after the reading, actually.

Also, I’d like to write a small (two-character) revue about two young performers, a couple, who come to the city. I have a few great actors in mind with whom I’d like to work. Practical considerations ($$) are making me want to write a smaller show that I can afford to produce. I also have a regular routine of submitting work to various organizations for support.

And finally, if your play was food, what kind of food would it be?
This musical would be a big plate of your Nonna’s lasagna – with béchamel, marinara, and pesto sauces – or maybe pasta fagioli. A big Italian feast -- olives, ricotta salata, ciabatta bread, chianti – we got it all here!

Dialing for Donna
Friday, June 24 at 12:00PM

The Robert Moss Theatre
440 Lafayette Street

Planet Connections Interview - Laura Cunningham of "Frack You!"

By Byrne Harrison

Name: Laura Cunningham
Play: Frack You!Relationship to production:  Playwright
Website: http://www.frackyoutheplay.com/

How did you first get involved in theatre?

I became involved as a writer; my first work was a two-act musical, So Long, Goodbye, produced by Windsor High School.

Who are your biggest influences?

My sister, Lynn, who has directed over thirty theatrical productions in our local high school. She also teaches vocal music and general music theory. Her best advice: “leave them with something good at intermission, so they’ll want to come back – because they don’t let us lock the doors."

What is your show about?

Fracking for natural gas. Fracking is very dynamic and current, not only in the United States, but around the world. It's also very timely given the recession, the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and the need to become less dependent on foreign energy sources. With money, natural resources, and the environment at stake, everyone is seeing green.

What inspired you to write it?

I wanted to present the issues about natural gas fracking in a way that it has not yet been presented – in a comedy.

Why was it important to you to be part of an eco-friendly theatre festival?

I enjoy working in an environment that respects the same things I do.

Planet Connections donates a portion of the box office for each show to a charity.  What charity has your production chosen and why?

I chose the Sierra Club because of its interest in the environment. I told them that my play was a comedy and tells both sides of the fracking issue. It turns out that the Sierra Club has members who have different opinions about fracking; this was very important to me.

What's next for you after Planet Connections?

Frack You! was written as a one-act comedy, presented in The Planet Connections Festivity as a staged reading. I plan to rewrite it as a two-act show; a small theater is interesting in a full production of it in September. I am also collaborating on a two-act comedy about internet dating, A Date with Fate. We have a full production planned for November.

If you could get any person, living or dead, to see this show who would you choose and why?

I would like that very first fracker to come see it!

Frack You!
Thursday, June 09 at 2:30PM

The Robert Moss Theatre
440 Lafayette Street

Planet Connections Interview - Oscar A. Mendoza of "The Father"

By Byrne Harrison

Name: Oscar A. Mendoza
Play:   The Father
Relationship to production: Director
Website: http://www.oscaramendoza.com/
http://www.themush-roomtheatre.com/

How did you first get involved in theatre?
I got involved in theater in 1988 during a college production of Salome by Oscar Wilde in Caracas Venezuela. Since then I work on my own stuff at least once a year.

Who are your biggest influences?
Richard Foreman, Elizabeth Albahaca, Igmar Bergman, John Cage, Eugene Ionesco, Jesus Soto among others.

What is your show about?
The theme of the play is a woman’s driving her husband to insanity by making him doubt that he is the father of their child. The dramatist goes to work immediately, shows the man’s ideas and habits, then the woman’s, and proceeds to show how she accomplishes her purpose.

What inspired you to direct it?

I am directing this play inspired in the universe of Strindberg and also this historic context of expressionism.

Why was it important to you to be part of an eco-friendly theatre festival?
This is a small venue. Small enough to see and share works. Rousseau said once that democracy is only possible in small communities.

Planet Connections donates a portion of the box office for each show to a charity.  What charity has your production chosen and why?

We have chosen CEDARS because the play has implicit the theme of a broken family.

What's next for you after Planet Connections?
We will produce two playwrights: Fernando Arrabal and Richard Foreman.

And finally, if your play was food, what kind of food would it be? Or if you'd prefer something a little less oddly whimsical - If you could get any person, living or dead, to see this show who would you choose and why?

This piece is rare meat!!

I would have liked Bergman to see this show. He would see what anybody in scenic arts wouldn't.

The Father
Saturday, June 11 at 12:00PM
Monday, June 13 at 6:30PM
Sunday, June 19 at 1:30PM
Tuesday, June 21 at 6:00PM
Friday, June 24 at 8:45PM
Saturday, June 25 at 2:00PM

The Robert Moss Theatre
440 Lafayette Street

Planet Connections Interview - Marc Silverberg of "He's Not Himself"

By Byrne Harrison

Name: Marc Silverberg
Play: He’s Not Himself
Relationship to production: Playwright
Website: Planet Connections

How did you first get involved in theatre?

I have been involved in theater since junior high school. I have participated in shows both in school and community theater.

Who are your biggest influences?

This show is greatly influenced by the work of George and Ira Gershwin. I try to draw inspiration from many successful musical theater writers as well as independent rock artists.

What is your show about?

Based on Gershwin’s Pardon My English, the show is a madcap comedy about a police officer who receives an accidental bump on the head and turns into a ruthless gangster.

What inspired you to write it?

When I saw the original Gershwin musical, I felt that a the plot was very creative and had a lot of potential but was under-utilized. I felt that the comedic elements of the main character changing from one personality to another could be greatly enhanced and turned into a farcical free-for-all.

