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TRU Speaks - Hear Our Voices!

TRU Speaks – Hear Our Voices!
An evening of awareness to benefit Theater Resources Unlimited

Sunday, June 4, 2023

Celebrating 30 years of Theater Resources Unlimited, a nonprofit organization created to assist producers in producing, a virtual benefit was held to keep this worthwhile endeavor doing what it does so well. 75 new plays and 50 new musicals in 30 years is an impressive record. The star-studded event included introductions by Brenda Braxton, Cate Cammarata, Merrie L. Davis, R.K. Greene, Joanna Gleason, Jim Kierstead, Austin Pendleton, and Tonya Pinkins, and five filmed short plays tackling issues of today. They include:

SOCIALLY DISTANT by Phil Darg dealing with the isolation of the pandemic
GUELLEN, KANSAS by Alex Goldbert imagining the not-so-unrealistic future of abortion rights
DITMAS by Glenn Alterman beautifully handling the topic of gender identity
REPRIEVE by Lee Roscoe where kindness and a bit of fried chicken may have saved a life
MISSUS DOBBS, AMERICAN reveals the confusion and chaos of insurrections

All were perfect examples of the power of theatre and the necessity of organizations like Theater Resources Unlimited to keep the flame brightly burning. It’s not too late to donate. Go to https://truonline.org/make-a-donation/ and be a part of innovative and impactful arts.

- Laurie Lawson -

ROSEMARY AND THYME - A Modern-Day Christmas Story


Book and Lyrics
Director and Dramaturg – RON STETSON


Don Scardino, Wayne Duvall, Patrick Ryan Sullivan, Jenny Burton, Terry Burrell, Melvin Abston, Michelle Liu Coughlin, Martin Sola, Natalie Toro, Robert Montano, Jan Horvath, Patrick Jude, Carolee Goodgold and Emily Bindiger

Listen up, y'all. Christmas is a’comin’ early this year. The incredible Peter Link, along with Ragan Courtney, and his merry band of very talented singers/performers have come up with a revolutionary retelling of the Christmas Story via musical podcast. Instead of a manger in Bethlehem, the adventure begins in Skedee, Oklahoma – Pop. 139. Seems like God (none other than Michael Tucker from LA Law) is not happy with how us humans are handling our affairs – no surprise there – and he gets to talking to a delightful young lady named Thyme Quinn (portrayed by Julia Wade), who is fixing to marry the town carpenter and preacher man. See how this story is shaping up?

There will be 16 episodes of ROSEMARY AND THYME – A MODERN-DAY CHRISTMAS STORY – just enough to welcome you into the Christmas season - and if Episode 1 is any indication, you are in for a treat. Chock full of charming characters who are doing their best and trying to figure out this challenging thing called life, there’s exploration, enlightenment, and mind-expansion through down-home dialogue and the always-impressive music of Peter Link. But don’t take my word for it. You can check out Episode 1 of ROSEMARY AND THYME here:
https://watchfiremusic.com/rosemary-and-thyme-podcast-series.  I’m pretty sure you’re gonna love it. And what’s with the Southern accent? I think it’s contagious.

- Laurie Lawson -

THE RIDE - Still Going Strong

THE RIDE – Still Going Strong

What has taken 30,000 trips, survived the epicenter of the pandemic, and can still bring smiles to tourists and jaded New Yorkers alike? Richard Humphrey’s THE RIDE! So get on board the glass-sided state-of-the-art bus and take an excursion around the most exciting city in the world. The streets of New York City are teeming with characters and sights of all kinds and have long been a source of entertainment for travelers near and far. Add some performers (how about a UPS break dancer or a ballerina and a skateboarder cavorting around the Columbus Circle fountain or a sax player looking for a singer?), fun-filled facts about attractions that draw visitors every day, a simulated subway ride, a little music, and two high-energy slightly crazy hosts, and you are in for one helluva ride. May THE RIDE keep on riding for 30,000 more trips. It is a 75-minute one-of-a-kind experience that shouldn’t be missed.

- Laurie Lawson -


Ludovica Villar-Hauser & Parity Productions


October 7, 2020 6:30-8 p.m.


PARITY PRODUCTIONS is a non-profit theater company and advocacy group. It fills at least fifty percent of its roles and production staff positions with women and TGNC artists. Founded in 2016 by LUDOVICA VILLAR-HAUSER, it pushes the boundaries and works energetically to have other theater companies do the same.

Its awards ceremony was inspirational and consciousness-raising. Awards included recognition for service to the organization and financial grants to two playwrights: AMANDA L. ANDREI for Black Sky and JONATHAN ALEXANDRATOS for Turning Krasniqi. Visit the links above to see more. Their fundraising auction continues until October 15. Applause, please.

-Karen D Onofrio-

HAMILTON...The Gift That Keeps on Giving

HAMILTON…The Gift That Keeps on Giving


When HAMILTON debuted on Broadway in 2015, theatregoers everywhere knew something extraordinary had arrived. Thousands of adults caught HAMILTON fever; teenagers soon followed and American Revolutionary War history became a major interest.
Now a partnership of HAMILTON, The Rockefeller Foundation, the NYC Department of Education and the Gilder Lehrman Institution of American History annually provides 20,000 NYC public school high school students with tickets to see this innovative musical at select Wednesday matinees as part of its on-going "HAMILTON Education Program".

Seeing the production is the grand finale of the program which provides an in-class curriculum designed around the musical. It features a study guide plus an online "HAMILTON" portal for students and teachers to help students develop and produce their own original performances of poetry, rap, songs, scenes, some of which are performed at the theatre in front of a full-house of 1300 students and teachers prior to the afternoon matinee. Students also have a Q&A session with cast members. In addition to NYC, Chicago has its own program, and another is planned for San Francisco after the show opens.

On a recent Wednesday morning in NYC, 20 students from 11 local schools performed original material. One young man performed a solo rap (a la "Alexander Hamilton") about Benjamin Franklin which brought cheers from the audience -- look for this young man to be in the professional cast in a few years. Two young women performed an insightful, rousing "imagined" conversation between Thomas Jefferson and Angelica Schuyler in Europe as they reacted to events in America. More cheers!

And of course, HAMILTON 2017, with its mostly new cast, still sparkles, excites, mesmerizes and entertains. Watching it with 1300 excited teenagers was such a thrill and you could feel the electricity in the air. "How lucky we are to be alive now in New York City".

- Faye Argentine -


HAMILTON’s Educational Program in partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation, NYC Department of Education and The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History shall provide 20, 000 New York City student tickets to see the musical HAMILTON.

On November 30, 2016, 1300 students from New York City (NYC) public schools gathered at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway for the inauguration of this unprecedented partnership funded through a $1.46 million grant provided by The Rockefeller Foundation. This innovative collaboration provides students the opportunity to see Hamilton on Broadway after studying American History, a curriculum designed by The Gilder Lehrman Institute.
The program started with opening remarks by the partners, followed by original student performances from 17 NYC public schools, a Q & A with some members of Hamilton, lunch, then a Matinee performance of HAMILTON! The enthusiasm of the students throughout the whole day was immense with deafening applause and whistles of excitement and happiness. It was a joyful day.

Student representatives from the 17 NYC public schools presented original material live on the same stage that HAMILTON is performed consisting of songs, rap, poetry, modern dance, scenes, and monologues—all incorporating themes from American History. The themes were centered around the American Revolution, the Boston Massacre, Equal Rights, Aaron Burr, Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Human Rights, Government Pensions, Slave Trade, Racism, Women’s Rights and so much more.

The group of participating high schools was selected by the New York City Department of Education: Achievement First University Prep High School, Bronx Leadership Academy II High School, Bronxwood Preparatory Academy, Brooklyn High School of the Arts, Brooklyn theatre Arts High School, Channel View School For Research, Community Scholl for Social Justice, Democracy Prep Harlem Hight School, East Side Community School, International High School at LaGuardia Community College, John Adams High School, Landmark High School, Mott Haven Village Preparatory High School, Repertory Company Hight School for Theatre Arts, and School for Democracy and Leadership.

As HAMILTON creator Lin-Manuel Miranda said, “There is no feeling on earth like performing for a theater full of students who are learning about our founders in class and seeing how it still relates to their own lives on stage.” Miranda’s goal is to build this program across America.

