And Another One:Midtown International Theatre Festival Ends After 18 Seasons

Of course, I am flooded with emotions. Of course, I understand. To my indie artists, dig deep, find a way, continue to create.

Midtown International Theatre Festival Ends After 18 Season

NY, NY – Broadway World News Desk – Creator and executive producer of the Midtown International Theatre Festival, John Chatterton, announced today that he will be retiring the MITF until further notice. In a statement to the press, Chatterton said:

“On looking back over 18 seasons of the MITF, I have many memories, most of them good, some not so much, and some hilarious. But I’ve had some reverses in recent years that have forced me to hang up the gloves. Hence, this retirement memo.

When you get to be 71, you accumulate a few dings on your person — with some people, more dings than others, some dings going deeper than others. When you start to feel like my first car, a ’65 Dodge Dart (this was in ’79), you know it’s time to re-evaluate your priorities.

The financial situation has also grown more parlous. When I started the MITF (in 2000), I was making $65 an hour as a tech writer on Wall Street. Now I’m on Social Security. I can no longer underwrite the Festival budget out of my own pocket.

(A few years ago I moved back to Massachusetts, for personal reasons, and the strains of commuting to NYC also take their toll.)

The last straw was recent lawsuit. It was one of those cases where you’re damned if you win and damned if you lose, because either way you have to pay legal costs.

I have lots of energy and ideas left. Also an increasing urge to travel the world, starting with a farewell tour (in a much better car) down the East Coast to Florida. So, as the Governator said, ‘I’ll be b-a-a-a-c-k!’

Thank you, New York, for giving my life meaning for 24 years. Thank you for the opportunity to serve that occasionally fickle muse, the Theatre, in all the roles I’ve experienced. Good luck and God bless. We’ll be in touch!”

In the summer of 2000, in midtown Manhattan, the Midtown International Theatre Festival (MITF) began celebrating the diversity of theatre.

MITF emphasizes imaginative, low-tech staging. In addition to offering a safe environment to develop innovative theatre, the MITF is devoted to keeping costs for participants down. This means there are now no participation fees for any of our festivals!

The MITF welcomes submission of any kind of stage play, musical or otherwise, new or revived, mainstream or focused on an ethnic or cultural niche.

The Festival is the brainchild of John Chatterton, creator of OOBR (“the off-off-broadway review”), which for many years was the only publication exclusively devoted to covering the Off-Off-Broadway scene. Mr. Chatterton started the MITF as a way to present the finest Off-Off-Broadway talent in convenience, comfort, and safety. He also produces the Short Play Lab and the Midwinter Madness Short Play Festival.

IRTE’s The Party Continues! at Providence Fringe Festival & Midtown International Theatre Festival

Just because our regular season has ended doesn’t mean

Come join us at at

Jamie McCluskey is turning 12 and you’re invited to join the Improvisational Repertory Theatre Ensemble as they celebrate THE BIG DAY! When their comedy show Happy Birthday, Stupid Kid! hits the Providence Fringe Festivalin Rhode Island and the Midtown International Theatre Festival in New York, there’ll be games, goodie bags, a birthday cake and plenty of mayhem. Jamie may be just a “stupid kid,” but it’s  his friends and family who are out of control in this improvised and interactive birthday party. You’ll get to join in the fun while witnessing the over-the-top antics of th McCluskey clan. Plus, at each show, IRTE’s cast of seasoned improvisers will be joined by a different musical guest.


Conceived by Nannette Deasy
Directed by Robert Baumgardner

SATURDAY, July 29, 2017, 10:00-11:00pm
Waterfire Arts Center, L Studio
475 Valley St., Providence, RI 02908
Tickets: $10 (available at the door)

Starring: William Berg, Nannette Deasy, Curt Dixon, Mike Hauschild, Jamie Maloney, Connie Perry and Sam Katz
Featuring live music performed by David Alves

SATURDAY, August 5, 2017 @ 9:30-10:15pm
The Workshop Theater, Jewel Box Theater
312 West 36th Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10018
Tickets: $20*

* Use FRIENDSFAMILY discount code for $2.00 off the regular price = $18.00. Code is active for advance sales only until 11:59pm July 29.

