Sunday, September 30, 2012

Shalom, Buckhead!

Please Click to Enlarge.

The magic of theatre is that it takes us places we couldn't get to any other way, and this month it just so happens that two Williamson County theatre companies offer Nashville theatre goers the unique opportunity to experience my hometown of Atlanta through the eyes of DRIVING MISS DAISY author Alfred Uhry with the Towne Centre production of THE LAST NIGHT OF BALLYHOO, which opened this weekend, and the Boiler Room production of PARADE which opens next Friday, October 5. 

Both plays strike strong personal chords - PARADE because it is in part about my own family and BALLYHOO because the home in which it is set would be - at least theoretically - maybe a ten minute walk from my grandmother's house at 99 Peachtree Battle Avenue - and I have to admit to being overwhelmed with both nostalgia and homesickness as I immersed myself in Towne Center's absolutely charming production of LAST NIGHT OF BALLYHOO. 

Please click to enlarge.

Towne Centre, which is located in Brentwood, has got to be the Nashville theatre scene's best kept secret and I can't quite figure out why. It's a wonderful space - maybe the sweetest little theatre in towne - and for Melissa Williams' right on production of BALLYHOO, the audience practically walks right in to what could easily serve as a museum exhibit for a Buckhead parlor. Just checking out the furniture on Pete Hiett's marvelous set is worth a road trip down Franklin Pike, but what these actors deliver on that set would make it worth while if you had to drive to Kentucky. W. Preston Crook is flat out brilliant in his understated performance as Adolf Freitag, the prototypical Buckhead patriarch drowning in a sea of females, and. as his sister Boo (Beulah), Jan Parrish Hendon is fierce in the role of an Atlanta widow with all the attitude and social radar of an Atlanta junior leaguer - if only she wasn't, you know, Jewish. 

But just how "Jewish" are these people? The litmus test shows up at the door in the character of one Joe Farkas - a fine turn by Jon Castro - a nice Brooklyn boy who attends not one but two Seder dinners every year. Joe falls in love with Adolf's niece, Sunny (can't say enough about Lindsay Carter in this role) and just to put the issues in perspective, Sunny doesn't know what the Seder is. Welcome to Atlanta. 

Meanwhile, Sunny's cousin, Lala, is having delusions of Scarlett O'Hara (the play is set on the eve of the premiere of GONE WITH THE WIND) while decorating the Christmas tree - whose ornaments include several stars of David. Lala is undoubtedly the most enigmatic character in this story and the gazelle like Jami Winfrey is just cutting her teeth on the role, so I'm going back in four weeks to see where she goes with it.

Vicki Songer's delightful Reba is a titillating fusion of Aunt PityPat, Fannie Brice and Birdie from LITTLE FOXES and there is much about Uhry's mythical Southern world that echos back to that other wonderful Southern Jewish playwright, Lillian Hellman

Rounding out the ensemble is a pip of a young actor named Taylor Sokoll as "Peachy" Weil - another nice Jewish boy, but this time from Louisiana and one of "the best Southern Families" - well, if you're Jewish, that is. 

And they all look spectacular in Natalie Stone's superb period costumes - especially Lala's hysterical ball gown which is bound to provoke memories of Carol Burnet's killer line - " I just saw it in the window and had to have it." (For those of you who remember.) 

As an immediate male relative of any number of former presidents of the Atlanta Junior League, LAST NIGHT OF BALLYHOO and the world of Jewish debutantes is about the funniest satire I have ever seen on the world that I grew up in. Some of Boo's special brand of "Buckhead sarcasm" made me feel like I was in some kind of family therapy group session, but for anyone who is NOT from Atlanta, just know in advance that Atlanta and her particular brand of Southern culture are among the weirder contributions to civilization and no one captures that better than Uhry and his masterful depiction of the conflicted gestalt of Southern Jewish society. 

That conflict has roots which, in stark contrast to BALLYHOO, will hit the stage in The Boiler Room's almost Brechtian production of director Sondra Morton's take on PARADE, Urhy's collaboration with composer Jason Robert Brown about the trial and lynching of Leo Frank, in which you can see my grandfather sing, dance and prosecute Leo Frank. Opens October 5th.

What's Atlanta all about? Find out. Come to Nashville and go to the Theatre.,

Jaz Dorsey 
The Nashville Dramaturgy Project

Friday, September 28, 2012

Red Harlem Readers

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Call for 10-minute Plays

Towne Street Theatre Is Accepting Submissions For 6th Annual Ten-Minute Play Festival Los Angeles, CA - 

Towne Street Theatre is now accepting submissions for its 6th Annual Ten-Minute Play Festival. The festival will be presented in February 2013 at the Stella Adler Theatre in Hollywood, CA. 

This year's theme is "The Black Experience - Past, Present, & Future," in honor of Black History Month and Towne Street's 20th Anniversary Season. 

Please submit plays that are relative to ALL of the black experience; relationships, friendships, family, cultural intersections, politics, etc. Plays can be historical, contemporary, or futuristic, and all genres - comedy, drama, satire, etc. are welcomed. Playwrights of all ethnicites and ages are encouraged to submit their work, including plays with color blind and / or multi-racial casts. 

