Bond … Irving Bond

IG_portrait.jpgAi has the pleasure of speaking with prolific author, Irving A. Greenfield. His writing style – as you can see – is one of depicting adventure both in realistic and fantastic realms. His is now a celebrated playwright with a new work premiering next month at the legendary American Theatre of Actors, directed by his friend and colleague, Laurie Rae Waugh.
His latest, BANNED IN BISBEE is both fantastic and realistic: Captain Jack Boxer and Master Chief Gomez step out of the author’s mental world and into real life with the help of the author GREENFIELD to right a wrong.  Looking to change a ban on his DEPTH FORCE SERIES and all of his other books, do they succeed?
This clever stage tome pokes fun and showcases the works of this powerhouse scribe. 

 

Well, Mr. Greenfield, tell us about yourself as an artist

I do not consider myself to be an artist, but I consider myself to be a craftsman. You might consider that a semantic difference, but from my point of view and experience it is not. Words are building blocks. Put together in a particular way they become something else. Whatever that something else is, depends on what the author wants to say. 
Tell us about the play and what was the inspiration in writing it? 
My books were banned in Bisbee for the reason stated in the play. I thought it would make a good comedy if the characters in the book come out of the book and demand justice.
Do you feel the play resonates with audiences today? 
The play is about freedom of speech. Today that freedom, as specified in the First Amendment of the Constitution is in grave danger from a feckless President, Congress, and Senate.   
This is not your first rodeo with Laurie. tell me how you two work together. 
Working with Laurie has been a wonderful experience. She reads my work as I want it to be read.
What’s your next endeavor? 
I hope to turn a screenplay that I have written into a viable vehicle for the stage. Different kinds of creative thinking and writing are required for a film or play. 

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This Orchard bore marvelous fruit

IMG_8463 4.JPGThe Cherry Orchard By Anton Chekhov
Classic Summer Series and Female Voices in Theatre
The American Theatre Of Actors, John Cullum Theatre
314 West 54th St, New York, NY 10019

Review by Alexa Garcia

The Cherry Orchard is the last play written by Anton Chekhov, produced by the Moscow Art Theatre before his death in 1904.  It’s considered to most people as Chekhov’s greatest play. The story takes places in a provincial estate in Russia at the turn of the twentieth century dealing with society and class, memories/past, love, home, and change. Now, see a more modern turn of this beautiful play at the American Theatre of Actors as part of its Classic Summer Series.

Director Jessica Jennings Puentevella set the play in 1965 putting a fresh variation of the classic tragicomedy. The play begins with Luba (Madame Ranevsky) just coming home from Paris to find out that she has a heavy debt and if unsolved her estate will be auctioned off.  Emrol (aka Lopakhin), repeatedly warns her about the issues they will encounter if they fail to pay off the mortgage. Yet Luba, doesn’t listen at all and continues to keep spending money they do not have. The rest of the family is caught up in the past wanting to relive all the good times.

The play was excellently done, creating an even and compelling blend of the drama and comedy. The use of props made the production more modern and a bit odd at times. The actors dressed in costumes befitting America in the 60s contributed an interpretation that both worked well theatrically and easy for all audiences to comprehend.

The expert cast included Jane Culley (Charlotte), Alexander Chilton (Peter), Cait Kiley (Velma aka. Varya), Eli Douglas LaCroix (Simon aka. Epikhodov), Joy Foster (Flor aka. Fiers), Joyce Lao (Deloris Pischin), Shanya Lawson (Anna), Johnny Blaze Leavitt (Leonard aka. Gaev), Susan Ly (Francesca aka. Dunyasha), Laris Macario (Emrol aka. Yermoli Lophakin), Monica Blaze (Luba aka Mdm. Ranevsky), and Elizabeth Chappel (Frankie aka. Yasha). Each actor, the concept and staging … fantastic.

 

I think I’ll go read the original.

