#4/5 - THE BEGINNING OF A PLAY ABOUT A BUNCH OF PEOPLE GETTING UPSET ABOUT WOMEN PLAYING POWER RANGERS
This is a little late for both months, but oh well!
I have been working hard on At the Barre (first reading on May 21st!) as well as a brand-new play. This new play will have its first full draft by tomorrow. The first 18 pages of it were heard by the National Theater Institute students from the Spring 2018 semester just last week.
A Play about a Bunch of People Getting Upset about Women Playing Power Rangers, was born out of YouTube comments towards the female casts of Ghostbusters and Ocean's Eight, as well as a response to the casting breakdown released for the new Power Rangers season, Power Rangers Beast Morphers. The play focuses on six women who are cast as the original six Power Rangers in an updated reboot of the 1993-1995 classic Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and people REALLY not being okay with that. Over the span of one month, this group of women come together, learn how to fight bad guys, try to figure out what average bodies look like, and eat a ton of Little Debbie's snacks.
I hope you enjoy a snippet of something wildly different.
May the Power protect you...
On Monday, May 21st, Scratch Night at Theater for the New City will host the first open reading of At the Barre!
The reading will be in the Cino Theater at Theater for the New City at 7pm on the 21st. The reading will be directed by Allison Acuff. There will be a $5 suggested donation.
Crystal Field and Theater for the New City (TNC) presents a varied schedule "Scratch Night” performance program, which offers the opportunity for artists to present work in progress to an audience for one night. Scratch Night started in the United Kingdom in 2000 to show work in progress in an evolution of performances. Theater for the New City was the first theater in America to do Scratch Night. Scratch Night looks for a variety of the most daring artists to try out their coolest thoughts on stage and the audience will help in the development by way of TNC’s scratch ballot.
We hope to see you there!
At the Barre
Book and Lyrics by Steven Meeker Jr.
Music by Sarah Flaim
At the Barre is a musical in two acts that combines musical theater with mime, ballet, stage combat, clown, contemporary dance, and indie pop music. Catherine, a talented principal dancer at ABT with the weight of the world on her shoulders, and Shawn, a non-binary, overweight mime with self-esteem issues, are thrust into each other’s lives after an insane audition. Navigating the format of a Golden Age love story, At the Barre focuses on how one finds their beauty, finds peace within themselves, and finds a genuine connection in a cluttered and overly talkative world.
#3 - An Excerpt from At the Barre (End of Act One)
I am incredibly excited as today is my first official day as a Resident Artist for Access Theater in New York City! Over the last month, I have had an opportunity to work with an incredible director, Alli Acuff, as well as amazing actors/singers/songwriters, Alex Becker and Anne-Marie Pietersma, on this section from the musical. We recorded some demos, did a full table reading of the show, and worked on a staged reading of the scene. I'm incredibly proud of and eternally grateful for their work. I can't wait to share some songs and some more news/work with you soon!
I hope you enjoy this next excerpt from At the Barre!
#2 - An Excerpt from At the Barre (Act Two)
Welcome back to month #2 of 12 for 12 at 12 (12 plays for 12 months with one excerpt released at 12pm on the first of every month).
In an exciting update, I will have my first residency starting on February 4th! I will have an Independent Writing Residency at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center for the next two weeks. I will be focusing on developing scenes between the two main characters of At the Barre. For this month's entry, the first 11 pages of Act Two of At the Barre!
About At the Barre: Catherine, a talented principal dancer at ABT with the weight of the world on her shoulders, and Shawn, a non-binary, overweight mime with gender identity and self-esteem concerns, as well as their Inner Selves, are thrust into each other’s lives after an insane audition. Navigating the format of a Golden Age love story injected with mime, ballet, combat, and slapstick, At the Barre focuses on how one finds their beauty and finds a genuine connection in a cluttered and overly talkative world.
#1 - An Excerpt from At the Barre (Act One)
Happy New Year! I hope you are having a great start to this very new year. I am dedicating my energy on writing and performing mime for the next year. With my first residency coming up in less than two months and a resolution to open myself up, I am starting a series of writing samples on my website called 12 for 12 at 12 (12 plays for 12 months with one excerpt released at 12pm on the first of every month).
