Sunday, December 8, 2019

Spotlight On...Luke Jackson

Name: Luke Jackson

Hometown: Logansport, Indiana

Education: University of Michigan, National Theatre Institute

Favorite Credits: Charlie in The Whale, though the character is in his forties and I would never have been cast in the real world. Thank God for drama school!

Why theater?: We get to practice empathy, either seeking to understand others or soliciting to be understood ourselves. Often doing both simultaneously. And we get to do it while wearing pretty costumes. Which helps!

Tell us about STITCHES: STITCHES is a one-man show adapted from the graphic memoir by David Small. By incorporating other mediums such as sketching, painting, projection, and puppetry, we revisit Small’s tortured childhood; A botched surgery that left him virtually mute, his estranged relationship with his mother, and how his running away from home as a teenager led to a life of art and a prestigious career as a political cartoonist and illustrator. It’s a story of loneliness, trauma, perseverance, and the importance of art; Quite literally, in this case, giving the voiceless an ability to speak.

What inspired you to write STITCHES: This piece has been with me for nearly seven years now. My senior year of high school, I was tasked with devising a short play based off a person's life. I went to my public library with this silly, romantic idea that I would point to a book at random and it would change my life. And much to my surprise, it actually work. That ten minute rendition earned me a scholarship to attend the University of Michigan's drama program, which led to a full production with their student ran theatre company, and now it is making its NYC debut! David actually resides in Detroit, and I had the great honor to have him as a dramaturg and collaborator in the production's creative process. His talent is only outmatched by his unwavering generosity and kindness.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: When the story comes first, when there is an utter urgency to tell it. Indie theatre is hard work! That’s why I love the independent theatre scene in New York so much. These artists are putting on productions, often using personal funds and wearing several different hats to make it happen. But they believe it is worth it---that the time is now and people have to know about it. That's the type of theatre I love to attend.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Oh, I don't think we have enough pages! I have recently joined the Broadway Advocacy Coalition, and I highly recommend checking them out. BAC practices creative justice---using performance art as a way to seek intersectional change and restorative justice. I am really excited to get to collaborate with everybody on a deeper level and get to work!

What show have you recommended to your friends?: It has already closed, but I have told anyone within a ten foot radius to listen to the cast album of A Strange Loop. Michael R. Jackson and Larry Owens, man. Wow.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: I would demand to play myself! Get super meta and break the fourth wall a lot. Kinda like Heidi Schreck's What The Constitution Means To Me. But sassier and about a queer ginger from the Midwest.

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: Fortunately, New York has the Drama Library at Lincoln Center---of which I have spent many hours watching archives! But I would have loved to see Patti as Mama Rose live!

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Hmm, I'm pretty shameless in my pleasures actually. Yeah, I don't have an answer to that! If it gives you pleasure, relinquish the guilt folks! LIVE YOUR TRUTH! 

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: If I wasn't working in theatre, I would be working in advocacy/activism full time. Perhaps working on campaigns until it was my time to pursue public office. Which...isn't completely off the table.

What’s up next?: The future is a mysterious right now in a really exciting way! A couple projects have been in the creative process rotation for a while now. I think a musical is next on the docket. STITCHES will definitely continue to have a life---still figuring out the next steps. As for me personally? I bought a one-way ticket to Paris for February. I thought, "Tickets are cheap and climate change is real. Let's go!" So we will see what inspiration that might stir up.

Fore more on Luke, visit www.lukejackson.org. For more on STITCHES, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/2424398241133709/

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Spotlight On...Maria Ciampi

Name: Maria Ciampi

Hometown:  Hartsdale, New York

Education:   Fordham University, B.A. 1981 (summa cum laude, in cursu honorum); St. John’s University School of Law, J.D. 1986.

Select Credits:  Kris Kringle The Musical; “29 Rules for Deliverance” (a short story); and The Question Presented (legal text that was used at Harvard Law School)

Why theater?:  I adore musical theater — the ability of music to move the listener is to me unparalleled, and when you combine that with a good story, it’s magical.  In addition, I am also all about catharsis, which I think theater and movies are the best at achieving.  I also love being in the audience, both watching the audience’s reaction and participating in what is happening live before our very eyes and being part of the drama.