… singing a song of angry men

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4 $tages By Anthony J. Piccione
Planet Connections Theatre
The Clemente, The Flamboyán
107 Suffolk St, New York, NY 10002
Review by Alexa Garcia

Anthony J. Piccione adeptly reveals how society looks today – and you ain’t gonna like it!

Society that is; the play was marvelous.

A tale of greed, corruption, and revolution done with abstract movement that uncovers some of the biggest issues facing American society in this century. In its brief time on stage, this one-act play explores the issues plaguing America and our political and economic systems – from wealth inequality to runaway imperialism. This play reveals all and, through 4 stages, you’ll see how America got to where it is today as well as the possibility of what could come next.

4 $tages is running as a double bill with Arabella but this production is benefiting Our Revolution. Our Revolution is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to electing candidates who are fully committed to promoting social equality, and economic justice.  4 $tages is written by Anthony J. Piccione and directed by Jami Chokachi. Ensemble-driven pieces seen to take a front seat at this year’s Planet Connections Fest and 4 $tages is a shining example of it done well. The superior cast included Shana Danielle Casey, Mikaeli Cruz, Silvia Dionicio, Elena Du Pisanie, Monica Howe, Jessica Lee, Finty McBain, Rita McCann, Niamh Ryan, Victor Steel, and Shane Zimmerman.

The cast did an amazing job with visualization of expression, dance/movement, and projection. Piccione – like the sparse dialogue in The Handmaid’s Tale – gave us so much to think about with just a few words and he and Chokachi molded foreboding scenarios beautifully. The unapologetic message of the production was to inform the audience of all the corruption, greed and ugliness society tries to hide and ignore. Personally, I was enthralled with their inference of change – or there will be a revolution coming.

Piccione is a surely prophetic playwright.

Twelfth Night Review By Robert Viagas; Free Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte Theater

Screen+Shot+2018-05-20+at+1.20.27+PM.pngTwelfth Night Review

Free Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte Theater

By Robert Viagas

The Public Theatre’s free Shakespeare in Central Park series delivers a joyous, fun-and-games musical adaption of Twelfth Night with a cast of dozens, representing multiple ages, ethnicities and genders.

Shakespeare’s story of romance, cross-dressing, and mistaken identities on the shore of Illyria has been stripped down to a 90-minute intermissionless playdate that includes only the most famous speeches and scenes from the Bard’s original, intercut with swirling color and heartfelt melody.

Those melodies (and lyrics) are supplied by Shaina Taub, who serves sextuple duty, also playing the piano and accordion, co-conducting the orchestra, and still finding time to perform the role of Feste the jester.

Andrew Kober steals the show as the fussy, bossy servant Malvolio. His song “Count Malvolio” captures his flight of ego-driven fantasy. The idea of imprisoning him in a port-a-potty instead of a cell provides the production with a funny visual.

Nikki M. James brings a sweetness that ripens into toughness as Viola/Cesario. She sings the soul-flavored ballad “Is This Not Love?” as a duet with Ato Blankton-Wood as Orsino.

“You’re the Worst,” a comedy number for Sir Toby Belch (Shuler Hensley), Maria (Lori Brown-Noang) and Sir Andrew (Daniel Hall), is full of funny twists and turns.

Staged by Public Theatre Artistic Director Oskar Eustis, the production packs the Delacorte Theater stage with as diverse a cast as ever seen there, including mobs of children, a Malvolio who winds up in a couple with Antonio, and the whole production signed for the deaf throughout by the cast members themselves.

In keeping with the production’s playful concept, the audience invited on stage before the show starts, to skip rope, work a giant checkerboard, play instruments with the cast, etc.

 

Twelfth Night is scheduled to run through August 19 at the outdoor Delacorte Theater in Central Park.

Powerhouse Cast now part of Powerhouse Night of Powerhouse Plays presented by a Powerhouse Company

34984156_10155568112163873_3911756338027298816_nCAST ANNOUNCEMENT: 
PLAYWRIGHTS FOR A CAUSE 
TO BENEFIT FOR THE ALI FORNEY CENTER:

“my sexuality is __________”

PLANET CONNECTIONS’ 2018 PLAYWRIGHTS FOR A CAUSE EVENT.

