Director Dmitriev Brings Home the View in Arthur Miller’s A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE

The Workshop’s Alex Dmitriev, exceptional actor and director, has pulled out the stops with his direction of A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE that just opened in Brooklyn at the Waterfront Barge Museum.

Here’s what amNY had to say:

Arthur Miller’s ‘A View From the Bridge’ returns to its Brooklyn roots at the Waterfront Barge Museum

The tragic play is based on the Red Hook dockworkers of the 1950s.

A View From The Bridge

A View From The Bridge” by Arthur Miller is coming to Brooklyn’s Waterfront Barge Museum this summer. From left: Claire Beckman, Maggie Horan, Rich O’Brien. Photo Credit: Doug Barron

Alex Dmitriev has a tricky task ahead of him — the city-based director and his cast are performing an Arthur Miller play aboard the Waterfront Barge Museum in Red Hook.

The barge, which gives the crew about 27 feet to work with, will become the backdrop of the tragic Brooklyn-centric play “A View From the Bridge.”

Because of the barge’s layout, the audience will sit about a foot or two from the actors as they spring from one side to the other. One half of the “stage” will be a family apartment and the other will be the street, an office and a jail, Dmitriev told amNewYork.

Dmitriev has directed several Arthur Miller plays before, but this one is quite different.

“In the middle of that there is a beam that holds the roof up, so we’re constantly worried about sight lines and the movement of the characters in the space and that it doesn’t block somebody,” he said. “But it’s very open and flowing. There are no doors and there will be movement with light and actors who will be moving in and out of the space.”

Actually set in Red Hook, the play, which Miller likened to a Greek tragedy, both calls back to Brooklyn’s past and our present.

Miller, perhaps best known for his play “Death of a Saleseman,” died in 2005.

Set in the 1950s, the play features Eddie Carbone, a longshoreman (someone who loads and unloads ships), who lives in Red Hook with his wife, Beatrice, and their orphaned niece, Catherine. When Beatrice’s relatives arrive from Italy to work on the docks, Eddie gets an attitude.

Without revealing too much, “Eddie is a flawed Everyman like most of Miller’s leading men,” according to a statement Claire Beckman, the show’s producing artistic director and co-founder of Brave New World Repertory Theatre. “But he is also xenophobic, homophobic, patriarchal, white and working class. He does his fair share of ‘mansplaining,’ while he struggles with inappropriate feelings for his 17-year-old niece. He checks every box for the tragically flawed American male in 2018.”

The play is “jam-packed” full of issues and isn’t about a single concept, Dmitriev added.

From start to finish, the audience will watch Eddie “take steps that lead him to his destiny,” Dmitriev added. “They take him to a place he never would have imagined — that is the tragedy.”

And since the audience will be closer than ever, they’ll likely be even more sucked into the story than they might be in a regular theater setting.

The intimacy of it, or a detail they notice up close, could pull them in and won’t let them go — it’s a more focused experience, Dmitriev said.

Plus, performing in the neighborhood it’s set in makes it all the more real. Some of the street names mentioned in “A View From the Bridge” are still around.

Miller formed the idea for the play from a story he heard from the Red Hook docks, too.

“It’s a great story, and it’s so well-written,” Dmitriev said. “Hopefully we will entertain you, make you cry and walk away with the sense of having a ‘full meal.’”

Brave New World Repertory Theatre, which is putting on the show, has done numerous performances in unconventional places, including on the porches of Victorian homes in Flatbush for “To Kill A Mockingbird” in 2005.

“A View From the Bridge” will run from May 31 to June 24 at 8 p.m. each night at the barge (290 Conover St.). Tickets are $25.

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Celebrating ASHES & A DREAM

The 3-Day of Linda Segal Crawley’s play, ASHES & A DREAM, directed by Leslie Kincaid Burby, finished last night with a marvelous house that resounded in light and laughter.

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From left to right: Michael Gnat, Laurie Graff, Mary Catherine Wilson, Linda Segal Crawley, Dianna Martin, Joe Burby, Leslie Kincaid Burby, Jackie Jenkins and Jeff Paul

AND…. Celebrating after at The Tailor, the new hang on 8th Ave!32313688_10156016712269342_7834770674395643904_n.jpg32289752_10156016712499342_1945689054888591360_n.jpg

 

NYC Partnerships Keep Businesses Afloat- Staying Alive – SPLASH MAGAZINES Exclusive by Laurie Graff

NYC Partnerships Keep Businesses Afloat- Staying Alive

Curtain call at the closing performance of “The Astonishing Times of Timothy Cratchit” by Allan Knee

Walk down almost any New York City street these days and you’ll see a string of empty storefronts. The rising costs on commercial rentals have made it practically prohibitive to open a new business, let alone maintain one, or flourish. But New Yorkers are nothing if not innovative, and a new wave of co-working has swooped in to both change, and save, the day.

The Main Stage at The Workshop Theater, located in Hell’s Kitchen at 312 West 36th Street, was packed. People abuzz, the company expectantly gathered for a meeting on the heels of its Silver Anniversary. But the news was almost bleak. It seemed that under the jurisdiction of the showcase code at Actors’ Equity, the Workshop was no longer able to produce shows at its current budget. However, the theater’s increased budget was in place only to make the rent. Not to withhold contract scale payment from working artists. Still, Equity held firm, and production was stopped.

