Review: Almost 13 written & performed by Joan Kane

A white bench. Vaseline. A flashlight. What story is being told tonight. Joan Kane, known as a director and co-founder of Ego Actus (with her husband Bruce A! Kramer) in theatrical circles performs her solo piece, Almost 13 , as part of the Best of United Solo.

Kane already had the the lively audience in her hands the moment the house lights went down and the stage lights came up. We were willing to travel back in time to “South Brooklyn” (now known as Park Slope) circa 1969. It was a tough time. Racism was represented by lines of demarcations in neighborhoods. The biddies sat on the stoop and reported to each other and the whole neighborhood. An unforgiving parish instilled fear instead of love. Now add being a latchkey kid from a broken home, no one is safe. In a world where distrust permeates everything, bad things will inevitably happen. And they do to Joan. You kept your mouth shut and prayed that no one would find out. But then the abuse on your body and mind cause “acting out” and then you breakdown. You need to go through that to get to the breakthrough. Healing begins. Love prevails.

Love heals even when the hope seems gone. Kane tells her story through eight characters, a simple set lighting design and precise directing under Bruce A! Kramer. Told in a concise 45 minutes, the story is clear and to the point. When the lights went to blackout after her last brilliant and hopeful line, she came out to do her a bow to a standing ovation. Three times.

Those who have been in the audience with me know know my telltale signs. For a good show it is my inaudible gasp with my hand flying to my mouth. I had two moments like that. The good news is Almost 13 will return for one more performance. More details can be found at http://www.unitedsolo.org. Be sure to see it’s encore presentation.

United Solo, the world’s largest solo theatre festival, is proud to present its 10th anniversary season at Theatre Row in the heart of New York City’s theatre district. Since its inaugural year, United Solo featured over 1,000 theatre productions from all over the world. This season, performers from six continents will present their unique works between September 19 and November 24, 2019. TICKETS are available NOW through Telecharge (www.telecharge.com or 212‑239‑6200) and at the Theatre Row Box Office (410 West 42nd Street, NYC). For the full calendar of performances, please visit http://www.unitedsolo.org/us/ufest

Joan Kane (director/producer/dramaturg/writer/actor) is the founding Artistic Director of Ego Actus, an independent NYC Theater Co. Joan has written, devised and directed six Living Newspapers from 1979 to 2018 that  toured and performed in NYC Parks & Streets,  Theaters and Clubs. Topics included Women’s Issues, Environmental Justice, The Civil War and Ageism. As an educator she designed and implemented a Living Newspaper curriculum that she taught in the NYC Public Schools throughout the five boroughs. Selected Directing:  Sycorax by Fengar Gael at HERE, Play Nice! by Robin Rice at 59e59 theaters, I Know What Boys Want  by Penny Jackson at Theatre Row,  Aliens With Extraordinary Skills by Saviana Stanscu at Theater 54,  More by Maria Tryti Vennerød at Theater For The New City, Six Characters in Search of an Author in Oslo, Norway and Kafka’s Belinda  by Bruce Kraemer in Prague. She also directed both Safe by Penny Jackson and what do you mean by  Bruce Kraemer at 59e59 theaters and in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, getting four star reviews for each. Selected other work: Joan has also directed and devised plays, workshops and readings at the Lark, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Urban Stages, Workshop Theater, Nylon Fusion, Articulate Theatre, Abingdon Theatre, Oberon Theatre, the Samuel French Short Play Festival, the Actors Studio, T. Schreiber Studio, the Broadway Bound festival and many others. As a writer Joan has written and devised: The Judges, The Trial of Mary Reade, Richard III. She is performing her biographical solo play Almost 13 in The Best of The United Solo Sept .2019. Awards and honors: Joan was awarded Best Director in the 2016 United Solo Festival. Joan was named one of the 2011 People of the Year in honor of her contributions to the NYC theatre scene and inducted to the NYC Indie Theatre Hall of Fame by nytheatre.com. Her shows have been nominated for 61 awards, winning 21. Education: Joan graduated from NYC’s  High School of Performing Arts (La Guardia), studied acting at the  Neighborhood Playhouse with Sanford Meisner and has an MFA in Directing from The New School For Drama and an MS in Museum Education from Bank Street College. She is a member of The New York Madness Company, the League of Independent Theatres, the Dramatists Guild and the Society of Stage Directors & Choreographers and The League of Professional Theatre Women. 