Tell us about Kris Kringle The Musical Kris Kringle is a story for everyone, like some classic musicals used to be.  There is a storyline for little children (a magical Toy Competition), a buddy story for young children, tweens and teens, a love story between young Kris Kringle and Evelyn Noël  for all ages, and a love story between Santa and Mrs. Claus, who are real people.  The story is also chock full of comedy, with Christmas jokes, lawyer jokes (I’m a lawyer!) and Elvis jokes as well as fun physical comedy.  But Kris Kringle is also deeply profound and universal, as it is a story about healing and redemption.  So, as you watch the story, you’re laughing and falling in love, and then you’re hit with a touching and cathartic reveal at the end of the story, that I’ve heard audiences gasp when they realize it.  At the end of the story, you can look back and see it was foreshadowed from the opening line of Act One, and is so obvious, but you only just now realize it.  It’s a fabulous experience for me to see the audience’s reaction. And then there’s the music.  Lush orchestrations and wholly original songs, from lively tunes to touching ballads to traditional Broadway.  One of our songs, Evelyn’s ballad, “My North Star,” has over 3 million views (and counting) on Facebook worldwide.  In 2018 we released a fabulous Studio Cast recording starring Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Nikki Rene Daniels with Kim Crosby, Mary Stout and Janine LaManna. We’ve been so fortunate to have incredible casts as well.  In the legendary Town Hall in NYC in 2017, the show starred Cathy Rigby with Broadway stars Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Kim Crosby and Pam Myers.  This year’s show at Proctors stars Eve Plumb (from “The Brady Bunch” and “A Very Brady Renovation”) as well as Broadway veterans Rema Webb, Elizabeth Ward Land, Christopher Shyer, and Gerianne Perez.  This year, we have added award-winning designers to our team, Tony Award winner Jeff Croiter for lighting, Emmy Award winner Matt Kraus for sound, Rick Lyon who worked on the Tony Award-winning Avenue Q for puppets, and Drama Desk-nominated John Narun for projection designs.  Our major setpiece, a grand Storybook (20 feet by 26 feet), will be used for magnificent projections. I think Andrew Keenan-Bolger summarized the show best when he said “Kris Kringle is a holiday musical for a new generation — a gorgeous score paired with a heartwarming tale of family and forgiveness.”  This year when we add on our Storybook, it will be a truly magical experience for the audience.
 
What is it like being a part of Kris Kringle The Musical?:  What a fabulous journey!  To see what I imagined in my mind, then wrote down on paper be transformed by the actors, musicians, and designers.  People talking about my characters as if they are real.  Hearing the beautiful orchestrations.  Remembering every line I’ve written and rewritten many a time over to get it just right.  The audience laughing at my jokes.  Working together with lyricists, composers, orchestrators, and designers on every detail and their adding a layer of beauty and storytelling through their art.  Knowing that at the end of the show, the audience will leave with magic in their hearts as they’ve taken two hours away from their ordinary lives to see something wonderful.  Doing things I never thought I could, such as writing some of the lyrics, producing a show.  I can’t say that at some times it hasn’t been hard, or that I haven’t made my share of mistakes, or that I’ve had to overcome naysayers about another Christmas musical entering the market, but I’ve faced every challenge totally believing in this story and in the audiences who will see it.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?:  It’s about the story and, if it’s a musical, about the music, so I’m open to virtually anything speaking to me.  Charles Dickens is probably the greatest influence on my writing life.  All of his works are theatrical (by the way, he would act out every scene in his writing study and never allowed anyone to be there when he did), but even in the works which are not considered masterpieces, he was a master of drawing characters and making them accessible to his readers.  In Our Mutual Friend (which has been called a masterpiece and a disaster depending on what critic you’re reading), for example, the young girl, Jenny Wren, could not be more foreign to us and yet her wisdom, her angelic nature, her vulnerability and frailty are beautifully sketched and draw the reader in.  I believe that Paul McCartney wrote a song about that character.

What’s your favorite showtune?:  There are so many.  Probably “On the Street Where You Live” from My Fair Lady, “Beautiful City” from Godspell, and the songs of Rodgers & Hammerstein.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?:  Charles Dickens (I know he’s dead, but it’s true, I’d love to work with him as his books are pieces of theater) and Darren Criss, as I always thought he would be perfect to play Kris Kringle ever since I saw him in “Glee."