Why was it important to you to be part of an eco-friendly theatre festival?

I believe that any attempt to raise awareness to go green is one of the most important things we as a community can be doing right now. Even if a show is not specifically about the environment, anything that helps get the message out is important.

Planet Connections donates a portion of the box office for each show to a charity. What charity has your production chosen and why?

I chose Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids. I have contributed to this charity for several years and love doing so.

What's next for you after Planet Connections?

I would like to continue to improve this show and see how far I can take it. I am constantly writing as many new shows as possible and I wouldn’t mind seeing another production in a future planet festival.

And finally, if you could get any person, living or dead, to see this show who would you choose and why?

I would love George Gershwin to see this show. I would be very interested to hear his opinion of the new directions we have taken.

He's Not Himself
Wednesday, June 01 at 4:30PM
Friday, June 03 at 8:10PM
Sunday, June 05 at 5:00PM
Saturday, June 11 at 2:00PM
Sunday, June 12 at 4:00PM
Friday, June 17 at 6:00PM

The Robert Moss Theatre
440 Lafayette Street

Planet Connections Interview - Ruben Carbajal of "Hold"

By Byrne Harrison

Name: Ruben Carbajal
Play: Hold
Relationship to production: Playwright
Website: http://www.rubencarbajal.net/

How did you first get involved in theatre?
My first production was in the fourth grade. I presented, to the horror of my teachers, a slasher horror play, inspired by "Friday the 13th." It stunk up the entire floor with Heinz ketchup.

Who are your biggest influences?

Kurt Vonnegut made me want to be a writer. Edward Albee's The Zoo Story made me want to write plays. David Bucci's work had a huge impact on me. I admire Young Jean Lee and Anne Washburn a great deal. Keith Johnstone's IMPRO is a constant source of inspiration. And lately David Shield's REALITY HUNGER has been super-energizing.

What is your show about?

To steal from Albee: about twenty five minutes.  I always feel a resistance to answering questions like this, but understand that they are probably necessary. So: it's about a desperate man who calls a Mental Health Hotline, but instead of receiving help, he is sent into an automated phone directory purgatory.

What inspired you to write it?

Not entirely sure. Woke up in the middle of the night, very agitated: the play came to me suddenly and almost in its entirety. I was compelled to write until a draft was finished. This is a rare event, and has only happened to me a few times.


Why was it important to you to be part of an eco-friendly theatre festival?

I think it's important to think about and understand the consequences of our actions. This applies to not only ecological concerns, but I think we should be more aware of where our food comes from, who made the clothes on our backs, under what conditions was the laptop I'm typing on right now created?

Planet Connections donates a portion of the box office for each show to a charity.  What charity has your production chosen and why?

Suicide Prevention International. Unlike the hotline my protagonist dials, SPI does fantastic work funding projects that prevent suicide worldwide.

What's next for you after Planet Connections?

Think I'm going to travel to Chicago on June 27th  to see the first-ever production of my short play, The Last Reader of Books, which will be a part of the Hobo Robo Sci Fi Theatre Festival.

And finally, if your play was food, what kind of food would it be?

Something dark and funny. Chocolate Mousse?

Hold
Tuesday, June 7th @ 8pm
Wednesday, June 8th @ 4pm
Sunday, June 12th @ 5pm
Saturday, June 18th @ 2pm
Sunday, June 19th @ 7:30pm
Monday, June 20th @ 6:30pm

The Gene Frankel Theatre
24 Bond Street

Planet Connections Interview - Elizabeth Alice Murray of "Woman in the Dark"

By Byrne Harrison

Name: Elizabeth Alice Murray
Play: Woman in the Dark
Relationship to production: writer and performer
Website: http://www.elizabethalicemurray.com/

How did you first get involved in theatre?

I saw Sandy Duncan in Peter Pan and I always wanted to be able to fly.

Who are your biggest influences?

Lily Tomlin, Groucho Marx, Katherine Hepburn and Fozzie Bear.

What is your show about?

In the blackout of August 2003, I was trapped with two strangers in an elevator for 5 1/2 hours.

Here's our blurb: Dangling between hilarity and terror, a young woman is trapped in an elevator above Grand Central Station during the Blackout of 2003. Elizabeth Alice Murray takes on multiple characters as she recounts her journey from panic and anxiety to resentment and optimistic mania as she befriends and alienates her elevator fellows and reflects upon the larger questions and possibilities of "being in the dark."

What inspired you to write it?

I told this story to so many people I realized that it ought to be a show.

Why was it important to you to be part of an eco-friendly theatre festival?

My director, Erika Iverson and I were interested in theatre that focuses on the power of the actor telling the story rather than sets and costumes.

Planet Connections donates a portion of the box office for each show to a charity. What charity has your production chosen and why?

We are working with Women for Women International which provides women survivors of war, civil strife and other conflicts with the tools and resources to move from crisis and poverty to stability and self-sufficiency, thereby promoting viable civil societies. I mention women in Afghanistan during the show and we felt that it was important to work with a charity that is helping them-- 79% of women and girls in Afghanistan are illiterate. Women for Women is helping to change this.

What's next for you after Planet Connections?

I will be playing Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing and Emilia in Othello with the Hip to Hip Shakespeare Company this summer. Look for us in parks all over New York City!

