Meet Benjamin Viertel & The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant

Name: Benjamin Viertel

What is your current project? The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant

Where are you performing your show and why is it a good fit for your production?

The play is being performed at The New Ohio Theatre and it’s a great fit because it’s in the heart of the gay neighborhood of Chelsea. The play centers on a complex relationship between three women. The New Ohio is the home for the downtown, experimental theater and our production fits in that world perfectly.

What’s next for you?

I’m developing a new musical during a residency at People’s Improv Theater in April as well as releasing Season Two of our company’s webseries, [Blank] My Life. I’m also directing Crimes of The Heart outside of Rochester this summer and directing our company’s new musical Grindr The Musical in Italy.

What is the name of the last show you saw?

Beardo by Pipeline Theater Company

Any advice for your peers?

“It’s a marathon, not a race.” As of now, I’m very excited about the works I get to develop and create. I chose theatre as my life’s work because I enjoy collaborating with artists, and getting to do that is the ultimate goal (not comparing myself to my peers). The other piece of advice I can offer is the same piece of advice I received some years ago from two great directors, Michael Rau and Kim Weild, while at the Kennedy Center, “direct every single day.” Which essentially means, practice your craft every single day of your life. Never give up practicing. Since I’m not yet fortunate enough to be in the rehearsal room every single day, I’ve had to define what ‘practice’ means to me. I recommend all aspiring directors to practice every single day. Finally, directing is not only about what you do ‘in’ the room, but also how to get ‘into’ the room. Directing is not only creative but also a test of your resourcefulness.

Want More?

Website: http://www.thirdspacetheater.org
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thirdspacetheater?ref=hl
Twitter: https://twitter.com/3rdspacetheater
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thirdspacetheater
You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRF_KZ-Ebe5rrQ2KNIkFsHA

Benjamin Viertel (Director & Co-Artistic Director) Upcoming: CRIMES OF THE HEART (Bristol Valley Theater); GRINDR THE MUSICAL (Pleasance Theater, London & Teatro Elfo Puccini, Milan). Past: FIREFACE (The Brick), CLIPPED (Atlantic Stage II), AVENUE Q (BVT), and award-winning webseries [BLANK] MY LIFE. Benjamin has worked with BAM, Roundabout Theater Company, Huntington Theater Company, The New Group, and The Civilians. Member of Kennedy Center Director’s Lab, MTC’s Directing Fellow, The Civilian’s R&D Group, and Resident Artist at The Brick and Abrons Arts Center. Co-founder and Artistic Director of Third Space. Education: Carnegie Mellon University. http://www.benjaminviertel.com


Show Information

When: February 17th through March 11th
Where: The New Ohio Theatre
Address: 154 Christopher Street, Suite 1E
Website/Ticketing URL:  https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/968065 

Review by Nick Radu: Broken Bone Bathtub

She’s naked. She’s in a bathtub. And she’s brilliant.

Siobhan O’Loughlin is the petite powerhouse in this one woman show, bringing humanity to more than just the surface of the water she sits in.

Per usual, Siobhan brings a group of people together, in an actual bathroom, where she sits in the tub and tells her story. On this occasion, host, Ron Brawer, Daytime Emmy Award Winner for Outstanding Music Direction and Composition for Another World, allowed his Manhattan apartment to be the stage for this particular installment. His giant loft allowed for a larger audience to be present this time around and he provided Siobhan with more than just a conventional tub. Brought in by a friend from Wisconsin when Brawer moved in, was a large copper vat for making cheese!

Siobhan’s adorable face popped up from inside the tub as the literal shower curtain was pulled aside. The large copper basin sat underneath a shower head, which would leak droplets of water every now and then, causing Siobhan to react appropriately.

She told her story of riding her bike through the streets of New York one rainy night. An accident with another cyclist left her on the pavement with a broken hand and a broken spirit.

What was so great about this experience wasn’t just the cute face with the beautiful voice who told the story, or the incredible spirit who picked herself up and delivered a heartfelt depiction of life on life’s terms. What made this incredibly worthwhile was the literal shared experience the audience received.

Siobhan took us through the narrative, but paused at many intervals to ask opinions, thoughts and personal experiences from the friends who gathered around her and her tub. As we got to know her and what happened to her, we also got to know others and what they went through in similar experiences.

She even allowed one of the audience members to wash her back and her hair.

Stipped down to nothing, sitting in water, and allowing us to just be there with her while we let our own guard and defenses down was such a breath of fresh air from the usual theater formula.

In this day and age of social media, and keeping others at text or Facebook-length away, it was so refreshing to make a human connection. She made eye contact. She spoke to numerous audience members about their personal lives. She made you feel at home, at ease, and like a close friend you could open up to.