Starring: Nannette Deasy, Curt Dixon, Mike Hauschild, Jamie Maloney, Connie Perry and Sam Katz
Featuring live music performed by John Munnelly
Technical Director: Anne Carlton

MAD MEL SAVES THE WORLD at Midtown International Theater Festival

MAD MEL SAVES THE WORLD, an intergalactic musical featuring a rock, pop and rap score – with Voguer dancing – premiering at the Midtown International Theater Festival on Tuesday, July 18 at 630pm; Saturday, July 22 at 7pm, and Sunday July 23 at 3pm. Book is by Gary Morgenstein. Music and lyrics by Erich Rausch, who also directs.

In this video, Sage Melcher, who plays Roni, sings her love song “Galaxy” (which she wrote); Roni is a waitress on the planet Marradia, falling in love with the human Mel Worthington (played by Michael A. Green), who has arrived to stop an alien invasion of Earth.

Mad Mel Saves the World stars Michael A. Green (Mel); Sage Melcher (Roni); April Armstrong (Lady Vesselika;) Nicholas DeSibio (Grem); Jodi Beck (Ambassador U-Vin); Mary Chesterman (Chancellor Jony); Justin DeSilets (Parm), Kenneth Scott Thompson (Mr. Tyler), with Asami Tsuzuki, Popra Nayakama, Aaron Mor and Nana Tatebayashi comprising the Ensemble. Richard Rivera is the choreographer and Bernard Prince Thomas is the associate choreographer.


Meet Jeffrey Schmelkin & Untitled Time

Name: Jeffrey Schmelkin

What is your current project?

Right now, I’m currently producing my new musical “Untitled Time”!

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

I’m currently producing my musical at The Midtown International Theatre Festival. This festival is an amazing fit for my production because they have a wonderful theater which is the perfect size for the place that the show is at right now. Because this is now the show’s second production (on a slightly larger scale than the last), this is the perfect opportunity to see how different types of audiences react to the work. Additionally, I’ve made some great friends with some of my fellow playwrights/composers/producers!

What’s next for you?

My goal is to get “Untitled Time” off-Broadway within the upcoming years.

What is the name of the last show you saw?

I recently saw the tour of Fun Home! The music is absolutely amazing and the show as a whole is just incredibly powerful—one of the many reasons I love live theatre.

Any advice for your peers?

Just keep persevering and let me know all about your upcoming projects!

Want More?

You Tube:

​Jeffrey Schmelkin is an award-winning composer, an experienced pianist, and a passionate teacher and music director. Jeffrey has music directed shows such as “The Wizard of Oz” and “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”. His composition “Revival” debuted in Hawaii in early 2016. He is the composer of “Furniture: The Musical,” produced at the Midtown International Theatre Festival (New York City) in July of 2016. His new musical, “Untitled Time”, was produced at Hofstra University in early 2017 and will be produced at the Midtown International Theatre Festival (New York City) during Summer 2017. ​

Show Information: 

Schedule: Tuesday 8/01, 8:30pm Saturday 8/05, 5:30pm Sunday 8/06, 5:30pm

Venue: The Main Stage Theater at The Midtown International Theatre Festival, 312 W. 36th Street, NYC

Ticket URL:

Padraic Lillis is in the Limelight

Name: Padraic Lillis

What’s your current project: The American Soldier a solo show by Douglas Taurel running Nov. 18th – 22nd at the Midtown International Theater Festival

Why and how are you involved? I directed the play. Douglas put together this incredibly project exploring PTSD of soldier and family members of soldiers from letters and interviews from each of the wars in our country’s history. The show had an excellent run in Edinburgh Festival and we look forward to continuing to present the work. His shaping of the piece and his acting is really impactful.



