Friday, May 31, 2013

African Voices Magazine celebrates 20th Anniversary

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The magazines are available in some local fine bookstores and Barnes & Nobles outlets. 

Please continue supporting our literary magazine by purchasing a digital copy online for $5. We have chosen Gumroad as our seller because you DO NOT have to create an account to purchase a digital issue here.

If you would like more information on African Voices, you can reach me, Carolyn A. Butts, at 212-865-2982. 

YOU can SUBSCRIBE for $20 (4 issues) via our website: 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Stage Mothers, where would we be without them?

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I know that I would not have had the opportunity to work with such amazing young actors as Ann-Houston Campbell, Lucy Turner, Audrey Belle or Colin Carswell if it were not for the support and professional cooperation of their moms (and in some case, dads - hey Steve Young!) And blessed is the young actor or actress whose parents value their children's talents enough to drive them to the auditions, rehearsals and performances that will be the building blocks their careers.

Nashville and the surrounding area seem unusually blessed in parents who are ready and willing to go the extra mile not only for their own children, but for their children's friends/colleagues as well. Without these parents, I doubt that Circle Players recent production of BAND GEEKS or Bob Pondillo's award-winning film about the issue of gay marriage, THE MIRACLES ON HONEY BEE HILL - featuring a cast of 10, 11 and 12 year olds - would have been possible.

And where would THE MOCKINGBIRD SINGS - the Harkleroad/Cort musical about the birth of country music - be with out the incomparable Donna Dorsey Russell?

For that matter, where would I be without my own mother, who let me take my first paying job as an actor at age 13 in Asheville, N.C.? Thank you, Harriet!

I predict that these show biz moms and dads are going to become even a more valuable resource as the acting industries evolve on the Nashville front, as the demand for kid friendly theatre and films increases the demand and market place for the Judy Garland/Mickey Rooney set.

There ought to be a special day for Stage Mothers!

Come to Nashville and Go to the Theatre!

Jaz Dorsey
The Nashville Dramaturgy Project
PS: Speaking of Stage Mothers, let's not leave out our Stage Grandmothers, too. If you're in NYC tomorrow night, please stop by for the free reading of Ted Swindley's STORIES MY GRANDMOTHER TOLD ME at the Sage Center, 305 7th Ave, 15th Fl., between 27th and 28th Street. The reading, produced by The Spiral Theatre Studio, starts at 7pm. Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


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Call for Plays


Announcing the Urban Stages Emerging Playwright Award! Established in 1986, Urban Stages' Emerging Playwright Award has been presented to the best of new, innovative playwrights whose works speak to the whole of our society. Urban Stages' ongoing mission is to develop and produce new, exciting multicultural works that are issue-oriented. A cash prize of $500 (in lieu of royalties) will be awarded to the winner. There will also be a staged production of the play in New York City. Submissions are open to playwrights in the United States and received throughout the year. Full-length plays preferred. For more details, visit 

Special thanks to TRU for this info.

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Spiral Theatre presents GONNE-YEATS June 15th (NYC)

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Bishop Andrea Vereen's "IF I CAN HELP SOMEBODY" at Faison Firehouse Theater 6/1 (Harlem)

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Please support Bishop Andrea Vereen's 
2 performances only @ the Faison Firehouse Theatre
 June 1@ 3PM & 7:30PM
For ticket reservations call: 347 210-8679

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Black Animation

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Kenneth Smith
Playwrights/screenwriters who might have an urban themed piece appropriate for online serials or something more, check out this link re Kenneth Smith, an Urban Disney doing it all on a computer somewhere in LA. AAPEX finds his effort inspiring. 

Call for plays (6/2 Deadline)

Young Playwrights Festival call for plays.

Deadline: 6/2/13

For more info, please click here.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Stephanie Lynn Wilson's Creole Themed Dinner Theatre (NYC)

While you dine on authentic Creole cuisine be transferred to New Orleans circa 1961 , as the Civil Rights Movement goes into full swing, and a naive debutante gets schooled by her grandmother about a family secret. We learn more circa 1800's on the Red River of Louisiana as a hidden legacy is unearthed. 

You'll laugh and you'll cry from this Off Broadway bound stage play about bloodlines, sacrifice, and pride in knowing all that you are... 

