Saturday, January 26, 2013

Call for Plays from Women living in NY, NJ, CT

Lady Playwrights, Got a Play to Stage? 
Submit to Venus! (Manhattan) 

Venus Theater Festival Accepting Submissions (Female Playwrights Only in NY, NJ, CT) The Venus Theater Festival is a playwright's contest designed to offer women writers & directors a chance to direct their own never-before-seen shows. With Venus, it is our intention to give female writers a unique chance to create their vision from the first stroke of their pen to the last scene of their play. Venus is not only a festival; it's a competition as well. That means there are prizes! The winner of Best Play will receive a prize of $2,500. Winner of Best Actress will receive $500. Venus, as well as our summertime festival, Thespis, is hosted by Cabrini Repertory Theater, a beautiful, 200-seat proscenium theater in uptown Manhattan. Accepting submissions now.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Red Harlem Readers

What to expect from Brecht

Bertolt Brecht

I was first exposed to Brecht at the tender age of 13 in, of all places, Asheville, North Carolina where me and mama settled after she got out of the nuthouse. Strange times. 

I'd done a couple of "young adult" theatre shows with, if I remember correctly, The Tanglewood Children's Theatre, which was a division of the Asheville Community Theatre (still going strong today). From who knows where, this radical 60s avant garde theatre troupe blew into town with a production of Bertolt Brecht's CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE and they had this one role for a kid, so I ended up sitting inside some kind of infernal mask speaking a few lines, feeling really weird - but I also got to hang out with a bunch of young actors who were high on Brecht and his fascinating views on theatre. I could say "verfremdungeffekt" before I could say "Stanislavski." 

Somewhere in there I went down to the Asheville Public Library on Thomas Wolfe Square and checked out everything they had on Brecht (which, if I remember correctly, wasn't much - though they did have the complete works of George Bernard Shaw, which I had taken home the year before). Whatever I did learn, it was enough for me to know who Lotte Lenya was when my mother and I saw her (and Judi Dench) in the West End production of CABARET in London that fall. 

My most prized possession for many years was Lenya's autograph on that CABARET program. 

They sure didn't teach Brecht - or theatre, or German - in the North Carolina State Mental Institution where I spent the last three years of high school, but when I got to Chapel Hill and started getting "As" in German, I soon found myself spending an entire semester with Bertolt's plays and theories, which complete radicalize the purpose of the theatre. 

If there is a "magic doorway" into Brecht's world for us United Statesians (ok - Amerikans), that would be the song MACK THE KNIFE made so famous by Bobby Darin, which comes out of the mind blowing Brecht/Weill operetta THREE PENNY OPERA - which was a big hit in Berlin in 1928. 

I can't believe it possible that there's anyone out there over the age of 20 who does not know Bobby Darin's version of MACK THE KNIFE, but if you DON'T, please watch it below. 

MACK THE KNIFE opens THE THREEPENNY OPERA with these words - "Oh the shark has/pretty teeth dear" - kind of creepy and even more ominous in the original German "und der Haifisch, der hat zaehne" with it's sibilants. In hindsight, it certainly foreshadows the Nazis. It also in that one lyric, especially when delivered musically in tandem with Kurt Weill's wry melody, that you will find the seed and the epitome of Brechtian Theatre (which owes as much to Kurt Weill, Elizabeth Hauptman, Lotte Lenya and a bunch of other amazing artists as it does to Herrn Brecht. 

Now there are folks - academic folks - out there who are the last word on Brecht and are quick to let you know it. I know who you are and I know you are poised to pounce, so let me testify right here that I am no Brecht scholar. If anything, I am a 13 year old boy who has just been traumatized from appearing on stage in one of Brecht's plays. 

But it wasn't until I was on the faculty at Virginia Commonwealth University in 1980 and had students that were young actors that I asked myself - "What is Brecht talking about when he says things like "verfremdungseffekt" - or that if half the audience doesn't get up and storm out of the theatre in either a huff or a fury, then the folks on the stage have not done their job. 

Up until Brecht, theatre had existed almost solely as a "divertissment" - for Brecht it's a social pressure washer - though there is plenty of Brecht in Moliere's TARTUFFE, TARTUFFE is still a truffle, while Brecht is a pot full of chittlins - you just don't know if you want to eat it, but everybody else is chowin' down. 

The problem with staying close to Brecht in this country is that his plays are so seldom performed, so Nashville is in for a rather historic treat with the upcoming production of THE GOOD PERSON OF SETZUAN at Vanderbilt in a few weeks and VUT - Vanderbilt University Theatre - is certainly on a par with the theatre departments of Yale and Harvard, at least these days - at least if last year's production of David Ive's THE LIAR is any indication of what's going on behind those hallowed halls. There's nothing wrong with being world class. 

Come to Nashville and Go to the Theatre!

Jaz Dorsey

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Atlanta Black Theatre Fest Call for Plays

The Atlanta Black Theatre Festival is proud to announce that we are now accepting submissions for 2013. Please click the above link for details. 40 Plays in 4 Days...A Theatre Lover's Paradise!

