MvVO Art Launches AD ART SHOW

10 Directors. 10 Hours. 10 New Works. Free

10 Directors. 10 Hours. 10 New Works. Free

The Drama League (Artistic Director, Gabriel Stelian-Shanks) has announced an inaugural event: First Stage Festival, where new works take their first steps, featuring 10 resident directors who will have 10 hours to focus and manifest a particular moment or element of 10 new works, giving a glimpse into the future of the American Theater. FREE and open to the public, tickets/RSVPs are required and available on a first-come, first-served basis. All performances begin at 8:00 p.m. The Festival officially launches on Monday, July 29, 2019 and continues through Friday, August 9, 2019 at The Drama League Theater Center (32 Avenue of the Americas). Festival programming, tickets and additional details are available, or by calling (212) 244-9494.

“Our support for director-centered development of new plays and musicals continues to expand and evolve. The Drama League brought together these directors, who are just beginning a creative journey with these pieces in the earliest stages of imagination and creative exploration,” expressed Gabriel Stelian-Shanks, Artistic Director. “Over these two weeks, audiences can join them, and us, for a peek inside the thrilling generation of new ideas by bold artists. We look forward to bringing the fire of creation to a wider range of experience than ever before.”

“With the decline of development time and push towards longer previews for new works, directors need a space before production more than ever to experiment without expectation,” said Nilan, Associate Artistic Director. “Each director will wrestle with a particular aspect of the piece to better understand the whole. As unique as this festival is for the artist, our audiences and members get a chance to witness and contribute much earlier than usual in the development process of a new work. We would all do well to pay attention to the artist and works in this festival, as this is just the beginning.”

July 29 – August 9, 2019 
at The Drama League Center 
(32 Avenue of the Americas)

Tickets Available at

All performances begin at 8:00 p.m. FREE and open to the public. 
Tickets/RSVPs are required and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

MONDAY, JULY 29 AT 8:00 P.M.

Heedless Hungry Lovesick 
(Devised Piece) 
Directed by Jaclyn Biskup

Heedless Hungry Lovesick is a romantic epic charting 11 years in the lives of 9 characters, as they journey through young adulthood, in an unstable country headed towards revolution. The play explores how youthful passion survives—if at all—the trials of growing up in a perilous world.Heedless Hungry Lovesick is a play meant to showcase the desire and enthusiasm of young performers and places it in a political context.

Jaclyn Biskup is a director and producer working in theatre, television, and film. She is the recipient of an Emmy and Peabody nomination for her work on the digital series “The Secret Life Of Muslims,” and currently works as an associate producer at New Ohio Theatre. She assisted Tony Award-winning director Anna Shapiro on the Broadway debut of Straight White Men by Young Jean Lee (Second Stage at the Helen Hayes). Her work in the theatre spans nearly two decades. As the founding artistic director of The Mill, she has directed and produced over 20 productions including the Chicago premieres of Venus by Suzan-Lori Parks and The Private Lives Of Eskimos (Or 16 Words For Snow) by Ken Urban. In NYC, work directed includes Worse Than Tigers by Mark Christler, Nicholas, Maeve, Marianne by Matthew Stephen Smith (one of Indie Theatre Now’s 20 Best of NYC Fringe), Hot Steams by Zach Wegner, It’s Just Weird Now by Halley Feiffer, and Days Of Rage by Hyeyoung Kim and Shoshana Greenberg. Her work has been seen at New Ohio Theatre, MCC, Rattlestick, Dixon Place, Town Stages, and the NYC International Fringe. She has assisted on productions at Steppenwolf, The Public, and The American Musical Theatre Workshop. She has worked on digital projects for PBS NOVA, Delta Air Lines, Caltech, Harvard, and others, and holds a BA in Theater from Northern Illinois University and an MFA in Directing and Theatrical Production from Northwestern University.


The Untitled Filipino-American Project 
(Devised Piece) 
Directed by Nathaniel P. Claridad 
Collaborators: Marissa Carpio, Jasmin Malave

The Untitled Filipino-American Project explores what identity means to the Filipino-American. Caught between the Philippines, a country with rich indigenous history (as well as a history of colonialization) and the United States of America, a country that, for many Filipinos offered a promise of a better future in exchange for assimilation, where do Filipinos find themselves in this tapestry of history and country? By using interviews, found text, song and dance, The Untitled Filipino-American Project seeks to unveil what it means to be the children of immigrants from a country that is as beautiful as it is complicated.

