Monday, November 28, 2011

Mama don't let your babies grow up to be playwrights

Please click image to enlarge.

AAPEX now lists over 250 (216 with direct links to some sort of web presence) African American playwrights and playwrights of the African American experience but how many of them are getting read? How many are getting produced? What theatre groups are willing to take a chance on new works? How do we convince them to bet on us when we're riding the bull in the rodeo?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Playwright royalties

Informative post on playwright royalties can be found on the LinkedIn Theatre Producers group:
Unfortunately, you will have to be a member to read it. Since it's free, take the time to sign up or, if you are already a LinkedIn member, sign up for the group: Theatre Producers.

In the exchange of ideas and experiences on that post, you'll learn that a playwright who is a member of the Society of Authors ( will get free legal advice regarding contracts beginning immediately upon joining the group. Associate Membership is available for those who are not published, self-published, or POD. If you're under the age of 35, yearly dues are around $100.00 which is a heck of a deal when it comes to getting legal advice that could keep you from being deprived of the money you deserve for the effort you put in to creating your play. BTW, the SOA has been around for over 125 years, having been founded by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Screw Occupy Wall Street-- Let's Occupy Broadway

I Can Do Broadway
I can do Broadway
And you can do Broadway
And we can do Broadway right here
I've got the know how and
You're gonna show how
We can do Broadway right here.
So if you're looking for Broadway
You don't have to wait til you
Take that vacation next year
Just grab a cab or bus
Come take a look at us
Soon it will be clear that
I'm doing Broadway
And you're doing Broadway
And we're doing Broadway right here!

Copyright Jaz Dorsey, 1981

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Fire This Time Fest

Who We Are
The Fire This Time Festival is a platform for early-career playwrights of African descent to explore new voices, styles and challenging new directions for contemporary theater.

Exploring themes from euthanasia, hero-worship, inter-generational conflict, homophobia, and more,The Fire This Time Festival creates dynamic theatrical experiences. The festival has quickly become a destination for diverse audiences, producers, and artists seeking exciting possibilities and opportunities in contemporary drama.

Our New Season
Our third season begins in January 2012. Our core program will be a full production of short plays, running over two weeks. We will introduce new work from:
France-Luce Benson
Jocelyn Bioh
Kevin R. Free
Patricia Ione Lloyd
Zoey Martinson
Antoinette Nwandu
Jerome A. Parker

In addition to our core program, several playwrights from prior seasons will return with staged readings of full-length works. Panel discussions and music events are also a part of our annual events.

The Campaign - $2,000 in Two Months
In this challenging economy, we remain committed to keeping ticket prices low, and making sure audiences from all income levels can attend our shows. As we seek donations, the Festival has attracted support from a few core individuals and we’ve even gotten a few grants. But it is not enough to cover all expenses.

$2,000 will close our gap for the season. This $2,000 will go directly to the artistic expenses for the program, giving us the means to actually compensate our roster of talented actors, directors and other collaborators.

We’re engaging nearly 40 artists this year, and we’re not promising them millions, but we would like to provide modest stipends and cover travel costs. You can help us do that.

The Festival has reached a very exciting moment. Many of our playwrights, directors and actors are enjoying new and exciting professional opportunities. There has never been more demand for what we do. And we want to do more!

Help us keep the fire burning by making a donation today!

More on What We Do
The first season of the festival brought together over thirty performers, directors, and other collaborators to create an amazing evening of short one-act plays. Presented by Horse Trade Theater Group over a sold-out run in February 2010. The Festival has evolved into an annual event, expanding upon its core short play presentations to offer panel discussions, staged readings, and other programs.

To date, The Fire This Time Festival has produced new work by the following playwrights: Jesse Cameron Alick, Deborah Asiimwe, Radha Blank, Christine Jean Chambers, Camille Darby, Marcus Gardley, Kelley Nicole Girod, Katori Hall, Yusef Miller, Derek Lee McPhatter, Dominique Morisseau, Germono Toussaint, and Pia Wilson.

Other Ways You Can Help
Even if you can’t make contribution there are many ways to help. Tell your friends about our campaign. Join our mailing list, or inquire about volunteer opportunities. We want to hear from you!

To learn more and/or to make a contribution, please click the post's title.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Red Harlem Readers

No reading scheduled for November 27th.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Krapp's Last Tape (St. Louis)

Please click image to enlarge.
Please click post's title to visit The Black Mirror Theatre Company

Red Harlem Readers

November 20, Sunday at 4:00 - Free admission! Complimentary spiced tea!!

