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.

Non Disposable Theatre: Shakespeare on Wine

“The wine-cup is the little silver well,
Where truth, if truth there be, doth dwell.”

Non Disposable Productions and HITFest 

in association with Theatre Beyond Broadway and HOOK

present

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Directed by Lupe Gehrenbeck

FEATURING:
Derek Straat, Ian McDonald, Lauren Salvo, Randy Howk, Gina Stec, Rock Kohli, Joe McCarthy, Tina Kobas, Brent White, Liana Jackson

Music by Guiseppe Zep

Production Stage Manager: Stephanie Andersen

******************************

Shakespeare cultivated ideas brilliantly about many subjects. “Shakespeare on Wine” harvests his language about wine, love and truth – all bottled into an effervescent sixty minutes to delight your theatrical palate. Come and celebrate the wine and words while supporting the East Hampton Historical Society.

HITFest is thrilled to team up with these professional New York City actors to entertain you, support our community, and foster the development of high quality theatre on the East End.

Shakespeare on Wine will donate a percentage of the proceeds to the East Hampton Historical Society, which commits to maintaining the structural integrity of the Mulford Farm Osborn-Jackson House, Clinton Academy, East Hampton Town Museum, Town House and Hook Schoolhouse (structures built in the 17th and 18th centuries).

TIME:  Saturday, May 16th; Doors Open at 7pm, Show begins at 8pm

LOCATION: The Bridgehampton Community House at 2357 Montauk Highway, Bridgehampton, NY

TICKETS: $20.00

Click HERE for reservations.

I Climbed because I Can: Top of the Rock is 66 Flights of Stairs

11022569_10152780748619422_3157911463553821426_nThe Monday after the Climb to the Top of the Rock brings awareness to mind, body and spirit. Yes. This will be a mushy post as I really stepped out of my comfort zone doing this climb.
How so when my life is an open book?
Well, I can talk about theatre and New York City for days on end. I do talk about struggles and how I manage to overcome my fears around them. However, I don’t always talk about my MS. The most you may have heard about it is over the last few months as I raised funds for my Climb with my team, Malini’s MS Busters.
Why do the climb for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society?
1. I don’t see myself as suffering so by speaking about it, I’ve taken control of the disease in my mind. I’m not MS.
2. When I got laid off last year and lost my health insurance, I made three calls: my husband, my best friend and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. I had to make sure I was able to get my meds. They took care of me so the disease wouldn’t progress and ravage my body.
3. I’m intrinsically lazy (I know that sounds strange) so doing anything strenuous sounds like a bad idea. However, climbing 66 flights of the beautiful Rockafeller Center just seemed really cool and the challenge I needed to keep my spirit strong.
My results:
  • Built a team of 6 climbers;
  • Raised $8,024.00; and
  • I climbed 66 flights of Rock in 27:37
My kudos:
  • Olivia, Mike, Heather, Daniel and Dena/Amanda for being on my team;
  • to my wonderful and loving family;
  • to my team of specialists who made sure I was ready for this climb;
  • to LT 120 and the Momentum Family;
  • Michael Providence and Derek Straat; and
  • to all our supporters.
Final thoughts:
  • Space then thinning of air then breeze then  bright light.
  • Having a full conversation while climbing with your best galpal, Mandy, passes the time.
  • Experiencing this beautiful skyline after climbing 66 flights is hella awesome.
  • Mr. G and I had a moment. Though he didn’t so love that I grew up watching him on TV. He gave me a hug and there’s a pic floating around of us somewhere.
Thank you and onward!
Keeping It Real,
Malini
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IRTE’s Wow Wee! Adventures of a Little Girl Robot Opens March 7th

Wow weeFriends! Happy March and Spring (if I write it, it will come). The new year has been busy and we are only now entering month three. Wow wee!

Wow Wee indeed. Nannette Deasy and the Improvisational Repertory Theatre Ensemble (IRTE) kicks off their 4th season with Wow Wee! Adventures of a Little Girl Robot which opens on March 7th for three Saturdays.
Nannette shares why she created the company and the many challenges and successes of producing improv as an ensemble company.

What was the impetus of IRTE? 

I had been an actor in New York and an improviser for many years. Improvisational acting really appealed to me because of its playfulness, immediacy and rawness. I also loved the fact that I could just play whoever and whatever I wanted despite type or physical limitations. It was just so addictively fun!

