Sunday, February 23, 2014

FRIGID New York Interview - Gregg Barrios of "I-DJ"

By Byrne Harrison

Show: I-DJ
Photo credit: Warren Peace

Gregg Barrios is a playwright, poet and journalist. He is a 2013 USC Annenberg Getty Fellow, and serves on the board of directors of the National Book Critics Circle. He has received a CTG-Mark Taper Fellowship, a Ford Foundation Grant, and a 2013 Artist Foundation Grant for his theater work. His play, I-DJ, premieres at the 2014 NYC Frigid Fringe Festival. He is collaborating with actor and filmmaker James Franco on a book of his experimental work in poetry and film.

Tell me a little about your show.

I-DJ centers on a gay Mexican-American DJ / actor who spins the soundtrack of his life on the dance floor by night and by day performs in a send-up of Shakesqueer's Ham-a-lot set to a dub-step beat of ecstasy, tainted love, Rollerena and Herb Alpert. When a younger DJ challenges him to a musical standoff, their stories and music collide. Only one will survive.

What inspired you to create it?

I wanted to write about the DJ music scene and also about the rich theatrical works that emerged in the late 1970s, early 1980s. I was an arts journalist at that time in Los Angeles. So I covered those beats. I was also interested in how the LGBT community of artists faced the plague years – how bravely and fiercely they confronted it. And how this virus decimated many of our finest artists in the midst of a creative period of their lives and who would never be able to finish their life’s work.

Who else is helping you bring the show to FRIGID?

We have a lively theater scene in San Antonio, TX. I am part of The Overtime Theater Company. We premiered the work there. For the FRIGID, the Woodlawn Theatre across town provided facilities and loaned us their AD Greg Hinojosa to direct this version of I-DJ. I call it the bare bonez remix.

Who would be your dream audience for this show?

Gosh, I’d love all those wonderful folks that lived through that era covered in the play – a testament to their humor and courage in the face of outrageous fortune.

As a theatre artist, who are your biggest influences?

Edward Albee, Tennessee Williams, August Wilson, Michael Bennett, Beck/Malina, Luis Valdez, Maria Irene Fornes, Shelagh Delaney, Charles Ludlam, Terrence McNally, Tony Kushner – etc.

What other shows are you planning to see at FRIGID?

Chicken-Fried Ciccone.

What's else does 2014 hold for you?

The premiere of Hard Candy, my new play about legendary Texas stripper Candy Barr. I’m also finishing a new play (Tennessee, Mon Amour) commissioned by the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival. It’ll be my second show for them.

Lightning round

Favorite playwright?  In 2014, Annie Baker and Dan O’Brien

Show you would love to be involved with?  Baker’s The Flick.

Favorite venue? St. Ann’s Warehouse

Favorite actor?  (on stage) Brando, Anthony Quinn.

Best theatre experience? My Mark Taper Fellowship in LA.

Worst theatre experience?  I prefer to forget them.

Person you’d most like to thank?  Rollerena, the legendary New York City street performer. I saw her once in her full regalia. I dedicate I-DJ to her. I hope she comes to see the show.

For more information about I-DJ, visit the FRIGID New York website.

"The Unlikely Ascent of Sybil Stevens" - Thrust into the court of public opinion

By Byrne Harrison

You lead a normal, quiet life.  A job.  Friends and family.  The same thing as most everyone else.

But imagine if society suddenly turned its spotlight on you.  Everyone wanting… needing… deserving to know every detail of your life.  What if you didn't want that?  What if you didn't want everyone to steal pieces of your life to fulfill their own agendas?  What if you had no choice in the matter?

Sybil Stevens (Jennifer Gordon Thomas) was content.  Being a flight attendant gave her a chance to see the world and enough money to care for her nephew.  Plus, she loved it.  She had her quiet life, her comfortable apartment and her beloved Cubs.

Then came the crash.

After a mid-air explosion ripped her flight in half and nearly killed her, Sybil, the sole survivor, finds herself one of the most sought after people in America.  Besieged by media requests which have only gotten more insistent due to a blog set up by her nephew Derek (Jordan Tierney) that has chronicled her recovery, the intensely private Sybil finally agrees to grant an interview with Tessa MacKenzie (slickly played by Yeauxlanda Kay), an aspirant to the throne of Oprah.

But Tessa, armed with material dug up by her assistant (Samantha Fairfield Walsh), plans a little gotcha journalism, and the capper is an unexpected announcement from Joe (Sean Williams), the paramedic who found her crushed body in the wreckage and saved her life.

Sybil, a new media neophyte, discovers the mercurial nature of internet and media fame, as the court of public opinion turns against her.  Sybil, Derek and Joe find themselves adrift and unsure how to move forward, as they struggle to bring their lives back into some kind of order.

Playwright Kari Bentley-Quinn has created a remarkably sensitive and intelligent play, and director Christopher Diercksen has a solid grasp of the ebb and flow of the piece.  The ensemble is outstanding, with particular praise to Thomas for her skilled performance as Sybil.  Her nuanced work brings Sybil's physical and mental struggles to life without ever going overboard.  Plus, her accent was great.

Although I've given the character of Joe short shrift, much of that is due to a plot point that I don't want to spoil.  However, I must compliment Williams on his portrayal of the down on his luck Joe.  Williams really shines in a short scene between Joe and Derek.

I highly recommend seeing this production, part of The Secret Theatre's New Voices Project.  The Secret Theatre is to be commended encouraging new works of this caliber.