Rules And Guidelines There are no processing fees, but please do not submit more than one play. Please make sure your play is only TEN MINUTES in length and submit it to tstsubmit@yahoo. com. There will be prizes for the first, second, and third place audience favorites and all playwrights selected will receive an honorarium. 

The submission deadline is November 1, 2012. For more information about Towne Street's 6th Annual Ten-Minute Play Festival, visit www.townestreet. org or email info@townestreet. org.

Monday, September 24, 2012

AAPEX Interview: Andre De Shields

Andre De Shields

What role did theatre and the arts play in your childhood and upbringing? 
At the age of nine, upon witnessing the film Cabin in the Sky, my life was forever changed. In particular, it was John William Sublett--famously known as "Bubbles," in the role of Domino Johnson, who provided the epiphany that irrevocably placed me on the path to performing artist. 

Tell us about your own evolution as an artist. 
As a performing artist I am best described as an autodidact. Having never formally trained, my lessons in craft and sustainability came from growing up with ten siblings in the inner city of Baltimore, Maryland. You might say I trained in the school of Hard Knocks. 

For you, personally, what are the highlights of your career? 
The highlight of my career was the winter of 1966, when my motherland sister traveled by Greyhound bus to Wilmington, Ohio to witness my performance as Walter Lee Younger in a college production of A Raisin in the Sun. I had just turned 19. 

What is the one role you most want to tackle at this point in your career and why? 
In the commercial canon the role I most want to tackle is the role of the king in The King and I for two reasons: Yul Brynner was a childhood idol of mine, and I believe the most authentic ethnicity for that character is Afro-Asian. 

When people come to see "I Put A Spell On You" what are they going to get? 
When people come to see I Put A Spell On You, they are going to get a rousing introduction to the Other American Song Book, which is best described as R&B--not only rhythm and blues, but rough and black.

To buy tickets to "I Put A Spell On You," please click here.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Andre De Shields in I PUT A SPELL ON YOU (NYC)

Please click to enlarge.

To learn more and to order tickets,
please click here.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Call for Plays

The following is a compilation by Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU), a free newsletter with great info for playwrights and anyone interested in the theatre world. To get links/contacts/phone numbers for the submissions below, please visit the TRU website.

NEW! BA-RACK STARS AND MITT WITS - SUBMIT TO POLITICAL PLAY READING The Decision: 2012 Play Festival welcomes submissions! 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. The festival is looking for funny, witty, insightful, dramatic plays of 10 minutes. Imagine where we’ll be in 2012 and beyond in our politics, media, and community. Plays will be evaluated by a small panel of directors and producers. The top plays will be selected for the three-day play reading festival at Three Jewels in the East Village. The festival will take place the weekend of 11/10 - 11/12 (Saturday, Sunday, Monday). They’ll be a talkback after each night that will allow the audience to engage with the writers and directors. Guidelines: Submission deadline is 9/30. Length limit is 10 minutes. Include your name and contact info on the title page along with a list of characters. Send a synopsis of your play in a cover email. Direct submissions to NEW! AT DENVER PLAYWRITING FESTIVAL, EVERY NIGHT IS LADIES’ NIGHT! Athena Project invites submissions from female playwrights to its Plays in Progress series. Located at The Aurora Fox Theatre in Denver, CO, the series unfolds from 3/15/13 - 3/31/13 as part of a larger arts festival. Four new plays will be selected through a blind submission process and given workshop productions. Among these, one will receive a full production in March of 2014. Scripts accepted from now until midnight on 11/1/12. 

NEW! CONSIDER THE SOURCE! Source Theatre Festival 10-Minute Festival looking for Directors and Playwrights. Each year, Source Festival in D.C. produces 18 new 10-Minute Plays. Scripts are staged by a wide cross section Washington theatre directors, from early career to seasoned veterans. The 18 selected playwrights receive a $100 stipend and 5 performances of their play in Source’s 100-seat black box theatre in DC’s buzzing Mid-City District. Directors will be selected and receive a stipend as well. Deadline to apply: 10/09. The Source Festival is driven by creativity, collaboration and invention. The most successful scripts tell an original story in a fresh distinctive voice. Other requirements are as follows: • Plays may not have been previously produced or published; • Playwrights may submit only one 10-Minute Play; • Plays may be no longer than 10 pages and must be submitted as a PDF; • Playwrights must be based in the United States. We are not currently accepting international submissions. Go to website to submit work. 

NEW! EAT IS HUNGRY FOR FRESH WORK Submit your play or musical to the Emerging Artists Theatre’s ninth annual New Work Series! The series is a three-week developmental festival that provides artists of different disciplines the opportunity to present one night of a “work in progress” with audience feedback. Successful Fringe, NYMF, and Off Broadway shows have come out of this festival. EAT offers the festival free of charge to all participants. However, it does not provide an audience. For the success of your show and the festival, artists are expected to advertise and promote their own show. If you do not think you can adequately provide an audience, please do not apply. The festival is scheduled to run during March 2013 at the TADA! Theater in NYC. All application materials must be postmarked by 10/15/2012.  The four series now accepting submissions are: - One Woman Standing (OWS): a series of one-woman shows in all stages of development. Male or female playwrights may apply. Running time: 5 - 60 minutes. - One Man Talking (OMT): a series of one-man shows in all stages of development. Male or female playwrights may apply. Running Time 5 - 60 minutes. - Well Noted Shorts (WNS): a series of short musicals 15 minutes or less in all stages of development. - Notes From a Page (NFP): a series of full-length ensemble musicals in all stages of development. Open to NYC, NJ, or CT composers/lyricists. Please include a CD and full or partial script with your submission. 

