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Friday
Jan292016

2016 Midtown International Theatre Festival Announces Spring Line-up*

The first round of shows and performances have been announced by the MITF: Spring.

MITF: Spring combines some of the most popular features of past MITF festivals: short plays and musicals, a Variety division, the Short Play Lab, and staged readings.

The Festival will take place at the WorkShop Theater's Jewel Box Theater and will run from March 7-27, 2016.

Below are just some of the confirmed shows so far as of January 19, 2016:

~TICKETS GO ON SALE MONDAY, FEBRUARY 1st!~

A KIND SHOT written and performed by Terri Mateer. A 6’ 1” chick lets it rip about playing pro basketball in France, modeling, stripping, designing Michael Jordan’s headboard and taking lots of shots at life. (Solo Show) *This show has adult content.  Performance Schedule: Wed 3/16, 7:00pm; Fri 3/18, 7:00pm; Sun 3/20, 2:00p - Running Time: 60 minutes

A SOLDIER’S LOVER by Jacklyn Thrapp, directed by Heather Cole. The story takes place in the present time & the possible future, as a woman spends a year experiencing the reality of what it’s like to love a soldier overseas. (Comedy). Performance Schedule: Mon 3/7, 8:45pm; Tues 3/8, 8:15pm; Wed 3/9, 7:30pm - Running Time: 45 minutes

CORPUS by Jordan Stovall. In a run down New York health spa, Renata, a brash fifty year old Serbian widow, finds an unusual kinship with Matthew, a twenty something who believes he’s being visited by a dead lover. *AEA.  Performance Schedule: Mon 3/14, 6:00pm; Thurs 3/17, 7:15pm; Sat 3/19, 2:30pm - 
Running Time: 60 minutes

DIE by Leonard D. Goodisman, directed by JC Sullivan. A woman accused of killing her baby daughter has a powerful sexual control over men and women, the detective investigating her and the reporter protecting her. (Fairy tale/Drama). Performance Schedule: Mon 3/7, 6:00pm; Thurs 3/10, 6:00pm; Fri 3/11, 7:15pm - Running Time: 40 minutes

GODHEAD by Richard Curtis, directed by Paul Navarra*; starring Laura Fay Lewis* and Mike Roche*. “Godhead” is the title of a favorite painting that the artist sold in a moment of weakness. Now she wants to meet the man who bought it, to discover if he is worthy of her masterpiece: He isn’t. *AEA.  Performance Schedule: Wed 3/23, 7:30pm; Fri 3/25, 6:00pm; Sun 3/27, 3:30pm - Running Time: 30 minutes

GOD SPELLED BACKWARDS by Marjorie Conn, directed by John Buckingham; starring Marjorie Conn, Dreidel, Puppets: Ervina and Frosty. A unique ventriloquist routine written and performed by Marjorie Conn who sings songs and tells dog stories with the assistance of two dog puppets, a Greyhound mask and a real dog named Dreidel. (Ventriloquist Routine).  Performance Schedule: Mon 3/21, 7:15pm; Thurs 3/24, 7:30pm; Sat 3/26, 4:15pm - Running Time: 30 minutes

GRAHAM'S LAW OF DIFFUSION by Michael K. White and Dianna Stark, directed by Terry V. Prideaux; starring Quinn Wise and Sean Doherty. Two teenagers. A can of antiperspirant. Dying never smelled so fresh! (Comedy). Performance Schedule: Wed 3/23, 8:30pm; Fri 3/25, 7:00pm; Sun 3/27, 1:00pm - Running Time: 30 minutes

I CHOOSE TO BE SINGLE, TO STAY SAVED by Monica Mikell, directed by Monica Mikell; starring Tametria Harris, Monica Mikell, Danielle Harris, Maya Lewis-Johnson and Angela Berrien. “When all else fails, no need to cry about it, just be about it.” (Comedy). Performance Dates: Thurs 3/17, 8:45pm; Sat 3/19, 1:00pm
Running time: 60 minutes

INSIDE HIMSELF by Thomasine F. Crawford, directed by Paul Navarra*; starring Holly O’Brien,* Ron Barba, John Fennessy,* Amber Crawford,* and Jimmy Cintron. In his anguish, David cries out for someone to see him, hear him, but his illness leaves him trapped inside himself. (Drama) *AEA - Performance Schedule: Mon 3/7, 7:15pm; Wed 3/9, 6:00pm; Thurs 3/10, 8:15pm - Running Time: 60 minutes