The Unlikely Ascent of Sybil Stevens
By Kari Bentley-Quinn
Directed by Christopher Diercksen
Producer: Leta Tremblay
Set Designer: Meredith Ries
Costume Designer: Sarah Bertolozzi
Lighting Designer: Aaron Porter
Sound Designer: Beth Lake
Projection Designer: Kevin Brouder
Stage Manager: Sarah Lahue
Assistant Producer: Yvonne Hartung
Production Assistant: Emily Delbridge
Publicity: Lanie Zipoy
Executive Producer: Richard Mazda
Production Photographer: Kacey Stamats

Featuring: Yeauxlanda Kay, Jennifer Gordon Thomas, Jordan Tierney, Samantha Fairfield Walsh, Sean Williams

Through February 23rd

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

FRIGID New York Interview - Alycya Miller of "Brownie and Lolli Go To Hollywood"

By Byrne Harrison

Show: Brownie and Lolli Go To Hollywood
Photo credit: Darlyne Cain (on her iPad)

Born and raised in South Carolina, Alycya Miller came to New York via Princeton University, where she studied the work of Katherine Dunham, classical Japanese theater and served as music director for the R&B vocal group, Culturally Yours. After a stint on Wall Street, Miller studied comedy writing at City University London and improvisational theater at the People's Improv Theater in New York. A lifelong hip hop dancer, Miller studied samba and salsa with the Djoniba Dance Center in New York. A classical violist since the age of 9, her string arrangements can be heard in the song “Sweet Danger.” Miller's directing credits include Backstage At Da Fonky B - A Musical, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide and Top Girls. Acting credits include The Women Of Brewster Place (Theresa) and Macbeth (Lady Macbeth). Miller's comedy writing influences are Jennifer Saunders, John Cleese, Bud Abbott and Norman Lear. Her music influences include Rick James and Deborah Harry.

Tell me a little about your show.

I wrote this piece, but every time I read it, I find something more literary about it than I consciously intended. I thought I was just writing a goof comedy piece around four original R&B songs I produced back in 2005, but it could actually be used as a study piece for 7th graders. It's a musical comedy about this Abbott and Costello-like pair of girls who work at a hat shop in New Orleans. They've been wanting to get their sexy clown act on a popular TV show called "Live at Da Fonky Burlesk," but the show hasn't had auditions in years. After a series of unfortunate events, the girls finally have a chance to audition for the show. The only problem is that they have to be in Hollywood by tomorrow. They're broke with no cars, so the rest of the show has this song and dance duo doing all kinds of unsavory and illegal things to raise the money. People who like Abbott and Costello, The Monty Python and Absolutely Fabulous will appreciate the comedy. People who like jazz, R&B and nudity-free burlesque will, too.

What inspired you to create it?

The idea came to me for a female comedy double act who sang and dance back in 2003 at the real peak of the burlesque revival. I was fronting a funk/R&B band in North Carolina at the time and gradually turned our gigs into a variety show/talent showcase called "Da Fonky Burlesk." We had singers, belly dancers - anybody interesting and talented - all set to "fonky" music. One of the regular performers was very ditzy, always late and frazzled. I called her "Lolli" because she was always lollygagging. My stage name was Brownie Glendale because that was the name of my first pet paired with the name of the first street I lived on. We were so different - she the clown, me the straight band manager - the idea just evolved from there. With my song, dance and comedy writing background, well - the piece just developed from there.

Who else is helping you bring the show to FRIGID?

JIM BEAM (the whiskey, not the company, though sponsors are more than welcome).

Who would be your dream audience for this show?

A bunch of narcoleptics - they'd fall asleep during the acting bits and then we (the cast) could have fun startling them awake when we break out into song and dance numbers. Another benefit is that we could just chat while their sleeping and tell them later that they missed the best show.

As a theatre artist, who are your biggest influences?

Bud Abbott, Katherine Dunham, Bob Fosse, Carol Burnett.

What other shows are you planning to see at FRIGID?

Basic Help, East in Red. All of them, though, if I can. There's some real talent in this festival.

What's else does 2014 hold for you?

Brownie and Lolli Go To Hollywood will continue to run in New York until April/May and then head to DC in July for Capital Fringe. We will find investors somewhere along the way. Fall onward is to be determined, but I have a feeling there's a tall dark stranger in there... 

Lightning round

Favorite playwright? Tennessee Williams.

Show you would love to be involved with? Tommy.

Favorite venue? Town Hall.

Favorite actor? Stage actor? Christine Baranski. Overall? Glenn Close.

Best theatre experience? Fela, the Musical. Bring it back! It was magical.

Worst theatre experience? A production of Ibsen's Wild Ducks that I had to walk out of before intermission. I think the director must have been a sadist to make us all sit through that.

Person you’d most like to thank? My parents, who at 41 years have one of the longest running comedy double acts in America. They call it Their Marriage.

For more information about Brownie and Lolli Go To Hollywood, visit the FRIGID New York website.

FRIGID New York Interview - Nicole Lee Aiossa of "I Shall Forget You Presently"

By Byrne Harrison

Show:  I Shall Forget You Presently
Photo credit: Theresa Unfried

Nicole Lee Aiossa has been singing, teaching, dancing, song writing, acting, choreographing and directing in New York City for the past 15 years. Nicole is Dysfunctional’s resident opera singer, having performed in such productions as La Boheme (Musetta), Falstaff (Alice), Il Segretto di Susanna (Susanna), Dido & Aeneas (1st Witch), The Impresario (Goldentrill), La Traviata (Violetta), Carmen (Frasquita), Orpheus in the Underworld (Eurydice), Don Pasquale (Norina), and numerous others.  Dysfunctional Theatre credits include, Final Defenders (Queen Bowsera/Co-Director) Unlicensed (Jodi), Brew of the Dead II: Oktoberflesh (Julie), Porcelain and Pink (Julie), Fancy Eating You Here (Monique), and various other nuns and zombies. Nicole is currently a member of an operatic duo called ‘Park Avenue’, and a lounge act called ‘The Bobby Oahu Big Band’.  For more info please visit

Tell me a little about your show.

Using original poetry, music of the era, quotes and dialogue, writers Eric Chase and Amy Overman have constructed a patchwork of the remarkable life and work of Edna St. Vincent Millay.  The ensemble cast moves, acts and sings it's way around the poet and into her life, loves and passions.  More than just a poet, we show you a woman who captured love, defined feminism and shaped the 20th century.   We hope that we have captured her life as well as any person can.  I myself, am part of the cast, but am primarily the 'Lead Singer,' commenting on the action thru song.  There is a house band, The Wobblin' Wobblies, that does an amazing job setting the mood for the piece and breaking up the action. All of the music chosen is appropriate to the time, written and performed from that era, with the exception of course, of the one piece i wrote myself, set to Millay's poetry.

How did the show come about?

