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New York Classical Theatre All-Female, Gender-Fluid, and Disability-Forward Shakespeare’s Richard III

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New York Classical Theatre (Stephen Burdman, Founding Artistic Director, Matthieu Chapman, Literary Director) is thrilled to announce the all-female, gender-fluid, and disability-forward cast for Shakespeare’s Richard III. The production, directed by Burdman, will play in Central Park from June 13 to June 25; in Brooklyn Commons at Metrotech from June 27 to July 2; and in Carl Schurz Park from July 4 to July 9. All performances are free and open to the public.

The production stars Delaney Feener (Single (SXSW), Oregon Shakespeare Festival)–a performer with a limb difference–as Richard, Kristen Calgaro(NYCT’s The Importance of Being Earnest, The Rivals, HBO’s “Exeunt”) as Queen Elizabeth/Richmond, Connie Castanzo (NYCT’s The Importance of Being Earnest, Romeo & Juliet) as Lady Anne/Prince Edward/Rivers/Tyrell, Briana Gibson Reeves (Off-Broadway’s Made By God, American Shakespeare Center) as King Edward/Catesby/Archbishop, Lucy Lavely (Off-Broadway’s Arthur & Esther, Self-Help In the Anthropocene, Knots) as Buckingham/Clarence, Rami Margron (La Jolla Playhouse’s As You Like It, Hulu’s “Wedding Season,” HBO’s “That Damn Michael Che”) as Hastings/Ratcliffe, and Pamela Sabaugh (Off-Broadway’s Molly Sweeney, The Healing) as Duchess of York/Stanley.

Richard III may be Shakespeare’s most evil character. See an ensemble of seven women and gender-fluid performers tackle his rise to power in a story filled with familial manipulation, egregious murder, and political deceit.

Richard III features production design by Sabrinna Fabi (NYCT’s Cymbeline, King Lear; Broadway’s Moulin Rouge!), voice and speech coaching by Nora Leonhardt (NYCT’s King Lear, “Star Trek: The Next Generation”), fight direction by Sean Michael Chin (NYCT’s Cymbeline, King Lear, Romeo & Juliet, Greek National Opera’s Medea), production stage management by Madison Lane (NYCT’s King Lear), assistant stage management by Miriam Hyfler (NYCT’s Henry V), production supervision by Yetti Steinman (New York Classical Theatre), wardrobe supervision by Zola Gray, and casting by Stephanie Klapper.

All performances run from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM. New York Classical Theatre requests that all planning to attend make a free reservation for access to the Digital Playbill and for inclement weather updates. Walk-up participants are welcome on a first-come, first-serve basis on the day of the performance based on the size of the park lawn. Free reservations, performance details, and weather updates can be found at nyclassical.org/richardiii.Kristen Calgaro (Queen Elizabeth/Richmond)(she/her)New York Classical Theatre: Cymbeline, It Can’t Happen Here (reading), Three Sisters (reading), The Importance of Being Earnest (Two Ways), The Rivals, Malvolio’s Revenge (workshop), Playing Moliere, Much Ado About Nothing. New York: Mourning Becomes Electra (Target Margin Theater), Brigadoon (Broadway workshop). National Tour: Dr. Doolittle with Tommy Tune. Selected Regional: Dancing at Lughnasa (Barnstormers), Boeing-Boeing (Totem Pole Playhouse), The Understudy (Cape May Stage), And The Curtain Rises (Signature Theatre), Broadway: 3 Generations (The Kennedy Center), The Glass Menagerie (Bay Theatre). Film: Kumare (SXSW Audience Award), Exeunt (HBO’s NYFF). Directing: AMiOS, New York Theater Fesitval, The Tank. BA Religious Studies/Spanish, University of Virginia. Kristencalgaro.com. Connie Costanzo (Lady Anne/Prince Edward/Rivers/Tyrell)(she/her)New York Classical Theatre: King Lear (2021, 2020 Zoom workshop), Three Sisters (reading), The Importance of Being Earnest (Two Ways), Romeo & Juliet, The Rivals, As You Like It. NYC: Gigi (Storm Theatre); Diaspora (Gym at Judson); Time Stands Still (Theatre of the New City); City Girls & Desperadoes (The Secret Theatre). Regional: The Wolves (BCT); Lost Boy Found in Wholefoods (Pittsburgh REP); Miss Bennett: Christmas at Pemberley (Capital REP). Winner of “Best Actress in a Play” in BroadwayWorld 2019 Regional Awards. Connie was born and raised in Scranton, PA and she received her BFA in Acting from Point Park Conservatory of Performing Arts. Connie is also an animation voice over artist and postpartum doula. New York Classical has always been another home for her–she is so proud & honored to represent as an Artistic Associate.Delaney Feener (Richard)(she/her)New York Classical Theatre debut. Regional: Bring Down the House, Midsummer (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); Othello, Twelfth Night (Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival). TV/Film: Single (SXSW), Come as Your Are. BFA from the Theatre School at DePaul University. Current acting company member at The Mercury Store. @delaneyfeener

