LPTW Member Projects and News: May 2023

League of Professional Theatre Women members are making an impact throughout the theatrical community. In person, virtual & hybrid events are listed below; as are special offers & good news shared by our colleagues. 

Theater 122CC, 2nd Floor /150 1st Ave New York, NY 10009
May 11th-June 3rd at 7pm, Sun at 5pm

Submitted by Jessica Burr

A personal choice puts an artist and mother on a radical inquest that gets to the heart of the social and political abortion feud that is engulfing America today. MISCONCEPTIONS is the story of a woman who dares to search for answers… wherever they take her. It is a dramatic inquiry into the performance of fact and fiction, an exploration of how verbatim theater, performance art, and magical realism illuminate reality.
Written by the Emmy-nominated playwright Steve Wangh (The Laramie Project) and directed by Jessica Burr with Blessed Unrest’s award-winning imagination, humor, and artistic risk-taking, MISCONCEPTIONS illuminates the personal stories which underlie the political posturing of post-Roe America.
25% LPTW member discount available.
Get your tickets here

First Online With Fran:
Avra Sidiropoulou: Addressing an Age of Upheaval
Submitted by Frances McGarry

Avra Sidiropoulou is a theatre director and academic. She is the Artistic Director of Persona Theatre Company. She has published extensively on directing theory and practice, contemporary performance and dramaturgy and is the author of Directions for Directing. Theatre and Method (Routledge 2018) In 2020 she was nominated for the Gilder/Coigney International Theatre Award by the League of Professional Theatre Women.
Theater Three Collaborative in New York and Persona Theater Company in Athens, two companies known for their social justice work, will present the world premiere of Karen Malpede‘s Troy Too, a poetic play in dialogue with Euripides’ The Trojan Women and the current crises of Covid, climate change, and racism. Directed by Avra Sidiropoulou, Troy Too’s multiracial cast features one of Greece’s finest classical actresses, Lydia Koniordou, who brings a modern and ancient Hecuba to life in English and ancient Greek.
Listen here


Something More Than God by Gabrielle Perez

Orphaned as a baby, Emma Smith has spent her entire life under the watchful eye of Reverend Parson. After a terrible train accident, Theodore, becomes a guest of the Parson’s to heal from his injuries. Through their budding relationship, Emma sees Theodore as a way to break free from the restrictive life laid out in front of her. But Reverend Parson will not let her go easily. After discovering years of secrets, Emma must take control of her life, and realize she is the only one who can save herself.

May 26th 6:30pm

Keep It Light by Toby Inoue

Two sisters, Winnie and Tomi, try to reconnect after an estrangement when their mother becomes seriously ill.  Winnie is half African-American and a celebrity stand-up comedian, who has been cancelled.  Tomi is half Asian-American and an elementary school art teacher who stayed in her hometown. The sisters clean Mom’s house as they also try to accommodate Mom’s last wishes, including a comeback show for Winnie and a hospital wedding for Tomi.  Painful memories resurface as they sort through familiar objects from the past, and they try to make sense of familial love and its entanglement with racism and favoritism.

Free and open to the public. Reservations required.
From Friends of Speranza

Horseshoe Empire written by Margo Hammond
​​It’s 1928 in the Horseshoe slum of Jersey City, NJ and “No Irish Need Apply” Hungry to escape his low status, Teddy Devlin aligns himself with the city’s most infamous political boss, Mayor Frank Hague. While proud to be a part of the machine that empowers the Irish, Teddy struggles to accept the damage that it does to others. It’s the American way, but is it the right way?

This is an OUTDOOR EVENT. We offer folding chairs but patrons are welcome to bring their own comfy folding chairs, if they prefer. In the event of rain, the rain date is June 18 @ 6 P.M. All sales final. No refunds or exchanges. 

Performance Dates: 
June 10 – 18

Museum of Jersey City History
298 Academy Street
Jersey City, NJ 07306
Horseshoe Empire tickets:  


Photo by Carol Rosegg

A parody trek-tacular
Co-Written, composed, and lyrics by
Co-conceived and additional materials by
Directed by JOHN LAMPE

Review by Nicole Jesson

To quote the gentleman across the aisle, “This show has no right to be this good.”

And yet, dear reader, it is.

There is no doubt in my mind that Gene Roddenberry is rolling in his grave – with laughter. The show is pure joy. If you know The Wrath of Khan, or at the very least OG Trek and any musical theatre, you will love this show. The Creatives have boldly gone where they probably shouldn’t, and we are all the better for it.

The cast is fantastic. I am absolutely shocked to see Off-Broadway “Debut” next to the names Julian Manjerico and Zachary Kropp, Commander Data and Khan respectively. I’m not sure if Julian is Joel Gray playing Data or Brent Spinner as Cabaret’s MC, but his performance is stellar either way. Kropp takes a dash of Ricardo Montalban on a Tim Curry Frankenfurter and soars to new heights with his powerful vocals. And then, there’s Shyaporn Theerakulstit – learn that name. His performance as Admiral James T. Kirk channeled William Shatner so profoundly that I’d like to ask Mr. Shatner if he woke up this morning after having a strange dream about being in Les Miz?

I would be remiss if I did not touch upon the remainder of the talented crew of the Enterprise: Clayton Matthews who skillfully plays both helmsmen, Crystal Marie Stewart who delightfully gets to say everything Nichelle Nichols was thinking, Laura Whittenberger who embodies Saavick’s half Vulcan / half ingenue perfectly, Lindsay M.E. Newton bounces from Bones to Scotty and back again with aplomb, and lastly, Maxwell Nausbaum who gives a dazzling display of Spock’s tapping meditation all the while maintaining Spock’s expressionless demeanor.