Theatre Critic Addison DeWitt joins The Clyde Fitch Report

Addison DeWitt

"Noted raconteur and dry wit Addison DeWitt" joins the Clyde Fitch Report as a contributor. His first post re the fiscal cliff awaiting Broadway's new shows is worth a read. Here's an excerpt:

"For example, a play with a double-Oscar-winning star will be “lucky” to have a third of what was expected in ticket sales by the time it opens. And an “incoming” show with both a “TV” star and an under-30 “movie” star — golly, I must remember to bring my autograph book to opening night — will have even less in the till. So what luck does a new play with just Broadway’s favorite ham have? None, apparently. Audiences seem to have no interest in paying $137, $99, $90 or any other absurd price (plus various charges) concocted by producers and managers for a product, regardless of the star, that reeks like last year’s steak special at Gallagher’s."

To continue reading, please click here.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Call for Plays

Call for submissions: 

2nd Annual New Work Playwriting Festival at 

Framingham State University

This year's theme: Peace and Conflict

Framingham State University and Theater906 are proud to announce a call for submissions for our 2nd annual New Works Festival to take place April 1st and 2nd of 2013. We are seeking innovative and exciting short works that explore the universal binary of peace and conflict. 

Submission Requirements:
- All submissions must be received no later than February 10, 2013
- A completed submission form must accompany all submissions. Incomplete submissions will not be considered.
- Scripts and supporting materials must be submitted digitally in a .doc, .docx, or .pdf format
- We cannot accept scripts that have been previously published or performed for a royalty. Previous readings or workshops are allowed. 
- Submitted scripts should have a running time between 5-45 minutes. 

The competition will be juried by a panel of nationally recognized educators, writers, directors and theater makers. Winners will be given a staged reading by students of their piece as part of the 2nd annual New Works Festival on April 1-2, 2013, as well as an award plaque to commemorate the occasion. 

This festival is part of the FSU Arts & Ideas series dedicated to bringing lectures, performances, exhibitions, and films on campus. This year’s theme, Peace and Conflict, offers a big-picture examination of the shared causes of conflict. Several of the events are aimed at making participants better-informed historians of the recent past. Others will show the audience how to theorize “peace,” not as the simple absence of war, but as an active doing in the world. The series highlights activism. Scriptwriting is surely a form of activism. 

To request a submission form or for any questions, please email Dr. Sarah Cole at We look forward to reading your script!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Call for Plays

The 4th Annual DC Black Theatre Festival “Open Call” 

The 4th Annual DC Black Theatre Festival "Open Call" 
 Submission Categories: 
• Full-Length Plays 
 • One-Act Plays 
• New Works Reading Series 
• Workshops 
• and plays with Erotica Themes (For our Adult Theatre Program) 

The DC Drama Department is proud to announce the 2013 DC Black Theatre Festival, a week-long festival celebrating the thriving theatre community in Washington DC, June 21 – June 30, 2013. Playwrights of all skill levels and races 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. 

Please submit your application online at

Deadline for all submissions are March 1, 2013 
Any questions, please contact the DCBTF Staff at

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Crowdfunding: Does it work in the theatre arts?

Image credit: The Economist 
Please click to enlarge.

According to The Economist, only if you're not greedy but realistic in your request. Analyzing Kickstarter, they prepared the above chart to show what they discovered in 3 categories: success rate, total money raised, and the average pledge. In 2012, the projects that raised the most money were games (video and otherwise). In fact, games as a whole raised more than $80 million in crowdsourced dollars. It would follow then, that games would have a great success rate, but they don't. Games have a success rate of just over 30%. Consider also that the average pledge for a game is about $60 — the average price for a brand-spanking-new game.

The inverse holds true for dance, the category with the smallest amount of total money raised. Presumably by catering to a niche market (average pledge of $70+), dance related Kickstarters enjoyed a success rate near 80%. 

For theatre projects, the average pledge is around the middle of all pledges: about $75.00 and its success rate is about 65% which is near the top.

Something to consider when crowdsourcing for those hard to get dollars to mount your show.

AAPEX Interview: Nathan James

Nathan James

Nathan came to AAPEX's attention when he brought to life the lead role in DC Copeland's "Jitterbug!" (then called "Once Upon A Time In Harlem: A Jitterbug Romance") which was directed by Petronia Paley last March at the National Black Theatre in Harlem. "Nathan's the kind of actor playwrights dream of," Copeland said. "He took Billy Rhythm off the page where he had resided for so long and made him into a living, breathing, passionate and fearless man. If Billy had been embedded in clay, this would have been in Genesis, James is God, and the world would be much more different than the one we see today."

