Friday, August 31, 2012

PRESIDENTIAL TIMBER premiers at the Kennedy Center Monday, Sept 3rd

University politics get goofy when TV journalist Josie Jenkins uncovers a scandal at mythological historically Black Pemberton State University. Written by Barbara and Carlton Molette.

Call for 10-Minute Plays (Deadline 9/30)

Aurin Squire

The Decision: 2012 Play Festival
is looking for scripts

My name is Aurin Squire and I'm organizing/producing a reading festival on Nov. 10-12th (Sat-Monday) in the East village. It's a theatre series for 10-minute plays based around the theme of 'Decisions,' the 2012 election, and the shift in the nation's landscape and our worldview. After each reading night they'll be a talk-back between the writers and the audience. In the back they'll be an 'decisions' console (aka computer with webcam) where people can post their comments right online and get feedback.

This is a brand-new thing that I'm jumping into and we'll see how this turns out. But I think it will foster a lot of great debate, art, and dialogue among people after this election. No matter who wins, something has shifted and this is an opportunity to reflect, laugh, and change. Info, contact, and website is below.

The Decision: 2012 Play Festival
Deadline: September 30th

After all the hype, hoopla and voting what do we have as a nation and a people? "The Decision" is a short play reading festival about what happens after this heated election but also where we will be or should be after this November election. The plays don't have to be about politics but should address some aspect of our culture, media, and our relationships with each other.

We're looking for funny, witty, insightful, dramatic 10 minute plays. Tell us where we'll be in 2012 and beyond in our politics, media, and community. The festival will take place the weekend of Nov 10th-12th (Saturday, Sunday, Monday). They'll be a talk back after each night that will allow the audience to engage with the writers and directors.

Plays will be evaluated by a small panel of directors and producers. The top plays will be selected for the 3-day play reading festival at Three Jewels in the East Village.

-submit plays by Sept. 30th
-10 minute plays
- include your name and contact info on title page along with list of characters
-send synopsis of play in cover email
-E-mail submissions:
-check for updates on the website:

If you know other talented writers or artists, please spread the word.

Dorsey and Topaz together again! (NYC)


If I had to pick one thing about my life for Wikipedia, it would be those crazy, wonderful 90s when I was running around NYC playing piano for chanteuse extraordinaire TOPAZ, reveling in a repertoire of brilliant songs that ranged from George Gershwin to Francesca Blumenthal.

Our partnership began at a New Year's Eve party in 1991, when I sat down at a piano and started playing LA VIE EN ROSE. Across the room, Topaz just started singing and walking towards the piano and, just like in a 1930s screwball comedy, by the time she reached the piano we had a Valentine's Day gig in a Lesbian bar. Only in New York, folks.

Now, thanks to the fabulous Roxie Rogers, Topaz & I will return to the scene of the crime as her special guest artists in THE ROXIE ROGERS SHOW at NYC's famed Metropolitan Room on Tuesday, September 18th.

Roxie was just recognized by The Piano Society of Nashville as Nashville's Cabaret Artist of the Year 2012.

Needless to say, we have to sell those tickets, so if you can join us, please go to the Metropolitan Room link above and make your reservation now and we'll see you at the theatre! (If you won't be in NYC but you have friends who are, send them our way!)

Jaz Dorsey
AAPEX Dramaturg

Call for African American screenplays

This notice is from re producers looking for screenplays. To access, you must join up for the weekly email alerts. Cost is $50.00 for four months. Please note that it's rare to see a call for African American scripts.

Company C

We are looking for completed, feature-length, low-budget scripts featuring African-American characters in the drama or comedy genre. The script must already be written for African-American characters in the drama or comedy genre only. Because of the low budget, the story must set in the present day and in generally limited locations. In other words, obviously not a script that takes place in multiple states or twenty locations. Also, no car chases, choreographed action, large crowd scenes, special effects, etc.

Budget will not exceed $250,000. Non-WGA writers only may submit.

For more information on gaining access to this lead, please see

Red Harlem Readers launches new season

2012-13 SEASON
Readings on Sunday Afternoons at INDIAN CAFE
New and classic plays, essays, short stories, poems and song
and always stimulating discussion!!!!
Free admission! Complimentary spiced tea!!