And finally, if your play was food, what kind of food would it be?

A kiwi! Fuzzy on the outside, tangy and delicious on the inside!

Woman in the Dark
Friday, June 10th at 6:00PM
Tuesday, June 14th at 4:00PM
Saturday, June 18th at 8:00PM

The Gene Frankel Theatre
24 Bond Street

Planet Connections Interview - Victoria Crutchfield of "Cécile, or, The School for Fathers"

By Byrne Harrison

Name: Victoria Crutchfield (The February Company)
Play: Cécile, or, The School for Fathers
Relationship to production: Translator, Director, Producer
Website: http://planetconnections.org/cecile/

How did you first get involved in theatre?

When I was in second grade, I was one of only two Winkies to have a line in the school production of the Wizard of Oz (the first ever spring play at my grade school). The next year I played one of the singing mermaids in Peter Pan. After that, I was utterly convinced that the next school play would be Alice in Wonderland, and that I should be cast as Alice. During the summer before fourth grade, my dad (an opera conductor) coached me rigorously on diction and projection. The play that year was based on J.R.R. Tolkein's "The Hobbit." I never got to play Alice. But I was still hooked.

Who are your biggest influences?

Katherine Hepburn, Sidney Lumet, my parents; various and sundry visual artists; and for this show, Sofia Coppola & her Marie Antoinette.

What is your show about?

Cécile is about fathers and daughters and artifice and sincerity. In some ways it's a style exercise-- Jean Anouilh "does" Molière-- but like any exercise by a powerful artist, it has a depth and interest that take it beyond that.

What inspired you to bring it to the stage?

I love Anouilh and the way his plays embed philosophy and social critique in highly entertaining dialogue and compelling stories. I was excited to find a translated version of Cécile-- a fun, short comedy perfect for the beginning of summer. When I read the translation side-by-side with the French, however, I realized that it didn't flow the way Anouilh's language does. I wrote my own translation to be as close to the French as possible-- in both meaning and rhythm.

Why was it important to you to be part of an eco-friendly theatre festival?

Honestly it just makes sense to be eco-friendly, since most things that are eco-friendly are also budget-friendly. If only it were that obvious to people in other industries.

Planet Connections donates a portion of the box office for each show to a charity. What charity has your production chosen and why?

We chose the New York Public Library. The NYPL doesn't cure disease or clean drinking water, but it does ensure New Yorkers equal access to ideas and information. The internet is so powerful and so rich that I think we sometimes forget that it isn't comprehensive; the full text of Cécile, for instance, can't be found online. The internet also isn't free, and for those who can't afford it at home, the NYPL provides access to this invaluable tool-- as well as to millions of equally invaluable tools: books.

What's next for you after Planet Connections?

I do a lot of work in opera, and my next project is assistant directing for Opera Omnia, a New York group that does Baroque opera in English in bars.

And finally, if your play was food, what kind of food would it be?
The citrus-flavored très leches cake at Rosa Mexicana.

Cécile, or, The School for Fathers
Wednesday, June 01 at 9:30PM
Thursday, June 02 at 7:00PM
Saturday, June 04 at 11:00AM
Monday, June 06 at 5:00PM
Friday, June 10 at 7:45PM
Sunday, June 12 at 3:00PM

The Gene Frankel Theatre
24 Bond Street

Planet Connections Interview - Rick Leidenfrost-Wilson of "The Declaration"

By Byrne Harrison

Name: Rick Leidenfrost-Wilson
Play: The Declaration
Relationship to production: Playwright/Director
Website: www.offsides.org/thedeclaration

How did you first get involved in theatre?

My mother died when I was fifteen. Some friends of mine needed me to play piano, all of a sudden, for some back stage “pre-show” music - madgrigals, ballads, show songs. The show was A Company of Wayward Saints.

Who are your biggest influences?

O’Neill, Shepard and Sara Ruhl.

What is your show about?

The Declaration is about a gay, high school teacher who runs for the New York Senate because he’s outraged that the Senate voted against marriage equality. The show follows the political and personal journeys he undergoes over his year campaigning.

What inspired you to write it?

I was outraged – hurt to the core, really – that the representatives of my state, which I’ve called home for over twenty years, decided that my marriage and thousands of other marriages across New York were not worthy of recognition. From January to March of 2010 I actually mounted a campaign for the Senate myself; so the story is somewhat inspired by that as well (although the characters and story lines are fictitious).

Why was it important to you to be part of an eco-friendly theatre festival?

My husband, Christopher, was an actor in the Festivity last year and he had such a positive experience that we decided to submit for this year’s Festivity. Personally, we try to be as eco-friendly as we can in our everyday lives, and to channel that cause into our passion for theatre was both challenging and enlightening. We also feel very strongly about PCTF’s outreach and charitable affiliations and definitely believe in “theatre for a cause.”

Planet Connections donates a portion of the box office for each show to a charity. What charity has your production chosen and why?

We’ve chosen Marriage Equality New York because they are timely, front-line soldiers in this war, right now, and we want to recruit as many as possible for their cause.

What's next for you after Planet Connections?

I have three projects I’d like to return to: one is a full length play called Good Friday, which is about an Oklahoman family and its struggles with addiction, and another is called Meteors in the Night Time, which is a play about a man’s struggle with cancer. Another show we’ve previously mounted and are continuing to develop is Hockey: The Musical! http://www.hockeythemusical.com/

And finally, if your play was food, what kind of food would it be? Or if you'd prefer something a little less oddly whimsical - If you could get any person, living or dead, to see this show who would you choose and why?