LETTERS TO ZOEY by Garrett Buhl Robinson, directed by Garrett Buhl Robinson; starring Garrett Buhl Robinson. Take a journey through lyrical stories and foot stomping songs on a wild search for liberation and love.(Solo Show, Musical, Coming of Age). Performance Schedule: Wed 3/23, 6:00pm; Fri 3/25, 8:00pm; Sun 3/27, 2:00pm - Running Time: 50 minutes

LIKE A SACK OF POTATOES by Ric Siler, directed by Bette Siler; starring Ric Siler. The 'shotgun and rock salt talk' usually was enough to keep boyfriends in line, but when one of his daughters marries an abusive husband, a farmer finds more drastic measures may be called for. (Hillbilly Gothic) *AEA. Performance Schedule: Tues 3/15, 7:15pm; Sat 3/19, 7:45pm; Sun 3/20, 5:45pm - Running Time: 35 minutes

MEN VERSUS WOMEN by Steve Gold, directed by Chris Weihert. “And they fought happily ever after. (Comedy). Performance Schedule: Tues 3/22, 6:00pm; Sat 3/26, 7:45pm; Sun 3/27, 5:45pm- Running Time: 35 minutes

OVERLOOKING THE SHADOWS by Renee McNeil, directed by Renee McNeil; starring Justine J. Hall and Sean Kane. A lonely writer gets a visit from a stranger who has secrets of himself and her deceased husband. (Drama). Performance Schedule: Mon 3/21, 8:15pm; Thurs 3/24, 6:00pm; Sat 3/26, 2:00pm
Running Time: 60 minutes

PASS/FAIL by Ashley Lauren Rogers, directed by Samantha Elizabeth Turlington; starring Ashley Lauren Rogers. Through stand up comedy and video segments, Ashley Lauren Rogers tackles the pervasive nature of passing privilege within transgender circles by analyzing her own failures… or instances of "not passing," in life. (Comedy). Performance Schedule: Tues 3/8, 7:00pm; Wed 3/9, 8:45pm; Fri 3/11, 6:00pm - Running Time: 45 minutes

THE GRADE by Seth Freeman, directed by Mike Keller. The challenges of intimacy can be heightened by unexpectedly blunt feedback. (Comedy). Performance Schedule: Tues 3/15, 6:00pm; Sat 3/19, 5:15pm; Sun 3/20, 7:00pm - Running Time: 35 minutes

THE TENANTS by Bill Holland, directed by Mark Cirnigliaro. This is a mostly true story and you'll laugh at Bob's misery. (Dramatic Comedy). Performance Schedule: Mon 3/14, 7:30pm; Thurs 3/17, 6:00pm; Sat 3/19, 4:00pm. Running Time: 35 minutes

THE WAPSHOT WHATEVER by Susan I. Weinstein, directed by Charlie Kanev. The Wapshot Whatever—Computer Romance between two programs. When a Rogue meets an Off-Shore Server, sparks fly within your power strip. WARNING: Fractured I.T. lingo. (Avant Garde).  Performance Schedule: Wed 3/16, 6:00pm; Fri 3/18, 6:00pm; Sun 3/20, 3:30pm - Running Time: 30 minutes

THREE’S A CROWD by Marilyn Recht, directed by Emma Roddy; starring Emily Anne Parrish, Dominique Siqueira Woo, and Alexandria Collins. Three young women at a New England college circa 1969 wrestle with desire, societal pressures, and the tensions in their friendship. (Drama). Performance Schedule: Tues 3/22, 8:30pm; Sat 3/26, 5:15pm; Sun 3/27, 7:00pm - Running Time: 45 minutes

WHAT'S IN ALASKA by Gloria Bess directed by Gloria Bess. Jack and Mary, a couple at a crossroads in their relationship, are invited to a dinner party. Tensions turn into hallucinations and this night ends with no return. Based on a Raymond Carver short story. (Drama). Performance Schedule: Tues 3/15, 8:30pm; Sat 3/19, 6:30pm; Sun 3/20, 4:30pm. Running Time: 30 minutes

WORD PLAY by Ran Xia, directed by Florence Le Bas; starring Julia Bray and Adrian Burke. In the last days of his life, Icarus invites Esme on a trip; as his memories fade, she recounts the moments of their love and loss. (This play is inspired by a buzzfeed post, with each scene based on an untranslatable foreign word.) Performance Schedule: Tues 3/22, 7:15pm; Sat 3/26, 6:30pm; Sun 3/27, 4:30pm - Running Time: 45 minutes