This year, Planet Connections’ signature event, designed to address a powerful social and topical issue facing our society today through engaging stage works, will explore the distinctions between gender and sexuality. The event will benefit THE ALI FORNEY CENTER, whose mission is to protect LGBTQ youths from the dangers of homelessness and empower them with the tools needed to live independently.

The event will be the evening of August 27 at 7:00 p.m. at the Theater at the 14th Street Y, 344 E 14th St, New York City.

“We decided to put the event at the Theatre at the 14th Street Y as their mission is one of social awareness and change and is Inspired by the immense diversity the East Village has to offer,” said Glory Kadigan, founder and artistic director of Playwrights for a Cause. “In this way, the venue and the subject matter meld into a collaboration of art and education,” concluded Shaun Peknic, Planet Connections’ producing artistic director.

World Premieres by Lucy Boyle, Migdalia Cruz, Gabrielle Fox, Catherine Filloux,
Regina Taylor, and Lucy Thurber will be presented that evening.

Performers include Tony nominee, Elizabeth A. Davis; Drama Desk Nominee and Obie Winner, Eddie Korbich; along with Broadway notables, Maria-Christina Oliveras and Donna Vivino.  Other renowned artists appearing that night include David Anzuelo, Kim Blanck, Lucy DeVito, John DiMino, John Fico, McKenzie Frye, Esco Jouléy, James B. Kennedy, Bethlehem Million, Susannah Perkins, Bradley James Tejeda, Christina Toth and Kita Updike.

The event will be emceed by Planet Connections artists Laura Sisskin-Fernandez and Mateo Moreno. Tickets are now on sale at https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pe.c/10308796

ACCEPTING APPLAUSE by Catherine Filloux
Directed by Susan Tenney

featuring

ANNA: Kim Blanck
RUDOLPH: John Fico
KENYON NOBLE: John DiMino

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ANY OTHER NAME by Regina Taylor
Director – Shira-Lee Shalit

featuring

SERENA: Christina Toth
CYNTHIA: McKenzie Frye
ONE: Bethlehem Million

——————————————————————-

BANK by Lucy Thurber

featuring

DENISE: Lucy DeVito
CHARLIE: David Anzuelo

GENDER FLUIDS AND OTHER DANGEROUS LIQUIDS by Migdalia Cruz

featuring

TAR: Esco Jouléy
CADI: Kita Updike
BLISS: Maria-Christina Oliveras

Both directed by Glory Kadigan

——————————————————————-

HOOTERS by Gabrielle Fox
Directed by Antonio Miniño

featuring

BECCA: Donna Vivino
SAMMY: James B Kennedy

——————————————————————-

MANUEL OR THE SOLDIER THAT WASN’T by Lucy Boyle
Directed by Shaun Peknic

featuring

ANNE/MANUEL: Elizabeth A. Davis
KINGSLEY: Eddie Korbich
LYDIA WATTS: Susannah Perkins
JAMES KNOX: Bradley James Tejeda

——————————————————————-

Understudies for all plays include Planet Connections Award winners Ramiro Batista, Carlotta Brenton, Mle Chester, Molly Collier, Isra Elsalihie, Michael Gnat, Gina LeMoine, Vinny Eden Ortega and Sarah Grace Sanders.

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THE ACTING COMPANY

DAVID ANZUELO (Charlie, Bank) – Theater acting credits: Fish Men (Intar); The Surgeon & Her Daughters (Cherry Lane Mentor Project);12 Angry Men (Northern Stage); The Motherf#cker With the Hat (Kitchen Theater); Oedipus El Rey (Woolly Mammoth). Film: A Walk Among the Tombstones; Remember Me; Prime. TV: The Americans; Elementary; Blue Bloods; White Collar; Mercy; Deadbeat. 

