Free in NYC? Yes, Please

It’s Tuesday. The 4th of July is coming upon us. Here are some fun things to do for FREE!

Check out NYCGO. They have my favorite list: Capture

Museums that are “either always free, free on specific days of the week or free for select hours”. 

CaptureNYC.gov offers the best of what’s happening. This week’s latest episode includes movies at Bryant Park, Karaoke on the Coney Island Boardwalk. and Dancing Under the Stars (which I spied from my window).

This one is super fun and I hope to get to a show this summer. I mean, THE WHO, played the Forest Hill Stadium a month ago.Check out DNA.infoCapture

I live near Forest Park and there is always something a-happening. Zumba, free concerts, CaptureMAGIC!

My Three Hats: Producer, Director, Publicist

CaptureOver the last few weeks, I have had several conversations on my contribution to the world of theatre. My favorite description of my experience is one I use in many a bio:

She’s served the theatre in many aspects of which she’s very proud – actress, director, producer, stage manager, costume designer, prop designer, theatre reviewer, publicist, radio presenter, and writer/monologist.

I remember thinking that it seems very broad. The cliche “a Jill of all trades, a master of none” sometimes crosses my mind but then I think to myself that I have been on an amazing journey. I learned so much about what I love and what I excel in and what I am not comfortable with and not as passionate about anymore.

I love is creating and promoting theatre. I love producing as I get to figure out how I am going to make a show happen. When I direct, I am lost in the words of the playwright and get to collaborate with actors and designers on bringing a show to life. If I am producing and directing, I am innately promoting. That’s my personality and as a result, all three resonate strongly within me.

When I decided to become a director in undergrad, I knew I wanted to go to grad school. I knew it was the only way I would be able to immerse my mind, body, spirit in the craft. My MFA in Directing at the Actors Studio Drama School was the foundation I needed before embarking on the next leg of my journey.

After graduation, my husband, Ian, some friends and I started Black Henna Productions. For 12 years and counting, I learned how to be a producer and a publicist. All of it through trial and error and taking a class here and there. When you are running a company, directing the show, and promoting it, you get really good at a few things:

  1. Creating a schedule;
  2. Building a team; and
  3. Developing a product.

After the death of my best friend and co-collaborator, Cas, I took a step back to see my vision. I thought I had to have one role in this world. However, my one vision for my world of theatre is a to be able to promote and support artists in their truth and craft so that they can pay it forward to the next artist. All too often we forget about why we create by focusing on competition rather than specialization. My mentors, Michael Roderick and Ken Davenport, said that to me years ago and I never forgot it. It’s a personal mantra. And with that, when I am working with any artist as a producer, director, and/or publicist, I ask: Why are you doing this show? The answer then propels me to ask: What sets you apart from the several other shows being produced?

These are the questions I ask myself and my team when are developing any project. Then without fail, I sit down and draft the schedule. Then I set out to build the team. Then we begin developing the product. What ties us together is the vision and trust. If we don’t have either then we have a rough road ahead of us.

In a conversation with a fellow producer, we touched on some points about why I created Theatre Beyond Broadway, my PR company and community. I created it so there would be a connection and the fostering of relationships. I told her about my 3 hats and she said, ” We have three people doing your job.” I said, “I know. It’s a lot to juggle but I love it”.

Truth: I didn’t have a choice. I jumped in and just did it. As I continue to do this day.

The Experience is Sometimes Not Knowing 

Last night I spent the evening with a theatre company that produced a show of which I wasn’t familiar. I love seeing shows that I don’t know. I had seen a show earlier in the week in the same fashion. I received an invite and I didn’t ask what I was seeing. It was really pretty awesome. I walked into the both spaces as a visitor in a new locale. I stepped in and took it all in – the space, the seating, the set. Then I sat down and was curious about what was going to happen. Both spaces were not conventional. The audience was a part of the action, the story, and the show. Yet, not intrusive. Subtle. I had no preconceived notions and was not wearing any of my hats (producer, director, publicist). I was just an audience member there for the ride. 
However, once curtain came down (metaphorically) I was able to appreciate how it was produced, directed and promoted. I was also able to really appreciate artists telling stories. That’s why I love theater so much. Why do this if it isn’t going to move someone? Who knows who’s in the audience who really needed that inspiration. 

This summer is full with great theater. I am thrilled to be on the production team on some amazing shows. Continue creating and see you at the show!

Aspiring Playwright? Need a Mentor? Read This

  Before you say “wait a minute, another festival!”, read first. I am thrilled to be on the team of the New York New Works Theatre Festival which returns for a second year. What attracted me to them is their mission: “Bringing aspiring playwrights and Broadway producers together”. As someone who loves theater and loves seeing the potential and success of others, I had to say yes. This is in line with my vision for artists. 

Over the next couple of months, you’ll be hearing more about the festival. I’m the meantime, if you have a play then send it. There no fee! Win/win. 

Please mention me in your submission letter as their Publicist. Good luck!
There’s only 3 weeks left to submit your work to the New York New Works Theatre Festival. After a spectacular 2014 season, THE NEW YORK NEW WORKS THEATRE FESTIVAL announces that they are accepting submissions for 2015! Gene Fisch, Jr. has aggregated a panel of Tony Award Winners, Emmy Award winners, and Broadway Producers as a giveback project to the arts community to review / judge short plays and musicals (25 minute maximum). NO APPLICATION FEE, please visit http://www.nynwtheatrefestival.com for details!  Check out all the amazing panelists and their bios listed on the website. They are all DONATING their time and have a vested interest in helping writers succeed. Application deadline is JUNE 20th.