Do not overthink this! It’s just plain fun. You will laugh. You will groan. You will think, “Oh no, you didn’t!?!” You will giggle and sing along to the perfectly selected pre-show / intermission music. And folks, I am purposely leaving out most of the best bits, so I don’t ruin it for you. Proceed at warp speed to the Players Theatre on MacDougal, grab a coffee and a pastry at Cafe Ruggerio as you wait in line, and then sit back and take in the stars. 

P.S. Jolene Richardson, costumer, if you are responsible for that Greatest American Hero wig, you deserve an award. Merritt Butrick would be honored.

Off-Broadway’s Players Theatre (115 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012) | May 4 – June 4 | http://www.khaniscoming.com

Review: Hidden

Written and Directed by Marc Weiner
Presented by the Playwright’s Gate at the 36th Street Theatre

Review by Nicole Jesson

Jewish culture has a rich history of storytelling. The celebration of Passover is marked by a seder in which the story of the exodus from Egypt is told. It’s an oral tradition passed down for generations. Many of the greatest playwrights of the last 100 years have been Jewish: Mel Brooks, Oscar Hammerstein, Harold Pinter, Aaron Sorkin and Tom Stoppard to name a few. Not to mention countless television and film artists. In fact, it’s the subject of the 1988 non-fiction An Empire of Their Own and a production number in Spamalot.

Hidden tells the story of two Polish families, one Jewish and one Catholic, during and after WWII. Two Columbia University students meet when a campus protest of the VietNam War turns violent. While David Epstein (Michael Loprestone) has been raised on the story of his family, Nina Rezki (Eileen Sugameli) is completely in the dark. Neither knows the connection between their families, but their fathers do.

When Television started out, it was shot like a stage play – one set, one camera, one angle. You saw the entire set, the same way you look at the stage. As the medium evolved, multiple cameras and editing made it easy to increase the number of scenes and locations. Plays have tried to follow suit – not always successfully. Yes, it’s easy to accomplish, even in a production focused on realism, if you’re throwing money at it. But for simpler productions, it’s hard to marry realism with constant set changes. The set of Hidden is rudimentary at best – which would be 100% fine if it weren’t so cumbersome for the actors performing on it. I’m sure with some ingenuity, the heavy, black diner chairs and small plastic folding table could be exchanged for cubes that the actors can leave in place throughout the show, or at most, move minimally. Watching the actors frantically move items in half-light between scenes, when constantly jumping locations just drags down the pace of the show. And while a sound designer is credited (for one gun shot?), there’s nothing done to cover the changes, move through time periods or set the tone.

To be clear, while the story is engaging, something must be done to cut the running time of the show. The number of scenes before intermission felt endless. The distraction of props that were being half used – full wine bottles we pretend to pour into plastic glasses that have no weight, set on a tablecloth at least 2x too big for the folding table draped too much on one side so we become frightened that one careless gesture could send the whole thing toppling over steals focus from a very smartly written scene showing the two families sitting down to dinner. Why have plates, knives and forks, when no one even pretends to eat? Save the realism for later productions. No one in your audience will mind losing the chairs and the props, if it means shaving time off, focusing on the scene work and telling the story.

A clear example of this is the work of Emily Blake. Ms. Blake plays several roles alternating between them with nothing more than her voice, accent and use of a few scarves. She is clear, and engaging in each role. We don’t need more from her to convey the story. If each character/actor could be freed of set changes and the props, I’m sure we’d see this production come alive in new ways. 

The old adage, “Less is More” applies to this show. There is a really interesting story to be told in Hidden. And with some adjustments, it could be revealed in this production.

Playwright’s Gate at the 36th Street Theatre | Through Sunday, May 28th | www.HiddenThePlay.com

FRIGID New York presents Reckless Son

Written & Performed by Matt Butler

Directed by Richard Hoehler

Album Release Show! 
Thursday, June 1 @ UNDER St. Marks 

FRIGID New York will present a limited engagement of Matt Butler’s Reckless Son on Thursday, June 1 at 7pm at UNDER St. Marks (94 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009) to celebrate the release of his debut self-titled album on June 2nd. Tickets ($20) are available for advance purchase at www.frigid.nycThe performance will run approximately 70 minutes, with no intermission. 

Reckless Son, a solo show from singer songwriter Matt Butler, was inspired by his experience performing inside places like Ohio’s Chillicothe Correctional Institution, Utah’s Gunnison Prison, and New York’s Rikers Island. It’s a collection of music, monologues, personal history, and lessons learned from those behind bars. Filled with Americana songs influenced by Woody Guthrie, Townes Van Zandt, and other troubadours, Reckless Son is more than a show. It’s a calling.

“Matt Butler’s gritty, powerful voice will carry you to the hard places where the hard choices dwell.” Americana Highways

“The moving collection of music and monologues beautifully illustrates the idea that while we cannot know pleasure without knowing pain, there is no deeper pleasure than knowing that we belong somewhere in the world.” Grateful Web

“It’s impressive and electrifying—Butler’s harmonious and public healing, that is. He croons about the small towns and swoons over the big city with poignant lyrical content that is sharp, familiar, and soul-stirring.” The Aquarian 

“It’s simple yet electrifying, with just a guitar and a voice that makes us want to listen.” Riff

Matt Butler (Writer/Performer), a New York City native, is both a singer songwriter as well as the founder of Art That Serves, an organization dedicated to bringing the arts to incarcerated populations. His new solo show Reckless Son recounts the story of how his concert at the Albany County Jail ignited a passion that set him off on an odyssey like road legends Jack Kerouac and Woody Guthrie.  Having performed over 150 concerts in jails and prisons across the country, Reckless Son is comprised of the songs he wrote along the way and the stories of the people who inspired them.  Butler has also collaborated with or been a feature performer at events held by The David Lynch Foundation, The Columbia Center For Justice, American Folk Art Museum, National Alliance On Mental Illness (NAMI), The Caron Foundation and he was selected as an inaugural ‘Activist In Residence’ at the Kripalu Center in the Berkshires. He’s been artist in residence at HB Studios in Manhattan and his work has been featured on The Blue Grass Situation, PBS and NPR Morning Edition. www.mattbutlersongs.com 

