Meet Shara Ashley Zeiger & Roughly Speaking

FB_IMG_1475004492543.jpgName:  Shara Ashley Zeiger

What is your current project?

“Roughly Speaking” A new play based on over 200 interviews with the NYC Homeless! See a world we often walk by through the eyes of Lightning.Bolt, a rapper bound only by his wheelchair on a not so typical day at the soup kitchen. An existential struggle of survival begs questions of love, loss, and what’s next. I spent 2 years interviewing the homeless to write this play and I am very proud of it. The project also includes a talk back series, an invited dress rehearsal for the homeless, $3 for every ticket purchased going to buy backpacks for the homeless of NYC, and an installation of Willie Baronet’s work, an awesome artist who makes galleries out of homeless signs.

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

We’re running at Tada Theater on 15 w. 28th st in NYC. It’s a great 99 seat house that’s very accessible for NY audiences to get to, and it’s only 12 blocks from where the play actually takes place.

What’s next for you?

We’re going to see about this for awhile 🙂 The goal is for this play to have a life after this run. Sure I’ve got a ton up my sleeve, but in time.

Who is your biggest inspiration right at this moment and why?
I’m inspired by a lot of people. Lin Manuel Miranda, Meryl Streep, Hillary Clinton. Am I clichĂ©? I’m inspired by people who use what they got to shape the world be in their voice their influence or their character.

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Twitter: @PlatformGroup
@PlatformGroup (IG)
@SharaAshleyZ (Twitter & IG)

Shara Ashley Zeiger (Producer, Playwright, Performer): Shara is the founder and Artistic Director of The Platform Group, where she acted in and produced Savage in Limbo, and The Ladder Series. As a creator Shara’s play The Dark Place was part of Emerging Artist Theater’s New Works Festival in 2014. She works as a teaching artist in developing new works with The Queens Theater at various residencies. She is also on the reader selection committee for The O’Neill Center’s National Playwrights Conference, and sits on the board for NY’s Educational Theater Association. As a performer, Shara’s done work on camera with ABC, MTV, VH1, Spike TV, National Geographic, CollegeHumor, and many festival running films including Aphasia (Tribeca Film Festival 2015, Cannes 2015). Shara was in the National Tour of Molilere’s Imaginary Invalid, and has also worked at many theaters including La MaMa E.T.C., PS 122, Theater for the New City, Kitchen Theater Co., Bristol Riverside Theater, and Bucks County Playhouse. Shara is alum of Ithaca College, The O’Neill Center’s National Theater Institute, The Upright Citizens Brigade, and Studio 5 and is a proud member of AEA & SAG-AFTRA. @SharaAshleyZ

Show information (venue, dates, ticket info)

10/29-11/20 Thurs-Sat 8pm,

Sundays 11/6, 11/13, 11/20, 2pm

Wednesdays 11/2, 11/9, 8pm

Monday 11/14 8pm

Tada Theater 15 w. 28th st, NYC

Tickets on Smarttix through our website

Meet Ashley Jacobson & Elizabeth Sarkady and SEX

maeweststartsonjailterm_1_orig.jpgName: Ashley Jacobson (Artistic Director) and Elizabeth Sarkady (Executive Director)

What is your current project?

A staged reading of SEX by Mae West. It was her first Broadway play and the one for which she was incarcerated for 10-days for lewdness and “corrupting the youth.” The play is the story of a prostitute from Montreal who struggles to find her way in and out of sex work.

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

We are performing it at UNDER Saint Marks Theater, as part of our residency with FRIGID New York @ Horse Trade. The theater has a distinct downtown feel, as its underground and feels almost like a speakeasy. This is so perfect for a show produced during the Prohibition Era, where censorship was so brazen and artists could be arrested for the content of the work. We hope people will enjoy feeling like they are sneaking in to see something taboo.

What’s next for you?

We have a devised show called THE BRITNEY PROJECT that will open on January 4th at the Kraine Theater. The show’s tagline is: A look into what Britney Spears did to pop culture, and what pop culture did to Britney Spears. Its a highly satired look at pop culture’s obsession with and exploitation of celebrities, particularly young females, as explored through the very public rise and breakdown of America’s most famous pop princess.