Dysfunctional had been asked to be a part of The Brick's Tiny Theater program, which consisted of doing a show in a 6x6x6 cube.  The show could also only be ten minutes long.  The director, Eric Chase, and producer/co-writer, Amy Overman, had long been fans of Edna St. Vincent Millay and thought this would be a good chance to work on something new.  The ten minute play went so well, we decided to work on a longer, more involved show.

How did you become involved with it?

As a member of the Dysfunctional Theatre Company, I was asked if I would like to be involved from the beginning.  I was also asked if I could write an original song to one of Edna's poems, which I did.  This then evolved into me becoming the musical director, and researching more music of the time, and incorporating that in to the full length show.

Who else is helping you bring the show to FRIGID?

The cast of I Shall Forget You Presently, Dysfunctional Theatre, whiskey, and my love of Benedict Cumberbatch.

Who would be your dream audience for this show?

Dysfunctional Theatre Company is an all inclusive theater group, and we love for everyone to be able to enjoy our productions, even if it doesn't seem like their 'cup of tea'.  That being said, literary types, fans of poetry and especially fans of Edna St. Vincent Millay, should really like what we have been able to accomplish.  We would love for members of The Edna St. Vincent Millay Society to come and see the work, and get their feedback as well.  Also, Benedict Cumberbatch, because he is dreamy.  

As a theatre artist, who are your biggest influences?

First off, all of my fellow members of Dysfunctional.  I have been very blessed and thankful to be able to work, create, laugh, drink, and evolve with all of them.  I came into the company as an opera singer, with not much theater background (other than musical theater), so to be able to watch what other actors do, without music, has truly been a privilege. Secondly, since like I said, I am classically trained, my biggest influences have been Natalie Dessay,  Kiri Te Kanawa, Teressa Stratas, and my mentor- Mark Rucker. 

What other shows are you planning to see at FRIGID?

For sure, Boogie of the Apes, because ummm, yes and Drag Queen Stole My Dress, because that has happened more than once to me.

What's else does 2014 hold for you?

Immediately after I Shall Forget You closes, I go into work on a new production of Mozart's The Impresario, which I am a co-writer and singer in.  It will be performed in English, at the Laurie
Beechman Theater.  For more information on that you can visit:  I also plan on stalking Benedict Cumberbatch, through many multi-media venues...

Lightning round

Favorite playwright? I don't really have one, but my favorite composer is Giuseppe Verdi.

Show you would love to be involved with? Any production at the Met, or on Broadway, or Off-Broadway… seriously any production. umm hire me?

Favorite venue? Under St. Marks.

Favorite actor? Benedict Cumberbatch.

Best theatre experience? Singing my all time favorite role, Violetta in La Traviata for Martina Arroyo.

Worst theatre experience? Performing a show for an audience smaller than your cast...*sigh*.

Person you’d most like to thank? Rob Brown, my fiance, for getting me involved with Dysfunctional Theatre, and Benedict Cumberbatch, for being perfect in every way.

For more information about I Shall Forget You Presently, visit the FRIGID New York website.

FRIGID New York Interview - J.Stephen Brantley of "Chicken-Fried Ciccone: A Twangy True Tale of Transformation"

By Byrne Harrison

Show:  Chicken-Fried Ciccone: A Twangy True Tale Of Transformation
Photo credit: Jody Christopherson

J.Stephen Brantley is an actor and playwright whose work has been commissioned by Performance Space 122, Lincoln Center Directors Lab, and East Hamptons’ Guild Hall. His plays Blood GrassBreak, FurbelowThe JambNeverthelessShiny Pair Of Complications, and Struck have been performed across the U.S. and in Canada and Ireland. His Eightythree Down, winner of the 2009 Georgia Theatre Conference award, was nominated for six 2012 New York Innovative Theatre Awards and is published by Indie Theatre Now as part of their Best of 2011 collection. Brantley has performed with Big Dance Theatre, CapsLock, Cucaracha, The Directors Company, Horse Trade, Jewish Plays Project, Neo-Political Cowgirls, and Theatre 167, and at venues including 59E59, HERE, Queens Theatre, Metropolitan Playhouse, P.S.122, Soho Rep, Guild Hall, and Provincetown Theater. He received the Micheál MacLiammóir Award for Best Actor at the 2013 International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival and a 2013 NYIT Award nomination for his work in the FRIGID New York production of Kathleen Warnock’s That’s Her Way. J.Stephen is a graduate of NYU’s Experimental Theatre Wing and a 2013 Indie Theatre Now Person of The Year. His latest full-length play, Pirira, was recently produced Off-Broadway by Theatre 167.

Tell me a little about your show.

Chicken-Fried Ciccone is the true story of my own addiction to heroin and subsequent recovery, with country covers of Madonna songs, naturally. Director David Drake and I have packed a ten-year epic into fifty-five twangy minutes of reinvention, reconnection, and release.

What inspired you to create it?

Back when I was at NYU a hundred years ago, I used to joke about doing a cabaret act of acoustic Madonna covers. But I did not yet play guitar, and I certainly didn’t have the story I do now. Then maybe six months ago, Chemda Khalili invited me to talk about my history with addiction and homelessness on her What’s My Name podcast. Like a lot of people, she was surprised to find out I used to shoot dope, and she and her fiancé Lauren insisted the story would make a great one-man-something... At the time, the very idea of doing a solo piece show seemed self-indulgent to me, but then I was laying in bed trying to think of what I might create that would be simple, portable, cheap. What do I do? Well I write, and act… I have this story…and I play acoustic covers of Madonna songs… It sounds like random madness but actually it makes a lot of sense. It’s a story about reinvention, about the intersection of art and spirituality, and Madonna is the one cultural icon that has been around my entire adult life. I was totally wrong about it being simple or cheap, but everything else has been very right.

Who else is helping you bring the show to FRIGID?

I’m incredibly blessed to be working with director David Drake. He is a master of the one-man-show, his The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me has been a big inspiration to me, as it has been for many writer-performers. I still have vivid memories of seeing the iconic billboard for that show not too long after I first moved to New York – and now I know him! And his alter-ego Tawny Heatherton too! We’re working with a terrific stage manager, Abbey Bay, who won the NYIT stage management award last year. Madonna herself could not have a cooler team.