Richard Hoehler (Director) has written and performed four solo shows Off Broadway and on tour – New Jersey/New YorkWorking Class (OOBR Award Winner), Human Resources, and most recently, I of the Storm at the Gym at Judson. Richard’s newest piece, E, was featured at the Cornelia Street Café, Delaware Valley Arts Alliance, and The Commons in Brooklyn and will soon be presented at The Lounge at Hudson View Gardens. Two new plays, Mars and Regular, No Sugar are in development. For ten years Richard has led the Theatre Workshop at Otisville State Prison teaching weekly acting and playwriting classes and mounting theatre productions every year. His play, Fathers and Sons, (formerly produced on Theatre Row) was staged at the prison in July 2019. He has worked extensively with at-risk youth in the South Bronx and Harlem and is an adjunct professor of Theatre at John Jay College for Criminal Justice. In 2020 he founded Acting Out, a professional theatre company for formerly incarcerated men and women. During the pandemic Acting Out presented four online productions, including a revival of Hoehler’s Working Class. His new monologue, A Monologue, was recently presented by Some1Speaking online. Hoehler’s material has been optioned by Columbia Tri-Star Television and featured at the Midtown International Theatre Festival in Manhattan and Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. Hoehler’s theatre work is included in Lincoln Center’s Billy Rose Collection and published in Smith & Kraus Best Monologues and Stage Scenes series. He is also the author of the award-winning short story Four Roses and his fiction and poetry have appeared in various periodicals, reviews, and newspapers. His newest theatre piece, Showdown, fourteen original scenes based on classic contemporary plays, was produced at the Lynch Theatre at John Jay in the Fall of 2022. www.richardhoehler.com 

FRIGID New York’s mission is to provide both emerging and established artists the opportunity to create and produce original work of varied content, form, and style, and to amplify their diverse voices. We do this by presenting an array of monthly programming, mainstage productions, an artist residency, and eight annual theater festivals that create an environment of collaboration, resourcefulness, and innovation. Founded in 1998, the aim was and is to form a structure, allowing multiple artists to focus on creating and staging new work and providing affordable rental space to scores of independent artists. Now in our third decade we have produced a massive quantity of stimulating downtown theater. www.frigid.nyc   
Lorem Ipsum

Review: Misconceptions

Photo by Maria Baranova

Misconceptions by Steve Wangh
Directed By Jessica Burr, Produced By Blessed Unrest

Review by Nicole Jesson

In January of 1941, Lady in the Dark by Moss Hart, Irving Berlin and Kurt Weill would come to Broadway. At that point, the US was not taking part in the War in Europe. Much of Weill’s catalog has a political intent, even if passed off as a fluffy musical with big production numbers. So there’s little doubt that The Saga of Jenny which states, “Jenny and her saga proves that you are gaga, if you don’t keep sitting on the fence,” was commentary on how ridiculous America’s stance was. Later that year, the Lend-Lease Act would be signed into law in March, but the US would not be drawn into war until December 7th by the attack on Pearl Harbor. 

In 2022, America changed its mind on established law putting the health and well being of roughly half of her population in jeopardy, and taking from them bodily autonomy. The artists are speaking again.

Misconceptions is a play about abortion. In the 2022 Midterm Elections, abortion was the number one issue for voters.  Abortion isn’t an issue people tend to waffle on. They are clearly on one side or the other – and if a politician appears to be on the fence, it is usually an attempt to not alienate a large group of voters. In the course of the play, the main character who discovers she is pregnant is on the fence – not in regards to morality – she just hasn’t made up her mind.

And so the audience begins this journey with Harriet (portrayed by Hilary Dennis). We travel through her life during a trip to NYC with her young daughter as she appears in Vogue and has her new exhibit opening at MoMA. We meet her ex-boyfriend, Jorge, (played by Sean Mana) who is also the father of her daughter, and the source of this new pregnancy. We experience her mother, (played Ethelyn Friend) through phone calls, voicemails and an emotional visit in celebration of her exhibit. By far the strongest voice in Harriet’s life is Darcelle (brought to life by Celli Pitt), her friend, manager and perhaps conscience. Julie Becker, Rich Brown and Perri Yaniv round out the ensemble playing a variety of characters including the Greek Chorus.

While Harriet makes it very clear to the audience in the beginning that this is a fiction though some of the people portrayed are real, we hear the playwright speak through her. When Harriet tells Jorge that he made his choices when he cheated and when he didn’t wear a condom, I felt like the playwright, Steve Wangh, wanted us to know that was where he felt mens’ decision-making ended on the subject. When Celli tells Harriet that she’s lucky because she’s a white woman with the means to fly to a blue state and have an abortion if she wants one, and that even lesbians can have unwanted pregnancies, the playwright is telling us some of the issues that exist, but have no bearing on his character and her decision making.

Harriet appears to have all the time in the world to come to a decision. She will not be rushed. She decides to interview people about abortion and turn it into art.

When you arrive in the theater, you will find the audience ¾ of the way around the stage. The setting reminded me of Urban Outfitters with outfits on hangers hanging on the wall, pairs of shoes scattered around, and empty picture frames left here and there. While some of those outfits will adorn the actors, some will join the Greek Chorus looming behind the audience. Sadly, once worn, many of the garments do not find their way back to the chorus and just litter the stage instead. 

The staging begins with stylized movement defining the beginning of the journey Harriet is going on. While this fades to a more naturalized style over the course of the play, there is a particularly excellent “interview” with Perri Yaniv and Rich Brown which reminded me of the Open Theater’s The Serpent. The production is currently 120 minutes with a 10 minute intermission, but I really felt something was lost by cutting the work in 2 halves. I wanted to stay with the characters and the urgency of the situation which was somehow lost during the intermission.