Company Artists Michael Gnat, Bob Manus, Thomas Coté (Artistic Director) and Anne Fizzard celebrate Bob’s “win” at the New York Innovative Theater Awards

It sadly, and quickly became clear.  With the showcases dissolved, there was no way the company could financially keep the space with two theaters that had provided a creative home the last 25 years. But plays that began at The Workshop had been named Critics’ Picks by the New York Times, received two Drama Desk nominations, won four New York Innovative Theater Awards, and another turned into the film, Finding Neverland, earning two Workshop members Oscar nods. So how could they afford to lose it?

Artistic Director, Thomas Coté and Managing Director, Dana Leslie Goldstein, alongside a committed Board of Directors, pulled out all the stops to solve the problem. Dana’s tireless search finally led her to IndieSpace, an organization that aims to create permanent real estate solutions for the independent theater community by delivering affordable creative space. They matched the Workshop up with another theater company that will take over the Main Stage lease at the beginning of the 2018-2019 season. The Workshop Theater will maintain control of the smaller Jewel Box Theater, while they mutually share the lobby and office.

The Workshop Theater lobby and box office

“The mission in development is to keep the community we all love, focus more on the art and the passion, and less on paying rent,” said Ben Sumrall, Board of Directors Chair and Company Artist. “That’s surely something in everybody’s interest,” said Ben, whose humor and pathos can be seen in the promo video created for The Workshop Theater’s 25th Anniversary Indiegogo Campaign. The goal is to raise money to develop New American Plays and Musicals. And thanks to this partnership, that is something The Workshop Theater can continue to do.

Passion tends to lead the way, as well, in the case of hairdresser, Robert Stuart, who loves cutting hair, and instinctively knows when its time to reinvent himself. The first time was in 1983 when, after a few years of cutting in the exclusive Bendel’s and Vidal Sassoon, Robert went out on his own. As a resident of the Upper West Side, he felt the neighborhood was in need of a real hair salon, and not just the unisex hair parlors that were prevalent in the day. Robert opened on Amsterdam and 82nd Street with his co-owner and business partner, Valerie Stuart, to whom he’s been married forty years.

Robert Stuart Salon – now an empty storefront

The business was wildly successful, attracting people in the hood, theater folk, authors and heads of corporations. New Yorker magazine wrote “Shortcuts,” featuring the salon in the column, Popular Chronicles. After eight years, he moved to 84th Street for the next twenty, and then over to Columbus Avenue for seven. But the increased financial and management burdens ultimately brought almost thirty-five years on the Upper West Side to an abrupt end. It was time for Robert to reinvent himself, again.

After reading different salon publications, Valerie had learned that the trend in Middle America was booth rentals. A google search of “chair and booth rentals” led the Stuarts to Salons by JC, a company that transformed the beauty industry with salon suite rentals. Opening their doors in 1998 Dallas, Salons by JC has grown to 53 locations in over 20 states and Canada. The current franchise, located at 124 West 24th Street in Chelsea, became the new home to Robert Stuart Salon.

Robert cutting it up – pure bliss

“I feel much more relaxed and very happy to be able to cut hair, instead of paying bills,” Robert said, of the salon he shares with Valerie and a hair colorist. “I’m a people person, and the new business model lends itself to intimacy. Work is just a joy, plus I have the time to focus on my craft.” Most recently, Robert completed a seminar with Eiji Yamane, a Japanese haircutter, to learn the technique of the “dry cut,” sculpting hair into shapes to frame and enhance the face. As well, Robert’s pen, ink and acrylic drawings, framed, hang in the new salon.

“When you have your own business you are isolated, and other salons are competitors, but here we are a community,” explained Valerie. “If we run out of a tube of color, someone across the hall will lend us one. People pass and refer clients. We thrive as a collective, and everyone is friendly and supportive.”

Community is the cream that rises to the top, and so it is, too, at The Milling Room. The Upper West Side restaurant, located at 446 Columbus Avenue at 81st Street, features seasonal locally sourced American cuisine prepared by Executive Chef Phillip Kirschen-Clark. The exceptional space includes a huge skylit dining room, and beautiful tavern-inspired bar that opens 5 PM daily for Happy Hour. But during the day, the restaurant is dark. Enter Spacious.com.

By day, a bright and airy office space

Spacious is a networking website of co-working spaces. Spacious compiles lists of venues that are closed during the day, like restaurants, but whose space can become a freelancer’s office. Then they create partnerships to operate along with the venue. They have partnered with fantastic restaurateurs like Joe Bastianich and Daniel Boulud.

“Spacious allows people with flexibility to make a city their office,” said Peter Williamson, the Spacious host at The Milling Room where they provide complimentary coffee and tea, power outlets and wifi all for a monthly fee of $129. “Now people, who would otherwise be working from home alone, have the opportunity to meet people in areas all over where they can also be in a productive environment,” said Peter, noting the membership includes access to all of the Spacious locations: 12 in Manhattan, 2 in Brooklyn and 1 in Jersey City. Over the course of a day there can be as many as 100+ check-ins.

By night, a delicious place to dine

“It was a good match for us because we had not been open for lunch or brunch, so it was a nice opportunity to be able to use the space,” said Samantha Moretti, The Milling Room’s general manager who acknowledged financial incentive, but felt the main goal was to utilize the space during the day, and connect with the neighborhood. “As people are more and more into their devices, the culture of communities tends to be in constant dilution. But creating a co-working partnership helps to build community and enforce relationships. We know that people choose to spend their days working with us.”