Sunday, September 9th at 4:00 PM
Fundraiser for Progressive Women Candidates
Join the united front to stop the Tea Party and the
irrational agenda of the Republican Party
and its War on Women.
Proceeds will support
from around
the country, including:
Elizabeth Warren, Debbie Stabenow, Tammy Baldwin, and others.

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

Associates: Neil Fitzgerald, Anne Gefell, Jerry Hassett, and Cordis Heard
To participate as writer, director, actor, reader and/or arts administrator, please email us:

Blackboard Reading Series: Nathan Yungerberg's POUSADA AZUL (9/10-- NYC)

NEXT Blackboard:
Monday, September 10, 2012, 7:30pm

Pousada Azul
by Nathan Yungerberg

Pousada Azul is a quaint, modest guest house overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, amidst the saturated colors of Salvador da Bahia, Brazil. One rainy season in 2002, African American Expats Karen Wallace, self-appointed gatekeeper of Bahian culture and Tobias Walker, her fabulous gay husband, intertwine with their sole guest-Benjamin Douglas, a handsome but evasive New Yorker. They are visited by Karen’s best friend Eliciana Santos, a vivacious Baiana who’s carrying her first child, whose birth as foretold could possibly heal Karen

KEVIN ALAN - Ben Douglas-
DEAN ACREE - Tobias Walker
JOCELYN BIOH - Eliciana Santo

$10 Suggested Donation
Give your donation through Brown Paper Tickets!

~wine served~

Blackboard @ the cell

every 2nd Monday of the month @ the cell

338 W. 23rd Street between 8th and 9th Ave.

New York, NY 10031


Meet the playwright.

Nathan Yungerberg is a Brooklyn based playwright, originally from Minneapolis. Nathan is currently making a transition into theater after twenty years of working as a professional photographer. His play, The Son of Dawn, had a members reading at the Playwrights’ Center. Nathan has also participated in the Classical Theater of Harlem’s Playwright’s Playground reading series.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

World Premiere of Dr. Mary Weems' CONVERSATION AFTER A FUNERAL, Monday, 8/27 (Nashville)

Please click image to enlarge.

Please join us for a first look at Dr. Weems' play
(awarded Best New Play 2012
by The African American Playwrights Exchange)
at 7:00 pm on Monday,
August 27th at the
Z. Alexander Looby Theatre,
when two of Nashville's finest young actors
- Amelia Young (Junior, Franklin Road Academy)
Colin Carswell (Junior, Father Ryan Academy)
to life under the direction of
Dr. Dara Talibah.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

LAUNCHING THE RED HARLEM READERS 2012-13 SEASON starting Sunday, September 9th

Readings on Sunday Afternoons at INDIAN CAFE
New and classic plays, essays, short stories, poems and song
and always stimulating discussion!!!!
Free admission! Complimentary spiced tea!!


Sunday, September 9th at 4:00 PM

Fundraiser for Progressive Women Candidates
Join the united front to stop the Tea Party and the irrational
agenda of the Republican Party and its War on Women.
Proceeds will support Emily’s List Candidates from around
the country, including:
Elizabeth Warren, Debbie Stabenow, Tammy Baldwin, and others

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

Associates: Neil Fitzgerald, Anne Gefell, Jerry Hassett, and Cordis Heard
To participate as writer, director, actor, reader and/or arts administrator, please email

Red Harlem Readers
Sundays 4:00-6:00pm
Indian Cafe
2791 Broadway
New York, N.Y.
Follow us on Twitter:!/rhreaders
Find us on Facebook:

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Dr. Mary Weems' CONVERSATION AFTER A FUNERAL awarded Best New Play 2012. See it performed Monday August 27th (Nashville)

Two of history's most powerful and moving stories converge in Dr. Mary Weems' stirring new play CONVERSATION AFTER A FUNERAL when Anne Frank and Emmett Till meet in the afterlife just moments after Emmett's funeral.