NEW! CASH IN ON OPENINGS IN SHORT-PLAY LAB John Chatterton’s Short Play Lab is back in action for the new season and looking for new scripts! First-time participants are welcome! The rules are easy-peasy: Plays should be 1-10 pages in standard playscript format. That means 12 point font, Times Roman, character names in the middle on their own line, line spaces between speeches and between speeches and stage directions, as well as indented stage directions. Include a title page with contact info as the first page of the script. Submit scripts in Microsoft Word format. The shorter the better; shorter plays get priority. Deadline is 10/5 for performances end of October. Notification will be immediately after submission. Get that script in pronto—the sooner you do, the more time you’ll have to prepare. You produce the play; the SPL provides the theater (at the Roy Arias Studios, 300 West 43rd Street). Productions must be non-union: no showcases please! (And no Equity waivers, either.) Keep production values to a minimum: costumes and hand props are okay. The SPL provides rehearsal cubes, chairs, a table or two, a board op, box office, and venue management. There are no fees. The SPL keeps the door. Tickets are $20. Each playwright and director get to watch their show for free. There are no other comps. Comps are not transferable. There will be a tech rehearsal on the afternoon of 9/22. Be off-book, please! Plays not off-book during tech will be removed from the lineup. Plays get a maximum of either 15 minutes of tech (1-5 pages) or 30 minutes of tech (6-10 pages). Every play gets two performances, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. Each play will be part of one of two programs, and each program will be performed twice. THE MOST POPULAR PRODUCTION IN EACH PROGRAM RECEIVES A CASH PRIZE OF $75. Winners are determined by polling patrons. The SPL is a lot of fun and a good way to see your work on its feet in a supportive environment. It's also a great way to see actors and directors at work, so you can recruit people for later productions. Artistic Director Tom Thornton is in charge of all details of reading/curating plays for the Lab. 

NEW! GET YOUR ONE-ACTS OUT TO THE COMMUNITY American Association of Community Theatre (AACT) launches the AACTNewPlayFest. AACT is answering a critical need: developing exciting new plays that our audiences will enjoy. There is no shortage of new works, especially by unpublished playwrights. But how do theatres find the time to read them and cull out the ones their communities will enjoy? This was the challenge presented to AACT by a member playwright a couple of years ago. AACTNewPlayFest will be a national new play festival – that takes place over a two year period. But unlike AACTFest, productions don’t have to travel. Selected theatres will produce the winning scripts in their local communities. AACT will spread the buzz with nation-wide promotion! Call for Scripts: Plays need to be full-length, non-musicals that have never had a full production. Submissions will be accepted 9/1 thru 11/1. No fee for AACT member playwrights; $10 fee for non-members. Only one script per playwright accepted. Click here for Playwright information, submission guidelines, and link to submission form. 

KENTUCKY FESTIVAL SAYS YES TO NEW PLAYS Northern Kentucky University’s Department of Theatre and Dance seeks submissions for the 2013 Y.E.S. Festival of New Plays! Full-length plays and musicals are eligible. Three selected playwrights will each receive a cash prize of $500 and an expense-paid visit to NKU to see their plays in production. The selected plays will receive a full production, and one additional play may receive a staged reading. Selections will be made and winners notified no later than 12/31/12. Submission deadline is 9/30. Material must not have had a previous professional or university production. It is important that selected playwrights be available to visit the festival about a week before opening so that their visit can be arranged to include late rehearsals and the premiere of their play. Festival dates are 4/11/13 - 4/21/13. The visiting dates are at the discretion of the festival. Playwrights and the directors of their plays will participate in one post-show question-and-answer session with the audience. Follow the link provided by NKU Theatre & Dance for full guidelines and an entry form. 

TIME 2 SUBMIT 1 ACTS 4 THEATRE 3 FESTIVAL Theatre Three is now accepting submissions for its 16th Annual Festival of One-Act Plays! The festival will take place in March 2013 at the Ronald F. Peierls Theatre in Port Jefferson, NY. Selected plays will be presented for ten performances. Maximum duration is 40 minutes; no minimum. No adaptations, musicals, children's plays, or previously produced works. Settings should be simple or suggested. Scripts must be postmarked by 9/30. Winners will receive a small stipend. 