Additionally, Judith Rodin, President of The Rockefeller Foundation summed it up quite nicely, “The partnership between HAMILTON and The Rockefeller Foundation is a game changer for 20,000 New York City public schools’ students. Today, the first 1,300 experienced something truly inspirational – the story of America's founding fathers as told by actors and actresses who look just like them, through a transcendent Broadway musical created by a student of the New York public school system —just like them. We couldn't throw away our shot at bringing Hamilton to the audience it could affect most, who otherwise might not have had the opportunity.” This was also the theme of the Q & A afterwards with some of the cast members of HAMILTON.
James G. Basker, President of The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History said, "This project is transformative. Twenty thousand students will experience American history in a new way and find their own connections to the Founding Era, to the performing arts, and to the future of our country."

NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña said, "I thank the Miranda family for assuring that their passion for history and music is shared by New York City students. This musical will impact the lives of thousands of students and connect to enriching curriculum, undoubtedly sparking passion and an understanding of how inspiring history can be in the classroom, in our great City, and beyond."

I think the partners characterized their aspirations succinctly. It’s a marvelous idea to roll out this program throughout America. Bravo to all in creating this awe-inspiring partnership to educate students about the Founding Fathers!

- Laura Thompson -
http://www.loralia.com @LORALIA



World Premiere of The Grand Tour!
Halloween Guest Ringmaster
Best-Selling Author R.L. Stine
at this one special performance celebrating Halloween
October 31, 2015 at 4:40pm at LINCOLN CENTER

The Grand Tour! show runs until January 10, 2016

Written and Created by JOEL JESKE
Big Apple Circus Ringmaster: JOHN KENNEDY KANE
Animal Trainer: JENNY VIDBEL
Original Music and Arrangements by DAVID BANDMAN, PETER BUFANO, JEFFREY W. HOLMES
Executive Director: WILL MAITLAND WEISS

Big Apple Circus welcomed Halloween Guest Ringmaster, R.L. Stine, author of the best-selling children's series Goosebumps for this special Halloween performance who loves to scare children. Children were encouraged to arrive in costume and they were allowed to go on pony rides during intermission. It was definitely interactive entertainment focusing on the children and quite amusing.

! opened with Four-time Big Apple Circus Ringmaster John Kennedy Kane and two clowns, Joel Jeske and Brent McBeth, who set the stage to transport the audience to the Roaring 20s to begin the most adventurous trip around the world by ships, planes, trains, and automobiles. The trip started out in New York City to Europe, onwards to Arabia, Africa, and Asia and then, back to New York, home of the Big Apple.

The dog acts aboard the Orient Express train through Europe and dancing horses while in the Arabian desert led by Jenny Vidbel were entertaining; Chiara Anastasini was exceptional with hula hoops depicting the stopover in Andalucía, Spain; international juggling sensation Alexander Koblikov; the Dominguez Brothers defied the law of gravity with their thrilling act on the Wheel of Wonder; the African acrobatic troupe Zuma Zuma; the Dosov Troupe soared on the teeterboard; Chinese hand balancers The Energy Trio; and, aerialist Sergey Akimov gave stunning performances all the while traveling around the world.

The Big Apple Circus is a nonprofit that engages communities through the joy and wonder of classic circus arts. They bring joy and laughter to hospitals, nursing homes; provide adapted performances for children with physical and cognitive disadvantages; teach kids life skills after school; and, distribute free and subsidized tickets to schools and nonprofit organizations serving low-income children and families. It's a circus with a heart.

To purchase tickets or for more information about Big Apple Circus, visit www.bigapplecircus.org.

Laura Thompson


The Big Apple Circus presents

Damrosch Park, Lincoln Center

21 October-10 January 2016

Conceived and created by: Joel Jeske
Directed by: Mark Lonergan

The Big Apple Circus is a longtime New York institution, but it is anything but musty! Fast-paced and fun with live music (!), thrilling acts, and best of all: pony rides! Ok, maybe not best of all, but there is nothing cuter than kids getting their first ride on a pony.

I’m not a clown lover. I usually find them scary, but creator Joel Jeske and Brent McBeth are more like a Laurel and Hardy pair with some song and dance thrown in. They are not scary at all. When they play musical chairs with audience participation, they are particularly hysterical. The dog acts are adorable and the horses magnificent. The acrobats incredibly agile and strong, but the best acts are the Wheel of Wonder and Ball Juggler, Alexander Koblikov.

The Wheel of Wonder is a huge metal figure-eight that rotates with the two wheels rotating as well. It’s like a hamster wheel from hell! Eric and Jayson Dominguez manipulate the wheels in a death-defying manner that has the audience on the edge of their seats.

Juggler Koblikov is just the opposite. Smooth as silk and subtly humorous, he juggles so deftly that you’d swear the balls were floating.

The music, lights, and especially the crew keep everything moving seamlessly. It was amazing how they took down the Wheel of Wonder and set up a pony ride ring in two minutes flat!

The Big Apple Circus is a fun and affordable way to keep children of all ages enthralled for two hours!

- Jean Tait -




Playwright Catherine Filloux received the Planet Activist Award
Planet Connections Theatre Festivity, New York's premiere socially conscious-eco-friendly theatre festival, which recently wrapped up its 7th season, presented its annual awards ceremony at Classic Stage Company, located at 136 East 13th Street, New York City on August 9, 2015.

The evening was emceed by Festivity participants David Stallings and Kara Young, directed by Lori Kee and produced by Brock Hill, who joined the Planet Connections team as Artistic Director this past season. Excerpts from some of the plays and musicals that were a part of this year's Festivity were presented, including playwright, Mario Fratti's The Colonel's Wife that opened up the ceremony on a very cheerful and fun musical note. Mario Fratti also received Outstanding Overall Production of a Revival Award for his play and a Congeniality Award. The focus of the evening was on playwright Catherine Filloux who has been an activist artist in the theater community and been writing about human rights and social justice for over twenty years. She received the Festivity's Planet Activist Award in recognition of her long career. Please visit her website for more information: www.catherinefilloux.com

Overall, "This was a very good year for Planet Connections," Hill noted, "both in terms of the quality of the product we presented and in respect to ticket sales and press coverage. We can think of no better way to wrap up our current season and look forward to our next one by honoring the artistic and environmentally-friendly achievements of those who worked with us this year to make the Festivity a success on just about every level."

Named one of the Best Theatre Festivals in New York City by Time Out New York, Planet Connections Theatre Festivity works to help artists shine a light on the issues facing our society, and supports, via donations or a portion of the box office proceeds, those organizations working to make a difference. For more information and a complete list of award winners, please go to www.planetconnections.org.

- Laura Thompson -
http://www.loralia.com @LORALIA



One of New York City’s most exciting adventures (The Ride) now has its own offspring – THE TOUR! The Tour is conceived, produced, directed and co-written by The Ride’s CEO/CCO Richard Humphrey who may very well have just moved the sightseeing experience up several notches.

What makes THE TOUR so special? Well, first of all, this is not your usual bus. The vehicle is the tallest allowed by federal law and is fitted with stadium-style seating so that 49 passengers can sit sideways and look out through massive windows and ceilings. The $1.5 million State of the Art Motor Coach boasts audio/visuals that provide technological enhancements to the Licensed Gold Star Tour Navigator’s vast knowledge. In addition to the magnificence and constant energy that is New York City, participants are treated to videos, music, and movement that accompany the history of one of the most exciting cities in the world. Inside stories and celebrity anecdotes are so plentiful that even native New Yorkers will be impressed.

THE TOUR departs three times daily – seven days a week. Check it out. This is sightseeing at its best!

- Laurie Lawson -


THE LEAGUE OF PROFESSIONAL THEATRE WOMEN, promoting visibility and increasing opportunities for women in the professional theatre presented its second annual AWARDS CELEBRATION, March 16, 2015 at The Pershing Square Signature Center on 480 West 42nd Street in New York City.

The event was emcee'd by Tony-nominee Kristine Nielsen (Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike). Kristine added a sense of humor and a fun element to the award ceremony. Overall, this was the league of extraordinary women with great accomplishments in the theatre world as playwright, director, producer, musical arranger, theatrical set designer, actress, dramaturg, and much more. Additionally, it felt like a community of friends across ages both on and off stage. Think of most Broadway plays and musicals and these women made a difference.

