Josh Rivedal Returns with The Gospel According to Josh for an Off-Broadway Run

CaptureBack in August of 2013, Josh was awaiting the print version of his book, The Gospel According to Josh: A 28 Year Gentile Bar Mitzvah (based on his one man show). He asked me to join his team to promote the book. When I finally read it, I was so moved and was excited about seeing the performance. Tada! The show is returns with an all new script based on the book. So, I decided to reprint his interview today. If you are interested in joining my merry group of supporters for opening night, comment below and I will get in touch with you.

The Gospel According to Josh is back in NYC Off-Broadway. May 16-18. Fresh of of an international tour and with an all new script based on his book. Josh is a writer for The Huffington Post, an actor, author, and public speaker.

Malini: Josh, you know I love your book. I devoured it one night the way I devour a bowl of pasta. My readers know that I respect those who share their truth. It is difficult to do that. Who really wants to admit their shame or expose their vulnerability? And you’ve shared your truth and vulnerability in two forms: performance and the written word. What was the catalyst in writing the book version of the show?

Josh: Great question. I really wanted to make this story more accessible. In three years I’ve reached about ten thousand people with the show version. But I can only do so many performances in a week or month. With the book it’s low cost and able to be consumed at a pace that suits the audience member. It’s much more easily shared as well. You can hand someone a book but I can’t live in someone’s pocket and put on a performance at a minute’s notice.

The book is also loosely structured as a three act play. It has one more act than the one-man show version. During the final act, the book shows my own spiral into clinical depression and suicidal thoughts a few years after losing my father to suicide. Additionally it shows my recovery from depression and bouncing back from rock bottom. In society we are constantly presented with pictures of people who are struggling but rarely are we shown someone in recovery. I wanted people to see someone who is in recovery and living a well-adjusted and productive emotional and professional life.

Malini: One of my favorite parts in the book, without giving anything away, is the use of voices and dreams. I found that they really enhance the story. How did you come up with that concept?

Josh: Thank you and… damn, that’s a tough question!

First on the conceit to use of dreams. I was having dreams on a consistent basis about my father for over a year after he died. I could understand things he was saying and these dreams drove me, in part, to write my one-man play The Gospel According to Josh. However these dreams were freaking me the hell out and it contributed to my deteriorating mental state. I thought I was going crazy (not true) and didn’t talk about it for a few years. The dreams were also a way for me to say goodbye to my father, something I never got a chance to do.

The voices. I think it came to me one day early in the writing process. I was taking a shower and was trying to think of a way to break up the exposition and give insight to my inner thoughts. We all talk to ourselves throughout the day, sometimes aloud, and often when we think no one else is listening. It’s more normal than you think. My thoughts often sound a little ghetto fabulous. I also quote Bible verses at myself because of my Evangelical youth. And I swear a lot in Spanish in my head. In the context of the book, these three voices (religious, ghetto, Spanish) are my friends and enemies. They’re vulgar, compassionate, needling; and they break up and lighten what can be some serious subject matter. They’re probably the most risky part of the book (as a writer) but they’re my favorite part too.

Malini: You discuss your first performance in the book and you are still touring the show, which I think is great. What has shifted for you, if anything, as you continue to carry your message?

Josh: I think the thing that’s shifted is that this message, carried out with compassion and humor, is snowballing. People are embracing it all over the U.S. and Canada. It’s taken a few years but it’s happening. And I’m somewhat known as “the suicide prevention guy” which is interesting. Not something I ever thought I’d be known as when I got into show business ten years ago. But here we are and I’m totally cool with it.

Tickets for friends of Josh, HERE: 

About the show:
The Gospel According to Josh is a 30 character, 7 song one man show.

By the time Josh Rivedal turned twenty-five, he thought he’d have the perfect life—a few years singing on Broadway, his own television show, and his face on the cover of the National Enquirer as Bigfoot’s not-so-secret lover. Instead, his resume is filled with minor league theatre and an appearance on The Maury Povich Show—a career sidetracked by his father’s death and a messy lawsuit from his mother.

Tortured by his thoughts, he finds himself on the ledge of a fourth floor window, contemplating jumping out. In turn he must reach out to the only person who can help him before it’s too late.

The Gospel… is a true life tale of one young man’s passage into manhood—his twenty-eight year Gentile bar mitzvah.

Proceeds will be donated to The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. A panel discussion on suicide prevention and mental wellness will follow each of the four performances. Featured panelists will include industry leaders from The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Mental Health America, National Alliance on Mental Illness, and Men’s Health Network and more. Dates in May: Fri. 16 at 7pm, Sat. 17 at 2pm and 7pm, Sun. at 3pm.

The Left Out Festival Closes, Alan Semerdjian, Pieces Extended

imagesI had a moment today when I realized that I need to stop complicating everything. I always want everything to go off smoothly but if I am in my own way, I just slow everything down. Since the last week, which now includes a second loss, I am seeing just how important it is that we live our lives to the fullest. As a champion of dreams and goals, I encourage all of you, as well as myself, to set a goal for the next month and do one thing each day to make that goal a reality. You have 30 days…GO! I’m checking in to see where you all are in the process.

If you haven’t checked out The Left Out Festival, today is your last chance. Antonio and Shylock close out the festival and I am very excited to see it tonight. It’s a work in progress based on Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice by Dikran Tulaine, this exploration of hatred of the “other” explores anti-Jewish and anti-gay bigotry. Was Antonio gay? Hmm, I’ll love to dig deep. Also, fellow poet, and rocker, Alan Sermerdjian is performing this weekend at the Rockwood Music Hall. And if you’re in the mood for an oldie but a goody, check out my pal, Tom Hoefner’s You’re a Good Man. Charlie Brown. Tom wrote and directed, The Unlikely Adventure of Race McCloud, Private Eye which Black Henna produced a few years ago.