Well, I’ll give you both! Hands down, the show would be pasta puttanesca.  The show features 12 actors who play a wide spectrum of very different characters which come together and work in delicious, theatrical harmony.

I wish Harvey Milk was still alive and able to see this show. He was a groundbreaking figure for the LGBT movement in politics. The tragedy that took his life is a figurehead of the problems that LGBT Americans face everyday, but also a reminder of how far we have come as a community. I know if Mr. Milk was alive today, he’d be on the front lines of the Marriage Equality battle, and that is what “The Declaration” is all about.

The Declaration
Wednesday, June 01 at 6:30PM
Monday, June 06 at 6:30PM
Sunday, June 12 at 8:00PM
Sunday, June 19 at 5:45PM
Thursday June 23 at 6:10PM
Saturday, June 25 at 8:00PM
Sunday, June 26 at 1:00PM

The Robert Moss Theatre
440 Lafayette Street

Planet Connections Interview - David Stallings of "The Stranger to Kindness"

By Byrne Harrison

Name: David Stallings
Play: The Stranger to Kindness
Relationship to production: Playwright
Website: http://www.stallingswrites.com/the-stranger-to-kindness.html

How did you first get involved in theatre?

I was often alone as a child, but rather than have me watch regular television, my mother would set me in front of a classic - at an early age I fell in love with George Bernard Shaw and Noël Coward without even knowing it. I wrote my first play at five - which my mother still has - my dialogue was told through pictures like a storyboard. She started taking me to auditions thinking that I wanted to be an actor, little did she know that I would end up being a playwright as well.

Who are your biggest influences?

George Bernard Shaw and William Shakespeare... I believe in big plays with big characters.

What is your show about?

The Stranger to Kindness is about an elderly woman who believes her best friend has died alone in her apartment. It is a piece about aging, loneliness and ultimately kindness.

What inspired you to write it?

An older friend of mine described to me the passing of her friend. It had been some time before her body was discovered - she had died alone.

Why was it important to you to be part of an eco-friendly theatre festival?

It wasn't. At least not at first. I was drawn to the festival because of their mission to pair up the shows with a charity. I was part of the festival last year and because of it I learned so much about sustainability, eco-friendly producing and taking care of our planet, that believe it or not it is now an important factor in choosing a festival.

Planet Connections donates a portion of the box office for each show to a charity. What charity has your production chosen and why?

We are raising funds for RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) - we like to pair up the charity with a theme of the play.

What's next for you after Planet Connections?

My play Barrier Island (Part 1 of the Galveston Cycle) is having a reading in Tulsa, OK directed by Cody Daigle; my play Anaïs Nin Goes to Hell is receiving industry readings this fall towards a future production. I'm also writing a new piece, The Quality of Mercy, about a young couple not allowed to adopt a child because of their restricted Christian views.

And finally, if you could get any person, living or dead, to see this show who would you choose and why?

My father - he's never been able to see my plays because he's a truck driver and never in any one place for too long.

The Stranger to Kindness
Friday, June 3rd @ 6pm
Saturday, June 4th @ 11:30am
Tuesday, June 14th @ 6:30pm
Wednesday, June 15th @ 8:45pm
Saturday, June 18th @ 4:00pm
Thursday, June 23rd @ 4:00pm

The Robert Moss Theatre
440 Lafayette Street

Planet Connections Interview - Jonathan Wallace of "Hummingbirds"

By Byrne Harrison

Name: Jonathan Wallace
Play: Hummingbirds
Relationship to production: Playwright
Website: planetconnections.org

How did you first get involved in theatre?

I took a class with Craig Lucas at the Flea and realized, as an aspiring novelist who only liked writing dialog, I was really a playwright.

Who are your biggest influences?

The plays which have affected me the most are Glass Menagerie, Death of a Salesman and How I Learned to Drive.

What is Hummingbirds about?

It features the young people who fly pilotless drones for the CIA. They are recruited because they are good gamers, and in effect they work for a dotcom which is in the killing business. They sit in suburban offices and fly warplanes in foreign countries.

What inspired you to write it?

I was fascinated by the life of individuals who press a button and fire a missile thousands of miles away, which watching the target on a screen. On the one hand, they are desensitized by the thousands of hours spent playing realistic computer games; real violence has become indistinguishable from fake violence as the latter becomes more realistic. On the other hand, they have to deal with the emotional impact of knowing, however good their emotional defenses, that they have really killed people. And often enough, the wrong people. Incorporated in the play is an echo of a real incident which happened circa 2002, when the anonymous pilot of a Predator fired a missile which killed a hapless scrap dealer who happened to resemble bin Laden.

Why was it important to you to be part of an eco-friendly theatre festival?

I appreciate the festival's alert activism and interest in the condition of the environment and our society today. It motivates me to bring plays which have a political and ethical element, what I think of as "Planet plays".

Planet Connections donates a portion of the box office for each show to a charity. What charity has your production chosen and why?

We chose Amnesty International because of their role in attempting to free and protect political detainees everywhere.

What's next for you after Planet Connections?

Probably Planet 2012, if they are kind enough to invite me back.
;-)

And finally, if your play was food, what kind of food would it be?

It would be a spicy jambalaya with chicken, turkey sausage, and okra.

