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NY Summerfest

Meet The Playwrights of NY SummerFest: Justin Daniel Giachetti a Believer in Faith



Justin Daniel Giachetti, is a Dramatist Guild Playwright. A graduate of Rider University and writes pieces that challenge and reexamine the images and preconceived ideas of religious, historical, and fictional figures. Justin has been producing his own work for about four years, developing a theater company called Breaking Through the Box in order to produce plays and musicals that strive to create conversations and question the audience preexisting beliefs. Currently Justin serves on that board as Artistic Director, in-house Director and costume designer for the company. He is also a performing and teaching artist with Staten Island educational theater company, Illuminart Productions.

Justin previous writing credits include Inferno: A New Work About Sin (New York Premiere at the Flea Theater, World Premiere in NJ), Do Us Part: A One Night Murder Mystery, Little Trifles (Student Film), Messina Inc (web series in post production), and Bayou (World Premiere in Bordentown, NJ).

Inferno: A New Work about Sin was an original work humanizing the concepts of the Seven Deadly Sins and the Devil, exploring the idea that sin is innate in human nature, and nature vs nurture. Bayou told the epic love story of a biracial couple in New Orleans from the years of 1962-1985. Messina Inc sought to redefine the Shakespeare canon in a modern workplace setting, using Much Ado About Nothing as a backdrop for the story. 

His play Faith in Shackles had its world Premiere in West Orange, NJ and New Jersey Fringe in Hammonton, NJ and is soon to be performed in the NY SummerFest. Faith in Shackles is a play that Justin truly holds close to his heart. Justin says, “There are examples of of religious radicalism all around us, either with barkers on the street or terrorism in the news. We have forgotten what the basis of religion really is: community and love. It should be a uniting force, and yet, it is used to ostracize and condemn others. I began writing Faith as an exercise in just how far can I push characters in a one room setting. Women have always had a stronger voice in my writing, so I knew I would focus on the female voice. These women from history and the bible called to me because they are nothing more than symbols now to us. Archetypes have taken over what made them flesh and blood. I wanted to explore them as humans, and use a new character, someone just as flawed, to guide our way. The outliers and the outcasts needed a voice, and for some reason, that lead me to write.”

Faith in Shackles takes place in a world of religious radicalism and terrorism, where a young Muslim lawyer, Sofia, is pushed to her limits with her new case: defend nine historical women who have each had a special relationship with God. Through discovering the truth of these women’s stories, Sofia combats her own biases and fears against religion and learns the true meaning of having faith.” A bold original work about unity, sisterhood, religious freedom, and who has the power to control your voice. 

To learn more about this play click on the following links.


Faith in Shackles: NY Summerfest at at the Hudson Guild Theater, 441 West 26th Street June 26 and 27 at 6:15pm and June 29 at 9:00pm

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:

NY Summerfest

SummerFest 2019 Nominees



Where do you go if you are a young playwright and want to have your play produced? The answer is the NY WinterFest and NY Summerfest’s. This year at the Summerfest Robert Williams gave 60 plays, 14 musicals, 50 shorts, 8 solo plays, 325 actors, 330 actresses and 130 directors, a chance to perform, be seen and reviewed. The festival ran from July to October with 130 productions making it to the stage. Each brought their own unique story, perspective, designs that inspired and captivated their audiences. Each was required to enlist the bravery and inventiveness of live theatre that didn’t rely on special effects, Hollywood stars or huge budgets.

The 2019 SummerFest has come to an end. Here are the nominees for the Best of the Fest.

Best Play or Musical $3000

Am I Blue? – by DeShawn Aaron Jenkins 

Lilith In Pisces – by Kayla Eisenberg 

Chasing Jack – by John Anastasi 

Humanity’s Child – by John Tierney 

Junior – Marshall Evans 

Borders – by Maera Daniel Hagage 

Aussie Song – by Frances Key 

Best Short $500

Honesty In An Apology – by Nathan David Smith 

Molotov Cocktail – Edward J. Fee 

Nonno In The Basement – by Robert LoManto 

Night Turns Day – by Michael David Johnson 

Best Director $500

Samantha Baptiste = Junior 

Peter Loewy = Chasing Jack 

DeShawn Aaron Jenkins = Am I Blue? 

Meghan Mulcahy and Reilly Johnson = ReallyReally 

Marlow Scott = Over The Rainbow 

Keena McDonald = Humanity’s Child 

Ellie Handel – Aussie Song 

Best Actor $500

Ernest Mingione = Nonno In The Basement 

Nathan Tolliver = Am I Blue?

Patrick Hamilton  = Chasing Jack 

J. Marshall Evans = Junior 

Tony White = The Sample 

Augustus Oicle = Really Really 

Nathan Tolliver = Am I Blue?