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

Definitely Mae West! What a soul she was! We are so inspired by her self-made career. She created the roles she wanted for herself and defined her sexuality on her own terms. She used stereotypes to exploit them and to reveal them as shallow. She was unapologetically fabulous and bold, but also caring and philanthropic. She was a real trailblazer for women in theater and on screen, and we are proud to showcase her work.

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Twitter: @thedirtyblondes
Facebook: thedirtyblondes
Instagram: dirtyblondestheater
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A feminist theater company with a taste for provocation.

The Dirty Blondes’ mission is to produce theater that furthers the right conversation at the right time with the right people. Through this mission, artists are responsible for using their work to participate in a dialogue that bears on their experience and pushes the conversation further – creating stark, challenging and emotionally truthful pieces of theater

Show information (venue, dates, ticket info)
UNDER St. Marks New York, NY
Sep 29-Oct 2 @ 7pm
Visit or for more ticket information.

Meet Emily Owens

Name: Emily Owens
What is your current project?

I run Emily Owens PR, a media relations agency specializing in new work off and off off Broadway. I work with The Kilroys, New Georges, Mac Rogers and Gideon Productions, and FRIGID New York @ Horse Trade, among others.

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

I love bringing attention to new plays and playwrights that people haven’t previously heard of. Nothing excites me more than getting a playwright their first New York Times review! It always starts with the play for me, and I never rep a show if I don’t dig the script. Lately I seem to be gravitating towards a lot of genre theatre (horror and science fiction) and works by women.

What’s next for you?
I’m starting a theatre company with my husband called Hot Tramp Productions. Our inaugural production will premiere at UNDER St. Marks in March 2017. Stay tuned for more on that!
Who is your biggest inspiration right at this moment and why?

Strong, independent, badass girl bosses. I’m lucky to know quite a few of them!

Want More?
Twitter: @emilyowenspr
Emily founded Emily Owens PR, a media relations agency specializing in independent and off-Broadway theatre, in 2007. Since then Emily has built a solid reputation for repping New York and World Premiere productions. Her clients have been nominated for Drama Desk Awards, received Obie Awards, and been named Critics Picks by the New York Times, Time Out NY, and NY Magazine.

Meet Dennis Gleason and Joanne de Simone & The Convent of St Clare

IMG_20160908_222333106_HDR.jpgName: Dennis Gleason and Joanne de Simone

What is your current project?

The Convent of St Clare. Abortion, lesbians, a holier than thou mother superior, a  priest and a determined fiancee all make this story not your grandmother’s Catholic Church. “The Convent Of St Clare” a new dramedy debuts in the Thespis Festival at Hudson Guild  Theatre this fall. Come see how all is crumbling under the weight of changing times and unconventional habits. The cast features two actors, Amy Losi and Kalen J. Hall from last year’s critically acclaimed de Simone/Gleason production of “Olivia’s Roses”. Rounding out the cast are Lisa Dennett, Kalene Speranza, Kaitlin Paige Adkison, Ed Ryan and Andrea Warriner. Jayde Fuentes is the Stage Manager.

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

Hudson Guild Theatre on 26th Street in Manhattan….intimate 99 sear theatre where you can get close to the sordid, sorry and silly action of the nunnery.

What’s next for you?

It’s a Wonderful Life in Mississippi

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Dennis Gleason just wrapped up the heralded “Houseless in Paradise” in the New York Fringe Festival. Earlier NYC successes include “An Adult Evening of Shel Silverstein” Off Broadway, 2nd Place in the UnFringed Festival with “An Appetizing Yarn”, 2nd Place in the Midtown International Theatre Festival with “Devil’s Advocate” and five Finalists in the Strawberry Festival. Having directed coast to coast, he has won 15 Outstanding Production & Outstanding Director Awards over a thirty year career. With 150 directing credits, Dennis is an Associate Member of Stage Directors & Choreographers Society.

Joanne de Simone is a author, playwright and film historian who has written eight plays. Her “Judy’s Dead” took first prize in the Writer’s Digest Stage Play competition and is in negotiations for an upcoming TV movie. “Norma Jeane Enlightenment” was well received in the MITF Festival as was “Livvie and J.De Beau” at MRT. “Suicide Angel” is in feature film pre production and her historical play “Earthman” will be released as a short film in 2017. Joanne is also known for her succession of teen books.

