Monday, April 29, 2013

Jamal Williams' Elizabeth's Precious Kitty opens 6/29 (DC)

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Jamal Williams
“Elizabeth’s Precious Kitty” is a sensual and highly stimulating erotic, farcical play that promises to shock and titillate the audience as they’re taken on a sexy, voyeuristic fantasy view inside the life of a middle age virgin Dominatrix under stress from forces trying to take away her “precious kitty.” This play definitely stretches the imagination and artistically merges taboo language and views of sexual reality rarely seen in the theater world. Elizabeth’s reputation and skills as the most sought Dominatrix puts her in great demand to her male “slave” clients who pay high fees for her services. She is fearless, self confident, and fierce in protection of her reputation, fearing no man. She’s very comfortable in her lifestyle and has her “shit” together. She is master of her sexual universe until…the day her most secret and most private fears are confronted and pursued. After servicing a regular client, she becomes trapped in her own apartment by a disapproving and harassing deceased mother and the most hideous yet sexiest male-creature, Panner. Elizabeth is faced with the realization of her ticking “biological clock” and the fact that while she is a master of a hushed and quiet segment of the sex industry, she has never felt, needed nor wanted the physical touch of a man. As she fights the pressure of her mother’s desire for her to continue the family bloodline by having sex with a man, she finds herself uncharacteristically engaging the hideous man-creature’s strange desires and demands for her exclusive services. Elizabeth fights the dark forces of fantasy and mythology. But who wins this battle in the end for her “precious kitty”?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Sneak Preview Friday, May 3rd of Harvey Fierstein's TORCH SONG (Nashville)


The Nashville Dramaturgy Project invites you to join us next Friday, May 3 at 8:00 pm for a sneak preview of Harvey Fierstein's TORCH SONG - THE INTERNATIONAL STUD.

Directed by Jaz Dorsey 

Our Stars: Steve Raimo/Veronika Elektronica and Malachi Taylor

Our Torch Singers: Roxie Rogers and Andrea Coleman

Our Torch Songs: Cappucino and Lies of Handsome Men by Francesca Blumenthal ( of NYC) and Bad Boys by Margee Harmon (of Nashville.) 

Our Musical Director: Steve Kennedy 

Our Mission: To raise a year's rent for Out Central -www.outcentral.org 

Performances will be Friday, May 10 and Friday, May 17th at 9:00 pm at PLAY DANCE BAR 

But the SNEAK PREVIEW will be Friday, May 3 at 8:00 Pm at Out Central, after which, take a stroll down Church Street and check out Nashville's coolest clubs - Tribe, Play, Canvas and Blue Gene's. And grab a bite - pre or post show - at Suzy Wong's House of Yum. 

And don't miss SONGS WE'LL NEVER SING tonight and tomorrow night (Friday, April 26 and Saturday, April 27) at Vibe

Come to Church Street and Go to the Theatre. 
The Nashville Dramaturgy Project.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Swindley's STORIES MY GRANDMOTHER TOLD ME at The Spiral Theatre Studio 5/30 (NYC)

The Spiral Theatre Studio invites you to join us on May 30 at 7:00 for a New York reading of  Ted Swindley's play STORIES MY GRANDMOTHER TOLD ME directed by Paula J. Riley and featuring Arlene Love, Bill Galarno, Ben Sloane, Stuart Aion and Ami Martino

The reading will take place at the SAGE Center, 305 7th Avenue, 15th Floor across from F.I.T. For those of you not familiar with SAGE, please check them out at www.sageusa.org 

We are very excited to be partnering with this amazing organization which offers services and activities for LGBT elders. 

Ted Swindley is the author of ALWAYS ..... PATSY CLINE. This is a FREE event. 