YOU BELONG WITH ME BECAUSE YOU’RE SO VAIN By Heider Tunarrosa; starring Ian Whitt, Michelle Persoff, Ty Baumann, Tristan J. Shuler, and Phillip Shinn. When a neurotic songwriter accidentally falls in love with his best friend’s ex-boyfriend, and he must decide between losing his best friend or the love of his life, he receives help from the imaginary versions of Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga. (Romantic Comedy).  Performance Schedule: Mon 3/21, 6:00pm; Thurs 3/24, 8:30pm; Sat 3/26, 3:30pm. - Running Time: 35 minutes

*********************VARIETY*********************** 

MITF SPRING VARIETY consists of programs featuring traditional cabaret performers, tributes to Broadway musicals, singer-songwriters, variety acts, and a little rock-and-roll. 

*************************************************** 

YOU GOTTA FEEL ME!? Phil Brooks explains life through his eyes in this hilarious collection of short stories ranging from topics such as playing sports for a division 2 school, being “young, broke, and black” in Manhattan, and popular topics including Baltimore Riots and Bruce Jenner. (Standup)
Performance Dates: Fri 3/18, 8:30pm - Running Time: 45 minutes

ELLEN ORCHID: Punchlines and Prozac. NY psychiatrist Dr. Ellen shares her humorous take on life's challenges. (Standup)
Performance Dates: Wed 3/16, 8:30pm - Running Time: 45 minutes

ELIJAH HOWARD: SERENDIPITY. (Standup) 
Performance Dates: Sat 3/19, 9:00pm - Running Time: 45 minutes

LANE BRADBURY: LET ME ENTERTAIN YOU, AGAIN. Conceived by Doug DeVita. In 1959, a young Southern Debutante was cast in what was to become one of the greatest musicals of all time. How Lane Bradbury went from Atlanta High Society to creating the role of Dainty June in the original production of Gypsy (directed by Jerome Robbins and starring Ethel Merman) is told in this musical memoir, which Lane has performed to wildly enthusiastic audiences from the Strasberg Institute in Los Angeles to the intimate 54 Below in New York. (Cabaret)
Performance Dates: Sat 3/26, 9:00pm - Running time: 45 minutes

RALPH GRECO, Jr.: SALACIOUS SONGS AND DIRTY WORDS starring Ralph Greco, Jr., Joe Diamond, Andrew Vetterlein, Tom Kennedy, and Yolanda Dunderdale as Madam Marvelous. (Cabaret) *This show has adult content.
Performance Dates: Fri 3/11, 9:30pm - Running Time: 45 minutes

VICKIE PHILLIPS A Carousel of Colors With Brel, Weill, and Aznavour. Vickie brings back all the magic in her return MITF encore performance of international European Genius Composers Jacques Brel, Kurt Weill and Charles Aznavour! (Cabaret) 
Performance Dates: Mon 3/14, 9:00pm - Running Time: 45 minutes

************CHECK BACK FOR ADDITIONAL SHOWS***************

Still seeking SUBMISSIONS:

MITF: Spring is seeking Variety Acts. MITF: Spring combines some of the most popular features of past MITF festivals: short plays and musicals, a Variety division, the Short Play Lab, and staged readings. The Festival will take place at the WorkShop Theater's Jewel Box Theater and will run from March 7-27, 2016.
The Variety division spans cabaret, magic, improv, sketch comedy, standup, and burlesque. Acts can be solo or group affairs, so long as they fit within an hour, including setup and strike, and so long as they bring their own music director and so forth. The Festival provides a keyboard, mike, and amp. Each act will be given one performance with the possibility of added performances to those acts with the best advance ticket sales-Festival schedule permitting. Shows receive a 1-hour tech rehearsal and a share of the profits, if any.
To submit a Variety Act: Mark it clearly "MITF: Spring," and that it is a variety act. Please also include video reels (you tube, etc.), of your act as part of your submission application. We'll curate the entries as they come in. Please send all Variety submissions to: john.chatterton@gmail.com 
We look forward to watching your acts!

Submission Deadline For Variety Is February 27, 2016

Saturday
Dec262015

Live staged "radio show" by Radio Theatre is an experience not to be missed!