Everyone agrees that when a business reaches the community it allows small businesses to thrive. Sadly, too many have met their demise. Some think the empty storefront a transitional situation that will right itself over time. Or it may just transcend into a whole new co-work model. People need people, and businesses need partners.

Photos:  Courtesy of Thomas Coté, Laurie Graff, Valerie Rosenthal and Samantha Moretti.

See Diánna Martin’s Star Shine Bright

 

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Diánna Martin knows theater. It’s in her blood, and her blood line, having come from a prominent entertainment family. Her mom, actress, Ann Wedgeworth, and dad, Ernie Martin, acting teacher/director/former artistic director of Actors Studio West Coast were an incredible influence. Diánna has chops, she is a presence that takes stage, and to be on stage with her is to witness a quality that shines above and beyond.

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Having graced many plays on many stages, a few favorites stick out like: Hello, Out There (American Rapture) directed by Oscar-winner Alexander Dinelaris (Oberon Theatre Ensemble), The Oath by Jacqueline Goldfinger (MTWorks), Dark Water by David Stallings (MTWorks), Uncomplicated Bereavement by Scott Sickles, created at The Workshop’s OUT OF THE HAT SERIES 2016 upcoming this May 31 – June 3 at Gallery Players.

The versatile artist also teaches acting, and has directed plays around New York City that include the Fringe and Planet Connections. She’s worked in radio and television in St. Louis, theatre and film here in New York. An integral part of the New York Innovative Theater Awards for over five years, Diánna, a member of three different theatre companies, including The Workshop Theater, is an active member of the Off Off B’way community.

Having taken some time off since the passing of both her parents this year she is now back, and stepping into her own.  We caught up with Diánna and asked her a little more about herself and her role as “Lalita” in Ashes & A Dream.

So would you say that going into acting was kind of like going into the family business?

Well, simply, it was a natural thing to do. I originally was only a writer, that’s what my “thing” was until about age 20…but when you are part of an entertainment family and regularly go to your Dad’s acting class or have to accompany your mother on film sets or rehearsals for things like the original A Lie of the Mind by Sam Sheppard (with him there at the rehearsals) one finds they get bit by the acting bug regardless.

What is it about being on stage that resonates for you the most?

It’s when I feel most alive (that, and when I am teaching or coaching acting) because all the moments are unique and real, if one allows them to be. If you are doing the work, you’re trying to really talk and listen.

Are there any traits or characteristics you feel you and your character, Lalita, share?

We’re both big new age hippies. LOL She’s got a kind heart and she drinks too much. I mean – yeah. That would be me.

The play takes place in 1992. How does 1992 look to you… seeing it from 2018? 

I think the music was a lot better in 1992. I am digging the tech aspect, I was always a geek.  I also am happier to be this age. In 1992 I was in college and finding myself…and that part hasn’t changed, I think we’re always learning and finding new aspects to ourselves, except that I have a wee bit more wisdom. Now whether I do anything with that wisdom is on me.

Company Artist Greg Bodine… in FLUX!

The Sea Concerto

Flux Theatre Ensemble presents
the World Premiere of

The Sea Concerto
by August Schulenburg
co-directed by Kelly O’Donnell and Heather Cohn

PREVIEW MAY 6 | OPENING NIGHT MAY 7 | CLOSES MAY 19

Jeffrey and Paula Gural Theatre, A.R.T./New York Theatres, 502 West 53rd St, NYC 10019

LIVING TICKETS HERE

 

The Story

The Sea Concerto follows Lynnie, a poet who has lost her creative voice. Now, a mysterious letter asks her to return to her childhood home to reclaim something of her father’s. Will it help explain why he gave up music? Will that answer help her write again? And can she ever forgive the betrayal that tore her family apart? In the spirit of classic memory plays like The Glass Menagerie and Side Man, The Sea Concerto explores the legacies of pain and resilience that we inherit, pass on, and sometimes let go.

 


What’s a Living Ticket? This production continues our Living Ticket initiative, which makes Flux’s shows free for all to attend. Well, not exactly free: it costs a lot to create these productions, and we want to provide our team a living wage. So while you don’t have to pay anything, we encourage you to support Flux with a donation when you reserve your Living Ticket. To learn what it would take for us to pay a living wage, check out our Open Book program, which shares our production budget and suggests levels of giving.

TICKETS FOR THE SEA CONCERTO ARE AVAILABLE NOW!


 

The Cast

 

Corey Allen is Eric

Share a favorite memory of the ocean. I grew up in Southern California so there are MANY, but for today my favorite memory of the sea would have to be trekking from the Greek mainland to the Cyclades for the first time. The waters of the Aegean are beautiful. There’s so much history and culture in the region and I had a magical time there.

When you visit your childhood home, what’s the one thing you always do? Visit my favorite jetty at night. There’s nothing like seeing the moonlit waves crashing against the rocks and shoreline.

Bio: With Flux, AM I DEAD?. REGIONAL: Shakespeare Theatre of DC: Macbeth; Huntington Theater Company: A Raisin in the Sun, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom; Pioneer Theatre Company: Two Dollar Bill, A Few Good Men; Great River Shakespeare Festival: Othello, Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Repertory Theater of St. Louis: The Fall of Heaven; Orlando Shakespeare Theatre: Best of Enemies. FILM: Proximity, Lost & FoundTELEVISION: Manhattan, Power, The Breaks, Bull WEB: Henry IX; OTHER: Audible & Recorded Books Narrator; TRAINING: University of Illinois: MFA
www.corey-allen.com

Greg Oliver Bodine is Jimbo

Share a favorite memory of the ocean. Surf-casting with my brother on a deserted beach in Montauk at 7am. We never caught any fish…and we never cared.