Briana Gibson Reeves (King Edward/Catesby/Archbishop)(she/her)New York Classical Theatre debut. Off-Broadway: Made By God (Irish Repertory Theatre). National Tours: Amazing Grace (Troika Productions). Selected Regional Theatre: Flyin’ West (Everyman Theatre); Stick Fly(Meadow Brook Theatre); As You Like It, Richard III, Emma, Man of La Mode (American Shakespeare Center); Midsummer, Coriolanus (Shakespeare Center); Don Juan (Taffety Punk); Amen Corner, Fabulation (On Q Productions); Funnyhouse (JCSU Light Factory).

Lucy Lavely (Clarence/Buckingham)(she/her)New York Classical Theatre debut. Off-Broadway: Arthur & Esther, Self-Help In the Anthropocene (New Light Theatre Project); Knots (Players Theatre). Regional: Macbeth (Orlando Shakes); Macbeth (Theater at Monmouth); Grapes of Wrath (Asolo Rep); One Man Two Guvnors (Pioneer Theatre Co.); The White Snake (Baltimore Center Stage); The Last Match (Florida Studio Theatre). BA from University of Notre Dame, MFA from FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training. Proud Member of SAG/AFTRA/AEA. Thanks to mom and dad, Vern, Stephen, cast, crew and YOU for joining us tonight!Rami Margron (Hastings/Ratcliffe)(they/them)New York Classical Theatre debut. Off-Broadway: Angry Young Man. Selected Regional Theatre: Hurricane Diane (Old Globe Theatre); Pride and Prejudice (Long Wharf); Angels in America (Actors Theatre of Louisville); Three Sisters (Two River Theatre); A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, Much Ado (Cal Shakes); Macbeth, Pericles (Berkeley Rep); Moll Flanders, The Clean House (Pac Rep); Antigonick, Dog Act, Precious Little (Shotgun Players); The Lily’s Revenge (Magic Theatre); Around the World in 80 Days (Marin Theatre Co.); The Listener (Crowded Fire). TV/Film: Alberto and the Concrete Jungle, Burn Country, Messina High, Love AnyWay, “Wedding Season” (Hulu), “New Amsterdam” (NBC), “The Damn Michael Che” (HBO), “Law & Order” (NBC), “Manifest” (Netflix). Pamela Sabaugh (Duchess of York/Stanley)(she/her)New York Classical Theatre debut. Pamela has worked extensively on stage from Regional to Off-Broadway, including at The Attic Theatre (Detroit), The Court Theatre of Chicago, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, and Amaryllis Theater. She is a long time company member of the critically acclaimed Theater Breaking Through Barriers (TBTB), and has performed with them in numerous Off-Broadway productions–most recently as Portia in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice at Theater Row on 42nd Street. Pamela has had recurring feature roles on the daytime dramas “One Life To Live” and “Guiding Light.” Pamela is a co-founder of WoodwardAvenue Productions which produced her first play, Woman In The Animal Kingdom, in the 2000 New York International Fringe Festival-for which she received the award for Outstanding Performance. Her solo cabaret, Immaculate Degeneration was first workshopped at the 6th International Blind In Theatre (BIT) Festival in Zagreb, Croatia. She returned to Zagreb in October 2011 to perform an expanded version. And in August 2012 WoodwardAvenue Productions premiered Immaculate Degeneration at the New York International Fringe Festival. Stephen Burdman (Director/Artistic Director). New York Classical Theatre: The Rewards of Being Frank (also at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company), Cymbeline, King Lear (2021, 2020 Zoom workshop, 2009); The Importance of Being Earnest (Two Ways), 2019 Best Show TheatreScene.net), Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth (2017, 2008, 2001), The Rivals, The Winter’s Tale (2016, 2004), Measure for Measure, As You Like It (2014, 2005), The Seagull, Malvolio’s Revenge (workshop), A {15-Min!} Christmas Carol, Twelfth Night (2012, 2002), Playing Moliere, Henry V (New York Times Critic’s Pick), The School for Husbands, Much Ado About Nothing (2010, 2003), Hamlet, Misalliance, Love’s Labour’s Lost, The Comedy of Errors, Mary Stuart, Scapin, The Feigned Courtesans, The Triumph of Love, The Taming of the Shrew, King Ubu, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Producer: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest, The Rover, Richard III, Cymbeline, The Recruiting Officer, All’s Well That Ends Well. Selected productions: Cymbeline (NYU), The Tempest, Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It, Waiting for Godot, Hamlet (Outstanding Production 1994 Season, Los Angeles Times), Three Sisters. MFA from the University of California, Irvine and graduate of the National Theater Institute. Member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society since 1994. Recipient of 2022 Sidney Berger award from the Shakespeare Theatre Association for outstanding talent and commitment to the works of William Shakespeare. All my love to Adena (my wife) and son, Zeke, who are the guiding stars of my life.

