Monday, June 29, 2009

Maya Angelou to Deliver Keynote Speech at 2009 National Black Theatre Fest 8/3-8 (Winston-Salem)

Maya Angelou
Please click the post's title to visit the NBTF website.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Call for Plays (LA)

We're looking for plays to put on!
Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]Date: 2009-06-27, 12:59PM PDT

Hello playwrites and writers! We are a new organization hunting for a new play to present to the public this coming October and Novemeber. We have excellent financial backing and enthusiasm, yet we haven't been able to come to a unanimous decision on which play to put together. We are looking for a play for all ages, not too big of a cast with a possible message of individuality or personal ambition on any level, whether it be within careers, family, worldly views, relationships etc. We are extremely open to all ideas, just looking for a script to catch our eyes! We look forward to seeing your work! Thanks!

Source: Craig's List

Seeking African American Actor (NYC)

Hello Friends:

If you know of anyone who fits the bill,
Frank Mihelich is looking for an african american male actor, age late 40's/50's who an play early 60's for the role of Alexander Lee in a upcoming table reading of a new play entitled a dead man's crimes. The actor needs to be physically fit and able to move well. Frank is hoping to find a actor that is willing to work on developing the script with him in additional readings. The audition will be Wednesday July 8th in the evening. The actor will need to be available Thursday July 9th from 6pm-10pm for a rehearsal and on Saturday July 11th for the reading at Theatre Row Studios from 2pm-5pm. Any interested actors can submit their headshot and resume to Frank Mihelich at: In the subject line put a dead man's crimes. the role of alexander lee.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Sincerely yours,
Thomas Donnarumma

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson 1958-2009 RIP

Michael Jackson, 1958-2009
So long gentle soul. Thanks for inspiring us, for making us happy.

Red Harlem Readers

After 2 years--and still going strong!!


We are looking for a song for our short film "Oversold," starring former porn star Crissy Moran, which has received worldwide distribution.The ideal song should be acoustic and light in it's arrangement, and be either rock or folk rock, but we are open to all genres.The lyrics of the song should be about hypocrisy (and if they reference hypocrisy in the church, even better).For reference, this is a Christian film, and the the film's reference to hypocrisy is more a call to action, rather than a condemnation of the church. We are expecting to be on every Christian Booksellers Assn shelf within the next 3-5 months.

License fee is negotiable.We are looking for submissions by no later than the week of June 29th, 2009, so please submit ASAP!

TO SUBMIT: Be sure to mention you heard about this from Jeff Gund at for priority consideration, and email ALL the information requested below ASAP to:

Be sure to include:
1. Your name (first and last)
2. Name of the band (if applicable)
3. Contact phone number and email
4. Written LYRICS for each song submitted, preferably as text within the email
5. LINK to where we can hear your song online (preferred), OR email an MP3 file (each song in a separate email, including all info above)
6. Be sure to mention you heard about this from Jeff Gund at for priority consideration!

For more information about the film, please

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Playwright Needed

Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]Date: 2009-06-25, 9:33AM EDT
I am currently looking for an experienced playwrite to partner with, I have a concept and financial backing to develop a Broadway play, please have samples of your work, the Genre is Drama with a touch of dark comedy. Preliminary casting has already been done If interested in this project please email me your contact information so we can dicuss Regards Compensation: Pay or partnership in production
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
Compensation: no pay

Source: Craig's List

Please note the spelling of "PLAYWRITE.' Buyer beware.

Mike Oatman gets props for BEFORE I DIE: THE WAR AGAINST TUPAC SHAKUR (Cleveland)

Meet Michael Oatman, the best playwright you’ve never heard of!
By FELICIA C. HANEY Staff Reporter

Hold any “top five rappers” poll in just about any city in the U.S. and you could bet damn near your last dollar that Tupac Shakur will be noted in the rankings of everyone who took it. We know him as the boisterous rap star who raged a bi-coastal war with the Notorious B.I.G., sticking his middle finger up at cameras and being the victim of two shoot-outs before his untimely death. But what we sometimes overlook is the fact that Tupac’s life had many facets, which is why he was able to fall so heavy on the ears of listeners in pissy project hallways in New York City to palm tree palaces in sunny Southern California.

Beginning this week, a Cleveland native decides to explore those many sides of Tupac that made him so interesting that we are still trying to decipher him 13 years after his death. “Before I Die: The War Against Tupac Shakur,” a Karamu House exclusive, was written by local playwright Michael Oatman that takes a microscopic look at the final days of Tupac’s life from his Las Vegas penthouse suite. In the solitude of his hotel room the audience will find Tupac “reviewing his life and taking stock in where he’s been and how he’s arrived at where he’s at,” said Oatman. And believe it or not, he’s desperately trying to arrange a meeting in that very room with none other than… Biggie Smalls!

Sounds pretty deep, right? Like the kind of plot that’s been brewing in Oatman’s head as far back as the night the fallen rapper was slain.

Well, not really. In fact, Oatman put together not just one, but two entire scripts in a weekend with a little help from his boss – better known to Cleveland as Karamu’s artistic director Terrence Spivey.

“My boss mentioned that he wanted to do a play about Tupac,” Oatman said. “That was in New York, but the playwright was not crazy about letting that play out of New York. So, he wanted me to take a wand at it. I basically locked myself in my apartment for a weekend and I wrote a couple plays so that he would have something to choose from.”

After a little polishing up of the rough draft, the play Spivey chose was “Before I Die: The War Against Tupac Shakur,” which previews Wednesday, June 3 and will run June 4-14 at Karamu, 2355 E. 89 St. in Cleveland.

The second, “Drowning the Flame,” explores a love triangle between Tupac, Jada Pinkett and Will Smith and will show for one day only at Cain Park9s amphitheater June 19.

Not the ordinary, regurgitated pitches for plays portraying a chronological look at a celebrity’s life, Oatman’s unique approach to two of Tupac’s stories, as he sees them, are concepts he knows are good because at the top of them they say ‘by Michael Oatman.’

"That’s how I know they’re good. I’ve written about 16 or 17 full-length plays and they’re all good,” the ex-reporter turned playwright confirmed.

"We’re starting to get into that period where people from our generation are starting to tell our stories. I love August Wilson but August Wilson doesn’t tell the story of people 35 and under. So, I think [Cleveland] should come out just to check out somebody who meant something to our generation. I love all those old greats and all of that but I grew up on Pac and Biggie. "

So, what’s Oatman’s opinion on one of the oldest rap debate’s to date – Who’s the better rapper, Biggie or Tupac? “Tupac, not even close,” Oatman said without pause. “I think Biggie was a better person in a lot of ways. Tupac always had an insecurity, always had to prove something. Pac was a little nuts, he was all over, but that’s why we love him. Well, I didn’t know the man, but, that’s my interpretation.”

See Oatman’s interpretation come to life on stage at Karamu this week. Tickets to this event are $8-$20 and are available at Karamu’s box office. For more information call (216) 795-7077.

(NOTE: Play closed June 14, 2009. Still going through development at Karamu and due to strong buzz, will hit the stage once again for a four week run March 2010 under the direction of Terrence Spivey, Karamu's Artistic Director)

Terrence Spivey
Artistic Director
Karamu House
2355 East 89th
Cleveland, OH 44106
Phone: 216-795-7070

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Is it harder for women playwrights to get staged than it is for men?

Yes, I know it refers to women playwrights, but this study is so much more than and is essential reading for both men and women. There's something to be learned on both sides of the gender fence.
The Loop

When more than 160 playwrights and producers, most of them female, filed into a Midtown Manhattan theater Monday night, they expected to hear some concrete evidence that women who are authors have a tougher time getting their work staged than men.

Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times
New York Times

And they did. But they also heard that women who are artistic directors and literary managers are the ones to blame.

That conclusion was just one surprising piece of a yearlong research project that both confirms and upends assumptions about bias in the playwriting business.

“There is discrimination against female playwrights in the theater community,” said Emily Glassberg Sands, who conducted the research. Still, she said, that isn’t the whole story; there is also a shortage of good scripts by women.