If you’re looking for something different, something fresh and something to tell a friend about, then check out Broken Bone Bathtub. This artist and this experience are worth it!

Tickets: Available at artful.ly for $35.00 each.

Website: brokenbonebathtub.com

Performances: Manhattan: Greenwich Village – Feb 24 & 25
Queens: Astoria – Feb 26

Now EXTENDED through March 31st.

Meet Tony Torn and Ben Beckley & Latter Days

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Names: Tony Torn & Ben Beckley

What is your current project?

Latter Days

Where are you performing it and why is it the right fit for your piece?

Ben: Tony Torn and Will Dagger are performing the show (my first full-length play) as an Ars Nova Fling, with Dutch Kills producing. Ars Nova’s an ideal space for the production, not only because it’s an intimate and flexible space, but because it draws energy and resonance from the dozens of hyper-inventive premieres that have passed through it. I’m thrilled to be there.

Tony: Ars Nova is an intimate space that works well for an intimate play.

What’s next for you?

Tony:  I’m appearing in the upcoming Signature Theater revival of Suzan-Lori Parks’ VENUS.

Ben: I’ll be appearing opposite two-time Tony-winner Christian Borle in a reading of Brecht’s RESISTIBLE RISE OF ARTURO UI and in The Assembly’s critically acclaimed HOME/SICK, a play I co-wrote and perform in that chronicles the rise and fall of a group of would-be American revolutionaries in the 1960s.

Who is your biggest inspiration right at this moment and why?

Tony: My wife, poet Lee Ann Brown

Ben: I’ve been thinking a lot about DON QUIXOTE lately, especially in the wake of the election and in the midst of a new administration apparently determined to forcefully divorce themselves and their supporters from demonstrable realities.

Want More?

Ben’s Website: http://www.benbeckley.com

Tony’s Twitter: @tonytorn
Tony Torn is an actor and director known for his extensive work with Reza Abdoh and Richard Foreman, and for being a founding director of Reverend Billy and The Church of Stop Shopping. He recently played the title role in Ubu Sings Ubu, a rock opera adaptation of Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi which he created and co-directed with Dan Safer of Witness Relocation. He can currently be seen in Ben Beckley’s Latter Days at Ars Nova. He manages Torn Page, a salon space and classroom in Chelsea which is dedicated to the artistic legacy of his parents, Rip Torn and Geraldine Page.
As a writer, Ben has premiered work with The Assembly, F*It Club, and Blue Box Productions. As an actor, he appeared in Dying For It with Atlantic Theater Company and in the first national Broadway tour of Peter and the Starcatcher. Other credits include Berkshire Theatre Group, TACT, New Georges, Human Head, Joe’s Pub, Temporary Distortion (four international tours) and The Flea, where he premiered work with Adam Rapp and Christopher Durang. As a member of The Assembly, he has co-created five original productions. His on-screen credits include The Onion, The Jew of Malta, and The Revolution. Upcoming: The Assembly’s HOME/SICK at JACK.


Show information (venue, dates, ticket info)

LATTER DAYS runs February 13 – March 11 at 7:00pm.
Theater 511
511 West 54thStreet at 10th Avenue — accessible from the C & E trains at 50th Street.
Tickets are $25.
To purchase tickets, call 212-352-3101 or visit http://www.dutchkillstheater.com.

Meet Dipti Mehta & Honour Confessions of a Mumbai Courtesan

Name: Dipti Mehta

What is your current project?

Honour Confessions of a Mumbai Courtesan

Where are you performing it and why is it the right fit for your piece?

Jersey City Theater Center. We are a part of their Borderless season which is a perfect fit as the show is set in Mumbai, India but touches universal issues like human rights, women’s issues and gender issues.

What’s next for you?

We will be announcing our dates for Hoboken soon and are performing in Washington DC this summer.

Who is your biggest inspiration right at this moment and why?

Amir Khan. His commitment to art and his choice of material is phenomenal. I learn so much from him and his movies. I hope to get to work with him one day.

Want More?

Website: www.honourcmc.com
Twitter: @diptimehta
Instagram : @actordiptimehta

Dipti discovered the power of theater at a young age of 6 in Mumbai, India when she was first cast in a school play, which marked the beginning of her acting career. She was unaware at that young age that she had indeed discovered her calling. She was fortunate to have her own radio shows featured on All India Radio from the young age of 13 eventually leading to a career as a radio jockey and a voice over artist.

According to her, theater is a powerful means to bring social transformation. Desire to make a difference through art is at the core of her projects and is reflected in “HONOUR: Confessions of a Mumbai Courtesan”.

She is a feminist and an advocate of women’s rights. She has been on interactive anti-sex trafficking panels with FBI agent Mara Schneider, Writer and Social worker, Stuart Perrin, Law professor Gloria Brown Marshal, and groups like ECPAT and AF3IRM.