Guest Blogger: Nick Radu Reviews Rise of the Usher by Jessica Elkin

Victoria Medina, Production Photographer
Victoria Medina, Production Photographer

Every business has its cast of characters and Rise of the Usher gives us a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on in the front of the house at a Broadway theater. Jessica Elkin doesn’t waste any time delving into those characters as she jumps right into the action. Accents, mannerisms and voice changes abound as she carefully and playfully jumps from one eccentric usher to the house manager to another usher to an ex-con ticket-taker and back again until you get a sense of who’s who in her zany romp to the top of the usher totem pole. It was a pleasure watching a fellow Ohioan up on a New York stage enjoying her craft. Mary Catherine Donnelly’s direction gave way to a fun and quirky night of theater as Jessica, who also wrote the piece, found a job, a purpose and even love on her journey. Many ushers will no doubt be able to relate to the antics that are being portrayed in front of them. But whether you’re an usher, an actor, an avid theater-goer or just someone who likes to laugh, catch Jessica Elkin’s performance in the 16th Annual Midtown International Theatre Festival before the lights go down, the curtain comes up and an usher keeps YOU from getting a seat!

Performance Dates:
Sat 7/18 at 3:00pm
Thurs 7/23 at 6:30pm
Sun 7/26 at 4:00pm

Danielle Gautier, Executive Producer
Joanne Pan, Stage Manager/Board Op
David Goldstein, Lighting Designer
Malini Singh McDonald, Marketing Director/Publicist

Nick is an actor/writer/director/producer from Canton, OH. He is currently a founding board member of Non Disposable Productions and a member of Theatre Beyond Broadway. Nick has worked on TV pilots, film productions and numerous theater projects in NYC. Favorite acting credits include Tony Wendice, “Dial ‘M’ for Murder,” Cain/Japeth, “Children of Eden,” Philip, “The Lion in Winter,” and Oscar Lindquist, “Sweet Charity.” Nick is currently writing a musical, “Lonely Moon” as well as a novel, “3225.” Nick loves collaborating with other artists and looks forward to creating exceptional art and connection.

Meet the Ushers (Part 2): Two Viewpoints on Attending the Theatre

Yesterday was about the experience of going to the theatre. Today we’ll meet two characters, Queen Gwendolyn and Rona Do Ya Wanna, who have very clear viewpoints on being a patron. Meet them and 9 others in Jessica Elkin’s Rise of the Usher.


photo (13)Queen Gwendolyn on her preparation for going to the theater.

Frankly, before I prepare myself to even enter a theater, I make sure that I am dressed properly. To me the theater is a sacred place and I rise to the occasion by wearing my pearls, mink stole, gloves, and a veiled hat. A visit to the performing arts library is also a necessity as part of my preparation if the show happens to be a revival. Every review, book, and film that I can get a hold of before I see the show has been carefully viewed in order for me to have some feeling of competency for what I am preparing myself to see. When I go to the theater I need at least a month of preparation for such endeavors, now if someone wants to provide me with comps, then I may make an exception.


photo (12)

Rona Do Ya Wanna  on going to the theater.

Well, some of my questions for going to the theater are:

  1. Who’s paying?
  2. Are drinks included?
  3. What about dinner and desert?
  4. And the most important thing is: are there any hot men in the show? Any nudity?

If all or at least a few of these elements are included then I’m game.

Come see what one usher will do to rise to the top of an ant hill.

July 14th – July 26th

Davenport Theatre, Black Box at 354 West 45th Street

Click HERE for more info.

Meet the Ushers (Part 1)

photo (14)In light of the latest Patti Lupone‘s stand against blatant use of cell phones in the theatre, I thought about my own experiences in the theatre. Now it is absolutely true that my upcoming project, Rise of the Usher written and performed by Jessica Elkin, is about the theatre experience. I have had many wonderful and awful experiences.

I’ll start with one of the worst. I purchased seats for a weekday matinee performance of a play on Broadway. The leads were A-List actors and I was super excited to see the play with my friend. Throughout the entire performance, audience members were whispering, eating, and texting throughout the performance. The ushers did NOTHING. I was just in shock because how often does one get to see this caliber of actors on stage. And the closing monologues was breathtaking!

My best experience is whenever an unruly patron is asked to leave. I have seen that a few times and the ushers have never been rude about it. Just “you gotta go”.