Jaz Dorsey 
Managing Director/Dramaturge 
The Spiral Theatre Studio 
New York - Nashville - Los Alamos

Red Harlem Readers


Monday, April 22, 2013

Call for Plays

Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) has just released its latest Call for Plays:

NEW! SEEKING TEN MINUTE PLAYS FOR ALL OUT ARTS’ FESTIVAL Fresh Fruit Festival invites all local playwrights to stage their 10 minute play May 21st at the Nuyorican Poets Café, 236 E 3 St, 7-9pm for third ALL OUT ARTS annual short play contest. Winners will get a performance at the Fresh Fruit Festival in July. The top two winners will get $100, $50 and $25 respectively. Plays produced can be staged as simply or as lavishly as the presenters wish, anything from a sit down reading to a workshop production is fine. Plays will be judged by a panel of community artists and audience responses. There will be a $7 production fee for plays selected. Open to all LGBTQ writers and their supporters. Please submit your play to polcovar18@gmail.com. Please put “Short Play Contest” in the subject box. Deadline is now April 30.

To continue reading to find more opportunities, please click here

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Spiral Theatre opening this fall at The Network (NYC)

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Hello All,

I am excited to announce that The Spiral Theatre Studio is opening this Fall at The Network in New York City.

Please go to this link to see our video and learn more about how YOU can help.


www.indiegogo.com/projects/own-a-piece-of-the-stage

Friday, April 19, 2013

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Looking for African American stage/screenplays

Swirl Films – Seeking Faith-Based Stage Scripts & Plays 

We are looking for completed feature-length faith-based screenplays or stage plays. Screenplays must be adaptable for stage, so scripts with stories taking place in 2-3 locations are preferred. Material submitted should be written for or adaptable to a female African American audience, and should convey a positive or feel-good message. Budget will not exceed 300k. Non-WGA writers may submit. Our credits include "2435 & Ticking” "He's Mine Not Yours” among others. To submit to this lead, please go to: http://www.inktippro.com/leads/ Enter your email address. Copy/Paste this code: dw5u6cry9h

Please note, to submit, you must sign up for the InkTip Pro newsletter.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

AAPEX search for Harlem Renaissance plays

The African American Playwrights Exchange (AAPEX) is looking to communicate with playwrights who have scripts that deal in anyway with The Harlem Renaissance. Please do not send scripts, just a letter of introduction to dramaturgtn@gmail.com This is for a research project.

Monday, April 15, 2013

"Jar the Floor" at eta Nominated for Jeff (Chicago)

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Jar the Floor, Cheryl L. West's contemporary unflinching exploration of familial bonds shared among women has been nominated for a Jeff Award, Chicago' s highest honor in theater. 

In this powerful piece produced by eta Creative Arts Foundation, four generations gather to celebrate MaDear's 90th birthday. Over the course of the celebration ghosts, secrets, and a surprise party guest test the boundaries of already fragile relationships. New York Magazine called the play "…a moving and hilarious account of a black family sparring in a Chicago suburb…" 

Directed by Ilesa Duncan, Jar the Floor features Shirl Shang (MaDear), Felisha McNeal (Lola), Valerie Banks (Maydee) Krystel McNeil (Vennie) and Amanda Hartley (Raisa). Understudies are Paulette Flowers and Nicole Haskins

Jar the Floor runs through May 12, 2013 at eta Square, 7558 S. South Chicago Avenue. Show times are 8 pm Fri and Sat; 3 pm Sundays. General admission is $30 with student, senior and group rates. For tickets and information, call 773-752-3955 or visit www.etacreativearts .org.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

In memory of Angelica DeVil

Angelica DeVil
In memory of Angelica DeVil, without whom these things I remember would not have been possible. 

In November 1999, I suddenly found myself getting the hell out of Atlanta and moving into very strange quarters on Printers' Alley in Nashville. Needless to say, the first thing I did after getting settled was to locate my watering hole.

Fortunately for me, this turned out to be a bar which deserves to go down in history. Called The Gaslight, it was located on 8th Avenue, North between Commerce and Church Streets in what was and still is the only remaining pre Civil War residence in down town Nashville. The Smith House, as it is called, started out as a private residence which was, over the years, home to some prominent Nashville families, but it had other lives too - in the 1890s it was The Jewish Mens' Club and they had added a ballroom to the back of the house (and, I believe, a bowling alley in the basement.) 

