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NY WinterFest

The New York Theater Festival Meet The Playwrights: Ken Sandberg An Actor and Playwright Who Loves Stories



Ken Sandberg
Ken Sandberg

Ken Sandberg

There is nothing in the world more powerful than a well told tale. They can give us hope, insight, and wisdom. They can warn us of life’s pitfalls, teach us our own history, and contextualize our existence on Earth.

For Ken Sandberg, sharing stories is his passion. I believe it is the most important and most human thing any of us can do. We tell these stories through acting, writing, music, art, dance, and a thousand other forms of expression.

Currently based in Staten Island, NY, Ken Sandberg grew up in rural Minnesota.  He was encouraged by his parents, teachers, and friends to explore all kinds of creative outlets: reading, writing, acting, music, and even board games.  Some of his earliest writings were overly complex storylines for Dungeons & Dragons campaigns.

Throughout his youth Ken appeared onstage as an actor, wrote music, played in bands, and began writing short stories, poems, and plays.  Knowing that his small midwestern town would not be the best place to pursue his passion for the performing arts, he moved to the East Coast, landing first in New York City and later Philadelphia.

While living in Philadelphia he co-wrote the book and composed the score for Zombie! The Musical, which won the 2009 Spark Festival’s Hotel Obligado Audience Choice Award for New Work and was honored with Best of the Fest in the 2009 Philadelphia Fringe.

As an actor, Ken has toured the country, and worked with theaters including Quintessence Theatre Group, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Door Shakespeare, The Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, Arden Theatre Company, and Coterie Theater. He’s played roles ranging from Antony in Antony and Cleopatra to the hapless troll Wartag in The Secret of Courage.

Ken holds a BA in Theatre from Temple University where he also studied creative writing, a Certificate in Musical Theatre Performance from The American Musical and Dramatic Academy and most recently earned his MFA in Acting and Directing from The University of Missouri – Kansas City.

His childhood love of epic mythology and legendary heroes became the basis for Ken’s latest work, The Death of…, a solo show in which he looks at the importance of our own heroes, our need to tell their stories, and how we cope when they fail us.

Mr. Sandberg can currently be seen in the Savane print advertising campaign, as well as The Avenue, with Brian Vernick and Gina Martino, available on Amazon, by clicking here.  Or, catch me in the thriller The Barren Pine, here.

Rehearsals have begun for The Death of…  Heather Michele Lawler is directing the piece.

“My dad can beat up your dad!”  There is a reason it is one of the earliest schoolyard taunts.  If our parents are our first heroes, what can we learn about Superman by looking at our dads?  What can we learn about our  dads by looking at Superman? And what happens to our heroes when we grow up? The Death of… asks these questions and more

You can see The Death of…  at the NY Winterfest at the Hudson Guild, 441 West 26th St.February 21st @ 9pm, 23rd @ 1pm, and 24th @6pm

For more information on what Ken is up to, visit his website, where you can also find links to his social media pages.  Information on director Heather Michele Lawler can be found 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:

NY WinterFest

New York Theater Festival Announces The Winners of Best of Fest



After a season of 82 plays and 16 musical showcasing their work from December 26th to March 10th the NY Winterfest announced their nominees and winners. The play The Tenants by Dave Hanson, the musical The Circle of Eyes by Katy Mikelle and Carolina Garcia Ordonez From The Solo Play/Musical – Where Art Thou, Freddy Mac were the big winners. The Tenants was about two ghosts who haunt an old New York apartment, unable to remember much of who they were or why they’re there. But when a young couple move in, the two spirits begin to remember vicariously through the living. A dark comedy that explores regret and life after the human condition.

BEST PLAY OR MUSICAL WINNER ($3,000): The Tenants by Dave Hansen


Sand In Memphis Glass, or The Grace of a Good Woman by Brandon Thomas Sabatino

The Circle of Eyes Story, Music and Lyrics by Katy Mikelle

Jokey: A Sexual Unboxing Music and Lyrics by Jack Fortin Book by Jacob Rosen, Charlie Towle and Jack Fortin.

