Women in the Arts & Media Coalition Announces The 2019 Collaboration Awards

THE WOMEN IN THE ARTS & MEDIA COALITION 
ANNOUNCES
THE 2019 COLLABORATION AWARDS 
 
Acclaimed Collaboration Award Winner, Alysia Reiner
SATURDAY, MARCH 30 @ SVA THEATER
The Women in the Arts & Media Coalition will present the 2019 Collaboration Awards. which recognize women who successfully collaborate to create new and influential work, at the SVA Theater (333 West 23rd St, New York, NY 10011) on Saturday, March 30 at 6:30pm. The 2019 Collaboration Awards Gala will be held on International SWAN Day (Support Women Artists Now), along with numerous celebrations around the world supporting women artists.
At the gala, SAG and OBIE Award-winning actor and producer Alysia Reiner (Fig on Orange is the New Black on Netflix) and her collaborative team on the film Egg–director Marianna Palka, screenwriter Risa Mickenberg, and co-producers Michele Ganeless and David Alan Basche (as the one Honorable MEN-tion)–will be awarded the first Acclaimed Collaboration Awardfor a project with greater renown and visibility.
The 6th Biennial Collaboration Award winners are playwright Deborah Yarchun and director Jess Chayes for their play Preservation. Yarchun is a member of the Dramatists Guild, and Chayes a member of both Stage Directors and Choreographers Society and the League of Professional Theatre Women.
The Coalition will also be awarding the first ever Student Collaboration Award to the documentary Bread Machine, by Shelby Hougui and Julia De Santis, two students from SVA’s Film and Animation Department, the first Academic Affiliate of the Women in the Arts & Media Coalition.
A limited number of tickets to the Awards Gala are available to the public. Ticket prices are: $15 for members of any of the Coalition’s member organizations / $20 for non-members (early bird rate) / $25 after March 15 and at the door. There will also be a very limited number of Premium Seats (which includes reserved seating and a champagne toast with the honorees) for $100each. Tickets can be purchased online at www.womenartsmediacoalition.org
The complete list of honorees is:
Acclaimed Collaboration Award
EGG (directed by Marianna Palka, written by Risa Mickenberg, produced by Alysia Reiner, David Alan Basche, and Michele Ganeless, starring Alysia Reiner, Christina Hendricks, Anna Camp, David Alan Basche, and Gbenge Akkinagbe)
Collaboration Award Winner 
Preservation     Deborah Yarchun (Dramatists Guild) and Jess Chayes (Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, League of Professional Theatre Women)
Honored Finalists
Courage     Melissa Bell (DG) and Tannis Kowalchuk (TRU)
Click           Katherine Carter SDC (LPTW) and Jacqueline Goldfinger (DG)
United Flight 232     Vanessa Stalling (SDC) and Brenda Barrie (AEA)
Special Mentions
Scars         Ophira Eisenberg (SAG-AFTRA) and Maggie Cino (DG)
The Uncivil Ones Charissa Bertels (AEA SAG-AFTRA) and Ayumi Okada (AFM 802- Associated Musicians of Greater NY – Local 802 AFM/ DG – Dramatists Guild)
Student Film Winners
Bread Machine – Shelby Hougui & Julia De Santis (SVA Film and Animation), co-founders of JuJu Films
Awarded every third year, the Collaboration Awards encourage professional women in the arts and media from different specializations to work collaboratively on the creation of new work. The award recognizes the best of these collaborations and goes to a winning project and its two creators. 2019 marks the sixth time the Collaboration Awards have been presented. Past winners are: playwright T.D. Mitchell and director Sheryl Kaller for the play Queens for a Year (2015), Jane Edith Wilson and Grace Lee for their mockumentary, Janeane from Des Moines(2013), playwright Stefanie Zadravec and director Daniella Topol for their collaboration on the play The Electric Baby (2011); writer Jennifer Gibbs and director Kristin Marting for the play The Stranger (2008), and playwright Jennifer Maisel and director Wendy McClellan for the play Birds (2006).
Women in the Arts & Media Coalition (Yvonne Curry and Avis Boone, Co-Presidents) is a non-profit organization, which represents more than 200,000 women in the performing arts and media through its member organizations and affiliates. The Coalition focuses the power of its member organizations and their memberships together and uses the combined strength to address issues of concern through advocacy, networking and educational events. Member organizations are: Actors’ Equity Association, Associated Musicians of New York Local 802 AFM, Dramatists Guild, League of Professional Theatre Women, New York Women in Communications, New York Women in Film & Television, SAG-AFTRA New York Local, Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, and the Writers Guild of America, East. Affiliates are: BOLD, Drama Desk, International Center for Women Playwrights, The Lambs, Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative, National Theatre Conference, Professional Women Singers Association, 365 Women a Year: A Playwriting Project, Theater Resources Unlimited, Women in Music, The Women’s Media Center, Women Make Movies, and WomenArts. For more information on Women in the Arts & Media Coalition, visit www.womenartsmediacoalition.org.
Alysia Reiner, an award-winning actress and producer, is best known as Natalie “Fig” Figueroa on Netflix’s hit Orange is the New Black, for which she won an ensemble SAG award and you can see her in all 6 binge-worthy seasons. Reiner recently joined the cast of HBO’s The Deuce for season 2 and is returning for season 3. You can also see her in all 3 seasons of FX’s critically acclaimed Peabody Award winning Better Things. Her motherhood dark-comedic feature EGG, which she produced and stars in with Christina Hendricks and Anna Camp, premiered at TFF 2018, and is on iTunes, Amazon & VOD Now. Additionally, Alysia produced and stared in Equity, bought/distributed by Sony Pictures Classics at Sundance 2016. Alysia loves working as a change maker for women, is an ambassador for the Geena Davis Institute for Gender Equality, a member of Times Up, recently received a MUSE “Made in NY” Award from The Mayor’s office and New York Women in Film and Television, and is passionately committed to protecting the environment (see http://livariclothing.com).
Marianna Palka, humanist filmmaker and proud Scotswoman, has previously directed 4 feature films. Her latest film Bitch just sold at Cannes after its Sundance 2017 premiere. Her film Good Dick was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, she returned in 2010 as a Sloan juror, and then again in 2014 with the short documentary The Lion’s Mouth Opens, which was OSCAR shortlisted and Emmy Nominated. Marianna won the prestigious New Director’s Award at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, and she’s also directed a number of music videos for prestigious artists including Moby, Last Night, Carly Ritter, and Rain Phoenix.
Risa Mickenberg is an NYC-based writer. She grew up in Southbury, CT. Her plays have been commissioned and performed at South Coast Repertory, The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, The Brighton Festival, the SoHo Theater London. Screenplays commissioned by Fred Zollo, Davien Littlefield + Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ideal Partners. She’s written a comedy pilot for HBO and worked on HBO’s Tell Me You Love Me. Author of Taxi Driver Wisdom (Chronicle Books) and Beauty Parlor Wisdom (Chronicle Books). Her fiction and humor have been published in The BafflerPurpleThe American BystanderViceThe Utne Reader, and Grlsquash. She received a Pushcart Prize for fiction. She is the lead singer, co-songwriter and co-producer of the 8-piece cabaret band Jesus H Christ and the Four Hornsmen of the Apocalypse, lauded by NPR, the New Yorker, The Village Voice, Pitchfork. A former member of the BMI Lehman-Engel Lyricist’s Workshop, she’s received fellowships from The MacDowell Colony and Yaddo. She is a member of the WGA East and SAG/AFTRA.
Michele Ganeless, Co-President of MO Studios, is best known for her tenure as President of Comedy Central, a position she held from 2004-2016.  Under her leadership, the network grew to be the number one brand in comedy. Prior to her role as President at Comedy Central, Michele held programming and leadership roles at USA Network, Comedy Central and MTV.  During her multiple terms at Comedy Central, Michele oversaw the growth of the Comedy Central brand as franchises including the Emmy® and Peabody® Award-winning “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”, “The Colbert Report”, “South Park,” “Inside Amy Schumer” and “Key & Peele”, dominated the cultural landscape. Since leaving Comedy Central, Ganeless has focused her energy and expertise on producing. Her first feature film, Egg, starring Christina Hendricks, Alysia Reiner and Anna Camp, premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, and had its theatrical premiere in January. She is also a producer on Irreplaceable You, which premiered in 2018 and is currently airing on Netflix.  Both films were written and directed by women, and were produced with a clear mandate: hire more women behind the camera, thus helping to level the playing field for women in entertainment, a mission that is at the heart of MO Studios. Ganeless is a board trustee of Comic Relief, Inc, dedicated to ending child poverty around the world, and on the advisory board of Northwestern University’s School of Communications.
Deborah Yarchun is a NYC-based playwright and a member of the 2018-2019 Civilians’ R&D Group. Her honors include two Jerome Fellowships at The Playwrights’ Center, a 2017-2018 Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellowship, an EST/Sloan Commission, The Kennedy Center’s Jean Kennedy Smith Playwriting Award, the Richard Maibaum Playwriting Award, and the Iowa Arts Fellowship. Deborah’s plays have been produced and/or developed at places including Ensemble Studio Theatre, EstroGenius Festival, Fusion Theatre, Jewish Ensemble Theatre, the New Harmony Project, the Philadelphia Fringe, Playwrights Horizons’ Peter Jay Sharp Theater by Young Playwrights Inc., Rattlestick, TheatreSquared, the William Inge Center for the Arts, and Williams Street Rep. M.F.A., University of Iowa.
Jess Chayes is an award-winning director and the BOLD Associate Artistic Director at Northern Stage as well as a founding co-artistic director of The Assembly with whom she has co-created and directed ten original productions. Recent directing includes Intelligence (NYTW Next Door), Venus Rising (Northern Stage), The Flick (Warehouse Theatre), Holidays In/Coyote (The Tank), Lipstick Lobotomy (The Juilliard School), and The Providence of Neighboring Bodies (Dutch Kills). She has developed new work with The Vineyard, The Playwrights Center, Ars Nova and New York Theatre Workshop, among others. Jess is a NYTW Usual Suspect, a 2018 Audrey Resident with New Georges, a co-founder of New Georges Jam artists’ lab, and alum of The Civilians R&D Group and Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab. Jess is the recipient of the 2017 Lucille Lortel Award from the League of Professional Theatre Women. www.jesschayes.com