By the time I got here, the main house was a bed and breakfast and the ballroom was this wonderful speakeasy of a smoky bar with a horseshoe bar, a balcony and a deerhead behind the bar named Reba. 

To get to the bar from the street you went up a little brick walkway to the right side of the building. There was a bit of a door there - very "Alice In Wonderland" - that took you into a narrow brick alley that smacked more of New Orleans than anything else and was, over the years, a setting for many a dramatic moment involving drag queens, bad boys and all degrees of "the inebriated." 

The first time I stepped from that alley into the bar itself, all I could see was this awesome Shakespearean stage that took up the center of the room and was used for drag shows and other entertainments of that ilk. I'm pretty sure I'm the first person that ever looked at that stage and thought "Chekov - yes, let's do Chekov." 

Two years later, I had weeded out the folks in the mix who seemed to have the "theatre gene" and we WERE doing Chekov - and Tennessee Williams and Edgar Allan Poe - as The Southern Writers Theatre in a show called AT HOME AND ABROAD; AN EVENING WITH TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, ANTON CHEKOV AND EDGAR ALLAN POE. In addition to working with the fabulous Jack and Sally Hoke, there were also two ladies in the cast who made the production special. One was Amy Chomsky, Noam Chomsky's niece, and the other was Rebecca Holden, who counts among her credits the TV show KNIGHT RIDER. Rebecca was our torch singer and when she closed the show with Dixie, the regulars at the bar wept into their whiskies. 

Angelica DeVil was in awe of the fact that we had Rebecca Holden in our show and Angelica became a driving force of The Southern Writers' Theatre, going so far, in 2003, as to put down her cocktail and pick up a script and hit the stage in the role of Melodius Flowe in my satirical look at Atlanta society, CAFE ESCARGOT. You can find Angelica and the Buckhead-Dunwoody Diet Brigade doing their thing on YouTube below:



Angelica was also on board two months later when we broke some local box office records with our production of TORCH SONG TRILOGY at The Darkhorse Theatre. The entire three week run sold out entirely three weeks before we opened at $25.00 at ticket (not one single comp did I give) because the production starred Mark Middleton, who was better known around these parts as Bianca Paige

Because of these various factors and because - let me come out of the closet here - I'm gay and so is my boyfriend, Jamie (10 years this year) - we got niched as "gay theatre." That wasn't exactly true, because our artistic mission was good plays, good actors and a good time - for everybody. We did Strindberg (MISS JULIE; THE MUSICAL) and Strindberg is like the poster child for heterosexuality. Tortured heterosexuality. 

We did a Halloween Vaudeville called GHOSTS OF NASHVILLE that had a lot of dead Nashvillians singing, dancing and dueling. We worked on Brian Pedersen's musical adaptation of THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR. Not so gay plays, some of them. So, at that level, not "gay theatre." 

But at another level, at the level of aesthetics and at the level of community energy and an approach to getting things done (it's not easy to be a drag queen - it takes a lot of work and a few cocktails, at least) - yes, you could say it was "gay theatre." And "gay theatre" is the one thing that's missing in the Nashville theatre mix at this time. Why are there no theatres on Church Street? 

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Well, maybe there are. For instance, Bradley Moore just put up his first production, David Ive's VENUS IN FUR. Bradley tends bar at Blu Gene's and his production was next door at Vibe. But here we have that pesky little problem again - VENUS IN FUR is uber heterosexual. How can this be "gay theatre"? Of course, Bradley's next show, Songs We'll Never Sing, in which singers sing songs from the opposite gender's repertoire, does sound a bit more like "gay theatre." It opens April 24th at the Vibe Nightclub, 1713 Church Street, Nashville. For more information, please click here

One of the joys of NYC is that in any bar - gay, straight or other - as likely as not, anyone you strike up a conversation with is either in the theatre or has just come from a show. I have had some very interesting conversations with some very significant theatre folks in some very bizarre establishments in New York. Here if you say you're in the theatre, 90% of the time the response will be "Oh - do you work at TPAC."