I am about to head into Planet Connections with three great shows: Pieces, The Quest of the Hero! and Allie’s Appendix. Check out the listings to the right and for more info. Pieces has two more added dates so YAY!

See you at the show!

You have a follower the moment you put the anarchy sign in my path. So when I heard The Anthem was opening, my interest was piqued.

Your name will be drawn from my cauldron if you tell me what show has a kick ass poster/logo/brand. You win two tickets to:

THE ANTHEM is a rollicking sci-fi musical about a revolt of the young against an evil state lovingly inspired by the classic novella “Anthem.” Hunger Games meets Ayn Rand in a world where individuality is illegal. Prometheus abandons everything to confront the State — controlled by the overlord of evil efficiency, Tiberius. With a forbidden copy of Ayn Rand’s ancient tome in hand, can Prometheus overthrow the system?

Leave a comment on the Theatre Beyond Broadway Facebook page or  below.

“Everyone has a role to play.”

CaptureThat’s what Ian’s uncle said to us on Saturday when we visited his grandfather. It’s easy for me to forget the many roles I play because I always want to best in whatever I’m doing.

Ian’s uncle repeated that line again on Tuesday at Grandpa George’s wake.  We were the grandchildren, the sons and daughters-in-laws, the nephews and nieces, the cousins, the wives and husbands. We were the family.

Grandpa George was a remarkable man. I feel very blessed to have known him for 16 1/2 years and to call him Grandpa. I could wax poetic about his many huge accomplishments made to our city in the field of print press and the unions. I could be in awe of the great photos of him with luminaries. I could just smile his decision to get his Bachelor of Arts at age 60 even though he didn’t need it.

I did all of those things. However, today I will revel in the memories of the countless rides in the back seat of the old ’89 Buick listening to awesome stories of the old days in HIS New York City.

He played many roles and inspires me and the rest of his clan to play our roles with passion and conviction.

Much love to you Grandpa and luckily I don have to use the restroom that we just passed on the highway 😉

The Sin Eater by Michael Bettencourt, Directed by Elfin Frederick Vogel

I’ve been spending a lot of time down on the Lower East Side. I like my theatre gritty and dark. That’s what I got when I saw The Sin Eater. I’ve discussed deep thoughts in past blogs. So here are some thoughts on last night’s powerful performance:

Redemption is a tough pill to swallow especially of you’re stuck within the four walls of a prison. Prison is a state of captivity and confinement. It isn’t just a physical place but mental one as well. The Sin Eater is about sin, confession and redemption. What makes one highly reprehensible act better or worse than the other? Who is judge? Who is to judge? The three storytellers captivate the audience for an intense 100 minute in the intimate Kabayitos Theatre. 6 chances left to see it before it closes this weekend.

Website Proves I’m a Slasher

988373_10152022464448454_1385347182_nOh my goodness! It’s finally here and you have no idea how happy I am that my personal website is here. Many thanks to Aaron Pratt, my tough love branding consultant who built this site as well as my beloved site.

Over the last 6 months, I have been exploring my love of the arts and how it feeds my soul. My friends tease me by saying I’m as slasher: “Malini is a director/producer/publicist/actress/poet/cat lover”. It’s funny. I really just love exploring all the possibilities that the arts have to offer. I don’t direct as much anymore though I am directing a mock trial. I don’t act as much anymore though I was in the Rough Draft Play Festival. I write poetry when the words overcome me and someone asks me to read my work.

I do, however, love promoting theatre. This isn’t a new side of me. I’ve been doing since I’ve been doing shows (which is coming up on two decades). I remember in college that I just wanted people to see the show. My first show at Baruch College was Twelfth Night. I was one of the servants in Olivia’s house and worked with Maria. I had NO lines. Yet, I invited everyone to come see the show.

So what’s really happened is I’ve become more specific. The other facets are there when I am ready.

Anyway, it’s great to be back. Malinism will have more tabs. In the meantime, thank you for being awesome. And break free!

Oh: one more slash: Presenter on Salon Radio. Tune in Monday night at 9pm at

A Snowfall in Berlin by Don Nigro; Directed by Shaun Peknic

Ian and I hadn’t been in La Tea together since 2002. That’s a long time and we have come a long way. We were both on the production team of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and it was great. I remember it being a long run which wasn’t too common for independent theatre. We both learned so much on that production. So, it was great pleasure to support our friends, Shaun Peknic and Tatyana Kots on their fantastic work in A Snowfall in Berlin. Here’s Ian’s thoughts

A naked girl dead in a bathtub, an obsessive police detective, and an international collection of exiles making a film about a naked girl dead in a bathtub, an obsessive police detective, and an international collection of exiles making a film set the stage for Don Nigro’s psychological mystery A Snowfall In Berlin. Directed by Shaun Peknic, the six actors in the show hurtle through space and time, exploring the concepts of perception, predestination, and the concentric nature of reality amid the backdrop of a possible murder investigation. This taut 100 minutes is chock full of dialogue examining the nature of our reality, counterposed by the other actors in the piece, who never leave the stage, engaging in almost ghostly pantomime when they are not the direct subject of the moment. A Snowfall In Berlin runs through this weekend at Teatro LATEA at The Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center 107 Suffolk Street. – Ian McDonald