KIM BLANCK (Anna, Accepting Applause) – NYC credits include this summer’s Shakespeare in the Park production of TWELFTH NIGHT and FOLK WANDERING with Pipeline Theatre Company. Regional fare includes La Jolla Playhouse and Tantrum Theater; usual suspect at The Back Room Shakespeare Project and co-creator of “Basic Witch” (JASH/Amazon Prime). MFA, UC San Diego.

ELIZABETH A. DAVIS (Anne/Manuel, Manuel Or The Soldier Who Wasn’t)  – Elizabeth is a Tony Award & Drama Desk Award Nominee, & a NYMF & Innovative Theatre Award winner. BFA, MFA in Theatre Performance. Visit www.elizabethadavis.com for extensive theatre, tv, film & writing credits. www.RevealUnseen.com / www.IndianJoeMusical.com

LUCY DEVITO (Denise, Bank) Theatre: Bump, Hot Mess, How My Grandparents Fell in Love, Love, Loss & What I WoreThe Shoemaker, In Quietness, LucySteel Magnolias (BCP), Bureau of Missing PersonsThe Electric Baby (Two River), Any Given Monday (DTC), Miracle at Naples (Huntington), The Diary of Anne Frank.Film: The ComedianDumbo, CurmudgeonsSleepwalk With Me, Leaves of Grass. TV: “Deadbeat”, “Girls”, “Alpha House”, “Melissa & Joey”.

JOHN DIMINO (Kenyon Noble, Accepting Applause) received his BFA in Drama from NYU Tisch and has been performing in NYC since. He was in last year’s festivities in Alex Riad’s The Floor is Lava and can be seen in November at Theater for the New City in Frank J. Avella’s daring, dangerous and beyond relevant play; Lured. www.johndimino.net

JOHN FICO (Rudolph, Accepting Applause) Planet Connections: Monica Bauer’s MADE FOR EACH OTHER and ANNE FRANK IN THE GAZA STRIP (Outstanding Featured Actor – Comedy).  Also AS I LAY DYING (Live Source) A.R. Gurney’s SCREEN PLAY (Flea Theater), IRON CURTAIN (Prospect Theatre), THE MOST RIDICULOUS THING YOU EVER HOID ( NYMF – Outstanding Ensemble). TV/Web: THE BLACKLIST, I LOVE YOU BUT I LIED, THE OUTS.

MCKENZIE FRYE (Cynthia, Any Other Name)  is a multi-disciplined artist & songwriter from Detroit, MI and a Howard University alum. Off Broadway/ Regional Credits include: Syncing Ink, Wig Out!, Damn Yankees! River Deep and Harriet’s Return. Film and TV credits include: wishing…, The Stronger and Law & Order. Workshops include: The Lady Killer’s Love Story, Girl Shakes Loose and Pussy Valley.

ESCO JOULÉY (Tar, Gender Fluids and Other Dangerous Liquids) is an actor, singer, dancer and movement artist originally from Washington DC. NYC Credits: Interstate (Carly), Runaways (Esco), Soft Butter (Soft Butter/ Cold Butter), Galatea (Chorus), The Demise (Magic Theater Player), Beowolf (Warrior), Marisol (Angel), Girl Shakes Loose (Luc), Room For Cream (Sidney). Regional Credits: Man of LaMancha (Sancho Panza), Unnecessary Farce (Bille Dwyer), The Three Musketeers (Porthos), The Marvelous Wonderrettes (Betty Jean), Legally Blonde (Pilar), Anything Goes (Purity). escojouley.com

JAMES B KENNEDY (Sammy, Hooters)  is a Brooklyn based actor. Recent theatre credits; “The Hunting Season”(Teatro Latea, Planet Connections), “All is Bright”(I.R.T., NYC), “Clover” (LaMama, NYC), & “Sousepaw : A Baseball Story” (NYC, MN, INDY, SF Fringe Festivals). Recent film credits; THE Z LIST (web series), MY DINNER WITH SCHWARTZEY (short), SEEKING SUBLET (web series), JACK AND DODGE (web series). Outstanding Actor Award from Planet Connections on their inaugural season.