Kathleen Chalfant, an actress who has received numerous awards across TV, Film, and Broadway received THE LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD presented to by her best friend, Sybille Pearson. Kathleen is actively involved in giving back through various nonprofits

Mary-Mitchell Campbell, a musical director, orchestrator, arranger for musical theatre, and Founder of ASTEP-Artists Striving to End Poverty received THE LEE REYNOLDS AWARD which is given to a woman or women whose theatre work helps social, cultural, or political change.

Donyale Werle, Brooklyn-based theatrical set and urban garden designer received THE RUTH MORLEY DESIGN AWARD which celebrates artists who set design standards for years to come.

Sandra A. Daley-Sharif, producer, director, actress, playwright, dramaturg, and Obie award winner received THE JOSEPHINE ABADY AWARD focused on the work of cultural diversity for more than five years.

Rachel Dickstein, Artistic Director, received THE LPTW LUCILLE LORTEL AWARD given to an aspiring woman who show's creative promise and deserves recognition and promise.

The evening was a celebration of these outstanding women in the theatre world and the award ceremony was followed by cocktails called the Big Mingle to encourage people to network.

There is also a LPTW ONLINE AUCTION with 125+ ITEMS, including Hugh Jackman's personalized voice message. All proceeds help support the League of Professional Theatre Women. Bidding remains open until March 17th at 11:59PM EST.
AUCTION SITE: http://www.BiddingforGood.com

By Laura Thompson http://www.loralia.com



Box Office: 234 W. 42nd Street & Eighth Avenue (beside Madame Tussauds)
November 20, 2013 � January 05, 2014

Everyone knows that there is something special about New York City during the holidays. The tree at Rockefeller Center, Fifth Avenue, Macy�s Parade, the ball at Times Square, and a zillion other attractions delight tourists from all over the world, as well as native New Yorkers. THE ICONIC 2ND YEAR HOLIDAY RIDE is one of the most unusual and fun activities that shouldn�t be missed. Theatrical busses with stadium seating, massive glass panels, surround sound, 3,000 LED lights and 40 video screens take participants on a ride they will not soon forget. Providing a panoramic view of the most exciting city in the world, riders not only get to see NY�s eccentric inhabitants but also are treated to street performers, historical facts about local attractions, holiday tunes, sing-alongs, and the wild and wacky antics of The Ride�s hosts. A hilarious one-of-a-kind time is had by all. Call the number above or visit the website to find out when your bus is leaving. Then get on board and RIDE!

- Laurie Lawson -


Potomac Theatre Project



Atlantic Stage 2
330 West 16th Street
New York, NY 10011
July 16, 2012

The New England Review (NER), Potomac Theatre Project (PTP), and Middlebury College are linked in a creative and financial circle of artistic development. Beginning in 1987, the Vermont college�s support has enabled Middlebury students to get experience in the stage arts. The NER is published by Middlebury and presents new fiction, poetry, and nonfiction that is fresh and thought-provoking.

On July 16, the theatrical arm presented a tribute to the literary arm at Atlantic Stage 2. Five authors read from their works. These authors all have history with Middlebury: they either attended the college or were first published in the NER.

Cate Marvin and Patrick Phillips read from their poetic works. Cate�s topics included thoughts on a threatening wisteria plant and her adverse reaction to a dose of the Hamptons. Patrick shared his elegy for smoking and thoughts on a widow�s quilt.

David Gilbert read from his upcoming novel & Son, choosing a light but piquant section set at a reception at the Frick. Emily Mitchell contributed a reading of her short story about the impossibly calm-voiced lady on a meditation tape.

Cate remarked that authors are loners because they need to suffer. Their works, inspirational both to read and hear, belie that theory. They are a community of talent and never really alone, whether they like it or not.

--Karen D�Onofrio--



This award-winning rock musical will be a featured production at this year�s New York International Fringe Festival August 10-26. Nominated as �The Best of the Fest� at the Laughter Comedy Fest (Los Angeles), MOTHER EVE won three awards at the Midtown International Theatre Festival.

MOTHER EVE, self-help guru, came to life in a Battery Park apartment. After premiering at the Tribeca Film Center, she was picked up as a web series. Mother Eve teaches women how to unleash their inner skank, celebrate their cellulite, and explore girl power.

To promote the web series, the writers created a 15-minute stage version, touring colleges and clubs. That was so popular that the gang expanded it into a full-length rock musical with a life of its own. In it, Mother Eve helps six women transform their lives. Her Secret Garden is a self-help boot camp for the frumpy, dumpy, lumpy, crappy, and unhappy. All is well, until a deep dark secret threatens to destroy the sisterhood.

The creative team, including writers/actresses UMA INCROCCI and ERICA JENSEN, composer/actor CHRISTIAN PEDERSEN, and co-producer/choreographer/actress ASHLEY WREN COLLINS rocked Elmo in Chelsea last night with a Super Jam 80�s Dance Party in Mother Eve�s honor. Held in the downstairs club, the party favors of �essential arousal oils� set the tone. But it was good clean fun with the energetic team as they promoted their musical and spread the joy of loving yourself as much as you love cheese.

--Karen D�Onofrio--


The Theatre World Awards Board of Directors
Founder John Willis
Producers Mary K. Botosan and Erin Oestreich


Written and Hosted by PETER FILICHIA
Associate Director: JEREMY QUINN
Musical Director: LAWRENCE YURMAN
Associate Producer: PETER DAGGER
End of the Rainbow Lighting Design: CHRISTOPHER AKERLIND
End of the Rainbow Sound Design: GARETH OWEN
End of the Rainbow Scenic Design: WILLIAM DUDLEY
End of the Rainbow Company Manager: KIM SELLON
End of the Rainbow Production Stage Manager: MARK DOBROW
Lighting Consultant: WENDY LUEDTKE
Production Stage Manager: KIMOTHY CRUSE
General Press Representative: SUSAN L. SCHULMAN
Videographer: MICHAEL KOSTEL

Belasco Theatre
New York City
June 5, 2012

Once again the award for the best Awards Show goes to THE 68TH ANNUAL THEATRE WORLD AWARDS. With its recognition of twelve Broadway and Off-Broadway debuts, this is the most heartfelt, poignant, and thoroughly entertaining event around. And its legacy of having previous winners present awards to the new guys and gals on the block make this a star-studded happening. Amazing host Peter Filichia, with nary a note or cue, hosts the entire event with the perfect combination of charm, anecdotes, and Broadway history.

Presenters and performers included Michael Cerveris, John Cullum, Victor Garber, David Alan Grier, Josh Grisetti, Lizbeth MacKay, Howard McGillin, Brain Stokes Mitchell, John Rubinstein, Tony Sheldon, Wesley Taylor, Leslie Uggams, and Stephanie Umoh, along with guests Stacy Keach, Lionel Larner, and Barry Keating. And the winners are:

Tracie Bennett (End of the Rainbow)
Phillip Boykin (The Gershwins� Porgy and Bess)
Crystal A. Dickinson (Clybourne Park)
Russell Harvard (Tribes)
Jeremy Jordan (Bonnie & Clyde)
Joaquina Kalukango (Hurt Village)
Jennifer Lim (Chinglish)
Jessie Mueller (On a Clear Day You Can See Forever)
Hettienne Park (Seminar and The Intelligent Homosexual�s Guide to Capitalism & Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures)
Chris Perfetti (Sons of the Prophet)
Finn Wittrock (Death of a Salesman)
Josh Young (Jesus Christ Superstar)

Congratulations to all the winners! And congratulations to all those lucky enough to attend THE 68TH ANNUAL THEATRE WORLD AWARDS. Why can�t all awards shows be this great?

- Laurie Lawson -


THE RIDE Presents


May 4 � September 2
Thursdays & Fridays @ 7:30 PM; Saturdays @ 1 PM, 3 PM & 7:30 PM;
Sundays @ 1 PM & 3 PM

Box Office: 234 West 42nd Street (Madam Tussauds in Times Square)
(866) 299-9682 or www.broadwayoffers.com

Charles Fazzino, internationally renowned 3-D Pop Artist, has been named the official artist of the Olympics, the NFL, and the Superbowl, so what on earth is his art doing all over a New York City bus? And this is no ordinary bus � stadium-style sideways seats that face a glass window into the wonder that is New York City, surround sound, LED lighting, and 40 video screens, just to name a few special features.