Show information (venue, dates, ticket info)

Performances are Sept 13 at 9 PM, Sept 14 at 6:15 PM and Sept 17 at 6:00 pm at the Hudson Guild Theatre, 441 West 26th Street in NYC, between 9th and 10th Avenues. Tickets are available at the door for $ or may be purchased in advance through Brown Paper Tickets online or by calling 1-800-838-3006. You may contact the festival for more information.

NY New Works Theatre Festival: Meet Sara McDermott Jain and Steven Skeels & Flesh and Spirit

Name: Sara McDermott Jain (playwright) and Steven Skeels (composer/lyricist)

Current project: “Flesh & Spirit”; BLURB: Michael, a priest, begins a journey of self-discovery that connects his life to that of Daphne, a drug addict and a prostitute. In trying to help Daphne and come to terms with his own sexuality, Michael incurs the wrath of his most devout parishioner, the scorned and jilted Mary, and Daphne incurs the wrath of David, her pimp and sometimes lover.

Where are you performing/why is it the right fit? : We are performing it as part of the New York New Works Theatre Festival ( This is a somewhat controversial show, delving into topics rarely (if ever?) seen in musical theatre. That makes it a little experimental. NYNW provides the perfect, supportive platform to try it out with an audience.

What’s next for you? : We’re looking to collaborate on two new musicals together. Additionally, Sara has one feature film that is releasing this fall and another just going into production, and Steven is currently writing a musical with husband Jerad Bortz as well as developing a one-man show and a new album to release in 2017. 

Biggest inspiration

Steven: “Lin Manuel. He is also an actor/composer/lyricist.” 

Sara: “I feel like I’m inspired by so many people all the time! I’m constantly reading up on my craft and trying to take in as much as I can, and am blown away by the amount of brilliant people in the world. If I have to choose just one person, though, I guess I’ll say it’s my two-year-old, Nicholas Anshuman Jain! It might be cliche, but his amazement at experiencing everything for the first time is awe-inspiring. Since he arrived in my life, he’s pushed me to do more and be better than I ever thought I could be.”

Want more?

Twitter: / @fandsmusical


Sara McDermott Jain is a produced screenwriter and playwright, as well as a published author and director of the Princeton Independent Film Festival (Sept. 29 – Oct. 1, 2016, Her feature screenplay Left, written while at Emerson College, won the Evvy Award for Best Script Drama before being purchased by Gaddis Visuals. The finished film is releasing in Fall 2016. Additionally, she has recently been hired to script the new upcoming horror film franchise Hidden Evil for Unleashed Pictures. Flesh & Spirit is her first experience writing a book for a musical. She currently has several projects in development, including two new musicals, Driven and Switched.

Steven Skeels (composer/lyricist). As an actor Steven originated the starring role of Rusty in both the International and Las Vegas companies of Starlight Express. He had a Top 10 hit single of Starlight Express on CBS records. He also had a top 5 hit in Japan with the song The Letter. Regional: Lt.Cable in South Pacific, Scarecrow in the wizard of Oz and Tom Thumb in Barnum. He has toured the world performing in over 40 countries and has performed with show biz legends Shirley MacLaine, Rita Moreno, Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds. Steven also performed an original song on Oprah’s After show titled Light of Love and then recorded it as a single to raise money for Oprah’s Angel Network. He has composed music for the documentary Tiny Pinnochio – The smallest dog in the world. Steven has recorded 5 albums as a singer/songwriter and has performed as a soloist for 3 US Presidents. 

Upcoming project include: CPNY the musical, Whole-A Spiritual Journey, Driven: a new musical, Switched the musical, The Dinky, Stinky & Glippy Show and a play titled Poet O.

______________________________Show info: 7pm, Sept. 12, 2016, at the Elektra Theatre in the Times Arts Center as part of the New York New Works Theatre Festival ( (Flesh and Spirit goes on at 9pm.)


300 W 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036 – 2nd Floor
AT 7PM sharp.

*Disclaimer: Please be aware shows performing after 8:30pm may not be suitable for younger audiences. No children under the age of 4 are permitted.
** Please note that tickets can be purchased after 3pm the day of the show at the door are $25.
Click HERE for tickets and other festival participants