By Roger Gonzalez

STARRING: FRANK ZILINYI, R.PATRICK ALBERTY, JOSHUA NICHOLSON, CORY BOUGHTON, ROBB MOREIRA, CHARLOTTE FOSTER, JEANNE LAUREN SMITHIf you have never experienced a live, staged “radio show,” make it your goal in 2016 to go see a Radio Theatre production. In fact, you can begin enjoying it this holiday week with “War of The Worlds” by Radio Theatre on Christopher Street at 8PM. It opened December 26th and runs until mid January. Dates are below.

Radio Theatre, which this year celebrated its 11th anniversary staging radio shows, is an experience you don’t want to miss.  The brainchild of artistic director, founder, producer and much more, Dan Bianchi, this company takes storytelling to new heights. Sitting through this version of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds,” for instance, is a creepy, emotional experience that is enhanced by the sound effects of flapping wings, birds crashing into windows, and music bouncing off the walls of he company’s new venue, the Theatre at St. John’s in Greenwich Village

Basically a 140-year old church on Christopher Street with great charm and history, the church is dark and lit in such a way that you are immediately drawn into something gothic and archaic, like a trip to a time in New York history when stories were shared in dimly-lit flats by creepy relatives telling tales from the old country…except most of these tales are horror classics and have an old New York feel that is crafted by the company as tribute to old downtown, where the venue is based.

It should be noted that Bianchi is not the creator of this staged story-telling genre, but he is a master in heightening the effect of this format and taking your imagination to a new level.  The company uses state of the art sound equipment and is masterful in every detail. Radio Theatre’s H.P. Lovecraft Festival, which runs early during the season is a critically acclaimed, award-winning sellout that draws audiences from all over the globe and has become the company’s signature offering.  I had the pleasure of seeing … or I should say listening to their previous production of “Fright Night” at St. John’s and I was floored at how quickly the stories draw you in and how easily the narrative comes to life. The program varied for “Fright Night,” but on the night I saw the show, I was treated to four tales: “The Monkey’s Paw,” “The Demon Lover,” “All Soul’s Eve,” and the classic best known from the Hitchcock filmed version, “The Birds.”

The effect of telling a story in this manner with sound effects, music, and remarkably versatile actors playing an array of characters was enjoyable and fulfilling in ways I had not expected. I’ve been to other staged “radio shows” in the past, mostly holiday versions of “It’s A Wonderful Life” and I love that the story unfolds in your mind. It’s creative, it’s unique, and you would probably enjoy it several times and always come away with something new with each retelling. Yet, the horror and gothic choices made famous by the folks at Radio Theatre proved especially rewarding...and electrifying.

Much credit has to go to this ensemble of seasoned performers. They are spectacular, they never disappoint or miss a single beat or word or inflection. With each telling of the story, you are lost in the world they create and the 90-minutes fly by before you know it. Frank Zilinyi, R. Patrick Alberty, David Nielsen, Charlotte Foster, Jeane Lauren Smith make up a cast that is nothing short of extraordinary. Occasionally, they lend physical elements to the performance and this heightens their ability to create characters that come to life with great gusto and energy. Their timing is perfect! Sound effects and clever lighting complement the performances to enhance some very memorable, fun performances. Wes Shipee who is the engineer is in perfect sync the whole time and the direction by R. Patrick Alberty is right on point.

Don’t miss their current production of H.G. Well’s “War of The Worlds,” now playing at Theatre at St. John’s, 81 Christopher Street. Doors open at 7:30PM, and the show begins at 8:00PM.

Tickets are available at the door or online at Smart Tix by clicking HERE

"War of the Worlds" plays December 26, 27, 29, 30, and JAN 5, 12, 16, 19. Doors open at 7:30 and showtime is at 8:00PM    

TDF accepted

 

Adapted by DAN BIANCHI, Directed by FRANK ZILINYI   

Music/Sound Design by DAN BIANCHI
Sound Engineer: WES SHIPPEE
 
STARRING:  FRANK ZILINYI, R.PATRICK ALBERTY, JOSHUA NICHOLSON, CORY BOUGHTON, ROBB MOREIRA, CHARLOTTE FOSTER, JEANNE LAUREN SMITH

 

 

 

Saturday
Dec192015

Review of "Elf The Musical" at The Theater at MSG

By Roger Gonzalez

Don’t expect Elf The Musical to be a work of art or to dazzle you in any way. It is what it is: a fun, light hearted staged version of the popular Will Ferrell movie with only a few catchy tunes, a lot of colorful dazzle and some fun performances. The lead vocals were spot on and the story itself is exactly what you can expect.