When you visit your childhood home, what’s the one thing you always do? I let go…it’s just a house. Memories are what count.

Bio: Greg Oliver Bodine is delighted to make his debut with Flux Theatre Ensemble in this production! Notable theatre credits include: Salda / Baruch in UNIVERSAL ROBOTS at The Sheen Center (Gideon Productions), Third Man / Doctor in THE BALTIMORE WALTZ (Retro Productions) and Montresor / Alfred in his own solo adaptation of two Edgar Allan Poe short stories, POE, TIMES TWO (three 2012 NYIT Award nominations and “Best of The 2016 Capital Fringe” -DC Metro Theater Arts / “Pick of The Capital Fringe” -DC Theatre Scene. Training: M.F.A., UNC-Chapel Hill. www.gregoliverbodine.com *(member of AEA)

Emily Hartford is Penny

Share a favorite memory of the ocean. My mom grew up next to the ocean, and my siblings and I were never very far from it, either. When we were kids we’d spend a lot of time at my grandparents’ home on Martha’s Vineyard (just a short drive and ferry ride, by the way, from Sea Concerto’s beach). My grandmother had her own spot on the beach down the street from their home, where she spent every day of every summer—straight down from the entrance, tucked against the jetty, just at the edge of the tide. She spent 65 summers in that spot, as far as I know, and I got to spend a small fraction of those there with her. It’s a powerful place for me. Last year, two days before I got married on Martha’s Vineyard, a tropical storm battered the Cape and Islands. After accepting that there was a limit to the wedding-crisis-management one could do about canceled boats and delayed flights, I took a walk in the storm. I wound up at the beach, in front of Memere’s spot. I really wish that she were still around—to know Ned…to know me as I’ve become. To understand how well I love the home she created on this island. But standing there in her spot, I was pressed and filled by the force of the wind and the ocean and the rain. I was ready to greet my own new frontiers, full of the legacy of the ocean-women who got me here.

When you visit your childhood home, what’s the one thing you always do? Share a few beers with my mom.

Bio: Emily Hartford is a director, actor, and puppet designer—and a Creative Partner with Flux Theatre Ensemble. She is thrilled to be acting in her first Flux production! With Flux, Emily directed Rizing, by Jason Tseng, as well as short works for Breathe Free and #SpeakUp: The Street Harassment Plays. Assistant Director for Flux’s Jane the Plain and Salvage. Emily has also appeared and/or designed puppets with Adaptive Theatre Company, Drama of Works, Messenger Theatre Company, MT Works, Nosedive Productions, Piehole, Rabbit Hole Ensemble, Radiotheatre, Urban Stages, and Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre. Directing outside of Flux includes Ned Massey’s The Battles. emilyhartford.com.

John Lenartz is Chappy

Share a favorite memory of the ocean. At about 13 years old I was invited for a week’s venture on a US Navy Submarine Tender from Charleston, SC to Ft. Lauderdale, FL. I stayed in my Dad’s tiny cabin, he was a Lieutenant Commander and the Chief Engineering Officer aboard. I got full run of the ship and had a blast going by myself and a few other kids exploring the vessel and watched the ocean go by for miles on end.

When you visit your childhood home, what’s the one thing you always do? I don’t have a childhood home since we moved around so much growing up. My Mom, my only parent surviving, lives in Augusta, GA now, near my brother Bill. One thing I’ve consistently done when I’ve visited is dig through my Mom’s paperwork, photos, and memorabilia looking for genealogy or family history items that I may have overlooked the last time.

Bio: Broadway – Inherit the Wind (Ensemble) National Actors Theatre. Off-Broadway – The Idiot (Prince Myshkin) Manhattan Ensemble Theatre. New York – Tartuffe (Orgon), Entertaining Mr. Sloane (Kemp), The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (Dogsborough/The Actor) Phoenix Theatre Ensemble; The Texas Trilogy(Col. J.C. Kincaid) ReGroup Theatre; Under Milkwood (Waldo/Ensemble), Much Ado About Nothing (Dogberry), Jean Cocteau Repertory. Regional & National Tours – Macbeth (Macbeth) National Shakespeare Company; Camelot(Arthur), Henry V (Henry) – Texas Shakespeare Festival; Lombardi (Lombardi) Depot Theatre; To Kill A Mockingbird (Atticus Finch) Hangar Theatre; The Grapes of Wrath (Jim Casy) Arkansas Repertory. John is proprietor of a wine/liquor shop in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn. Visit our website at windsorwinemerchants.com!

Morgan McGuire is Lynnie

Share a favorite memory of the ocean. My father’s family lives in this magical place in the very most north western tip of California where the redwoods meet the sea. For most of my childhood my grandparents farm was isolated and nestled between groves of evergreens but only a mile from the beach. It has this special smell of salt and wood and dirt that is intoxicating and at night the fog horn from the harbor would rhythmically lull you to sleep.

When you visit your childhood home, what’s the one thing you always do? They don’t live there anymore. But they do live in a very magic place on a hill with much better sunsets and so I guess I make it a point to watch those.