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: suzanna@t2conline.com

Off Broadway

Meet The Playwrights of The NY Summer Theater Festival: Dan Brown Brings His Profound Sense of Writing of The Human Condition To Life

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Dan Brown is a writer/director from NYC. In 2013 he released the documentary film- John Cori Warned You. In 2020, Dan published a collection of fiction writing- The Sometimes Why. In ’21 he directed the theatre production-Tales From the Sometimes Why. In January ’23 he debuted the stage show; The Eleven Story Drop. His play- The Mollies was selected to the Queens Short Play Festival.

In Sunshine Unlimited a 14 minute play at The New York Festival we meet Martin who was promoted to management. He is the first African American to be elevated to an executive position, but it seems not just , fanfare within the company is linked to the promotion. Months later when his hiring is still being celebrated, Martin experiences doubts about his boss, and himself. Is racism still wrong when the perpetrators have good intentions. Is one truly a victim when racism come with a raise and window view?

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Off Broadway

Step Inside The New Musical The Gospel According to Heather

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Tony nominee Paul Gordon’s new musical The Gospel According to Heather will premiere Off-Broadway this summer at Theatre 555, with performances beginning June 14 ahead of a June 22 opening night. The limited run will continue through July 9.


On Monday the cast premiered a few of the numbers and talked to the press. In this video meet Brittany Nicole Williams (The Prom), Maria Habeeb, Carlos Alcala, Lauren Elder (Hair), Carson Stewart, Donna Trikoff the artistic producer of Amas Musical Theatre, Katey Sagal  (The Connors, Sons of Anarchy, Married with Children) as “Agatha,” Jeremy Kushnier (Atomic, Footloose) and composer, lyricist and book writer Paul Gordon.

In The Gospel According to Heather, Heather Krebs wants a boyfriend, but how can she navigate her way through high school if she might be the new Messiah? A small town in Ohio grapples with politics, religion, and teenage romance in the pop musical featuring a book, music, and lyrics by Tony nominee Gordon (Jane Eyre).