Nathaniel Claridad. NYC: The Trojan Women (Oppressed in Heels), July House (NYC Fringe 2015),Man.Kind (Working Theater), The Breasts of Tiresias (Peculiar Works Project); work with The One Minute Play Festival and ShakesBEER; with Wagon Wheel Arts: Triassic Parq, Dustin Lance Black’s “8” featuring Jose Llana and Gavin Creel (Co-producer/A.D., PlayMakers Repertory Company, UNC – Chapel Hill); the annual benefit event Broadway Twisted (Co-producer/Director). Regionally:Our Town (A.D., Two River Theatre), It’s A Wonderful Life (A.D., PlayMakers Repertory Company). For UNC: Eurydice, Tender NapalmShakespeare’s R & J. As actor highlights include: Here Lies Love (The Public Theater), Taylor Mac’s 24 Hour Decade History of Popular MusicThe Awesome 80’s Prom; with regional work at The Kennedy Center, PlayMakers Repertory Company, Folger Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Cape Fear, Imagination Stage, Hangar Theatre, Barrington Stage, Florida Studio Theatre. Other: The Civilians Field and Research Team and Drama League Residency, 2016; MFA: UNC, Chapel Hill.


My Brother’s Better At Love Than Me 
By Lily Houghton 
Directed by Tom Costello 
Collaborators: Lily Houghton, playwright, Henry Houghton, actor.

My Brother’s Better At Love Than Me: The relationship between a woman and her autistic brother are told through the parallel stories of each of their romantic lives. A look at how someone on the autism spectrum, who is ostensibly “bad at empathy,” can be better at love than someone more neuro-typical.

Tom Costello is a New York-based director from Ithaca, NY. He is the Associate Artistic Director of Pipeline Theatre Company and administers its PlayLab, a residency for new work of unbridled imagination. He is an Associate Artist at the Flea Theater where he directed the world premieres of Smoke by Kim Davies and The Wundelsteipen (and other difficult roles for young people) by Nick Jones. He is the Artistic Director of the Atlantic Acting School’s alumni program, where he is also a faculty member. Tom is a proud graduate of the BFA program at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and a 2017 Drama League Directing Fellow.


EveryHour/Chekhov in 8 
(Devised from the words of Anton Chekhov) 
Directed by Pete Danelski 
Collaborators: McLean Fletcher, actor, Andrew Goebel, actor.

Over a nine-year span, Anton Chekhov found a humiliating start as a playwright, lived in a penal colony, and watched his brother succumb to tuberculosis—all in the shadow of his own fatal disease. Personal correspondences from these years open a window into Chekhov’s own positive life view and its inextricable relationship with death and creativity. Part verbatim play. Part experimentEveryHour/Chekhov in 8 uses Chekhov’s words to displace his identity and ideas. What does the title “creative genius” really mean during the 20th century?

Pete Danelski is a DC-based theatre maker, director and writer. He has performed and directed at theatres across Philadelphia, New York and Washington, DC. Recent directing credits include Folger Theatre, Post Shift, Rorschach and Theatre J. Pete’s research and writing has been shared internationally, most recently published in Shakespeare, the journal of the British Shakespeare Association. He has written and developed several new plays with his writing partner Megan Diehl, including an adaptation of the Karel and Josef Čapek’s Adam the Creator, which will receive a reading at the Embassy of the Czech Republic in spring 2019. Additionally, Pete serves as Operations and Business Associate with CulturalDC, managing Source Theatre in Washington, DC. Pete holds degrees from DeSales University and Trinity College Dublin.


The Fossett Family (working title) 
(Devised Piece) 
Directed by Melody Erfani 
Collaborators: Andrea Bellamore, Gerrard James, Kevin Cauvun, Melissa Mowry, Nathaniel Johnson, Sasha Hawkins, Sean Michael Welch, Suzanne Darrell

The Fossett Family (working title) is based on the true story of Joseph and Edith Fossett’s life. Following Thomas Jefferson’s death in 1826, Joseph Fossett became a free man, one of five persons freed from slavery by the terms of Jefferson’s will. However, his wife Edith and their 10 children were put up for sale with the rest of Jefferson’s “belongings” to pay off his sizable debt. The play follows their journey that tests their strength of will, family bond, and what they will risk to reunite.

