Meet MAISY! Margo Hammond’s Wonderful Play Tonight

Our 3-day reading of Maisy, by Margo Hammond, directed by Alex Dmitriev, starts tomorrow night. It will be held on Thursday, May 18, Friday, May 19, and Saturday, May 20, all at 7pm.
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There will be a talkback after the Thursday performance.  Reservations are at workshoptheater.org.

Please join us, and share in a boatload of talent!

Mary Wilson*

Charles E. Gerber*

Tim Barker*

Leslie Gwyn*

Galen Murphy-Hoffman*

Ben Sumrall*

Anne Fizzard*

Jackie Jenkins*

Michael Gnat*

Come on down and see it!

 

Meet CK Allen and Find COMPOSURE

C.K. Allen has starred in many productions at WorkShop Theater, adding his special vitality and amazing and diverse qualities to every role. Audiences remember him from Laura Hirshberg’s FISH FOOD and Gary Giovannetti’s PALATE CLEANSER and TARRAGONA Michael Lazan’s SAVE THE VEAL, Rich Orloff’s COUPLES (“Notable performance” -NY Times), Tony Sportiello’s LOL, Levy Lee Simon’s THE BOW WOW CLUB. Recent NYC theater includes onstage work with Retro Productions, Fringe 2015, Fresh Fruit Festival 2015; Algonquin and national and regional TV and radio commercials. Now reprising his role of Jeff, CK tells us what’s it like to do COMPOSURE.

WS: When did you first get involved with COMPOSURE?

CK: When I read the casting notice for the 3-day concert reading in August 2014 I kind of begged Fritz and Scott to see me for the roles of Fletcher, Jeff or Tommy. Scott wrote back saying he thought Jeff would be the better role for me and after the audition I hounded them a bit more until they relented and cast me!

WS: Slight spoiler alert, but can you talk about your character, Jeff Landry’s, body in the play?

CK: Well, I haven’t met with our costume designer yet but as Scott wrote it when we first see Jeff he’s supposed to be “a bit out of shape”. Then the next time it’s about a year later and he’s “in much better shape now that he’s on the market.’

WS: How does COMPOSURE on the Main Stage feel as compared to the production in the JEWEL BOX?

CK: We’re still working that out. We need all new staging, of course, since the JB is smaller and we had audience on 2 sides there. Fritz is working super hard to make it work on the MS and he has great ideas. Susan Izatt has played my wife Amanda in both the previous incarnations in the JB so it’s nice that we have that familiarity but I worked with two other actors as Fletcher before and now that Rob McIntosh is playing him it’s an entirely different experience. Plus there are rewrites so in many ways it feels almost like a brand new play.

WS: What is the most challenging aspect to playing Jeff?

CK: Jeff is an associate dean at this university so he’s a LOT smarter than me.

WS: What would you like audiences to take away from this production?

CK: I’d like people to see a love story unlike any they’ve seen before.

Susan Izatt Takes on Another Strong Woman in COMPOSURE

The versatile SUSAN IZATT, has been lucky to perform some amazing roles. But it’s no accident as she is versatile, vulnerable and commanding on stage. Back on the Main Stage in COMPOSURE she tells us about the experience. 
Q. What first attracted you to COMPOSURE? 
A. I’ve been doing some amazing roles with very, very strong writing, and that is what excites and attracts me the most as an actor.  One of the most powerful pieces I ever worked in was a verse piece 1953, written by the UK Poet Laurette, Craig Raine, and it was no accident he was the Poet Laurette, the effect of his language and speaking in his verse was undeniably powerful. Another favorite roles are Rita in Educating Rita, I felt I was realy advocating for working class women and personal freedom as that character, and I loved playing Titania in A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream at The Will-A-Thon with Charles Gerber. I think her speeches are some of Shakespeare’s best, and they are eerily relevant to the politics and power players of today.

But my very attraction to the play? Actually, I was first interested because Scott wrote it. I am a big fan of his work and wanted to audition because of that. For me the writing is always the most important thing, and working with strong, beautiful writing is always so wonderful as an actor. And a great story.  It’s everything. That said, the story is very moving, and actually very relatable, very human, and there is so much love (and pain). Of course it is a particular story, my character Amanda’s husband reveals he is gay after 14 years of marraige, he has that journey, and there are powerful subplots of death and loss. But all of the stories are about the power of love and our need for human connection. Love and loss are the bigger themes. That Romeo and Juliette’s story is woven thoroughout the play just adds to the artistry and beauty to the piece. It’s just a beautiful play.
Q. You were with this show in the JEWEL BOX, how is it different for the MAIN STAGE?
A. It’s really amazing actually, our director Fritz is working with us in a new physical equation, and the staging of course is shifting with the new set design and beiing on a proscenium stage. All that shifts and adds new layers to the piece. Being in a differant environment in a play is much like being in a new situation or place in life, it can help you see yourself afresh and to gain new perspectives. Just at our last rehearsal Fritz reworked the staging of a scene between Amanda and Jeff, with totally differant movement for the new set environment, and what was powerful to experience as an actor was how much the new staging effects the dynamic between the characters. That is part of the magic and artistry of staging and direction, it is not a static, set thing, it’s alive and it effects the whole of the character. So it’s intriguing to get to experience a new and deeper understanding of the character and the play’s situation this way.  And I am so very grateful to get to work with Fritz again, and with CK. There is a level of trust that comes from having worked together before, and in some ways it feels like a continuation, with these characters we love, and we are getting to know them more than we had the chance to before, and we get to turn the play upside down a bit with the new environment, and experince how things shift and open up. And having been in previous versions, we are more intimate with the script and the characters, so every rewrite or any edit from Scott is especially informative, and deepens our understanding of the characters. I love it. And of course soon we will be working in our new costumes and the lights and sound. The fuller production design is very exciting. So, it’s really wonderful and exciting to get to approach the play again in a new environment. 
Q. Your character deals with a lot of different types of losses… how do you as an actor deal with that?
A. I am not sure how to answer that. There is no recipe for that. One hopes to tell the truth of the character’s experience, to allow that. It is a beautiful story and yes there is so much love and loss.
Q. What about COMPOSURE feels most on the pulse of what is happening in the world today?
A. Well, of course the play’s plot line and story of the brutal shooting at the college is sadly current. Candle light vigils are something we see too often nowadays, the news is filled with horrifying events that should never ever happen. All of that “senseless” loss theme in the play is heartbreakingly current. I think the play’s way of dealing so honestly about love, and how love between people comes in many forms is a strong theme that is also very contemporary. And something that is maybe some of the best part of modern humanity: How we define love in more ways than at other points in history. I feel good advocating, as an actor and storyteller, for LOVE (caps intended) to be a driving force in the play. Even through Amanda’s pain, LOVE is there. Jeff chooses LOVE over fear. Everywhere, LOVE triumphs. Yeah, I can advocate for that. (Though, jeez who knew Scott C. Sickles was such a crazy romantic.)