Please join us for a first look at Dr. Weems' play - awarded Best New Play 2012 by The African American Playwrights Exchange (AAPEX) - at 7:00 pm on Monday, August 27th at the Z. Alexander Looby Theatre, when two of Nashville's finest young actors - Amelia Young (junior, Franklin Road Academy) and Colin Carswell (junior, Father Ryan Academy) bring CONVERSATION AFTER A FUNERAL to life under the direction of Dr. Dara Talibah.

The event is free.

Come to Nashville and Go to the Theatre.

Jaz Dorsey

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I The Actor Fall Classes with Petronia Paley begin 9/24 Register now and save 10% (NYC)

Please click image and then right-click,
choose 'Open Image in New Tab'
and then click to enlarge.
Please click the title's post to visit her website.

Landmark Event (Nashville)

Next Monday August 27th, 2012 will complete the first full year of the Metro Nashville Parks Theatre Department's New Play Reading Series at The Z. Alexander Looby Theatre, which I have had the honor to curate, thanks to my colleague Carolyn German, who is the Artistic Director of the Metro Theatre Department.

Over the past year we have showcased 9 properties with a dual focus, that being:

Plays by members of The African American Playwrights Exchange (AAPEX) and new works by Nashville songwriters.

The reading series began in September 2011 as a partnership between The African American Playwrights Exchange and Carolyn's department.

The casts have ranged in size from the 5 character UMBRELLA to the cast of over 30 for the reading of Mark Clayton Southers NINE DAYS IN THE SUN.

The curtain call for Southers' play, with a cast pretty much evenly split between African American and Caucasian actors, was a tribute to Nashville's outstanding acting community, and these events are intended as much as showcases for the actors as for the plays and the playwrights. Agents, casting directors and industry (film) folks are the first to receive invitations and sometimes they even come.

Speaking of UMBRELLA - the Steve Leslie/Len Cohen collaboration - this fine new musical is one of three finalists in the Boiler Room new musicals competition and just had a brief sold out run over at Bongo Java, while Jamie Cutler's WWII drama ANGELS WITHOUT WINGS got a workshop workout at The Darkhorse (ANGELS was given a Looby reading in March 2011).

Next Monday, in addition to celebrating a successful year of new play readings, we will also be celebrating the fifth anniversary of The African American Playwrights Exchange, so our August 27th event will feature two one act plays by writers who are members of AAPEX: Dr. Frank Dobson of Vanderbilt University and Dr. Mary Weems of Cleveland, Ohio and the Karamu House community of artists. These two powerful dramas deliver the kind of gestalt altering experience that only African American survivors of the 20th century United States can summon up.

Come to Nashville and Go to the Theatre.

Free: All are welcome.
Monday, August 27th
7:00 pm
The Z. Alexander Looby Theatre
2301 Rosa Parks Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Call for elementary and middle school scripts

Modjeska Playhouse is searching for scripts for an elementary school tour, target audience 3rd-5th graders, as well as scripts for a Middle School tour. We're looking for scripts with running times of under 45 minutes that can be done with a cast of 3 or 4. Subject matter is flexible, preferably educational. If you have written anything or know of any that might work, please let me know and I'd love to take a look at it. Thanks! Joeseph Alanes

AAPEX 5th Anniversary (Nashville)

The African American Playwrights Exchange will officially celebrate our 5th anniversary on Monday, August 27 when we present, in conjunction with The Metro Nashville Parks Theatre Department's New Play Reading Series (Carolyn German, Artistic Director) readings of two new scripts at The Z. Alexander Looby Theatre, 2301 Rosa Parks Boulevard.

by Dr. Frank Dobson

by Dr. Mary Weems

Special performance of Gershwin's SUMMERTIME by guest artists Michelle Glenn (vocals), Eleanor Hall (violin)

7:00 pm curtain. Free.

Come to Nashville and Go to the Theatre!

Jaz Dorsey
The African American Playwrights Exchange

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Call for screenplays

The following listing is through's weekly screenplay requests. To access the contact, you must purchase a $50.00 4-month membership (an average of 6 leads a week for 16 weeks). Still, this is rare finding a producer looking for these specifics.

Company A

We are looking for completed, feature-length scripts already written for an African-American lead in the 40s to 50s range, think Cuba Gooding Jr. The script MUST be written with this casting requirement in mind as we are not interested in changing the lead role. We are open to various genres EXCEPT horror, sci-fi, period pieces or musicals. Other than that, we are open.