Ms. Sands, a Princeton economics student who is heading to Harvard this fall for graduate work, undertook the study, but eminent economists vouched for its high quality, including Christina H. Paxson, the chairwoman of Princeton’s economics department and the newly named dean of Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs; Cecilia Rouse, a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers; and Steven D. Levitt, the co-author of “Freakonomics.”

The detailed examination was done at the urging of the playwright Julia Jordan, who has been speaking out about the huge disparity between the number of shows by men that are produced and the number by women. (Ms. Jordan was a childhood friend of Mr. Levitt.)

To sort out the findings, it helps to look at the research. Ms. Sands conducted three separate studies. The first considered the playwrights themselves. Artistic directors of theater companies have maintained that no discrimination exists, rather that good scripts by women are in short supply. That claim elicited snorts and laughter from the audience when it was repeated Monday night, but Ms. Sands declared, “They’re right.”

In reviewing information on 20,000 playwrights in the Dramatists Guild and, an online database of playwrights, she found that there were twice as many male playwrights as female ones, and that the men tended to be more prolific, turning out more plays.

What’s more, Ms. Sands found, over all, the work of men and women is produced at the same rate. The artistic directors have a point: they do get many more scripts from men.

For the second study, Ms. Sands sent identical scripts to artistic directors and literary managers around the country. The only difference was that half named a man as the writer (for example, Michael Walker), while half named a woman (i.e., Mary Walker). It turned out that Mary’s scripts received significantly worse ratings in terms of quality, economic prospects and audience response than Michael’s. The biggest surprise? “These results are driven exclusively by the responses of female artistic directors and literary managers,” Ms. Sands said.

Amid the gasps from the audience, an incredulous voice called out, “Say that again?”

Ms. Sands put it another way: “Men rate men and women playwrights exactly the same.”

Ms. Sands was reluctant to explain the responses in terms of discrimination, suggesting instead that artistic directors who are women perhaps possess a greater awareness of the barriers female playwrights face.
For the third piece, Ms. Sands looked specifically at Broadway, where women write fewer than one in eight shows. She modeled her research on work done in the 1960s and ’70s to determine whether discrimination existed in baseball. Those studies concluded that black players had to deliver higher performing statistics — for example, better batting averages — than white players simply to make it to the major leagues.

Ms. Sands examined the 329 new plays and musicals produced on Broadway in the past 10 years to determine whether the bar was set higher. Did scripts by women have to be better than those by men?

Of course, there are many ways to define “better,” but on Broadway, with the exception of three nonprofit theaters, everyone can agree that one overriding goal is to make a profit. So did shows written by women during that period make more money than shows written by men?

The answer is yes. Plays and musicals by women sold 16 percent more tickets a week and were 18 percent more profitable over all. In the end, women had to deliver the equivalent of higher batting averages, Ms. Sands said.

Yet even though shows written by women earned more money, producers did not keep them running any longer than less profitable shows that were written by men. To Ms. Sands, the length of the run was clear evidence that producers discriminate against women.

The findings are sure to spur debates within the theater community. Representatives from about a dozen New York theater companies, including the Public Theater and Lincoln Center Theater, attended. Many women in the industry have argued that a rise in the number of female artistic directors would lead to more productions of works written by women, but the study calls that claim into question.

Ms. Sands also found plays that feature women — which are more commonly written by women — are also less likely to be produced. Kathryn Walat, a playwright who attended, said, “Most startling was the reaction to women writing — and I think of my own work — about female protagonists and the unlikability of those characters.”

As for Ms. Jordan, she said, “I suspected it wasn’t pure discrimination, but I was surprised that women were driving it.” Whether the sex of Broadway producers is a factor is unclear, she said: “One thing I have learned is not to make those assumptions anymore.”

Professor Paxson, who helped to supervise Ms. Sands’s research, wrote in an e-mail response: “Each study uses different data and the best available research methods to investigate whether there is good evidence for gender discrimination in the playwriting business.”

Ms. Rouse said that the findings should “make even skeptics take note.”

Ms. Sands acknowledged shortcomings in her work as well as many unanswered questions. Most problematic, she said, was the use of as a database. Because the site depends on users, some information may be incomplete, outdated or incorrect.

Still, at the end of the evening, Ms. Sands, who seemed surprisingly comfortable on the stage for an aspiring economist, received the kind of reaction that many playwrights in the audience would wish for: prolonged applause.

Source: The Loop

To sign up for The Loop (it's free) please click the post's title.

Call for Actors

This is Pickerington Playwright, Derek Lee McPhatter, dropping a line to you. I am a resident playwright with Brooklyn-based Freedom Train Productions, and we are casting for our upcoming new play festival in August. See below for details, and feel free to distribute!
- Derek

Freedom Train Productions


The Train seeks actors and actresses for Fire! New Play Festival, an upcoming staged reading series of new work in development by our resident playwrights opening August 5th. We will be casting for three new works of political theatre: Derek Lee McPhatter's sci-fi/apocalyptic work, a dark comedy by Patricia Ione Lloyd, and Ayanna Maia's Woman to Woman, a political/love drama. To receive the full casting call please email with "REQUEST INFO" in the subject.

About us: Freedom Train Productions stages new political theatre that challenges audiences to see character and human struggle from new perspectives -- black queer protagonists. All of our plays are written by up-and-coming and established black playwrights. Please click the post's heading to visit our website or find us on Facebook.


Noted producer and director is looking for black screenwriting collaborator to turn well known African American play about women into a movie. Well-known celebrities already expressing interest in film. Has produced and directed such stars as Iyanla Vanzant, Mo'Nique, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Bebe Moore Campbell, Sommore, Taraji Henson, Pyllis Yvonne Stickney, Terri J. Vaughn, Vanessa Williams. If you are African American (men must be able to touch core of female emotions), can write drama and are looking for a wonderfully unique opportunity, please contact: YettaYoung Productions at for more information on play and possible collaboration.

Source: TRU

Call for Plays

A Bronx-based multicultural theatre ensemble, and new play development lab, Actors Without Spaces, is seeking original submissions primarily from playwrights of color from all of the five boroughs. All contemporary, experimental, and provocative styles and subjects, one-acts and full-length stage plays only, small casts preferred. No musicals, no children's plays. AWS seeks to counteract the pervasive discrimination and isolation that minority playwrights continue to face in the theatre by providing developmental/dramaturgical support such as a bi-monthly play reading series, workshop productions of original works, theatre festivals, and panel discussions with professional theatre artists. Send bio, synopsis, ten-page sample of most current work to Actors Without Spaces c/o Desi Moreno-Penson, Artistic Director, 9 Metropolitan Oval, #7A, Bronx, New York 10462. Submissions will also be considered for Uptown Local/Singular Scenes Staged Readings events at Kingsbridge Library sponsored by the Bronx Writers Center, a program sponsored by the Bronx Council on the Arts.

Source: TRU

Call for Plays

Pieces under 15 minutes in length wanted. Choosy about it being newsy. Common Air Theatre Company seeking submissions for ongoing performance (in the UK) of new writing called subVERSE. Work should be hard-hitting and reflect ongoing global conflict, politics, commercialization of the world and other current issues. Piece should be entertaining but also encourage political debate and inquiry. Contact: Past performance info at

Source: TRU

Call for Plays

Brooklyn-based progressive film and theater company looking to help produce plays presenting diverse cultures and populations. 90 minutes or shorter for full-length plays with 4-8 characters or one-act plays (4-30 minutes long). Must be provocative, enlightening, relevant, stirring. Subjects can range from love, dating, sex, sexuality, relationships, history, race, politics, etc. Dedicated to showcasing the minority experience in America. See;

Source: TRU

Call for Plays

Be “as seen on TV” if chosen! Producer of a weekly Cablevision Public Access Program titled "The Play's The Thing" seeks original plays to be cast and taped in studio and shown on channels in Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess Counties as play readings, staged or not. Don’t e-mail full script, just basic info including genre, number of characters, running time, short synopsis – mail to Richard Redmond, Producer, at

Source: TRU

Call for Plays

Westchester and NYC writers and advanced actors and apprentices sought. For professional weekly lab, writing circle and master classes. Diversity is a priority in their mission. Full info at To apply, e-mail a one-page letter of introduction, including an artistic statement to:

Source: TRU

Director Looking for Plays

A call from Jessica McVea: “A few of the theater companies I work for are interested in me directing previously unpublished plays. The plays are my choice, but they do need to be unpublished, which, of course, rules out going to The Drama Bookshop! Please send me any and all plays (I'd like to read some one-acts, too, as there is always a place for them!) at your convenience to We'll see what we can find!” Jessica has worked for Piper McKenzie, Prophecy Productions, Small Pond Entertainment and Manhattan Theatre Source, as well as having done a number of plays in the Fringe and Mitdtown Festivals.