Best Actress $500

Johnnie Mae = Night Turns To Day 

Patricia Field = Junior 

Kelsea Lea Jones = Chasing Jack 

Virginia Logan = Lilith In Pisces

Arlene Bozich = Cry Wolf 

Gretchen Schneider = Bossa Nova And Bees 

Best Singer $500

Evan Crommett = The Fling LP

James Kivlen = Hill & Holler 

Flor Lopardo = Second Story Man

Amanda Tong & Matthew J Taylor = Daughter of Society 

Jordan Stam = Aussie Song 

The WinterFest is still accepting submissions!

Now calling all playwrights: Here’s a chance to have your play live on a New York City Stage! Submit your work to the Winterfest festival competition. Accepting plays and musicals of all genres between 5-90 minutes in length. New York Theater Festival has been a haven for playwrights for 16 seasons—Read below to find out why!

SUBMIT by clicking on this link

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NY Summerfest

NY SummerFest: Meet Meghan Mulcahy and Reilly Johnson Two Graduates With Big Plans



Meghan Mulcahy

Meghan Mulcahy is an NYC-based actor and director. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Meghan went on to study at the Meisner Studio at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she expanded her artistry in Buenos Aries, Argentina and Barcelona, Spain. She received her BFA in Drama in 2017.  Really Really, first mounted in March at Gibney Dance Center, is her first directing project. An enthusiastic collaborator, Meghan strives to produce work that is accountable to the best of storytelling. In a time that is often chaotic and commercial, her work operates from a place of sensitivity, specificity, and clarity of purpose, no matter the scale.

Reilly Johnson

Reilly Johnson is a Chicago-raised, New York-based actor and director who graduated with a BFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in 2017. At NYU, Reilly studied at the Meisner Studio where she received the 2017 award for Outstanding Achievement in Acting. She studied under incredible faculty (Vicki Hart, Gigi Buffington, Nate Flower, and Lucas Caleb Rooney), who helped her to hone her craft and developed a strong passion for theater, film, and television. Really Really is her first directing project.

Reilly Johnson and Meghan Mulcahy are recent graduates of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. As actors-turned-directors, this is their first directing project. They came together with the need to wrestle with theater that is risky, authentic, and immediate. When they encountered Really Really, nearly ten years after its writing, they were struck by its unabashed investigation of both sides of the “Me Too” era’s most vital conversation. It took the incendiary “he said/she said” conflict that we are seeing on national display and told it as a story between people whose motivations and actions never fit neatly into the predator/victim categories. Whatever bias you may walk in with, whoever you believe, this play will make you uncomfortable holding to that. In a time when so much seems black and white, with Really Really it has been our aim to stick our heads in the gray and stay there.

The challenge as actors has been to bring humanity to this group of people, and as directors to shape the story in the most truthful way possible, for all the characters.

Really Really: NY SummerFest, Hudson Theatre, 441 West 26th St. Sept. 21st @ 6:30

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NY Summerfest

NY SummerFest Dragons in the Crease



“I’m frightened, Richard. I dream that people are talking about me on television. Then I wake up and realize they are. Some of my colleagues have sent me articles that have appeared on the internet. At the end of those articles are comments by readers. The hatred. If I were a woman living in the Thirteenth Century, I’m sure they’d burn me. I’ve always wondered how human beings could hunt down and burn another human being. Now I know. They’re the same people.” Dragons in the Crease

Brennan Tracy, Brian Rock

Where are the lines drawn between the rights of one and the rights of many? In Dragons in the Crease, Jeffrey Lowry (Brennan Tracy), a student at a small junior college is asked to write down his questions by Evelyn Whitehead (Dara Lewis) his poetry professor. She asks him in the form of a letter due to his severe stutter and amount of questions. Jeffrey takes to the internet, but his father (Brian Rock) sees this as disabilities fighting for their rights and calls his friend (Andre DeSandies) at the New York Times. The story becomes the front page news.

Dara Lewis, Brennan Tracy and the cast of Dragons in the Crease

“Right? Right? What do you know about what’s right? You live in a world where there’s no room for anyone except you. You talk about reaching out your hand, but you’ve never reached out your hand to anybody. You cast yourself as some sort of heroine but you’re really just sad woman who can’t see beyond her own needs.” Dragons in the Crease

Jason Neil, Brennan Tracy, Sabrina Alamo

As the past is brought out, Evelyn 10 years prior wrote love poems to her student and again acted inappropriately. In the end Evelyn loses her career as a teacher and doing what she loves. The title Dragons in the Crease, is drawn from an Emily Dickinson poem, points to the desire – but ultimate failure – to achieve love and human connection.

The cast does well, but I long to see seasoned professionals take this script to the next level. Mr. Tracy, manages to bring a truth to his character that is refreshing.