Budget will not exceed $5 million. Both WGA and Non-WGA writers may submit.

For more information on gaining access to this lead, please see

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Atlanta Black Theatre Festival 10/4-7th

From: New African Grove Theatre Company

Dear New African Grove Friend,
We are excited to share with you the very first Atlanta Black Theatre Festival! From October 4th through Octonber 7th, Atlanta will become the epicenter of Black Theatre as companies from across the country will meet here for over 40 plays in 4 days. I could never tell you all there is to say about the festival, so please click the link to the ABTF website.

Please share this post with other Theatre lovers. We have an excitng event happening in our own backyard and I wanted to make sure that NAG fans were aware of it.

As always, I thank you for your support and interest in the New African Grove Theatre Company and Theatre in general.

Let's support this effort and see you at the theater,

Keith Franklin
Artistic Director
New African Grove Theatre Company

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Call for Plays


Mark Clayton Southers, artistic director for the theatre initiative at The August Wilson Center in Pittsburgh, has a series planned for the fall and is looking for plays which deal with the Black-Jewish experience.

If you have a script which fits this theme, please hit me back. Do not send scripts at this time, just get back to me and let me know what you have or if you know of someone who has an appropriate property.



Friday, August 10, 2012


Dr. Frank Dobson

Dr. Mary Weems

On Monday, August 27 we have our next reading event at
The Z. Alexander Looby Theatre
2301 Rosa Parks Boulevard
Nashville Tennessee.

This FREE event begins at 7:00 p.m

Showcasing two one acts - YOUNG MESSIAHS FLY
by Dr. Frank Dobson, Executive Director of The Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center at Vanderbilt University
by Dr. Mary Weems of Cleveland, Ohio.

YOUNG MESSIAHS FLY deals with the repercussions of the murder of a young African American basket ball star by a policeman. CONVERSATION AFTER A FUNERAL is about a meeting between Emmit Till and Anne Frank in the afterlife.

For more information contact:
Jaz Dorsey
The African American Playwrights Exchange

Come to Nashville and Go to the Theatre.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Nathan James' GROWING PAINS at 2012 United Solo Fest (NYC)

Growing Pains
Written and Performed by Nathan James
Sun., Oct. 14 at 2:00pm (running time: 80 min.)
drama, storytelling, movement, poetry, music, multimedia

“Bold, Controversial, Unapologetic.” Through spoken word poetry, monologue, and movement, GP takes a first-hand look at the mentalities and stereotypes of black males in Hip Hop culture. It masterfully taps into our humanity by examining the influence of media and upbringing over the way we view politics, beauty, each other, and most importantly ourselves. Director: Steve Broadnax. Audio Composer: Emmai Alaquiva. Recommended for: children, teenagers, adults, elderly, theatre community, LGBT community. Links: artist, video, Facebook.

2012 United Solo, the world’s largest solo theatre festival, presents one hundred solo productions! All shows are staged at Theatre ROW: 410 West 42nd Street, New York City. TICKETS, with a price of $18, are available at the Theatre ROW Box Office and online through Telecharge at You may also call Telecharge at 212-239-6200. When placing your reservation, please provide: the FESTIVAL name (United Solo Theatre Festival), the name of THEATRE (Theatre ROW – The Studio Theatre), and the specific DAY and TIME of SHOW you would like to see.

Cabaret Dramaturgy: The Impossible Dream by Jaz Dorsey

My own personal approach to dramaturgy has always been rooted in the artform known as cabaret. This has it's origins in my early career as an actor - my first paying job, at the age of 13, was in Bertolt Brecht's play CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE playing the child nephew of some despot. This introduced me to Brecht and the theatre of the Weimar Republic, which was a golden age of cabaret, as artists reacted, first to Europe's financial debacle of the 1930s and then to the rise of the Nazis.

Destiny next took me to London at the age of 14, where I saw the actual musical CABARET starring Judi Dench and the wife of Brecht's collaborator, Lotte Lenya. I was very happy to come home to the US with Lenya's autograph on my CABARET program and also completely mesmerized by the idea of cabaret. Poor young fool I for not chasing down Dame Judi - but who knew?