Welcome to THE FAZZINO RIDE, a 4.2 mile journey in a traveling theatre using the streets of New York City as a backdrop. There�s a treasure at every turn. You may find a ballerina in a fiber-optic tutu performing around a landmark fountain, a cello and kazoo duet, a street rapper following your bus for a couple of blocks, or a multitude of other surprises. Inside the bus there are interactive sing-alongs, informational short films, videos of Fazzino�s art, and even a subway ride.

At the end of this one-of-a-kind experience, THE FAZZINO RIDE becomes a karaoke bus as its 49 participants sing a rendition of �New York, New York� that can be heard all over Times Square. When�s the last time you saw jaded New Yorkers stop to wave and smile and sing along with a bus? �Nuff said.

To see the largest collection of Charles Fazzino�s art, visit the Barrington Gallery of London, Ltd, 572 Fifth Avenue, (212) 302-9546.

- Laurie Lawson -


August Wilson Theatre
A Jujamcyn Theatre
Jordan Roth, President

The Theatre World Awards Board of Directors
John Willis (1916-2010), Founder

Producers � Mary K. Botosan and Erin Oestreich


Written and Hosted by PETER FILICHIA
Musical Director: HENRY ARONSON
Jersey Boys Lighting Design: HOWELL BINKLEY
Jersey Boys Sound Design: STEVE CANYON KENNEDY
Jersey Boys Scenic Design: KLARA ZIEGLEROVA
Jersey Boys Company Manager: SANDY CARLSON
Jersey Boys Production Stage Manager: MICHELLE BOSCH
Lighting Consultant: WENDY LEUDTKE
Videographer: BRADSHAW SMITH
Associate Director: JEREMY QUINN
Executive Producer: KATI MEISTER

August Wilson Theatre
245 West 52nd Street, NYC
June 7, 2011

As always, one of the most entertaining shows of the year is the THEATRE WORLD AWARDS, and the 67th Annual event was no exception. Tinged by sadness due to the 2010 death of Founder John Willis, performers and presenters continued this beloved ritual with a production that would have made the legend proud. Established in 1944, the tradition of honoring �promising personalities� in the theatre continues.

The winners for Outstanding Broadway or Off-Broadway Debut were:

ELLEN BARKINThe Normal Heart
DESMIN BORGESThe Elaborate Entrance of Chad

HALLEY FEIFFER - The House of Blue Leaves
ROSE HEMINGWAY How to Succeed in Business
Without Really Trying

JOHN LARROQUETTEHow to Succeed in Business
Without Really Trying

HEATHER LINDThe Merchant of Venice
ARIAN MOAYEDBengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo
JIM PARSONSThe Normal Heart
ZACHARY QUINTO Angels in America: A Gay
Fantasia on National Themes

TONY SHELDONPriscilla Queen of the Desert

The recipient of The Dorothy Loudon Award for Excellence in the Theatre went to SETH NUMRICH (War Horse), and the first-ever Lunt-Fontanne Award for Ensemble Excellence went to the cast of The Motherf**ker with the Hat.

Continuing the custom of having previous TWA recipients present awards, this year�s illustrious group included TAMMY BLANCHARD, GABRIEL BYRNE, ZOE CALDWELL, BILLY CRUDUP, BLYTHE DANNER, EDIE FALCO, TOVAH FELDSHUH, JONATHAN GROFF, KEVIN KILNER, JOHN LEGUIZAMO, and ANDREA MCARDLE. Special guests ROSEMARY HARRIS, LIONEL LARNER, and AARON FRANKEL, along with performances by KAREN AKERS, ERNESTINE JACKSON, and JOHN LLOYD YOUNG, a poignant tribute to JOHN WILLIS and the smooth hosting by PETER FILICHIA blended together to make this an afternoon to cherish and remember until the next THEATRE WORLD AWARDS occur in 2012.

- Laurie Lawson -



The 66th Annual

June 08, 2010

New World Stages
340 West 50th Street

Written & Hosted by PETER FILICHIA
Production Manager: MARY K. BOTOSAN
Associate Director: JEREMY QUINN
Music Director: ALEX RYBECK
Photographer/Videographer: KONRAD BRATTKE, TOM CASE

The THEATRE WORLD AWARDS is still the best ticket in town, and this year�s 66th presentation did not disappoint. Yes, this is an awards celebration honoring outstanding debut performances On and Off Broadway. And yes, there are plenty of speeches and thank-you�s � not the agenda you would normally look to for entertainment. But there are so many elements that make this a special event.

Let�s start with Host Supreme PETER FILICHIA, smooth and debonair as he guides the production. Highlight the activities with performances by JONATHAN GROFF, ALLI MAUZEY, LORETTA ABLES SAYRE, and JOHN TARTAGLIA. Continue with the tradition of having previous Theatre World Award winners present the newest recipients their awards. This year�s star-studded presenters were KATE BURTON, MICHAEL CEVERIS, MICHAEL CRISTOFER, VIOLA DAVIS, TOVAH FELDSHUH, ROBERT LUPONE, MICHAEL McKEAN, BRIAN STOKES MITCHELL, ALFRED MOLINA, CONDOLA RASHAD and VANESSA WILLIAMS.

In a room filled with love, respect, and camaraderie, Theatre World Awards were given to the following:

NINA ARIANDA, Venus in Fur
BILL HECK, The Orphans� Home Cycle
JON MICHAEL HILL, Superior Donuts
SCARLETT JOHANSSON, A View from the Bridge
KEIRA KEELEY, The Glass Menagerie
HEIDI SCHRECK, Circle Mirror Transformation
MICHAEL URIE, The Tempermentals
Winner of the 2010 Dorothy Loudon Starbaby Award
BOBBY STEGGERT, Yank! and Ragtime

The only award missing is the one for best awards show which would definitely go to the Theatre World Awards.

- Laurie Lawson -


The Theatre World Awards Board of Directors


Tuesday, June 2, 2009
New York City

Written and Hosted by PETER FILICHIA
Production Manager: MARY K. BOTOSAN
Associate Director: JEREMY QUINN
Musical Director: HENRY RONSON
Production Stage Manager: KIMOTHY CRUSE
Accent on Youth Production Stage Manager: ROY HARRIS
Sound Supervisor: BRANDON WOLCOTT
Lighting Supervisor: PETER HOERBURGER
Accent on Youth Company Manager: SETH SHEPSLE
Accent on Youth Sound Design: OBADIAH EAVES
Accent on Youth Lighting Design: BRIAN MacDEVITT
Accent on Youth Scenic Design: JOHN LEE BEATTY

And The Winner Is�

�Anyone fortunate enough to attend The 65th Annual Theatre World Awards. What a wonderfully-conceived and well-executed awards ceremony! The others (you know to whom I refer) should take many clues from this illustrious affair. Perfect host Peter Filichia set the pace for this constantly entertaining event. Wit and humor flowed easily, appreciation and gratitude were in abundance, and no one could leave the Manhattan Theatre Club that afternoon without a sense of pride to be a part of the theatre community.

A celebration to acknowledge �Promising Personalities� conceived by Daniel Blum, Norman McDonald and John Willis in 1944, the Annual Theatre World Awards now includes debut performances in both Broadway and off-Broadway productions. Previous winners and current recipients come together to support this traditional occasion.

Recipients gracing this year�s stage were:

DAVID ALVAREZ, Billy Elliot The Musical
CHAD L. COLEMAN, Joe Turner�s Come and Gone
JOSH GRISETTI, Enter Laughing: The Musical
HADYN GWYNNE, Billy Elliot The Musical
COLIN HANKS, 33 Variations
MARIN IRELAND, reasons to be pretty
TRENT KOWALIK, Billy Elliot The Musical
KIRIL KULISH, Billy Elliot The Musical
GEOFFREY RUSH, Exit the King

The Cast of The Norman Conquests

Performances by former recipients ANN HAMPTON CALLAWAY (Swing! � 2000), NELLIE McKAY (The Threepenny Opera � 2006) and VIVIAN REED (Bubblin� Brown Sugar � 1976) were the icing on this delightful tribute to 2009 Outstanding Broadway or Off-Broadway Debuts. Try to get your hands on an invitation to next year�s THEATRE WORLD AWARDS � I�m certainly putting it on my �to-do� list.