Broadway Artists Connections: Taking Submissions

Last summer allowed me to check off two boxes on my dream list:

  1. To direct a musical
  2. To direct a project outside of the USA

And if you’ve been following me, you know that we had a wonderful time in Liberia doing The Wiz. When we returned, we decided to continue with the mission of Broadway Artist Connection and continue to support the Matsiko World Orphan Choir.

We are taking submissions for those who would like to perform in the Broadway Artists Connection All Stars Benefit for the Matsiko World Orphan Choir on Monday, Oct. 28th at the Laurie Beechman Theater on 42nd Street.  Details below:

About Us:
The Broadway Artists Connection (BAC) is a non-profit that brings together Broadway & Aspiring Artists to perform, connect and give “BAC” to our communities.

The Event:
Our event is kicked off by several Broadway artists performing their newest works.  Then we invite up 10 selected artists to take the mic and sing for a NYC casting director.  One will be crowned the “Future of Broadway” and have their song posted on our fb page.  All of the artists will have the chance to mingle, make connections and as importantly help us raise awareness for the Matsiko World Orphan Choir.  Our vibe is positive and celebratory of all artists encouraging their journey to Broadway & beyond.

The timing:
On Monday, Oct. 28th, artists must arrive at 4pm and are given an opportunity to run their song with our first rate accompanist.  You’ll also be paired with a Broadway artist for some mentorship.  Doors open at 6pm and the show begins at 7pm.  Please only apply if you can make these times.

To join the line up: 
Please send one song (does not need to be fancy – just an iphone video or something you already have will do) to info@broadwayconnects.org.  Please put “BAC Submission” in the subject line.  If you have performed with us before please just state your interest & when you performed with us.  We encourage all ages (16 & up) and stages of career.  One or two exceptional youngsters may be invited to perform.

We will select 10 performers for this event.  If you are not selected this time, you’ll be kept on file for future events.  Please do come join us and see what we are all about!

For more information on the Broadway Artists Connection, please visit www.broadwayconnects.org and join our facebook page.

Look forward to seeing you all on Oct. 28th!

United Solo: Wasbian by Susan Ward

Susan Ward brings her new solo-show, Wasbian, to the United Solo Festival on Sunday, October 20 at 2 pm. The performance takes place at Theatre Row/Studio Theatre (410 West 42nd Street) in Manhattan and is directed by Tony nominated Austin Pendelton.

Wasbian is a story about a lonely little girl who falls in love with Peter Pan who she thinks is a boy but discovers is a girl. Confused but undaunted, she spends her life chasing Peters, Wendys and Hooks, always believing that love was just around the corner, she uses sex, drugs, alcohol, food, never giving up, creating chaos in her pursuit until she finds her center amid the storm, still questioning but at peace.

Wasbian is a story about a lonely little girl who falls in love with Peter Pan who she thinks is a boy but discovers is a girl. Confused but undaunted, she spends her life chasing Peters, Wendys and Hooks, always believing that love was just around the corner, she uses sex, drugs, alcohol, food, never giving up, creating chaos in her pursuit until she finds her center amid the storm, still questioning but at peace.

Susan discussed what inspired her to write Wasbian. “I am an unmarried, childless, bisexual actress of a certain age living alone in the suburbs. Of course, I would write a play!” She went
on to share, “Wasbian is a personal exploration of bisexuality. Raw, honest, hilarious, chaotic and painfully real.”

Tickets are $45 and are available at http://unitedsolo.org/us/2019-wasbian or by calling Telecharge at 212-239-6200. Running time: 65 minutes. Technical design/director, Duane Rutter.

Susan Ward (writer/performer) is a proud member of Actors Equity Association. She performed Wasbian in the Emerging Artists New Works Series in NYC to an overwhelmingly positive response in MarchSusan is a student of Austin Pendleton and has a BFA from Florida State University. She can be seen in local commercials throughout Westchester County.