The League of Professional Theatre Women present the 2019 Theatre Women Awards

THE LEAGUE OF PROFESSIONAL THEATRE WOMEN
ANNOUNCES
THE 2019 THEATRE WOMEN AWARDS 
THE ROAD TO PARITY
 
LPTW Lifetime Achievement Award winner Graciela Daniela Photo credit: Walter Kurtz
MONDAY, MARCH 25 @ THE SHEEN CENTER
The League of Professional Theatre Women (Kelli Lynn Harrison and Catherine Porter, Co-Presidents)an organization which has been leading the gender parity conversation and championing women in the professional theatre for over 35 years, will present the 2019 Theatre Women Awards at The Sheen Center for Thought & Culture (18 Bleecker Street, New York, NY 10012) on Monday, March 25 at 7pm (doors open at 6:30pm). For more information on the 2019 Theatre Women Awards, and to purchase tickets, please visit www.theatrewomen.org.
This year’s Theatre Women Awards will honor director/choreographer Graciela Daniela (Lifetime Achievement Award), director May Adrales (Josephine Abady Award), acting teacher and author Mari Lyn Henry (LPTW Special Award), the founding members of the feminist activist and advocacy group The Kilroys (LPTW Lucille Lortel Visionary Award), scenic designer Mimi Lien (Ruth Morley Award), translator/director/producer Joanne Pottlitzer (LPTW Special Award), producer/dramaturg Natasha Sinha (LPTW Lucille Lortel Award), and playwright Karen Zacarías (Lee Reynolds Award).
The League of Professional Theatre Women’s annual Theatre Women Awards are dedicated to promoting the visibility of the theatrical work of women artists and their contributions to the field, across all disciplines. For decades the LPTW has celebrated women who are consistently creating and working in every facet of the theatre industry. The diversity in disciplines of this year’s awardees, including choreographers, translators, casting directors, dramaturgs, educators, designers, playwrights, actors, and producers exemplifies the vast talents theatre women contribute to the art-form. Although some of these positions are not often recognized, they are critical to the success of the theatre industry, and the LPTW is proud to recognize their vital work in our community.
The theme for this year’s Theatre Women Awards is The Road to Parity. At last year’s Awards, LPTW launched its advocacy campaign   #OneMoreConversation, which, in addition to taking off on social media, included direct contact with approximately 400 theatre leaders, decision-makers, and educators across the country encouraging leaders to have one more conversation — with a theatre woman — before making a hire.  As 50/50 in 2020 approaches, #OneMoreConversation is only one step in the League’s Road to Parity. The breadth and scope of the 2019 TWA awardees’ experience and talent are a call to action: the goal is parity; the time is now.
Graciela Daniela (Lifetime Achievement Award) has directed on Broadway, at Lincoln Center and the Public Theater, and at regional theaters and has earned ten Tony Award nominations and six Drama Desk nominations. Her Broadway Director/Choreographic credits include Chita Rivera, The Dancer’s LifeAnnie Get Your GunMarie ChristineOnce on This IslandChronicle of a Death Foretold and Dangerous Game. She has Musical Staged/Choreographed such shows as Ragtime (Astaire, Ovation [L.A.], NAACP, and Callaway Award), The Goodbye GirlZorbawith Anthony Quinn, The Rink starring Liza Minnelli and Chita Rivera, and The Mystery of Edwin Drood. She choreographed the New York Shakespeare Festival production of The Pirates of Penzance on Broadway, Los Angeles and London, the motion picture of Pirates, and three Woody Allen films including Mighty Aphrodite, for which she won the 1996 Fosse Award, and Everyone Says I Love You, for which she won the 1997 Fosse Award. Ms. Daniele directed and choreographed A New Brain, which enjoyed an extended run in the summer of 1998 at Lincoln Center Theatre. She is recipient of the 1998 “Mr. Abbot” Award for Outstanding Achievement by a Director/Choreographer. Ms. Daniele directed and choreographed the Michael John LaChuisa’s Little Fish (Second Stage) and Bernarda Alba (Lincoln Center Theatre) along with the Lincoln Center Theatre production of William Finn’s Elegies, A Song Cycle. Most recently, she has choreographed The Visit on Broadway and the world premiere of Sousatzka at the Elgin Theatre in Toronto.
May Adrales (Josephine Abady Award) is a director, artistic leader and teacher and has directed over 25 world premieres. She recently was awarded the prestigious Theater Communications Group Alan Schneider award for freelance directors. She is a Drama League Directing Fellow, Women’s Project Lab Director, SoHo Rep Writers/Directors Lab and New York Theater Workshop directing fellow, and a recipient of the TCG New Generations Grant, Denham Fellowship and Paul Green Directing Award. She proudly serves as an Associate Artistic Director at Milwaukee Rep. She is a former Director of On Site Programs at the Lark Play Development Center and Artistic Associate at The Public Theater. May has directed and taught at Juilliard, Harvard/ART, ACT, Fordham, NYU and Bard College. She has served on faculty at the Yale School of Drama and Brown/Trinity MFA program. MFA, Yale School of Drama. World premieres include Qui Nguyen’s Lortel Award and Obie Award winning, Vietgone and Poor Yella Rednecks (Manhattan Theatre Club, South Coast Rep, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Seattle Rep); Lauren Gunderson’s Natural Shocks (WP Theater); Kemp Powers’s Little Black Shadows (South Coast); Idris Goodwin’s The Way The Mountain Moved (OSF); Chisa Hutchinson’s Somebody’s Daughter (Second Stage Theater) and The Wedding Gift (Contemporary American Theater Festival); JC Lee’s Luce (Lincoln Center); Katori Hall’s Whaddabloodclot!!! (Williamstown Theater Festival); A. Rey Pamatmat’s Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them (Actors Theatre of Louisville) and after all the terrible things I do (Milwaukee Rep); Thomas Bradshaw’s Mary (The Goodman Theatre) and The Bereaved (Partial Comfort Productions); Zakiyyah Alexander and Imani Uzuri’s girl shakes loose her skin (Penumbra); In This House (Two River Theater Company); Richard Dresser’s Trouble Cometh (SF Playhouse); and Tommy Smith’s The Wife (Access Theater). She directed David Henry Hwang’s The Dance and the Railroad at Signature Theater; Kimber Lee’s Tokyo Fish Story (Old Globe); Stefanie Zadravec’s The Electric Baby (Two River); Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop (Milwaukee Rep); Chinglish (Portland Center Stage, Syracuse Stage); Everything You Touch, (CATF); In the Next Room, or Vibrator Play and Disgraced (Syracuse Stage); and Breath and Imagination(Cleveland Playhouse). Upcoming Projects: Lloyd Suh’s The Chinese Lady at Milwaukee Rep and Hudson Valley Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing.