- Laurie Lawson -


E-mail: info@watchfiremusic.com

An Inspirational Internet Record Company & Online Store

The war in Iraq drones on with more casualties every day; we are setting records for rainfall in the East as we patiently wait for summer; and our President�s approval ratings have never been so low. Who couldn�t use a little inspiration? And nothing speaks to the soul like music. Just in time, along comes WATCHFIRE MUSIC, an inspirational record company and online store. With an aspiration to become the inspirational iTunes of the music world, this website (currently under construction) promises to offer listeners of any denomination much-needed inspiration on several levels - an inspirational song of the day, downloadable singles and albums, information about the classic and up-and-coming artists who are making inspirational music one of the country�s most popular genres today, and much more. Check out the website above at the beginning of August; they should be up and running full force by then. Meanwhile, for a sample of the music available (these ain�t your daddy�s hymnal songs!), catch Naomi Judd�s New Morning Show (Sundays at 10 AM on the Hallmark Channel). 75 million homes have already been given a dose of inspiration. Now anyone with a computer can get their soul soaring. What a glorious gift WATCHFIRE MUSIC will be to people of all beliefs and value systems!
To read about the exciting launch of WATCHFIRE MUSIC, click here.

- Laurie Lawson -




 Kessa De Santis Interviews Brett James About the Project

 September 1, 2004 (New York, NY) � If you have been around the five boroughs of NYC this past week, you have probably seen them. Randomly hung black and white posters. Each bears a photograph, a name, a short description, a number, and a statement, �Not Just A Statistic.� These are images of the 953 soldiers the United States had lost to the Iraqi conflict as of the date this first wave of the NOT JUST A STATISTIC project was completed.

As a brief introduction, NOT JUST A STATISTIC is a graffiti-style poster project that was created and installed for the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City (at Madison Square Garden August 30 � September 2). The project itself entailed creating individual posters for every American soldier to have lost their life to hostile fire in Iraq. In order to complete the massive undertaking, a team of artists, editors, and just good old citizen volunteers undertook to research the lives of the soldiers, to summarize those lives with single, humanizing facts, to compile the data, edit it, generate the posters, and hang them around the five boroughs of New York.

 The brainchild of filmmaker Brett James, I had the opportunity to conduct a virtual interview about NOT JUST A STATISTIC just days before the GOP was set to come to my hometown. If you are reading this interview months later, I would imagine that, as planned, this very patriotic endeavor has recently made the trip to your city. If you are reading this interview months later, I would imagine that the number of our lost brothers and sisters has climbed well beyond 1000.

 Kessa De Santis:  How did this project originate?

Brett James:  I challenged everyone around me to come up with something that would make a difference. Something beyond preaching to the choir, something that could appeal to everyone. That was a tricky. I knew it would be about the war, because that's the only reason I'm doing this. I have feelings about abortion rights and the economy, but they wouldn't have made me drop everything to pursue a project like this.

 KD:  Why the soldiers?

 BJ:  They're real heroes. The more I work on this, the more impressed I am: they are fighting this war like they were defending their own doorsteps. And the reaction they get for being killed and maimed in action ranges from blind empathy to open disdain. It's awful. I have so much respect for these people for following orders and we owe it to them to make sure the orders they are getting are the right ones.

Defending your country sounds like a worn-out, war-mongering term, but when 9/11 happened and West Berlin happened these are the same people we looked to to do what we the everyday person couldn't.

Another way of looking at it is if the Bush administration is like getting hit by a drunk driver, the rest of us are the people who maybe lost our car and got scratched up and everyone says, "The important thing is you're okay." These soldiers are the ones that didn't make it.

KD:  What have your other artistic endeavors entailed?

BJ:  In real life, I'm a filmmaker. This is a total left turn. But it's the right thing to do, so I'm trying to adapt.

KD:  Were you in the armed forces? Your friends/family?

BJ:  None of my family, but the Gulf War happened while I was in college. I had a lot of friends who had gone into the military and it was a very tense time for all of us. Of course, that war proved far less deadly and at least had a semblance of an excuse for existing.

KD:  Have you lost anyone to this/any conflict?

BJ:  Very fortunately, I don't really have anyone I know even at risk in this conflict. Except, of course, for the expected backlash. I do believe that this pointless war is going to cause the death of more American civilians. It's pretty much the exact opposite of actually defending this country.

KD:  In conducting research, what has come as a surprise?

BJ:  I knew I would be affected by it, but I had no idea how much. The goal of the project was to catch people unawares, but before the posters have even gone up, everyone involved has been struck by it. It's hard, you're digging around someone's life trying to find the humanizing sentence and you can't help but get to know these guys and then you run across one that you're like, "I would have really liked this person if I knew them." And then you have a meltdown. Almost everyone on the project has gone through this.

KD:  You mention NYers going about their business, but what do you want the people in town for RNC to "get" from the posters?

BJ:  I'm not trying to bring down the RNCers, but I do feel they'll be too jumped up and focused on their campaign ahead to allow themselves to be swayed from their path by anything, much less this project.

Still, I'm not trying to insult them or tell them their candidate is evil. I'm just trying to tell them, "This is something you should really think about before you vote." So maybe they'll take a little time to listen. If we can even make them doubt a little, it might force
the leadership to back down from their overt war-mongering.

KD:  The idea of the posters reminds me of the Missing flyers that papered the city just after 9/11. Is that just a coincidence?

BJ:  No coincidence. We looked at a lot of the 9/11 stuff; 9/11 is the other great tragedy of the Bush administration. Saying that might offend those affected by 9/11 and not about the war, but maybe it's time people started thinking about it that way.

But the 9/11 stuff is far from the only influence. We spent a lot of time thinking about how the protesting in Vietnam only managed to polarize American feelings. I've always felt we could do better than that.

KD:  Have you received input/research from active service people?

BJ:  No. Sad. But no. The closest I got was an email from a person whose father had died in Vietnam. I didn't get it at first, because he was just sending me a list of humanizing facts about a soldier. Then he told me it was his father. He's been one of the great contributors to this project, which I keep close to my heart. Because if it works for him, there's hope it will work for others.

KD:  How does this project fit into the Brett James overall artistic vision?

BJ:  Like a square peg. In fact, the melancholy from this project will probably make me unproductive for months.
 Excerpted from the NOT JUST A STATISTIC mission statement:

The plan is to hang over nine hundred individual posters, one for each American soldier who was killed in Iraq, around the five boroughs of New York City. The posters will each have a picture of the soldier, their name, and a single humanizing fact. Such as, "Favorite dessert was chocolate ice cream." Or, "Planned on being a doctor." It's just connecting the viewer with a soldier, an American, who has died for this war. After all, you cannot know if something is worth the price until you know what the price is.

                    Calling All Rising Stars
                       Gotta Sing, Gotta Dance

If you know a budding Bernadette Peters or Nathan Lane, there�s a 
summer program that may be right up their tin pan alley. Camp 
Broadway�, a program created in 1995 for children ages 6-17 is 
designed to teach kids who love to perform the art of putting on 
a Broadway musical. 

Imagine a place where young performers can learn the tricks of the 
trade, show off all they�ve learned to their friends and families, 
meet Broadway stars, see how a Broadway show really operates, and 
then attend a professional performance� that�s what Camp Broadway� 
is all about. 

The program is broken into three separate sections. Rising Stars�, 
Camp Broadway�, and the Master Class Career Discovery Program.�

Rising Stars� focuses on the littlest thespians and will take place 
on July 12th through the16th 2004. Geared for children between the 
ages of six and nine, the sessions last for half a day and include fun 
activities in singing and dancing as well as lessons from theater 
professionals on mask making, storytelling, make-up and rhythm. It 
also includes a special lunch with Broadway guests and a musical 
presentation for friends and family. The cost for the entire program 
is $675 per child.