Up first is an excerpt of Act One from my mime musical that is being developed further in residency at the Access Theater in NYC, At the Barre. Catherine, a talented principal dancer at ABT with the weight of the world on her shoulders, and Shawn, a non-binary, overweight mime with gender identity and self-esteem concerns, as well as their Inner Selves, are thrust into each other’s lives after an insane audition. Navigating the format of a Golden Age love story injected with mime, ballet, combat, and slapstick, At the Barre focuses on how one finds their beauty and finds a genuine connection in a cluttered and overly talkative world.
If you have any feedback or are interested in this show, leave a comment below or shoot me an email/message/text.
Thank you, much love, and see you February 1st!
I have been officially selected as one of the artists for the 2017-2018 Artist Residency Program for the Access Theater in New York City! This is the second year of the program, which is designed for a mixture of established and emerging theater makers to develop a piece of work. I will be officially working with the theater from March 1, 2018 - August 31, 2018.
Read the official press release on BroadwayWorld here:
AT THE BARRE
Even though the residency is under my name, I am so excited to continue working with the incredibly talented Matthew Gittins on our new mime musical At the Barre.
At the Barre is a mime musical based off a series of mime vignettes entitled Very Strong Liking. Very Strong Liking premiered on August 5, 2017 at the Midtown International Theatre Festival. The cast included Olivia Crawford, Maddy Baker, Douglas Reitsma, Jessica Toltzis, and Steven Meeker Jr.
At the Barre clashes the traditional golden age love story musical with a plethora of different styles including mime, ballet, stage combat, and clowning. At the Barre tells the story through two mimed characters (Catherine and Shawn) as their Inner Selves give them a voice and guide the audience through the story.
More details about the musical and the residency, click here:
I can't wait to begin this incredible journey. Thank you to my family and friends for their constant support. Thank you to the Bells, as well as Rick, Lorie, and Stephen, for giving me the love for mime. Thank you Otterbein Department of Theatre & Dance and NTI for the training. Thank you to Sarah Norris and the Access Theater for the opportunity. Thank you Matt for your constant inspiration.
Let's do this!
It's an exciting first summer for Evan and I. We are working on three different festivals this summer with three different pieces: a 15-minute one-act, a mime show, and a full-length. We are so incredibly thankful for all of the wonderful people we get the opportunity to work with.
Scroll down for more information!
FESTIVAL: The Strawberry One-Act Festival sponsored by the Riant Theatre
SHOW: Battle Lines, the next play in the Stacy and Mia cycle, is a 15-minute one act comedy exploring all the serious questions that you have two weeks into a relationship.
WHO'S IN IT: Lauren Kent (Stacy), Samantha Prentice (Mia), Rebecca Schafer (Assistant Director), and Doug Reitsma (Tech Crew)
DATES: July 13th at 7pm, July 16th at 3pm, July 19th at 7pm, and July 22nd at 5pm.
We are kicking off the festival as the very first piece!
LOCATION: The Theatre at St. Clement's (423 W. 46th Street)
TICKETS: $25 Online & $27 at the Box Office
Premium Seats: $30 Online & $35 at the Box Office
www.therianttheatre.com / Box Office: (646) 623-3488
MORE INFORMATION: http://www.broadwayworld.com/off-broadway/article/Riant-Theatre-Sets-Juicy-Lineup-for-2017-STRAWBERRY-ONE-ACT-FESTIVAL-20170605
FESTIVAL: Midtown International Theater Festival
SHOW: At the Barre is the story of Catherine, a talented ballerina, and Shawn, an overweight mime, share a love of ballet and secrets that in the span of one crazy day will change their lives forever.
WHO'S IN IT: Olivia Crawford (Catherine), Brittany Baltay (Ensemble), Jessica Toltzis (Ensemble), Doug Reitsma (Ensemble), and Steven Meeker Jr. (Shawn)
DATES: August 5th at 8:15pm
LOCATION: Jewel Box Theater (312 W. 36th Street)
TICKETS: $20 General Admission or $18 with the discount code FRIENDSFAMILY
MORE INFORMATION: http://www.broadwayworld.com/article/MITF-2017-The-Oldest-Continuing-Theatre-Festival-in-NYC-Returns-This-Summer-20170603
FESTIVAL: NYSummerfest 2017
SHOW: Stacy and Mia: Finally learning each other's name at a party, Stacy and Mia pursue a relationship. With the end of the year quickly approaching, they are forced to question what dating in college means and how much they're willing to give to someone else. Based on the playwright's re-imagining of his relationship with his girlfriend, Stacy and Mia is equal parts funny and frustrating.