EDDIE KORBICH (Kingsley, Manuel Or The Soldier Who Wasn’t) Broadway: A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, A Christmas Story (Santa), The Little Mermaid (Scuttle), The Drowsy Chaperone (George-Drama Desk nomination), Wicked, Seussical, Carousel (Mr. Snow-LCT) and Sweeney Todd (Tobias-Circle In The Square). Off-Broadway: Assassins, Godspell, A Little Night Music, and Taking a Chance on Love (Obie Award). Film/TV: “Blue Bloods”, “Elementary”, “Law & Order”, “The Deuce”, “Doug” and “Quiz Show.”

BETHLEHEM MILLION (ONE, Any Other Name) Of Ethiopian descent and growing up in Switzerland her recent projects have been “Onward: a concert to benefit good chance theatre”, Celebration! and the NYU Reality Show.

MARIA-CHRISTINA OLIVERAS (Bliss, Gender Fluids and Other Dangerous Liquids)  Broadway: Amelie (cast album); MachinalBloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. World Premieres: Soft Power (CTG/Ahmanson); Here Lies Love (The Public; cast album); Pretty Filthy (The Civilians; cast album); Taylor Mac’s 24 Decade…(St. Ann’s Warehouse); And Miles to Go (PCP); Reading Under the Influence (DR2); The Really Big Once (Target Margin); After (PCP). Other Off-Broadway: Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (Public); Romeo and Juliet (NYSF/Public); Zorba! (Encores); Night Sky (BPAC). Regional: Yale Rep, Berkeley Rep, Williamstown, Long Wharf, Huntington, Baltimore Centerstage, Sundance, O’Neill, among others. Selected Film/TV: Manhattan Night, St. Vincent, “The Blacklist,” “Nurse Jackie”, “Law & Order:SVU”

SUSANNAH PERKINS (Lydia Watts, Manuel Or The Soldier That Wasn’t) Off-Broadway: The Low Road (The Public), The Wolves (Lincoln Center/Playwrights Realm), The Rape Of The Sabine Women… (Playwrights Realm). Other New York: Sisters On The Ground (PHTS/Clubbed Thumb), Every Angel Is Brutal (Clubbed Thumb). Regional: Night Of The Iguana (ART), The Wolves (NYSAF). TV: Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. BFA: NYU Tisch. Obie and Drama Desk awards.

BRADLEY JAMES TEJEDA (James Knox, Manuel Or The Soldier That Wasn’t) Recent graduate of the Yale School of Drama in 2016, recent projects include: Two River Theatre’s Productions, El Coquí Espectacular and the Bottle of Doom, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, Nebraska Repertory Theatre’s The Lord of the Flies, and The Light Fantastic Mobile Theatre Co.’s A View From The Bridge. Born and raised in south San Antonio, TX, he works on playing guitar and writing poetry and plays.

CHRISTINA TOTH (Serena, Any Other Name) is a graduate of the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre. Her latest credits include Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black Season 6 (Recurring: Annalisa), LAZARUS (New York Theatre Workshop) directed by Ivo van Hove and The Woolgatherer (LaTea Theatre) directed by Chazz Palminteri, for the which she won Best Actress at the Planet Connections Festivity Awards.  www.christinatoth.com

KITA UPDIKE (Cadi, Gender Fluids and Other Dangerous Liquids) Recent Theater Credits: Reckoning… (Public Theater, dir. Billy Porter), Click (Westport), The Village (Workshop) Film/TV: The Misandrists, Difficult People (Hulu).  Instagram @chippewajane

DONNA VIVINO (Becca, Hooters)  – Broadway: “Wicked” (Elphaba), “Les Miserables”, “Hairspray”, “Fame Becomes Me”, “Saturday Night Fever”. TV/Film: “Submissions Only”, “Sopranos”, “All My Children”. Most recent: “Finks” (Theatreworks Silicon Valley),  “Merrily We Roll Along” (Best Actress Los Angeles Ovation Nomination). Twitter/Instagram @donnavivino

 