Dancer, Actor and Singer

reads from her own work
“For Vera”
In the shadow of the Great Depression,
a young woman defines herself
“Hair Beer – or How I Learned to Tango”
Social triumph for a typical U.S. teenager
living in post-WWII occupied Germany

Red Harlem Readers, Food for the Mind, Body and Soul
Indian Cafe, Broadway, between 107th and 108th Streets

Associates: Richard Gaffield, Anne Gefell, Jerry Hassett, Cordis Heard and Lori Payne
To participate as writer, director, actor, reader and/or arts administrator, please email

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Brooklyn-based playwright Kymberle Joseph makes Off Broadway debut with a new one woman show "Monette"

With divorce papers in front of her, and her only child off to college, Kennedy "Monette," is completely alone. How will this soon-to-be-divorced empty nester reclaim her life? Jasmine Eileen Coles plays more than ten characters including Monette's smooth-as-silk African-American father, her folklore tale telling Caribbean mother, and one very uptight best friend in this laugh-out-loud story where joy replaces despair. Best known for his award-winning and critically-acclaime d productions of MAAFA Suite and Black Nativity, another Brooklyn-based artist Jesse Wooden, Jr. directs the solo play that features the formidable talents of Jasmine Eileen Coles in the title role.

"Monette (pronounced Mo-Nay) is a story of truth, joy and learning to love who you are and where you are in that moment." playwright Kymberle Joseph said.
Brooklyn native Kymberle Joseph makes her official Off Broadway debut with MONETTE I Love My Life, A new one woman show that will play a strictly limited engagement at Walkerspace, 46 Walker Street, October 21 through November 27, 2011 Receive a special $5 discount on your tickets by using the 1209 Members code "1209" (reg. price: $30) For tickets visit www.smarttix. com and also visit www.kmjproductions. com "I love this play because it is not a kiddie ride," director Jesse Wooden said. "It's a story about a real woman." Kym Joseph Managing Director/Producer P.O. Box 617 New York, NY 10113 917.416.4454 / 718.614.2797

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

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Call for Plays (Deadline: 11/16)

Open Submissions being accepted for the 12th Annual New Works Festival at College of the Canyons

College of the Canyons Theatre Department wants your play, and currently has an open call for original plays for its New Works Festival. 10 minutes plays, One Acts, Full Length and Monologues are accepted

The festival, now in its 11th year, continues to evolve. Originally only for COC students, the festival continues to broaden its reach, working with playwrights across the country, sometimes conducting readings and workshops via videolink.

Directed by long time Adjunct Faculty David Stears. Mr Stears is no stranger to developing new works, having developed over 65 original works for the stage including over 20 original plays educational programming.

The New Works Festival at COC unique. Focusing on the process of the playwright, it is one of the few new plays festivals that allow for development during the process. Also unique to most festivals is the submission process is open to all and there is no submission fee (however, those playwrights selected to participate will have to enroll in a class).

Plays should be original works submitted by the original playwright. Selected playwrights must be willing to participate in the development process during the spring semester

The New Works Festival is now publishing the selected works presented during the festival. “It is a great piece for the writers and the actors to have their piece published as part of an annual anthology.” Says David Stears. The first of the Anthologies is the New Works Festival Anthology 2008, is available through Createspace ( or through Amazon.

The deadline for submissions is November 16th at 5pm

For more information about the festival or submitting your work,
please contact Kim Gurnee (661) 362-3073
or follow the festival at

Please click the post's title to visit the NWF website.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Franz Reynold's I BLACK WOMAN I tonight at the cell (NYC)

NEXT Blackboard:

Monday, November 14, 2011 7:30pm


By Franz Reynold

Directed by Yvonne Almeria Campbell

$10 Suggested Donation

reading followed by a 20 minute talkback

~wine served~


For More Information, please click the post's title.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Essential Theatre play readings (DC)

Essential Theatre

S. Robert
Morgan, Founder/Artistic Director

You Are

The Artistic Community is cordially invited to our annual closed
table readings of new and current plays in development as part of our New Play Reading Series. Admission is free. Space is limited and all interested artist,
literary personnel and invited guest are asked to RSVP by calling (202)
328-0569 or by E-mailing, info@theessentialth All table readings will begin promptly at 6:00
in room 221 of the, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library located at 901 G Street, NW,
on the following dates:

Monday December

Betty’s Wish
by La’Chris Jordan

Monday December

Samson and
Miss Delilah by Natalie Blank

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library is accessible by metro
rail using the red, green or yellow lines via Gallery Place using the Galleries exit at
9th and G streets and the blue, orange and red lines trains to Metro
using the 11th
& G streets exit. All interested
artistic and literary personnel are asked to RSVP by calling (202) 328-0569 or
E-mail info@theessentialth

About The New Play Reading Series

The New Play
Reading Series is created to give voice to the work of new and established
playwrights. It is in substance an
incubator that serves to nurture the work for a three-year period in a
supportive and collaborative environment with other artisans, actors and
directors. Further, it is a forum where
audience members are welcomed to engage in an open dialogue with the playwright
and director about the issues presented in the material as well as techniques
used to present them. The New Play Reading Series was initiated in the spring
of 1992.