To enjoy this musical version, you simply have to let go and get into the spirit of the moment. But to enjoy it at The Theater at Madison Square Garden is a whole 'nother story!

The musical itself, while no theatrical masterpiece, is sort of charming and entertaining on its own, at least from what I was able to enjoy. Seeing it at MSG was truly a nightmare. I want to blame it on all those noisy kids or maybe the clueless, classless tourists pouring in by the thousands, but I suppose the fault is all mine for having higher expectations. Nay, for having any expectations. This is at best a concert venue and it will never be a real theatre per se.

Perhaps I am just too picky. I guess if you're okay with up to 5,000 fellow theatre-goers (mixed in with twice that number of Ranger fans) bottle-necking through slow TSA like metal detectors, you'll plan to arrive an hour early and not complain. "Welcome to the new world order," was all the guard had to say to me as he made me empty every pocket instead of just putting my jacket through the machine. Once I was through, I had the joy of waiting for my wife to pass the check-point as I observed some other dope chat with his fellow guards while hundreds of patrons waited impatiently. Eventually he did go through her bag as if looking for some tiny pin. The whole process was unorganized and no one working for MSG really gave a shit. Just to make it into the theater sucked all the holiday joy I could have had.

If that's not enough, the first four hours of the show (in other words what Act 1 felt like) was one massive cacophony of screaming kids, people taking pictures on their cell phones (with flash!), texting, and my favorite, walking in as much as 30 minutes late in and making everyone in the aisle stand up so that they squeeze into their seats. And once seated, how about all those parents constantly swapping seats with their tiny precious babies so that the kid could get a better view? The only thing missing were the peanut and cotton candy hawkers! You would think this show was “ Buddy The elf on Ice.”

I won't even get into the giant groups of families going to pee mid number or the extended intermission so that thousands of tourists could run out, stand on lines 20-deep and buy over-priced souvenirs and $5 bottle of water before Act 2!

I'll never see another theatrical production at this so called theater as long as I live. Not even for free.

The show itself (from what I did see and somewhat enjoy) can be pure and simple holiday fun. It’s the kind of show you just sit and try to enjoy. The leads had great voices and overall it's a simple, cheerful and colorful retelling of the holiday movie version. The show offers up some of the same jokes from the movie (and a few new ones) if you could actually hear the jokes. I’d tell you more about the choreography and performances and story, but who am I kidding? I was too busily distracted with all the distractions around me to even notice.

If you really want to go see Elf…just wait until it’s somewhere you can actually see it. Don’t waste your money on this tourist trap.

More information can be found on their website.

Wednesday
Dec092015

"FIRST FROST FESTIVAL" NOW PLAYING at LIC's Chain Theatre

By Roger Gonzalez

Long Island City’s Variations Theatre Group at The beautiful Chain Theatre, a venue located in Queens, only minutes from midtown Manhattan by subway, will be closing its doors in February of 2016 and relocating to a new venue, but not before returning with this year’s “FIRST FROST FESTIVAL.”

The group's final festival at this location will feature a variety of Performances from the comedy of “BENNY AND GRIFF SHAKE YOUR CRAZIES OUT” to spoken word, improv and radio shows including “DO RE MIC,” “VoiceScapes,” and a brand new radio play adaptation of “IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE.” The Usual Rejects are also returning with their latest parody: “I’VE GOT A BAD FEELING ABOUT THIS: STAR WARS.

This year’s performances also include a number of brand new one acts written by artists from around the tri-state area, including Amber Kusching’s “CRAZY,” Nick Hulstine’s  “GEOGRAPHY OF NOWHERE,” Meghan Crosby’s “IMPRINT,” and Yvonne Hernandez’s “QUEER MONOLOGUES.” Additionally, a number of readings and other special events have been scheduled including Brandon Ferraro’s “WHO DOESN’T LOVE BEN FRANKLIN?” as well as the most recent installment of VTG’s often-partner taxdeductible theatre’s “THE DARE PROJECT.

As this final project at the closing venue gets underway, Variations Theatre Group has already actively started searching  for a new location in Long Island City with the intention to keep bringing high quality visual and performing arts to this neighborhood they call home. The company, which has enjoyed both critical and box-office success in its time at this LIC location, has no intention to slow down its momentum.