Source: TRU

Jene India's A WAY OUT 6/26 (Nashville)

Click Image to Enlarge.
"A Way Out"
a stageplay
written by Jene India
directed by Shawn Whitsell

One Night Only!!
To Benefit the
4th Annual Shades of Black Theatre Festival

Friday, June 26th
7:30 pm

Darkhorse Theater
4610 Charlotte Avenue
"A Way Out" depicts the relationship between four close friends, two whose marriages are falling apart from abuse. Together, these friends experience the ups and downs of friendship, marriage and dating.
Info & Reservations 615-781-3904
Please click the post's title to visit the
Shades Of Black Film Festival website.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Esther Armah's ENTITLED 6/29 (NYC)

Click Image to Enlarge.
Click Post's title to visit New Heritage Theatre website.

ENTITLED! is the bible of beauty magazines and the gospel of glamour. It's under threat. A white staffer told a corporate collection of black women their natural hair was unacceptable in the workplace. The sisters went to the media, the blogs, and now there are only 24 hours to save Entitled! magazine. Set in the cut-throat world of mainstream beauty magazines, Entitled is a play about the tough truths of beauty, race, history and personal power. Beauty has never been so black and white. Three women! One Magazine! One truth-teller! One Savior! Who will it be? Will they make it in time? The world of mainstream beauty has never been so black and white.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Auditions for new African-American musical tomorrow the 22nd and Tuesday the 23rd! (NYC)

Chameleon Theatre Co., Ltd. will hold auditions tomorrow the 22nd and Tuesday the 23rd for the latest in our series of new musicals, "Play the Music Softly" (working title) by Eric Charles McGee, a novice librettist-composer-lyricist from Washington DC.

Set in contemporary Paris, the show tells the story of a young African-American concert pianist, the obstacles he faces, the problems he creates for himself, and his eventual success, along with his various romantic entanglements.

It will be given a concert performance at a Manhattan location in late August.

For more information, please contact us at this email address:

Best to you all,

Bob Carver

Friday, June 19, 2009

Nicole Kearney's AND YA DON'T STOP goes into summer workshop 6/20 (Indianapolis)

Click Image to Enlarge.
I hope this email finds you doing well. I've been keeping up with all the AAPEX excitement via the blog. I wanted to submit some info for blog consideration. My newest play goes into summer workshop, Saturday, June 20th. I'm also in the process of booking the first performance in Indianapolis. I'll know by Monday the exact date(s). Then I'm really looking to take the show on the road. Colleges/university, small theater venues 200-500 seats that are inexpensive to rent. I'm especially focused on the midwest and south - KY, TN and destinations initally within a 5 hour range from me (Detriot, Nashville, St. Louis, etc). I really need help trying to move this show beyond Indianapolis. I'm talking to Greg about Cincinnati venues and know of a few in Louisville. It's a hip hop play that has the potential to bring men (ages 13 - 40) into the theater, along with women. I'm attaching the art for the show. I'm enclosing here the synopsis for the show.

“And Ya Don’t Stop” a hip hop play finds a trio at the crossroads when they discover that a record label only wants one of them – Supreme, the emcee. Unknown to him the label plans to pervert his image. Embittered, under contract and estranged from his crew, Supreme unwillingly goes on a journey guided by the messengers and the three spirits of hip hop to help him regain his sense of self and return to his hip hop roots.

Any help from yourself or the AAPEX network would be wonderful,

"Breaking Barriers: Little Rock Nine" May 16, 2 p.m. Attucks Middle School, Indianapolis or, - clip of "What Doesn't Kill Us" - clip of "A Down Payment on Manhood: The Greensboro Four"

AAPEX Interview: Dee Spencer

Dee Spencer

One of the great joys of working in New York is the opportunity to connect with ambitious and motivated multi-taskers like Dee Spencer. After Dee added her talents to the AAPEX reading of Merrill Jones' MRS. STREETER she took on the challenge of Gregroy Carr's one woman show about African American female aviators, GIMME WINGS, which she now seems to be taking to the next level. I asked Dee to tell us about her various ventures and I'm sitting here wondering how she finds the time to do all that she does.

What role did theater and the arts play in your childhood and upbringing?
Honestly I was not involved in theater or any form of arts as a child. In my younger years, we lived in the projects and faced a lot of challenges due to my mother's illness. Theatre did not really become a part of my life until I was in my twenties and started performing in productions at my church.

Tell us about your own evolution as an artist.
My evolution as an artist came as a result of performing church productions. I discovered that I had a natural talent for acting and even directing, so I decided to test out my skills and audition for Community Theatre. My first theatre role outside of church was at the Junction City Little Theatre in Kansas entitled "Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up...". It was as if a light bulb went off in my head and I realized that acting was my true destiny. When I moved back home to Houston, Tx, I set out to learn all that I could about acting. Not having the finances to take classes, I read books and researched on the internet everything I could about the business of acting. I later became a member of Theatre Suburbia where I basically was trained on the job in lights, sound, makeup, and most importantly acting.

What are some of your major accomplishments?
One of my major accomplishments that I am most proud of is becoming a member of Actor's Equity and having the opportunity to perform in some of the best theatres on the East Coast.

I have also had the opportunity to direct and perform on Theatre Row and receive favorable reviews.
Starting and Continuing the NJ Performance Lab which provides opportunities for performers to showcase and develop their talent.

Hosting a Radio Show on FM with no training using natural talent and gut instinct.
I am also proud to have earned the respect and admiration from my peers in Texas and NY for being a true professional.

My most major accomplishment has been continuing to successfully act, direct, and produce great projects without formal training.

What are your current projects?
My current projects include The NJ Performance Lab which is a spin-off of the Houston Performance Lab founded by Curtis Von and comedian Ali. The NJ Performance Lab takes place every other Friday in East Orange, NJ and is open to actors, singers, dancers, comedians, musicians, poets.

DeeWorks Live! Radio Show which airs on EliteRadio 97.5FM and streams live on the internet at featuring Dee Spencer - Host and along with co-hosts Kevin Foushee and Dan Bush aka DJ DMix every Sunday from 7pm - 10pm.

Co-Host on with every Tuesday, Thursday, & Friday .

Currently Business Manager for Sis Peeola Patterson out of Houston, Tx for which I will be directing the Stage Production on July 18 & 19, 2009 in Houston, Tx at the Jewish Community Center.

Acting/Producing - One woman show entitled "Gimme Wings" written by Gregory Carr out of St. Louis and Directed by Passion from NY and sponsored by AAPEX - currently available for bookings at schools, churches, and other live events.

All in all, I am grateful and do not take for granted the talents and gifts that have been given to me by God. For all that I am and currently do, I realize that there is still room for growth and learning and I am always open to learning something new.

A Workshop for Performers Who Write (NYC)

Solo in Ten
A Workshop for Performers who Write


4 Weeks in July

Do you realize how rich you are? Do you want to write and perform your own work? You are awake, alive, living an experience that is uniquely yours. Explore, unearth, and express your creative yourself. Write and perform your story. You are in charge of your destiny. Create the world in your image. You can solo in ten and beyond. This class invites you to write and inspires you to begin. Through, improvs, writing exercises, interactions you will write your story.