Misconceptions is a play in need of an audience. I overheard one couple across the aisle, “I think I’m following this”. The production needs to learn and grow from the reaction it receives. “Is the intended message coming across?” And even, “has my message changed since starting this project?” “I love this moment but does it add to the whole?” I am glad to have seen Misconceptions in its infancy, and look forward to seeing what it becomes.


Making a decision about a pregnancy is urgent. A clock is set in motion which will end in 9 months if not sooner. A woman, especially depending upon where she lives, does not have a lot of time to make a decision. Harriet briefly hopes a miscarriage will take away her choice – make her passive in the process. Yes, Harriet is “lucky”, but how she has the time to perform at MoMA, have pending engagements and begin contacting and interviewing various people about abortion, either their experience or opinion, just feels like a longer project than . . . the time you have to make up your mind and act on the decision. I applaud the playwright’s ability to not make this a morality play, yet how after we take this journey, is there no decision? How is Harriet still on the fence when the play ends? Indecision, inaction becomes a choice. Perhaps, having no ending is a metaphor for us not having the right to decide for someone else.

122CC Theater | (Thu-Sun) through June 3 | https://blessedunrest.ticketleap.com/misconceptions

R.E.D. Hat Fight Club

Six-Time Broadway Veteran Lydia Gaston Joins Cast of Broadway, TV and Motion Picture Performers in
R.E.D. Hat Fight Club 
Wendy Makkena and Tari Kelly Among Other Broadway Veterans in NYC Mother’s Day Concert Musical Parody
Written by American Theatre Wing’s Jonathan Larson Grant and
MAC Award-Winning Joel B. New

Music Direction by David Fraley
Directed by Katharine Pettit
Mother’s Day!
May 14, 2023 @ 7:00 p.m. EST
(food + drink entry begins one hour before showtime)
The Green Room 42
570 Tenth Avenue
(bet. 41st and 42nd Streets)
In-Person Tickets are $39-$79 (+$10 for food/drink).
Livestream tickets are $19. Streaming link is emailed 30 minutes before showtime.
For all tickets, visit TheGreenRoom42.
Runtime: 75 minutes with no intermission

NEW YORK, NY – May 4, 2023 – Just in time for Mother’s Day, six-time Broadway veteran Lydia Gaston (The King and I, Miss Saigon, Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, Shogun, The Red Shoes) joins the cast of Broadway, Off-Broadway, television and motion picture performers in the world premiere concert of R.E.D. Hat Fight Club, an utterly ridiculous and overtly queer musical parody written by American Theatre Wing’s Jonathan Larson Grant and MAC Award-winning Joel B. New (Tempting Mr. Lincoln; Undertaking Christmas). The concert will be staged on Mother’s Day, May 14, 2023, at 7:00 p.m. EST at The Green Room 42570 Tenth Avenue in New York City, and the presentation will also be livestreamed.
Katharine Pettit directs a cast of six, rounded out by Renee Claire Bergeron (Nat. Tour: Whistle Down the Wind), Tari Kelly (B’way: Mr. Saturday Night, Groundhog Day, Something Rotten!, Anything Goes, The Boy From Oz), Wendy Makkena (Film: Sister Act movies; B’way: Lend Me a Tenor, Pygmalion, Side Man), Charles Sanchez (Web Series: Merce!), and Jill Melanie Wirth (TV-Film: The Normal Heart – HBO). David Fraley is music director.
After getting fired on her fiftieth birthday, a plucky milliner falls in love with a mysterious stranger and starts an underground fight club. But when it all inevitably spirals out of control, she must get even pluckier to put a stop to the mayhem and save the world before it’s too late. Starring some of the funniest leading ladies from Broadway and beyond, R.E.D. Hat Fight Club is the perfect gift this Mother’s Day: a knock-out musical parody celebrating the joys of aging and sisterhood!
R.E.D. Hat Fight Club is a love letter to all the amazing women in the world who’ve taught us it’s never too late to make lifelong friends, learn something about yourself, or be a fabulous queen,” said Joel B. New. “It’s the perfect Mother’s Day gift for moms, dads, and their adult kids; the LGBTQ+ community; cabaret, comedy, and new musical theatre enthusiasts; and the Rebellious Empowered Divas in all of us.”
In-person tickets are $39-$79 (+$10 for food/drink). Livestream tickets are $19, and a link is emailed 30 minutes before showtime. For all tickets, visit TheGreenRoom42.
Runtime is 75 minutes with no intermission. Food and drink entry begins one hour before showtime.

Joel B. New (composer, playwright) is the proud recipient of the American Theatre Wing’s Jonathan Larson Grant and MAC’s John Wallowitch Award for his songwriting. His projects include Tempting Mr. Lincoln, Undertaking Christmas, Monkey Trouble Unleashed!, and Mackenzie and the Missing Boy. Joel’s work has been seen and developed at Ars Nova, New York Theatre Barn, Prospect Theater Company, Musical Theatre Factory, Broadway au Carré in Paris, and the New York Musical Festival. His debut solo EP Cabot Cove — a collection of “theatre pop” songs inspired by the classic TV series Murder, She Wrote — is available on Broadway Records.

Katharine Pettit (director) is a Queer (she/her/they/them) intersectional artist seeking to create mental healthcare and wellness resources through movement, dance, and conversation. Katharine is a Brooklyn, NYC based Director/Choreographer and Founder/Artistic Director of KPC, founded in 2016. KPC – “Keeping People Connected” examines social injustices through dance. Believing in movement as our Pathway to Wellness, KPC creates groundbreaking dance musicals that center and celebrate disenfranchised people and marginalized communities, offering opportunities to process and cope with challenging lived experiences. Katharine is a Dance Educator of 20+ years, on faculty at Broadway Dance Center and The Movement Studio. With a trauma informed approach, Katie’s teaching methodology focuses on serving each student exactly where they are emotionally, mentally, and physically in every moment, leaving the focus on the process and less on the outcome/finished result. Their approach to the creative process on every project is very similarly motivated.