ALL THE WORLD’S A PLATFORM IN THIS POLITICAL PLAY CONTEST The Mario Fratti-Fred Newman Political Play Contest 2013 seeks entries! The Castillo Theatre sponsors this contest annually. Now in its sixth year, the competition is intended to encourage the writing of scripts for the stage that engage the political/social/cultural questions affecting the world today and/or historical events and issues that impact on our political/cultural heritage. While Castillo recognizes that in the broadest sense, all theatre is political, the contest is seeking politically progressive plays that look at social and/or economic problems and challenges, explore possibilities of social transformation, reflect the concerns and interests of communities, and/or explore the importance of community. The contest also welcomes scripts that experiment with form and seek new ways of seeing and experiencing theatrical performance. Scripts may be written in any style, set in any historical time, geographic or imaginary location, contain any number of characters, and be of any length. The winner(s) will be publicly announced at the Otto René Castillo Awards for Political Theatre in New York City in May of 2013. The winning script(s) will receive a reading and/or a production at the Castillo Theatre in New York City during the theatre’s 2013 summer season. All submissions must be postmarked by 10/1

The Dove Theater has launched its official website! (Philly)

"On behalf of the Organizing Committee, I would like to introduce you to The Dove Theater, a Christian theater that aims to reveal God through the performing arts. It has launched it's official website!"
Tamara Woods 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Red Harlem Readers

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Issa Rae's Awkward Black Girl

Played by series creator, director and co-writer Issa Rae, this is another great example of playwrights getting pro-active with their careers. You can learn more about her on her website by clicking here.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Red Harlem Readers

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 16th at 4:00 PM

A reading from a passionate story of a young girl's
struggle to deal with a maze of familial conflicts.
Read by author Joan Hawkins with Jody Prusan*,
Kevin Stanfa*, and Ron Kuriloff

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.

New York City schools: Teaching to the new Eloi

Fellow playwrights, take this as a cautionary tale
when considering pitching your plays to the NYC schools.

In H.G. Wells' The Time Machine, the Eloi were the insipid, mindless above-ground inhabitants of Earth in the future. The Morlocks were the troglodyte-like cretins who lived and worked underground to feed the Eloi and to create and sustain their world. I thought of them when I stumbled upon this post while searching for information on NYC school textbook purchasing. It was written by book editor Annie Keeghan re the NYC school's 'list" of what topics/words are deemed acceptable in books/tests purchased by the school system. In order not to offend anyone, books with topics and words like "dinosaur, mp3 players, and cell phones" probably won't be accepted because they might bring up the science of evolution or remind some kids they're poor. In my mind, these are the first kind of steps needed to create a race of ignorant silly folk. In frustration, Keeghan asks what else will be banned:

Terrorism certainly isn’t a surprising exclusion, but slavery? There are no guidelines given, so the context of this reference is in question. Certainly some of the most historically significant topics, such as the Slave Papers or the writings of Frederick Douglass or the heroism of Harriett Tubman aren’t intended to be excluded from tests. Or are they? We don’t know. Because lists like the ones coming out of New York offer no definitive explanations or guidelines; they raise only more questions, inspire fear in editors responsible for decision-making, and create a general reluctance on the part of publishers to go near any topic remotely off-limits.

Dinosaurs was a curious exclusion on the New York list, I have to admit. One of the most consistent drumbeats for reading product is for publishers to create “high-interest” material to stimulate reluctant readers. As a product developer and writer, this becomes increasingly difficult as more topics are relegated to “lists.” What’s left to write about that kids can relate to, that kids have interest in, that allows for tapping prior knowledge and the application of real-life concepts when all sense of real-life is removed from the academic experience? Studies show that the topic of dinosaurs is a particular favorite of struggling male readers. But now, because of “the list”, that one’s gone. Poof. Vanished. Extinct. The reasoning? Dinosaurs might inspire debate about evolution, as if the existence of dinosaurs was a theory and not a reality. And this is from educators! Apparently science and theology cannot coexist, which, if I recall my history correctly, was the reason Galileo was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1633.

Have we not moved beyond the 17th century?

The issue about slavery and dinosaurs begs another question: If these topics are banned in state tests, how long before these topics are lost or diluted in science and history texts? What other topics are in jeopardy? You may think I’m exaggerating, but I assure you, I’m not. This is how critical decisions about curriculum content are made when there are lists out there. Editors and publishers go beyond the list to anticipate what else might get the thumbs down from whoever is going to review the materials and make the ultimate decision to purchase. Because if the mention of a birthday is going to evoke something unpleasant, well, so might the mention of a Quinceañera or some other celebration. If dinosaurs are taboo, does that mean other archeological discoveries will be black listed? Are ancient Egyptians or the Mayan people in jeopardy? After all, there are some cultural rituals and beliefs that might offend. And if you can’t mention mp3 players or video games or home computers, what other everyday luxury items have the potential to cause emotional harm? Cars? Cell phones? The debate will be endless, the fallout widespread.

To read the full article, please click here.

Tony Award-Winning PARADE opens 10/5 (Nashville)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 12, 2012
Contact: Corbin Green, Managing Director 615-596-1549
Sondra Morton, Operations Manager 615-294-0667


FRANKLIN, TENN. – The Boiler Room Theatre (BRT), Williamson County’s original and longest-running professional theatre company, follows its successful run of Steel Magnolias with Jason Robert Brown’s Tony Award Winning PARADE. The production will run from October 5th through the 20th at the theatre’s iconic namesake venue in the historic Factory at Franklin, 230 Franklin Rd., Building Six, in Franklin, Tennessee.

