Thursday, August 13, 2015

Spotlight On...Ben Folstein

Name: Ben Folstein

Hometown: Baltimore? Newton, MA? San Francisco? Santa Fe?

Education: BA from The College of Santa Fe in Film

Favorite Credits: "Neon Sun". A serial Sci Fi radio show available as a podcast. I wrote directed produced, etc.

Why theater?: After I graduated college I fell into the theater scene in San Francisco. I needed a job, and my girlfriend at the time had already laid the groundwork at the Z Space, a nonprofit theater organization. Before I knew it, I had worked in every theatrical discipline. I have always been a fan of live performance, and theater allows me to incorporate all my interests into a single medium.

Tell us about Love is Like Mud: It’s a very simple story about a typical young urban relationship. They meet, they have sex, they eventually fall in love, subsequently get bored, split up, and then reunite. Lots of songs. Light, loud, and listenable.

What inspired you to create Love is Like Mud?: The show began its germination 10 years ago in San Francisco when that girlfriend I mentioned dumped me after 7 years. Like many broken hearted people, I picked up my guitar and started singing. Fast forward a few years, and I was living in New York City, fronting a rock band (Level II), and writing songs by the dozen. Around then I decided I needed to start telling stories again, and I started outlining Mud. I used some old songs wrote some new ones, tore the whole thing up and started over, and soon I was performing it at the Sidewalk Cafe as a puppet "opera" with improvised dialogue. A few iterations later, here we are at FringeNYC with real actors and a full scale production.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I like stuff that doesn't take itself too seriously. Stuff that makes an honest attempt to connect with the audience, as opposed to stuff that tries to show how smart or funny or tortured the authors are.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Julie Taymor! I love how she uses production to convey mood and story, but not too literally.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Hardly any. Who can afford to see a Broadway show? I mostly recommend bands and TV shows honestly.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Galafinakis? "The Hobbyist".

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: Little Shop of Horrors, or The Music Man.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Clone Wars

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: a carpenter

What’s up next?: I have two more musicals that need to be work shopped. One about a haunted apartment in which the ghost falls in love with one of the new tenants, and another one about the time I got lost in grand central station on mushrooms after a New Years Eve phish show.

For more on Love Is Like Mud, visit and