 Written by 
Stephanie Lynn Wilson 

Christiana Blain as Gabrielle/Lizette Laviteaux 
Stephanie Lynn Wilson as Guma/Yaya 
Ron Rivera as Ferdinand Juan Carlos Montero 
Krystal Hill as Marie Pollion 
Al Roffe as Henri Monet 
Chuk Obasi as Rebeau 

Costumes by Angelina Scantlebury 
Featuring an original track by 

Co-starring THE MENU 
by worldly culinary expert Ari 

Black Eye Pea Fritters with Crawfish Cream 

Chicken and Okra Gumbo, Dirty Rice, Chicken Cracklings, Hot Pepper Sauce
 Pineapple Colada Cake~Pineapple Rum Glaze 
Beverage Choice of Beer or Wine 

La Grande Finale Party 
with the cast to Zydeco music and some Q and A! 


To order tickets, please click here.

 Wilson Exclusive Talent Productions is fiscally sponsored by the non profit arts organization Fractured Atlas. CULTUREfix is a non profit organization.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Patrick Cuccaro's SLAMMERGIRLS opens 5/25 (Charleston, SC)

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Music by Steve Boyes.

Chronicles the lives of Francine, a former flight attendant turned prison matron; Princess, the “air-head” nymphomaniac; Bonnie the coupon-clipping charity embezzler; Blossom, the earth mother; and Grace, the dominatrix in this sexy, over the-top musical comedy parody of the 1960’s “women-in-prison” sexploitation film genre.  To purchase tickets, please click here.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Red Harlem Readers

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The roles of Revision and Serendipity in DC Copeland's JITTERBUG!

DC Copeland's award-winning dancical Jitterbug! has been in rewrites since it's 3/23 reading in the New Works Festival in NYC. The three-act is now a two-act with the addition of new historical characters and one new/old song. Legendary bad girl Madame Stephanie St. Clair and her faithful henchman "Bumpy" Johnson have been added. The song is Irving Berlin's 1936 hit "Let's Face the Music and Dance."          
Ella Fitzgerald
"Flipping channels brought me to an episode of the Great American Songbook on PBS where I rediscovered Irving Berlin's Let's Face the Music and Dance," Copeland said. "I was looking for inspiration for the final scene in the first act and this song put it all together for me. The lyrics and the mood of the piece mirrored what I had written so it was a no-brainer. The fact that it was recorded by Ella Fitzgerald was chocolate icing on the cake. It was one thing to have been recorded during the dancical's time period (a must for me), but it also had to reflect one of the play's themes, i.e., the uniquely American collaboration of black and white creatives. Stumbling upon this program last week was serendipitous to say the least."
You can learn more about the process at the dancical's website. Copeland has also updated the dancical's music list which includes YouTube links to the music and some facts about the songs and the songwriters.

Jaz Dorsey

Monday, May 13, 2013

Looking for a play to produce (DC)

Taja Winston
Looking for a play to produce! I'm located in the Washington DC area and found a black box to rent out at a reasonable price and decent good location.

 I'm interested in directing/producing a play with a minimal set and not too many actors. I'm considering "Oleanna" or anything Mammet, Eugene O'Neil, you get the picture. Any suggestions would be great! Or, if you have written a play that you think is appropriate for a black box and are interested in my using it I'd love to be in contact!

 About Me: I have a BA in theatre and self produced a one woman show for my theatre capstone project.

To contact Taja, you will need to join the Playwrights Group on LinkedIn (a free service).

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Aaron Crites strikes again! Monday, May 20th (Nashville)

AAron Crites
For a young man who never set out to be an actor, Aaron Crites is enjoying an exploding career that any one with an MFA in acting from Yale would envy. 

First he blew folks out of the water with his portrayal of Jimmie Rodgers in the Harkleroad/Cort production of THE MOCKINGBIRD SINGS - including some big wigs from NYC (which may be one reason he is headed back for a week at the Metropolitan Room  in July.) 

Then I just had to snag him for Ricky Stakonis in the Metro Parks Theatre Department's next new play reading event, ONE KISS CAFE, by Parrish Stanton - a project on which it has been my great honor to serve as dramaturge. That's Monday, May 20, 7:00 at the Centennial Black Box Theater. 

But I also hear through the grapevine that he has met with two other Nashville songwriters who have musicals in the works. 

Arron is one reason y'all need to Come to Nashville and Go to the Theatre! 

Jaz Dorsey

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Amina Henry's BULLY 5/13 (NYC)

BULLY by Amina Henry 

Amina Henry
In this loose meditation on William Golding's novel, Lord Of The Flies, a group of women secretly beat up other women for a bit of fun on the weekends. One of their victims, a woman who attends their weekly aerobics class, discovers their identities and plots revenge with her friends. As the women move from the aerobics studio to the wilderness, each confronts the darkness inside of herself. 