She believes that art is not distinct from life. It is with this belief she created “HONOUR: CMC”, as an attempt to make a difference in the world.

TV credits include The Blacklist (NBC), Golden Boy (CBS), Deadline Crime with Tamron Hall (Investigation Discovery), One Life to Live, Virrudh, Hum-Tum, and Yoga for you. Film credits include Accommodations, Humor Me, Split, I Dream of Hope, Midnight Delight, Far Away, Penumbra (Cannes Short Film Corner), A box came to Brooklyn, Life! Camera Action (Winner- 11 nominations and 3 awards), A good life, Walkaway, Mamarosh, Red Corvette, Victory, Colors of Passion, and Summer of 2007. Theater credits include Half Hearted (Cherry Lane Theater), Grahan…the Eclipse (Winner – 4 awards), Nishfal (Winner-2 awards), Get Back, Vagina Monologues (Abingdon Theater), Honour (Fringe-NYC, La MaMa & Urban Stages) and Bollywood Wedding.

Dipti works at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in the field of prostate cancer and owns a holistic skincare company called “Dees Apothecary”. When she is not working on one of her projects she can be found reading on a park bench or cooking for friends and family.


Show information (venue, dates, ticket info)

Sunday, February 26th at 4pm

 

Merseles Studios

339 Newark Ave.
Jersey City, NJ, 07302

Click HERE for tickets.

Meet Felix Rojas & Growing Up Gonzales

Name: Felix Rojas

What is your current project?

My current project is a one person, two act play called Growing Up Gonzales. Gonzales is a comedy with drama that tells the story of two brothers, Johnny and Cisco, who are brought together by death. It is Johnny’s job to clean out the apartment of the deceased Cisco. While cleaning he finds Cisco’s memoirs and discovers a brother he never really new. It’s a play about love, communication and forgiveness. It opens at The Medicine Show Theater on 52nd Street between 10th and 11th Avenues on Friday March 17th and runs through April 9th.

Where are you performing it and why is it the right fit for your piece?

The Medicine Show Theater is a nice intimate venue, the play works well in this setting, and the location is smack dab in the theater district. If we want theater people to see the show this is where it needs to be. This run of Gonzales is a showcase with the goal to attract some movers and shakers who can help move and shake the show to a bigger and more permanent venue. We have a small group of investors who believe in the project. I think their excitement is contagious. We’re hoping it rubs of on a few people.

What’s next for you?

I have a couple of projects in development. I have a comedy show called The National Improv League, I have two pilots for TV, a film script, a play with music (that should be traveling soon) and a musical. I think it’s important as a content creator to always have a thing or three in your back pocket. I think the musical will be up next. It’s a big, beautiful and haunting Caribbean spectacular. I’m hoping Gonzales helps connect me to the right people.

Who is your biggest inspiration right at this moment and why?

It’s not so much who but what. I am most inspired by people who have a dream that they refuse to give up on, I’m inspired by disabled people who accomplish more than able people, People who are kind, like my better half Saida, inspire me, great music that touches my soul inspires me, spiritual food, from any source, that helps me to understand myself a little better inspires me, words from Chekhov, Marquez and Hemingway inspire me, my kids inspire me…all of these things inspire me to create. Inspiration for me is active, it’s engaged…it reaches in a grabs a hold of my soul…sometimes gently and sometimes not. Gifted and brilliant inactive beings are still gifted and brilliant, they’re just not inspiring. I hope I never have to rely on any one person to inspire me.

Want More?

Website: http://www.papispromise.com

Felix Rojas is a writer, producer and director of theater, film and television in that order. After taking a 17 year hiatus from the entertainment business Rojas returned in 2010 with a string of hits that has earned him a top spot on NYC’S hottest writers list and has garnered several awards and nominations. Rojas writes about life from the inside out in a way that crosses all social, political, gender and cultural boundaries. With work that is difficult to place into a specific genre Rojas states that “I try to capture life not a genre…life has no genre”. Rojas has several projects for the stage, film and television that he calls “ground breaking”. He hopes to meet the right producer or show-runner that will help bring his work to the forefront.


Show information (venue, dates, ticket info)

MARCH 17th thru APRIL 9TH
AT
THE MEDICINE SHOW THEATER
549 W. 52ND STREET
(BETWEEN 10TH AND 11TH AVE.)

http://www.growingupgonzales.com

Meet Mark Dunn & Black Coffee

Name: Mark Dunn

What is your current project?

Agatha Christie’s Black Coffee

Where are you performing it and why is it the right fit for your piece?