Melody Erfani is a NYC-based theatre director specializing in creating, new works, and classical adaptations. Originally from Dallas, Texas, raised in an Iranian-American family within a diverse community, her fascination with other people’s cultures and customs was sparked from birth. She founded Lower East Side Shakespeare Co., a non-profit theatre company, in 2014 and has been Artistic Director there for five years. She has an M.F.A in Directing from the Actors Studio Drama School and a participant in the 2013 Lincoln Center Director’s Lab. She graduated with a B.F.A. in Theatre Arts during which she procured an internship with Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London. Favorite credits: Bee (Creator and Director), Antigone, R+J (LES Shakespeare), 97 Orchard St. (Creator/Director), All an Act (The Edinburgh Fringe Festival), Dying City, Raised in Captivity (ASDS Repertory), Our Town, The Importance of Being Earnest (Stagedoor Manor, NY).


Prison Tongues 
By Alisha Espinosa 
Directed by Alisha Espinosa 
Principal Collaborator: Nathaniel P. Claridad

Prison Tongues is a feminist, contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and Hamlet. Both plays are juxtaposed with contemporary characters in order to expose and reclaim the “minor” female characters, namely Hero and Ophelia. The play circumvents traditional structure by weaving contemporary adaptations with a secondary storyline about how actresses in Shakespeare companies grapple with the baggage of these iconic characters while staying true to themselves and their womanhood.

Alisha Espinosa is an Afro-Boricua storyteller, who specializes in acting and playwriting, and an aerialist in training at The Muse Brooklyn. She recently participated in New York Shakespeare Exchange’s inaugural Diversity Cohort and her pieces have been produced by Step1 Theater Project (NYC). Recent Acting Credits include American Tales (Stage One), Hamlet (KY Shakespeare), Shakespeare: The Remix (Capital Rep), Much Ado About Nothing (KY Shakespeare).


Share Location 
By Carl Holder 
Directed by Sarah Hughes 
Collaborators: Carl Holder, Playwright

Share Location uses the language of texts, tweets, status updates, listicles, news videos, clickbait vlogs, app notifications, blog posts, voicemails, emails, phone calls, and chat threads all across many platforms and timelines to create a tapestry of online content quilted together to show the story of a group of people play out over time. The characters’ online footprints are never spoken aloud, but they all are speaking from somewhere where they feel alone, reaching out into a void, hoping to connect.

Sarah Hughes is a director and producer of theater and new media. She’s developed new plays, devised works, and immersive installations with Eliza Bent, MJ Kaufman, Julia May Jonas, McFeely Sam Goodman, Sibyl Kempson, Graham Sack, Geoff Sobelle and others. Sarah worked with Elevator Repair Service from 2007-14, assistant directing Gatz, The Select, Arguendo, Shuffle, and Fondly, Collette Richland Off-Broadway and on tour, and was Co-Artistic Producer of Target Margin Theater from 2015-17. Visiting Lecturer at Dartmouth College, New Georges 2018 Audrey Resident, 2016-17 Civilians R&D Lab, 2017-18 Clubbed Thumb Directing Fellow, 2018-2020 WP Theater Directors Lab.


Packing and Cracking 
By Rachel Karp and Joseph Amodei 
Directed by Rachel Karp 
Collaborator: Joseph Amodei

Should voters choose their politicians, or should politicians choose their voters? Packing and Cracking is a multimedia mapmaking event that exposes the ubiquity of the latter: politicians using their power to draw district lines in their favor, through a widespread process known as gerrymandering. Set on a theater-sized map of one gerrymandered state with the audience arranged across it, Packing and Cracking draws and redraws maps around audience members in real time, utilizing the software most often used to gerrymander, showing how easy gerrymandering is, and asking what, if anything, we should do about it.

Rachel Karp makes work about politics and public policy. She has developed and directed new work through Ars Nova, Mabou Mines, Incubator Arts Project, Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Flea, IRT, Dixon Place, Women Center Stage, SPACE on Ryder Farm, Barn Arts, the Powerhouse and Samuel French Festivals, and Columbia University’s graduate and undergraduate schools. Rachel has been a Resident Artist at Mabou Mines, a Resident Director at The Flea, a Directing Intern at Actors Theatre of Louisville, and is a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab. Currently at Carnegie Mellon University, Rachel is a John Wells Directing Fellow, MFA expected 2019, and a Milton and Cynthia Friedman Fellow, through which she spent Summer 2018 working at a policy research institute in Washington, DC.


