You Can't Kiss a Movie, a new theatre/film hybrid piece I'm directing and co-writing with Shelley Farmer, premieres at HERE Arts Center December 15-17. Inspired by the French New Wave, the show features two actors, a cameraman, and a PA creating an original New Wave film on stage while simultaneously projecting it live. As the show progresses, audience volunteers get a chance to go behind the camera, shifting the control over what appears on screen. Ultimately, the leading lady must investigate what power she has, if any, over her own image.
Drawing on the freewheeling spirit of Jean-Luc Godard and the sensitivity of Agnès Varda, You Can’t Kiss a Movie creates a space for audiences to consider how movies have shaped the way we engage with each other outside the auditorium – and how we can recover.
Walt Whitman bodyjolt™
A new piece I wrote and directed about Walt Whitman was featured as a 15-minute segment of the New Masculinities Festival at the LGBT Center (October 14th). Walt Whitman BodyJolt™ is a participatory theatrical exercise class led by Walt with the goal of turning audience members into strong, vigorous American citizens.
Corkscrew Theater Festival
Corkscrew Theater Festival, which I co-founded this year and for which I served as marketing director, ran August 7-September 3rd at the Paradise Factory. The festival centered on exciting and unusual collaborative models and artists who are redefining traditional creative roles. We were lucky to have appreciative audiences for our five productions and five readings, as well as features in the New York Times, Village Voice, Playbill, and on WNYC. Join our mailing list at corkscrewfestival.org to be notified about the call for submissions for next year -- the application will be live in November.
I directed a production of Zachary Small's new play Autoportrait in Dixon Place's HOT! Festival this July as part of the Leslie-Lohman Museum's inaugural space grant program. The play confronts the "closed loop" of lies and narrow thinking that plague our country and imagines a better world, namely a queer utopia.
In order to survive the post-truth era, AUTOPORTRAIT imagines what it would look like if we learned to float between truth and fiction as well as our enemies do — if we learned to deploy our own narratives for the greater good. The play weaves together unlikely portraits of drag queens, government officials, and East Village performance artists all trapped within a closed loop of lies and narrow thinking, eager to rebel. Beyond this destructive path is an alternative — not one of ‘alternative facts,’ but of the sublime, queer beauty of choice. AUTOPORTRAIT marshals in this new era of creative expression and individual power just beyond the horizon.
chains don't rattle themselves
Inspired by the forthcoming memoir by Dathonie Pinto
I conceived and directed this song-cycle concert for youth criminal justice reform in a special collaboration between The Songwriter's Orchestra and Herstory Writers Workshop. The concert featured autobiographical stories shared by writers whose lives have been directly affected by this issue, as well as original songs adapted from their stories by singer/songwriters including Brinae Ali (Shuffle Along), Olivia Harris, Zhailon Levingston (iLLA), John-Michael Lyles (Barrow Street's Sweeney Todd), Taylor Simone (of Jazz Belle), Britton Smith (Shuffle Along), and Allison Strong (Mamma Mia). In bringing the concert to Long Island and Manhattan, we mobilized widespread audiences to take direct action supporting RaiseTheAgeNY, a campaign that seeks to stop NY State from prosecuting 16- and 17- year olds as adults.
In September, I directed an excerpt of Greg Edwards and Ben Green's original musical Fantasy Falls as part of a showcase for the Dramatist Guild 2016-2017 Fellows. Cast included Kelvin Moon Loh, Joe Medeiros, and Charlie Pollock. Pictures and more info here!
Not related to a show I worked on, but I wrote a response to Taylor Mac's 24 Hour marathon show, A 24 Decade History of Popular Music. Read it here.
Directors lab chicago
I participated in the exciting week-long DirectorsLabChicago program in late August, which gathers a group of 20 directors for discussions and rehearsals centered around a particular theme. This year, it was "un/spoken: Languages of the Stage."
You Can't Kiss a movie
You Can't Kiss a Movie: Songs from the French New Wave, an original cabaret I directed and co-wrote, premiered at the Metropolitan Room on June 16th. Created with performer Shelley Farmer and musicians Daniel Lazour and Michael Gildin, the show is a cinematic cabaret inspired by the revolutionary films of the French New Wave.
CLUE: A STAGED READING
In early July, I directed a staged reading of the screenplay for the classic 1985 film Clue as a fundraiser for Battalion Theatre at 61 Local.
SWIPE RIGHT/SWIPE LEFT
Hannah Kloepfer and Tessa Slovis' cabaret Swipe Right/Swipe Left: A Humiliating and Empowering Return to Dating played to a sold out audience in its new, full-length form at Feinstein's/54 Below on Wednesday, April 6th. The show, directed by me, highlighted songs by female songwriters from Jeanine Tesori to Patti Smith to the Dixie Chicks.
In January/February, I assistant directed Straight, a new play starring Jake Epstein, Jenna Gavigan, and Thomas E. Sullivan, at the Acorn Theatre at Theatre Row. The show ran through May 8th. Straight was directed by Andy Sandberg and written by Scott Elmegreen & Drew Fornarola.