Walter Brandes Invites You to THE AKUHMA DESERT

Suspense and paranoia surround an archaeological dig that uncovers an unknown foreign object in the Akuhma Desert. It is up to an unlikely team of a physicist, a geologist, and two cooks to reveal the secrets of the mysterious find. In this sci-fi thriller with smatterings of comedy, the group of four begin to unravel the truth of what is in the desert and, in doing so, destroy the reality they once knew.

Written by the talented actor, playwright, WALTER BRANDES, you are invited to a public reading of his play THE AKUHMA DESERT. This brand new revision will be new to those who’ve already seen it, so be ready for a different journey.

HERE’S THE DEETS:

The Players Club on May 19th 7pm
16 Gramercy Park South [East 20TH Street] between Park Avenue South/Irving Place
FREE

IMPORTANT
RSVP by WEDNESDAY the 17TH by NOON – no exceptions. If you aren’t on the guest list you may be denied entry to the club. Please let me know if I can add you to the list. Limited seating.

PLAYERS CLUB RULES / REGULATIONS :
* The PC has a dress code of business casual (no shorts, sneakers, t-shirts or ripped jeans)
* Upon entering the club, give your name to the desk clerk and that you are here for a reading with Jane Cortney in The Card Room –
* You are all considered guests of Players Club member Jane Cortney –
* Check your coat / bag with the attendant –

Playwright Scott C. Sickles on COMPOSURE Opening now on the Main Stage

As COMPOSURE moves from the Jewel Box to the Main Stage this June we thought you’d like to see an earlier interview with the playwright, Scott C. Sickles!

ShopTalk

On June 11 thru 20, WorkShop Theater Company is presenting a Plays- in-Process production of COMPOSURE by playwright Scott C. Sickles.  In the play, an ill-timed college production of Romeo & Juliet leads to a modern-day star-crossed romance between two men whose past tragedies suddenly encroach upon the present.  Here’s what Scott has to say about it:

Playwright Scott C. Sickles with Scott Ahearn, Susan Izatt, Ben Rezendes, CK Allen  Anne Fizzard, Michael Gnat and Director Fritz Brekeller Playwright Scott C. Sickles with Scott Ahearn, Susan Izatt, Ben Rezendes, CK Allen Anne Fizzard, Michael Gnat and Director
Fritz Brekeller

How’d you come to write Composure? This is actually a really complicated question. A long time ago, I can’t quite recall when, I came up with the title.  I’d wanted to write a kind of “gay prodigal son returns” story about a theater artist who returns home to direct a production and confronts his past while taking on a new romance. Gradually, the plot began to form and with it some of the backstory and themes…

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New York Innovative Theatre Award winner Composure on the Main Stage

June 1-24 (Main Stage):  Composure
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It’s only a few weeks until New York Innovative Theatre Award winner Composure is on our Main Stage! Scott C. Sickles wrote a play that won the NYIT award for Outstanding Original Full-Length Script. Director Fritz Brekeller also won for Outstanding Director. Now the team is reunited and they’ve brought a kick-ass cast with them to take Composure to the Main Stage! The play is full of heart and Scott’s customary wit. Composure should be one of the theatrical highlights of the season. Make sure you catch it! Here are the deets:

There’s No Biz Like Show Biz

Says WorkShop’s Prolific Playwright Jack Feldstein Says:

Tix are pretty much sold out for the Drama League presentation of my mini-musical ORDINARY (which was selected alongside 3 others by Four Quarter Theater) for May 12th. Here’s an early draft of the program…My talented Australian composer/lyricist Benjamin P Ward is missing from this draft of the program… so you’ll have to imagine him there in the spot at the bottom right-hand corner. …..Anyway to remind you, you can hear the amazing Benjamin P Ward singing IT’S SO GOOD…a song in ORDINARY…here…in a music video neon animation I created for this special tune. In ORDINARY, it’s sung by a Clown wooing a Bearded Lady as he yearns to escape the circus and become… “ordinary”…. Comedy plus whimsy plus song!…There’s no people like show people, they smile when they are low…plus, of course, everything about them is appealing. https://youtu.be/F2xEv0f-AGw

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