Antigone (en la frontera) 
By Ash Marinaccio and Dominque Fishback 
Directed by Ash Marinaccio 
Principal Collaborators: Dominique Fishback, actor, Maria Litvan, dramaturg

Antigone (en la frontera) is a one-woman production of Antigone set in a jail cell on the U.S./Mexican border. While arrested by U.S. Border Patrol agents for “harboring undocumented immigrants” after leaving water out in the desert for migrants, an activist channels the spirit and strength of Antigone from her jail cell while facing felony charges.

Ashley “Ash” Marinaccio is a theatre artist and scholar who is dedicated to documenting the socio-political issues that define our times by creating work that challenges the status quo and transforms the way we see the world. Her theatrical work has been seen Off-Broadway (Primary Stages, Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, HERE, Joe’s Pub, Culture Project), at TED conferences, The White House, The Apollo, United Nations and on tour throughout the United States, Middle East, and Europe. Her work has received critical acclaim from The NY Times, New Yorker, Huffington Post, Ms. Magazine, Ebony, NY Press, Time Out NY, Backstage, and Show Businessand has been featured in segments on Buzzfeed, NBC, BBC, Al Jazeera, MTV, VH1, and NY1.

Ash is a Level II Ph.D. student in Theatre and Performance at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her research interests include exploring theatre practices in war zones, applications of theatre in social justice movements, politics and performance in times of crisis, community-based theatre, intersections between anthropology and theatre, and documentary theatre.

She is a League of Professional Theatre Women Lucille Lortel Visionary Award recipient for her artistic direction of Girl Be Heard, an UN-recognized NGO theatre company that brings global issues affecting girls center stage by empowering young women to tell their stories. She is also a co-founder of Co-Op Theatre East. Ash is a TED speaker. In 2018, she was listed as one of Culture Trip‘s “25 Women in Theatre You Should Know.” She’s a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, AEA, SAG/AFTRA and alumna of Hemispheric Institute’s EMERGENYC and American Theatre Wing’s Springboard programs. Currently, Ashley is a 2019-2020 NY Public Humanities Fellow. For more information visit


The Same Shirt Show Part 2, Beckett Without Beckett: ‘An Exploration of Masculinity and Existentialism Inspired by the Themes and Works of Beckett, but Containing No Actual Beckett, We Swear’ 
(Devised Piece) 
Directed by Emma Rosa Went 
Collaborators: Emma Rosa Went, Julia Larsen, and Olivia Rose Barresi

The Same Shirt Show Part 2, Beckett Without Beckett: ‘An Exploration of Masculinity and Existentialism Inspired by the Themes and Works of Beckett, but Containing No Actual Beckett, We Swear’ is part vaudevillian, part existential cry for help, and part genuine exploration of gender, camaraderie, and loneliness. Sequel to The Same Shirt Show: ‘An Exploration of Masculinity in the Western Canon, As Performed by Two Women Wearing the Same Shirt,’ Beckett Without Beckett is devised by Emma Rosa Went, Julia Larsen, and Olivia Rose Barresi.

Emma Rosa Went is a New-York based theatre director who has developed and presented work at The Tank, The Brick, Playwrights Realm, Dixon Place, Theater Row, the Access Theatre, LPAC Lab, Center at West Park, Trans Lab @ WP, and many other venues. Regional credit include: Scranton Shakespeare Festival, Boise Contemporary Theatre, Barn Arts Collective. Co-founder of The Renovationists, for whom she has directed Old Names for Wildflowers, Three Seconds, Boxcar, and other projects. Co-founder of Easy Leap Theatre Company, for whom she directedMuch Ado About Nothing, The Changeling, Hearts of Gold, Othello, and Love’s Labors Lost. Off-Broadway and regional assisting includes TFANA, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Atlantic, Rattlestick, Colorado Shakespeare Festival. Emma is an alumna of the OSF FAIR Program and the SDCF Observership Program. SDC Associate Member. Upcoming in 2019: Courage! To the Field!(The Tank); Initiative (Ink’d Festival, Playwrights Realm); Richard III (Scranton Shakespeare Festival).

The Drama League of New York, since 1916, has been at the forefront of the American Theatre community, providing talent, audiences, and prosperous support. It is one of the nation’s oldest continuously-operating, not-for-profit arts advocacy and education organizations. Through its programs, initiatives and events, The Drama League indelibly transforms the lives of artists and audiences by harnessing the unique social and creative dynamism of theatre. Its nationally-renowned, award-winning efforts have two vital goals: To train and nurture the artists of tomorrow and to deepen and strengthen the audience experience.

For additional information, please visit the website at


Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email:

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