With book by Alfred Uhry (Pulitzer Prize for DRIVING MISS DAISY) and music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown (THE LAST FIVE YEARS), PARADE had its world premiere at Lincoln Center Theater in 1998. It won the Tony Awards for best book and score, and the Drama Desk and New York Critics’ Circle awards for Best Musical. The show quickly built an international following for its haunting score and powerful narrative and has subsequently been produced by renowned companies around the world, including recent acclaimed productions in London and Los Angeles. Thanks to the BRT production, PARADE will finally have its Middle Tennessee premiere.

PARADE takes place in 1913 Atlanta, Georgia. After a teenaged factory employee is assaulted and murdered, Leo Frank, the young Jewish manager of the factory, is charged with the crime. By manipulating witnesses and tampering with evidence, the prosecution sets about convincing the jury that the wrongly accused Frank is guilty. Considered one of the most sensational trials of the early 20th century, the Frank case pressed every hot-button issue of the time: North vs. South, black vs. white, Jewish vs. Christian, industrial vs. agrarian. The musical recounts the press frenzy and public outrage surrounding the trial and conviction, including the crusade for justice amid religious intolerance, political injustice and racial tension fought by Frank’s wife, Lucille. “This show holds such an important message about prejudice and stereotypes,” says director Sondra Morton. “It is an influential part of our southern history. I am honored to direct such an incredible and integral piece of work. My hope is that each audience member leaves reflecting on who they are and how they perceive others.”

Morton’s company of 17 actors, who will play the musical’s 40 roles, includes many of Middle Tennessee’s finest talent. Having recently directed the acclaimed Pippin for the BRT, Paul Cook stars as Leo Frank. Back after her tour de force portrayal of Diana in Next to Normal is Megan Murphy Chambers as his wife Lucille Frank. Also starring are Matt Baugher as Hugh Dorsey, Jordan Ravellette as Britt Craig, Josh Lowry as Frankie, Laura Crockarell as Sally and Ms. Phagan, Dominique Howse as Jim Conley, Hope Dyra as Mary Phagan, Morganne Best as Iola Stover, Paige Brouillette as Essie, Arden Guice as Monteen, Colin Carswell as Newt Lee, Piper Jones as Minnie, and rounding out the cast by playing several characters are Dan McGeachy, Dan Ziegler, Flynt Foster, and Darci Wantiez.

Jamey Green and Lauri Bright serve as PARADE’S musical director and choreographer, respectively, while Jayme Smith (stage manager), Corbin Green (set design) and Katie Delaney (costumes) make up its production team.

A unique feature of this production is the use of Jaz Dorsey, the grandson of the controversial prosecuting attorney depicted in PARADE, as its dramaturge. “Doing the dramaturgy means doing the research, and the first book one grabs these days on the subject of Leo Frank is AND THE DEAD SHALL RISE by Steve Oney. Oney's book isn't just about Leo Frank - it is an amazing and compelling history of Atlanta at the turn of the century, so rich in research and knowledge that one paragraph can provoke an entire day Googling the various players who keep coming on the scene. From Oney I learned that Leo's defense attorney, Luther Rosser, was directly connected to the Dorsey clan, as his son, Luther Rosser, Jr. was married to my grandfather's sister. Creepy. It seems that there is much that is suspect about Rosser's defense. Can you say ‘conflict of interest’?”

Performances will be held every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday evening during the run at 8 p.m. There will also be one Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. on October 14 and one Thrifty Thursday show at 8 p.m. on October 18. Ticket prices are $27 for adults, $25 for seniors (age 60 and up) and students (age 13 through college with valid ID), and $21 for children ages 3 through 12. Matinee prices are $2 less respectively. All Tuesday shows are two-for-one ($27 for two tickets; no other discounts apply). Thrifty Thursdays allow guests to beat the weekend crowds and grab tickets at the bargain price of $17. Tickets may be purchased by calling the Boiler Room Theatre at 615-794-7744 or ordered online at

Following Parade, A Special Revival of the Rocky Horror Show (Directed by Megan Murphy Chambers), then continuing with our 2012 season, A Year With Frog and Toad, and Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge running in repertory. Tickets can be purchase by contacting the BRT Box Office at 615-794-7744.
# # #
The Boiler Room Theatre (BRT) is Williamson County’s first and longest-running resident professional theatre company, established in 2000, launching its inaugural season in March 2001. A 501(c)(3) non-profit Arts organization, BRT’s mission is to present intimate stagings of classic Broadway musicals, area premieres of recent off-Broadway plays and musicals, and original works by local playwrights and composers. BRT’s Youth Educational Programs (YEP!) and its partnership with performance group the ACT TOO Players have provided theatre arts instruction and performance opportunities to more than 10,000 children since its inception in 2001.

Warren Bodow's Second Act on Cultural Weekly

“Life is wanting. You stop wanting, you stop living.”