Here shortly we are going to revisit a bit of Nashville's gay theatre history with a new look at TORCH SONG starring Veronika Elektronika and Malachi Taylor. We'll be tweeting about this, no doubt. 

Jaz Dorsey
Come to Nashville and Go to the Theatre!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Red Harlem Readers


Creativity pill

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Thursday, April 11, 2013

What is Broadway?

 "Just like Oz, there's a dark side to the whole Broadway gestalt 
and we poor regional folk, well - we're the flying monkeys."

What is Broadway?

For any American child of the theatre, Broadway is Oz (complete with Ruby Slippers, wicked witches and flying monkeys (think SPIDERMAN) ). All it takes is the right tornado to get you there.

Broadway was actually the first thing I learned about. From about the age of four, my baby sitter was a collection of soundtracks from the great Broadway musicals of the era. By the age of eight, I could sing every one of those shows word for word, song for song, beginning to end, and, at the age of 10, I sat down and played the entire score of THE SOUND OF MUSIC by ear, which quite frankly horrified my father; what kind of a boy-child does that?

I can also testify that learning Broadway's songbook is a kick ass vocabulary builder and the oh so perfect fusion of music and language makes it impossible not to connect with the words.

When I started my acting career in Asheville, NC at 13, my favorite collection of books at the library was the annual Best Plays of Broadway series. Broadway and Broadway's best playwrights were my language mentors.

Then, honestly, I didn't give Broadway another thought until I had to drop out of the graduate dramaturgy program at VCU in 1980, at the age of 27, and head back down to Atlanta to preserve Tara - i.e. my grandmother's home at 99 Peachtree Battle Avenue - when multiple disasters struck on the family health front. That's when I learned something about Broadway that I didn't much care for; outside of New York City, Broadway is used as both a crutch and a weapon by the people of the American theatre. Broadway doesn't care and I don't blame Broadway, but, just like Oz, there's a dark side to the whole Broadway gestalt and we poor regional folk, well - we're the flying monkeys.

I got so sick of hearing "If you were any good, you'd be in New York" that one day I sat down and wrote a song called MANHATTAN BLUES. That turned into my first musical, DESTINY CALLS COLLECT, which is about an Atlanta debutante/actress named Tallulah Buckhead (based on my wonderful friend Bea Swanson.) Fed up with the suppressive attitude on the home front, Tallulah takes off for New York City, gives a spontaneous audition in Sardi's, and gets cast in the Broadway production of a new time-share operetta by Stephen Soundsystem - which closes the night of dress rehearsal. Doesn't matter. Tallulah comes home with a Broadway credit and gets cast in EVERYTHING.

Then, in 1986, my grandmother died and I got this wonderful thing call an inheritance. The temptation was too intense - I grabbed two of my Atlanta acting buddies and a nifty little script called LUNACY by a fellow named Joe Reese and the next thing you know, we were over Sardi's doing a reading of the play. For the purpose of psychological clarification, I billed this as ONE NIGHT ON BROADWAY.

The next year I was back at The Dramatists Guild with another reading - this time a biographical musical about Offenbach (he wrote the Can Can - and a lot more cool stuff that y'all would enjoy.) This time we had a cast of 20 NYC actors and a full musical score, and somehow I managed to pull this together by long distance telephone from Atlanta, just coming up the day of the reading. That's when I learned about the true genius of Broadway, be it on, off or off-off: If you have the right script and get it to the right people in NYC, the best thing you can do is get out of their way and let them "do what they do' as we say down here in the hood.

Then, in 1990 and much to my surprise, I landed a job in NYC as the production manager of a national educational touring theatre company that sent bi-lingual French and Spanish classics out to high schools across the U.S. In the scheme of things, I was so far down the food chain that there wasn't any food left, but I wasn't really there to work. I was there to learn about Broadway - from a distance.