Here are the experiences of the producer and director of Rise of the Usher:

Danielle Gautier, General Manager:

My best usher experience was actually at a Brooklyn Nets basketball game this past April. My 84-year old grandmother was standing up for the t-shirt toss that the Nets dance team does at each game. None of the t-shirts were tossed her way and one of the ushers nearby spotted the slight disappointment on her face about this. He went out of his way to find a Nets employee, who could grab a t-shirt for my grandmother and then handed the t-shirt to her. The smile on her face was priceless and he really made her game experience extra special by doing that.

My worst usher experience was at a Broadway show a few years ago as an audience member. There were many other audience members texting, talking, eating loudly and doing other distracting things during the performance. I had never seen such rude behavior. What was worse is that the ushers did nothing to silence anyone or anything. They just sat back and watched the show. It had to be distracting to the performers on-stage if it was that distracting me even as an audience member.
Mary Catherine Donnelly, Director:

My best experience with an usher was after I had waited out in the bitter cold to see the last performance of Waiting for Godot with Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart on March 29, 2014. I froze my *ss off waiting on line for hours, getting up at 3am for tickets since I never knew when I’d be able to see Ian McKellan onstage again.

Finally…after  hours of clock watching, holding places for other hopefuls’ coffee and  bathroom breaks and waiting for the sun to come up for some warmth, I  arrive to the box office with cash for me and my friend Ana who was at home with her kids in Jersey so she couldn’t wait with me this time. I make the cut off! I get TWO tickets!

I return to the theatre for the performance after napping and showering, meet Ana outside The Cort and soon a very handsome carmel skinned usher with big brown eyes in his 20’s takes Ana and I up to our seats….which turn out to be way up in the boxes. I thought “well that can’t be so bad it’s a balcony!” But it was bad. It was an obstructed view. I asked him if there were any other seats. He apologized and said that the show was sold out.

We had to lean over very far, practically on top of each other and did not see the scenes performed under this “overhang” (!).I froze for HOURS to have Ian McKellan performing underneath my butt! I don’t think so.

My strategy was to snag the 2 empty seats in the 2nd row that I spotted during the bits I couldn’t see. They were center on the aisle… Ana and I made a beeline at intermission to snag those seats.

We no sooner go to sit than the patron in the 3rd seat from the aisle  who would be next to us said we “couldn’t sit there because they weren’t  our seats.” I told her about our balcony bust and asked her if they were her seats because they had been empty during Act 1. She said “No, but you can’t sit here because they are not your seats.” I said “but if they’re not your seats why can’t we sit here?” She said again “you cannot sit here because they are not your seats.”

Now I had to have those seats. Her killjoy factor alone made me want to pimp out my friend Ana with her even post baby model body to seduce the hot usher who took us up to the box seats who was now in the orchestra seating people. But I decided to tell him the truth: “these 2 seats were empty during intermission and we can’t see a thing up there. So when we tired to sit in these seats this lady in the 3rd seat said “we couldn’t sit there because they were not our seats. Would you help us?”

The usher turns and escorts Ana and I down to the 2nd row center, looking fiercely at the woman who didn’t want us in the seats and proceeds to seat us, gave a quick smile and off he went.  I saw Act II of the last performance of Waiting for Godot in the 2nd row center!!! Ian was practically in our lap.  It was a thrill to see Ian McKellan’s specific physicality and expressions and his chemistry with Patrick Stewart. The handsome mystery usher gave me the best seats I’d ever had, a good story and being the recipient of a random act his kindness.

Come see what one usher will do to rise to the top of an ant hill.

July 14th – July 26th

Davenport Theatre, Black Box at 354 West 45th Street

Click HERE for more info.

It’s a Festival A-Gogo and You’re Invited

theater-comedy-tragedyToday I finally took the first step in planning my summer-of-theatre viewing tour. Once there is acceptance that my life will be even more devoted to the theatre for this summer, I had to take the first step:

Look at the guides for the festivals! Oh my world. There are three festivals that are on my radar this summer because I’m directly working on them. I am the Marketing Director for:

However, that means I also need to find out what shows my friends are performing in and throw that into the schedule. I really do hope that you get a chance to support independent theatre this summer. You never know what your take away from a performance will be. And that’s exciting.

See you at the show!