As a German major at University, I took two semesters of Brecht and then, in 1975 studied on Scholarship at the University of Goettingen in what was then West Germany. That was a year spent running around Europe checking out cabarets from Vienna to Munich to Paris.

Today the most brilliant cabaret scene in the world is in New York city. I was fortunate to play piano in NYC cabarets from 1990 - 1999, primarily as accompanist to a wonderful chanteuse named Topaz. We met at a New Years Eve party when I sat down at the piano and started playing LA VIE EN ROSE. Across the room Topaz started singing and walking towards the piano. By the time she got there, we had a Valentine's Day gig in a lesbian bar. Only in New York, folks, as Cindy Adams says.

But here's my point - cabaret is the best artfrom for self expression - in fact, self expression is at the core of the cabaret aesthetic. And while contemporary cabaret has been disturbingly shunted towards what tends to smack of "nightclub" acts, there is still hope for - and a serious need for - cabaret and what it has to offer. Why? Because things are edgy, there is social friction. History is working our last nerve (again) and cabaret is where we vent.

The problem is that cabaret is still somewhat esoteric in our land and therefore tends to get very inbred. Artists pour themselves into putting an act together and producing themselves only to play mostly to an audience of sympathetic peers, who want the performer on the stage to in turn come to their cabaret next week, same time, same place. And this is a damn shame because it reduces a great artform to "vanity" status, and that is really unfair (in most cases).

And a shame, because what goes on in the cabarets of New York City is honestly the pulse of what makes NYC throb - but how can the cabaret artists go after the tourist dollars when they are up against Lion King advertising budgets and campaigns? Can you sing "to dream the impossible dream"?

When an acquaintance asks me what I recommend in NYC, my first note is to go and check out what's going on at DON'T TELL MAMA which is the premiere cabaret in the Broadway district. Many of my coolest connections in Manhattan came from sitting around the piano bar crooning Jerry Herman tunes before or after a show and enough $$$ for a bourbon or four. One night I met a bunch of kids from the cast of PARADE - a musical which was at Lincoln Center and which featured my grandfather as the villain. They all knew exactly who I was. Now that was weird.

Only in New York.

Many wonderful artists who have starred or are starring in or will star in Broadway or Off Broadway or off off broadway shows hone their crafts and promote themselves between theatre gigs by channeling their talents into their cabaret, and what Duke and Doris from DeBuke are missing when they bypass the cabarets while on their New York adventure is the gourmet experience. Because in the cabarets you will come face to face with the very dna of New York's genius - the brilliant miracle of individual talent and perseverance.

Which brings me to "cabaret dramaturgy." What the fuck is cabaret dramaturgy?

If regular theatrical dramaturgy is about where the play meets society in the hands of directors, actors, designers, conductors et al. cabaret dramaturgy is about where the individual artist meets her or his self in a very mystical place and where the artistic seed, which so much of the time must submit to the artistic vision of a greater conglomerate, is able to blossom in the small garden of the self.

If that's a dainty image, just be alerted - the sprout that springs from cabaret soil is just as likely to be Audery the man-eating-plant as it is to be a-rose-is-a-rose-is-a-rose.

Come to the cabaret! And say "Hello!" I'll be performing with Roxie Rogers at the Metropolitan Room in NYC September 18th at 7:00 PM.

Tennessee Rep: A Raisin In The Sun 8/16-18 (Nashville)

Tennessee Rep Kicks off Reading Series with Classic:
A Raisin in the Sun Featured at REPaloud

REPaloud: A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
August 16 - 18, Tennessee Rep Rehearsal hall
(NPT’s Studio A, 161 Rains Avenue)
Thursday, August 16 at 7:00 pm
Friday, August 17 at 7:00 pm
Saturday, August 18 at 7:00 pm

Tickets: Free for 2012-13 Tennessee Rep season subscribers. $10 requested donation at the door for all others. Reserve seats by e-mailing or by calling 615/244-4878. Appropriate Audience: high school and above.