Create dynamic characters
Find your voice
Express yourself
Open to your creative self
Empower your vision
Begin and finish your monologue

Petronia Paley
Director, Actor, Playwright, Teacher

Petronia Paley is the founder and artistic director of I the Actor, intelligent training for actors which twice yearly presents a showcase. She has taught solo performance and acting at FDCAC, Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre and New Federal Theatre. Ms. Paley last directed Cassandra Medley’s Daughter, which is currently running at Ensemble Studio Theatre. Other directing credits include Kermit Frazier’s Kernel of Sanity, New Federal Theatre; Cynthia Robinson’s Ascension Cherry Lane Theatre International Fringe Festival; Medea Take Wings and Soar Productions; Can We Dance, Riverside Church and Henry Street Settlement (Women of Color Award); Luis Chaluisan’s Spic Chic at Ensemble Studio Theatre’s OCTOBERFEST, Repertorio Espangol and Chelsea Playhouse; How Many Goodbyes Must We Say? Julia de Burgos; She founded FIRST READINGS, an emerging playwright reading series, at the Nuyorican Poets Café. Her one-person play On the Way to Timbuktu premiered at the esteemed Ensemble Studio Theatre and was performed this spring at Passage Theatre Company as part of SOLOflights Festival. On The Way to Timbuktu was nominated for two Innovative Theatre Awards: Best Original Music and Solo Performance and three Audelco Awards: Direction, Original Music and Solo Performance. It won an Audelco Award for Best Solo Performance. She has written several plays and a children’s book. Ms. Paley, an award winning theater and television actor, is a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre and the Actors Studio.

Please click post's title to visit I The Actor website.
Please click here to visit On The Way to Timbuktu website.
Call now: 917.518.4432 to reserve your place.

Actress looking for writers (LA)

Summer Johnson

Want Your Short Script Produced? ... I would love to hear from you!

WHO AM I: I'm an actress and I'm looking for 4 short scripts to produce for my demo reel.


*Female Lead: Age 17-21, Female lead: attractive, likable, wholesome, kind-hearted (Think Natalie Portman meets a young Halle Barry)

*looking for 4 different scripts

Short #1: (has scene with an innocent romantic content; possibly with a kiss, but not a requirement)

Short #2: (has scene with a fun, playful energy)

Short #3: (has scene with tears)

Short #4: (has scene with argument / strong emotion)

She should still be likable * No more then 10 min in length (the shorter the better) * Small casts (2 person scripts preferred but not required) * Simple to shoot (nothing fancy or complex to produce)


*email your script to

*include a synopsis of the script in your email.

* state which short # you are submitting (short # 1,2,3 and/or 4)

* you are welcome to submit multiple scripts



Click the post's title to visit Ms. Johnson's web page.
Source: Craig's List

Derek Walcott's MARIE LAVEAU free reading 6/28 (NYC)

Derek Walcott

Click Image to Enlarge.
Click post's title to visit the New Federal Theatre website.

Red Harlem Readers

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Harlemwood Films 8th Annual Film Fest 6/25 (NYC)

Click Image to Enlarge
Please click post's title to visit New Heritage Theater website.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wow! June was a great Month at Blackboard!

We had a lot of new faces! Thank You to Playwrights,
Deborah Goodwin, Owa , Shaun Neblett and Ty Saulsbury
for their work! Thank You to all the Actors who participated!
Nearly everyone was new! It was amazing!
Next Month: HIGH FIVE by Angela Hanks
Monday, July 13th, 2009
Keep submitting those plays!
BlackBoard Reading Series
2nd Mondays
the cell theatre
338 W. 23rd (23rd b/t 8th and 9th Ave.)

Friends of the Crossroads Theatre Compay save at the Apollo Theater 6/20 (Harlem)

Click Image to Enlarge.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

AAPEX Interview: Jene India

Jene India

Meet Nashville actress/playwright/dancer Jene India, one of this city's movers and shakers.

What role did theater and the arts play in your childhood and upbringing?
I have always been fascinated with the arts. I was always creating things, painting things, dancing, and playing music growing up. My friends would be outside playing and I would be inside practicing my French horn. Ha!! Being artistic definitely made me different growing up because I was always doing different stuff from the other kids. Theater was something that came later as I grew up. I actually took a theatre class my freshman year in high school and failed miserably because I refused to read all those plays my teacher assigned. Then my junior year I got involved with forensics and that’s when I really started to develop and love for acting.

Tell us about your own evolution as an artist.
Well let’s see, I started playing various instruments in school all the way up to my senior year in high school and I just knew that I would be in a jazz band playing gigs or teaching music when I became an adult. Needless to say, it didn’t I became an intern with 92.1 in promotions a few years after high school and got back into theatre around the same time. While continuing on that path, I became a dancer with the Village Drum and Dance Ensemble focusing on West African Dance. Now I’m a radio personality, actress, writer, and dancer. I don’t know what happened to music. It’s so funny how paths change as you grow. I tried going back a few years ago by buying an acoustic guitar and a flute. I gave the guitar away and my flute is in storage now. LOL!!!!

What are you up to now?
I’ve recently written a play about domestic abuse. My goal is to take my show on the road and present it to as many cities as possible. It has such a powerful message and a very talented cast. We are actually doing a show in Kentucky on June 27th. I’m super excited! Besides that, I’m still doing my normal routine of working a full time job at a Health Care Company, doing radio on the weekends, dancing and acting every chance I get, and hosting an Open Mic Night once a month here in Nashville.

How's Nashville for you?
I love Nashville! I was born and raised here so I do feel that I will leave at some point to explore different things. But as for now, this is where I need to be until a door opens for the next phase of my career. Nashville is my home!!!

Jene' India
Radio Personality
92.1 WQQK
10 Music Circle East
Nashville, TN 37203

ACT and ARTOMATIC act up 6/20 (DC)

African-American Collective Theater (ACT)
makes its first appearance at Artomatic,
Saturday, June 20th at 8 p.m.
with an evening of new BLGBT-themed plays
presented under the collective title,
"Lip Service."

The FREE performance features staged readings of six short plays written and directed by ACT director, Alan Sharpe and showcased as a project of "Artomatic," the month-long, Washington, D.C. multi-media arts festival currently underway for its 10th season.

Artomatic is conveniently located in a new office building at 55 M Street, S.E. directly atop the Navy Yard METRO Station (west entrance) on the green line, adjacent to the Nationals baseball stadium. Saturday's performance of "Lip Service" will be presented on the 6th floor theater/dance stage.

It features ACT regulars including: Donald Burch, Ricardo Frederick Evans, James Foster, Jr., Wilma Lynn Horton, Larry Hull, Ronald King, Kendell Lee, David Richardson and Monte J. Wolfe, who will be joined by new faces Bobby Brooks, Jared Shamberger, Justin B. Smith.

Additional information is available from Alan at 202-745-3662,, or by visiting

We hope as many of you as possible with come out to support this FREE performance and please share this info with your friends.


Monday, June 15, 2009

ProductionScripts wants your play!

AAPEX has advocated for some time that playwrights get proactive in their careers. Part of that includes publishing your own works and getting them out there as Print On Demand (POD) publications or as digital downloads. Well, there's a new kid on the block called ProductionScripts that wants to sell your plays through digital downloads on the Internet. The UK based company is user friendly, its upload program simple and effective, and there are no outrageous contracts to sign. Their business model includes preview pages that will hopefully help sell your play and an interface that provides pricing in various currencies. And it's all free.

To learn more, please click the post's title to visit the ProductionScripts website.
UpDate 6/20/09: Royalty rates have been raised to 65%.