The Josephine Abady Award is given in memory of Josephine R. Abady, a stage and artistic director, and leader of the nonprofit theatre movement in the United States. The award is given annually to a woman theatre artist who has created work of cultural diversity. 
Mari Lynn Henry (LPTW Special Award) has guided thousands of actors to successful careers in film, TV and theatre for over 45 years. Upon leaving her position as Director of Casting, East Coast for ABC/NY, which she held for over thirteen years, she launched an image and career coaching business. Her book, How to Be a Working Actor, (co-written by Lynne Rogers) is currently in its 5th Edition and continues to be the “Bible of the Biz.” Her workshops on on-camera audition techniques, sight reading, script analysis and impression management have been well-received in cities and universities throughout the U.S. as well as Toronto, London, Oxford and Sydney. As a guest faculty member at the Circle in the Square Theatre School, she advises the second-year students about career preparation and monologue auditions. She is the Dean of Students for the Tom Todoroff Conservatory in New York City, where she teaches the business of acting. For several years she also has been the industry showcase consultant for the New World School of the Arts in Miami. She has been a board member and V.P. of Programs for the League of Professional Theatre Women and is head of their heritage program. In 2013 she founded the Society for the Preservation of Theatrical History which produces a program about famous actresses of the past entitled Stage-Struck Sampler. She earned her BA in Speech and Drama at San Jose State University and a master’s degree in theatre from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
Mari Lynn Henry is receiving a LPTW Special Award for her service to the industry as a casting director, acting coach and teacher, and the author of one of most widely used manuals on the business of acting, as well as her service to the League in establishing theatre history and heritage as an important parity advocacy tool for the League.
The Kilroys (LPTW Lucille Lortel Visionary Award) are a gang of Los Angeles and New York City-based playwrights, directors, and producers who are done talking about gender parity and are taking action. For the past five years The Kilroys have been advocating for equal representation on American stages, and have released an annual list of under-produced plays by woman, trans, and non-binary writers. They mobilize others in their field and leverage their own power to support other marginalized theater artists. The current class of The Kilroys are Jaclyn Backhaus, Hilary Bettis, Jennifer Chambers, Claudia de Vasco, Emma Goidel, Christina Ham, Jessica Hanna, Monet Hurst-Mendoza, Obehi Janice, Hansol Jung, Chelsea Marcantel, Caroline V. McGraw, Bianca Sams, and Gina Young. The founding members are Zakiyyah Alexander, Bekah Brunstetter, Sheila Callaghan, Carla Ching, Annah Feinberg, Sarah Gubbins, Laura Jacqmin, Joy Meads, Kelly Miller, Meg Miroshnik, Daria Polatin, Tanya Saracho, and Marisa Wegrzyn.
The LPTW Lucille Lortel Visionary Award and accompanying grant is awarded from time to time to aspiring theatre women working outside the parameters of production, embody the spirit of Lucille Lortel and the League, and who show great creative promise deserving recognition and encouragement. This is only the 4th time it has been awarded.
Mimi Lien (Ruth Morley Award) is a designer of sets/environments for theater, dance, and opera. Arriving at set design from a background in architecture, her work often focuses on the interaction between audience/environment and object/performer. In 2017, Mimi won the Tony Award for her design of Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812.  In 2015, she was named a MacArthur Fellow, and is the first set designer ever to achieve this distinction. Mimi is a company member of Pig Iron Theatre Company, and co-founder of JACK, a performance/art space in Brooklyn. Selected work includes Model Home (a performance installation commissioned by WoW Festival, La Jolla Playhouse), Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812 (Broadway), An Octoroon (Soho Rep/TFANA), John (Signature Theatre), Appropriate (Mark Taper Forum), Preludes & The Oldest Boy (Lincoln Center), Black Mountain Songs (BAM Next Wave). Internationally, Mimi’s designs for dance have been presented in the Netherlands and Russia, and her work has been exhibited in the Prague Quadrennial. Her sculpture work was featured in the exhibition, LANDSCAPES OF QUARANTINE, at the Storefront for Art and Architecture. She is also a recipient of the Cullman Award for Extraordinary Creativity at Lincoln Center Theater, a Bessie Award, Drama Desk Award, Lucille Lortel Award, American Theatre Wing Hewes Design Award, LA Drama Critics Circle Award, and an OBIE Award for sustained excellence.
The Ruth Morley Design Award was initiated in 1998 in honor of costume designer Ruth Morley, one of the profession’s leading designers for theatre and film who also served on the LPTW Board of Directors. It is given annually to an outstanding female theatre designer in the field of costumes, scenery, lighting, or special effects. 