Who would be your dream audience for this show?

Me, at twenty-two? Young gay guys predisposed to substance abuse? Anyone who needs to reconnect to the better parts of themselves, really. I guess we all walk through darkness to find our light; I’m spilling some really dirty secrets in this show – sex and drugs and all that… Maybe it’s not heroin for you, maybe it’s something else that knocks you off your path but my hope is that the people who see Chicken-Fried Ciccone come for looking for renewal. That’s what it’s about.

As a theatre artist, who are your biggest influences?

My background is in avant-garde and dance-theatre. I don’t get to do much of that stuff anymore but I continue to be inspired by companies like The Wooster Group and Big Dance. I lean toward the Brechtian. And Madonna. Obviously.

What other shows are you planning to see at FRIGID?

There are loads of interesting shows this year but the ones I am most excited about: Charlie Gershman’s Shooting Abe with Ethan Fishbane, No.11’s The Eyes Of Orbach, Ed Malin’s Oscar Tango-Bravo directed by Bricken Sparacino, and I-DJ from my hometown, San Antonio!

What's else does 2014 hold for you?

Oh boy. I am returning to Neo-Political Cowgirls’ immersive dance-theater piece EVE, which figures into the story of Chicken-Fried Ciccone actually. I’m spending much of the summer up in Maine at Stonington Opera House doing Romeo And Juliet and its sequel – Romeo And Juliet And Zombies, a new play in Elizabethan verse by Melody Bates. I’m collaborating on another multi-writer epic with Theatre 167. I think Hard Sparks is doing an event out east. I’d like to finish a new full-length. And I’m already booking CFC in other places later this year. But you have to see it at Under St. Marks! It was written very specifically for that space and it won’t be the same script in any other venue.

Lightning round

Favorite playwright? Lanford Wilson, probably.

Show you would love to be involved with? I kind of want to be in Peter In The Starcatcher. Anything with pirates really. Wait, is this meant to be specific to the Frigid fest?

Favorite venue? Anywhere I can work with Theatre 167. Sometimes that’s a school cafeteria. Sometimes it’s an artist’s studio at Queens Museum. Sometimes it’s an Off-Broadway theatre in a landmarked church…

Favorite actor? I HAVE TO CHOOSE ONE FAVORITE ACTOR?! No. But I will tell you my current New York actor crushes: Nic Grelli, Diana Oh, Jordan Tierney, Todd Flaherty, Rajesh Bose, Mikaela Feely-Lehman, and Kristen Vaughn.

Best theatre experience? That I saw? National Theatre of Scotland’s Black Watch. That I was in? Oh hell I wouldn’t know how to choose…

Worst theatre experience? I saw a terrible high school production of Cabaret once. The teacher/director also played the Emcee. It was…uncomfortable.

Person you’d most like to thank? David Drake. Maybe Madonna. No, David, David for sure.

For more information about Chicken-Fried Ciccone, visit the FRIGID New York website.

Monday, February 17, 2014

FRIGID New York Interview - David Mogolov of "Eating My Garbage"

By Byrne Harrison

Show: Eating My Garbage
Photo credit: Kelly Davidson Studios

David Mog0lov is a Boston-based monologist. His comedies are fast-paced, unpredictable dives into the moment, a blend of the personal and political, the universal and mundane. Since 2002, he has written and performed 5 solo shows including Dumber Faster (FringeNYC 2012), There Is No Good News (FRIGID 2011), and One Night at T.F. Green (Single File Festival, 2003). His plays are published by Indie Theater Now. 

Tell me a little about your show.

Eating My Garbage is a comedy about belief. Not religious belief, but about everyday beliefs like, "Subway is a healthy lunch" and "I am a Democrat." Prompted by a simple question from a political pollster, I launch myself into a quagmire over whether it's possible to know what you actually believe, and whether those beliefs have any rational basis. It's funny, I promise.

What inspired you to create it?

This sounds stupid, but I've been wanting to write a show about the Subway sandwich chain for a long time. It just never quite seemed relevant. But then, last year, I was working on a show called Carry the Two and had drafted a somewhat lengthy section about Jared the Subway guy, and I mentioned it in passing to my younger brother. He told me something that pretty much obliterated the whole Carry the Two concept and gave birth to Eating My Garbage.

Who else is helping you bring the show to FRIGID?

There should be a title other than Director for Steve Kleinedler. I've been working with him since 2001, and while he's excellent as a director, the fact is he's a full-on concept-to-execution collaborator. We have overlapping but not identical interests and strengths. Different excesses. He's extraordinarily good at making me reach a little further and say what I want to say, not just what seems OK to say. He has a gift for spotting big-picture opportunities that I sometimes miss in my focus on the details, but he's also, as a talented improvisor, sometimes responsible for providing the perfect verbal button where I'm spinning my wheels. These shows wouldn't happen without him, I don't think.

Who would be your dream audience for this show?

This sounds corny, but it's true. I love every audience as long as they want to be there. If I could perform in a random location every week where an audience was expecting an hourlong monologue, I'd be happy. I could play apartments for a year.

As a theatre artist, who are your biggest influences?

I'm fifty percent inspired by stand up comedy and fifty percent by theatrical monologue. I adore Spalding Gray. I think Mike Daisey is one of the most engaging performers in theater. On the comedy side, I wish everybody would make time to take in every bit of the British comic Stewart Lee. His shows are perfectly assembled and constantly surprising. He talks himself down, but what he's doing is art. If it's not, there's no such thing.

What other shows are you planning to see at FRIGID?

Charlotte the DestroyerOscar Tango Bravo, and The Eyes of Orbach, for sure.

What else does 2014 hold for you?

I'm co-writing a musical about a notorious killer, finishing a book about children, and hopefully launching a podcast. Otherwise, my goal is to book Eating My Garbage anywhere an audience will come see it.

Lightning round

Favorite playwright? Yasmina Reza

Show you would love to be involved with? A musical about ambulance chasers

Favorite venue? I love Boston's Oberon

Favorite actor? Philip Seymour Hoffman 

Best theatre experience? A London production of Art in the late 90s. 