The performance schedule for the FIRST FROST FESTIVAL  is available at www.variationstheatregroup.com. Ticket prices vary for the events and are available through the web site or by calling 866-811-4111. The Chain Theatre is located at 21-28 45th Road in Long Island City, just ten minutes from Times Square via the 7, E and M trains to Court Square Station.

Below is a full line-up of this year’s festival.

It’s A Wonderful Life

A New Radio Adaptation Written and Directed by Greg Cicchino

An exciting and enchanting take on the timeless Christmas and American classic with live sound effects and music. Starring Justin Randolph* as George Bailey and Leigh Anne West* as Mary. Also featuring Nick Fondulis* Clint Carter, Sebastian Gutierrez, Patrick Pizzoloruzzo*, Alexandra Rose Kopko and Jackie Collier*.

(*Actors are appearing courtesy of Actors Equity Association)

December 4 at 8pm

December 6th at 3pm

December 9 at 8pm

December 13th at 3pm 

December 18th at 8pm

___________________________________

The Dare Project

taxdeductible theatre boldly returns with the most unreasonable Dare Project yet!

December 8th at 7pm and 9pm

 


NEW WORKS

Benny & Griff’s Shake Your Crazies Out

Join musical comedy duo Benny and Griff on an absolutely insane journey in the magical land of Umbachtu as they sing, dance, meet some friends along the way and most importantly SHAKE YOUR CRAZIES OUT!

December 15th at 8pm

___________________________________

Do Re Mic

A show that combines stand-up comedy with musical improvisation. Stand-up comedians perform, each followed by an improvised song inspired by their set

December 13th at 8pm

___________________________________

Queer Monologues

Synopsis: Based on real interviews and true stories. Sad, funny with a touch of history.

December 6th at 8pm

December 12th at 2pm

December 17th at 7pm

___________________________________

VoiceScapes

December 19th at 2pm

___________________________________

Who Doesn’t Love Ben Franklin?

by Brandon Ferraro

One year after the tragedy that killed one hundred, the town is still not the same. Of those who responded, only one survived. Ben Roosevelt was named the “home town hero” for his service that day.  Since then he has struggled to live up to that title, to himself, and to those around him. Who Doesn’t Love Ben Franklin? tells the story of the fall of the Great American Hero.  Four archetypes are given and then we are forced to question who really embodies this title; if anyone really can.

December 16 at 7pm

___________________________________

The Birthday 

December 7th at 7pm

___________________________________

The Great Somewhere

Clark and Hudson’s parents are dead. Or they might be. In the aftermath of a category 5 tornado that hit their Iowa hometown, it will take more than a set of shovels to make peace with decades of family debris.

December 6th 5:30pm 

December 10th at 7pm


ONE ACTS

Crazy 

5 different patients, 5 different reasons. Do their conditions make them “crazy”?

Geography of Nowhere

Jimmy thinks his gangster days are finally over. He only has one job left to do… kill his best friend.

Imprint 

Complementary colors Orange and Blue are not an automatic couple. Blue is smitten and performs the most comical tasks to get Orange to trust her. But Orange has a secret she’s too ashamed to share. Imprint is a story of darlings, dread, and daring. Only through their shared experience, can these hues make peace with their true colors and support each other.

December 10th at 9pm

December 16th at 9pm

December 17th at 9pm

__________________________________

TICKETS HERE: 

Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door for most events
Click on Event date and time for more information

 

 

Wednesday
Nov112015

VENUS / ADONIS Returns January of 2016 With an Eclectic Offering of Plays and Playwrights.

By Roger Gonzalez

It only seems like a few weeks ago that the Thespis Theater Festival at the Hudson Guild Theatre wrapped up after almost 3 months of exciting new plays.  Here it is in November and already their Winter offering, The Venus / Adonis Theater Festival is ramping up! Almost at capacity (but still accepting submissions until December), it is no surprise that the buzz is starting 2 months out.

This is not an uncommon cycle for the festival’s Artistic Director/Founder, Franco Moschetti. Moschetti and his team at the Thespis & Venus/Adonis festival have  taken a relatively unknown theatre festival from a “playwright-friendly” concept to one of the fastest-growing festivals in the Northeast in only a matter of a few short years in what is a fairly competitive New York City theatre market.