The Essential Theatre is a non profit professional theatre
dedicated, but not limited to producing theatre reflective of the
African-American experience from a first person perspective that explores and
celebrates the rich, diverse American cultural landscape. Paramount in
the company’s mission is the implementation of programs for youth in theWashington, DC
metropolitan area that promotes interdisciplinary education and positive levels
of self esteem.

The Essential Theatre

1112 11th Street, NW

Suite 100

Washington, DC 20001-4301

(202) 328-0569



Get With the Program!

Participate with us under the United Way:

CFC/NCA 23538 United Way 9398 CVC 8562

Friend Us on Face Book! And Follow us on Twitter essentialtDC

2012 DC Black Theatre Fest open call for plays

Submission Categories:
• Full-Length Plays
• One-Act Plays
• New Works Reading Series
• Workshops
• Doug E. Doug Comedy Competition

The DC Drama Department is proud to announce the 2012 DC Black Theatre Festival, a week-long festival celebrating the thriving theatre community in Washington DC, June 23 – July 1, 2012.

We are looking for works in any genre, including plays which incorporate movement, dance, and music. Playwrights of all skill levels are encouraged to submit. All chosen Full-length Plays, New Works Reading Series and Workshop are supported by the festival with 100% of the ticket sales going directly to the performing group, facilitator and/or playwright. A cash award and trophy are given to the winners of the One-Act plays.

The DC Black Theatre Festival holds fast in its commitment to provide a balance of works with high artistic integrity for both emerging and veteran artists. Our mission is to create a diverse group of outstanding artist with a distinctive vision that will give an artistic identity of uncommon richness and variety to all people. So whether you enjoy the works of August Wilson, Tyler Perry or a good old Gospel Stage Play, the DC Black Theatre Festival has something for you.

• One Act Plays: Running time MUST NOT exceed 20 minutes in length.
• Full-length Plays: Running time MUST NOT exceed 90 minutes in length.
• New Works Reading Series: Running time MUST NOT exceed 90 minutes in length.
• Workshops: Running time MUST NOT exceed 80 minutes in length.
• Doug E. Doug Comedy Competition: Running time MUST NOT exceed 20 minutes in length.

Please submit your application online at

Any questions, please contact the DCBTF Staff at

Deadline for all submissions are Tuesday, March 1, 2012

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

AAPEX Interview: Magda Romanska

Magda Romanska

Polish-born writer and dramaturg Magda Romanska is an assistant professor of Theatre Studies and Dramaturgy at Emerson College in Boston, MA, and a research associate at Harvard University’s Davis Center. She studied literature and drama at Stanford University and Yale School of Drama, and earned a Ph.D. in Theatre from Cornell University. Her forthcoming theatre books include Theatre and Meaning (Anthem Press, London, 2012) and the anthology Comedy: Theory and Criticism (Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2012). In addition to her scholarly and dramaturgical work, she writes creative fiction and non-fiction and is now directing the first African American Playwrights Exchange (AAPEX) Festival where her students are currently evaluating 16 scripts submitted by AAPEX playwrights.

EmersonCollege is located in the heart of Boston’s Theatre District. Emerson is internationally recognized in the fields of the performing arts, visual and media arts, writing, literature, and publishing. Emerson’s theater spaces include the Paramount Center, which includes the renovated 590-seat Paramount Theatre and a 150-seat black box theatre; the Cutler Majestic Theatre, a 1,200-seat Broadway-style theater; the Bill Bordy Auditorium and Theater; and the Semel and Greene theaters, located in the Tufte Performance and Production Center. ArtsEmerson and Emerson Stage showcases first-class performances from all over the world.

Prof. Romanska’s class Literary Office Management, offered by Emerson’s Performing Arts Department, aims to recreate the experience of the literary office. The students collaborate with ArtsEmerson, Emerson Stage, and national theatres, including the AAPEX Festival. Students read and evaluate scripts for their suitability for performance in a particular venue, making sure each is within the institution’s goal, vision, and approach. They engage in season planning, design educational audience-outreach programs, participate in the new-play development process, and create ideal theatre projects.