Spilled Milk by Khalif Gillett

The Middleman by Marlin Thomas

Southern Boys: Sons of Sharecroppers by Kathy D. Harrison 

Burning House by Joseph Nelms

A Measure of Doubt by Paul Schwartz

BEST SHORT ($200.00)These Walls Book and Lyrics  by Caitlin Collins Music by Matthew Lowy 


Bunny Funeral by Morgan Hammel

Molotov Cocktail by Edward J Fee

BEST DIRECTOR ($500): Mark Bell From the Play – The Tenants


Sarah Green From Play – Spilled Milk

Katy MikelleI From The Musical – The Circle of Eyes

Jacob Rosen From The Musical  – Jockey: A Sexual Unboxing

Carlo Moreno From The Play – Love /Sick

BEST ACTRESS ($500): Carolina Garcia Ordonez From The Solo Play – Where Art Thou, Freddy Mac


Vaness Lee From the play – Les Boites Noires

Lucia Bellini From the play – Love/Sick

Kathleen Simmons From the play –  A Measure Of Doubt

Morgan Hammel From the play – Bunny Funeral

BEST ACTOR ($500): A tie… Beau Allen From the play – The Middleman and Ross DeGraw From the play – The Tenants


Papa Jean From the Play – Les Boites Noires

Steve Blachard From the Play – A Measure Of Doubt?

Christopher Pio From the play The Myth Of Forgiveness

BEST SINGER ($500): A tie… Keith Weiss From The Musical – A Yaqui Spring Musical and Carolina Garcia Ordonez From The Solo Play/Musical – Where Art Thou, Freddy Mac


Sam Swinnerton From the Musical- Jokey: A Sexual Unboxing

Daniel Scott Walton, Hilary Ekwall, Renee Bergeron and Drew McVetyFrom the Musical – These Walls

Marcus Beckett, Jermaine N. Sellers and Lawrence Dandridge From the Musical –  Southern Boys

BEST MUSIC SCORE ($300.00): A tie… Jack Fortin From the Musical – Jockey: A sexual Unboxing and Katy Mikelle From the Musical – Circle Of Eyes

BEST CREATIVE PLAY OR MUSICAL ($200.00) Katy Mikelle From the Musical – Circle Of Eyes

Best Costume Design ($200.00): Katy Mikelle From the Musical – Circle Of Eyes

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN ($200.00)Katherine R Mitchell From the Play – Girl

BEST SET DESIGNER ($200.00): Katy Mikelle From the Musical – Circle Of Eyes

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY ($200.00)Katy Mikelle From the Musical – Circle Of Eyes

BEST STAGE MANAGER ($200.00): Woodjinie Francois Perre From the Play – Les Boites Noires

Submissions are open for the NY SummerFest which runs from June 1 – Sept 20 

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NY WinterFest

New York Theater Festival Meet The Playwrights: Reyna de Jesús Defies The Odds



Reyna de Jesús is proud to be Latina, a brain injury survivor, deaf/hard of hearing, educator, performer, writer and friend. Her main purpose is to show representation through her pieces. She is internationally known for her work on and off stage.

Her first play “Stillness of July” is a cumulation of everything she needs or needed to see in her life. It encompasses everything from women owning their lives and bodies, to three educated Latina leads, powerful women of color creating magic, supportive men and an epic story about women supporting women, love, life, and death.

Stillness of July follows the story of Sara and Lamar. Two soul mates who are separated by time. Lamar is 15 years older than Sara. They can’t be together, but can’t help but fall in love. It’s like whenever they are together times stands still. This story explores immigration reform, women supporting women, equal rights, love, life, and death. For this production, the entire creative team is made up of WOMEN OF COLOR. 

Stillness of July: plays at the NY Winterfest at the Hudson Guild Theatre, 441 West 26th St. March 3rd @ 6:15 pm, March 6th @ 4:00pm – and March 7th @ 9:00pm

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NY WinterFest

New York Theater Festival Meet The Playwrights: Gavino Villapiano A Computer Wiz Who Studied at Julliard



Gavino Villapiano (Pop, playwright, director, producer) – is thrilled to have his first stage play presented in front of a live audience. Although he is the author of 4 screenplays, this is his first opus on the boards. He has always had a need to write, while pursuing a “day job”, a career in the computer industry. What motivates people, what drives people, it what has always interested him and the characters he writes about, in fiction and performance – from searches for identity, to striving for acceptance, to longings to put closure on the past, including unresolved grief and loss.  He was a triple major (Mathematics/Physics/English) as an undergrad, the first two being “practical”, the love being poetry, fiction and drama being the motivation for the third. He studied film at New York University and music composition at Juilliard. He has written three novels, several non-fiction tomes, a viola concerto, a requiem mass and a string quartet. The practicality of a career was driven by the fact that he is the father of 5 children, ranging in age from 22 to 43. They are truly his life’s work. (Obviously, he ain’t afraid of work…). 