Joanne Pottlitzer (LPTW Special Award) is a writer, theater director, and translator who has produced many Latin American plays in New York and is the winner of two Obie Awards, two Senior Fulbright Awards, two NEA translation grants, and multiple producing and writing awards. She has directed plays in New York, Los Angeles, Tucson, and Santiago de Chile. Her English translations of Latin American plays and screenplays have been produced, published, and distributed in New York and throughout the U.S. Among them are José Triana’s Common Words; Mario Vargas Llosa’s La ChungaThe Young Lady from TacnaKathie and the HippopotamusDaedalus in the Belly of the Beast by Marco Antonio de la Parra; Nelson 2 Rodrigues by Antunes Filho; Striptease and Saying Yes by Griselda Gámbaro; The Toothbrush by Jorge Díaz; and Mythweavers by Arturo Uslar Pietri. She also translated the dubbed version of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s film The Holy Mountain.
Joanne Pottlitzer is receiving a LPTW Special Award for her service to the industry as a translator, producer and archivist of Latin American theatre, and her service to the League in establishing the International Committee.
Natasha Sinha (LPTW Lucille Lortel Award) is a producer and dramaturg, focusing on new plays and new musical work. As Director of Artistic Programs at Signature Theatre, she spearheads new artistic programs for Signature, and she is artistic line producer for select plays and musicals. From 2012-2018, Natasha was Associate Director of LCT3/Lincoln Center Theater which exclusively produces premieres (including Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar, Rude Mechs’ Stop Hitting Yourself, Dave Malloy’s PreludesWar by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Bull in a China Shop by Bryna Turner, Ghost Light by Third Rail Projects, Martyna Majok’s Queens, and Antoinette Nwandu’s Pass Over). She kicked off the LCT3 Spotlight Series with SHABASH!, hosted by Danny Pudi and Parvesh Cheena. Natasha was previously the Associate Producer at Barrington Stage Company. In addition to producing and developing new plays, Natasha has worked on new musicals, including projects by Michael R. Jackson, Sukari Jones & Troy Anthony, Grace McLean, Shakina Nayfack, Sam Salmond, and Kit Yan & Melissa Li. Natasha is a co-founder of Beehive Dramaturgy Studio, which works with individual generative artists as well as organizations such as Page 73, Musical Theatre Factory, Astoria Performing Arts Center, and SDC. Natasha is on the Advisory Boards of SPACE on Ryder Farm and Musical Theatre Factory (where she co-moderates MTF’s POC Roundtable, exclusively for musical artists of color, and advises on various programs). She has also served as a judge on many award committees, taught classes, written articles, and created events to center a range of exciting new voices from historically underrepresented communities.
The LPTW Lucille Lortel Award and accompanying grant was founded in 2000 with a bequest from the estate of Lucille Lortel to annually honor “an aspiring woman in any discipline of theatre who is showing great creative promise and deserves recognition and encouragement.”
Karen Zacarías (Lee Reynolds Award) was recently hailed as one of the most produced playwrights in the US. Her award-winning plays include Destiny of Desire, Native GardensThe Book Club PlayLegacy of LightMariela in the DesertThe Sins of Sor Juana, the adaptations of Just Like Us, Into the Beautiful North, Ella Enchanted, and How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent. She is the author of ten renowned TYA musicals and the librettist of several Ballets. She is one of the inaugural resident playwrights at Arena Stage, a core founder of the Latinx Theatre Commons, and a founder of Young Playwrights’ Theater. Born in Mexico, Karen resides in Washington DC with her husband and three children.
The Lee Reynolds Award, in memory of producer and League member Lee Reynolds, is given annually to a woman or women active in any aspect of theatre whose work through the medium of theatre has helped to illuminate the possibilities for social, cultural or political change. 
The League of Professional Theatre Women (a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization) has been championing women and leading the gender parity conversation in the professional theatre for over 35 years. Since its founding, the LPTW’s membership has grown to 500+ theatre artists and practitioners of all backgrounds, across multiple disciplines, working in the commercial and non-profit sectors. To increase visibility of and opportunities for women in the field, the LPTW spearheads public programming, advocacy initiatives, events, media, and publications that raise awareness of the importance of nurturing women’s voices, celebrate industry luminaries, preserve the legacy of historic visionaries, and shine a spotlight on the imperative of striving for gender parity and fostering a diversity of expression, both in the theatre world and the world at large. To find out more about how you can support its endeavors, please visit www.theatrewomen.org.
The Sheen Center for Thought & Culture Named after the late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, best known for his popular radio and TV ministry in the 1950s and 60s, The Sheen Center for Thought & Culture is a project of the Archdiocese of New York, presenting more than 75 events in theatre, film, music, and thought per season. The state-of-the-art complex has a 274-seat proscenium theater equipped with five-camera high-definition livestream capability and a multi-track recording studio with thirty-two onstage inputs; an 80-seat black box theater; four rehearsal studios; and an art gallery. This facility is the newest arts center in Manhattan in 35 years and a significant addition to the growing artistic community in NoHo/East Village.  www.sheencenter.org

