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THE WILL-A-THON 2018 Makes a Splash in SPLASH Magazine

THE WILL-A-THON 2018 Preview – See New York’s Finest

Charles E. Gerber as Shylock, Rebecca J. Johnson as Portia, Tandy Cronyn as Her Grace the Judge, Arthur Aulisi as Antonio, and JaQwan J. Kelly as Bassanio, in Act 4, Scene 1 of “THE MERCHANT OF VENICE”..…”A sentence, come, prepare!”

The WorkShop Theater, located at 312 W. 36th Manhattan is celebrating it’s 24th anniversary this month. It was founded in April of 1994 as The 42nd St. WorkShop. Founding members included Charles E. Gerber and Carol Bennett Gerber, who had staged a critically acclaimed production of Shakespeare’s RICHARD II at Ensemble Studio Theater the month before. The Workshop has gone through several changes, artistic directors, hundreds of actors, directors, and playwrights, but it’s dedication to creating good work in midtown Manhattan has been undaunted.

Arthur Aulisi as Pisanio and Courtney E. Fenwick as Imogene In Act 2, Scene 3 of “CYMBELINE” …. .” Madam,here is a letter from my lord.”












The company has become primarily focused on “building stories”, and the promotion of new works with several excellent and prominent playwrights producing vital and exciting plays. Still, there remains a place for the cultivation of playing Shakespeare. Initially, this was from director, Carol, whose untimely passing occurred in 2008, and Charles’ playing and subsequent teaching, and since 2004, the creation of a series of nights devoted to the bard, called THE WILL-A-THON, created and directed by Charles. The festival has received acclaim, here on the pages of New York Splash Magazine, NY, Bloomberg Media, and attracted such luminary guest artists as Tony Award winning, RICHARD EASTON for three years in a row, and the estimable AUSTIN PENDLETON, who had the joy of playing Gloucester to Easton’s KING LEAR in 2015.

Charles E. Gerber as Shylock at end of Act 3, Scene 1, of “THE MERCHANT OF VENICE” …..kissing the Turquoise ring , gift of his late wife, Leah, retrieved from Genoa, from eloped Jessica:” I would not have given it for a wilderness of monkeys.”

The Fest plays every April as close to Shakespeare’s birthday, April 23rd, as can be scheduled. This year, celebrating it’s 15th edition, with a cast of 13, it features some of New York’s finest, experienced bard-loving players, providing scenes, soliloquies, speeches, sonnets, and songs in two separate shows over 5 nights.

Arthur Aulisi as Pisanio and Courtney E. Fenwick as Imogene In Act 2, Scene 3 of “CYMBELINE” “O, for a horse with wings!”

On Tuesday, April 17th, Thursday, April 19th, and Saturday, April t21st, WILL’S WAY will provide liberal helpings of CORIOLANUS, CYMBELINE, HENRY 1V, PART II, MEASURE FOR MEASURE, and an abundance of THE MERCHANT OF VENICE.

Jonny Weber as Angelo and Sarah Spring as Isabella in Act 2, Scene 4 of “MEASURE FOR MEASURE” ….”Who will believe thee, Isabel?”

On Wednesday, April 18th,and Friday, April 20th, the evening is “FOR THY SWEET LOVE REMEMBERED”: a night of Sonnets, Scenes, and Songs of Love, featuring original music to Will’s lyrics by renown composer, Ray Leslee, and Gerber’s tunes composed for Carol’s past productions. Scenes from AS YOU LIKE IT, will be featured chiefly on these two nights with the sonnets and songs, in the form of a formally dressed champagne party of a semi-circled gathering of talented bardophiles just getting up and entertaining each other in a ninety minute gala.

Courtney E. Fenwick as Jessica and Nelson Arrieta, Jr, as Lancelot Gobbo in Act 2, Scene 3 of “THE MERCHANT OF VENICE.”

The selections for the three nights of WILL’S WAY offer materials “RIPPED FORM THE HEADLINES” as Law and Order would say: Fake News? There’s RUMOR at the start of HENRY IV, PART II. “ME TOO!”? There’s the incredibly timely scene of Act 2, 4 from MEASURE FOR MEASURE. Overweening Pride, such as we encounter too much from our capitol? CORIOLANUS!

.JaQwan J, Kelly as Bassanio and Charles E. Gerber as Shylock in Act 1, Scene 3 of “THE MERCHANT OF VENICE”….. ” Three thousand ducats? Well.”

And, in answer to Charlottesville’s “JEWS WILL NOT REPLACE US!”, there’s an overview of THE MERCHANT OF VENICE featuring all of Shylock’s scenes, displaying Shakespeare’s incomparable genius in displaying the deep complexity and reasons of human beings, especially aliens, for their behaviors, and the inexhaustible need for “the quality of mercy”.

For the cast list, shows times, reservations as well as limited seating of Free Admission, go to the workshoptheater website.



RKG and Snap, Crackle… this Sunday @6

How is a play developed at the Workshop? Come find out this Sunday, April 15!


Says the multi-talented Company Artist, Richard Kent Green, “ I’ve been hard at work on “Snap, Crackle…” attending to the feedback it’s received. For that, I thank all the colleagues who have participated either in readings or by offering comments. So please come to the Sun @ Six on the 15th, to see what we’ve wrought together… and give me more feedback!”

A Science Faction Play by Richard Kent Green

Directed by Richard Kent Green

A Sundays@Six Series Reading in The Jewel Box Theater

Four people participate in an experiment to perfect and enhance the human body with microscopic, robotic technology.


No Reserved Seating! Seating is on a first come, first served basis. Please arrive early to ensure seating.