With Tiffany Rachelle Stewart, Lila Donnolo, Carmit Levité, Almeria Campbell, Ché Lyons, Tjasa Ferme. Directed by Kira Simring.

$10 Suggested Donation ~wine served~ Reading followed by a 20 mintue talk-back. 

Blackboard @ the cell every 2nd Monday of the month @ the cell 
338 W. 23rd Street between 8th and 9th Ave. New York, NY 10031 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

AAPEX Book Review: The Cabaret Artists Handbook

First of all, forgive me for recommending - and recommending highly - a book which is, sadly, out of print.

That being said, if you can't afford the few found on there is always the library, and if THE CABARET ARTIST'S HANDBOOK is not in your local library's collection, there is a wonderful network system called INTERLIBRARY LOAN which can track a copy down and have it delivered to the library branch most convenient to you.(The copy that I've got in my hands came from The University of the South.)

THE CABARET ARTIST'S HANDBOOK is fundamentally the best book I have ever read for helping the performer get a practical grasp of this business we call "show." And while the focus of the book is the world of cabaret, the advice and information it contains is of inestimable value to performers working in all areas of the industry. 

THE CABARET ARTIST'S HANDBOOK is based on the writings of Bob Harrington, who covered the world of cabaret for BACK STAGE MAGAZINE from 1984 until his death in October 1992, and was compiled and edited by Sherry Eaker, who was Bob's Editor for those years. In her preface, Eaker writes of the book, "It defines the elements that go into creating a successful cabaret act and describes in detail the business skills it takes to promote and market yourself." To put this in my own words, THE CABARET ARTIST'S HANDBOOK is not some artsy fartsy blah blah blah kind of book that is more about the writer than the reader. While Harrington speaks directly from personal experience, it is an experience solidly grounded in years of analyzing and writing about WHAT WORKS. 

The sections of the book are: 
 The World of Cabaret - the history of cabaret in NYC 
 Rubbing Elbows - the social dynamics of cabaret 
 Learning the Ropes - audience development, press agents, critics, publicity 
 Hitting the Notes - finding and interpreting your songs, etiquette for singers and songwriters 
 Structuring Your Act - creating the sound, look and flow of your act 
 Practical Matters - agents, contracts and other matters 
 Your CD - recording and marketing your cd 

I've noted many passages of the book that I would love to quote, but better you should read it for your self - but just to give a soupcon of the kind of subtle distinctions that make Harrington's advice so valuable, I'll take a quote from his chapter on photos - for all you folks who are endlessly updating your headshots: 

 "A headshot is supposed to represent what you really look like to agents and casting directors. Publicity shots are supposed to lure people to your show. The point of a publicity shot is to get you publicity, not work. There's a world of difference."

Jaz  Dorsey

Benjamin Marshall's THE RED TRAIN reading May 17th (Chicago)

Benjamin V Marshall
Benjamin V. Marshall's THE RED TRAIN is a blues-infused work about an esteemed James Baldwin-esque African American and his meeting with a young black writer. The plays are performed as 'enhanced staged readings', with blocking, costuming, dance, and design elements. Performances are at Center on Halsted's Hoover-Leppen Theatre, 3656 North Halsted, Chicago. Tickets for each performance are $10, and can be purchased through and a weekend pass is available for $35. Read more about Pride Films and Plays to Present GAY PLAY WEEKEND, 5/17-19 at

Benjamin V. Marshall's plays have earned recognition from HBO New Writers Project, New York's Theatre for a New City and in play festivals from Alaska to Australia including, Purchasing Power for Chicago's WBEZ radio. Awards: NJ State Council on the Arts, VCCA, and Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Jaz Dorsey directs Steve Raimo and Malachi Taylor in Harvey Fierstein's TORCH SONG this Friday (Nashville)

I am excited to be directing Steve Raimo and Malachi Taylor in Harvey Fierstein's TORCH SONG. Check Malachi out on Youtube by David Allds/Fractured Lens productions. Join us for opening night this coming Friday at PLAY 

Jaz Dorsey
Come to Nashville and Go to the Theatre!

Monday, May 6, 2013

BAND GEEKS win our hearts at Circle Players (Nashville)

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In a perfect world, every theatre company would have it's own venue, but to be perfectly honest, I'm enjoying following Circle Players around town from TSU (Color Purple) to the Shamblin at Lipscomb (THE PIANO LESSON and NEXT TO NORMAL) and now to The Fortress in Marathon Village, which is rapidly becoming Music City's hottest cultural enclave. 