What role did theatre and the arts play in your childhood and upbringing? 
Being from my neighborhood of Beltzhoover in Pittsburgh Pa, there are not many opportunities provided that enables youth to see past the allure of street life. Many of my childhood friends are dead or in jail as a result of gang activity and drug dealing/use. Theater and good parenting literally saved me from this harsh reality. When I was promoted to middle school from the 5th grade, I had no doubt in my mind that I wanted to follow behind my brother and attend Rogers C.A.P.A middle school (which is now merged with CAPA high school in Pittsburgh). The problem was, my mother and I couldn't figure out a talent which I could enter the school with. My mother finally remembered how good she thought I was in our church Easter plays. She decided to bring me home a monologue from "You're a good man Charlie Brown" in order for me to audition for the acting program. I was accepted in and immediately fell in love with the craft of acting. At our 8th grade performance at the Fulton Theater in Pittsburgh, my comedic character brought the audience to their feet for a standing ovation. I immediately gave up my childhood dreams of wanting to be a scientist, and knew from that moment I wanted to be in this business for the rest of my life 

Tell us about your own evolution as an artist? 
I often found myself living in two completely different worlds as a kid. On one end, I grew up in the hood. On the other end, I was fortunate enough to have parents who scraped together what little money they had to involve me in acting classes and conservatories to keep me too busy to get into trouble. This gave me a unique opportunity to gain a social education by becoming an observer of the two different ways of life (especially since I had never been able to completely fit in to either environment because of my affiliation with the other). I wasn’t “Hood” enough to be completely “Hood” because of my interest in the arts, yet I was too much of a product of my upbringing to be completely accepted among the “Privileged” in my acting classes. The inability to fit completely in to both worlds transitioned from childhood resentment to a sociological advantage in my artistic endeavors. I'm able to see things from both ends of the spectrum when I take on roles, and in my writing 

How do you prepare for a role? 
I first read the entire script to gather all the given circumstances. Then I sit down and create a list of similarities/differences between myself and my character in order to compliment him and find his heroics in the world of the play. After all table work is finished, I put my self on foot and begin to establish some mannerisms and rhythm. 

What's on your agenda for 2013? 
I've recently been granted an August Wilson Center fellowship with the August Wilson Cultural Center, and I will be commissioned to create a new piece of work to be produced at the center. I'm cast in the Off-Broadway production "Easter" with the August Strindberg Repertory Theater at the Gene Frankel Theater (3/3 - 3/31). In march I will be performing in the reading of Michael Dinwiddie's play "The Carelessness of Love" at the Spiral Theatre Studio. Also, for Valentines day, I will be hosting a poetry performance/open mic with fellow poet Ayo "The NigerianNightmare" in SOHO. 

What are a couple of your dream roles? 
My dream roles are: "Citzen" from "Gem of the Ocean," "Othello", and Sgt. Waters in "A Soldier's Play". I would also love to portray "Tupac". 

Website link: 
Twitter: @ImNateJames 
Agent contact: Mary Anne Claro (215) 465-7788

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Resurrecting RACHEL: The Grimké Legacy

This is RACHEL or MOTHERHOOD by Angelina Grimké - the first play by an African American woman to hit the American stage, commissioned and produced by the NAACP in 1916. 

RACHEL was written at a time when many African Americans, such as Ida B. Wells, were penning literature that railed with anguish against lynchings. 

Though commissioned and produced by the NAACP, RACHEL caused an immediate furor in the organization. 

Angelina's namesake was her great aunt, the white daughter of a Charleston, SC plantation owner, Angelina Grimké Weld, who, with her sister Sarah, fled the South to become a legendary abolitionist. Her story is currently on PBS in a documentary entitled THE ABOLITIONISTS. 

Angelina and Sarah had a brother, Henry, who had three sons by one of his father's slaves. 

Two of these sons, Archibald and Francis, also left the South to pursue educations in the North. When the aunts discovered that they had two mixed-race nephews, they stepped up to pay for their studies. Francis became a renowned preacher and Archibald had an amazing political career that included serving as the U.S. Consul to the Dominican Republic from 1894 -1898 and sitting for years as the national vice-president of the NAACP. 

Out of this amazing story comes a new play, THE CARELESSNESS OF LOVE, by NYU professor and president of The Black Theatre Network, Michael Dinwiddie. A reading is underway for March in NYC - follow us on the Spiral Theatre Studio blog at

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Blackboard Reading Series

Please click image to enlarge.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Red Harlem Readers

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Call for Plays

Effusion Theatre Company is a new LA based theatre company looking for new plays to develop for its New Playwright Series. Any length, genre or subject matter. Please send texts in PDF. Thank you, Effusion Theatre Company

Take Wings And Soar! Theatre Workshop every Thursday (LA)

“Acting is the ability
to live truthfully under imaginary circumstances.”

meets each Thursday from 7 – 10 p.m. at
Piccolo’s, 6081 Center Drive, LA, CA 90045 

(downstairs @ The Bridge) 

In Howard Hughes Promenade.

Take Wings is a safe environment to hone your craft, create, out-of-your comfort zone stage work, improvisation, cold readings, character building, monologues, analyzing scripts and breaking down the work so you can build your skills up, voice, movement and more….

We sometimes have invited guests to perform their work in progress, to work out kinks, get constructive feedback, inspire, motivate and educate.

Open invitation to work on audition material, new work, to create, share your voice, connect and keep sharp...

Facilitated by Lynne Conner,
Free of charge

Friday, January 4, 2013

Red Harlem Readers