Staff of PLAYWRIGHTS FOR A CAUSE

Founder & Producer: Glory Kadigan
Associate Producer: Shaun Peknic
Managing Director: Jenna Lazar
Assistant Managing: Director Ashley Nickas
Associate Artistic Director: Vinny Eden Ortega
Green/Charities Director: Akia Squitieri
Marketing Director: Ariel Estrada
Special Events Director: Ariel Francoeur
Technical Director: Mary Greene
Director of Public Relations: Jay Michaels
Lighting Designer: Benjamin Ehrenreich
Sound Designer: Jacob Subotnick
Costume Designer: Ariel Pellman
Casting Director: Robin Carus
Production Stage Manager: Katheryn Meister

2018 marks Planet Connections’ 10th year
and Playwrights for a Cause’s sixth year.

Body of [Brilliant] Work

SHINKA (3).jpgShinka By Ren Gyo Soh
Planet Connections Theatre
The Clemente, The Flamboyán
107 Suffolk St, New York, NY 10002

Review by Alexa Garcia

The body can tell a story with as much vigor as the finest prose. Shinka explores the mystery of living beings. We are all human beings living in a society that has developed rapidly. Fear of death, hope for life. We live in an ecosystem evolving every moment together. Yet we struggle, create, and destroy. Using Butoh Dance and Physical Theatre, we are offered a chance to witness the exploration of life itself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually through Shinka.

Ren Gyo Soh’s Shinka has been developed under the Ume Group’s support since 2013. Shinka is both directed and choreographed by Yoshiko Usami assisted by Rui Dun. The inspired costuming was created by Deepsikha Chatterjee, and the alluring sound design by Ren Gyo Soh (creator). Bob Lyness, proeuced. Perfectly staged and mesmurizing charactersisation by dancers,  Miles Butler, Zak Ma (performer-understudy), Annie McCoy, Jennifer Marinelli, Dustin Maxwell, Efren Sanchez, and Yoshiko Usami hyponitzied the appreicatiuve crowd. This production benefits World Wildlife Foundation.

Shinka was unique and strange … and honest. This format gave us a purity that would not have been there with dialogue at the helm. I came away thinking we’re in a race … the human race … and we might not win.

Life “Raft”

IMG_8283.jpegRaft of the Medusa By Joe Pintauro
Planet Connections Theatre
The Clemente, The Flamboyán
107 Suffolk St, New York, NY 10002
Review by Alexa Garcia

An explosive AIDS support group session, where the members of the group discover the diseases they share can divide as effectively as it conquers. Each member differs from one another: homosexuals, heterosexuals, and bisexuals, conservatives and liberals, black, white and Hispanic, rich and poor. Together they discuss, discover and hope for what is happening in the present and future.

Raft of the Medusa sports powerful direction by Francisco Solorzano (PCTF director of a staged reading, 2017), assisted by Bianca Puorto. The electrically charged ensemble included Gil Ron (Jerry Rizzo); Jeremy Brena (Michael McDermott); Perri Yaniv (Donald Miller); Delissa Reynolds (Nairobi); Charles Everett (Doug Forester); Christopher Whalen (Larry Smith); Zac Porter (Tommy Carson); Czarina Mada (Cora Dobbs); Bobby Daniel Rodriguez (Alan Hernandez); Francisco Solorzano (Jimmy Horando); Michael Billingsley (Bob Garfield); Robert Montana (Alec Quinn); Raiane Cantisano (Felicia Fuentes); and Anthony Michael Irizarry (Alan Hernandez (U/S).

Dramatic and deeply, deeply moving; alarming, depressing, inspiring, painful, witty and the list goes on to describe this play – both as a play and as a production. The intensity and commitment was such that the play seemed to end and reality began. I felt like I was sitting in on a group session and not a theatre. Even after decades in the public consciousness, Pintauro’s words enlighten and create a renewed sense of empathy regarding this awful disease.

A successful piece makes you root for the characters. Here, we pray for their survival.

Raft of the Medusa is dedicated to the memory of longtime collaborator and Barefoot Theatre Company Advisory Board member (and playwright), Joe Pintauro.