Camp Broadway�, for children age ten through seventeen, will have two 
separate sessions in New York City this summer: July 12th � 16th and 
August 2nd � 6th. Each five, all day session includes classes in voice,
dance, movement and ensemble singing, in addition to rehearsing the 
dialogue, musical numbers and dance routines that will be performed 
during the grand Family Finale at the end of the week. And, if that is 
not enough, the kids are treated to celebrity lunch guests, an inside 
look at a Broadway theater, a �Salute to Singin� and Dancin� Kids 
Luncheon� with Broadway stars young and old, and tickets to a matinee 
performance with a behind-the-scenes look at the workings of a real 
Broadway show. 

If you can�t make it to New York City, have no fear. Camp Broadway� 
the National Tour offers a similar program in Atlanta Georgia, Tempe 
Arizona, Providence Rhode Island, Detroit Michigan, Jacksonville 
Florida and Buffalo New York as well. The cost of the program is $950. 

Last but not least, there is the Master Class Career Discovery Program�. 
Designed for children between the ages of thirteen and seventeen who 
are seriously considering a career in the performing arts, this 
intense, five day program starts on August 2nd and ends on the 6th. 
Unlike the other sections, there are requirements to enter the Master 
Class � you have to be a Camp Broadway� alumni or submit a r�sum� and 
a letter of recommendation. During the program, aspiring performers 
attend workshops in acting/monologue work, scene study, vocal 
technique, song interpretation and lessons in a variety of dance 
styles such as: tap, jazz and musical theater. Then they will use 
what they�ve learned in a performance showcase. They are also treated 
to seminars given by theater professionals on topics ranging from 
creating a perfect headshot and future training options to the 
realities of working in the business. The cost for the program is 

Interested in seeing what the hoopla is all about? The New York City 
groups all meet at Theaterworks in Chelsea and the final performances 
are presented in the theater at the Fashion Institute of Technology. 

For applications, scholarship information or other questions, check 
out the Camp Broadway� website at www.campbroadway.com or you can call:

                           - Pat Warren -
EN GUARDE!:� Swordfighting 101
                   EN GUARDE!: Swordfighting 101
          ME AND MY RAPIER: How I Learned to Swing A Blade 
                  at the Women-At-Arms Festival
                      By Kessa De Santis

For eleven days in October, The Lady Cavaliers returned to New York 
City to host the second annual Women-At-Arms Festival. The 2003 
Festival included the world premiere of CAMILLA: Vergil�s Warrior 
Princess (translated and adapted by Peter Hilton from Vergil�s AENEID),
four short plays, three stage combat workshops and two lectures.

The Lady Cavaliers are an impressive theater company featuring "women 
who fight." Having seen them perform, I already knew that they are 
skilled, professional, and theatrically powerful. Having experienced 
them as a viewer, I had to wonder what it was like on the other side. 
I wanted to know how these women learn to fight.

So, when the opportunity arose as this year�s Women-At-Arms festival, 
I decided to take a two-hour workshop called "Introduction to 
Swordfighting." Helmed by Carrie Brewer, co-Artistic Director of 
The Lady Cavaliers, I was amazed to find that in that brief time I, 
too, felt that spark. The choreographed footwork, the careful stances, 
arm motions, the clanking of metal against metal � I experienced it 
all; and though I would have to admit that I really was not very good 
at it at all, I felt invigorated by the experience.

What I did learn was, of course, very basic. Single rapier in cautious 
hand, I was taught to get into fight stance, also known as En Guarde, 
to advance and retreat (move forward and backward), to cut and parry, 
to croise (make my sword sound a very theatrical swoosh), and to safely
elude my partner�s encroaching stomach slash. Put together, and you 
will have to use your imaginations here, the final product of my 
training was a short stint, with a partner, that looked and sounded 
something like this (I am retreating as my partner advances on me, so 
there is constant motion):

"Clank" � swords meet above our heads
"Clank" � swords meet pointing to the floor
"Clank" � above
"Clank" � below
"Clank" � above
"Clank" � I block a hit to my right arm
"Clank" � I swing around to block a hit to my left arm
"Clank" � I drop my blade to protect my thigh
"Swoosh" � Caught in a croise, my blade swishes behind me
"Whoosh" � I jump back to avoid the attempted stomach slash

In my own clunky way, I actually accomplished a small feat in the realm
of stage combat. If I could do it, and enjoy it as much as I did, then 
anyone with an itch to learn this very special art form should try it. 
That means you especially, ladies! When you can learn from professionals 
who make the training athletic, energetic, educational and fun too, 
well, why not? I have newfound understanding of the skill and intricacy 
involved in even the simplest choreographed combat scene. I know how 
undervalued a good fight director can be. I have discovered an entirely
new way of appreciating the many unnoted contributions of the "women 
who fight." Having held a sword in my tiny hand, I begin to understand 
why just about every man I know seemed to get an almost erotic thrill 
at the suggestion that I learn to fight with it, and an even clearer 
idea why those who know me a little bit better all but cringed with 
palpable fear. There�s sexy grrrl power in them there blades!


New perspective in tow, let me bring you back to the beginning, and a 
time when I merely enjoyed the clanking of swords from afar. As I 
mentioned, I have seen The Lady Cavaliers in active performance, most 
notably in the October 2000 run of GLORIA by Peter Hilton. Following 
that, I had the opportunity to interview title-character Carrie Brewer 
for Electronic Link Journey as part of our New and Noteworthy features.
That interview can be viewed in its entirety at 

Do you want to learn more? Of course you do! Check out 
www.ladycavaliers.com and The Society of American Fight Directors 
(SAFD) at http://www.safd.org/.

Past and Present, and Looking Toward the Future

I first met playwright Alex Ladd in 2000, when I interviewed him after 
seeing a remounted version of his hilarious one act play, NICETOWN.  
Following that run, Ladd and director Nolan Haims collaborated for the 
first time, when Ladd's GREATER THAN MAGELLAN was part of the 2000 
Samuel French Festival.  Since then, together and apart, these two 
budding talents have continued to work in this often-brutal business.  
Occasionally, due to my friendship, I have been witness to the starting 
points of what later became full-fledged projects.  That is most especially
the case with the latest Ladd-Haims endeavor, CHEKHOV'S RIFLE.

Having attended readings of two earlier versions of CHEKHOV'S RIFLE, I know, 
based on the full production running at Greenwich Street Theater, what got 
fixed, what still sticks, and how far the script has come along.  Seeing 
the play, finally, onstage I have definite opinions about the production.  
I have issues with some of the casting, and would have preferred that they 
picked up the pace a notch.  I would have liked some real women characters 
up there. I would have demanded that rage be played as rage, and not as some 
sad, anemic second-cousin sucking the life breath out of the room, and that 
the moments of climax had as much impact as the butt of that rifle.  I would 
have kicked some actors' asses for not getting it right.

Aside from these, the gripes of the theater critic, however, I have to say 
that overall I am impressed with how CHEKHOV'S RIFLE finally came together.  
Featuring the talented Austin Pendleton (the only "name" in the cast) as a 
beleaguered and bitter playwright, Harry Trollope, and one of Mr. Pendleton's 
students, Craig Bachmann, as the amazingly dense actor, Tim Hunter, Mr. Ladd's 
first full-length play to hit the stage is as much about the struggle for 
success as it is a battle of wills between mismatched roommates.  Part social 
commentary about the state of the arts, of celebrity, and of the writer, and 
partly a theatrical melding of some of Ladd's great literary influences, 
CHEKHOV'S RIFLE is ultimately, and perhaps most importantly the product of 
some very hard work.  

The toil has culminated in an interesting blending of talent.  The newcomer 
sits along the seasoned pro here, and award winners like Pendleton and the 
delightful Jess Osuna get to play off actors that range from the up and coming 
to the never to be heard from again.  Add to the mix the design team, who 
working on a shoestring of a budget, created a reasonable facsimile of a New
York apartment (set designer, Michele Spadaro), and found the wardrobe to 
match (costume designer, Wade Laboissonniere), and you can see how promising 
a production like CHEKHOV'S RIFLE can be, and that is from any perspective.