Hummingbirds
Wednesday, June 01 at 7:30PM
Sunday, June 05 at 7:00PM
Thursday, June 09 at 6:00PM
Friday, June 17 at 5:00PM
Sunday, June 19 at 2:00PM
Friday, June 24 at 8:00PM

The Gene Frankel Theatre
24 Bond Street

Planet Connections Interview - Carol Carpenter of "Sweet, Sweet Spirit"

By Byrne Harrison

Name: Carol Carpenter
Play: Sweet, Sweet Spirit
Relationship to production: Playwright
Website: http://www.carolcarpenterwrites.com/

How did you first get involved in theatre?

I grew up in a tiny oil town with nothing to do but watch the pumping jacks. A very eccentric Southern Belle from Sweetwater, Texas swooped into town and opened a drama academy called DreamTenders. All the town's misfit teenagers joined. She was the playwright funded by the town's oil family and we were her company actors.

Who are your biggest influences?

My family and our cultural history. In literary terms: Horton Foote, Larry McMurtry, Sam Shepard, Cormac McCarthy, Annie Proulx. I love the kindness and consciousness of Anna Deavere Smith. I also am influenced by country and western songwriters, populists, conspiracy theorists and Baptist preachers. I'm an American politics junkie - I'm completely obsessed with watching and reading far left and far right-wing thinkers (emoters). I bounce between Glenn Beck and Lawrence O'Donnell. For a dose of sanity I turn to Jon Stewart and David Brooks.

What is your show about?

Sweet, Sweet Spirit is the name of popular church hymn. The play is about a conservative evangelical family that have to ask some really hard questions of themselves and each other after the father beats his gay son to near death. He's facing trial, has disgraced his respectable family, and has left them with the overwhelming task of figuring out who should raise the kid in his final teen years. It's about the complexities of faith, culture, family and community in a rapidly changing world.

What inspired you to write it?

Watching different people in my life, particularly those who are in their 60s and older, come to terms with my sexuality. I have great respect for traditional people and cultures - I'm from New Mexico, where tribal peoples are central to the culture -- and I see my own land-based, white, evangelical family as analogous in certain regards: Tradition gives meaning and shared values and a sense of place and belonging. I miss this in my own life. But tradition also brings great limitations, particularly when it comes to accepting and adapting to change of any kind. So diversity is not so easily accepted there. When I came out of the closet, it was really hard for me in this regard. But as time as passed, my family members have, in their own individuals ways, come to terms with who I am and in some cases have really embraced me in ways unfathomable just ten years ago. Seeing first-hand the pattern of the human capacity to change -- and in one of the most conservative regions in the country -- inspired this story.

Why was it important to you to be part of an eco-friendly theatre festival?

Because it's pioneering and visionary.

Planet Connections donates a portion of the box office for each show to a charity. What charity has your production chosen and why?

P-FLAG: Parents & Friends of Lesbians and Gays.

What's next for you after Planet Connections?

I'll be returning to the American Southwest Theater Company next fall.

And finally, if your play was food, what kind of food would it be?

A jalapeno.

Sweet, Sweet Spirit
Friday, June 24 at 2:00PM

The Robert Moss Theatre
440 Lafayette Street

Planet Connections Interview - Duncan Pflaster of "Sweeter Dreams"

By Byrne Harrison

Name: Duncan Pflaster
Play: Sweeter Dreams
Relationship to production: Playwright/Director/Etc.
Website: http://planetconnections.org/sweeterdreams/

How did you first get involved in theatre?

My mother was an actress when I was growing up, so I was always around and inspired by theatre as a child. She directed me in a kid's production of The Nutcracker when I was 7 or so.

Who are your biggest influences?

Israel Horovitz, Charles Ludlam, Wendy Wasserstein, Christopher Durang, Donald Marguiles, Eric Overmyer, and many more... It changes depending on which show we're talking about.

What is your show about?

It's about an independent filmmaker and the two men she's in love with- her husband and the lead actor in her recent films. It's a multimedia piece with clips from her movies and others.

What inspired you to write and direct it?

When I wrote it, I was heavily inspired by Nine, the musical of Fellini's "8 1/2." I had never actually seen it, mind you, only listened to the cast album. I had a vague synopsis from the liner notes and began to think about what a gender-flipped version of the same tortured, profligate artist trope would be like. In the end, it's really not much like Nine at all (though the lead character is still named Luisa, after Guido's wife).
I wrote the play some 10 years ago, not knowing how to make the multimedia elements work, but after working last year as a technician on Before Icarus Fell, a multimedia piece about Alberto Santos-Dumont by my friend Tony Chiroldes, I discovered that with today's technology, it's relatively straightforward, if not actually easy.

Why was it important to you to be part of an eco-friendly theatre festival?

I've done shows in Planet Connections the last two years, they do fantastic work for the community and I'm excited to be a part of the festivity again.

Planet Connections donates a portion of the box office for each show to a charity. What charity has your production chosen and why?

The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. Partly for the nod to Hollywood and movie stars, and partly for my good friend Chandra, who has been in a wheelchair since I've known her, and is a constant inspiration in my writing and life.

What's next for you after Planet Connections?

Some well-earned rest from producing and shifting back into writing; I'm working on a commissioned screenplay for an animated fairytale, and will be devoting my attention to that.

And finally, if your play was food, what kind of food would it be?