But for Mr. Moschetti, this is no surprise. Their approach from the start has been to focus on the playwrights and their specific needs in an effort to get their written work on to the stage in a manner that is friendlier, less stressful, less costly and more geared at the needs of the writer/producer. To Mr. Moschetti & team (to be introduced in a later article), the emphasis is on the work and not on the festival, although clearly they both go hand in hand.

The hotly anticipated Venus/Adonis Theater festival was created primarily as a focus on women playwrights, although it is open to men.  It is also a festival that draws submissions from all over the country and seems to pull in quite a diverse and eclectic number of submissions. This year’s line-up includes quite a few interesting topics and playwrights of varying backgrounds and levels of experience. Here are just some of the plays and playwrights we can expect to see.

Serena Belsby is one playwright who has written her first full-length play, “Ms Senior USA,” a story inspired by the time spent with her mother, and will be seeing her play come to the stage this Winter. A Washington State resident, she is re-locating to New York City after a career writing screenplays and directing film back on the West Coast.  

From nearby Hoboken, New Jersey comes Emily Dinova and her play, “Capture” about a woman coming to grips with her past and looking to move towards a brighter future.

Coming out of Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania is a young, creative team led by playwright, Leah Alfieri.Playwright, Leah Alfieri Her play, “Old Maid,” a dark comedy, will be her first play to see the stage. “Of my plays, it's the one that I'm most proud of, so I'm very excited to see what it'll look like off the page,” she says. Leah is an actor who happened to stumble upon the festival while seeking acting work.

Playwright, Catherine HurdFrom Northern California comes playwright Catherine Hurd. Her play combines sacred marriage vows, lost love, dementia, eccentric daughters, a mystery writing detective, and an ex con bent on revenge, add a love     triangle with a pinch of murder plot, scramble it all together, and you have the slightly dark, slightly silly, bittersweet comedy, “Until Death Do Us Part.

Local playwrights are also going strong. Gloria MakinoPlaywright, Gloria Makinoa New York resident, is offering her play, “Unturning,” about a mixed race young woman caught at the center of a love triangle (based on the Thomas Hardy novel, “The Return of The Native”)

Equally fascinating are the men.  Derek Dean  is the writer of the play “Before The End.” (“When a Mark loses his families’ life savings, he believes he has lost it all. Feeling that he needs help, the members of the family have an intervention on the night Mark lost everything. But has he?” Rick Charles Mueller enters the competition with his play, “Brooklyn TidesDriftwood!” The play is about Alexandra, a liberal, successful, black woman, who is sexually obsessed with her separated husband: a bigoted, homophobic cop, also black, who believes in segregation and considers racism acceptable. There is Sam Graber’s “riotous and fast-funny take on today’s dating scene,” “The Field Guide To Mating,” Aaron Michael Krueger ‘s musical, “New Dawn.” (“As high school football captain Joey Johnson's life begins to fumble out of his control, he struggles to keep up the facade of his perfect "All-American" life. Accompanied by an electric pop/rock score, New Dawn is an inspiring coming-of-age story about overcoming life's obstacles to find a new way to begin,” reads the description.) All of the above are now New Yorkers.

There’s “The Rise of Mediocrity” by Larry Phillips, “Shatter” by Anderson Cook (synopsis: “The story of five 20 year-olds at the party that was never supposed to happen, “Shatter” dissects the lives of the newest wave of young adults as they deal with the realities of their present and past that have left them a little broken). Playwright Dr. Murray H. Kiok offers up “Men Talk,” Bill Rogers presents “Caldwell’s Bomb” about the dangers of domestic terrorist groups.

All in all, this year’s festival offers quite a few options as well as topics and talent from across the country. Franco believes in focusing on the writer and talent and giving them all the tools they need to get their shows up and running, or as he says, “To really create a platform that allows all playwrights and musicals to run in a high professional environment and setting...almost impossible in other festivals which are more focused in the monetary aspect of the run. We give everything we have.”

The festival arrives in full swing at the Hudson Guild Theatre, 441 West 26th Street, the same venue used for the Thespis Theater Festival this Summer. The festival runs from January 4th through March 10th, 2016 and play submissions are still be accepted through December 15th. For more information about the Venus /Adonis and an updated list of what to expect in terms of shows by date, click here:http://venusnytheaterfestival.com/shows-by-date-2016/

To submit a show, click here:http://venusnytheaterfestival.com/venus-adonis-theater-festival-thespis/