And now what I learned was this: Broadway is not an art form - it's a contract. Specifically, if I remember correctly, a contract that pertains to a production which is mounted in a theatre in New York City (i.e. Manhattan) which has 1,500.00 seats or more. So even if your show goes up on Times Square but the theatre has only 1,499 and a half seats, that ain't Broadway, babe.

In fact, the gap between the myth of Broadway and the business of Broadway is about twice the size of the Grand Canyon. Even people who have worked on Broadway harbor fantasies of that "backer" coming to your reading, workshop or showcase and sitting down to write a check for $250,000.00 right there. Which brings me to the next thing I learned about Broadway only in the last few years - in order to raise money for a Broadway production, you must first file a document with the SEC (that's the Securities and Exchange Commission). The cost to prepare and file that document, if I understand correctly, is $75,000.00 If you take money from an investor with the understanding that you are raising money for a Broadway production and you have not filed that $75,000.00 document, YOU ARE COMMITTING FRAUD. Just FYI. Which is why, all things being equal, I am perfectly happy to "do what I do" off off Broadway. The Long Road to Broadway Broadway: Day Dream - or Nightmare? I never really anticipated getting close enough to Broadway to feel the actual undercurrents, but now my good friend and occasional employer Ted Swindley is preparing for the Broadway production of his signature play, ALWAYS...PATSY CLINE, and now I'm really learning about Broadway from a kind of second hand first hand experience. 

The first thing you need to know is, no matter what goes on in this process, do not - let me repeat - DO NOT talk about it. Why? Because it isn't real until you've nailed the theatre and locked down the dates with a serious monetary commitment. 

The second thing is that, to reach a contract, you have to negotiate several dozen other contracts, everyone of which calls for attorneys who have to be paid. To me, it sounds like you would have to sell out for at least a year to pay the lawyers you have to pay to deal with the lawyers that the other parties pay to talk to your lawyers. This is no fun ride - in fact it's a torture chamber in a house of mirrors on a roller coaster. 

Speaking of contracts, the one animal that is indispensable once you manage to stagger on to the Great White Way is the General Manager. The GM is someone who understands the contracts, knows the contracts and keeps up with the contracts so that everything operates in machine like fashion with regard unions, vendor, ticket sellers and reservation administration. As to what the GM does and has to do, all I can say is, do not try this at home. 

Fortunately ALWAYS...PATSY CLINE is a small show, but if you're Broadway production calls for a chorus line, then there's the laundry. I once saw a production of DIE FLEDERMAUS that involved so many pairs of tights that I went into a coma.

But in the end, it's all worth it - I guess. As for me, I think I'll stick to new play readings. But you can bet there'll be a Nashville road trip to Broadway when Patsy opens. Just as soon as they get a theatre and an opening date. 

But you know, maybe I shouldn't talk about it. Yet. 

Jaz Dorsey 
The Nashville Dramaturgy Project

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

DC Black Theatre Festival is looking for Actors in all skill levels!

The DC Drama Department is proud to announce the 4th Annual celebration of the DC Black Theatre Festival – June 21-30, 2013.

The DC Black Theatre Festival is a week-long festival celebrating Washington, DC's thriving theatre community. Don't miss the chance to audition for 15 different playwrights and directors who are all looking for you! This isn't just a Call for Actors; it's a chance of a lifetime. So you have dreaming about being on stage, this is opportunity you have been waiting for. One Audition, 15 chances! 

Date, Time, and Place: 
Sunday, April 21, 2013 12 - 2 PM 
The ARC Theater 
1900 Mississippi Ave SE 
Washington, DC 20020 

Male and female actors of all ages. Please submit your headshot and resume to auditions@dcbtf.org Please state your preferred time slot between 12 noon and 2PM. We will make every attempt to schedule as close as possible to your requested time. It is highly recommended that you bring additional headshots and resumes. www.DCBlackTheatreFestival.com

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

For anyone who has written a play and begged for an audience...