Set on Chicago's South Side, A Raisin in the Sun revolves around the divergent dreams and conflicts within three generations of the Younger family. When her deceased husband's insurance money comes through, Mama Lena dreams of moving to a new home and a better neighborhood in Chicago. Walter Lee, a chauffeur, has other plans, however: buying a liquor store and being his own man. Beneatha dreams of medical school. The tensions and prejudice they face form this seminal American drama. Sacrifice, trust and love among the Younger family and their heroic struggle to retain dignity in a harsh and changing world is a searing and timeless document of hope and inspiration.

The selection of A Raisin in the Sun coincides with the production of Clybourne Park, the Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winner that kicks off Tennessee Reps 28th season of live professional theatre. Clybourne Park is Bruce Norris’s response to the Hansberry classic and runs September 8 – 22 (with previews September 6 – 7) at TPAC’s Johnson Theater.

The cast for the staged reading of A Raisin in the Sun includes David Chatham, Nate Eppler, Alicia Haymer, Brandon Hirsch, Tony Morton, Rashad Rayford, Tamiko Robinson, Jackie Welch, Jennifer Whitcomb-Oliva, and Shawn Whitsell.

Tennessee Repertory Theatre’s REPaloud features staged readings of classic and contemporary plays. Other readings scheduled for the 2012-13 season include A Behanding in Spokane by Martin McDonagh in November and Mr. and Mrs. Fitch by Douglas Carter Beane in April. For more information on REPaloud, visit

Since 1985, Tennessee Repertory Theatre has been a critically acclaimed regional theatre, creating the highest quality professional productions and by serving as a prime cultural, educational, and economic resource within the Nashville and Middle Tennessee communities. Tennessee Rep produces work that is designed, built, and rehearsed in Nashville by highly skilled actors, designers, directors, and technicians. A non-profit organization, Tennessee Rep is committed to consistently delivering thought-provoking theatre each year. For more information on the Tennessee Repertory Theatre, please visit .

# # #

Producing Artistic Director René D. Copeland will be available for live or taped interviews beginning Monday, August 6.

Complimentary seats are available for media representatives. Please contact Pat Patrick here to inquire about availability.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Black Audiences Should Feel Included Rather than Targeted: What Is the Theatre Industry Doing to Reach Them?

Tamika Sayles
I've always been a theatre kid at heart. And nothing says summer like a theatre trip to New York, a place teeming with theatre spectators, many of whom, like myself travel to experience what Broadway has to offer.

This year, my eyes are fixated on the Gershwin's Porgy & Bess revival featuring five-time Tony award winner Audra McDonald. It's not often that Black casts are featured on Broadway, and even rarer for the lead actress to win a Tony for Best Performance in a Musical. Such is the case for Audra McDonald. As a theatregoer, the show is a seemingly rare opportunity to experience Black theatre on Broadway -- a place often perceived as uncharted territory for Black audiences. That perception appears to be declining as the theatre industry relies on celebrities, and nontraditional casting to target Black audiences.

To continue reading this article by Tamika Sayles on the Huffington Post, please click the post's title.

Jaz Dorsey joins Roxie Rogers at the Metropolitan Room 9/18 (NYC)

To learn more, please click the post's title.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Nashville August Theatrical Events

The Nashville Dramaturgy Project is pleased to invite you to the following free events this month.

August 14 - 7:00 pm
Irish Pub Theatre at McNamara's Irish Pub -
Ann Street-Kavanagh directs a Readers Theatre presentation of THE PREDICAMENT, a new Irish comedy by St. Louis playwright Pat Conroy, who will be traveling to Nashville - so come meet the playwright.

August 23 - 6:30 pm
@ The Nashville Songwriters Association -

August 27 - 7:00 pm
YOUNG MESSIAHS FLY - a reading of a new play by Dr. Frank Dobson, Director of The Bishop Joesph Johnson Black Cultural Center at Vanderbilt University.
Directed by Shawn Whitsell, presented by The Metro Nashville Parks Theatre Department's New Play Reading Series at The Z. Alexander Looby Theatre and presented in partnership with The Destiny Theatre Experience and The African American Playwrights Exchange.

For further details, contact Jaz Dorsey at 615-915-0891 or at this email address.

Come to Nashville and Go to the Theatre!