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?:  Lady Gaga, and the movie about me would be called: "The Little Bronx Girl Who Sang In the Night."  I grew up poor, in a crime-ridden neighborhood, with violence, poverty, resignation surrounding me.  But I was born on Christmas Day, I had the  faith of my family, and I had music — my little radio and my father, who was a recording engineer for RCA but who never played an instrument and who couldn’t read music — and these things allowed me to survive and believe without becoming bitter and dark (though I can write and have written bitter and dark if I let myself go in that direction).

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?:  The original My Fair Lady on Broadway. 

What show have you recommended to your friends?:  The King and I at Lincoln Center; My Fair Lady at Lincoln Center; Beautiful at the Stephen Sondheim Theater.  Also, my favorite play is The Importance of Being Earnest, which I saw at the Roundabout Theatre years ago.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?:  Watching old movies.  I constantly search for ones that I’ve never seen before.  I watch them for pleasure and for learning story structure and even comic timing.  While I have written drama, I am much more comfortable with comedy and some old movies are just perfect training grounds for that.  I often eat chocolate watching them, my other biggest guilty pleasure!

What’s up next?:  Finding even more audiences to fall in love with Kris Kringle The Musical.  In addition, as I am also a screenplay writer, next year I’ll begin work on a new screenplay that I have had in my head for many years.  The screenplay is about an outcast/outsider, making movies, love, betrayal, and redemption, but not at all in the typical way.  I hope it’s going to be a jewel (as that’s what it feels like in my mind), that will make the audience laugh and cry, but it has to be sculpted and nurtured, which is what I plan to do next year.

For more on Kris Kringle: the Musical, visit www.KrisKringleTheMusical.com

Friday, November 22, 2019

Spotlight On...Jaime Lozano

Name: Jaime Lozano. My full name is Jaime Alonso Lozano Reyes.

Hometown: Monterrey, Nuevo León, México. It’s in the north of Mexico. Around 3 hours driving from Texas.

Education: BFA in music and composition from the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León and a MFA in musical theatre writing from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Select Credits: Children of Salt (NYMF Best of Fest 2016), The Yellow Brick Road (Off-Broadway), A Never-Ending Line (Off-Broadway), and many to come.

Why theater?: It’s a fun story. I didn’t meet theatre till I was 18 years old. I don’t remember to have any memory about theatre when I was a kid. I actually when kid wanted to be a lawyer and then I applied for criminology school. I was about to get in and last minute a decide to wait. Then with no reason I thought that maybe music could be a good idea, I love singing at church as a teenager and learned to play guitar in choir. I had my first formal music lesson at college when I was 18 and a few months later I auditioned for Jesus Christ Superstar. I got into the pit choir and my life changed forever. Now I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. I strongly believe musical theater is the most powerful way to tell stories. The way music and words can work together  to serve a story, to deliver a message and get straight to the heart of an audience member is for me magical. Theatre can change the world and can saves lives. 

Tell us about Songs by an Immigrant: Songs by an Immigrant at The Green Room 42 is a concert I have put together with an amazing group of Broadway and Off-Broadway performers, all Latinos, that I like to called my “familia.” I have the honor to have this wonderful people singing my songs, songs written originally for other musical and also some new songs from an upcoming album actually named Songs by an Immigrant. As a writer and composer I like to tell stories close to me, things I feel related with. I have to tell my own stories and all these songs are stories about “someone” immigrant experience.  Songs about struggling with the language (as you can see), about being in the middle of two cultures, about missing your homeland, about missing your family; songs about what it means to wake up in a strange land and trying to make it yours. We have had already this concert sold out at Two River Theatre in NJ and at Joe’s Pub with different guest performers and even when some of the songs are the same, having a different singer bringing it to life is a completely different experience. Everyone as an immigrant by themselves or coming from an immigrant family bring so much to the stories I want to tell. And I love collaborating with them and discovering new things about my songs.
 