Chocolate, with a slight hint of raspberry liqueur.

Sweeter Dreams
Thursday, June 02 at 9:00PM
Saturday, June 04 at 9:00PM
Sunday, June 05 at 1:00PM
Tuesday, June 07 at 4:00PM
Saturday, June 11 at 5:00PM
Saturday, June 18 at 6:00PM
Tuesday, June 21 at 9:00PM
Saturday, June 25 at 3:00PM

The Gene Frankel Theatre
24 Bond Street

Planet Connections Interview - Joan Kane of "The God Particle"

By Byrne Harrison

Name: Joan Kane
Play: The God Particle
Relationship to production: Director
Website: EgoActus.com

How did you first get involved in theatre?

I went to the High School of Performing Arts

Who are your biggest influences?

Robert Wilson, Bertolt Brecht, Joan Littlewood and Ariane Mnouchkine

What is your show about?

Sexual attraction, physics, industrial espionage and love

What inspired you to become involved with it?

I love the question of whether science is done for its own sake or should just be a practical tool to help humanity.

Why was it important to you to be part of an eco-friendly theatre festival?

I want to help people see how they fit into the world as a large interactive organism, not just into their own slices of lives.

Planet Connections donates a portion of the box office for each show to a charity. What charity has your production chosen and why?

Our charity is Science: Its a Girl Thing. I wish there had been a group like that when I was a girl. My family spent its resources on its boys. At one point in my life I was a self-taught elementary school science teacher. I later taught graduate classes in teaching science.

What's next for you after Planet Connections?

I am constantly reading scripts and going to plays, looking for my company's next production.

And finally, if your play was food, what kind of food would it be?

This play is like the sweet dessert profiterole. You enjoy it at the time and later, when you can't taste it anymore you remember how much you enjoyed it.

The God Particle
Wednesday, June 8th at 8:30PM
Saturday, June 11th at 4:00PM
Wednesday, June 15th at 6:30PM
Sunday, June 19th at 3:30PM
Tuesday, June 21st at 8:00PM
Friday, June 24th at 6:30PM

The Robert Moss Theatre
440 Lafayette Street

Planet Connections Interview - George Katt of "Face Divided"/"Mutilation of St. Barbara"

By Byrne Harrison

Name: George Katt
Play: "FACE DIVIDED" / "MUTILATION OF ST. BARBARA"
Relationship to production: Actor & Founder/Artistic Director of The Indies Lab
Website: http://www.georgekatt.com/ / www.facebook.com/theindieslab

How did you first get involved in theatre?

I started on stage at an early age before high school and it is where I first began to hone my craft and before I began work in television & film. I began doing Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway plays in NYC before anything else. It was where I fell in love with the craft. NYC and theatre were the first venues of inspiration for my work and are my roots

Who are your biggest influences?

For theatre when I first started out, I was immediately turned on to Elia Kazan, Marlon Brando, Tennessee Williams, Montgomery Clift and other artists that revolved around The Actor's Studio & Lee Strasberg's world. It was any actor/director/writer that I felt was working from a place of truth and an investment.

What is your show about?

Our two one-acts are both about dysfunctional or a better word would be 'unfortunate' relationships. The common bond is a definite love for each other but unhealthy nonetheless. They are paralleled in themes of escapism, abuse, and mutilation.

What inspired you to perform in it?

Rosebud Baker gave me "Face Divided" to read back in January and at the time I personally connected with the piece instantly. We workshopped a scene at The Indies Lab and when she came to me about getting involved with the festival and the idea of pairing it up with a one-act written by fellow member and amazing talent Mark Borkowski and also utilizing the fantastic actors from The Indies, I was all for it. Really wonderful, dark, and intense plays. "Face Divided" is written by Edward Allan Baker and "Mutilation of St. Barbara" by Mark Borkowski, both award-winning playwrights that bring so much depth and intricacy to their characters and their relationships.

Why was it important to you to be part of an eco-friendly theatre festival?

We have an ongoing common problem in this world lately. Our earth is being abused. Our resources are being drained. And although most of us may be unaware, but we are being affected by it, like it or not. It is important to be conscious of that. If we don't begin to suppress any further damage to our environment and our ecosystem it will come back to haunt us in more ways than we are aware. I recommend being educated on this matter. Reading about it, watch some amazing documentaries, know how you can do your part. As artists it is important that we care about our environments as a whole. Our inspirations.

Planet Connections donates a portion of the box office for each show to a charity. What charity has your production chosen and why?

The Actor's Fund of America. It's an amazing cause and has been a great help to many struggling artists. It is a place that really cares about actors being able to thrive and to continue doing what they love to do.

What's next for you after Planet Connections?

I will be starring in several feature films including "Turnabout" opposite Indies Lab members Chris Kerson and Mark Borkowski whom both starred in the recent Rogue/AMC Independent film "Cost of a Soul" and "Jack: The Original Human" a feature film with a different take on one person's journey through their self discovery as they are influenced by beat generation writers and poets. I am also continuing the development and growth of "The Indies Lab" as we just made it past our 6-month mark and am going to go into editing soon on a feature film drama I directed through the lab titled "Miracles of the Misfitted" starring the Lab actors. I also have several other feature films that I am currently in talks with about starring in.

And finally, if your play was food, what kind of food would it be?

It would be a sour apple straight out of the Garden of Eden!