Speaking of which - don't miss THE NUTTY PROFESSOR at TPAC, ANGELS WITHOUT WINGS at The DarkHorse and UMBRELLA UpStairs After Hours at Bongo Java and for the full picture visit

Cultural Weekly interview with dramaturg Anne Hamilton

Anne Hamilton

Please click the post's title to read my interview of dramaturg Anne Hamilton
on Adam Leipzig's fantastic cultural review.
It's weekly!
It's cultural!
It's Cultural Weekly!

Jaz Dorsey
AAPEX Dramaturg

Inventing Theatre in America by Jaz Dorsey

The American Theatre could certainly rest on it's laurels - and why shouldn't it? I mean, we've got Broadway. Who else has Broadway? And the 1900s produced a century of playwrights that ranged from Cole Porter to Lilian Hellman to Eugene O'Neill to Neil Simon to Lorraine Hansberry to Edward Albee to Susan Lori Parks. To name but a small few. In fact, there are enough brilliant American dramas and musicals to keep our nation's community and regional theatres hopping for the next century. But is that enough for us Americans? Hell no!

Let's face it, amigos mios, somewhere along our national course, this country was bitten by a very serious theatre bug and even as we go careening into cyberspace, with u-tube and my-tube (we should maybe get our tubes tied) and daemon digitalization of all things entertainment, live theatre just keeps on coming and audiences just keep on going. In fact, live theatre may be the only thing keeping us human as we have known human to be up until this point. And while we may indeed spontaneously mutate before our own iPhones into something other than flesh and bone one day, the happy fact is that we haven't yet and it still feels good to go out, hang out and laugh and cry at the human predicament as only live theatre can lay it out (literally) before us.

There can be no denying that New York City is the birth place of all of this wonder, but at this turn in history pretty much every corner of the American theatre is peopled with artists who have paid their NYC dues and chosen, for whatever reason, to move on to other places.

So every day, those of us who are in the theatre wake up to the never ending challenge of inventing theatre in a new moment and for a new purpose. We have the luxury of a world canon of dramatic literature that we can study and explore, an academy of acting gurus whose disciples we can enjoy being, and ever expanding technologies which we can use to bring magic to the stage. And a land where we are free to celebrate all of this from sea to shining sea.

I don't know what you say to all of this, but I say

Come to Nashville and Go to the Theatre!

Jaz Dorsey
The Nashville Dramaturgy Project

ANGELS WITHOUT WINGS review byJaz Dorsey (Nashville)

ANGELS WITHOUT WINGS - Review by Jaz Dorsey, The Nashville Dramaturgy Project

Jamie Cutler has assembled a fine cast of Nashville actresses (& actors) for the debut run of her WWII drama ANGELS WITHOUT WINGS, a very personal play which remembers her mother and others who were the first women to join the American military as pilots.

When she first wrote ANGELS, she did not know that the time would come when President Obama would honor these women with a medal - or that it would be her mother's image which would grace the medal - but these historic details certainly add poignancy to what was already a stirring story of both patriotism and the history of women's rights in the 20th century.

ANGELS is a remarkable and timely history lesson, which starts in the lobby of The Darkhorse with a fascinating display of articles, photos and magazine covers and continues in the theatre with a fine slide show which, among other things, transports us to the town of Sweetwater, Texas, where the training of these women pilots took place.

The evening begins with a recorded curtain speech, delivered military style, which instructs the audience as to how to find the latrines and which way to exit in case of an air raid, and ends with a curtain call right off the fields of West Point.

In between, we eavesdrop on the barracks life and field training of six diverse women who, each for her own reason, has chosen to join the military (though it's a bit unclear which branch) and take to the skies. The women are at one and the same time unusually ambitious for their time and yet still very much the product of their generation and culture - which means that there is as much banter about men, boyfriends and husbands as there is about flying and the war that is casting it's bleak shadow across American lives. Among the mix are a Jewish gal from the NorthEast and an African American gal from California (who also happens to be pregnant and whose husband is MIA) - opening the door for some humorous (if slightly uncomfortable) moments when the four "all american" girls admit that they have never met a Jew before or wonder what their families would say if they knew that their daughter was garrisoned with a "person of color." As much as it is about the military, ANGELS WITHOUT WINGS is also a reflection on ways in which the war began to break down barriers and pave the way for the social pendulum that swung from the 50s to the 60s.