BlackBoard Reading Series TONIGHT 7:30 PM (NYC)

Tonight is our Community Evening!
Playwrights: Bring around ten pages of scenes and YOUR OWN COPIES for the actors.
Actors: Bring yourselves and be ready for cold-reads of new work.
Playwrights on the roster thus far:
Deborah Goodwin, Shaun Neblett, Owa, Tyron Saulsbury, Garlia Cornelia Jones
If you are a playwright and not previously on the roster,
NO PROBLEM, email us today or come by tonight
with your work and we will do what our schedule allows!
This is the night to invite people, mix and mingle!
So many wonderful things have been going on with Blackboard!
Looking forward to seeing everyone tonight!

-- BlackBoard Reading Series 2nd Mondays
the cell theatre338 W. 23rd (23rd b/t 8th and 9th Ave.)

Call for Plays

Seeking Original Play for 3 Women (Los Angeles)
Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]Date: 2009-06-14, 1:59AM EDT
We are 3 established actresses looking for an original play to put up in Hollywood. Ideally, the play would be full length and a black comedy with a cast of 3-5 women, 0-1 man. The age range is late teens to early 30s (we are in our 20s). Also, of different skin/hair tone which rules out mother and sister relationships. Please email logline and/or synopsis and name and number and we will contact you. Thank you!
Location: Los Angeles
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
Compensation: Yes, we will discuss

Source: Craig's List

Sunday, June 14, 2009

JuneTeenth Celebration (Nashville)

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Friday, June 12, 2009


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Kalamazoo, MI

What began as a small concept of teaching history on stage has led to the book, The Journey Begins by Dr. Von H. Washington. Washington is the director of Western Michigan University's Multicultural Theatre Program and Artistic Director of Washington Productions, Inc. The Journey Begins, which was released in May of this year contains two of Washington’s most celebrated and treasured storytelling creations, Seven Stops to Freedom, and The Legend of Sojourner Truth, along with The River to Cross.

Seven Stops to Freedom was commissioned by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to shed light on Michigan's involvement with the Underground Railroad. The Legend of Sojourner Truth was created to highlight Sojourner's life in Battle Creek, Michigan as her statue was being unveiled, and The River to Cross chronicles the William Bright Conner family's escape from Slavery in North Carolina in 1849, and their subsequent decision to settle in Covert, Michigan.

The cover of the book states, "Celebrating the oral traditions of ancient West African storytellers, these dramatic productions have been performed hundreds of times in the United States and abroad. "Von is very pleased that his work is being produced because, as he puts it, "I was never afforded an opportunity to hear stories about life from my perspective when I was a school aged child. I learned about European history, but not about African or African American history. It pleases me to no end to know that my vision of the African American experience is now being shared with people all over the world. I'm hoping that presenting 'a view of the world from their own perspective' is a part of 'the promise' that will be made available to all school children and their parents."

Years ago I made a promise to many of the people who faithfully attended our productions that I would one day make my stories available for everyone to read," said Washington. "I was especially pleased when the request for them came from teachers, librarians, and the parents of the thousands of children who attended our performances. This is what I’ve always wanted, for people to like my stories well enough to want to have a personal copy of them.

Washington has written more than 25 theatrical creations. He calls this latest venture "Act III of my career," which is a rebirth of his pursuit of the publishing and production of his work nationally. His creations began by using his hometown of Albion, Michigan as a backdrop, and have emerged to include locations across the globe.

He has been directing WMU's Multicultural Theatre program for the last 20 years and before that directed African American Theatre programs at the University of Michigan and Wayne State University. He is a recipient of the Michigan Arts Achievement Award, the Kalamazoo Community Medal of the Arts Award, and has had a day named for him in Southfield, Michigan, among others. In a twelve-year military career, he was decorated with two Meritorious Service Medals, a Bronze Star Medal for his work in Vietnam, and an Air Force Accommodation Medal. He was recently inducted into the WMU School of Communication's Alumni Academy.

His plays have received recognitions throughout the years, and are being performed across the country by various theatre production companies. This latest venture as an author is something Washington hopes to continue, as he allows schools and others to read the plays they have enjoyed on stage for years.

Copies of the The Journey Begins are available at, and To book a performance, click the post's title.

Playwright's elusive dream: Conquering his hometown of Miami

Tarell Alvin McCraney

Already a rising star in the theater world, Alvin McCraney hasn't given up on one of his few unfulfilled dreams: opening a theater company in his hometown of Miami.

By Christine Dolen
Miami Herald
Theater Critic
PRINCETON, N.J. -- Tarell Alvin McCraney moves with the grace of the dancer he once wanted to be. He is tall (6 feet 3 inches), slender and stylish in his perfectly pressed shirt and tie worn over snug black jeans.

This 28-year-old playwright is both celebrated and humble, quietly observant and inspiring, a gay black artist who has made it his mission, he says, ``to give voice to the voiceless.''

And at the moment, the young man whose early life and artistic identity were forged through some impossibly hard times in Miami is also one of the hottest theater talents on both sides of the Atlantic.

Through June 21, the Tony Award-winning McCarter Theatre in Princeton, N.J., is presenting three plays by McCraney, a linked trilogy he calls The Brother/Sister Plays that was co-produced by New York's Public Theater (where it will play in the fall). Last month, he received the inaugural New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award. Soon, he'll fly back to London, where he is International Playwright in Residence with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), though he'll also spend a week working with legendary director Peter Brook on a project in Poland.

He is writing new plays for the RSC, Manhattan Theatre Club and the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Though it has only been two years since he earned his master's degree in playwriting from the Yale School of Drama, McCraney has had his work produced in New York, Washington D.C., Seattle, New Orleans, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, London, Barcelona and Dublin.

But not, so far, in Miami.

Yet here's the remarkable thing: Though McCraney has been artistically ignored in his hometown, he has a dream that by the time he turns 30 on Oct. 17, 2010, he will be back in Miami starting a theater company.
''I never intended to be just a playwright,'' says the red-hot writer, who has also acted, danced and directed. ``Making a community of theater artists is also part of my job.''

Many of the artists who have creatively crossed paths with McCraney attest that his is a thrilling, distinctive new voice in the world of theater.

Emily Mann, McCarter's artistic director, remembers reading her first McCraney play while he was still at Yale.
'By the second page, I said, `We're doing his work,' '' Mann says. ``His use of language is absolutely distinctive. If you gave me two lines, I'd know they were his. He reminds me of [Federico García] Lorca, Nilo [Cruz], Tennessee Williams, but he's absolutely himself. He's a theatrical poet. His work is very musical and funny -- and it can rip your heart out.''

Director Tina Landau has known McCraney since his undergraduate days at Chicago's DePaul University. She staged the world premiere of In the Red and Brown Water, the first of the Brother/Sister Plays, at Atlanta's Alliance Theatre and directed it again for the McCarter. Next season, she'll direct the entire trilogy -- In the Red and Brown Water, The Brothers Size and Marcus; or The Secret of Sweet -- at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre, where the plays will run from January to May.

McCraney's writing, she observes via e-mail, ``embraces a staggering spectrum from the poetic to the prosaic -- it is both gorgeously literate and starkly vernacular. It manages to somehow sound both like rich verse and the street language you'd hear on the corner. . . . Tarell fuses things together -- all kinds of stories, myths, histories, ritual, headline news . . .''

Robert O'Hara, the director and playwright who staged Brothers Size and Marcus for the McCarter, says McCraney's writing has ``a poetic vulgarity which is absolutely breathtaking. He comes from a real place. There's beauty in the horror of it all.''

Truth, too. The Brother/Sister Plays are his own inventions, but embedded in them are threads from the lives of his sister Keonme (the inspiration for the self-sacrificing Oya in In the Red and Brown Water), his brothers Jason and Paul (The Brothers Size) and, in Marcus, his own experiences as a gay kid in a tough urban neighborhood. The plays, says cast member Marc Damon Johnson, are ``epic, timeless and universal.''

''Tarell went back in time to simplistic, dream-like theater,'' says Alano Miller, an Orlando native who plays Marcus. ``We say the words, and you believe. You visualize everything.''