Meet Jessica Bashline & Wickedest Woman

N

Photos by Braddon Lee Murphy

Name: Jessica Bashline

Tell us about you. 
I work primarily as a freelance theater director and a professor of Acting at NYU, some recent and favorite credits; Loving Repeating (NYC Premiere), Life of the Party (NYU-Premiere Production of Larry O’Keefe & Nell Benjamin’s new musical), at NYU Steinhardt Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, with Strange Sun Closer Than You Think (World Premiere), The Drowning Girls (NYC Premiere). Playwriting is a new venture. In the past four years I have written two full length pieces, Wickedest Woman and Garden of Memories. I am currently working on a third full length play which jumps through time and space in NYC. I have a BFA in Acting from Boston University and an MFA from Goddard College. In addition to my work as a director, writer and teacher my research focuses on both feminist theater and progressive pedagogical approaches to teaching acting and directing; on both the university and high school levels. My most important gig for the past 12 years is raising my daughter Athena– who is a fabulous inspiration and support.
Tell us about your current project? 
Wickedest Woman tells the true story of Ann Trow Lohman, a female doctor (midwife and abortionist) in New York City throughout the 1800’s. Known as Madame Restell, when Ann began performing abortions in 1838 they were legal in the United States and when she committed suicide almost 40 years later at the end of her career, they were illegal. Madame Restell became the face of evil that the anti abortion movement used to rally people to their cause. A gender bending cast of 7 actors tells this epic story of Ann’s rise to notoriety and her struggle to keep her life intact as the scrutiny and even physical danger became ever more intense. I was inspired to write Ann’s story when I saw this article in the NY Times a few years ago– about the midwife and abortionist who outbid the Catholic Church for land adjacent to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. I WAS HOOKED. When I began to do my research I learned that NOTHING had ever been written in Ann’s voice. Throughout a 40 year career there was nothing left for posterity that told her story from her point of view. So I made a promise to help find her voice.
Where are you performing your show and why is it a good fit for your production? 
We are performing at the WP Theater– and that seemed like an obvious fit!
What’s next for you? 
I head back to NYU for Spring semester teaching 4 classes which I love– and then I will be heading to Oslo to direct a play in the Spring.
What is the name of the last show you saw? 
We’ve been in rehearsal since before the holidays– it’s been a while. But I think it was India Pale Ale – Jaclyn Backhaus’ piece.
Any advice for your peers?
Be brave and take risk.