Bio: Morgan McGuire is originally from the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, is a Brooklyn based actress and playwright. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Marymount Manhattan College. Recent acting credits include: Exit Man, TRAPPER, Cul-de-Sac, Film: Camp Wedding, Takers, Unbelievers. To find out more about her visit: www.morganamcguire.com

Alisha Spielmann is Janet

Share a favorite memory of the ocean. I’ll give you three: my sister getting married, the feeling the ocean has always given me of being so wonderfully and fantastically minuscule, and whale watching. Because I love whales. 

When you visit your childhood home, what’s the one thing you always do? I would always love getting to play (and take a selfie) with our family dog Choxie the minute I got home. And I most definitely always take a moment and look up at the stars in our backyard. You can actually see them there in Minnesota. 

Bio: Alisha Spielmann is a Creative Partner of Flux and previously seen in Am I Dead, World Builders, Rizing, Jane the Plain, and Sans Merci.Other NYC Theatre credits include: The Honeycomb Trilogy: Blast Radius (Gideon Productions); The Runner Stumbles, Dear Ruth, The Desk Set (Retro Productions); Native Speech, All’s Well That Ends Well, Love In The Insecurity Zone (Boomerang Theatre Company); Bus Stop, The Learned Ladies, As You Like It(The Gallery Players). Regional Theatre credits include: As You Like It, The Christmas Carol(The Guthrie Theater). Film, TV, and Streaming credits include: Producing Juliet, We Be Nurses, The Moose Head Over The Mantle, A Crime To Remember, Love Will Out, and New Friend. A native Minnesotan, Alisha received her BA in Music and Theater from St. Olaf College and is a proud member of Actors Equity Association. www.alishaspielmann.com

 


 The Creative Team

August Schulenburg, Playwright

Share a favorite memory of the ocean.  You mean other than all the things that are in this play? Hmm.  Maybe it’s easier for me to talk about the Pacific because when it’s the Atlantic, I need like a whole play to talk about it. So the Pacific is all right, too, as it turns out. A few years back we visited family near San Francisco and went to a beach where there must have been 20-30 whales putting on a show not far off shore. That was really something. You couldn’t believe it was happening, and it kept on happening.

When you visit your childhood home, what’s the one thing you always do? Games, games, games. My family loves games. How else do people even talk to each other? But I also offer up some brooding to the pond behind our house, and mourn the scar where the basketball hoop once stood.

Bio: Gus is a co-founder of Flux, where his work as a playwright includes: Salvage, Jane the Plain, Honey Fist, DEINDE, Jacob’s House, Other Bodies, The Lesser Seducations of History, and Riding the Bull. As an actor with Flux, he has appeared in World Builders, Hearts Like Fists, and The Angel Eaters Trilogy. His plays have also been produced and developed at The Lark, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Chelsea Playhouse, Theater for the New City, Portland Stage Company, Dayton Playhouse, Colonial Players, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Contemporary Stage Company, Abingdon Theater Company, Gideon Productions, New Amerikan Theatre, Penobscot Theatre, Impetuous Theater Group, Decades Out, Soundtrack Series, Reverie Productions, Wolf 359, Blue Box Productions, Piper McKenzie, Boomerang Theatre Company, Adaptive Arts, Hall High School, Nosedive Productions,  MTWorks, Purple Repertory, Valley Repertory Company, The Brick Theater, CAPS LOCK Theatre, Chameleon Theatre Circle, Retro Productions, Elephant Run District, and TheatreLAB. He was a 2013-14 Lark Playwrights Workshop Fellow. His work has also been published in New York Theater Review, Stage and Screen, Indie Theater Now, Midway Journal, NoPassport Press, and in two issues of Carrier Pigeon.

Heather Cohn, Co-Director

Share a favorite memory of the ocean.  I’ve never cared much for New Year’s celebrations…but for the new millennium, I was told that the first place the sun would rise in the new millennium in the U.S. was at the easternmost beach on Nantucket. So, that’s where I went. There were three of us, bundled and bleary-eyed, walking through the cold sand at dawn to watch the sun rise over the horizon on the first morning of the new millennium. We sat, huddled together under blankets in silence until the sun was fully up. Then we ate donuts and had coffee from a thermos. We probably talked about things, but I don’t remember the conversation, just the peace and stillness. In that moment, there was no Y2K, no worries of the year to come, no stress, no time.

When you visit your childhood home, what’s the one thing you always do? My mom refers to my childhood bedroom as “The Heather Museum” because it is a time capsule of space with pre-puberty Heather chosen wallpaper (pastel kitty cats); keepsakes from all the various musicals and plays I did in middle school and high school (the most prominent of which is a 4 x 4 foot sculpted styrofoam carousel horse from CAROUSEL); stuffed animals, fairytales, and school notebooks galore. But in a small tupperware box with a green lid is a collection of folded square paper notes from elementary & middle school friends. Each time I return home, I open the box and read one of those notes, and remember.

Bio: Heather Cohn is a co-founder and the Producing Director of Flux Theatre Ensemble. For Flux: Kevin R. Free’s AM I DEAD?, Johnna Adams’ Sans Merci, August Schulenburg’s Salvage, DEINDE, The Lesser Seductions of History (nominated for Outstanding Direction, New York Innovative Theatre Awards), and Other Bodies (FringeNYC Excellence Award for Outstanding Direction), Kristen Palmer’s Once Upon a Bride There Was a Forest, Erin Browne’s Menders, and numerous staged readings. Outside of Flux: Assistant Director to Austin Pendleton on Johnna Adams’ Gidion’s Knot, Dark Water (MTWorks), The Stranger to Kindness (Outstanding Overall Production of a One-Act, Planet Connections Theatre Festivity Awards, also nominated for Outstanding Direction Award); Rosie The Retired Rockette(EstroGenius Festival); Blood  (EstroGenius Festival); The Ballad of Lulu and Dad (Artistic New Directions); and numerous staged readings for companies such as: Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Cherry Lane Theatre, Lark Play Development Center, The Brick, On the Square Productions, MTWorks, The Platform Group; Crossroads Theatre Project, and CAPS LOCKS THEATRE.