McCraney's stew of influences is wide-ranging: Brook's ideas in The Empty Space, Lorca's Yerma, the musicality of August Wilson's work, the poetry of Essex Hemphill, the choreography of Alvin Ailey, the structure of classical theater, Yoruban mythology, the way Miami performer-playwright Teo Castellanos (the man McCraney calls ''my father in theater'') taught him to turn the hard experiences of life into transformative art.

Those tough times? As a child and teen, McCraney had enough to last a lifetime. His mother struggled with drug addiction, developed AIDS and died less than two months after he graduated with honors from DePaul. While he was still a kid, he became a surrogate parent to his two younger brothers and their sister, whose sacrifices in caring for their mother are reflected in In the Red and Brown Water. There was little money, sometimes no food or electricity, and Hurricane Andrew destroyed the place where the family was living. Once, after McCraney moved to his father's home in Liberty City, he found himself trailed by bullies tossing rocks and yelling ''faggot'' in his direction.

He found theater as a teen when he joined a troupe run by Castellanos at the Village South.

''It saved me,'' McCraney often says.

There he learned to express himself as a performer and writer, to turn pain into powerful drama. When McCraney created a piece called Crack House and performed it at a substance-abuse program, ''by the end, the audience would be bawling,'' Castellanos recalls.

High school at the New World School of the Arts, college at DePaul, grad school at Yale and growing acclaim have taken McCraney to a different place. Inevitably, his world has changed, as he collaborates with some of theater's greatest talents, jets all over the world, collects honors for his work.

Yet, say those who know him, McCraney is fundamentally the same focused guy.

''Tarell is so not taken with himself,'' Mann says. ``He's modest and humble. What he wants to do is give back. He's just such an inspiration.''

Brian Tyree Henry created the role of Oshoosi Size, a man newly out of prison, when he and McCraney were at Yale and has played it in seven productions of TheBrothers Size. His ongoing friendship with McCraney has allowed him to watch the playwright navigate the whirlwind of fame.

''Tarell is doing great,'' Henry says. ``His spirit is just huge. . . . He really believes in what he puts out there. He knows the audience, he knows the stories he want to tell. . . He has found his light, and he knows how to shine it.''

The place McCraney wants his light to shine brightest is Miami. His sprawling dream is to come home, start a free theater program for kids in an old Overtown recreation center, present free outdoor Shakespeare with great actors in a place like Bayfront Park in the winter, develop ''homegrown plays in the summer'' by creating something like the Sundance Institute Playwrights Lab. He could see a restaurant/performance space like the Public Theater's Joe's Pub in Coconut Grove, the place he'd like to settle and raise a family.

He could, of course, continue becoming an ever-more-famous playwright. But he says simply, ``If I'm thinking these things, I ought to be doing them.''

He is learning how to run a theater company by working at some of the world's best. Onstage and off, he is bringing his dreams to fruition. His vision for his hometown is just another dream, albeit an ambitious one.
Landau, for one, believes in McCraney's passion for connection.

``Tarell cares about, loves, nurtures and reaches out to audiences. . . . He talks, he shares, he is a true citizen of the world. His generosity is immense. . . . The only thing that seems to be affecting Tarell with all the acclaim is his awareness of the opportunity it brings. He is able to think more radically about how he might serve the communities he wants to. To dream bigger or newer or riskier projects.''

Creating a major new theater in Miami, McCraney says, is his dream.

''I really care about my community. There's got to be somebody in there working on the side of young people who are dying. Miami includes Liberty City and Overtown. They aren't inconsequential. I get very passionate about that,'' he says. ``I don't mind devoting my 30s and 40s to working on that.''

The article and related multimedia content can be found for a short time here.


ShermanOaks, California -- Veteran TV Producer/Playwright /Screenwriter Michael Ajakwe Jr. has launched a web channel and new comedy series.

The former “Martin”, “Eve” and “Soul Food” scribe says the idea for starting an internet dial was sparked by the lack of diverse programming online. “It’s worse than network TV, Cable and Film,” the Los Angeles native said. “Most of these web channels don’t have a single show featuring a person of color even in supporting roles, let alone shows created by people of color. It’s shocking considering how wide open the web is.”

Instead of boycotting these web portals, the Emmy-winning tv producer (E!’s “Talk Soup”) and NAACP Theater Award-winning playwright decided to throw his hat in the ring. He hired Ben McAllister of to design his channel and was born.

“Ben did an outstanding job. He’s not only technically sound, but very creative – just like his company logo says,” Ajakwe mused.

The first offering from is “Who…” – a comedy about Deana, a buxom trophy wife, and her working-class girlfriend Tina who meet every day for lunch and dish about celebrities. They’re waited on by Jalel -- Deana’s best male friend who despises Tina. Newcomers Shoneji Loraine, Nafeesa Monroe and Charles Reese round out the cast.

Every episode features music by indie artists which viewers can also purchase. Rather than post his show for free online like most web creators, Ajakwe is taking a more unothodox approach – he’s charging viewers $1 to watch three episodes. “I believe people will pay for content if the price is right and they feel they’re getting something back. iTunes is a prime example that this theory can work. Like Dr. Jekyll, I am experimenting on myself. I am my own guinea pig (laughs).”

The first generation Nigerian-American who has written and directed 10 plays that have been nominated for 27 NAACP Theater Awards, winning 5 trophies, sees as an opportunity to showcase Web Creators of Color who are often ignored by “mainstream” web content providers. “Minority comedy writers are akin to second-class citizens. If there are no minority shows on tv or films being made, we don’t work. But we shouldn’t have to put up with that on the web. I’m not. It’s still economical enough to get in if you have the skill and the will. We just need to kick off our shoes, roll up our sleeves, jump in and swim.”

Click the post's title to visit
To learn more about Michael Ajakwe, Jr. visit

Red Harlem Readers

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I The Actor Acting Boot Camp Starts 6/15 (NYC)

Petronia Paley
Petronia Paley's 8-Week Acting Boot Camp
begins June 15th.
Register Now!
Petronia Paley Teacher, Director, Actor, Playwright.
Ms. Paley’s directing credits: DAUGHTER at Ensemble Studio Theatre, KERNEL OF SANITY, New Federal Theatre; MEDEA Take Wings and Soar Productions, Allison Bonner’s CAN WE DANCE (Women of Color Award for direction). Luis Chaluisan’s SPIC CHIC at Ensemble Studio Theatre’s OCTOBERFEST, Repertorio Espangol and The Chelsea Playhouse. TO DIE SO SOON at the Rapt Theatre. FOOL FOR LOVE at the Director’s and Actor’s Lab. Acting Credits: critically acclaimed one-person play ON THE WAY TO TIMBUKTU at the Ensemble Studio Theatre; Clytemnestra the Classical Theatre of Harlem’s Electra (Audelco Award nomination); Gertrude HAMLET, Take Wings and Soar Production; Dr. Iris Preston in EST’s RELATIVITY Audelco Award. Nomination); Gratiana, THE REVENGER’S TRAGEDY the Red Theatre Bull; Madame Ranevskya THE CHERRY ORCHARD (Audelco nomination), The Classical Theatre of Harlem; Jocasta/Eurydice THE OEDIPUS PLAYS Shakespeare Theatre; Regan, KING LEAR Yale Repertory; Hecuba Trojan Women Shakespeare Theatre (Helen Hayes Nomination); Prosecutor THE TRIAL…New Federal Theatre (Audelco Award ). She is a veteran of daytime creating long running characters on Guiding Light and Another World. Writing Credits: THE EMPTY- HAND TRAVELER SET NO LIMIT TO HER DESIRES, THE PSYCHO-GENESIS OF SEXUALITY, LETTERS (a collaboration), AND ON THE WAY TO TIMBUKTU. Teaching Credits: Beginning acting, advanced acting: monologue and scene study, and solo performance at the Frederick Douglass Creative Arts Center , The Puerto Rican Traveling, and the New Federal Theatre. She is the founder of I the Actor Acting Workshop. She is a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre, the Red Bull Theatre and the Actors Studio.
Call: 917.518.4432 for more information.
Please click the post's title to visit I The Actor website.