"Face Divided"/"Mutilation of St. Barbara"
Saturday, June 04 at 5:25PM
Monday, June 06 at 9:00PM
Wednesday, June 08 at 4:30PM
Sunday, June 12 at 6:00PM
Friday, June 17 at 8:00PM
Sunday, June 19 at 11:30AM

The Robert Moss Theatre
440 Lafayette Street

Planet Connections Interview - Thom Fogarty of "Hell Is Where the Heart Is"

By Byrne Harrison

Name: Thom Fogarty
Play: Hell Is Where the Heart Is by Melissa Skirboll
Relationship to production: Director
Website: http://thomfogarty.weebly.com/ and http://melissaskirboll.weebly.com/hell-is-where-the-heart-is.html

How did you first get involved in theatre?

In high school, performing in plays with the Drama Club. Then at Ohio State University, where I ended up becoming a Dance Major, as I realized the body had a much shorter 'shelf life' than a life in the theater, which I have come full circle back to. My work as a dancer and performer, very theatrical and based in movement, has always dealt with the vastness of the human condition as told through the observance of small everyday gestures and their meanings. This movement rich approach, which includes dance and traditional miming, allows the work to be both profane and profound at the same time, constantly creating a duality and acknowledging the yin and yang of daily life. My life's work in performance has brought me to this regarding my role as DIRECTOR: The PLAYWRIGHT supplies a wonderful world through their words with which to play. The ACTORS, through the honing of their craft bring an amazing array of colors to the table from which to pick and chose. My role is to provide a safe space, and offer my guidance, whereby the coloring of those words can begin and the story is fleshed out for an audience that wants nothing more than to be moved and escape the outside world for the time they are with you, out there in the dark.

Who are your biggest influences?

Joseph Chaikin, Sam Shepard, Ellen Stewart, Martha Graham, the films of the golden era of American Cinema in the 1970's and directors like Sidney Pollack, Robert Altman, Michael Cimino et al. The work of Red Skelton, who sustained such a broad and far reaching career as an actor, comedian, writer, and painter. His sense of complete characterization and full bodied work, watching weekly on his television show, was most definately etched into my performance psyche. It is that sense of joy and depth of emotional character that I am constantly seeking in the work I help create. And lastly, Jack Lemmon, whom I once heard say that for every performance he "...shoots for the moon. Sometimes you hit it, but more often than not you miss it. And when you miss the moon, you are miles and miles away - out there on your own." This notion, that it is still best to shoot for the moon, has made me the performer/director I am today.

What is your show about?

Melissa Skirboll, the playwright, has stated: "This comic look at sibling rivalry and dysfunctional families is fueled by bad dreams and unreliable psychic gifts. As circumstances force the sisters to confront their past, long buried family secrets surface. Reality becomes unreal, dreams become nightmares, and the Devil wants his due. Can this family ever win?". I posit that it is all that and then some. It questions our basic sense of belief. What do you believe in? How strong is your faith? Do we really have control over our life here on this earth? How far are you willing to go?

What inspired you to direct it?

The play is beautifully written and at first glance tells a rather simple tale. However, the structure with which Ms. Skirboll has chosen to frame her tale was most intriguing. It is structured as a dream within a dream within a dream, which may or may not be real, along with flashbacks and the real life embodiments of what we have come to know as Heaven and Hell. I love a challenge and this seemed right up my alley. To compound this are the restrictions of a festival setting, i.e. the sharing of one singular light plot for multiple shows, the 90-minute format (this play was originally written as a traditional 2 act) and the shoestring budget (gone are the physical flying scenes, the trap door, the smoke, etc). Thus, we have to rely on good old fashion stage craft AND the imaginations of the audience. That was the biggest selling point for me. It is totally in keeping with my sense of creating a phsyical space that is safe to work in and providing the movement or choreography to pull off and allow the audience to enter into this world for the 90 minute running time and forget the life that waits outside the theater. To take what at first may seem incomprehensable and make it clear was the biggest enticement.

Why was it important to you to be part of an eco-friendly theatre festival?

My family has been of the eco-friendly mind set for as long as I can remember. We recycled when there were only a few spots here in NYC, like back in the late '70s, when the area that is now a little pocket park, on Sixth Avenue at Washington Place between the diner and the basketball courts, was one of the original classic old 'recycling centers' where you would take you cart full of recyclables, newspapers, magazines and all to on the weekend and sorted it all out in the appropriate containers. Long before the city's attempt to institutionalize the process. That was the beginning of my eco-friendly journey, which soon went beyond material things and became a mindset that encompasses all aspects of life. The opportunity to be part of a sharing theatrical community that overs up their goods and services to the collective whole is an idea whose time has come. And I thank the Planet Connections Theatre Festivity for bringing us all together to share in this month long caring and sharing fest.

Planet Connections donates a portion of the box office for each show to a charity. What charity has your production chosen and why?

Sylvia's Place, through the auspices of Metropolitan Community Church of New York (MCCNY) is an emergency overnight shelter for LGBTQ youth (under 24). They are open 365 days/year from 8pm to 8am. Curfew is at midnight. They provide hot meals (dinner and breakfast); clothing; showers;case management; physical and mental health medical services; as well as court advocacy. I have long worked within and for this community. In speaking with Ms. Skirboll, we concurred that the very notion of 'Home is where the heart is' no long applies to these youth who are either thrown out or forced to leave rather than endure the abuse, mental and aft times physical, that takes place in the uncaring home environment. Because of this Festival, we have the opportunity to partner with an organization that opens it's doors to this underserved and under-reported population, and to share what they do with each person who comes to see Hell Is Where the Heart Is. These youth are going through a very real hell on a daily basis as they comes to terms with who they are and how they can make their way in what must seem like a very cruel and unforgiving world. It is the very least we can do to publicize their charitable work and hope that this show is indeed a hit so we can share as much of the monetary gain from this run as possible.