David Fraley (music director) is a highly skilled pianist, music director, conductor, arranger, composer, and performance coach from Los Angeles. With classical training and self-taught grooves, he has perfect pitch and can play and notate any song he hears. David has worked on numerous shows as a music director, piano-conductor, and piano player, including “Mamma Mia”, “Sweeney Todd”, and “Daddy Long Legs”. A devoted fan of Sondheim, David loves collaborating with people to create art together. His talent, versatility, and love of music make him a sought-after performer and collaborator in the entertainment industry. 

Renee Claire Bergeron (Brenda) is absolutely thrilled to be back on the stage and to be working with Joel again! Credits include: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Whistle Down the Wind (National Tour), Church Basement Ladies (Fireside Theatre), The Guys (Davenport Theatre), The Pirates of Penzance (Boheme Opera NJ), Nunsense (Arizona Broadway Theatre). TV/Film: The Path (Hulu), Onion News Network, As The World Turns, Celebrity Nightmares Decoded and Archaeology of a Woman. Winner of the New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Actress in a Lead Role for her performance as Lily in A Man of No Importance with The Gallery Players. Proud member of Actor’s Equity. www.reneebergeron.com

Lydia Gaston (Donna) (AEA, SAG-AFTRA) is a longtime New Yorker who grew up in the province of Negros Occidental, Philippines. Her eclectic performing career began with Ballet Philippines where she became a soloist at sixteen. Later in New York she danced with various dance companies, most prominently with choreographer/playwright Rachel Lampert. Lydia is a veteran of six Broadway shows: The King and I revivals at Lincoln Center (2016) and at the Neil Simon Theatre (1996), Miss Saigon, Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, Shogun, and The Red Shoes. Off-Broadway she created roles with Ma-Yi Theater Group, National Asian American Theatre Company and Pan Asian Rep. At the Public Theater in New York, she understudied multiple roles in Jessica Hagedorn’s Dogeaters, and was a member of the 2008 Shakespeare Lab. On TV, Lydia appeared in “The Sopranos” (HBO), “The Blacklist” (NBC), “The Path” (HULU), and as a fictional 2020 presidential candidate on “Late Night with Seth Meyers.” Lydia has enjoyed showing her comedic side with roles like “Mrs. Li” in A Deal by Zhu Yi, at Urban Stages NY and the dual roles, “Angelina/Ruth” in Rachel Lampert’s adaptation of a Gilbert and Sullivan mash-up. Lydia is an arts educator with a Masters of Arts degree in Applied Theatre from CUNY School of Professional Studies. She is an adjunct professor at SUNY Empire State College, and has shared her theatre and dance knowledge in various communities including seniors, and students from pre-elementary to high school. Lydia is writing and developing a solo piece HER MOTHER’S DAUGHTER about her mother Lydia Madarang Gaston, her first dance teacher and mentor.  

Tari Kelly (Mildred Hatter) Broadway: Mr. Saturday Night, Groundhog Day, Something Rotten!, Anything Goes, The Boy From Oz, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Show Boat. National Tours: Anastasia (Countess Lily), Little Shop of Horrors (Audrey), Show Boat (Ellie), Beauty and the Beast (Silly Girl). Regional: Thoroughly Modern Millie (Millie – Jeff Nomination); Anything Goes (Reno Sweeney – Carbonell Award); End of the Rainbow (Judy Garland – Henry Award). www.tarikelly.com

Wendy Makkena (The Narrator) is a versatile actress, musician, and entrepreneur whose career spans film, television, and stage. She has starred in numerous comedies on both the small and big screen, including Oliver Beene, Listen Up, The Mob Doctor, and the popular Sister Act movies. Wendy has also had supporting roles in comedy films such as Camp Nowhere and Air Bud, as well as playing a British real estate agent in the ensemble comedy Fair Market Value. Additionally, she appeared in the Tom Hanks drama It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood as Dorothy.
In addition to her work in film and television, Wendy has had an extensive career on stage. Her Broadway credits include both comedic and dramatic roles, such as Lend Me a Tenor, Pygmalion, Side Man, and The Shawl. She has also performed in Off-Broadway productions, working with esteemed directors and playwrights like Harold Pinter, Sidney Lumet, and Julie Taymor. Wendy’s stage performances have earned her several awards, including the LA Drama Critics Circle Award and the Robby Award for Best Actress for her role in The Water Children.

Charles Sanchez (The Men) is very busy being good at a lot of things, especially being gay. Atingle to be performing in R.E.D. Hat Fight Club, Charles has been lucky to be in several of JBN’s works, including John Wilkes Booth in Tempting Mr. Lincoln, and Mrs. Subplotnik in Monkey Trouble Unleashed! Charles and JBN also collaborated to create the hilarious HIV public service campaign, “The More You Can Ho.” Charles’ ground-breaking web series, Merce – a musical comedy about a person living with HIV who isn’t sick, sad, or dying – garnered him several awards, including Best Actor in a Web Series at the Official Latino Short Film Festival. A writer openly living with HIV, he is a contributing editor for TheBody.com, and his work has been featured in leading publications POZ MagazineHuffPost’s Queer VoicesPositivelyAware.comThem.us, and more. Hair by Justin at Live By the Sword Salon.