WHO'S IN IT: Tori Hidalgo (Stacy), Asel Swango (Mia), Brittany Baltay (Lily), Rebecca Schafer (Assistant Director), and Doug Reitsma (Tech Crew)
DATES: August 31st at 9pm, September 2nd at 1pm, and September 3rd at 6pm
LOCATION: The Hudson Guild Theatre (441 W. 26th Street)
TICKETS: $23 General Admission
MORE INFORMATION: http://newyorktheaterfestival.com/stacy-and-mia/
"WHAT IS HAPPENING?" - Steven Meeker Jr. (after a crazy day of work, Power Rangers, and sleep deprivation)
It's the final countdown to showcase and lots is happening! Let's give you all a quick rundown!
Screw the critics. This movie was INCREDIBLE. Doug, Evan, and I went on opening night with a packed house of smaller children and Power Ranger fan boys. In between the applause from people in theater, an awesome film filled with action, a surprising amount of humor, Bryan Cranston's floating head, a CGI robot voiced by Bill Hader, and teen angst took us on a cool journey that I have been waiting for my whole life: A GENUINELY GOOD POWER RANGERS MOVIE. Even if you're suspect, go see it for RJ Clyer. He is freaking awesome. Also props to the writers for going outside the box and creating a very diverse group of heroes.
Natalie and I stopped by Central Park on a very gray day, but ended up having a great time. We went to three really cool locations. Spector Playground allowed us to walk around a sandbox and swing around. We were able to see the Delacorte Theatre which just takes your breath away due to the sheer size and how much your imagination works to picture seeing shows there. Finally, we saw the Belvedere Castle, which is so pretty and to be honest, makes you wish you were in your own old Disney film.
Maddy came into town for showcase and she did the impossible: convince me to eat a Vegan Dinner. I had a vegan bacon cheeseburger at Blossom complete with "soy bacon" and "tapioca cheddar cheese." And it was really good. It is still weird to me that brain can totally buy it. Thanks to Maddy for getting me out of my comfort zone!
This was a really cool tourist-y experience for me. The walk was truly beautiful and awe-inspiring. It's always nice to get a nice workout in as well. Natalie took a lot of photos on the walk and I was able to take part of some cool people watching. Afterwards, I saw a new part of Brooklyn and had some great pizza! Good day.
Natalie and I made our way to see the show In Transit. It was very cute and very a cappella. I loved how human it felt and I just had a fun time. That's all you can really ask for at the end of the day. I was smiling the whole time and was absolutely blown away by the Box Man that evening. The sounds coming out of his mouth should not be possible.
This show was AWESOME! Natalie convinced me to see this show and I was skeptical going in because I didn't know anything other than a overly simplified plot of "married woman has an affair with her gynecologist." When I left, I was blown away by the mixture of physicality, harmonies, a beautiful score, comedy, heartbreak, and Jessie Freakin' Mueller. This is absolutely in my Top 4 things I have seen since coming to New York City. I absolutely recommend this with no hesitation.
Everything is happening so fast! As I continue to enter more festivals and competitions as a writer, we are currently preparing for two festivals: The Big Apple Theater Festival and Darkroom 13 with the New Light Theater Project! They are happening April 8th and April 13th & 14th respectfully!
Funny note to end this entry: I lasted a week at Gregory's Coffee. I quit to focus on theater! WOO!
I could talk about my experience with showcase for a full blog. I sang. I never thought I would have the courage to get up in front of a crowd in New York City and sing a song. But I did. And I actually felt good about it. There are a couple different things in the works from showcase and I am excited to share more about that in the future.
But since it is my last blog for the internship period of my life, I wanted to take this time to thank each and everyone of my classmates for the last four years. The past four years for me has been an incredible time of stress, excitement, frustration, and discovery. I have found a consistent family in 12 other people. I want to take this time to highlight every single person in the Class of 2017.
Everyone knows that you and I have been connected at the hip since nearly day one, but they don't know how true this friendship is. You are not only my best friend, my classmate, my partner-in-crime, and my go-to director. You are my brother. We have gotten each other through a lot of stuff, but no matter what, we keep each other upbeat and ready to go. I will never forget the moments we finally got to do scenes together because working with you was the most fun I have ever had as an actor. Thank you, my friend.