Kelly O’Donnell, Co-Director

When you visit your childhood home, what’s the one thing you always do? Sea Isle City (or Little Ireland) with my huge extended family, trying to “dig to China” with a plastic shovel, playing under the boardwalk in Wildwood NJ with my best friend who died too young, my mother and I watching dolphins hunt in Cape May, many trips up and down the Pacific Coast Highway with my Pop and some of my most cherished friends, collecting “Cape May diamonds” with strangers, standing alone on the cliffs of Inis Mór, walking along the P-Town shore at night with my wife. All of these things feel like home.

When you visit your childhood home, what’s the one thing you always do? I tip my hat to the ghosts and demons of my past. Then I usually get a soft pretzel with mustard.

Bio: Kelly O’Donnell is a co-founder of Flux and has directed many of their shows including World Builders by Johnna Adams, Marian, or the True Tale of Robin Hood and Hearts Like Fistsby Adam Szymkowicz, Jane the Plain by August Schulenburg, and Dog Act by Liz Duffy Adams among others. She directs regularly in college and conservatory theatre programs such as The Lee Strasberg Conservatory (Ajax in Iraq, Our Lady of 121st Street), NYU Tisch School of the Arts (A Flea in Her Ear), and Lafayette College (Tartuffe). She is a regular teaching artist with Stages on the Sound where she helps bring collaborative playmaking training to grades 1 through 8 in parochial schools around Brooklyn and Queens. Other directing work includes Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream(Stages on the Sound), Tiny Houses by Stefanie Zadravec (New Dramatists Playtime Lab), Colchester by Adam Szymkowicz (Portland Center Stage JAW), 3Christs (Peculiar Works Project), and Full of Grace (Rough Draft Festival). kellyod.com

Will Lowry, Scenic Designer

Share a favorite memory of the ocean. I spent three summers working at The Lost Colony in the NC Outerbanks. The theatre was right on the water (though technically the Roanoke Sound, so only ocean-adjacent), and the elements pervade my memories of the experience. One notable feature of the Sound was that you could walk a few hundred feet into the water and still only be waist deep. I still have a clear memory of wading in the water with friends one crystal clear night, far from any light sources. Looking around, I was overwhelmed with the grandeur of nature as the dark water, occasionally dotted by phosphorescent organisms, stretched seemingly forever below, and the most brilliant, star-speckled sky I had ever seen yawned infinitely above.

When you visit your childhood home, what’s the one thing you always do? This is a bit of a tough question. Partly, because I don’t know of any particular rituals I consciously performed—I enjoyed sitting on the porch, I always drifted into nostalgia reentering my bedroom, etc.—but there wasn’t a specific thing I purposely made sure to do. The other reason it’s a tough question is because in 2016, the home my parents built was sold when my mom moved north to be closer to my brother and me. And, even though it’s been two years, I don’t think it’s really hit me yet that I can no longer return.

Bio: Will Lowry is a multidisciplinary designer with an MFA from UNC Greensboro, and he has been a Creative Partner with Flux since 2011. This is his eighteenth Flux production, the most recent being World Builders (NY & LA). He has completed over 110 scenic, costume, and lighting designs ranging between New York, regional, and academic theatre, and he has worked as an assistant on eleven Broadway productions. He serves as an Assistant Professor of Theatre at Lehigh University. Love to B&P. will-lowry.com

Kia Rogers, Lighting Designer

Share a favorite memory of the ocean. I grew up on the coast of North Carolina, and the ocean is my heart. One of the most beautiful memories I can share are with my father. After my parents divorced when I was 5 years old, Weds nights my dad would take me to the beach for dinner and a walk on Johnny Mercers pier. I still remember holding his hand as we would walk down the pier, looking down at the wide weathered boards that spaced out just enough I thought I could slip through. Watching the moon rise and just feeling so special that I was out with my dad for the evening. He made me fall in love with the sea, and I can’t imagine being more than a couple hours drive from the ocean no matter where I live. it is a part of me.

When you visit your childhood home, what’s the one thing you always do? Visit the ocean, I grew up on the coast of North Carolina. It is a beautiful coastline and my heart. At Topsail Beach they have these smooth, round stones that wash up, no one knows exactly why, but my dad loved these stones, especially the round gray ones, he said they reminded him of the moon, so we called them “moon stones”. We would walk along the beach looking for the perfect round ones. I still remember the feel and sound of them in my pockets, sandy and smooth, rolling around in my hands. When I go back I look for one or two stones to take back with me and I keep a collection with me as a reminder of home.