So, no, as a friend, as a critic, as a casual observer, no, CHEKHOV'S RIFLE 
is not perfect.  It is, most definitely, pretty damned respectable, very 
ambitious, and teeming with intelligence.  Next stop on the Ladd-Haims hit 
parade?  I can only wish them that grand slam they deserve.

                            - Kessa De Santis -

Presented by the Lord Strange Troupe, CHEKHOV'S RIFLE runs through October 4, 
2003 at the Greenwich Street Theater, 547 Greenwich St.  Tickets are $15 and 
available at (212) 868-4444 or www.smarttix.com.

BROADWAY THEATER INSTITUTE 2003 Awards for Excellence
                    2003 Awards for Excellence

                           THE PLAYERS
                      16 Gramercy Park, NYC
                    Monday, September 15, 2003

With a proclamation from New York City Mayor Michael R.
Bloomberg declaring September 15, 2003, Broadway Theater
Institute Day and a written salutation from State Senator Liz
Krueger, the BROADWAY THEATER INSTITUTE paid tribute
to some of its own shining stars with their 2003 Awards for
Excellence.  Recipients included The Players, accepted by John
Martello, for Excellence in Theater History Preservation; The 
BMI-Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, accepted by Maury
Yeston, for Excellence in Theatre Arts Education; and Materials for
the Arts, presented by B.D. Wong to Executive Director Harriet
Taub, for Distinguished Service to the Theater.  St. Malachy's - The
Actors' Chapel received a Special Award on its 100th Anniversary. 
Fr. Joseph Kelly, S.J. accepted this honor from Malachy McCourt.
Patricia Elliott presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to
John Willis, Editor of Theatre World.  An announcement was made
by BTI president Helen Marie Guditis of plans for a Theatre Museum 
in Times Square. In keeping with its mission of preserving the tradition 
and saluting the talent that makes Broadway Theatre an international 
treasure, the Broadway Theater Institute 2003 Awards for Excellence 
proved to be reason for celebration indeed.
                      - Laurie Lawson -
August 21, New York, NY

On August 21, in the second year of a burgeoning annual event, 
Studio 42 and TheaterMania presented a thoroughly New York party, 
The Starving Artists Ball.  An evening that has matured and 
sophisticated since the inception, the 2003 Ball was an eclectic, 
electric event, almost from the moment I walked through the doors 
of The Metropolitan Pavilion.

The program for the evening featured remarks by current Broadway 
babes Frederick Weller of Take Me Out and Stephanie D'Abruzzo of 
Avenue Q (John Tartaglia, also scheduled to speak, was unable to 
attend), and the unveiling of the Starving Artist Award, created 
and donated by Jonathan Adler.  This Starving Artists Ball drew 
seasoned pros, Broadway newcomers and the up and coming into one 
space and time in pursuit of a common goal - to raise money for 
the Starving Artist Award Fund so that a worthy individual or 
organization from the emerging downtown arts scene can benefit, 
and thereby continue to produce art.

Both Mr. Weller and Ms. D'Abruzzo gave speeches illustrating their 
personal experiences and often-difficult choices as artists with 
economic constraints.  The former mentioned agents, advice, and 
gut feelings, whilst the latter focused more on the budgetary woes 
of the two-freelance household.  Each, individually, but also in 
concert touched on a universal truth, however; fulfilling a dream 
is hard, and no one with any sense expects to become rich as an
artist.  So what, then, does one do when one is an artist?  You 
get the day job, take any gig that furthers the pursuit of the dream, 
and hope, hope, hope!  

In contrast to the inaugural Ball, held in the tight space of 45 Below, 
the 2003 Starving Artists Ball was held in the spacious and accommodating 
Pavilion.  Another major difference was that the formal program did not 
begin until the final hour of the evening, after the curtains for the
speakers' shows had gone down.  The late program paired with the great 
space, and ample schmooze-room meant that the real features of the Ball 
were the drink, the dance and the people watching.  It also meant that 
about half of the attendees chatted right through keynote speeches.

That glitch aside, from what I observed, a good time was had by all at 
the 2003 Starving Artists Ball.  The crowd, everyone from the dorky to 
the divine, went all out on the dance floor.  There, I got a real run 
for my money from press colleague and veteran mime/performer Richmond
Shepard, whose signature style was a unique combination of dance, 
calisthenics and mime.  He certainly set me spinning across the floor 
a few times!  Like I said, a good time, and a great party.

                    - Kessa De Santis - 
Strange Fruit
                         Strange Fruit
           A Profile of Playwright/Producer Alex Ladd
           by Kessa De Santis

          A Shakespeare enthusiast, and the author of the recently
          revived NICETOWN, a thoroughly modern farce, there is
          nothing stereotypical about Alex Ladd.  Neither maverick
          isolationist, nor sycophant, he has created opportunities for
          himself, and others, where he has found them lacking.  In a
          city plagued with cutbacks and dwindling budgets, he has
          become, perhaps unwittingly, among the pioneers in the
          future of local theater.  An advocate of collaboration, Ladd
          exudes a palpable passion when speaking about his chosen
          craft, an art for which he has genuine talent.
          "To be, or not to be, that is the question..."
          Ladd, who became a journalist after studying at NYU, and
          who currently works as a translator, has been writing plays
          for five years.  To date, three of his works have been
          produced in New York City.  Both NICETOWN and
          COUNTRYMEN were part of Present Tense Production's
          1998 series The Soho Triptych.  In 1999, RIGOLETTO ON
          THE RANCH was part of The Lord Strange Troupe's first
          season, in a showcase called Strange Plays Indeed.
          As an up and coming artist, Ladd quickly became frustrated
          with the perceived lack of any coherent theatrical "scene" in
          New York City that was nurturing of the creative process. 
          So, he set out to invent his own.  Having gone through a
          stage of working alone, Ladd now embraces a collaborative
          model of creativity that suits him well.  Along with Beth
          Holden, he is the co-founder and co-artistic director of The
          Lord Strange Troupe, a group which seeks to attract and
          nurture a talented community of writers, actors and directors. 
          Following their inaugural year, in 2000 the group has already
          begun to sponsor readings by guest playwrights.  They will
          produce another showcase in the Fall.
          Ladd, a proud fan of The Bard, has also affiliated himself, as
          associate producer, with Judith Shakespeare Company
          (Joanne Zipay, artistic director).  During their Festival 2000,
          June 25 through July 22, the award-winning group will be
          staging productions of both JULIUS CAESAR and
          COMEDY OF ERRORS.  Alex Ladd informed me of the
          group effort that has gone into producing these plays, noting,
          "I think that it is an interesting model in these times of
          Not surprisingly, The Lord Strange Troupe, in its original
          incarnation, included William Shakespeare among its
          members.  The modern group has, as its philosophy, a
          commitment to producing quality plays that are strange only
          in the sense of their originality.  Also in favor of staging plays
          that challenge assumptions and conventions, Judith
          Shakespeare Company has cast this year's JULIUS CAESAR
          to be completely reverse-gender.  Perhaps a natural blending
          of approaches, these two theater groups seem obvious cousins
          in the universe of the innovative.
          Alex Ladd's 1998 comedy NICETOWN had a well deserved,
          if too short, revival in May of 2000.(see review in Off-Broadway) 
          Having had the pleasure of reviewing the original
          version, presented as part of The Soho Triptych, as well as the
          updated one, I was curious about Ladd's take on the different
          interpretations.  He stated quite emphatically that he was
          humbled the second time around, as he witnessed his play
          being reinvented by an entirely new cast.  He seems to
          embrace the changes, and the possibility of various, even
          disparate, stagings of any given work, rather than consider
          them to be intrusions upon his singular artistic vision. 
          Among his complaints was the short, six performance run
          NICETOWN was limited to this time around.  "...these
          productions are always so ephemeral.  Six performances are
          not enough!"
          "All the world's a stage..."
          When the opportunity to interview Alex Ladd arose,
          naturally I inquired about his particular creative process. 
          Ladd admits to being an avid eavesdropper.  In fact, he
          credits this tendency with supplying one fount of inspiration. 
          Specifically, he can vividly trace the genesis of NICETOWN
          to a 1997 encounter he witnessed in a Soho bar.  He is also
          affected by literature.  His next group of plays will be a
          trilogy.  The first of the group, GREATER THAN
          MAGELLAN, was inspired by lines in Portuguese author
          Fernando Pessoa's Book of Disquietude.
          Ladd, when articulating his particular process, demonstrates
          that essential quality which enables him to begin with the
          slimmest kernel of an idea, and through sheer creativity,
          expand it into a coherent, satisfying piece of theater.  He also
          admits to the necessity of accepting the often combative
          relationship between playwright and director, rather than
          shying away from confrontation.  Having identified this
          dynamic as an essential part of the process, Ladd seems
          willing to accept the stresses that accompany any mounting
          of a theatrical production.
          Alex Ladd's labors have begun to bear fruit.  His instinct to
          embrace and nurture a collaborative model may soon tangibly
          reward him on the business side of the artistic plane.  On
          June 6, Ladd was notified that GREATER THAN
          MAGELLAN will be presented as part of the prestigious Sam
          French Festival on July 10.  In my opinion, it is an accolade
          that is well deserved.          
          For more information about:
          - Alex Ladd, e-mail him at ALadd6@aol.com
          - The Lord Strange Troupe, write to:
                    708 Boulevard East, C7
                    Weehawken, NJ 07087
The Manhattan Prairie Dogs
                           JL -