“At 73,” says playwright Warren Bodow, “I am what I am, so I have determined to write plays about older people who face issues, problems and conflicts that are largely the result of living beyond the traditional retirement age of 65.”

With these words, Bodow, it seems, speaks not only for himself but also for an entire generation of amazing American theatre artists who are more likely to be found in the director’s chair than the rocking chair.

To continue reading, please click the post's title.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Evelyn Collins to take her original musical "Born To Sing" on the road

Preparing a tour of my original musical "Born to Sing." Tour begins in New York and will travel to Ann Arbor in May 2013. More cities to be added . The production is sponsored in part by my sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha (Tau Omega and Delta Psi Omega Chapters) with proceeds to benefit their scholarship fund. Openings for additional chapters on this Northeastern leg of the tour are available.

A note from AAPEX: This is another great example of playwrights and creatives becoming pro-active in their careers, something we've been advocating since we began 6 years ago. Don't wait to be "validated," i.e., funded, get creative and do it yourself.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

You're Invited to The Black Theatre Network's First NYC Mixer 9/17

Northeast Regional Council

For Our First Annual NY Mixer
For Black Theatre Professionals

B. Smith’s Restaurant - 320 West 46th Street
(between 8th & 9th Aves.)

Monday, September 17, 2012 from 6:15-8:00pm

Come share delicious hors d’oeuvres and
meet other artists, actors, dramaturges,
directors, playwrights and designers! (Cash Bar)

Special Guests of Honor:

Jaz Dorsey, Founder,

Erich McMillan-McCall, Founder,

And YOU!

BTN Northeast Regional Council Members:

Dr. John Shévin Foster, Chair
Michael Dinwiddie, President Elect, BTN
Dr. Marta Effinger-Crichlow
Marcia Pendelton, Marketing Coordinator, BTN
Christopher Berry
Stanley Ralph III

Strange Dramaturgy: Leo Frank

Hugh M. Dorsey

Leo Frank

My father and I were what you might call "estranged," and the only thing I got when he died was an odd little book with the rather cumbersome title "Argument of Hugh M. Dorsey, Solicitor General, Atlanta Judicial Circuit, at the trial of Leo M. Frank, Charged with the murder of Mary Phagan."

Hugh Dorsey was my grandfather and, after his frighteningly successful prosecution of Leo Frank, he was elected to two terms as Governor of Georgia, 1917 - 1921, From a very early age, I knew the story of Leo Frank.

This fall, The Boiler Room Theatre in Franklin, Tennessee brings us PARADE, a musical based on the trial and lynching of Leo Frank, with my grandfather pretty much the villain of the piece. I first saw PARADE when it ran at Lincoln Center in the late 90s. It was very strange to watch my grandfather, who I never knew, sing, dance and prosecute Leo Frank.

PARADE is by renowned Atlanta playwright Alfred Uhry, with music by composer Jason Robert Brown, and I am excited to have the opportunity to be on board the Boiler Room team as dramaturg, but it is, I must concede, a very "strange dramaturgy" because it hits so close to home and rattles a lot of skeletons in a lot of the closets of my life.

Over the years, people have told me that I should write a play about Leo. I never understood why anyone would think I would want to do that, so I was relieved when PARADE came along. At the same time, always knowing in my heart somehow that Leo was innocent, I think it is a story that needs to be told and listened to.

Doing the dramaturgy means doing the research, and the first book one grabs these days on the subject of Leo Frank is AND THE DEAD SHALL RISE by Steve Oney. Oney's book isn't just about Leo Frank - it is an amazing and compelling history of Atlanta at the turn of the century, so rich in research and knowledge that one paragraph can provoke and entire day googling the various players who keep coming on the scene.

From Oney I learned that Leo's defense attorney, Luther Rosser, was directly connected to the Dorsey clan, as his son, Luther Rosser, jr. was married to my grandfather's sister. Creepy. It seems that there is much that is suspect about Rosser's defense. Well duh. Can you say "conflict of interest"?

Leonard Dinnerstein's book THE LEO FRANK CASE pretty much attributes every possible variable of prosecutorial misconduct to my grandfather. It seems that Dorsey had only recently acquired his post as Solicitor General and had lost his first two cases. To put it mildly, his ass was on the line. This was a case he had to win and damn did he.

It is strange dramaturgy indeed which strikes so close to home.

Dancing skeletons from my family closet!

Come to Nashville and Go to the Theatre

Jaz Dorsey

Friday, September 7, 2012

Call for screenwriter


Production Jobs > USA California - South > View Job Details Create RSS feed
Vacancy: Playwright
Employer: JNP
Location: Los Angeles
Duration: contract position, starts ASAP

We are looking for a script writer for a full-length African-American play. This will be a heart-felt play about life issues. Must have experience in writing scripts for African-American audiences. Please email us your resume, summary of previous experience, and your rates.

To apply, please click here.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Call for Plays

Date: 2012-09-05, 2:30AM PDT
Reply to this post

Established theatre company and acclaimed veteran theatre director are seeking original plays for television project. Scripts must have been written either for the theatre, or with a theatre sensibility (minimal sets/settings, sustained scenes, no major special effects, etc.).