The Parkside Players in Forest Hills, NY

The reason it’s the best fit is probably because they were crazy enough to approve it for this season. I’m only kidding. Parkside is an amazing community theatre group with a core group of dedicated volunteers that dig in, and do whatever it takes to get each show off the ground. The level of talent that shows up for auditions is extraordinary, and the President and board are incredibly supportive to their directors and actors. Fro actors it’s a great place to work and improve.

Also, the regular Parkside patrons will LOVE this show. It has everything you want in a production. Suspense, humor, and a mystery to solve. So many motives, secrets, and twists.

This is the only play Agatha Christie wrote that features her beloved sleuth Hercule Poirot. Jim Haines (Poirot in our production) brings a very fresh take on the popular character, and is surrounded by cast of standouts.

What’s next for you?

I’ll be playing the role Daddy in George Dunn’s production of “My personal jungle gym”.
Also a few projects in development (that sounds cool, right?)

Who is your biggest inspiration right at this moment and why?

Personally: My son George is my biggest inspiration. Not only does he challenge me every day, but he sets a great example of how to treat people, and enjoy life.

Professionally: I’m the product of every director I’ve ever worked with and every artist I’ve ever shared the stage with or watched.

Want More?

Website: http://parksideplayers.com/

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/Parkside-Players-169457159737110

Mark has been active in Collegiate, Community and Regional theatre since 1996. Mark returns to Parkside having directed the 2016 production of You Can’t Take it With You, and the 2012 production of The Man Who Came To Dinner. Mark has acted in festivals and other productions around Manhattan, Hoboken, Jersey City and Forest Hills. Mark has been recognized with various awards and nominations for his work. Mark is a visual artist and enjoys painting, and drawing. ILYB


Show information (venue, dates, ticket info)

Grace Lutheran Church
103-15 Union Turnpike
Forest Hills, NY 11375
Performances

Fridays, February 24 & March 3 @ 8:00 PM
Saturdays, February 18, 25 & March 4 @ 8:00 PM
Sundays, February 19 & 26 @ 2:00 PM

ADMISSION: $17 / $15 for Seniors
http://parksideplayers.com/tickets.html

Meet Amanda Nicastro and Matthew K. Sears & Escape to LA?

Name: Amanda Nicastro & Matthew K Sears

What is your current project? Rotten Apple: Escape to LA?

Where are you performing it and why is it the right fit for your piece?

We’re performing our new show at the Frigid Fringe festival. The Frigid Festival takes place during the coldest time of the year in New York City, when we’re all probably asking ourselves the same question. “Why do I live here?” Frigid brings in shows from across New York and elsewhere, creating a perfect backdrop to reflect on our city versus other places we could be living.

Rotten Apple Comedy was born out of our frustrations with life in New York City. The challenges here can make anyone think about moving at times. For performers, the alternative is often Los Angeles. We have many friends who have given in to siren call of the West Coast and started new lives.

What’s next for you?

We’re currently planning another run of this show later this year. Please check out our website for show updates and filmed sketches.

Who is your biggest inspiration right at this moment and why?

Together with our director, Chris Booth, we drew inspiration from wacky comedies such as the Naked Gun movies, classic comedy duos such as Abbot & Costello, and Looney Tunes (always a favorite.)

One of Amanda’s favorite comedy movies is “Abbot and Costello meet Frankenstein” which she was introduced to by her dad.

We’ve been writing a lot of sketches centered around wacky characters. Bringing a variety of voices and big physicality to them just fits!

Want More?

Website: http://www.rottenappleshow.con
Twitter: @rottenappleshow; @TheLastAmanda; @MatthewKSears
Facebook: Facebook.com/rottenappleshow

Matthew K Sears is a New York comedian and improviser originally from Maine. He has been writing and performing with Amanda as Rotten Apple for four years, as well as doing stand-up, improvising, and producing videos on his own. You can see him every month at the PIT Loft as part of the Campaign and find some of his videos at Cancel Into Super on YouTube.

Amanda Nicastro – Outside of producing content for Rotten Apple Amanda has traveled as far as The Orlando Fringe Festival with her one woman show “I’m Just Kidneying” which is about her becoming a living kidney donor. She has been a performer at the SoloCom Festival in New York three consecutive years in a row. Amanda has performed and written for a variety of shows produced at The People’s Improv Theater including SKTCH SHW, Electoral Dysfunction, Ladies of the PIT, and David Carl’s Road to the Whitehouse: A Donald Trump Rally. Amanda has also directed for Emerging Artists New Works Series, taught with Naked Angels Theater company, and created web/app content for Marvel Entertainment, Dynamite! and Nattr.


Show information (venue, dates, ticket info)
The Kraine Theater
85 East 4th Street

Feb. 15 10:30pm
Feb. 19 5:10pm
Feb. 23 10:30pm
Feb. 27 7:10pm
March 2 5:30pm

$15 tickets / $10 for seniors,students,military