What role did theatre and the arts play in your childhood and upbringing?
I was born and raised in communist Poland. During that time, theatre and the arts were part of our everyday life. Since everyone – from janitors to doctors – made about the same amount of money, the proverbial “keeping up with the Joneses” revolved around one’s artistic endeavors. In some ways, they were simultaneously politically very oppressive and artistically idyllic times. Everyone I knew was doing some kind of art as a way of spending his or her free time, not necessarily with ambitions to become an artist. I was six when I did my first play. It was a puppet production of Pinocchio staged for the neighborhood children. But I spend most of my time painting. I had my first art exhibit when I was eleven, at the house of Tadeusz Brzozowski, a Polish surrealist painter who combined expressionism with the grotesque. I also wrote a lot—short stories, fairy tales and such, which I illustrated myself. But everyone around me did that sort of thing.

Tell us about your own evolution as an artist.
Growing up surrounded by art and literature, I didn’t want to commit. When I first moved to the U.S., I actually took art classes at the Art Institute of Chicago and literature classes at the Chicago City College. But in the U.S. you have to make a choice. You have to specialize. Theatre seemed like a big canvas . . . a perfect blend of art and literature. To some degree, I still haven’t escaped that way of thinking about theatre, as a combination of image and word, gesture and sound . . . I still work that way, arranging words into images and images into words. I can’t seem to be able to analyze a play without drawing it. After each production, there is a pile of impromptu drawings and diagrams, illustrating pretty much everything, from dramatic structure to the layers of subtext and leitmotivs . . . DaVinci’s Golden Ratio, or the Golden Triangle, can be as good of a tool of play analysis as Aristotle’s Poetics.

When did you come to the United States and what brought you here?
When I came to the U.S. I was 21. In high school, I studied French and Russian, so my English vocabulary was limited to rock song lyrics. But I’ve always loved American literature. I particularly identified with the 20th-century Black writers, such as James Baldwin, Richard Wright, and Ralph Ellison. Growing up disabled in communist Poland has been challenging and, for me, African-American literature uniquely captured the toll of such a life. So to answer your question, Richard Wright moved to France to escape Jim Crow. He was free, but he could no longer write; he lost his connection to his native language. I left Poland because I couldn’t have a life there, but the price of gaining a life in the U.S. was losing my language. In fact, to this day, I have a complicated love/hate relationship with my native country. Janusz Glowacki once said that for a writer there is nothing better than humiliation. . . . Poland has four Nobel Prize Laureates for Literature (five if you count I. B. Singer). Yes, Poles have been humiliated quite a lot as a nation, and as a result, they have more poets and writers than stray cats. Poles think and communicate through their literature; it forms the very core of their being. So, I will always wonder whether the trade-off was worth it . . . Language for freedom. . . .

From your point of view, what goes in to training young dramaturgs?
Good theatre is a complex, multilayered puzzle of textual and contextual, visible and invisible, spoken and unspoken, of violence and tenderness, of the tragic and the laughable, the grandiose and the grotesque. It should pass through you like a spring storm and wrap you up like a quiet night. It should sneak up on you, break your heart, and put it back together again.

Reading theatre is sophisticated detective work that consists of unraveling the subsequent layers. In all that, the dramaturg is like water – sliding in between the layers of meaning, into the nooks and crannies of the text and performance. Theatre is a visceral art, built from the sediments of your experiences, the good and the bad, from the books you’ve read and the people you’ve met. If you’re young, your palette might not have all the hues, but you always have the primary colors to play with.

There are some concrete things I tell my students. One of them is: read. Read everything, especially the stuff you don’t agree with. You need to stay on top of the national and international dialogue, and you need to understand the arguments that people are making and why they are making them. You can’t empathize with the characters if you don’t know where they’re coming from. Be in the world: watch and listen to people, listen to their stories, told and untold; observe small gestures, subtle exchanges, silences, and absences. Research: find out what you don’t know, and then some. Take chances: be Prometheus, Icarus, and Phoenix all rolled into one. Play with fire, get burned, get up and start all over again.

What are your thoughts on Boston as a theatre town?
I think right now Boston is a great theatre town. We are going through a true renaissance. Our theatre district has been revitalized. New theatres have been built, and old theaters have been restored. In the heart of the theatre district alone, Suffolk just restored their Modern Theatre. And course, I have to brag about Emerson’s own two grand theatre spaces, the Cutler Majestic and the Paramount Center. After more than three decades, the Paramount was recently restored, and it opened with a bang last year, with a formidable first season with shows from the Abby and Druid theatres. This year we have John Malkovich, Mabou Mines and Anne Bogart. In fact, this upcoming spring, I will be a dramaturg on Café Variations directed by Bogart. So, what’s not to like?

Please click the post's title to visit Magda Romanska's web page.

Paramount Center photo courtesy of, photo by P. Vanderwarker