Christine Verleny
Kari Swenson Riely*
Alex Dmitriev*
Tony Travostino
Ethan Cadoff*
CK Allen

* Appears courtesy of Actors Equity Association

Moderator: Susan Izatt




Conceived and Directed by CHARLES E. GERBER – consisting of two separate shows all at 7:00 p.m. in the Jewel Box Theater

Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday (April 17, 19 and 21)
A night of Scenes, Speeches,and Soliloquies featuring particularly, 3 scenes from “CORIOLANUS” (for overweening pride!); Act 2,Scene 4 from “MEASURE FOR MEASURE” (“ME TOO!”); The Induction of “HENRY IV, PT,2 (Rumor:the Original Fake News!) & multiple scenes from “THE MERCHANT OF VENICE” including the Courtroom scene from

Wednesday, and Friday (April 18 and 20)
A night of Sonnets, Scenes, and Songs of LOVE – with music by Ray Leslee (by kind permission) and C. E. Gerber.


However, kindly take NOTE:

“Though we protest, Yea, we beg it Not, DONATIONS, Tax-Deducted , Please Our Pot!”

The Donation Button is herein provided and WILL accommodate thy generosity!

Charles E Gerber to M.C. CITYarts Annual Benefit Honoring Julliard’s Moni Yakim



The amazing Charles E. Gerber will MC  the CITYarts Annual Benefit Making a difference through the arts honoring his Julliard teacher, mentor, and dear friend of nearly fifty years, Moni Ykim.
 It’s always important to recognize great teachers. This year we need to do it more than ever before, our Youth deserve that.  Teachers, educators like Moni, are planting the seeds in the minds and hearts of our future leaders. They’re not just teaching, they’re forming a personality.
CITYarts, brings teenagers together with professional artists to transform their communities through the creation of a mural or a mosaic that addresses social and civic issues. Through this creative process, they learn the importance of teamwork, self-expression, and contribution to their neighborhood. The mural then becomes a constant reminder for them to continue to be actively involved in realizing their dreams and potential.
CITYarts will celebrate yet another successful year on May 10th, while looking forward to producing the future public art projects throughout New York City’s five boroughs and Mosaic Peace walls around the world.
Drama faculty member Moni Yakim, born in Jerusalem, Israel, is founder and artistic director of the Performance Theater Center’s P.T.C. Training Center. He was a principal performer with the mime companies of Etienne Decroux and Marcel Marceau. He studied at Le Théâtre National Populaire in Paris and performed with Le Théâtre Franco-Allemande. Yakim directed in Israel and Europe. In the U.S., he directed contemporary and classical plays for Yale Rep., the American Shakespeare Festival, Juilliard Drama Theater, Off-Broadway, and Off-Off-Broadway. He directed an original production of Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well … in Village Gate, N.Y. The production was also produced on Broadway, in Europe, Israel, and throughout the U.S. He has directed operas for American Opera Center, the Metropolitan Opera Studio, Boston Concert Opera, Stonybrook Festival, and Lake George Opera Festival. He has received awards for best director of Jacques Brel, L’histoire du soldat. He created movement for Robocop, Robocop 2, and Robocop 3. He is the author of Creating a Character. Yakim is former head of the movement department at Yale Drama School and has worked at Stella Adler Conservatory, and Circle in the Square. Yakim has been a Juilliard faculty member since 1968.

Rich Orloff’s PLAYING DOCTOR Apr 8 @6

The Workshop’s prolific, Rich Orloff, has a brand new outrageous comedy you won’t want to miss.

PLAYING DOCTOR will be part of the Sundays@Six Series Reading in The Jewel Box Theater, Sunday, April 8 at 6 PM. It is Free and Open to the Public.



PLAYING DOCTOR is a trio of outrageously comedic one-acts set in a hospital, including the bawdy tale of a couple on their first date who become stuck together during a passionate moment, the bawdier tale of a lonely janitor who leaves his fly open during a nuclear accident and ends up with a three-foot penis, and a comic fantasia about a VERY pregnant woman who gives birth to her fears about childbirth and motherhood. Rated RF for Really Funny.

The All-Star Workshop cast includes:
C.K. Allen
Katie Braden
Richard Kent Green*,
Lucky Gretzinger*
Wende O’Reilly
& Gerrianne Raphael*

stage directions read by Jeff Paul*
(*members, Actors Equity)

Moderator: Michael Lazan




While researching a book she’s doing on a well-known psychotherapist, now deceased, the writer makes a disturbing discovery about his relationship with a former patient. In digging deeper, she finds herself drawn into the lives of the therapist’s wife and son—and also begins to confront her own shortcomings, as a writer and a person.

The Hired Self, by Robert Strozier, directed by Tom Herman. 


The stellar cast includes:

Ellen Barry*

Ethan Cadoff*

Annemarie Hagennaars

Susan Izatt*

Bill Tatum*

Thursday author talkback!

The Workshop’s First “Writer’s Intensive”

The incense was burning, the lights were dimmed, a circle was formed and hands were held, as Jed Dickson began calling forth Dionysus to bless the group.  As his low tones rose into a deeply-felt, impassioned cry, his body trembling and his voice cracking, there was fumbling at the door and the lights turned on.  Enter Leslie Burby saying “Did I miss anything?”  Thus, The Workshop’s first-ever writer’s intensive was born.

Bob Strozier, Jennifer Fell Hayes, Thalia Cunningham, and Margo Hammond all brought their talent, energy, and enthusiasm to the room, and we had a lively reading and discussion around Bob’s play of a declining Shakespearean actor, and Jennifer’s play of a teenaged boy with a painful connection to his brother and a joyful connection to Ernest Shackleton (look him up Hirschberg!).

It was a lovely first meeting. And, we’ll do it again next week, and for the six weeks following that.