It's late June and Dan Manjovi is working rewrites of his new play, PICKED UP, debuting at the Broadway Bound Theatre Festival on August 14th. The story of two men meeting randomly in a gay bar and realizing they possibly have a history that connects them emerges as a drama that ties in with much of what Pride Month represents. For Mr. Manjovi, the story has even deeper, personal meaning, and the timing of these rewrites resonates in unexpected ways. It is a significant process he doesn’t take lightly. While the play doesn’t debut until mid August, being in the middle of preproduction in preparation for four performances at the iconic Theatre Row has him putting in long hours working on every aspect of the material, and thinking about his own life experiences.
Why he wrote the play in the first place is a story worth sharing. “While dealing with the lingering effects of my own trauma, the 2006 hate-crime case of Michael Sandy in Brooklyn popped into my head. Upon further research, I tracked down and interviewed the jury foreman of that trial, and his girlfriend, at his apartment in Brooklyn. The conversation touched off very powerful feelings within me. The above, combined with last summer’s explosive Brett Kavanaugh hearings, seeing two people remember the same event completely differently were the motivations for the play.” Says Manjovi.
The artist wants to share this play with as wide an audience as possible. He expects strong attendance, but is searching for ways to bring his work to the next level and is not shy about saying so. For Manjovi, this play is important and has the kind of social significance he realizes comes with some responsibility as a writer. “Violent traumas linger in our subconscious and unconscious mind no matter how much time has passed. PICKED UP yanks the artificial band-aid of time off of the two characters, and seeks a frank and honest look at the still-painful reality of the lives of the attacked and the attacker years after the trauma,” he says.
He can see the story playing to the obvious audiences, LGBTQ, and the many theatre-goers that would be connected to the play for many reasons. Yet in there, he believes that there is an educational element that could be used if the play is presented in teaching institutions and even in prisons. He also realizes that it can resonate with other marginalized minority and advocacy groups that are subject to hatred and violence.
A prolific artist, composer, performer, teacher, and (yes) playwright, Manjovi is no stranger to the theatre. We talk about many things in the industry like theatre festivals (this is not his first), writing, producing, and the changing landscape. Changes in the industry, in financing productions, and bringing theatre to the stage have him looking at all his possible options.
With so many artists forced to take the helm when it comes to getting their own work produced, he has managed to learn a lot more about the production process than most typical playwrights. He juggles the creation of art with the challenge of getting the work seen. He’s looking for lead producers/investors to produce the play in the NYC area, and is in the search for management, and agent, some representation. He knows he needs that element. It is a reality he doesn’t overlook.
For now, the work is being readied for a debut at Theatre Row, near New York’s famed Times Square Theatre district and not hidden away outside of the action. With only 4 performances at The Broadway Bound Theatre Festival, a very serious, curated festival that has been getting quite a lot of attention since its debut three years ago, he expects that there will be enough visibility to take this show where it needs to go.
Christopher Scott is directing, and Donna Trinkoff is the General Manager. Casting is being handled by Paul Fouquet of Elissa Meyers Casting.
PICKED UP by Dan Manjovi debuts plays Wednesday, August 14 at 2 pm, Saturday, August 17 at 8 pm, Sunday, August 18 at 5 pm, Tuesday, August 20 at 5 pm at Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd Street New York, NY 10036. Tickets are available on Telecharge or by visiting www.BroadwayBoundFestival.com