What is it like being a part of Songs by an Immigrant?: I feel a great responsibility with my people; with my Latino musical theatre community, with my family, with the audience. I believe diversity needs to come from the stories and beyond of trying to fit in stories already written and told we need to create new one. We need to write new stories. I want my people to originate new characters. I’m proud and thankful to be living these times, to be able to create a change with my work, even if is a small -almost invisible- change. I’m thankful for the people before me whom have opened doors for me and the people now around me, I just hope this is just the beginning of many more immigrants singing their songs, our songs.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: To be honest with you I enjoy all kind of theatre. I believe there’s theatre for all kind of audiences and with different goals. I can enjoy a very commercial piece and also a very theatrical experimental piece. But definitely that theatre that speaks to me is the one that take risks, that challenge the actors and the audience. I’m not looking anymore for stories told in a clear way, I prefer stories told in a creative, theatrical, smart, different way. I guess that’s why many of my favorite shows are flops. I love when the writers, the director and the actors shows their vulnerability and their imperfections on stage. Because at the end that’s what we are imperfect human beings playing to create, and those imperfections make us perfect in our very own particular and specific way. Overall I love honest theatre. And this inspire me, looking at people taking risks while doing art inspires me. Also my talented friends inspire me. More than inspiration I like to call it motivation, it is something more concrete than abstract. My wife that is super talented and hard worker and I admire a lot as a storyteller is a motivation for me every single day. Nice people also is a motivation for me, knowing people who has dared go to beyond and achieve things they never dreamed of. People is my motivation.

What’s your favorite showtune?: That’s a hard question. I have many favorite tunes. It wouldn’t be fair to mentioned just one. From the classic one I love: “All the Things You Are”, “They Can’t Take that Away from Me” and “So in Love.” Some Sondheim: “Move On,” “Losing My Mind.” More contemporary: “It All Fades Away,” “Meadowlark.”  And of course I have some favorite of my shows, Hehehehehe.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Actors, definitely Hugh Jackman is in my list. Also Raul Esparza, Glenn Close. Writers, I would love to set music to some Lin-Manuel lyrics or collaborate with Jason Robert Brown in some way. I have my bouquet list with artists from all fields.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Playing the old version of me maybe Jim Carrey. But talking about diversity I think it would be Mexican actor Diego Luna. I love or very large titles or one word titles: “The guy who was always wrong and never stop smiling.” Or maybe just “Grateful.”

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: Gospel at Colonus, The Capeman. I told you I love flops.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Lately, Hadestown, I love its theatricality. Hamilton, I love how everything works great together: writing, orchestrations, choreography, designing, etc.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Kick lines in musicals. Does it count?

What’s up next?: Playing with my son. Enjoying my family. Writing with my wife. Writing and rewriting. I’m adapting an opera doing new Latino orchestrations. I’m opening a new show in Florida next year. Hopefully opening a show in NYC. Taking my music to London, having a concert there. Writing and rewriting. Orchestrating. Making lot of mistakes. Learning.

Jaime will perform Songs by An Immigrant at The Green Room 42 on Sunday, November 24th at 9:30pm.

For more on Jaime, please visit www.jaimelozano.net

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Spotlight On...Roberto Araujo

Name: Roberto Araujo

Hometown: Mexico City, Mexico

Education: Theatre Major in Mexico City

Select Credits: West Side Story at North Shore Music Theatre, In the Heights at GALA Theatre, Evita at ZACH Theatre, Fame International Tour.

Why theater?: When I was about 14 years old, I saw a production of Crazy for You in Mexico City and that was the main inspiration for me to pursue a career in theatre. I have been very fortunate to have been able to make a name for myself not only as an actor but also as a photographer and now video content producer at Playbill. So theatre has been a part of my life in many different forms.

Tell us about Do You Dream In Spanish?: Since I first moved to NYC about 19 years ago, people have always asked me “Do you dream in Spanish?” And I always thought: “What a great title for a show!”. As time went by, I also realized that depending on who and how the question was asked, it would take a very different meaning. We all have dreams and aspirations. Does it matter what language they are in? I first performed Do You Dream In Spanish? as part of the Fresh Fruit Festival where I was awarded Outstanding Performance.  The second iteration of the show came earlier this year at The Green Room 42 and now back by popular demand. Since it is an autobiographical show, things keep evolving and changing. So you might see the same story line, but there will be new stories and more unapologetic honesty than in the previous versions. And little known fact, I will be doing this to celebrate my birthday!

What is it like being a part of Do You Dream In Spanish?: I am very grateful to have the platform to tell a story. It’s a privilege that audiences have embraced the show and that a venue like The Green Room 42 invited me back shortly after my debut in March. My favorite part of being able to tell the story is when audiences realize that we are all connected by the human experience. We all go through heartbreak, disappointments and even health scares. We might look and sound different, but there are more similarities than you’d expect.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: Honest theatre. In recent memory of shows I have experienced, I can say that Michael R. Jackson’s A Strange Loop, made me want to make this show absolutely unapologetic. It was very inspiring to experience that show. I am inspired by artist who are in touch with their craft and are able to connect with audiences in a deeper level.