Jill Melanie Wirth (Judy) is an actress/singer/writer. Off-Broadway: Kithless in Paradise. TV-Film: The Normal Heart (HBO). Solo Theatrical Concert: This is for You Daisy Ellington (92Y). Opera: Orphic Moments (Jazz at Lincoln Center). ANDTheatre Company: Sex Ed and Welcome to Playland! (co-written and performed with her husband, David Wirth). Jill has also performed at such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, Playwrights Horizons, BAM, Vineyard Theatre, York Theatre, NYMF, Westport Country Playhouse, and La Mama. Jill has worked under the direction of luminaries Tom O’Horgan, André De Shields, Patricia Birch, Ryan Murphy and Ted Sperling. Writer/Performer: Dramedies that examine end-of-life issues, historical topics, and sexual matters. JillMelanieWirth.weebly.com

R.E.D. Hat Fight Club is a work of fiction and is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Red Hat Society. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. The views and opinions expressed in this musical are those of the fictional characters and do not reflect the views or opinions of the Red Hat Society or its members. The Red Hat Society is a registered trademark of the Red Hat Society, Inc.
THE GREEN ROOM 42 recently celebrated its landmark five-year anniversary as Broadway’s premiere destination for live music, nightclub performances, and special events. The space lets audiences experience shows featuring Broadway’s biggest names and emerging talent up close and personal like no other space in the world with a hip, funky vibe, and world-class food and beverage served table-side during shows. Over the past five years, the venue has been host to some of the biggest names in show business, like Lillias White, Josh Groban, Sara Bareilles, Tina Fey, Katharine McPhee, Bowen Yang, Bette Midler, Judy Kuhn, & over 5000 others. While sampling the best talent NYC has to offer, guests can enjoy inspired dishes alongside signature cocktails, craft beer, and a curated wine list. Tickets can be purchased at www.TheGreenRoom42.com. The Green Room 42 is located at 570 Tenth Avenue inside YOTEL in New York City; @TheGreenRoom42



 WHO: Entirely From Memory is a group of improvisers, actors, and comedians who attempt (and fail) to recreate classic stories in front of a live audience. A chaotic mix of nostalgia, improv, theatre, and comedy, they’ve been performing all over New York City since 2013.
WHAT: Performers will attempt (and most likely fail) to recreate Terminator 2: Judgement Day without the aid of scripts, rehearsals, or sobriety. All they will have is their memory, a recent viewing of the film, and a lot of wigs. How certain are we that they’ll succeed? So certain that we’re making it harder for them. Performers:
– won’t know what role they are playing until they get onstage.
– must incorporate lines written by the audience.
– must incorporate any sound effect played by the tech booth.
– must spontaneously create “deleted scenes” when an audience member honks the magic horn
Love the movie? We got you covered. Never seen it? We got you covered. You think you saw it once and you kind of remember it? You’re probably in the show! It will be absolute chaos, but rest assured we will do our best to teach Spanish to a cybernetic organism.
A portion of the proceeds will go to Black Girls CODE, a non-profit organization focused on building pathways for young women of color to embrace the current tech marketplace as builders and creators by introducing them to skills in computer programming and technology by taking radical action to close the opportunity gap for Black women and girls. Black Girls CODE is devoted to showing the world that Black girls can code, lead, innovate, and engineer their own futures.
WHERE: Littlefield – 635 Sackett Street, Brooklyn NY 11217, littlefieldnyc.com
WHEN: Thursday, May 18 | Doors: 7:30 pm, Show: 8:00 pm, | $10 | 21+
HOW: https://littlefieldnyc.com/event/?wfea_eb_id=591995312917
Entirely From Memory is a group of improvisers, actors, and comedians who attempt (and fail) to recreate classic stories in front of a live audience.  
The show takes a classic movie or story and forces the “cast” to recreate it on the spot. Performers don’t know who they’ll be playing (our host casts them in front of the audience) so they can’t rehearse any adlibs or jokes. They must incorporate audience-submitted lines written pre-show, random sound effects played from the tech booth, and “deleted scenes” cued by an audience member with a horn.
All this to say, the performers are set up to fail. When they do it’s hilarious, but when they succeed, it’s a miracle!  By the end of every show, what has been created is something both nostalgic and yet unique to the night and the room.  Like Jurassic Park, some DNA survives from the original, but so much frog DNA has been added that by the time we arrive at our dinosaur, it’s astonishing that it works at all!
Entirely From Memory is able to donate roughly 30% of ticket revenues to charitable organizations addressing important causes both locally and around the world, and which often tie into the stories on stage. Proceeds from Hook went to benefit Indigenous children, and proceeds from Harry Potter to Trans rights.  
Entirely From Memory began in 2013 at TADA! Theatre in Manhattan with an attempt to remember “A Christmas Carol”. Coming up on its ten year anniversary, Entirely From Memory takes on a different film each month on the third Thursday at Littlefield in Brooklyn.
Performers: Willy Appelman, Eric Austin, Herbert Benjamin, Regina Carregha, Ryan Chittaphong, Thomas Costello, Ben Furnas, Molly Gaebe, Lena Gloria, Claire Gresham, Kyra Jackson, Alexis Lambright, Elizabeth Leimkuhler, Pete McElligott, Austin Sanders, Andy Schneeflock, and Scott Thomas.

Guest Artists Announced for Maestro’s Magical Music Box Live! with FRIGID New York

children’s book author Brooke Vitale photo courtesy of the artist 
Based on the Popular YouTube Series
Directed by Nikki Casseri & Brandon Schraml

May 6-28 @ The Kraine Theater

FRIGID New York in association with Dream Sweet Films have announced the special guest artists who will appear as part of  Maestro’s Magical Music Box Live!, an educational children’s show for kids 3-10 years performed in English and ASL based on the popular YouTube series, May 6-28 at The Kraine Theater (85 E 4th St, New York, NY 10003), with performances on Saturday and Sunday at 12pm. Performances will also be available to livestream from home. Tickets ($25 adult; $20 kids; $15 previews/streaming) are available for advance purchase at www.frigid.nycThe performance will run approximately 50 minutes, with no intermission.
Be immersed in a magical world with this NEW interactive live kids show, based on the popular YouTube series Maestro’s Magical Music Box. Meet Maestro and Prima Ballerina in person, as they take you on a DYNAMIC adventure. Encounter new friends, sing and dance with us, and interview a different live artist each week. Topics include musical dynamics, conservation, ocean animals and resolving conflicts.
About 20 minutes into the show, Prima Ballerina and Sir Kinsey will invite a special Guest Artist  up onto the stage where they will show the cool art that they do, many times inviting kid volunteers from the audience to help! The Guest Artist will draw, hair style, do a bug manicure, read a book they wrote, etc. all with the help of the audience! After the Guest Artist demonstration, Prima Ballerina and Sir Kinsey will facilitate a 5 minute interview between the Guest Artist and the audience. This will inspire kids to follow their dreams and do anything they want. They can be a toy maker, a makeup artist, book author, illustrator, and/or do special effects! The show will then resolve, after which there is a meet and greet with the cast and the Guest Artist. The lineup of Guest Artists for May will include:

Saturday, May 6: Jaerri Sumter, makeup/hair/special effects artist 
Jaerri Sumter, who is fondly known amongst her peers as “Miss Jae” studied Theater at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts. Miss Jae was surrounded by creativity and beautiful transformations. Captivated by all the backstage work she started to take interest in makeup artistry. Miss Jae graduated from Makeup Designory (MUD) in 2016 in the heart of the Financial District of lower Manhattan in New York City with a focus in Multimedia Arts. Once completed Miss Jae has perfected her craft in Beauty, Avant Gardé, Hairstyling, and Special Effects. Since then Miss Jae has worked with major companies such as Estee Lauder, Netflix, Chanel ,Lifetime,and Marie Claire. The experience that she has gained from working with various companies has allowed her to create her own style. Miss Jae’s mission is to execute the vision of anyone who sits in her chair. Designing customized looks, and inspiring clients to look their personal best.

Saturday, May 13: Jason Rivera, artist and toy maker
Jason Rivera is an artist and toy maker. He works at Toy Tokyo in the East Village, NYC and is currently developing new ocean-themed toys. 

Saturday, May 20: Brooke Vitale, children’s book author and editor
Broke Vitale is a children’s book author and editor. She has written dozens of books. including The Munet Christmas Carol: The Illustrated Holiday ClassicThe Magic Is in YouDisney Who’s WhoOlaf’s Journey, and Happy Birthday, Mickey. Brooke spent more than fifteen years as an editor at prominent publishing companies, including Penguin Books for Young Readers and Disney Publishing. She now does freelance editing and writing to allow time to spend with her husband and two young sons. 

Sunday, May 21: Artists from Milk and Cookies Kids Spa & Salon
Cousins Teychenne Whitley and Jataon created a place where fun, beauty and delicious meet. Recently, the duo has expanded their services to a larger location. The spa offers the ultimate experience for kids to get pampered, enjoy a delicious complimentary treat at the end of their service. The 2100 sq. ft. new space features four hair stations, five manicure stations, five pedicure stations, a party room and a soft play area for toddlers. In addition to haircuts, up-dos and washes, the spa services include mani, pedis and fun facials. Boys are not left off the list, as there is a “Cool Dudes” section designed especially for them. Temporary tattoos, “booger” soak and mud pie scrub with worms will suit their boyish needs. Parent and child packages are also available. Milk & Cookies Kids Salon & Spa is the hottest destination for kids in New York City- a place where they can sit back, relax and have fun.

Saturday, May 27 & Sunday, May 28: John & Wendy
John and Wendy are the illustrators of YouTube’s Maestro’s Magical Music Box series. Not only do they create pretty pictures, write and illustrate children’s books, take photos, and play music in their band Sugar Syndicate*, they still find time to explore the city, read PG Wodehouse and Gerald Durrell on the subway, volunteer at the Central Park Zoo, and play with the cats. You can often find them chatting up dogs on the street. See more from John & Wendy on Instagram (@johnandwendycreate) and Facebook @johnandwendy. John & Wendy live and work in Brooklyn, New York.

Brandon Schraml and Nikki Casseri (Writers/ Directors) the dynamic married power duo behind Maestro’s Magical Music Box Live! and Dream Sweet Films. They are actors/writers/directors/singers in theatre, TV, film and commercials nationwide. They have performed in 48 of the 50 states and can be recognized as recurring TV characters on shows such as Manifest and The Path. They have a rescue pup named Sparkle and live in a cozy Queens apartment, and their goal is to tell stories that make a positive impact on our world.
Dream Sweet Films has set out to create and produce films, web series, and theater that will entertain, impact, include, and educate. Their projects are made with love and care and a little bit of magic! Their YouTube series Maestro’s Magical Music Box has over 38,000 views in over 25 countries. www.maestrosmagicalmusicbox.com

IndieSpace to Launch The Little Venue That Could Program

IndieSpace to Launch The Little Venue That Could Program

IndieSpace, an organization established to disrupt the ongoing displacement of small theaters and to create a new model for equitable funding for the indie theater community, will launch The Little Venue That Could Program, with generous support from the Howard Gilman Foundation. This new program will award two-year $10,000 grants to a minimum of 10 NYC-based performance venues with annual budgets under $750,000. Applications will open on May 15th at www.indiespace.org

“Small indie venues are home to so many artists and cultural workers in NYC,” said Randi Berry, Executive Director of IndieSpace. “They give us a place to gather, connect, experiment and create the amazing artistry that enhances our lives every day. Small venues are often forgotten by funders and individual donors who focus their support on the companies developing the creative work. But without these venues holding space for artists, incredible work would be lost. The last few years have been brutal for venues trying to keep their doors open. With this generous support from the Howard Gilman Foundation, IndieSpace is so proud to be able to give indie theater and dance spaces a moment to breathe.”

“Small venues are essential to the health and sustainability of the performing arts in New York City,” said Emily Sproch, Program Officer of the Howard Gilman Foundation. “We cannot ignore their value, as they quite literally give a platform to the ideas and voices that seed the entire field. The Howard Gilman Foundation is incredibly proud to partner with IndieSpace on this grant opportunity because no one understands the unique needs of small venues as deeply as IndieSpace!”