What's next for you after Planet Connections?

Next up I am directing MargOH! Channing’s new cabaret act Tipsy in June at The Duplex. In July I have a two-week residency at the Lillian Smith Arts Center, interviewing Nancy Smith Fichter about her life's work in dance and keeping the flame burning for her aunt's work. In September I will direct a staged reading of In the Name of God, by Peter-Adrian Cohen, adapted from the Frontline PBS documentary by Helen Whitney, about the repercussions on religion and faith in the aftermath of the 9-11 tragedy [as part of the citywide commemoration of the 10th anniversary at Judson Memorial Church], as well as an Equity showcase of Paula Vogel’s Desdemona, starring my daughter, Lulu Fogarty, at The Bridge Theater (NYC).

And finally, if your play was food, what kind of food would it be?

A pineapple upside-down cake. The pineapple has long been a symbol of hospitality all around the world. It takes very few ingredients. It is not what it at first appears to be, as it must be flipped upon cooking for it to become it's true self. It is crispy, gooey, sweet, tart, fluffy, solid, spongy and inviting. Just like the best of families. Yes, we are a pineapple upside-down cake!

Hell Is Where the Heart Is
Friday, June 03 at 6:00PM
Saturday, June 04 at 1:00PM
Thursday, June 09 at 4:00PM
Tuesday, June 14 at 8:00PM
Thursday, June 16 at 7:00PM
Saturday, June 18 at 4:00PM

The Gene Frankel Theatre
24 Bond Street

Planet Connections Interview - Nikki M. Jenkins of "Disenchanted"

By Byrne Harrison

Name: Nikki M. Jenkins
Play: Disenchanted, a new musical
Relationship to production: Playwright/Co-Producer/Actress
Website: http://www.disenchantedthemusical.com/
Facebook Fan Page

How did you first get involved in theatre?

It was kind of an accident. I was studying classical voice at East Carolina University and I had to take an elective to fulfill my credit requirements. I took Theatre 101 because I thought it would be easy. I remember the day my professor took the class on a field trip to the set of one of the mainstage productions. I stepped onto the stage and suddenly felt this strange sense of "at-homeness." I knew the stage was where I belonged. I switched majors to musical theatre the very next semester.

Who are your biggest influences?

Actresses: Audra McDonald, Anika Noni Rose, and Nikki James

Writer/composers: Jason Robert Brown (Parade), Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (Ragtime), Trey Parker and Matt Stone (Avenue Q, Book of Mormon)

Producers: Oprah Winfrey (The Color Purple), Whoopi Goldberg (Sister Act), and Will Smith (Fela!)

What is your show about?

Disenchanted, a new musical is an urban fairytale about a Black girl who thinks she's White--literally. The protagonist, Amanda Gottadolla (Mandi) is adopted as an infant by the Gottadollas, a fabulously wealthy white couple. When the adoption exposes Mr. and Mrs. Gottadolla to ridicule and racial backlash, they decide to protect their daughter at all costs. They remove all the mirrors from the house and hire a beautiful blonde girl to play Mandi's reflection. Thus begins the little "white" lie. But as Mandi enters adulthood, it becomes harder and harder to shield her from the truth. Mandi's ignorant bliss is ultimately destroyed when two envious villains force her to face reality. But sometimes when the fairytale ends, that's when the real story begins. By letting go of her Barbie-doll existence and embracing her true identity, Mandi is allowed to blossom from an over-sheltered girl into an empowered young woman.

What inspired you to write it?

Frustration, mainly -- frustration with the stereotypical roles for black women in the media. I was pretty tired of playing slaves, maids, and welfare mothers. I wanted to create a positive, fun, unconventional role for African-American actresses like myself. That's where my protagonist "Amanda Gottadolla" (Mandi) comes from. She's basically a black Elle Woods (Legally Blonde). I also play Mandi, which is so much fun, because she shares so many of my personality traits--fun, quirky, strong-willed, a dreamer. And I think there are a lot of other black actresses out there that can relate to this kind of female figure.

Why was it important to you to be part of an eco-friendly theatre festival?

Everyone needs to be more conscious of what we're doing to the planet. If we can create art that changes the world, then we can also produce art in a way that preserves the world.

Planet Connections donates a portion of the box office for each show to a charity. What charity has your production chosen and why?

Disenchanted has adopted the Play for P.I.N.K. organization. They organize sporting events to raise support for cancer research. We chose this organization because breast cancer research is so important, and we liked the idea of using health and physical activity to raise awareness.

What's next for you after Planet Connections?

My co-producer Aaron Pratt and I are determined to take Disenchanted to the next level. We are already making plans for an Off-Broadway run!

And finally, if your play was food, what kind of food would it be?

That's easy--your classic Black and White Cookie! It's half black, half white, and 100% New York!

Disenchanted
Tuesday, June 21 at 12:00PM

The Robert Moss Theatre
440 Lafayette Street