Washington Post writer Steven Levingston shares his experiences in trying to get his play seen, read, and mounted-- something many of us will be able to relate to including the oddly buoyant shared comfort of knowing we're all struggling together, no matter who we know. 


About three years ago I did something that only a puffed-up fool would do: I wrote a play. For three weeks I was maniacal about it, and when I dropped the final curtain I nodded my head knowingly — this baby was a winner: All I had to do was get the script into the right hands, and before I could belt out, “There’s no business like show business,” audiences would be filling the seats, laughing and applauding riotously in the dark.
Thus began my tale of what Eugene O’Neill might call a lunatic’s pipe dream, a story of innocence, hope and crushing neglect. But it’s not my story alone. You need only read a day’s worth of the yearnings on LinkedIn’s playwriting group, scan the entry rules for hundreds of play competitions, or study the stiff-armed guidelines for submissions to regional theaters to realize that other pipe-dreaming playwrights-to-be are having their own egos stomped. Yet, we keep coming back for more, knowing full well that the odds of getting a play produced are about the same as getting killed by a falling coconut (that’s one in 250 million) — or at least it feels that way.

You can continue reading here.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Blackboard Reading Series: The 1's and 2's by Donaldo Prescod (NYC TONIGHT)

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Directed by Elizabeth Carlson The 1's and 2's is a coming of age tapestry play set in the Bronx. The year is 1980, Soundview. Break beats and rap battles fill the air. Neighborhood mayhem and summer love cling on every street. And our story is told as five friends spend one last summer together embracing the culture they know best. Serving as a love letter to hip-hop, this play is about the people who truly knew what it meant to shout, "Yes, yes, ya'll! You don't stop!" 

$10 Suggested Donation 
~wine served~ 
Reading followed by a 20 mintue talk-back 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Ken Dashow Directs DEELMAYKER (NYC)

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Ken Dashow
This is an interesting reading because the playwright and the director both come from amazing backgrounds in the broadcast biz. Warren Bodow was president and general manager of the AM & FM stations of the New York Times from 1983 - 1998. Ken Dashow, who is directing, has been a prime-time NYC DJ for about 30 years and is currently on afternoons on Q104.3

7:00 PM, April 7, 2013 at the Spiral Theatre Studio.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Khalil Kain and Peter Jay Fernandez "trade fours" in DC Copeland's dancical "Jitterbug!" (NYC)



Here's a video clip shot by Benja K Thomas during the sold-out 3/23 NYC reading. Khalil Kain, in the starring role of Billy Rhythm, takes on Bojangles (Peter Jay Fernandez) in the Hoofers Club, the legendary "unacknowledged world headquarters of tap dance." The Hoofers Club was basically a storage closet in the Comedy Club, the Jolly Fellows' Harlem hangout. It was just big enough to squeeze in an upright piano and a bench and still have enough floor space left over for two tap dancers to work their stuff. Bojangles challenges the desperate, injured and impetuous Rhythm to "trade fours." If he dances as well as he says he can, Bojangles will call off the Jolly Fellows who are bent on beating him up good. Pamela Monroe is reading the stage directions. Directed by Petronia Paley at the Tada! Theater. Music is based on the "Buck Dancer's Lament," a turn-of-the-century little riff in the public domain aka "stop-time." You can learn more at www.ouatih.com.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Legendary Broadway Playwright John Guare Praises Karamu House on WCPN Around Noon with Dee Perry

John Guare
 "The Karamu Playhouse has been this legendary force in American Theatre 
for so many years and to be part of it is such an honor".
 -Obie Winning playwright John Guare on WCPN Around Noon with Dee Perry, Wednesday, March 28, 2013.
Please click the audio link below to listen to more of playwright John Guare's interview as he praises the two theatres-- Beck Center and Karamu House-- and how thrilled he is to know his production of "Six Degrees of Separation" has an all African African cast and a white actor playing the role of Sidney Poitier's son.

Kudos to director Michael Oatman and the daring cast of this production.