I have told you numerous times that you are the greatest dance partner I can ask for. Equal parts fearless, funny, and sincere, you know how to make the most out of any scene or dance that is given to you. You float, Asel. You have made me a better choreographer because I want to keep creating things to showcase you. You never cease to bring your wonderful self into every single monologue, scene, song, and dance. It's an honor to know you. Thank you for making me better. Thank you for being my friend.
What is certainly a joke by now is my unending love for your rendition of Adele's "Turning Tables." But it was one of those rare moments that you can directly look into an actor's soul. You were incredible and still are. It was an honor to see your journey in acting class and with it all culminating with John Proctor. It was one of the greatest moments of my life to share the stage with you in one of my favorite plays as you completely immersed yourself. Also. You're a nerd. One of the coolest nerds I have ever met. Thank you for sharing all of your comic book knowledge and geeking out over Batman and Power Rangers with me.
MADDY! It was incredible to see you for showcase! Thank you for getting me to try vegan food because I really enjoyed it. Watching your grow over the past four years has been one of the coolest things. You were absolutely breathtaking as Elizabeth Proctor and it was an honor to share the stage with you every single night as you shined. Your showcase package was so incredibly fun, natural, and Maddy. You are going to be a TV/Film star and I am so excited to say "I know her!" Onward to awesome things, you yogi queen!
I miss you, man. You are an incredible theater maker. Your high energy, passion, and talent never ceases to inspire, confuse, and push me. I have enjoyed every moment of improv scenes because who knows what you are going to do next and you are so goddamn funny (it's not fair). It's an honor to see your work and to pick your brain about where theater is heading. Don't forget that we still have to create our two-man comedy special. I have been thinking about it a lot. Get here soon, man. You are going to change the face of theater.
A wonderful human being with a wonderful voice. You saw how each and every one of us are awestruck anytime you sang. Ghost bumps, my friend. You are going to make waves, not only vocally, but you are going to be an amazing teacher to the next three generations of theater artists. Those kids are going to get the greatest education from one of the most generous human beings. I am so proud of you. I will always remember that baseball scene from Freshman year. So much love.
One of my favorite moments of showcase is the strut up those stairs and then giving no f**** for a minute and ten seconds as you did a piece that means a lot to many people and YOU JUST HAD FUN. That's all we can ask for. That's the thing I love the most about you. No matter what, you always find the joy behind the material. I loved doing that scene from Suburbia and I loved seeing the growth in your voice throughout our years in college. Keep having fun. Theater needs that more than anything right now.
You were the first voice I heard from this class after the phone calls were made. Your interpretation of "Shake it Out" was so beloved in Ev and I's room and it meant the world to me to get your blessing to use it as my drag show swan song. You are incredibly versatile and I cannot imagine anyone else playing every role that you have done. You are an absolute delight of a person. You are one of my favorite people to see because hanging out with you is always a fun time. You are so undeniably you. Your comfort in your own skin has always inspired me. Thank you, Aubree.
Ah. My drag sister who continuously sings the highest of notes. You are an incomparable force of vocal prowess. You and I have always had a strong connection. I will never forget so many moments with you: The Crucible before freshman year, the Friendly's dinner afterwards, that first night in my dorm room, our rehearsals for our Drag debut, watching your growth in studios, and finally sharing a hug after our swan songs and just talking in the apartment afterwards. Now I am thankful for these long talks we get to have in the rectory. I am glad to have you in my life. You are going to have a fantastic career and a fantastic life.
You are a terrific human being with a giant heart, a huge voice, and a visionary mind. I am continously shocked by every single performance you give. Your genuine warmth as a person is so incredible. Your laser focus is awesome to watch. Every choice you make feels fresh and exciting. THAT VOICE. I have been always appreciated every wacky moment of your friendship, Dana. You are one of the most caring people I have ever met. You want the best for every single person. In return, I want the absolute best for you. You are going to be a star. No doubt in my mind.
You were my first friend at Otterbein. You are an incredible soul that continues to show me what true strength is. I have told you before that you are going to be the person that people will want to build shows around. You can handle anything from a serious and brooding teenager to a quirky college girl to a woman with wisdom way beyond her years. You are such an amazing collaborator, choreographer, singer, dancer, actor, human being, and friend. I am so thankful for your constant friendship, your jokes, and I am so so so excited to see what you accomplish in your life.