While we are ultimately interested in plays of all lengths, we will be starting this project with shorter plays, so for the short term we are particularly interested in plays that more than 10 minutes and less than 45.

This is a unique opportunity for your script to receive a production with high exposure.

All plays must be accompanied by a half-page (or less) synopsis and a character breakdown (name, gender, age, physical characteristics, etc. - an overall description of each character). Plays sent without these requirements will not be read.

Please also tell us a bit about your background writing for and/or working in the theatre.

Again, although this is a TV project, we are seeking scripts that could be produced in a small theatre. In the interest of not wasting your time and ours, please don't send us screenplays or technically demanding TV scripts.

To submit your play, please respond and send attachments to this email (Word or PDF preferred).
Location: Los Angeles
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
Compensation: no pay
PostingID: 3251139595

Call for Plays

"Stage Door Productions", in Fredericksburg, Virginia USA accepts ongoing play submissions until November 1, 2012 for its Sixth Annual One Act Festival. They accept One Act plays and prizes range from $50-$150, Submit script in .PDF format with page numbers, include a separate title page with name, address, telephone number and e-mail address. Also include a brief synopsis and cast of characters with description. For more info about this opportunity, visit their submission website:

Nashville's Theatre Economy

Like any good actor, I seek to be "in the moment" and being in the particular moment of right now and looking around me, it looks like Nashville is on the verge of blossoming into a major theatre economy in the context of the mid-sized American city state at the beginning of a new millennium. Certainly the pictures which Jeffrey Ellis just posted on Facebook of last night's First Night Ceremonies are vibrant with charisma and talents who all of us who live here in Music City USA work with, know and respect.

Of course, we can't duplicate the geographic model of NYC, with a centralized theatre district that makes it easy for tourists to find theatre and theaters, but what our theatre model does offer is plenty of excuses for tourists to roam around to different areas, from Elm Hill Pike to Dickson to TPAC to Chaffin's Barn to Brentwood to Charlotte Pike to the Gulch to Franklin to Metro North (the highlight of our last reading at the Looby was the lady from DC who just saw it online and decided that, of all the offings in Nashville, she wanted to go to a new play reading! Who knew?)

Lots of new musicals skittering around, too - like THE GYM which opens at Lakewood in a couple of weeks.

Not to mention more than our fair share of kick ass university theatre departments. If you think university athletics deserve support, check out the home team on the stage. If only folks around here could play football as good as these kids can act - but see for yourself.

The next thing we look for is gentrification, which is when the neighborhoods in which the theatres are located begin to experience an economic upswing as a result of a theatre being in the neighborhood mix. This usually starts with the nearest restaurant or pub, especially if it's a place that the actors can hang out at after rehearsals and make friends with the managers and wait staffs. In the best case scenario, this can lead to a situation where theatres and eateries cross promote one another.

Presently the perfect evening of theatre can best be had at The Boiler Room because you always get brilliant theatre and you can also get great food and a cocktail within ambient walking distance of the theatre. Not to mention the parking. Upcoming at The Boiler Room are the Pressure Cooker new musicals competition and an awesome production of PARADE, the Alfred Uhry musical about the trial and lynching of Leo Frank. Great family fun! (Well, not for my family, as my grandfather happens to be the villain in this play.)

A great total theatre evening is also to be had in the Bongo-Belmont theatre matrix.

If we could just get McDonalds to give DarkHorse patrons a theatre special, then we'd really be rocking! Sooner or later, every tourist wants a Big Mac and a little drama.

Come to Nashville and Go to the Theatre!

(Find out all about it at

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Creating Opportunities & Exposure for Musical Theatre: A FREE evening of Discussion & Performance Monday, 9/10 (Nashville)

You Are Cordially Invited To Attend
An Evening Of Discussion And Performance

The Small Yet Expanding World
Of Musical Theater In Nashville
(Creating Opportunities and Exposure)

Monday, September 10, 2012
7pm - Free and Open to the Public
The Looby Theatre, 2301 Rosa L Parks Blvd.
Nashville, TN 37228

Panelists (bios below)
Sue Fabisch (Moderator)
Book, Music, Lyrics - Motherhood The Musical

Ted Swindley
Writer, Director - Always...Patsy Cline
Director - Guess Who's Coming To Seder?

Randi Michaels Block
Book, Music, Lyrics - Guess Who's Coming To Seder?
A Delicious New Musical

Brian Pedersen
Book, Music, Lyrics - The Merry Wives Of Windsor
A New Musical

Steve Leslie and Len Cohen
Collaborators - Umbrella The Musical

Bob Teague
Musical Director

Carolyn German
Book, Lyrics - The AirShip At Vapor Station
The SteamPunk Musical

Jaz Dorsey
Event Coordinator

With live performances from:
"The Merry Wives Of Windsor"
A New Musical
Tony Domenico, Ann Street-Kavanagh. Roxie Rogers, Jon Statham,
Charlie Yarborough, Micah Ruehl, Billie Norris, Laurie O'Shea
(This project rehearsed at The Celebrity Centre of Nashville.)