The Gilman & Gonzalez-Falla Theatre Foundation was established
by philanthropists Sondra Gilman and her husband, Celso M.
Gonzalez-Falla.  Dedicated to supporting persons and organizations
developing and producing musical and non-musical plays, Lincoln
Center Theatre, Tony Randall's National Actors' Theatre, Manhattan
Theatre Club, San Diego's Ensemble Arts Theatre, and the York
Theatre are just a few of the worthy artistic endeavors that have
received grants for their efforts.  Not satisfied with this tremendous
boost to the musical community, for the last seven years the
Foundation has been selecting composers and composer/lyricist teams
who have achieved, or show promise of achieving, musical mastery 
to receive an astounding $25,000 grant. There are no restrictions on this money.
This year's lucky recipient is ROBERT LINDSEY NASSIF.  With
a musicals like "Eliot Ness In Cleveland," "Opal,"  and 
"Honky-Tonk Highway"already under his belt, you're sure to be hearing more
from this talented composer. At a gala Award Ceremony in the
Vivian Beaumont Theatre on September 14th,  the Musical Theatre
Award was presented to Nassif.  Past recipients, hopeful future
recipients, and supporters of the musical community mingled and
shared their enthusiasm for theatre and its music.  As a special delight,
the audience was treated to a medley of songs from Nassif's musicals. 
The Foundation's Award Committee is comprised of Lincoln Center
Artistic Director Andre Bishop, composer Jerry Herman, producer
Gregory Mosher, advertising executive Jon Wilner, Goodman
Theatre Artistic Director Robert Falls, and, of course, Gilman, and
Gonzalez-Falla.  For more information about The Gilman &
Gonzalez-Falla Theatre Foundation and its Musical Theatre
Award, call (212) 734-8011.  
               -Laurie Lawson-
Annie -- Way Off Broadway
                   ANNIE -- WAY OFF BROADWAY

If you have ever wondered if the price of a Broadway theatre
ticket is too extravagant to waste on a young person or if culture
can only be absorbed by mature individuals, the answer lies buried
in Waterville, Ohio.  In this small town there is a video that will
dispel all doubts about the value of introducing the arts at an early
age.  I have had the privilege of viewing this spectacular production
of ANNIE; although you probably will not be as fortunate, I
promise that every word written here is true.
A little background information--Aunt Faye, sophisticated New
York City career woman, decided to treat her favorite nieces -
Kelly, Sarah, and Emily Argentine - to theatre tickets for ANNIE. 
She noticed that after the performance all three were dancing in the
streets of New York and singing the songs they had just heard.  She
bought them a soundtrack of the play and thought little more of the
event.  The girls returned to their home in Waterville, Ohio.
Months later they summoned their unsuspecting parents, Barry
and Gail, upstairs to the attic and requested that they bring the
family video recorder.  The attic had been transformed into a
theatre, complete with box office (tickets cost a mere  twenty-five
cents!), a stage curtain, and sets resembling the orphanage made
famous by ANNIE.  Kelly, Sarah, and Emily presented the entire
play singing along with the soundtrack, making several costume
changes, playing a variety of characters and setting up scenes as
they went along.  Cinematographer Barry managed to preserve
most of this awe-inspiring event on tape (caught totally unaware, he
ran out of tape mid-point but luckily another was quickly found). 
What he captured was three young ladies whose talents may have
remained unnoticed without the inspiration of ANNIE.  We learned
that Emily was a marvelous singer, hitting all the notes in the
difficult-to-sing songs and that Kelly possessed a gentle grace that
was evident when she was singing and dancing.  Sarah directed the
production and filled in the action between the songs.  The results
were astounding.  Were they worth $75 a seat?  You bet!  It's an
investment with unending returns.
The girls are expected back in New York City this summer. I
can hardly wait to see what they do with the LION KING!
Relieving Santa Stress

Santa is on his way, and the stress is building.  The stores are
crowded, the streets are jammed, and all you need to do is find the
one particular toy that sold out two weeks ago.  What is a frazzled
parent to do?  Your kids have given you a list of things they have to
have, and you're considering floating a loan.  The threats of "you'd
better be good or Santa won't come see you" are wearing thin.
Well, here is a holiday gift for you.  Myrna B. Shure has come up
with a revolutionary way to involve your child in this Christmas chaos
and let them come up with creative ways to solve some of these
problems.  She calls it the "I-Can-Solve-Problems" Program (ICPS),
and it's detailed in a step-by-step procedure in her book, RAISING
A THINKING CHILD.  Schools use it, parent groups use it, and
you can use it too.  It's guaranteed to be more fun than screaming
your lungs out.  There are games galore, role playing, word plays, and
lots more that will get your child thinking about his feelings, the
feelings of others, and the consequences of his actions.  
Tips like asking your child what two small gifts would make him just
as happy as the one large (and possibly unattainable) gift he has
requested will make you wonder where Shure has been all of your
parenting life.  She's been out there winning awards, appearing on
"Oprah," and introducing her program all around the country.  And
now you can put this documentedly-effective ICPS Program into use
at your house (it has been proven successful with children as young as
three years old).  RAISING A THINKING CHILD is available at
bookstores in both paperback and audio book.  See our review of
Myrna B. Shure's book in our "Books" section for more details
about this fantastic program.

The Physiological Basis for Intuition

People sometimes know things that they don't have any reasonable way of knowing. This has been called a gut feeling, intuition, and even psychic ability.

Many people rely heavily on this ability. For some people this intuition is correct as often as their conscious reasoning is.

Science has often written this off as luck or chance. But some peopleactually tend to do much better than chance. Are they psychic, intuitive, ... or what?

It appears that the brain does far more processing than we are consciousof.

In fact for each and every sensation that is presented to us, thereare five stages that the perception of this sensation must pass through before we are conscious of the fact that we smell lavender or feel silk. It will take approximately 500 milliseconds to traverse all five stages and reach the stage of conscious perception. If the stimulus is reduced so that it will only reach the fourth stage, the average person will not be conscious that they have

seen a light or felt something. When asked about what they experienced,

they will say that nothing happened. If they are randomly presented

or not presented with a stimulus that doesn't reach consciousness,

and then asked to guess, the hit rate is significantly higher than chance.Thus it appears that many subconscious factors may still be

registered and processed by the brain, but never allowed to be

consciously experienced. In the 1970's this was introduced to the public as subliminal experiences in the book appropriately named Subliminal Seduction. The premise here is that some peopleknow that not everything is consciously experienced because it is too short or too hidden. Thus these slimey people, namely advertisers in the book, take advantage of this fact and subliminally make their product more seductive.On the flip side of this argument, this subliminal processing system may also be responsible for our intuitive or psychic abilities.

The ultimate question here is whether this intuitive or subliminal processing system can be enhanced or otherwise improved.

It has been anecdotally noticed that a smart drug called DMAE tends to cause the user to describe themselves as more intuitive or psychic - not smarter. It would be interesting to test DMAE in subliminal awareness experiments.

Maybe what makes us smarter isn't always what we can consciously reason out. This page is maintained by...

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