Shawn Whitsell

Meet Shawn Whitsell, Nashville actor/producer and co-founder of The Shades of Black Festival

What role did theater and the arts play in your childhood?
The arts played a huge role in my childhood. I grew up singing, dancing, acting, writing and playing musical instruments. I had a number of interests growing up but I always knew it was my calling to be an artist and entertainer. My small hometown didn't offer many opportunities or much variety in the arts so I began creating my own projects, which paved the way for the producing that I'm doing now as an adult.

Tell us about your own evolution as an artist.
I've been very fortunate to have had several wonderful opportunities, specifically in theatre, and with every experience, I try to learn as much as I can so that I can grow as an artist and apply those lessons to the next project. I think I'm more confident and I have a stronger sense of what I want to do and where I want to go. My standards have definitely been raised. I'm a lot more in tune with both my strengths and weaknesses. It's important to me to remain a student of my craft, regardless of how much success I might attain.

What is the history of the Shades of Black festival and what has your role been in that history?
In 2006, three African American theatre companies, Robins Nest Theatre, SistaStyle Productions and Dream 7 Theatre productions were booked at the Darkhorse Theater back to back, so the original idea was to join forces to promote the shows together. The idea then grew into packaging the shows together as one event and adding some workshops to create a small festival. I was the assistant artistic director of Dream 7, so I've been apart of Shades of Black planning committee from the very start. I've been able contribute to the planning of all Shades of Black events and last year my company, the Destiny Theatre Experience, presented two shows in the festival.

What are some of the anticipated highlights of this year's festival?
Well, we're still in the process of accepting submissions so I really can't say what specific shows are going to be presented. However, I will say that I'm looking forward to the festival as a whole. Shades of Black is always a very exciting time in Nashville theatre and I guarantee that this year will be our best year yet. To learn more about the Shades of Black Festival, please click the post's title.

What are your thoughts on Nashville as a theater town?
I think Nashville is a great theatre town. I've had some wonderful experiences here as a theatre artist and I've been fortunate to work with a number of great professional and community theatre companies in various capacities. However, I think there's still a great deal of room for growth and development. I would also love to see more African American actors earning their living as theatre artists. I definitely see Shades of Black serving as a catalyst for creating those opportunities.

Leonard Jacobs' HISTORIC PHOTOS OF BROADWAY now available!

As part of their Historic Photos series, Turner Publishing has released Historic Photos of Broadway: New York Theater 1850-1970 by New York theatre journalist Leonard Jacobs.

With 240 photographs culled exclusively by Jacobs (who also wrote the text) from the Billy Rose Theatre Collection of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Historic Photos of Broadway offers incomparable images of the great plays & players of the 19th & 20th Centuries. From long-forgotten tragedians & comedians, to the lavish musicals of the Gershwins, Cole Porter & Rodgers & Hammerstein, to the dramas of O’Neill, Miller, Inge, Williams & Albee, Broadway shines through glorious, large-format photographs, many published for the first time in this volume. Included are priceless images of the Booths, the Barrymores, the Lunts, Ethel Merman, Marlon Brando, Carol Channing & scores of theatres such as the Lyceum, the Winter Garden & the Music Box.

Leonard Jacobs is a theater practitioner, critic & journalist. He is formerly the National Theatre Editor of Back Stage & currently the first-string critic for the New York Press & author of the blog “The Clyde Fitch Report.” He was the Founding Editor of & as a freelance arts & entertainment writer/editor, has contributed to over 20 publications & websites, including American Theatre, The Hollywood Reporter, The Village Voice, The Sondheim Review & Roundabout Theatre Company’s Front & Center. Leonard was a contributor & Associate Editor for the Cambridge Guide to American Theatre. He is a Tony voter & a member of the Drama Desk & American Theatre Critics Association; chairs the New York Innovative Theatre Awards; adjudicates scripts for the New York International Fringe Festival & the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, & teaches at the National Critics Institute at the O’Neill. A specialist in late-19th & early 20th Century American Theatre, he graduated from NYU in the 20th Century & will finish his graduate work at Hunter College, City University of New York, in the 21st. Historic Photos of Broadway: New York Theater 1850-1970 is his first book.

11th Annual Essential Theatre Play Festival 7/5-8/2 (Atlanta)

In just a few weeks, the 11th Annual Essential Theatre Play Festival will be opening, playing for the first time at the King Plow Art Center in the Actor's Express space. We'll be running July 5-August 2 -- please visit for details. This year's line-up:

FOOD FOR FISH by Adam Szymkowicz, opening July 5. Regional Premiere.
Directed by Peter Hardy
Featuring: Kelly Criss, Kate Graham, Eve Krueger, Brent Nicholas Rose, Charles Swint and Sarah Falkenburg Wallace.

Bobbie is a lonely young man living in New York, trying to write about three sisters who long to escape the city and return to their childhood home of New Jersey … or is he really just an imaginary character in the mind of Sylvia, the youngest sister? Middle sister Alice is hopelessly in love with the husband of her older sister, and so she goes out on da tes with a different man every night, working in her lab by day to isolate the human gene that makes us fall in love … so she can control it! Oldest sister Barbara (played by a man) and her husband (played by a woman) can’t figure out how men and women are supposed to relate to each other. This is the kind of play we love to do at the Essential – funny and beautiful and just about impossible to describe. The New York Times did it best, calling it “Fabulously weird and weirdly fabulous.”

Next to open, on July 10, will be ICE GLEN by Joan Ackermann. Regional Premiere.
Directed by Ellen McQueen
Featuring: Jo Howarth, Dina Shadwell, Jayson Smith, Spencer G. Stephens, Jim Starbh and Ann Wilson.

Sarah Harding lives in an isolated country cottage, surrounded by a warm circle of quietly eccentric friends. She may be America’s greatest poet, but no one’s ever seen her work … which is just the way she wants it. But now an editor has arrived from Boston, wanting to publish her poems and bring her the fame and fortune she has never sought. With unforgettable characters, this wonderfully funny romantic drama -- about the frozen places in our hearts coming back to life again -- is like the best Emma Thompson movie you never saw. “Beautifully written.” Talkin’ Broadway. “A lovely play.” CurtainUp

Opening Jul y 15 will be JIM CROW AND THE RHYTHM DARLINGS by Vynnie Meli. World Premiere.
Directed by Betty Hart
Featuring: Rachel Bodenstein, Enisha Brewster, Daniel Burnley, DeAndrea Crawford, Nadir Mateen, Delesa Sims

It’s World War Two, and with so many men going off to serve, the previously all-male world of jazz is opening up to women for the first time. The International Rhythm Darlings are an all-female African-American band touring the Deep South, which would be a tough situation in the best of times … but now they’ve got a last-minute replacement in the group, a white Jewish woman, and integrated bands aren’t allowed to play together on stage. Not in the South, not anywhere.

Inspired by the real-life experiences of musicians from that era, Vynnie Meli’s play takes a fascinating look at some extraordinary women who make their way past fear and hatred to find the common threads that bind them together. Winner of the 2009 Essential Theatre Playwriting Award competition, the only prize exclusively dedicated to the work of Georgia playwrights. The Essential Theatre is proud to have developed this play (along with Working Title Playwrights and Jewish Theatre of the South) and to be bringing it to the stage for the first time.

Major Networking Event 6/25 (Atlanta)

On Thursday, June 25 at 7:00 p.m., A.C.T.4life
Hollywood South Music &
A Movie Filmmakers' Showcase
Georgia State Rep. Jim Pruett of District 144

He will be in the house (ENGINE 11 Firehouse Tavern, 30 North Avenue, Atlanta 30308) to talk about the 2008 Entertainment Industry Investment Act (HB 1100), new legislation designed to encourage entertainment industry productions in Georgia. He will address the state of the Georgia film and television market with a panel of experts who can answer your questions about your place in it!