Not only does this traveling around give the artists in the Circle community opportunities to enjoy performing on a variety of wonderful stages, it also gives theatre goers who follow Circle a chance to discover theatres that they might not otherwise have a reason to visit - and to realize that there's more to Nashville's theatrical geography than TPAC and The Darkhorse. It's particularly exciting when our independent companies partner with our universities and put our amazing university theatre departments on theatregoers' radar. But more about that later and often. 

Right now, Circle has found the perfect hall for their production of BAND GEEKS. Clay Hilwig's gritty urban set really lives and breathes in this space and if you went to high school (as I presume most of us did) you will have an uncanny experience as the show transports you to "back in the day." The credit for taking us on this primal journey, of course, goes first and foremost to director Catherine McTamaney but also to producer David Williams and executive producer LaTonya Tuner. As I tried to fathom what Williams went through to round up all the production elements, I was reminded why I love 2 actors plays with no set. But Williams and his artistic team, including a superior cast of Nashville's young actors, do each other and all of us proud - despite, I must admit, a few challenges in audio land. 

As Elliot, Marc Sloan has the kind of talent that would have gotten him a screen test in Hollywood back in 1933 - kind of a Dick Van Dyke, Danny Kaye take on acting that may have gone out of style along the way but is welcome to make a comeback any time, in my opinion. As his not quite romantic sidekick, Laura, Maya Riley continues on a very impressive acting streak which last saw her as the housekeeper in Catherine Coke's production of HEDDA GABLER over at The University School of Nashville. Even her singing is about the acting. 

One young artist that I have to spotlight is the amazing 11 year old Lilla Grace Galgoczy-Toler, who delivers a performance worthy of Garbo, with her brilliant Slavic accent and her acerbic line deliveries and eyebrow arches that will be the envy of many a more seasoned actress. 

There's a fine group of young men on the stage as well, headlined by Jack Williams, whose work I have enjoyed in several other Circle productions and who is a definite future heartthrob. Che Piper really shows his chops off in his scene with Galgoczy-Toler when they bring on the show's showstopper, MR. BIG SHOT. Mykayla Gover truly takes the stage with his end of the show solo and the rest of the boys work believably together to convey the youthful comraderies of American high school. 

Sarah Zanotti, who studies at Lipscomb, will make you want to produce OKLAHOMA and GUYS AND DOLLS just so you can cast her as Ado Annie and Adelaide; Leon Blandon handles his complicated character with great skill, and Audrey Young looks good in goth. 

The other young ladies in the cast are not given as much to do individually, but they do it well together and the Color Guard was great fun (nice banners, who ever is responsible.)

The adult actors - Josh Waldrep, Kimberly Frelix and Susan Walsworth - do lovely work with their characters as well, evoking the gentle humor of old school adult comedians that we baby boomers remember from shows like BYE BYE BERIDIE and THE SON OF FLUBBER - and all together they execute Bakari King's festive choreography with energy and aplomb.

The musical direction - including an absolutely first rate orchestra - is full of energy and is the work of the incredibly gifted Eddie Charlton

Circle Players is surely one of this countries finest examples of community theatre - and always remember that when you use that term, you have to take into community you are referring to. For all the details, visit 

Jaz Dorsey
Come to Nashville and Go to the Theatre!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Date with Dramaturgy 5/20 (Nashville)

Join us at 7:00 on Monday, May 20th at The Black Box Theatre in the Centennial Arts Activities Center in Centennial Park, Nashville, Tennessee as we take a new look at a work in progress, the Parrish Stanton musical ONE KISS CAFE.
It's all about the process.

Please RSVP to this address.
Come to Nashville and Go to the Theatre!
The Nashville Dramaturgy Project

Friday, May 3, 2013

Katori Hall's “HOODOO LOVE” opens 3/23 AT ETA (Chicago)

Katori Hall

Hoodoo LoveKatori Hall’s magical tale of musician lovers who are classic blues people, will close out eta’s 2012-2013 season of plays showcasing women writers and directors.  Directed by Artisia Green, it opens May 23, 2013 (thru July 28, 2013) at eta Square, 7558 S. South Chicago Ave.  Showtimes are 8 pm Fri & Sat; 3 pm Sundays. General admission is $30 with student, senior and group discounts.  For tickets and information, call 773-752-3955 or visit 

About eta Creative Arts Foundation
eta Creative Arts Foundation, Inc. was incorporated in April, 1971 as a non-profit tax exempt organization to provide professional training and work in the performing and technical arts for youth and adults.  In the past 42 years, eta has become widely recognized as Chicago’s leading performing and cultural arts complex in the African American community as well as the only African American owned and managed facility of its kind in the city.  eta has a commitment to the production of new works and the development of the individual artist.  

Red Harlem Readers