Austin Pendleton (director) is an award-winning actor, director and playwright. As a director, Pendleton has worked extensively on and off-Broadway. His direction of Elizabeth Taylor and Maureen Stapleton in Lillian Hellman’s “The Little Foxes” garnered him a Tony Award nomination. His most recent acting appearance was Life Sucks! at The Theatre Row Theatre and in Choir Boy on Broadway. He is a member of the ensemble at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre. He has made over 100 appearances in television and film. His film work is as diverse as
“A Beautiful Mind,” “Mr. & Mrs. Bridge” and “The Muppet Movie.” In 2007, Austin Pendleton received a Special Award for his contributions to American theater at the 52nd Annual Drama Desk Awards.

United Solo: The Self-Portrait by Joseph Bricker

A New, Experimental Piece Makes New York Debut at United Solo Festival

The Self-Portrait Project

Tuesday, November 12th at 7:30pm at Theatre Row/Studio Theatre

After a successful run at the University of Minnesota Free Play Festival, experimental theatre piece The Self-Portrait Project will have it’s New York debut as part of the United Solo Theatre Festival on Tuesday, November 12th at 7:30pm.

Growing disillusioned by the constant self-branding in the world of art and theatre, writer/performer Joseph Bricker began working on The Self-Portrait Project as a way to criticize artists he felt, as Stanislavski might put it, loved themselves in the art more than the art in themselves. What resulted, however, was a meditation on the desires to make art and to have an audience.

In an attempt to create the ultimate self-portrait, the performer tackles existence as performance. Taking aim at Shakespeare, social media, and the institutions that made the show itself possible, this iconoclastic piece asks what identity means in a world where we are constantly both viewers and objects. It’s a total mess. #pleaselikeme #pleasecome

Performancs take place at Theatre Row/Studio Theatre, 410 West 42nd Street (between 9th and 10th Avenues), New York, NY 10036. Subways: A/C/E to 42nd Street. Tickets are $45.00 and are
available at the Theatre Row Box Office or at http://www.unitedsolo.org/us/2019- theselfportraitproject/ – or by calling Telecharge at 212-239-6200. Running time: 40 minutes.

Joseph Bricker (Writer/Performer) grew up, grass-fed, in the suburbs of Kansas City. He is an alumnus of the University of Minnesota/BFA Actor Training Program’s Company of 2018.
Currently, he is based in Los Angeles as an actor and writer. More info at http://www.JosephBricker.com, or follow him on Instagram @Joseph.Bricker

United Solo: The Ins and Outs of Fingers, Spoons and Open Marriage by Pascale Roger-McKeever

Battle scarred and still willing, artist and mother Pascale Roger-McKeever still refuses to compromise. She returns to her stage roots with her New York Premiere of The Ins and Outs of Fingers, Spoons and Open Marriage – Winner of the 2018 Marsh Madness Competition – Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd Street. Her
first show has sold out and another show has been added on Saturday November 2nd at 9pm.

A suburban Mom accepts her husband’s invitation to an open marriage and proceeds with a singleness of purpose no one saw coming. The Ins and Outs acknowledges and embraces the acute discomfort of living out our inescapable sexuality. A funny and shameless exploration of shame itself that for good measure
upends accepted notions about healing and self-realization along the way.

Pascale’s writing is inspired by the following quote, “…the whole sky has fallen on [me] and all [I] can do about it is shout.” (Antigone, Jean Anouilh)

Theatre Row, Studio Theatre, 410 West 42nd Street (between 9th and 10th Ave), NYC, NYC 10036, Subways A, C, E to 42nd Street, tickets are $45 and available at the Theatre Row Box Office or by calling Telecharge at (212) 239-6200 http://unitedsolo.org/us/2019-theinsandouts/ 80 minutes. Board operator Daniel Kersh.