What’s your favorite showtune?: Tough question! I have so many different categories. If I had to pick one, I would have to say, David Yazbek has written some amazing songs like “Island” from Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: I would love to work with Steven Lutvak, who wrote A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love and Murder. I sing a few of his songs in my show and I really connect with them. I would love to work with David Yazbek. His music and lyrics are so wonderful. And I would love to share the stage with Heather Headley. I saw her in Aida when I first moved to NYC and I think she is a brilliant performer. Oh! One more… Sherie Rene Scott. I’ve had the chance to produce a video with her, but would love to sing with her.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: I would love to play myself, but if I wasn’t able to, I would say Antonio Banderas. And the movie would be directed by Alfonso Cuarón and it would be called ROBERTO. All capital letters.

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: I would love to see Chita Rivera in West Side Story and Kiss of the Spider Woman. And also Dirty Rotten Scoundrels with Sherie Rene Scott.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Currently playing? Oklahoma! What a brilliant piece of theatre.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: “Dancing with the Stars”! I love that the stakes are so low. They are not competing to marry a stranger, or eating bugs or winning money. They win, bragging rights and a mirror ball. Plus, the pros who dance are incredible. And the production value of the show is out of this world! Would love to direct cameras for it!

What’s up next?: A bunch of thing! November 15 is my show Do You Dream In Spanish? at The Green Room 42 and November 22 and 23 I will be starring in Adam & Brian a new play by Craig Donnelly at The Playroom Theatre. November is a busy month.

For more on Do You Dream In Spanish?, visit: thegreenroom42.com

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Spotlight On...Dani Franco

Name: Dani Franco

Hometown: Raised in Colombia Born in Venezuela

Education: Theater major degree In Casa del Teatro Nacional in Bogota/Colombia and acting for film and TV in New York conservatory for dramatic arts, the professional program

Select Credits: Tiny’s House (off broadway-Temple theater, directed by SC Murray) Film ‘Mama eres feliz Selected in the Cityvision film Festival directed by Elias Acevedo. TV series, Rough and Ready. Twelfth Night by Frog and Peach directed By Lynnea Benson.

Why theater?: Because you are risking all the time and that keeps you in the now, the moment you stop risking the performance became plain. Also your naked in front of an audience, they can see if your being honest with them or not, you have to open your heart so much so you can give every single person in the audience a piece of your truth, of your emotions. That takes a lot of energy. In theater you are at the edge all the time and that’s really exciting, also repetition is something that keeps me fresh and playful everytime I get in the scene. In theater the truth is becomes tangible.

Who do you play in  Twelfth Night with Frog and Peach: I Played Curio, A gentlewoman in Orsino’s Court. In the original Play, Curio is play by a Man. So I enjoy to recreate the character, with the help of the director, Lynnea Benson.

Tell us about Twelfth Night: Twelfth Night is one of Shakespeare  romantic comedies. Is about a twin brother and sister  who are separated in a shipwreck.the sister viola end it up in a town named illiria, she finds herself alone, she assumes that her twin brother is dead. She dresses as a man working for Orsino the duke of Elyria who she is in love with. But he doesn’t know he is a she.   

What was it like being a part of Twelfth Night: Was great I had a lot of fun, I just can say positive things about twelfth night, I learned a lot from the other actors in the cast who has been working with Shakespeare since years and their work  with the verse and Shakespeare words,  made it seem easy from the outside. 

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?:  I see inspiration in many actors. I grew up watching Pacino, de Niro, Dicaprio Films, and as soon as  I watched On the Water Front and Wild One when I was 15, I got OBSSESED with Brando, and I still am. But I get inspiration everywhere I go, I try to really have that peripheral vision everytime. Poets and writers as Hemingway, Virginia Woolf, Julio Cortazar ,Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Dancers as Martha Graham and Pina Baucsh had a really impact on me and my way to see the world and people around me. Also Bertulucci and Almodovar Films feeds my soul. But I think To be inspired you don’t have to go so Far, Im really inspired by the  people close to me who are teaching me not just acting but… Life. And I thing this is the most important thing for an actor.People as My audition Couch... I love her, My cousin, My dance Teacher, A couple of friends that are not actors, other friends who are actors, my dad, other actors who I worked with and who Im working with.Other artists, musicians, visual artists young as me who I got to know recently…. The list can be really long. Im not attached to any type of theater. All of them speaks to me, some in a more positive way than others,  Im very open  and versatile with that. Because I don’t know where the life is gonna lead me to. I Have my preferences of a theater who is based more in the acting and storytelling rather  than the props, costumes and stage designs, I think too many props on stage can get really messy and distracting. But I like theater… from Shakespeare…. to stand up.  I Think the storytelling is the key.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: My dream role to play before I get really old is Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, also I die to play Blanche in a Streetcar Named Desire, Anita in West Side Story, May in Fools For Love By Sam Shepard and Catherine Carbone in A View From the Bridge of Arthur Miller.  Also  I would love to play a serial killer, a gangster or some criminal…. Those roles really catch me.