Worst theatre experience? I'd prefer not to relive it.

Person you’d most like to thank? My first grade teacher, Ms. Mays, for pushing me to share my writing. I was a little awkward, standing in front of the class with a Big Chief pad, reading my first story, but I've always been proud of that one. I'm so glad she saw something and pushed.

For more about Eating My Garbage, visit the FRIGID New York website.

FRIGID New York Interview - Emily Tuckman of "East in Red"

By Byrne Harrison

Show: East in Red
Website: estrañ
Photo credit: Peter Bell

Emily Tuckman has been performing for over 13 years in New York.  Her favorite roles include Jackie-O in House of Yes (Edinburgh Fringe Festival), Guildenstern in The Hamlet Project (La Mama Etc.), Blanche in Streetcar Named Desire, Laura in The Glass Menagerie (New York Fringe Festival), Lindsey in Reach (Estraña Theatre Company) and Helena in Midsummer Night’s Dream (Estraña Theatre Company). She also directed and produced A…My Name is Alice, and studied at Williamstown Theatre Festival, with Larry Singer, and at Upright Citizens Brigade.  Emily received a grant to study at Folger Shakespeare Institute and won the audience favorite award at last year's FRIGID New York Festival for the role of Arlin in Commencing.

Tell me a little about your show.

A sadistic serial killer terrorizes the streets of the East Village; four women fall victim to ghastly acts of contempt and a dark secret slowly rises to the surface.  A psychological thriller filled with scathing twists, East in Red digs deeply into the corners of our minds to reveal our greatest fears

How did the play come about?

Ryan Sprague was fascinating with the killers of Jack the Ripper so he researched the hell out of it and created this fictional piece based on previous events.

How did you become involved with it?

I love Ryan's work.  It is so nuanced, and dark.  This is my second of his shows I am producing and acting in, and every day we find something new in this text.

Who else is helping you bring the show to FRIGID?

Estraña Theatre Company has allowed us to bring this incredible show to the Frigid, and Erez' and Tanya's insanely hard work have helped this incredible festival run smoothly!

Who would be your dream audience for this show?

Ooh-I LOVE this question!  Curious people.  People who enjoy surprise, complicated relationships; people who are able to open their minds, who dont see things in black and white.

As a theatre artist, who are your biggest influences?

As a kid I was obsessed with Meryl Streep.  As I got older I started to see more theatre and Juliet Rylance's and Julie White's work really inspired me.  But I would say my immediate influences are peppered by the community around me.  My co-actors in shows, others in the off and off-off bway community; when I see their work, I want to work harder, and challenge myself more.  Lucy Thurber's work at the Rattlstick, Mariah McCarthy's plays, and the work at Rising Phoenix Rep and The Amoralists make me want to step outside my comfort zone and create daring work.

What other shows are you planning to see at FRIGID?

Tina and Amy and Basic Help.  Cant wait!

Lightning round

Favorite playwright?  Ryan Sprague, of course.

Show you would love to be involved with?  Anything by Sarah Shaefer or Lucy Thurber.

Favorite venue? I love Rattlestick's venues.

Favorite actor? Ahh-too many… Juliet Rylance.

Best theatre experience? So tough!  Metamorphoses on Broadway.

Worst theatre experience? Macbeth at LCT.

Person you’d most like to thank? My husband, Peter Bell for putting up with me in this whole process, Mike Backes for directing the hell out of this piece, and Tanya and Erez for being my heroes.

For more about East in Red, visit the FRIGID NYC website.

FRIGID New York Festival Interviews

By Byrne Harrison

This year's FRIGID New York Festival features a number of intriguing plays.  As usual, StageBuzz will be giving each show a voice by interviewing someone involved in the production. I hope you enjoy reading these interviews and finding out more about the shows.

FRIGID New York starts on Wednesday, February 19th and runs through March 9th.

FRIGID New York Festival Starts This Wednesday

An Open and Uncensored Theater Festival
A CAFF Member Festival


Horse Trade Theater Group will present the 8th Annual FRIGID New York Festival at The Kraine Theater (85 East 4th Street between 2nd Avenue and Bowery) and UNDER St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place between 1st Avenue and Avenue A) February 19-March 9. Tickets are available for purchase in advance at or by calling 212-868-4444

Founded in 2007, FRIGID New York is an open and uncensored theatre festival that gives artists an opportunity to let their ingenuity thrive in a venue that values freedom of expression and artistic determination. In true support of theatre on the fringe of the mainstream, 100% of box office proceeds will go directly to the artists. FRIGID is here to chill out the New York independent theatre scene’s ideas of what a theatre festival can be!

2014 FRIGID New York shows

A Date for the Evening
Presented by Celestial Zenith & Liz Lee – New York, NY
Written by Celestial Zenith, Directed by Shannon Stowe
One woman in the course of an evening takes on a night of speed dating, struggling to connect to anyone in an attempt to mend her broken past.
Sat 2/22 @ 8:25pmWed 2/26 @ 10:15pmSat 3/1 @ 2:05pmMon 3/3 @ 8:40pm & Sun 3/9 @ 2:05pm at UNDER St. Marks $15 

A List of Irrational Fears for Future Leaders of the World
Presented by Critical Point Theatre – Blacksburg, VA 
Written by Andrew Terrance Kaberline, Directed by Julia Katz
Over eleven years, Kenrick and Jorja learn to live together while selfishly destroying the scary unknown that is post-college life, in a dark investigation of the power of fear, the state of trust in a youthful world, and the inane mental responses to tragedy. 
Sat 2/22 @ 6:50pmSun 2/23 @ 12:30pmMon 2/24 @ 7:05pmTue 2/25 @ 10:15pmThu 2/27 @ 5:30pm & Sat 3/1 @ 3:40pm at The Kraine Theater $10 

Almost a Genius 
Presented by Maja Wojciechowski – Chicago, IL
Written by Maria Wojciechowski, Directed by Natalie Shipman
Maria Wojciechowski suffers from bipolar disorder and panic attacks, so she did what any other insane person would do, she wrote a comedy show about it! In Almost A Genius, Maria invites you to into her mind through storytelling, music, dance, and a colorful cast of characters.
Fri 2/21 @ 7:05pmWed 2/26 @ 8:40pmSat 3/1 @ 5:15pmSun 3/2 @ 12:30pmMon 3/3 @ 10:15pm & Fri 3/7 @ 5:30pm at UNDER St. Marks $15