Bio: Kia Rogers – Lighting Designer – Flux Theatre Ensemble creative partner – Her work has been seen at BAM Fisher, 3LD Art & Technology Center, The Gym at Judson, The SoHo Playhouse, Theatre at St. Clement’s, Danspace, St. Luke’s and the 4th Street Theatre. Regional: Thieves by Charlotte Miller in LA. Selkie by Sarah Shaefer in San Francisco. International credits: Associate Lighting Designer for Slutforart/98.6 in Gothenburg, Sweden with Muna Tseng. Tours: The God Box Project with Mary Lou Quinlan, and Soledad Barrio & Noche Flamenca. Awards: Outstanding Lighting Design for Jane The Plain with the NYITA, 2014 and nominated in 2016 for Rizing. www.krogersld.com.

Johana Pan, Costume Designer

Share a favorite memory of the ocean.Basking in the glow of the sun, tasting salt in the air.

When you visit your childhood home, what’s the one thing you always do? Eat my weight in food.

Bio: Johanna Pan is a costume designer from Singapore. Recent credits Ajax in Iraq and Woyzeck (NYU Strasberg). Four Sisters(WWTNS?), Aphrodisiac (Loft 227), Cinderella(Coleytown Middle School), Boom (Stonewater Productions), Fingers & Toes (Plaza Theatre) directed by Bob Moss, Am I? Am (Flea). She worked at Goodspeed Musicals, The Muny, Playwrights Horizons, Signature (DC), Roundabout Theater, Lincoln Center, Primary Stages, Maltz Jupiter Theatre, Alley Theatre, Asolo RePlayhouse, Arena Stage, Steppenwolf, Rattlestick, the Atlantic, amongst others. B.F.A. Ithaca College www.johannapan.com, IG: @scriptedflowers

Jodi M. Witherell, Production Stage Manager

Bio: Jodi M. Witherell (Stage Manager): was most recently seen as PSM for  Flux’s AM I DEAD? (Flux) and Adam Szymkowiz’s Rare Birds (Red Fern). Favorite credits include: miscellaneous work on The Miracle Worker(Queens Theatre) and Mac Rogers’ Universal Robots and The Honeycomb Trilogy (Gideon Productions); That Which Isn’t (Theater Accident), All Systems Go: Mission 4 (Mission to (dit)Mars); Moby Dick (Fireboat Productions); Marian, or the True Tale of Robin Hood, Rizing, Salvage, Once Upon a Bride…, Jane the Plain, Hearts Like Fists, Deinde, Ajax in Iraq and many others with Flux; as well as shows with The Gallery Players; Avalon Studios; The St. Bart’s Players; Working Man’s Clothes; Pembi Players; Playwright’s Company; Audax Theatre Group; Streetlight Productions and The American Globe Theatre. NYIT Award Winner: Outstanding Stage Manager 2016.

Jaclyn Biskup, Production Manager

 

Bio: Jaclyn Biskup is a director and producer working in theatre, television, and film. She is the recipient of an Emmy and Peabody nomination for her work on the digital series, THE SECRET LIFE OF MUSLIMS and currently works as an assistant producer at New Ohio Theatre. She has worked on digital projects for PBS NOVA, Delta Air Lines, Caltech, Harvard, and others. Her work in the theatre spans nearly two decades. As the founding artistic director of The Mill, she has directed and produced over 20 productions including the Chicago premieres of A DREAM PLAY (Caryl Churchill), VENUS (Suzan-Lori Parks) and THE PRIVATE OF LIVES OF ESKIMOS (OR 16 WORDS FOR SNOW) (Ken Urban.) In NYC, she produced and directed NICHOLAS, MAEVE, MARIANNE (Matthew Stephen Smith) one of Indie Theatre Now’s 20 Best of NYC Fringe. She has assisted on productions at Steppenwolf, The Public, and The American Musical Theatre Workshop and has a BA in Theater from Northern Illinois University and a MFA in Directing and Theatrical Production from Northwestern University. This summer she will assist Tony Award winning director Anna Shapiro on the Broadway debut of STRAIGHT WHITE MEN (Young Jean Lee.)

Gabriel Caldwell, Technical Director

Share a favorite memory of the ocean. When I was 18, I took a trip to Florida with my dad. I’d never seen the ocean before. The water left so much salt on my skin and I forgot to shower after diving in, so when it dried it felt like my skin was peeling off. Still had a great time, though.

When you visit your childhood home, what’s the one thing you always do? My family moved a lot, so I never really had a childhood home. The home we spent the most time in might be demolished. But when I come to wherever my family is planted at the time, I find the stuff that’s made it through nine houses. Little knick knacks, 8 years of sketchbooks, my grandfather’s pocket knife. I pick them up and put them down, just to check they’re still intact.

Bio: Gabriel Caldwell is theatre technician and general creative based in Brooklyn. This is Gabe’s second show with Flux after working with them on AM I DEAD?.

Matt Carlin, Props Design

Bio: TMatt is a Scenic and Props designer based in Brooklyn. He is originally from Long Island and is currently finishing his final semester at Pace University, studying Production & Design. Scenic Design: The Wild Party (Schaeberle Theater) Polaroid Stories(Schaeberle Theater), Runaways (Schaeberle Theater), South Pacific (TheaterLab), Getting There (Access Theater). Props: The Winter’s Tale (Schimmel Theater), Hair (Schaeberle Theater), Women & Wallace (Schaeberle Theater). Asst. Scenic: Universal Robots (Sheen Center), See What I Wanna See (Schaeberle Theater). mattcarlindesign.com

Lauren Girouard, Associate Scenic Designer

Bio: Lauren Giouard is an undergraduate theatre arts and neuroscience student at Furman University in Greenville, SC. Designs for Furman include scenery and lighting for The Birthday Party, and sound for Durang/Durang and Hair.This is her fifth time working on a Flux production. She has also assisted with several other regional and academic designs, including The Adding Machine (College of Southern Nevada), In the Next Room (or the Vibrator Play)(Warehouse Theatre, SC), and Hair (Furman University).

