I have never met Alice Shapiro. She and I struck up a relationship via email as we are both women artists and she working on bringing her show, mini Broadway bites, to New York City. I assumed she was based here in New York but alas I was wrong. Alice creates her art in the countryside of Georgia. We had a lovely telephone conversation about her small town that is now starting to have a theatre scene. Imagine that. They are so lucky to have her and she is lucky to be in a place where art is being discovered. Today she tells us about how this all transpired.
I’m writing this story from a gazebo in the midst of tranquil woodlands outside the Dog River Library on Highway 5. Being an abstract person by nature, it is easier for me to write a play than tell you what it is about. When I’m literal others talk in parables; when I make up stories others are literal. Welcome to my world!
In 2011, I received an email from the Estrogenius Festival in NYC seeking volunteers. At the time, I was living in Georgia but helped remotely to gain rehearsal space for their productions. Fast forward to 2013 when another email from The International Women Artists Salon (IWAS) announced that an Estrogenius Festival-affiliated member had formed a new group where women artists from around the world could meet in person and via Skype to share their activities. At the first meeting, Heidi Russell, the IWAS founder, graciously invited me to exhibit the set design paintings from my mini BROADWAY bites musicals at their Off Off Broadway partner venue, The Producers’ Club. Heidi also helped connect me with the venue to mount a showcase of two of the mini musicals. I was suddenly an Off Off Broadway producer/playwright catapulted into a new world of magical possibility. After that amazing sold-out performance experience I was captivated by the bright lights and encouraged to reach out again. Miraculously, we are now presenting the mini BROADWAY bites exclusively at Planet Hollywood Times Square in their Off Broadway Screening Room on Broadway and 45th Street, merely one block away from where we started…. in less than 6 months time!
Originally the scripts were written first as an outline based on scripture from the Bible. This became the structure for all ten plays in the series so that each play has its own theme with a beginning middle and ending while at the same time keeping continuity throughout all ten plays as one linear story. The songs are from sheet music found in the University of West Georgia Special Collections Library and are popular public domain pieces from the turn-of-the-century. Making the musical theatre performances into a film with Pridek Studios was an exciting adventure in creativity. We wanted to build something different than a static filming of an on-stage performance so it had to be more movie-like. We hope we captured the essence of both mediums in an exciting new way in our first Musical Film Short, Fountain of Youth.
Alice Shapiro is an award-winning playwright and author of four books with a fifth forthcoming in 2014. A native New Yorker, Alice now lives in a small town in Georgia. You can reach her at www.minibroadwaybites.com