The Gospel According to Heather is being presented by Amas Musical Theatre in association with Jim Kierstead, Broadway Factor, Linda Karn and David Bryant.

All video’s by Magda Katz

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Broadway

Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Jeremy Jordan

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It has been announced that Tony and Grammy Award nominee Jeremy Jordan will return to Skid Row in Little Shop of Horrors and resume the lead role of Seymour. Jordan joins Joy Woods (Six) as Audrey, beginning Tuesday, July 25, 2023 for a strictly limited 8 week engagement through Sunday, September 17, 2023 at The Westside Theatre (407 West 43rd Street). As previously announced, Tony Award Winner Matt Doyle (Company) will play his final performance on July 16, 2023.
This drawing features Jeremy in his Tony and Grammy nominated performance as performance as Jack Kelly in Newsies.
In 2011, prior to Newsies, Jeremy originated the role  of Clyde Barrow in Bonnie & Clyde. This earned him the Theatre World. T2C’s Suzanna Bowling caught up with him at the Theatre World Awards this Monday.
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Off Broadway

Sunshine Unlimited Soars With Truth at The New York Theatre Festival

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Dan Brown’s Sunshine Unlimited was part of The New York Theatre Festival shorts. Sitting through four other shorts Brown’s powerful words, superb direction also by Brown and the strong acting choices by Sean Philips were refreshingly riveting. These were not the words from a first time playwright, but of someone who understands language and how people feel.

Sean Philips and Alonda Jones

Sunshine Unlimited is about how the African American, Black male resents being a quota, paraded around, being classified by his skin color and having to act as if it is ok. Martin (Philips) has been the executive director for his company for years, yet the poster saying he is the First African American Executive Director still stands in the lobby. The fact that there have been no other African American’s promoted is part of the problem. His girlfriend (Alonda Jones), is proud of him for opening doors for their people and doesn’t want him to rock the boat.

Jaymz Nylon, Linda Nesbit Floria

His father Matin Sr. (Jaymz Nylon) worked for the railroad and on the day he started, so did another man with his same name, so throughout his entire time with the company he was known as “Black” Martin, even when the “White” Martin was promoted. When he complained, he was told the “White” Martin was ok with this so why wasn’t he. His wife (Linda Nesbit Floria) silently supported him, though in fear.

Alexander D. Carney, Sean Philips

One day the younger Martin gets feed up and destroys the poster and his boss (Alexander D. Carney) asks him why. Martin tells him his truth and asks for more African American’s to be hired. Instead of being fired, Martin does open the doors.

This play is more of a 14 minute monologue, where you see the other people, but they do not talk. I would love to see Sunshine Unlimited expanded, so that each of the characters explains their thoughts as succinctly as Martin does. With the generational gaps and gender versions of how we see life, this could prove to be Pulitzer Prize winning. I know I sat on the edge of my seat the entire time and saw this problem with new eyes.

Sean Philips gives an award winning performance as he draws you into Martin’s plight. I would love to see more of his work, as well as more content from Mr. Brown.

This is a playwright to keep on your radar, as he is so prolific and I think has much to say that is worth listening to.

Sunshine Unlimited: The New York Theatre Festival, closed.

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Broadway

Theatre News: Doubt: A Parable, Here Lies Love, Prayer for the French Republic, Eisenhower and Hell’s Kitchen

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Tyne Daily

Tyne Daly and Liev Schreiber will star in a revival of Doubt: A Parable on Broadway. The production is to begin performances next February at the American Airlines Theater.

The new production is produced by the Roundabout Theater Company, and will be directed by Scott Ellis, who has been serving as the nonprofit’s interim artistic director since the death of artistic director Todd Haimes in April.

The play, by John Patrick Shanley, is about a nun who suspects a priest has sexually abused a student at a Catholic school. In 2005, the year it first opened on Broadway, it won both the Pulitzer Prize for drama and the Tony Award for best play; it was later adapted into a film and an opera.