Cutler's play is very much an ensemble piece and one could feel the merging of that energy as the cast stepped out in front of an audience for the first time. The minimal set is effective and the lighting does a fine job of defining the play's actions, while classic music of the era - a music always does - takes us on the journey.

The members of the ensemble include Britt Byrd, Halee Culicerto, Briana Ferrie, Sean Hills, Kyla Lowder, Courtney McClellan, Kevin Shell, and Elizabeth Walsh. They rise to the occasion and give ANGELS it's wings.

The DarkHorse run continues this Friday - Sunday, August 3 - 5. Tickets online at

Come to Nashville and Go to the Theatre.

Roxie Rogers at the Metropolitan Room (NYC)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Jeff Stetson's FRATERNITY at Ebony Rep (LA)

To learn more and to purchase tickets to the "Early Bird Special"
now playing through September 7th, please click the post's title.

Can I Get A Witness? - A Review: THE NUTTY PROFESSOR by Jaz Dorsey

Can I Get A Witness? - A Review: THE NUTTY PROFESSOR by Jaz Dorsey, The Nashville Dramaturgy Project

THE NUTTY PROFESSOR starts off with a bang - literally - and quite a big bang at that, involving some serious pyrotechnics coming up out of the orchestra pit. Given the anticipation that has been building around these parts as we all waited for opening night, nothing could have been more appropriate.

From there, the evening was one of the most moving experiences of my theatrical career, just like being in the room when a baby is born, watching a new life come into the world, so that every word of dialogue and every note of music was a new moment of wonder. And this new life comes into the world with a history that makes it legendary from the git go.

For one thing, we here in Music City get to witness a very fine young actor create a role in a show which has been created as a vehicle especially for him - and Michael Andrew and his talents absolutely merit the adventure. As an actor we couldn't ask more of him - his squeaky, slappy footed Julius Kelp and his suavely singing, sociopathic Romeo, Buddy Love, are, simply put, brilliant - and then catapulted to a whole 'nother level because you can so feel the love he is putting into what he's doing. His Buddy Love reminded me more than anything of Dean Martin.

As for Marissa McGowan, she is everything Jerry Lewis promised us she would be ( hey - I thought it was hype!) especially when she sings.

The secondary love interest - between Dean Warfield (Mark Jacoby) and Miss Lemon (Klea Blackhurst) - gives us two showstoppers in Act Two - Warfield's hilarious TAKE THE STAGE and Miss Lemon's duet (with Buddy) to solo turn at the end of the show. (I'm assuming that y'all are all going to see the show, so there's no need for me to inventory the song titles!)

The show itself is silly, sweet and sentimental - and frankly it's been a while since we've seen silly, sweet and sentimental like this and you know what - we NEED silly, sweet and sentimental.

And you can tell that the audience loves the characters because the characters all get their feelings hurt over and over again and each time it happens, the audience goes "aaaawww." I totally teared up more than once.

While at first glance one might see THE NUTTY PROFESSOR as a nostalgic tweet from an era gone by, there's a theme here that hits home today: Science changes things, sometimes really fast, and it is important for us humans to hold on to who we really are. It's almost as if Buddy Love is Professor Kelp's Facebook persona, which makes the whole thing very contemporary if you buy my take on it.

But nostalgia is definitely the ambiance du jour here. JoAnn Hunter's "American Bandstand" choreography really lets us old folks show the grand kids what fun was like back in the day. The dances are innocent and sexy at the same time, and Ann Hould-Ward's wonderful costumes dance and sing right along with the actors, giving us a musical kaleidoscope in purple and green.

If I sit here and gush about Jerry Lewis' directing, Marvin Hamlisch's music and Rubert Holmes' book and lyrics, those good gentlemen might think I'm sucking up to them, so I wont' do that.

In fact, I've said enough. I'd much rather you go see the show and tell me what you think.

Can I get a witness?

Come to Nashville and Go to the Theatre!

To learn more and to buy tickets, please click the post's title.