Basic Help
Presented by StrangeDog Theatre – Montclair, NJ
Written by Ben Clawson, Directed by Artem Yatsunov
“Your call may be monitored.” NJ’s premiere indie-theatre auteurs, StrangeDog, bring you Ben Clawson’s (Luna Stage, Shadowlands, OG Productions) latest odyssey – a chronicle of two strangers who clash with a kitchen appliance, conquer customer service and quality assurance, only to discover simple companionship in the strangest of places.
Fri 2/21 @ 8:40pmThu 2/27 @ 5:30pmSat 3/1 @ 6:50pmWed 3/5 @ 10:15pm & Sun 3/9 @ 12:30pm at UNDER St. Marks $16 

Boogie of the Apes
Presented by Broom Street Theater – Madison, WI
Written & Directed by Rob Matsushita
A parody of one of the best-loved sci-fi franchises of the 1970's. With the help of vintage children's records and other found material, we're recapping, lampooning, and critiquing the first four Planet Of The Apes movies--in less than an hour. Also, like any good 70's variety show, there are dance numbers.
Wed 2/26 @ 5:30pmFri 2/28 @ 7:05pmSat 3/1 @ 5:15pmSun 3/2 @ 2:05pm & Mon 3/3 @ 7:05pm at The Kraine Theater $16

Brownie and Lolli Go to Hollywood
Presented by Genie’s Hat Productions – New York, NY
Written & Directed by Alycya K. Miller
Two aspiring actresses get a chance to be on their favorite TV show. They just have to be in Hollywood by tomorrow. With no wheels or money between them, the oddball song and dance duo soon discovers that the road to fame is naughtier and more dangerous than they imagined.
Wed 2/19 @ 5:30pmFri 2/21 @ 7:05pmTue 2/25 @ 7:05pmSat 3/8 @ 6:50pm & Sun 3/9 @ 12:30pm at The Kraine Theater $8 

Charlotte the Destroyer
Presented by Playhouse Creatures Theatre – New York, NY
Written by Megan O’Leary, Directed by Janet Bobcean
A dark comedy about a washed up children's book author whose drinking problem and phobias sabotage her ability to write. With a deadline long past, the writer's poisoned thoughts manifest in the twisted behavior of her characters as our author struggles to find her way back toward reality.
Wed 2/19 @ 7:05pmFri 2/21 @ 8:40pmWed 2/26 @ 7:05pmMon 3/3 @ 5:30pm & Sat 3/8 @ 2:05pm at The Kraine Theater $16

Chicken-Fried Ciccone: A Twangy True Tale of Transformation
Presented by Hard Sparks – New York, NY
Written & Performed by J. Stephen Brantley, Directed by David Drake
Armed with an acoustic guitar, actor-playwright J.Stephen Brantley reveals how he got from junkie to functional with a little help from the queen of reinvention. Chicken-Fried Ciccone is one man’s journey to heroin and back, set to countrified covers of classic Madge. Obie-winning master of the one-man-show David Drake directs.
Wed 2/19 @ 7:05pmMon 2/24 @ 5:30pmFri 2/28 @ 7:05pmThu 3/6 @ 10:15pm & Sat 3/8 @ 12:30pm at UNDER St. Marks $16 

Confessions of a Redheaded Coffeeshop Girl
Presented by Ginger Galore Productions – Toronto, Canada
Written & Performed by Rebecca Perry, Directed by Michael Rubinstein 
Rebecca Perry’s award-winning one-woman “show-sical”(★★★★ Performer, CBC Canada) for the graduate in all of us. Stuck paying off debt, feisty little Joanie makes the most out her barista job by reporting her "findings" on the creatures of "The Coffeeshop Jungle" much like Jane Goodall did with the gorillas!  Hilarity ensues.
Fri 2/21 @ 5:30pmTue 2/25 @ 5:30pmFri 2/28 @ 10:15pmSun 3/2 @ 2:05pmWed 3/5 @ 8:40pm & Fri 3/7 @ 8:40pm at UNDER St. Marks $15

Double Happiness: A Tale of Love, Loss, and One Forever Family
Presented by Kelly Haramis – Chicago, IL
Written by Kelly Haramis, Directed by David Knoell
A former Chicago Tribune journalist juggles fertility, adoption and loss as she takes the audience on her quest to have a baby. Find out how Penn State parties, a journey to China, and the world's most fertile man helped form a forever family.
Thu 2/20 @ 8:40pmSun 2/23 @ 12:30pmWed 2/26 @ 5:30pmSat 3/1 @ 8:25pmTue 3/4 @ 5:30pm & Thu 3/6 @ 5:30pm at UNDER St. Marks $15 

Drag Queen Stole My Dress
Presented by The Theatre Elusive – Toronto, Canada 
Written & Performed by Gillian English 
Directed by Chris Gibbs
This is the story of knowing who you are, forgetting who you are, wondering who the hell you are, and that one time a drag queen stole my goddamn dress. From the award winning company that brought you Love in the Time of Time Machines (2013 FRIGID Hangover Selection & Audience Choice Winner).  