Pascale Roger-McKeever is an actor, writer, director. She graduated summa cum laude from Columbia University. Acclaimed performances include Rosannah in Brilliant Traces, May in Fool For Love, 3 women in Tennessee William’s Dragon Country. Recent film credits: Dark Phoenix , Quitters, The Last Smile. Her screenplay, The Way I Am, was optioned in 2006 by co-producer of Secrets and Lies, Mark Westaway. Her play, Family In Church received a Nova Scotia Arts Grant Award and was produced in 2011. Directing credits include: Lost Steps, The Four Lives of Marie, 7 Days in the Life of Simon Labrosse. http://www.pascalerm.com

Tanya Tomkins (musical score): Tanya Tomkins has appeared to critical acclaim throughout Europe, Israel, and the USA. http://www.tanyatomkins.com

United Solo: That Wonder Boy by Bob Stromberg

Bob Stromberg’s comic theatrical show That Wonder Boy is honored to be selected as a “Best of 10 Years” show for the 10th Anniversary season of the United Solo Theatre Festival in New York City this October, performing at Theatre Row on October 5 at 2:00 p.m.

The show is a warm-hearted, laugh-out-loud exploration of life and art that begins with a flying baby and soars on a creative flight of laughter, joy and wonder through the eyes of a boy growing up in an artless environment, only to be blindsided by the beauty of art. Though his character’s story is unique, Stromberg has a way of evoking universal emotional moments that we all recognize.

Stromberg is a co-author and veteran performer of the international hit Triple Espresso—a highly caffeinated comedy and author of “The Wide-Eyed Creative” podcast. The Chicago Sun Times calls him “…a mesmerizing physical comedian” and the London Times, “…a genuinely funny man.”

That Wonder Boy is directed by Risa Brainin, an award-winning freelance director and Founder/Artistic Director of the groundbreaking new play development program LAUNCH PAD at UC Santa Barbara. Brainin formerly served on the artistic staff at the Guthrie Theater and has directed for numerous
theaters around the country. Music and soundscape are by composer/musical director Michael Pearce Donley, set and costumes by Nayna Ramey, lighting by Michael Klaers.

Performances at Theatre Row/Studio Theatre, 410 West 42nd Street (btw 9th & 10th Ave), NYC, NYSubways: A/C/E to 42nd Street. Tickets are $45.00 and are available at the Theatre Row Box Office or at http://unitedsolo.org/us/2019-thatwonderboy or by calling Telecharge at 212-239-6200. Running time: 97 minutes

http://www.thatwonderboy.com

United Solo: Stroke of Luck by Farley Cadena

The stark drama of Farley’s stroke, and subsequent recovery, is woven into the fabric of a funny, fresh and musical cabaret. The unexpected journey she takes the audience on is a unique story, yet, full of universal truths. The realities and consequences of a stroke are realistically brought to life as Farley cracks her life open and inspects it with bravery, music, and humor.

Farley Cadena is a vivacious and beloved musical theatre actress, well known for her wickedly funny roles in The Producers, 42nd Street,Thoroughly Modern Millie, Urinetown, and many more, leaving her mark on regional Los Angeles stages. She shocked and stunned the theater community, in late 2017, when she experienced a sudden stroke. Ms. Cadena felt deeply lost, hopeless, frightened and helpless during her illness, bringing focus to simply returning to her ‘old self’, but her brain was just broken. Nonetheless, she dug deep into her recovery and gave herself the big crazy task of telling the tale of what transformed her life… out loud… with music… to an audience!
Now, theatergoers take a front row seat and get an inside view of her powerful, funny, and mixed up journey back to health, back to life and back to her voice.

Written & Performed by Farley Cadena
Directed by Kirsten Chandler
Music Direction by Anthony Zediker | Produced by Dion Mial Enterprises

Theatre Row/Studio Theatre, 410 West 42nd Street (between 9th & 10 Ave), NYC, NY 10036. Subways: A/C/E/ to 42nd Street, Tickets are $45 and available at http://unitedsolo.org/us/2019-strokeofluck/ or by calling Telecharge 212-239-6200. Running time: 90 minutes

United Solo: Step Mama Drama! by Allison Hetzel

After a successful run at the 2018 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Allison is excited to stage the show in New York. Step Mama Drama! is based on true stories and personal experiences; stepmonsters and loving friends are included in this journey exploring the role of the stepmother. This new work looks at
the many facets of being a stepparent or stepchild. Allison hopes that you will enjoy the joys and the dramas found in Step Mama Drama!