Daly, who will play the nun who serves as the school principal, and Schreiber, who will play the parish priest, are both Tony winners. Daly, is known for her role in  “Cagney & Lacey”. She won the 1990 Tony Award for her portrayal as Mama Rose in the revival of Gypsy. Schreiber, is the star of Showtime’s “Ray Donovan.” He won a Tony Award in 2005 for a revival of Glengarry Glen Ross.

Doubt is one of three plays to be staged by Roundabout this coming season. The others are I Need That, a new play  by Theresa Rebek starring Danny DeVito alongside his daughter, Lucy, and Home, a 1979 revival, directed by Kenny Leon, by Samm-Art Williams.

David Byrne, Fatboy Slim and Here Lies Love are causing controversy with their July Broadway debut. The show’s extensive use of prerecorded music has the American Federation of Musicians’ Local 802, up in arms. The Local’s Broadway musical contract stipulate that productions employ 19 live musicians.

In response to the union’s concerns, Byrne and the show’s PR team released a statement on Instagram to lay out the production’s revolutionary format and genre-bending originality. Here Lies Love is not a traditional Broadway musical. The music is drawn outside of the traditional music genre. The performance of the live vocals to pre-recorded, artificial tracks is paramount to its artistic concept. Production has ripped out the seats in the theater and built a dance floor. There is no longer a proscenium stage. The Broadway Theater has been transformed into a nightclub, with every theatergoer immersed in the experience.

Here Lies Love is on Broadway because Broadway must support boundary-pushing creative work. Broadway is also the venue for a well conceived, high-quality show that highlights the valued traditions of specific cultures whose stories have never been on its stages. Here Lies Love does not believe in artistic gatekeepers. Here Lies Love believes in a Broadway for everyone, where new creative forms push the medium and create new traditions and audiences.

I saw Here Lies Love at The Public and not sure what kind of fast talking this is, but this statement rings false and full of how can we cut the costs while sticking it to the audience.

Photo by Murphymade

Prayer for the French Republic, by Joshua Harmon is coming to Broadway this season.This award-winning Off Broadway production played to rave reviews at The Manhattan Theatre Club. The production was the winner of the 2022 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play and Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play. Broadway performances will begin previews on Tuesday, December 19, at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, with an official opening night on Tuesday, January 9, 2024. David Cromer directs.

Off Broadway: Tony winner John Rubinstein starts previews June 13 at St. Clement’s in one-man show Eisenhower.

Alicia Keys’ musical Hell’s Kitchen will run at The Public Theater from October 24 – December 10, starring Shoshana Bean. Inspired by Keys’ own life, the new musical features an original score by the 15-time Grammy-winning singer-songwriter, with a book by Kristoffer Diaz. Hell’s Kitchen will be directed by Michael Greif and choreographed by Camille A. Brown.

Leading the cast will be Maleah Joi Moon as Ali, opposite Bean as Ali’s mother Jersey, with Brandon Victor Dixon as Ali’s father Davis, Chad Carstarphen as Ray, Vanessa Ferguson as Tiny, Crystal Monee Hall as Crystal, Chris Lee as Knuck, Jackie Leon as Jessica, Kecia Lewis as Ali’s piano teacher Miss Liza Jane, Mariand Torres as Maria, and Lamont Walker II as Riq.

Completing the cast are Reid Clarke, Chloe Davis, Nico DeJesus, Timothy L. Edwards, Raechelle Manalo, Sarah Parker, and Niki Saludez, with understudies Badia Farha, Gianna Harris, Onyxx Noel, William Roberson, and Donna Vivino.

The musical is described as a coming-of-age story set in a cramped apartment in the neighborhood of the title near Times Square, where 17-year-old Ali is desperate to get her piece of the New York dream. Ali’s mother is just as determined to protect her daughter from the same mistakes she made. When Ali falls for a talented young drummer, both mother and daughter must face hard truths about race, defiance, and growing up.

The production has set design by Robert Brill, costumes by Dede Ayite, lighting by Natasha Katz, sound by Gareth Owens, and projection design by Peter Nigrini.

 

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