Sat 2/22 @ 8:25pm, Mon 2/24 @ 5:30pmThu 2/27 @ 10:15pm, Sun 3/2 @ 12:30pm, Tue 3/4@ 7:05pm & Sat 3/8 @ 5:15pm @ The Kraine Theater $15 

East in Red
Presented by Estraña Theatre Company - New York, NY
Written by Ryan Sprague, Directed by Ron Nummi
The grisly murders of the Whitechapel Ripper take on a whole new level of brutality in modern day New York City. As a sadistic serial killer terrorizes the streets of the East Village, four women fall victim to ghastly acts of contempt. But a dark secret slowly rises to the surface on the night of the final and most brutal murder. A psychological thriller filled with calculated accusations, sharp knives, and scathing twists, East in Red digs deep in to the darkest corners of our minds to reveal our greatest fears.
Sun 2/23 @ 2:05pmTue 2/25 @ 5:30pmSat 3/1 @ 8:25pmTue 3/4 @ 5:30pm & Wed 3/5 @ 8:40pm at The Kraine Theater $16

Eating My Garbage
Presented by David Mogolov – Boston, MA
Written by David Mogolov, Directed by Steve Kleinedler
Dumbfounded by a call from a political pollster, David begins a hilarious and revealing dive into his own thought process, searching for a reason any one person's opinion ought to matter. The further he goes, the less plausible it seems that democracy has worked as well as it has.
Wed 2/19 @ 10:15pmMon 2/24 @ 7:05pmFri 2/28 @ 5:30pmThu 3/6 @ 7:05pm & Sat 3/8 @ 2:05pm at UNDER St. Marks $12

For Body and Light 
Presented by Travail Rouge – Montreal, QC
Directed & Choreographed by Stephanie Morin-Robert
Spoken Word & Music by Ian Ferrier
For Body and Light explores the interface between darkness and light, form and imagination: meditative stillness, then moving shapes, whispered words and the light catching only the ghost
 of a body as it flashes past. In darkness, spoken word and music create and project direct on your imagination. The dancers are colour, beauty, motion and touch, 
intimacy and solitude.
Sat 3/1 @ 12:30pmMon 3/3 @ 8:40pmWed 3/5 @ 5:30pmThu 3/6 @ 10:15pm & Fri 3/7 @ 7:05pm at The Kraine Theater $15

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Gardaí
Presented by Sunglasses After Dark Productions – New York, NY
Written by Liliana Ashman with additional text by Malu Bremer
Directed by Madeleine Rose M. Parsigian
This new play sheds light on one woman’s attempt to interrogate the bureaucratic horror that is Immigration Policy. Borders are not only political they are personal. This show examines the desire to find something human and worthwhile in a deeply dehumanizing process. Lili explores immigration from Ireland to her native New Mexico and why it’s an issue everyone is so damned worried about.
Thu 2/20 @ 5:30pmSun 2/23 @ 3:40pmSun 3/2 @ 3:40pmTue 3/4 @ 7:05pm & Sat 3/8 @ 8:35pm at UNDER St. Marks $10 

I Shall Forget You Presently 
Presented by Dysfunctional Theatre Company – New York, NY
Based on the poems & letters of Edna St. Vincent Millay
Created by Eric Chase & Amy Overman. Directed by Eric Chase
“Safe upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand, come and see my shining palace built upon the sand!” Funny and sexy, sacred and profane -- Poetry, music and memories form a patchwork, spiraling through the life of a woman who captured love, defined feminism and shaped the 20th century.
Wed 2/19 @ 8:40pmSat 2/22 @ 3:40pmFri 2/28 @ 8:40pmSun 3/2 @ 6:50pm & Thu 3/6 @ 5:30pm at The Kraine Theater $16 

Presented by Overtime Theater & The Woodlawn – San Antonio, TX
Written by Gregg Barrios, Directed by Greg Hinojosa
A queer Chicano DJ/actor spins the soundtrack of his life on the dance floor by night and by day in a gay send-up of Shakesqueer's Ham-a-lot set to a dub-step beat of ecstasy, tainted love, Rollerena and Herb Alpert. 
Wed 2/19 @ 5:30pmSat 2/22 @ 6:50pmSun 2/23 @ 2:05pmMon 2/24 @ 10:15pm & Tue 2/25 @ 7:05pm at UNDER St. Marks $16 

Key of E
Presented by Dark Side of Saturn – Orlando, FL
Music, Lyrics, Story and Direction by Andy Matchett
Script by Corey Volence
Disaffected wannbe-rocker Ethan has been dreaming of the End of the World, but when a giant flood turns the globe into a watery wasteland and brings his fantasies to life, he finds the Apocalypse ain't all it's cracked up to be. Killer music, fantastic visuals and a hilarious cast of misfits, this junk rock musical has it all! 
Sat 2/22 @ 5:15pmMon 2/24 @ 10:15pmSun 3/2 @ 3:40pmTue 3/4 @ 8:40pmWed 3/5 @ 10:15pm & Fri 3/7 @ 8:40pm at The Kraine Theater $12

My High-Heeled Life: Or, How I Learned to Keep Worrying and Love My Stilettos
Presented by Sparking Fuse – New York NY and Toronto, ON
Written by Katharine McLeod, Directed by Rod Ceballos
Have you ever had an accidental orgasm in the shoe department? Or wondered when Uggs and flip-flops became acceptable dinner attire? In this witty, seductive confessional, McLeod asks how to navigate the obsession with finding True Happiness. Perhaps it begins one pair of impossibly high stilettos at a time…
Sat 2/22 @ 10pm, Thu 2/27 @ 10:15pm, Sun 3/2 @ 6:50pm, Wed 3/5 @ 5:30pm & Fri 3/7 @ 7:05pm at UNDER St. Marks $16 

Óscar Tango-Bravo
Presented by Temerity Theatre Company – Brooklyn, NY
Written by Ed Malin, Directed by Bricken Sparacino
A comic look at conspiracy theories and the people who believe in them, in light of 20th Century events like the Cuban Sandwich Crisis. Do you have what it takes to be a would-be revolutionary? Señor Óscar Tango-Bravo runs the world his way.
Wed 2/19 @ 8:40pm, Sun 2/23 @ 5:15pm, Thu 2/27 @ 7:05pm, Sat 3/1 @ 12:30pm & Sat 3/8 @ 3:40pm at UNDER St. Marks $10

Petunia and Chicken
Presented by Animal Engine – New York, NY
Inspired by the works of Willa Cather
Created & Performed by Carrie Brown and Karim Muasher
Directed by Melinda Jean Ferraraccio
From the creators of last year's FRIGID hit The Vindlevoss Family Circus Spectacular! comes a two person turn-of-the-century epic prairie love story based on the writings of Willa Cather. Sprawling fields of wheat, bustling train stations, and rain-soaked kisses are brought to life with only a hat, a scarf, and song.
Thu 2/20 @ 7:05pm, Mon 2/24 @ 8:40pm, Mon 3/3 @ 10:15pm, Thu 3/6 @ 8:40pm & Sat 3/8 @ 3:40pm at The Kraine Theater $15