Sienna Gonzalez, Associate Lighting Designer

Bio: Sienna Gonzalez is originally from Culver City, CA, but is now based in New York as a designer/stage manager. She last worked with Flux on Marian. Recent credits include: Phantasmagoria; Or Let Us Seek Death! (La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club; Asst. Stage Manager), Proof (The Producer’s Club; Lighting Designer), and You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown (The York Theatre Company; Asst. Lighting Designer). She holds a BFA in Design & Production for Stage and Screen from Pace University.

Moesha Perez, Costume Assistant/Wardrobe:

Bio: I am currently in a three year (second year so far) program through Roundabout Theatre Company called Technical Workforce Development Program (TWDP) which they train you in most aspects of technical theatre that’s including wardrobe, Audio, lighting, carpentry, and scenic. I came into the program open to learn but I already knew my focus was wardrobe/ design and hair/ makeup because I was already doing so before the program. I’m grateful because it’s a push in the door for the career I want to take.

 

Isaiah Tanenbaum, Press/Marketing

Bio:  Isaiah Tanenbaum is a Creative Partner at Flux Theatre Ensemble, where he serves as Marketing Director. A graduate of Amherst College, Isaiah lives in Brooklyn with his wife Jessa and their cat, Juno. He takes photographs of actors, plays, weddings, and events, and trains city workers in ethics with the NYC Conflicts of Interest Board. isaiaht.info // isaiahtpd.info

More headshots and bios coming!

Sound Designer: Megan “Deets” Culley
Assistant Prop Designer: Caspin Jones
Flux Theatre Ensemble Creative Partners (not already listed above): Becky Byers, Sol Crespo, Rachael Hip-Flores, Lori Parquet, Chinaza Uche

JOE BURBY: Modern Day Renaissance Man

The talented Joe Burby is a true Renaissance man whose theatrical experiences range far and wide. Joe can sing, act, play guitar – he even does carpentry!

Headshot smile

 

Most recently Joe was seen onstage in two Leegrid Stevens’ plays, The Dudleys: A Family Game (HERE) and Mesquite, NV (The Workshop Theater). Joe also shares a creative life with his family; his wife, ASHES & A DREAM director, Leslie Kincaid Burby, and their two sons, also artists and musicians, currently students at City College and, this summer, studying abroad.

 We caught up with Joe who’s playing Miguel, the priest, in ASHES, to find out more about working on that and other fun other things.  

Hi Joe! So you are just a master of all. What do you like best?

Well, it’s all so different which is kind of great. In The Dudleys, I portrayed an 8-bit video game zombie-Dad whose son manages his grief at the loss of his father in a very creative way, and my character in Mesquite I was a socially awkward candidate for mayor in a controversy-laden political race.

I also did carpentry for six shows, including an original design of my own for a children’s theater production of Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by my lovely wife, Leslie, which included a 12-foot slide, caves, and fourteen foot trees!  I currently have voice-overs at the Met, the Guggenheim, and the English spoken guide for the main galleries at Ellis Island with Acoustiguide.  My voice can also be heard on the Stromma bus tour of Amsterdam, and on the English language version Italian cartoon Spike Team as team leader Armand Alea.  I directed young actors in Charlotte’s Weband my own adaptation of A Christmas Carol. To cap it all off, I wrote a sitcom pilot, but that is another story.  What I like best is…well, being a Renaissance man!

How is acting different for you than the other ways you perform?

Acting, for me, is so immediate.  The prep work can be a chore, and memorizing lines does not seem to get easier as years go by, but the actual give and take with my colleagues and the audience make it fun.  The challenge and the gratification are right here and now in this very moment with this very group of people.  As a guitar player, I like to say that I play mostly for my own amusement, and that I am self-trained.  As an actor, I actually study and have a craft that I have spent many years developing.  For me, all performing is, at its core, sharing honestly using the tools at hand; listening all the time and following my instincts at the service of the text.  Storytelling!

We understand you know the director pretty well! What’s it like working together on a play? Or even an audition?

Collaborating with Leslie is just about my favorite thing.  We enjoy and respect each other as artists and we have built up an enormous amount of trust over the years of singing, writing, acting, producing theater, maintaining a household, raising our sons…  I know that I can try new things and take risks when I work with her, so I do.  I also know that she will call me out if I try to “phone it in.”  We hold each other and ourselves to very high standards, “for better or worse.”

What attracted you to the character of Miguel, and what do you think audiences will takeaway from him? 

Miguel is the sort of religious figure I admire; he is humble, approachable, down-to-earth, and he really seems to walk the talk. He confronts danger and does not sacrifice his convictions. 

 

Welcome New Board Member! Kari Swenson Riely

The Workshop Theater is delighted to announce their newest addition as longtime member, Kari Swenson Riely,  joins the Board of Directors.

Known as a terrific actress, playwright and all-around marvelous person, Kari also brings a sharp insight and can-do attitude that will surely benefit us all.

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Front and Center! Kari with Workshop actors Christine Verleny and Tony Travostino, after a fabulous read of “McFaith,” the funny and poignant play she wrote for Out of the Hat 3.