What’s your favorite showtune?: "Take Me or Leave Me" from Rent and "My Shot" from Hamilton, almost all of Hamilton and "America" from West Side Story. Actually I think this last one is my favorite.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Al Pacino  without doubt. This might sound really ambitious… but I am an ambitious person when is about my career . He is very passionate about Shakespeare as I am, for me he is one of the best’s actors worldwide and he is being my inspiration for acting since I was a little kid back in Colombia. I think working with him would be a master class every rehearsal. It’s one of my biggest dreams, I wanted to point that out, and  Who wouldn’t like a master class with Pacino for free though?...

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: The French actress Audrey Tautou, she is very funny, I think we have a similar humor, and we both play very well with physicality. I would love someone who’s good at comedy in a unique way so it would make a contrast and put a little spice into the drama. I will call the movie... golden waves

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: Angels in America. 

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Frankie and Johnny with Michael Shannon and Audra Macdonald, and also History for Morons the monologue of John Leguizamo, this one, really touched me It talks about the latino Culture, the immigration and all the struggle that an immigrant has in a new country, with new rules. The persistence and the hope of that dream coming true.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: I have a lot… im a Healthy person,  but my guiltiest  Pleasures all has to be with food… maybe…. A cold pina Colada in front of a beach  and a veggie burger with sweet potato Fries and a chocolate volcano cake… with vanilla icecream in the top at midnight. 

What’s up next?: Im going For a coffee, what about you?... I have some films Projects going on next year and also keep working with Frog And Peach in  upcoming  productions

For more on Dani, visit @danifranco8 on Instagram

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Spotlight On...Peter Levine

Name: Peter Levine

Hometown: Brooklyn

Education: B.A., M.A. in History, Columbia, Phd History, Rutgers

Favorite Credits: As an actor, Marc in ART, Willie Clark in The Sunshine Boys, Roy Cohn in Angels in America, and Max Gelman in my new play Apple, Table Penny

Why theater?: I had a first career as a professor of American History at Michigan State University- wrote a lot of books, loved teaching but started acting there with the Theatre Dept’s MFA program and got hooked.  I took an early retirement, moved back to Brooklyn with my wife, got my Equity card in 2002, and have been acting and writing plays ever since.  For me it is a passion – something I crave to do.

Tell us about Apple, Table, Penny?: The play tells the story of Max Gelman, a frustrated Borscht Belt comedian,  who often neglected his roles as husband and father to follow his dream. But now something's wrong. He's been acting strangely and his wife and children are concerned. So is he.Could it be Alzheimer’s? Complete with jokes, the occasional song, and a cast of characters that includes Carmen Miranda and Jackie Gleason, Apple, Table, Penny showcases generational struggles, the special love between a grandfather and his granddaughter, and coming to terms with the inevitable that awaits us all.

What inspired you to write Apple, Table, Penny?: Who knows where inspiration comes from? I try to write what I know best with the hope that concentrating on the specific kinds of people and the worlds they inhabit that I most familiar with, still allows me speak to universal questions and themes.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: My tastes are eclectic. In terms of theatre, always Tony Kushner and Arthur Miller – Paul Simon has been with me since he first began to perform.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: There are so many people I have yet to work with that I wouldn’t know where to begin.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Angels in America

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Gene Wilder, but alas he is dead!

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: The original production of Death of a Salesman

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: I don’t know about guilt, but spending time with my two grandchildren, Ben and Lily

If you weren’t working in theater, you would ______?: Be the best grandfather ever

What’s up next?: I am writing a play with a friend about the end of the Trump presidency. Hopefully, he will be gone, before we finish it.