The Little Venue That Could Program was created to provide unrestricted general operating support to New York City-based indie theater and dance performance venues with expense budgets under $750,000. Due to size, fiscal structure, staffing arrangements, and unconventional leasing and ownership structures, these homes for artists are most often excluded from city, state, and federal funding and may not meet financial thresholds or the stated priorities of private foundations in order to get significant support. Despite this historical absence of consistent financial support and the growing affordability crisis in NYC, small-budget indie theater and dance venues continue to play a critical role in the creative ecosystem by providing artists with affordable performance and presenting space.

The Little Venue That Could Program grants will be $10,000 per year, for two consecutive fiscal years, and can be used to pay staff, rent, utilities, debt or whatever the venue deems appropriate to help them keep their doors open and thrive. A minimum of 10 grants, to 10 venues, will be given. Each grantee will also be automatically registered in IndieSpace’s FREE Advisory and Consulting program, providing access to experts and information throughout the lifetime of their space operation. In order to acknowledge the labor of submitting an application, IndieSpace has also allotted a total of $5,000 to be split and distributed among all eligible and complete applications.   

Applications will open via Submittable on Monday, May 15 at 9:00 a.m. EST and close on Monday, June 26 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Eligible applicants must be located in the five boroughs of NYC; have an expense budget of $750k or less in the last fiscal year, have been in operation for at least 2 years, operate at least one performance space with less than 99 seats; and have a current lease, license agreement, non traditional agreement or deed. Current annual Howard Gilman Foundation grantees are not eligible for this grant. Venues who have received funding from IndieSpace through any of our other funding programs are still eligible to apply.

Two virtual open houses and one in-person open house will be hosted for applicants to learn more about the process and to ask questions. For personalized one-on-one application support or to learn more about the application, eligibility, or any aspect of the program please visit www.indiespace.org or email hello@indiespace.org

In alignment with our values of non merit based grant making and access for everyone, IndieSpace uses a lottery system for a majority of our funding programs. At times, a weighted system is implemented for organizations or artists that meet certain criteria that have been prioritized for a specific grant program, for example geography, demography, need, etc. The Little Venue That Could Grant will be using a weighted system, but ALL eligible applicants will be entered into the lottery, regardless of weight distribution. Priority in weights will be given to venues who are located in the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island; venues who were established by, for and are serving Black, Indigenous, People of Color, Disabled/Deaf, Transgender/Gender non conforming/Non-Binary and Immigrant artists; and who demonstrate values driven work through community impact, diversity, equity and inclusion, paying arts workers, and accessibility. Some application weights will be determined by a review committee of six indie artists and venue operators who have a demonstrated commitment to serving indie artists, represent the demography of NYC, and have an ongoing relationship to IndieSpace.
This iteration of The Little Venue That Could program has been generously funded by the Howard Gilman Foundation and is administered by IndieSpace staff in collaboration with cultural strategist Alejandra Duque Cifuentes of ADC Consulting.

The Howard Gilman Foundation is a private foundation that provides funding and support to New York City-based performing arts organizations that are reflective of the City’s vibrant cultural community. Its holistic approach focuses on acknowledging, studying, and empathizing with the unique complexities and needs of non-profit performing arts organizations. This approach is informed by the Foundation’s core values, which include respect for, and trust in, our applicants and grantees. With an annual grantmaking budget of $32 million, the Foundation is one of the largest private funders of New York City’s arts sector. Grantmaking dollars are primarily focused on general operating support, with additional investments in organizational financial stability. www.howardgilmanfoundation.org 

IndieSpace was established in 2016 to disrupt the ongoing displacement of small theaters and to address systemic inequities in NYC real estate. In 2022, it merged with Indie Theater Fund, an organization focused on a new model for equitable funding for the indie theater community. By contributing a nickel per ticket from their shows to a pot of money for funding, the indie theater community could create a method of self-sustainability and could rethink philanthropy and the process of grant making. Through radically transparent and equitable grants, community resources and advocacy, the Fund supported hundreds of indie theater companies and thousands of individual artists.   
Since its founding, IndieSpace has: consulted with 70+ venues making real estate decisions, including The Tank, FRIGID New York, The Chain, The Wild Project, Wooster Group, and Classical Theater of Harlem; helped 18 organizations sign new leases; saved seven theaters from being closed or repurposed; created four real estate operation partnerships; walked one venue through the purchase of their new home. During Covid, IndieSpace supported over 50 venues navigating their leases by helping them stay open, and also provided over $1.5M in relief grants to the indie theater community. In 2023 IndieSpace opened the West Village Rehearsal Co-Op with HERE Arts Center, New Ohio and Rattlestick Playwrights Theater. This 99-year lease for $1 per year will serve over 1,500 artists per year. For service to the community, IndieSpace received the Ellen Stewart Award and a citation from the City Council of New York www.indiespace.org

Alejandra Duque Cifuentes is a nonprofit leader and advocate working to advance a more just, equitable, and inclusive arts and cultural ecology. She has 15+ years of experience in strategy, general management, fund development, community organizing, arts education, professional development, and artistic production. Alejandra’s leadership is adaptive, empathetic, and multifaceted, and she moves with ease and intelligence among sectors, issues, and stakeholders. She is known for her ability to get results and draws on her deep relationships to drive accountable collaborations. As the former Executive Director of Dance/NYC, Alejandra acted as a leading voice advocating for dance workers and organizations—expanding the organization’s grantmaking portfolio, increasing the annual budget by 245%, and tripling staffing capacity. As a summation of her work and commitment to the sector, she established ADC Consulting, a boutique arts consultancy firm, in order to equipmission-driven organizations to create long-term cultural impact through fundraising, grant making, advocacy, research and organizational change. www.consultingadc.com