Show Information: 

WHEN: January 19 – February 2

WHERE: WP Theater at the McGinn/Cazale Theatre,2162 Broadway at 76th Street, New York, NY 10024

TICKETS:www.strangesuntheater.com

Follow on Twitter @wickedestwomantheplay

Meet Fengar Gael & Sycorax, Cyber Queen of Qamara

SycoraxPostcardFrontName: Fengar Gael

Tell us about you. 

I don’t sleep well; I keep dreaming that I’m a resident alien in a plutocracy led by a miserly, mean souled, tinpot dictator who has tricked us into allowing the ethics of business to infest every aspect of life. My mother said I was born wanting to re-stage the world, but since I’ve failed miserably, I drink too much, eat too much, read too much appalling news, and because I’m a playwright, I’m also subject to bipolar-manic-depression with delusions of grandeur and multiple personality disorder. I can trace the origin of these afflictions to a childhood of constant traveling in and out of the country which may explain why I write plays that take me to unfamiliar worlds and feature characters of diverse races and ethnicities from the past and future. For the past ten years New York has become my heart’s home, a great melting pot city where going to the theatre is a way of life. I have new friends and am part of the League of Professional Theatre Women whose members have enriched my hermit’s life beyond imagining.

Tell us about your current project? 

The play, Sycorax: Cyber Queen of Qamara, is a comic drama originally intended as a prequel to The Tempest. Shakespeare only mentioned that Sycorax was a witch from Algiers who was exiled to an island where she gave birth to a deformed boy named Caliban. In my play, Sycorax has waited 500 years to tell her side of the story to the widest possible audience: the World Wide Web of the Internet. She does so through her avatars, but I won’t give away the plot except to say that Sycorax feels moral outrage at the continuing gender imbalance of power in a world controlled by men who value their arsenals more than their artists. I’m thrilled that the fearless Ego Actus Theatre Company has taken on the challenge of bringing the play to vivid life by their inspired Artistic Director, Joan Kane, whose vision of the play happily resembles my own. We are blessed with a fantastic cast of actors and theater artists contributing to this production: the scenery, the costumes, the lights and projections are going to be beyond anything I had dared to imagine.

Where are you performing your show and why is it a good fit for your production? 

The play is being performed at HERE which has already garnered a following of brave souls who are passionate about innovative (even subversive) theatre. Both HERE and the Ego Actus Theatre Company believe in theatre as a fusion of art forms: with dialog that aspires to poetry, with music, dance and artful costumes, scenery and multi-media projections.

What’s next for you? 

The Detroit Repertory Theatre is producing my play, The House on Poe Street, in January of 2019. Another play, Smile Like a Knife, is a current finalist at two theatres sponsoring contests, and I’m currently writing Passing Parades that’s turning into a louche tale of the supernatural about an idealistic woman who undergoes a radical transformation after a bomb shatters the lives of marchers gathered to celebrate the centennial of women’s suffrage. The play leaps backwards to the 1850s when the suffrage and abolitionists movements were aligned, but faced radical opposition. The play will be given a concert reading at the League of Professional Theatre Women’s Julia’s Reading Room series at the Jefferson Market Library on December 11th.

What is the name of the last show you saw? 

The Winning Side by James Wallert, a post-modern collage of a play produced by the Epic Theatre about Wernher von Braun, a former Nazi rocket engineer who interacts with his French lover and the Americans who steal him away to help claim the moon and conquer the world.

Any advice for your peers?

Drink wine, read poetry, and try not to commodify yourselves in a world where everything seems quantifiable — even plays are given numerical scores. If playwriting is the literary form that best expresses your passions, then don’t wait for commissions or guaranteed productions. To quote Emily Dickinson, “Be a fire that lights itself.” Also in this age of constant surveillance and identity politics, it’s best to resist definition. If the great evolutionary triumph of our species is the imagination and capacity to reason, then to define ourselves in terms of race, age, gender or ethnicity is to be forever stranded on a smaller planet. When we allow anyone to police our imaginations, to condemn us to writing plays only about people like ourselves, then we’re doomed. The best thing about our capacity for abstract thinking is that it allows us to imagine what it’s like to be someone else (saint or sinner), so we might become more empathetic. I should add that I truly believe there’s a great future for theatre. Perhaps it’s naive, but I think people will attend plays more than ever before, if only to heal their damaged attention spans, and to focus on the perpetual wide screen of the stage where no bullying cameras are telling them precisely where to look, no soundtracks assaulting their ears, where they’re no longer isolated but in the company of other human beings, and where their presence actually matters because going to the theatre is a creative act.


Show Information: 
DATES: November 1-18th
VENUE: HERE  145 6th Avenue one block south of Spring Street
TICKET URL: http://www.HERE.org or (212) 352-3101

More info is available at www.egoactus.com/sycorax.html

FringeNYC + FringeBYOV Returns 2018

After a one year hiatus, the New York International Fringe Festival (FringeNYC) returns with a new look.  It also returns with an additional moniker called FringeBYOV (Bring Your Own Venue) which opens the festival and audience members to theatre beyond the borough of Manhattan. Unfortunately, the Bronx wasn’t included but kudos to Staten Island for being creative in their presentation of The Ferry Play as a podplay.