Wow. You are a fantastic light in this world. Your talent, grace, and humility is a constant source of inspiration. What can I possibly say? You are one of the greatest people I have met and I am so glad you are in my life. You pushed me more than anyone to sing. There are so many incredible moments that we have shared and it all started because you were the first classmate I talked to. I will never forget that awesome summer of OST and seeing you absolutely own the stage during The Fantasticks. You have been continuosly growing in every single role and I will never forget your turn as Marian in The Music Man. The person that I saw during Showcase was a confident and self-assured woman who had worked her ass off to get there. I am so freaking proud of you.
We move on to life as professionals. Coach used to say that we need to change the American theater. There is no other group of people I trust more to do that than this wonderful group of people.
So to the BFA class of 2017,
Much love and kick ass.
LIFE AFTER INTERNSHIP BEGINS
It's been 11 days since my internship has ended.....
I got the honor to view the wonderful Dana Cullinane in the Cranky Cabaret. She was the star and I am in awe of the talent she oozes every single performance. Very proud of a fantastic classmate!
I really enjoyed my museum trip to Ripley's Believe It or Not! I have been there once before as a young kid in another city (I don't remember where, but alas!). I remember watching the TV show and I believe I even owned a book about the interesting, weird, and fascinating things that are often forgotten about this world. I can't suggest this place enough. Tons of fun!
I finally got to see a performance of All the Fine Boys at the Signature Theatre Center in its closing week. It featured Abigail Breslin, Isabelle Fuhrman, Alex Wolff, and Joe Tipplett, with Isabelle and Alex REALLY standing out. This play was really, really cool with a mixture of teenage comedy, coming-of-age, drama, and scary movie thriller. I give props to writer/director Erica Schmidt for creating an awesome blend of styles and I loved every moment. I can't wait to read the script.
I finished out the week by acting in my first NYC show! I played Chef Master Tom in a 15-minute parody of children's cooking competition shows called Cool Chefs Jr. written by Matt Cox, the writer of the off-Broadway show Puffs. It was so much fun. I had the most fun as an actor I have had in quite awhile. Thank you to Nat, Ev, Lauren, and Luke for coming on opening night. It means the world to me.
I also started a job at Gregory's Coffee. Let's see what happens.
Much love. Continue to kick ass.
A Big Thank You to Michael Cassara Casting
On March 10th, I ended my internship with Michael Cassara Casting after ten fast-paced weeks including extensive scanning, filing, running errands, making schedules, sending out appointments, answering phone calls, taking messages, helping set up auditions, watching auditions, being the reader for auditions, watching EPAs, watching showcases, and meeting a plethora of really awesome directors, producers, actors, singers, and the list goes on and on.
The last week included working with Jamie (who returned), Michael's newly-coined "Shake Shack Wednesday," viewing three showcases, viewing parts of an EPA, making my first ever trek to Astoria, helping train the next intern (Sam, an awesome person), and finally getting a hug before I left! All-in-all, a remarkable time.
Michael, thank you for everything you have done. You have given me the opportunity to get a glimpse into the world of theater and casting. More importantly, you have made this transition into the city so much smoother than I could ever imagine. Thank you for coming to see the show at Manhattan Rep. Thank you for everything you have done for me and Otterbein. Thank you.
SO LOTS OF FUN THINGS ARE HAPPENING
Amazing things are happening in the city right now. My internship with Michael Cassara Casting wraps up this Friday after a week of working in the office, seeing a showcase or two, and a final EPA day. It's hard to believe that ten weeks have already passed at the office, but hey, lots of great lessons and great times. However, the schedule is filling up super quickly and I am excited that I can finally announce a lot of new projects that are happening for me in the city.
MORE THAN/LESS THAN MOVES ON TO THE MANHATTAN REP. FINALS
After two great performances from Lauren, Natalie, and Rebecca, More Than/Less Than was selected to move on to the finals of the March Short Play Competition at Manhattan Repertory Theatre with four other plays. The Finals will be this Saturday, March 11th at 9pm at the Manhattan Repertory Theatre. It's voting based, so we hope to have a good turnout. If you can come: here is a link for tickets: http://manhattanrep.com/march-short-play-competition-2017/
A video of last Saturday's performance will be available, hopefully, by the end of the week.
Special shout out to all of our friends and family who have come to see it so far and to everyone from Ohio and Otterbein who have given us so much support and love! Special thanks to my mom for being able to make up from NJ. It was the first time we have been able to see each other since August.