Next up: head writer, Steve Coulter, of Tyler Perry's "House of Payne" and "Meet the Browns." Come hear actor/writer Coulter speak on his work behind the scenes at TP Studios, what being a head writer/executive story editor entails and what has been his road to success in the Atlanta film and television market. Actor-writer- director Charles Van Eman along with the cast and crew of "High Rise the Series" will host the Q&A. Van Eman will discuss his multi-tiered career path, why he has made his home in Atlanta and what it took to get "High Rise The Series" off the ground. Go to to preview the show before June 25 so you can have your questions ready!

Indie music artist, Takiya ( will get the evening started with a sweet, soulful mix of acoustic guitar and seductive vocals.

All this plus door prizes for only $10 (includes $5.00 drink ticket). Mark your calendar: HSMM returns Thursday, June 25, 2009 to ENGINE 11 Firehouse Tavern, 30 North Avenue, Midtown Atlanta at 7:00 p.m. Atlanta's premiere entertainment networking event! Remember: come to network, network to create ideas, create ideas to produce and produce to take to network! See you there...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Black Women Playwrights Group 20th Annual Staged Reading & Benefit Performance 6/22 & 23 (DC)

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To order tickets, please click the post's title.

High School Genesis Festival 6/10 (New Brunswick)

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Crossroads Theatre Company
thanks its major supporters:
American Express
The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation
The Prudential Foundation
The New Jersey State Council on the Arts
Middlesex County Cultural & Heritage Commission
New Brunswick Cultural Center

Crossroads Theatre Company is a
Senior Member of The New Jersey Theatre Alliance
and a proud member of the Theater Communications Group (TCG)

7 Livingston Avenue
New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Making History in Harlem 6/16-22

Dear Friends,

Since 1990 Community Works has been producing and presenting a powerful array of multi-cultural performances at sites city-wide serving over 300,000 people annually. On the eve of our 20th anniversary, Community Works and International Communications Association are proud to invite you to make history as we open New York City's first cultural center devoted exclusively to Harlem's history and traditions. Enjoy a week-long series of performances; spaces will go fast - reserve early!

See you at the Dwyer!
Barbara Horowitz
Co-Director, Dwyer Cultural Center
Founder & President, Community Works

Voza Rivers
Co-Director, Dwyer Cultural Center
Vice President, International Communications, Assoc.

Please click the post's title to visit the Dwyer website for more information.

Bernardo Solano's LANGSTON & NICOLAS Premieres 6/16 (LA)

Towne Street Theatre,
LA's Premiere African American Theatre Company,
presents a World Premiere Preview for TST On Tour !

will be the third staged reading of the series.

LANGSTON & NICOLAS, a new play commissioned by Towne Street Theatre and the Robey Theatre Company, will be presented at the third stop of TST On Tour!; an exciting 2009 staged reading series. Written by Bernardo Solano, LANGSTON & NICOLAS tells the true story of the forty year friendship between iconic African American writer Langston Hughes and the Cuban poet laureate Nicolas Guillen. This story of two countries, two voices, two friendship, is told through poetry, music and dance.

TST On Tour! - a unique reading series, featuring six plays, from classic to contemporary, is "touring" to theatres throughout the City of Los Angeles. For Stop #3 we return to mid-city LA and Stage 52 - 5299 W. Washington Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90016. Towne Street Theatre will present, one night only, the final public reading of LANGSTON & NICOLAS on Tuesday, June 16, 2009 at 7:00 PM. Conceived and directed by Towne Street Theatre Artistic Director, Nancy Cheryll Davis, this project is made possible in part by funding from The Ford Foundation and the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles.

Please join Towne Street Theatre for the third stop of TST On Tour! and see LANGSTON & NICOLAS before its World Premiere in March, 2010. All tickets for TST On Tour! are $5.00. To reserve your seat, please call (213) 624-4796 or email Ample Free Parking

Click the post's heading to visit the Towne Street Theatre website.

Monday, June 8, 2009

How a Play gets to Broadway

Now that the Tony Awards are over, playwrights might wonder "How a play gets to Broadway?" This short video interview with Broadway producer Pun Bandhu is well worth the watch. Please click the highlighted copy to view video.

Get Listed in the Black Authors & Published Writers Directory

Grace Publishing Company is pleased to announce the publication of the new 2009/2010 Black Authors & Published Writers Directory.
  • Contains a treasure-trove of Black History.
  • Photo-illustrated.
  • Annual Publication.
To add your free listing, please click the post's title to bring up the form. More information can be had at

Sunday, June 7, 2009

DeeWorks Live! Tonight 7pm to 10pm

Click Image to Enlarge.

Please join DeeWorks Live! on EliteRadio 97.5FM Fan Club. Our Show airs every Sunday from 7pm to 10pm EST. Streams live anywhere in the world at
Dee Spencer
To become a member, please click the post's title.

WritersCorps Showcase 6/16 (DC)

"Days I Moved Through Ordinary Sound" has arrived in Washington, D.C.!

"Days I Moved Through Ordinary Sounds" is a collection of work -- both poetry and prose -- from the talented people who have formed the ranks of WritersCorps teachers.

Come to a book discussion and hear former WritersCorps teachers read their work and describe their experiences. We'll be featuring: Kenny Carroll, Ryan Grim, Livia Kent, Uchechi Kalu, Melisssa Tuckey, and Joy Jones. Greg Bargeman, actor and librarian will give a performance.

Hosted by former WritersCorps teacher Joy Jones. Light refreshments will be served. Plus, the first 20 guests will receive a free copy of "Days" OR of "Tell The World", the teen anthology.

When: Tuesday, June 16, 2009, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Historical Society of Washington D.C.
The Carnegie Library at Mount Vernon Square
801 K Street N.W., Washington D.C. 20001
Across K Street from the Washington Convention Center, 2 blocks north of the Chinatown Metro, climb the curvy stairs to entrance.

Cost: Free!

Thank you to our partners: The Spoken Word, Humanities Council of Washington D.C., The Literary Friends of D.C. Public Library, National Home Library Foundation

Contact: Joy Jones

Obamas attend August Wilson play on Broadway

Photo by Noel Y. Calingasan


Monday, June 1st 2009

Call it the Obama effect.

Patrons flocked to the Broadway show "Joe Turner's Come and Gone" and the Greenwich Village restaurant Blue Hill Sunday after the First Couple stopped by the night before.
Miriam Childs, 38, visiting from New Orleans, said the Obamas' theater choice inspired her to buy tickets to the August Wilson show.

"Their time is about the most precious time in the world, so if they made time to see it, it must be worth it," she said.

She ordered "Joe Turner" tickets at 6a.m. to make sure she and her husband didn't miss out.

"We figured there would be a lot of spur-of-the- moment decisions to come see the play," she said. "[We said,] 'Why don't we get a jump on it and get [tickets] now, because there won't be any later.'"

There were just a few balcony seats remaining for Sunday's matinee.
The line for tickets stretched out the door an hour before the 3 p.m. performance. A week ago, an average of just 65% of seats at the show were filled, according to
Roz McCarthy, 59, of Norwalk, Conn., had bought tickets before the Obamas came to town, but their visit convinced her she had made the right choice.

"I really respect him," she said. "I think he's got good instincts. If he likes it, I'm going to like it."

Some theatergoers lamented that they were a day late to catch a glimpse of Barack and Michelle.

"I said, 'Shoot, I should have got Saturday night tickets,'" said Gayle Jones, 54, of Somerset, N.J.

Down in the Village, tables started filling up early in the evening at Blue Hill, where the President and First Lady had enjoyed their pretheater meal.

"It just made me curious about what kind of food they had," said Kaortini Gonzalez, 20, an NYU student who hadn't noticed the restaurant until she heard about the Obamas' meal there.

The hideaway is on the ground floor of a townhouse a block from Washington Square Park.

"I was curious to check the restaurant out because they came," Gonzalez said. "It's a cool restaurant and it's organic."

Reservations for prime dinner hours were booked through June 22, but early birds had a chance to snag a table when the restaurant opened at 5:30 p.m.

Obama has had much the same effect in the nation's capital, where eateries have reported big surges in business after the popular President drops by.