So I would be lying if I said that there wasn’t some trepidation around the new format. August in NYC for theatre-makers and audience members comes with an acceptance. There will be 200 shows to read in the program guide (in addition to the other festivals and shows); you’ll only be able to get to maybe ten (2 if you are in the Fringe); and you’ll have to run from venue to venue in 100 degree weather. Honestly, as much as I complained about it, I LOVED it. Even if some of the shows were hit or miss.

This leads me to figuring out my Fringe schedule in October. The days are getting shorter, there are some serious plays being produced at our non-profit institutions, and now there’s the Fringe Hub where we all meet to be taken to our venue. How to see it all?! Yes, a luxury problem, but in today’s climate, the theatrical platform, soapbox, medium, choose your noun, is essential. So when Onaje is the play that kicks off my Fringe viewing, I am intrigued. The show is already sold out in the days prior to its opening.

Onaje uses the Cambridge riots of 1967 on the Eastern Shore of Maryland as a backdrop for a group of people who are neighbors turned enemies due to the race relations. An ensemble of nine tell the story of an astrological hobo, an ex-CIA operative, a stripper, a drunk, an angry cop, a family living a simple life, and hitchhiker as they intersect on the highway (literal and metaphorical). We learn soon that this is the first layer of the onion. Wrong place at the wrong time. Running away from the truth. Money solves all problems. The grass is always greener on the other side. Leaving the world better than we found it. All of these are reflected in each actor as in their insightful and careful expression of Robert Bowie, Jr.’s words.

It took me some time to unpack the 145 minutes of intensity. There were many aspects of the show that left me in thought. The cast was talented, Pat Golden’s direction tight in telling the story within the allotted time (though it felt long at spots), and the writing significant.

My next stop was Jamaica Center for the Arts & Learning (JCal) as part of the fringeBYOV/fringeQNS. On the way to see The Public and Private Deaths of Carol O’Grady, I listened to a new feature of the Fringe called the podplay. I listened to Subway Plays which was simply a pretty cool thing to experience as I rode the 7 train. The good thing about the series is that you don’t HAVE to be on that line if you’re already familiar with the subway. I listened to Damper Felts: N on the bus and had the same experience. If you are a tourist, though, it’s a great companion piece for taking the train. All the conversations you have, don’t have, avoid, overhear, and imagine are in one place. Jenny Lyn Bader, Jessie Bear and Colin Waitt capture those moments. As a native New Yorker, I laughed aloud many times and didn’t care about the reactions of others.

As for The Public and Private Deaths of Carol O’Grady, Frank Murdocco’s solo show was a breath of fresh air on a cool night in Jamaica, Queens. The experience began as soon as I arrived and was treated with a tour of the venue which boasts two artists’ gallery. That prepared me for another surprise – a beautiful state-of-the-art 120 seat theatre. It’s Christmas and something terrible has happened to Carol O’Grady! Murdocco’s tells the story through three characters in the style of Sarah Jones, Anna Deveare Smith and Eric Bogosian. He flawlessly and smoothly transforms into these characters. The only indication of a character change is a click of the lamp (which I loved) which added to the layer of the insanity created by Jessica DiPaola and Lindsey Smith.

My trip to the Fringe is coming to a close due to scheduling but definitely support the artists. We need their voices and their stories. And we need yours too. Start creating!


The NEW York International Fringe Festival (FringeNYC + FringeBYOV)

www.fringenyc.org

October 1st – 31st, 2018

OCT 12th – 28th

OCT 5th – 28th

OCT 1st – 31st

Meet Gabri Christa & Magdalena

 

MAGDALENA_PROMO-.jpgName: Gabri Christa

Tell us about you. 

I am an artist who uses whatever media that is appropriate to communicate an idea. I come from choreography as my background but mostly use film and other media these days. I was born and raised in Curaçao, Dutch Caribbean. I seek to create an understanding of our humanity through art.

Tell us about your current project? 

My current project is a multimedia work called “Magdalena” inspired by my mother’s life and her struggle with dementia.

Where are you performing your show and why is it a good fit for your production? 

I’m performing at Theaterlab in Midtown. The work is created for intimate spaces (not necessarily for traditional venueGs) and Theaterlab as a small intimate venue with a history of presenting experimental and multimedia work which makes it a great fit for this project. I can stay through to the vision of the work in that space.

What’s next for you? 

I’ll be touring this piece for at least the next two years. I have been also awarded the Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health so this coming year I will learn a lot more about the brain and aging in a global context. I also will be working on a feature film (that takes long) and some smaller dance-films about aging.

What is the name of the last show you saw? 

The last show I saw was a studio showing at the Dutch National Ballet in Amsterdam.

Any advice for your peers?
 