In Backyard, a middle aged man drops by to visit his father in the backyard of his childhood home. The two men have a superficial conversation, appointed by flashbacks that illuminate the references they make. Ultimately, the real reason for the visit is revealed, leading to a flash forward to the old man’s wake. In the end, however, they part ways for the day, a little richer in understanding of each other.

Backyard: plays at the NY Winterfest at the Hudson Guild Theatre, 441 West 26th St. Feb. 20, 2020 @ 9pm, Feb. 22, 2020 @ 2:15pm – Sat. and Feb. 23, 2020 @ 6pm 

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NY WinterFest

The New York Theater Festival Meet The Playwrights: Omar Bakry A Playwright With An International Flare



Omar Bakry is a multi faceted artist/ writer/ director that is not defined by any one culture. Born, 1976 in Sweden, raised in Egypt, he attended Faculty of Fine Arts, (Helwan University) in Cairo. In 2007, he moved to New York to pursue theater and film, studying directing in School of Visual Arts and New York Film Academy. Attended “The Roger Simon Hendricks studio” as a writer and director, he took Dr. Alaa Alswany’s “Fiction and Short story writing course” 2019. Bakry brings a global fusion to history, the nature of conflict, and a hard earned awareness of the fragility and toughness of the human condition.

His first play The way of the family in 1998, led to a 2004 production at the American University in Cairo and a publication with Marz, in Toronto, Canada. He has also written Delightful, 2006, Black was the day kind were the heartbeats, in 2013, which led to a reading at Lincoln Center in 2017. All I see… 2015 and now Superman and Serena, 2019 was selected for New York Theater 2020 Winterfest.

Superman and Serena deals with the long repressed childhood traumas of a white male psychiatrist and his female Middle Eastern patient. Feelings surge violently into the present during their sessions, triggering a conflict that spins out of control and into tragedy.

The plays stars Egyptian actress Inji El Gammmal his wife. Growing up in Paris, France, Inji graduated from the American University in Cairo where she met her husband. Her credits include the stage play Under the tree, played and performed in the Howard theatre of the American University in Cairo and in the Egyptian opera. She did the stage play Bismillah performed in NYC for which she won the all arts award of best feature performance in 2019. Other credits include the independent film 3 Deeds, His man, Hello aurevoir, Postcards of the orient, Abdou and Saneya. El Gammal, along with her husband launch Timewormz a New York based Production Company.

Superman and Serena: plays at the NY Winterfest at the Hudson Guild Theatre, 441 West 26th St. Feb. 10th at 6:15pm, 14th at 9:00pm and 16th at 3:30 pm

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NY WinterFest

The New York Theater Festival Meet The Playwrights: Lauren Fleishman Brings Sexuality, Power and Spirituality To The Stage



Lauren Fleishman first entered theatre by way of politics, working for Annie’s List, a Political Action Committee in Texas electing females to political office. It was here, writing campaign speeches, she learned the power of storytelling. Fascinated by storytelling’s ability to change people’s perceptions, Lauren moved to Los Angeles and entered the film industry. She worked in Post Production at Westwind Media, then under Tammy Ann Casper and Shonda Rhimes for three years on the hit television show, Grey’s Anatomy.

Enamored of film making, and seeking additional female mentors, Lauren took tutelage under Margo Weathers. Since, Lauren has written, produced and directed over a dozen commercials and indie short films. Lauren’s paved her own path and during lulls in her career, funded her art and life through her own exploration in sex work. Fascinated with the underbelly of society and determined to break the taboo, Lauren brings raw and profound insights into a world largely misunderstood. Her work aims to focus honestly on themes such as sexuality, power and spirituality.

She resides in New York City writing for theatre, screen and select commercial projects. She is currently inspired by Anaïs Nin, Sarah Ruhl, David Mamet, David Lynch, David Fincher, Bret Easton Ellis, old good things, eccentric strangers and her own droll life experiences”

Lauren’s play Used follows Mick a rich privileged banker with no consequences in life who hires Amanda, a high end escort for the weekend. What they have in common is, they’re both getting used… Used dives into the philosophy of relationship- with self, others and environment. Can we survive in the world using transactional relationships to our benefit without it personally costing us

Used plays at the NY Winterfest at the Hudson Guild Theatre, 441 West 26th St. Feb. 18th at 9:00pm, 19th at 6:30pm and 22nd at 4:30 pm


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