Professor Ralph’s Loss of Breath
Presented by Playlab NYC – Astoria, NY
Written by “Professor” Ralph Philips
Mr. Lackobreath is the luckiest man alive, but soon after his wedding his life becomes a high-spirited comic nightmare. Punch and Judy meets the Book of Job in Professor Ralph’s neglected masterpiece.  
Thu 2/20 @ 8:40pm, Sun 2/23 @ 3:40pm, Wed 2/26 @ 8:40pm, Wed 3/5 @ 7:05pm & Sat 3/8 @ 12:30pm at The Kraine Theater $15 

Questions of the Heart: Gay Mormons and Me
Presented by Inquisitive Productions – Bloomington, IN
Written by Ben Abbott, Directed by Mark Kamie
Ben is Mormon. Ben has close gay friends. Is he supposed to pick sides? Questions of the Heart follows Ben as he interviews a wide range of gay Mormons in an attempt to navigate the often-painful intersection of religious faith and sexuality.
Thu 2/20 @ 10:15pm, Sat 2/22 @ 5:15pm, Wed 2/26 @ 7:05pm, Sun 3/2 @ 5:15pm, Thu 3/6 @ 8:40pm & Sat 3/8 @ 10pm at UNDER St. Marks $12

Real Dead Ghosts
Presented by Shelby Company – Brooklyn, NY
Written by Jonathan A. Goldberg, Directed by Courtney Ulrich
A cabin in the woods becomes home to disappointments, secrets and regrets when a young couple are haunted by past choices and future responsibilities. A modern day ghost story. Unfinished business kind of shit. 
Fri 2/21 @ 10:15pm, Mon 2/24 @ 8:40pm, Sat 3/1 @ 10pm, Wed 3/5 @ 7:05pm & Sat 3/8 @ 5:15pm at UNDER St. Marks $16

Shooting Abe
Presented by Proletarian Productions – New Haven, CT
Written by Charles Gershman 
Directed by Eli Taylor
Brothers Abe and Shlomi know a lot less about each other than they think. When Abe barges in on Shlomi during a nude male photo shoot, his desire for a closer relationship with his brother results in a strange and unexpected outcome.
Sat 2/22 @ 2:05pm, Thu 2/27 @ 8:40pm, Sat 3/1 @ 6:50pm, Tue 3/4 @ 10:15pm & Sun 3/9 @ 3:40pm at The Kraine Theater $15

Something Wicked
Presented by Everyday Inferno Theatre Company – New York, NY
Adapted & Directed by Anais Koivisto
"The Queen, my lord, is dead." Lady Macbeth awakes to a purgatory created from her own gruesome misdeeds. Unsure whether her final destination is Heaven or Hell, and guided by three gleefully tormenting witches, she searches for answers... and her lost love... in the mind-bending hereafter.
Thu 2/20 @ 10:15pm, Sun 2/23 @ 5:15pm, Tue 2/25 @ 8:40pm, Sat 3/1 @ 2:05pm & Sat 3/8 @ 8:25pm at The Kraine Theater $16

Steve: A Docu-Musical
Presented by Tremor Theater Collective – Brooklyn, NY
Created & Preformed by Colin Summers, Directed by Nessa Norich
Colin and Steve have never met. Colin is a twenty-something musician living in Brooklyn. Steve is a retired railway clerk in Australia who writes eccentric books, lyrics, scripts and countless emails to Colin. Over the last five years, they have written over 100 songs together... and passed over 6,000 emails between them. In Steve: A Docu-Musical, the quirky and charming Colin Summers shares songs, emails, bells, flags, clocks, frogs, maps, a stylophone and other curious artifacts to tell their comic and moving story.
Sat 2/22 @ 2:05pm, Sun 2/23 @ 6:50pm, Thu 2/27 @ 8:40pm, Mon 3/3 @ 7:05pm & Sun 3/9 @ 3:40pm at UNDER St. Marks $10 

The Eyes of Orbach 
Presented by No. 11 Productions – New York, NY
Written by Julie Congress, Ryan Emmons, Zachary Fithian & Jen Neads
Directed by Ryan Emmons
“Jerry Orbach gave his heart and soul to acting and the gift of sight to two New Yorkers.” What if those two New Yorkers fell in love? Celebrate all things NYC, from Dan Smith to Dr. Zizmor, in this new musical comedy about finding connection in the big city. 
Wed 2/19 @ 10:15pm, Sun 2/23 @ 6:50pm, Thu 2/27 @ 7:05pm, Sun 3/2 @ 5:15pm & Fri 3/7 @ 5:30pm at The Kraine Theater $15

Tina and Amy: Last Night in Paradise
Presented by SixTee Collective – Brooklyn, NY
Created by Nikki DiLoreto, Antonia Lassar & Maria Gilhooley
Before the fame, before the glory, before the drunk texts from Lorne Michaels, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were really broke. One uncomfortable night in 1997, Tina and Amy are struggling to write the perfect sketch. From the creators of the FRIGID New York 2013 Best Show award, The God Box, comes this super true, totally not made up story about two iconic women of comedy.
Thu 2/20 @ 7:05pm, Sat 2/22 @ 3:40pm, Sat 3/1 @ 3:40pm, Fri 3/7 @ 10:15pm & Sat 3/8 @ 6:50pm at UNDER St. Marks $16 

Yelling at Bananas in Whole Foods
Presented by Dan Bernitt – New York, NY
Written & Performed by Dan Bernitt
Organic. Raw. Vegan. Local. Gluten-free. Free range. Hormone-free... STOP THE INSANITY!  After a chance meeting with a 1990s infomercial health guru, Dan radically changes his relationship with the food he consumes. But will his journey into the rabbit hole of food politics isolate him from humankind?
Fri 2/21 @ 5:30pm, Wed 2/26 @ 10:15pm, Fri 2/28 @ 5:30pm Thu 3/6 @ 7:05pm & Sun 3/9 @ 2:05pm at The Kraine Theater $16