"Motherhood The Musical"
Sue Fabisch

Umbrella The Musical”
Michelle Glenn

"Guess Who's Coming To Seder?
A Delicious New Musical"
Beth Anne Musiker, Beau Davidson, Charlynn Carter,
David Williams, Sandy Flavin, Jacqi Michaels, Jeff Lisenby

Panelist Bios (in alphabetical order)

Randi Michaels Block is a playwright/composer/lyricist with songs published by Bug Music and Milsap-Galbraith Music. A finalist for the 2010 Fred Ebb Award, her new show, Guess Who’s Coming To Seder? A Delicious New Musical, has had two staged readings at The Darkhorse Theater (Nashville 2011), an Off Broadway staged reading at The York Theater (NYC 2012) and a two week run by Tulsa Project Theatre (May 2012.) Her show “Secrets Of Songwriting”, is an original musical based on her personal story as a songwriter moving from NYC to Nashville. It was featured at The Eugene O’Neill Theater Festival (2008 and 2009) and AMAS Theater produced three staged readings at Ripley Grier Studios (NYC 2009).

Len Cohen was raised in the Bronx, NY. He loved theatre and spent several years doing community theatre including playing the role of Tony in "West Side Story", Cliff Bradshaw in "Cabaret", and several smaller roles. He spent twenty seven years as a police officer in New Jersey. Currently a managing partner in a publishing company called New Modern Songs here in Nashville, which has had several cuts with Darius Rucker and Daryl Worley and has produced and co-written the story and lyric of a new musical called "Umbrella" with Steve Leslie.

Jaz Dorsey (Event Coordinator) is a playwright/composer/lyricist, whose off off Broadway credits include ALICE IN AMERICA, CAFE ESCARGOT, BABBLEHAGGLE & VAN DER BICH, DON'T ASK/DON'T TELL and WAITING FOR THE E TRAIN. Commissioned national tour EL BARERO DE SEVILLA (bi-lingual Spanish/English). Off Broadway (The Lambs Theatre, 1999) NELLIE - book by Bernice Lee, music by Jaz Dorsey, lyrics by Dorsey & Lee. Dorsey is the film and theatre coordinator for ArtLightenment, which takes place at The Celebrity Centre of Nashville in November, 2012.

Sue Fabisch is tired and wishes someone would come clean her house. Between writing #1 songs for other artists and her own Top 10 Billboard Magazine Comedy Album, who has time to feed the dog, right? Sue's show Motherhood the Musical, which debuted at the Looby Theater in 2008 as part of the Tennessee Women's Theater Project, has been playing all over the US since 2010 and is just wrapping up a two-year tour in Australia. Although Motherhood has had professional Equity productions in Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, Providence, Huntsville, Tampa and more, Nashville is not an option because of the lack of venues. Let's help change that, People! For more information, visit

Carolyn German has written in many genres, from musicals to plays for young audiences to historical dramas. Her "The Story Builders" was named "Best Production of 2003" by the Tennessean's Kevin Nance, and won 6 additional Tennies, including one for "Best New Work". German is the Producing Artistic Director for the Z. Alexander Looby Theater and still serves as President of Theater Craft Inc. She is currently writing the book and lyrics for a new musical, "The Airship at Vapor Station: The SteamPunk Musical", with composer Rolin Mains.

Steve Leslie has a BM in Jazz Studies from Morehead St. University in Morehead Kentucky. He has been a professional songwriter/music publisher in Nashville since 1992 with many songs recorded and is currently a professor of songwriting at Belmont University, Nashville, TN. "Umbrella" for which he wrote the music, book and is co-lyricist, is his first musical.

Brian Pedersen has had songs published with Cordial/Channel and Copperfield Music Companies, and worked with artists such as Sheb Wooley. In 2003 Nashville Theatre Works presented a staged reading of his musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor. In 2005 Lakeside Players of Kenosha, WI premiered his musical “This is Christmas”. He also has had readings of his musicals “The Wishing Box” and his adaptation of Pride and Prejudice called “Five Darling Daughters”.

Ted Swindley is internationally known as writer and director of the popular musical, ALWAYS...PATSY CLINE. He is the founding artistic director of STAGES REP in Houston, Texas. He was also named to the Esquire Magazine's register of outstanding Americans in arts and letters. Mr. Swindley was the receipient of the Los Angeles Dramalogue award for outstanding direction of CARNAL KNOWLEDGE by Jules Feiffer. Currently, he is president of TED SWINDLEY PRODUCTIONS, INC., a theatrical licensing and consulting company, and continues his 30 year career writing plays and musicals, consulting and mentoring playwrights, as well as directing plays for various theaters throughout the U.S. and abroad.

Bob Teague was musical director for Advent Theatre for two seasons which included a production of "Diamond Studs", co-starring Helen "Olaketi" Shute-Pettaway. Advent Theatre was Nashville's first professional equity theatre and the predecessor to TPAC and Martha Ingram was the board chair. He also wrote, directed and performed the musical "Christmas Time'" for the Feliz Navidad program in English and Spanish at Scarritt-Bennett for the Foreign Language Actors Group (F.L.A.G.).