I’d been a member of many improv groups and companies over the years, which I loved and continue to love (I’m involved with a bunch of other wonderful performance companies besides IRTE). However, as I started developing my own ideas about how a company could and should work, I decided to go ahead, take charge and do it. By having my own company, I could choose the performers and directors I enjoyed working with, liked and respected and implement the aesthetic I enjoyed. I really do love working with the other members of the ensemble and the guest performers and directors we’ve been lucky to get over the years

Before I started IRTE I’d also noticed something else, actually a lack of something that really interested me – I felt improv could be more theatrically staged (and more fun for general audiences that weren’t necessarily familiar with improv). I wanted to bring what I saw were the best elements of traditional theatre and meld them with what I saw happening in the improv community – the creativity, humor and spontaneity of live comedy improvisation; and the traditions, values and professionalism of traditional repertory theatre.

What I wanted was a tight ensemble of comedy performers who would all work collaboratively to develop, produce and perform original themed, theatrically-staged, and character-driven improvisational shows. Ultimately, I want to create a professional improvisational theatre, to reach beyond the common perception that improv is something only seen in  “student”  productions offered by training programs. I firmly believe that improvisational theatre can exist on the same professional level as scripted commercial theatre.

How has the company grown over the last four years?

Since we have such a small budget, we in the company all work very hard behind the scenes to self-produce. Over the years, we’ve learned to handle our own budgeting, video production, photography, marketing materials, and other operational tasks – in addition to performing and directing!

There’s been a huge learning curve, of course, and it seems that with each year, we learn a little bit more. When we first started out, we were performing in bars and as guests of other shows. That certainly was a very budget-friendly way to begin. However, while more expensive, we’ve found it’s better to rent our own theatre space, over which we can have some control. Plus, It’s much better for maintaining a consistent audience than when you’re jumping around from place to place. Sometimes, you also get what you pay for. One venue we performed at was shut down by the fire department right before a performance. This was the same place where I had regular run ins with the host of a stand up open mic night that didn’t understand why they couldn’t go over their time by an hour or so. Another bar was very welcoming but we were competing with the constant din of karaoke just outside the room.

Since our inception, we have created fourteen completely original shows (with five more currently in development), performed in ten national festivals, featured up and coming indie musical artists, hosted workshops, and have received increased recognition from the downtown New York theatre community and the national improvisation scene. We’ve been super lucky!!

Was there a moment when you considered taking a break or doing something else?

Ha! Yes! Every year just as our Season is coming to an end and we’re all exhausted! … but then we get invited to a really fun festival or I start missing performing with my IRTE friends or someone in the group floats a new bizarre idea for a show and I start looking towards the future.

What keeps you and the company going?

…that this, ultimately, is way more fun than the alternative.


WHEN: Saturdays March 7, 14 and 21

TIME: 8:00pm

TICKETS: $12

Season Pass and Group Discounts available

Visit http://www.irteinfo.com for more information.

Cast:
Evie Aronson
Bill Berg
Nannette Deasy
Curt Dixon
Sam Katz
Jamie Maloney
Brian Michael
Marcia Sofley

The Connecting Project: Finding Love Benefits Locks for Love – SAVE THE DATE

What a way to end my 16 days of The Connecting Project!!!!! And to end 2014. Kimberly Fernandez is a pretty tough broad who keeps me in line once a week. She is one of my mentors and has a very big heart. I love her upcoming event and would be there if I wasn’t married. That would be weird.

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The Connecting Project: Raising Money for Lee

CaptureAs you know it doesn’t take a whole lot to tug at my heartstrings especially when I see preserverance. My friend, Amanda Fredette, is raising funds for her brother-in-law, Lee who is a member of the USA Wheel Chair Rugby Team! That’s pretty kickass. He needs equipment for his team. Amanda is near her goal of $2500. Please support her by clicking HERE.

The Connecting Project: Preservation of the Hearts

CaptureToday’s fundraiser is for the American Heart Association. When my friend, Deshae Clark, isn’t creating music, this veteran of the US Air Force is raising money to bring awareness for the number one cause of death in our country: heart disease.

Please consider a donation by clicking HERE.

 

The Connecting Project: buildOn Empowers Youth

This is another wonderful education-based program that empowers youth. My friend, Giselle Martinez, is raising funds for buildOn which focuses on high school students graduating and moving onto college.

“95% of buildOn students not only graduate from high school, they go on to college.”

That’s a huge percentage especially when “82% of all prisoners in America are high school dropouts.”  I have had the opportunity to visit Sing Sing in support of their arts-based rehabilitation program. There’s no reason to be incarcerated or hit bottom to begin life.

Please support this cause by clicking on the pic!Capture