This solo show is collection of monologues and song that reflects on the sometimes stressful, fun, odd, and exhausting role of the stepmother. Allison shares many of her own ups, downs, and discoveries through her experience as well as other perspectives that she has gathered through interviews. This journey is sometimes humorous as well as troubling and this solo show works to strike a balance of the extremes found in the role of being a stepmom. If you are, a stepparent or a mature stepchild this show is must see for you at the 2019 United Solo!

Allison is an Associate Professor at the University of Alabama, and has performed in NYC at the East to Edinburgh Festival, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the International Theatre Festival of Sibiu, Romania, Switzerland, and at ancient theatres in Greece.

TICKETS ($45 plus a $2.25 Theatre Restoration Charge) are available at the Theatre Row/Studio Theatre, 410 West 42nd Street (btw 9th & 10th Ave), NYC, NY 10036. Subways: A/C/E to 42nd Street. Tickets are available at the Theatre Row Box Office or at http://unitedsolo.org/us/2019-stepmamadrama/ or
by calling Telecharge at 212-239-6200. Running time: 48 minutes.

United Solo: Shield Maiden by Melanie Teichroeb

Breakout Canadian playwright/actor, Melanie Teichroeb, brings her solo show to United Solo’s Tenth Anniversary season on October 31, 2019 at 7:30pm. Travel back to tenth century Sweden for a Norse RED Talk. Think TED Talks with a Viking twist. Viking warrior, Ingrid, worked hard to get where she is.
But it’s lonely at the top. She’s looking for the courageous and honourable to join her. You know, folks who know how to have fun and don’t mind the notion of a little death. This warrior is battle hardened but cracks in her emotional armour reveal a struggle with forces beyond her control. Rage, Sexuality, equality, grief and trauma are addressed with humour and compassion. Modern women can learn from Ingrid.

SHIELD MAIDEN is a clarion call that empowers everyone, especially women, to find their inner warrior. It also
invites men to be allies in the battle for equality. This fiery and funny feminist play is a response to #MeToo and #TimesUp. This play sells out festivals. Don’t miss out!

Shield Maiden Play

United Solo: Just for Fun by Robert Jägerhorn

Finland Magician Robert Jägerhorn has been performing for the last two decades with notable performances at the legendary Magic Castle in Hollywood, Monday Night Magic in New York (off-Broadway), as well as performing his one-man show “Waiting for Hitchcock” in London, Stockholm, Edinburgh, Warsaw and New York. He is the recipient of numerous awards including The Magician of the Year (awarded by The Finnish Magic Circle) and Entertainer of the Year (awarded by The
Finnish Artist Association). Robert has been a full-time professional magician since 1997 with more than 1000 corporate clients. He has a Master’s degree in Theatre and Drama from The Theatre Academy of Finland.

This is a one man´s stand-alone stand-up pop-up show with magic!

A one man´s WHAT?! Robert Jägerhorn is a magician who brings onto the stage an intimate and personal show full of surprises. Robert throws himself into situations where objects are not what they seem to be, things appear from nowhere and he changes from one character to another. The atmosphere is tense but free, funny but touching, true but unreal. What is this? Come along and try to figure out for yourself!

Written and performed by Robert Jägerhorn, directed by Markus Zink. Photo: Henrik Schütt.

Theatre Row/Studio Theatre, 410 West 42nd Street (btw9th & 10th Ave), NYC, NY 10036.
Subways: A/C/E to 42nd Street. Tickets are of $45.00 and are available at the Theatre Row Box Office or at http://unitedsolo.org/us/2019-justforfun/- or by calling Telecharge at 212-239-6200. Running time: 45 minutes. Recommended for all audiences.

Artist website: https://www.jagerhorn.net/en/
Short bio and CV: https://www.jagerhorn.net/en/achievements/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/robertjagerhorn/