Make what you believe in and the rest will follow.

https://vimeo.com/284656342


Show Information: 

Dates: September 11-15 and 19-22, 2018

Venue: Theaterlab (357 West 36th Street, 3rd floor, NYC)

Tickets: https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/996199

Meet Rob Dames & Nowhere Man

Tell us about you. NOWHERE MAN FACEBOOK ICON.png

Rob has been writer, producer and/or director for over 30 television series including 17 network pilots. Rob worked on such series as: Benson, Marblehead Manor, Gimme A Break, Me and The Boys, The Royal Family, The Blues Brothers, Full House and many more. He was a nominee for The People’s Choice award for Best New Comedy for the series he co-created, Me and The Boys. Rob’s credits also include five original screenplays and multiple uncredited rewrites for Amblin’ Entertainment and Disney Studios. During the years working in television and film, he was pleased to write or direct for such great producers as Aaron Spelling, Witt-Thomas-Harris, Miller/Boyett, Ed. Weinberger and Steven Spielberg. His career also offered him the opportunity to work internationally in England, France and Germany. In recent years, his comedy play, VIRGINIA THROWS A WAKE, was a 2017 finalist for the Reva Shiner Comedy Award and his drama, HAUNTINGS, was a finalist for The Stanley Drama Award. Currently, his play, NOWHERE MAN, is premiering at the Broadway Bound Theatre Festival in New York in late August 2018. Rob, along with composer Dan Foliart, has recently completed their musical, BACK IN THE GAME. Rob was also an original member of The Groundlings Improv Company.
Tell us about your current project? 
NOWHERE MAN is an original full-length play dealing with difficult moral decisions
Where are you performing your show and why is it a good fit for your production?
The Theatre at the 14th St. Y. This is an excellent venue and a well-run festival.
What’s next for you? 
Time to workshop my musical, BACK IN THE GAME
What is the name of the last show you saw? 
Hamilton
Any advice for your peers?
Just do it

Show Information:

Date: Aug. 23, 25, 26.
Venue: The Theatre at the 14th St. Y.

Meet George Pfirrmann & The Brothers Khan

The Brothers Khan 8.5x11Tell us about you. 
Playwright/Producer
Tell us about your current project? 
The Brothers Khan, An American Story is going up at the Broadway Bound Theatre Festival this August in NYC
Where are you performing your show and why is it a good fit for your production? 
The Broadway Bound Theatre Festival. This is an opportunity to get this full production up before an audience. The BBTF is very helpful in teaching all one needs to know to self produce.
What’s next for you? 
Rewriting AROUSAL, workshopping Reckoning, finishing The Allens.
What is the name of the last show you saw? 
The Iceman Cometh
Any advice for your peers?
Write, have it read, rewrite, have it read, and do it until it’s where you want it to be.

Show Information:

Dates: August 15th at 8:30, the 17th at 8:30, and the 18th at 5pm.
Venue: 14th Street Theatre at the Y.
Tickets: http://www.broadwayboundfestival.com Tickets are $25.

Meet Albi Gorn & Jim’s Room

Jim's Room Flyer_Page_1.jpegTell us about you. 
I’m Albi Gorn. I’ve been writing for 25 years and have been produced all over the U.S. and in Canada, Mexico and England. My shows have won dozens of playwriting competitions and theater festivals. I live in Hastings-on-Hudson in Westchester, N.Y. with my wife and director of choice, Robin Anne Joseph. I retired last year after working for 50 years so I could dedicate myself to theater and at 71 I feel like my life is just starting. Member of the Dramatists Guild. Website: albigorn.com
Tell us about your current project? 
My play Jim’s Room will have its world premiere at the Broadway Bound Theatre Festival in August. It’s a play that explore what we will do – and believe – to get back what we’ve lost and make ourselves whole.
Where are you performing your show and why is it a good fit for your production? 
Broadway Bound Theatre Festival, The 14th St. Y, 344 E. 14th St, NYC. The Festival is a wonderful mix of theater from all over the country touching on all manner of topics in all manner of theatrical styles. While Jim’s Room is mostly a traditional show, it does ask its audience to suspend their disbelief in disbelief. And I think that’s very much the atmosphere that BBTF has created.
What’s next for you? 
My one-act play about abortion, Paradise Enow, will be part of the Emerging Artists Annual New Work Series. Following that, my theater company, GoJo Clan Productions, will be doing a revival of Doubt (which, in case there’s any doubt, I didn’t write).
What is the name of the last show you saw? 
Sugar in Our Wounds at MTC
Any advice for your peers?
Two things. 1) Don’t listen to my advice, and; 2) In the event you’re still reading this, as a playwright I have three goals in this order of priority: Please myself, please my actors, please my audience. If I take care of the first two, the last one always takes care of itself.

Show Information: 

Dates: August 22nd 8:30; August 24th 5:00; August 25th 8:30.
Venue: The 14th St. Y, 344 E. 14th St, NYC.

Meet Sean David Robinson & Starbright

starbright-promo-image.jpgTell us about you. 
My name is Sean David Robinson, and I’m a playwright from Asheville, NC. My work is focused on creating strong female protagonists in stories which bring science, speculative fiction and magical realism to life on the stage.
Tell us about your current project? 
Starbright, my current play, tells the story of Grace Morrow, an astronomer who lost her young daughter Abby nearly a year ago. As Grace’s life spins out of control, Abby appears to her and begins making bold predictions about the movements of the cosmos. Grace must determine if her daughter’s appearance is a sign of her dwindling sanity, or proof that there’s more to the universe than even she understands.
Where are you performing your show and why is it a good fit for your production? 
Starbright will debut at the Broadway Bound Theatre Festival at the 14th Street Y Theatre. It’s perfect for this show. We have striking visual effects that will wow audiences in the two-story space, and the 120-seat venue is the perfect size for the intimate-yet-universal story this play tells.
What’s next for you? 
I’m working on two new plays at the moment, one dealing with the American justice system (with a speculative fiction bent), and the other a more personal, human story about a heart transplant that changes everything about the life of its recipient.
What is the name of the last show you saw? 
The last show I saw was Other Desert Cities at N.C. Stage Company in Asheville.
Any advice for your peers?
I think the most important part of being a writer, or any kind of artist, is to never stop learning, growing, and evolving. Surround yourself with people who challenge you to become the best version of yourself. Oh, and find a bad ass editor. Marry them, if you can.

Show Information: 

Dates: August 16-19;
Venue: 14th Street Y Theatre