Mark Spina’s direction keeps the action on point and enhanced the storyline.

Joseph Vitale’s script is poignant, giving a voice to both the student with a disability and the longing to be set free and the teacher, who sees the world though warped glasses of her own choosing. There is a painful truth in these flawed individuals. I look forward to seeing another production of this and more work by this talented writer.

Dragons in the Crease is loosely based on real-life incident, and shows how social media turns us into instant heroes and villains.

Dragons in the Crease: NY Winterfest, Hudson Theatre, 441 West 26th St. Sept 21st at 9pm and Sept 22nd at 1:30pm.

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NY Summerfest

NY SummerFest Brings NYU Students Together For Really Really



I first saw Paul Downs Colaizzo’s Really Really at MCC in 2013. Last night an ensemble of NYU Tisch School of the Arts alumni presented the work at the NY SummerFest and it was well done. Co-directors Meghan Mulcahy and Reilly Johnson, created an atmosphere of dorm life that seemed real and went against stereotypes.

The play begins with roommates Leigh (Reilly Johnson) and Grace (Natalie Shinnick) stumbling into their apartment drunk. The next morning, blood has covered the sheets from Grace’s fall onto broken glass. She is headed off to a conference for “Future Leaders of America”, but before she leaves she wants to hear all about Leigh’s night with Davis (Augustus Oicle), the boy she has been crushing on all year. Leigh, is the girl from the wrong side of the tracks, while everyone else has or comes from money.

Turns out Leigh is pregnant and her wealthy boyfriend Jimmy (Brian J. Sanchez), does not know about last night.

Davis rooms with best friend Cooper (Buchanan Jackson Highhouse) and both are nursing vicious hangover. Davis has no memory of the events, but news gets out when Rugby teammate and video-game obsessed Johnson (Jackson Dockery) and Cooper spill the beans.

Jimmy angrily confronts Leigh, but she tells him that she was raped and because of this lost the baby. The scandal threatening to destroy Davis’ life.  

When Leigh’s sister Haley (Courtney Sumlin) hears she sees an opportunity to cash onto what Leigh has gotten.

This group together is really really special, with Ms. Sumlin and Mr. Oicle really shinning.

I have always loved this play and Mr. Colaizzo’s words that seem to jump off the page with a realism that dares you to look at them. Meghan Mulcahy and Reilly Johnson have taken that a step further in their direction and the result is satisfying theatre.

I hope that this group will do what Bedlam did before them and stick together, form a company and keep on working together.

Really Really: NY SummerFest, Hudson Theatre, 441 West 26th St. Sept. 21st @ 6:30

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NY Summerfest

Running, Where Politics are Outed



In Sean Chandler’s new play Running, now playing at The NY SummerFest, politics are at the forefront. As secrets that are held are disclosed, this play hits the mark.

Laura MacLean, David Leeper, Dineen Markey,Jay William Thomas, Laura Leigh Carroll

A couple of years ago closeted, married candidates were being outed in a very public manner. Like most candidates we saw in the paper and in the news, mayoral candidate Ed Shirko (a winning David Leeper), has treated his children like props, while ignoring his wife (a wooden Laura MacLean). His daughter Cassidy (a wonderful and comedic Dineen Markey) has a sharp tongue and is not afraid to say it like it is. His son Justin (a fabulous Jay William Thomas) has left the family fold due to his views clashing with his father. At his mother’s insistence he has come back to help strategize his father’s campaign.

David Leeper, Laura MacLean, Jay William Thomas, Laura Leigh Carroll, Dineen Markey

Turns out the reason Ed was ignoring his wife, was because he was seeking pleasure elsewhere, mainly in peep rooms where gay men went to be pleasure through a glory hole. When Ed is caught having a heart attack in the most inconvenient places, his campaign and his family are in jeopardy.

Laura MacLean, Dineen Markey, Jay William Thomas, Laura Leigh Carroll

His running mate (a soft spoken Laura Leigh Carroll) wants to take over as the candidate, but Ed has other ideas. In the end Justin becomes the candidate of choice in more ways than one.

The direction by Mark Robert Finely is well done and adds to the overall journey. Morry Campbell’s sound and music design is first rate.

Sean Chandler is a playwright to watch. His dialogue flows and he has taken what could be a movie of the week and made it interesting.

The reason to see this play however is Jay William Thomas who has the “it factor” in spades. He makes his character not just 3, but 4 dimensional. His scenes with Ms. Markey are well done. Mr. Thomas allows us to see the humanity in loving a father, who has lied and bullied his way through life.

In the end this is a father and son play with politics thrown in.

Running: The NY SummerFest: 441 West 26th Street. You can still catch the last two performances Saturday the 24th at 9:00pm and Sunday the 25th at 1:30pm.

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