ACTING DEBUT AT THE MAGNET THEATER IN TWO WEEKS
Connor, Evan, Doug, and I were lucky enough to audition for the Magnet Theater's inaugural 10-Minute Play Festival. I am excited to announce that two weeks after making my playwriting debut in NYC, I will be making my acting debut in that Festival in a really funny parody called Cool Chefs Jr. written by Matt Cox, the writer of the off-Broadway musical, Puffs! I will be playing the host of a children's cooking show and I am super pumped to do a fun comedy! The Festival will be performed on Sunday, March 19th at 7:30pm and Sunday, March 26th at 7:30pm at the Magnet Theater.
Tickets for March 19th can be found here: http://www.magnettheater.com/shows/48989-Magnet-Theater-s-10-Minute-Play-Festival
Tickets for March 26th can be found here: http://www.magnettheater.com/shows/48990-Magnet-Theater-s-10-Minute-Play-Festival
PERIASTRON WILL DEBUT IN THE INAUGURAL BIG APPLE THEATER FESTIVAL
The cycle of Stacy and Mia plays will continue to be produced as a new play Periastron was selected as one of five plays for the inaugural Big Apple Theater Festival ran by the producers of the Big Apple Film Festival. The festival will take place in The Kraine Theater, a home to Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway productions. The festival will culminate with two performances on April 8th at 7pm and 9pm. Periastron will feature Natalie Szczerba as Stacy and Lauren Kent as Mia with Evan Moore-Coll directing. Tickets will be going on sale soon! Check out this cool link to learn more: http://bigappletheaterfestival.com/
FOUR GREAT SHOWS I LOVED THIS PAST WEEK AND A HALF
I saw four of my favorite shows since I came to New York City. They have continued to inspire me to become a better theater maker and writer. So in no order...
1. Come From Away (Broadway): THANK YOU RANDY ADAMS for bringing an amazing story to the stage that is poignant, heartwarming, heartbreaking, and so funny at the same time.
2. The Light Years (Playwrights Horizons): THANK YOU THE DEBATE SOCIETY. It's awesome to go to the theater and learn so much history while also being moved by the story of the people in the world. Also, the lights are the most amazing design element I have seen in my life. Kudos to the actors, crew, designers, and to the Debate Society for once again inspiring me to write.
3. 9 Circles (Sheen Center): As a reader for the final callbacks, this production will have a special place in my heart. I was in the special thanks in the bio and I am so happy to have helped at all. Josh Collins was incredible in the lead role as Daniel Reeves and a true inspiration as an actor. Powerful and moving, Doug and I very much enjoyed this one.
4. See Reverse (Broken Box Mime Theater): Through a connection with Michael, I was able to discover this amazing mime troupe in Manhattan, who perfectly blended all of the exciting, joyful, fulfilling moments of our lives, with all of the confusing, frustrating, and devastating ones. The technique was so clean. The storytelling was so clear. It was the most fun I have had watching anything in a very long time and I hope I can be apart of their community soon!
RANDOM FUN TIMES AND SHOUT OUTS
-Went and explored the wonderful Pop Tarts Cafe with Natalie before our second performance. And everything was free. WOO!
-Saw lots of amazing faces from Otterbein visiting on Spring Break. Much love to all of you. A special shout out has to go to Alyssa for sneaking a FaceTime video so Sally could see the opening night performance.
-Rebecca Schafer is debuting her first play in two awesome play festivals and I am super excited for her. Not to mention, the script is hilarious.
-I am applying for a job. Let's see what happens!
-Shout out to Elizabeth Saltzgiver for being awesome and organizing everything for our showcase.
-Shout out to Dr. Jessie Glover and Stella Kane for being awesome advisers. My defense for Distinction is at the end of the month.
-Next week, I will finally go to a museum and Central Park. Wow. Two months in and I will finally do it.
-Shout out to the Bells and my parents for obvious reasons.
-Shout out to Shawn. I miss you, brother.
-Shout out to Sally. Two years is a long time. Thanks for putting up with me and being my biggest fan.
Until next time.
Have fun and kick ass.
WOW. What a month. As you can tell, week 5, 6, 7 are not on here because I have been super busy. Lots of moving parts in the city, mostly good, if not great! But now it's time to catch you up.
I do better with lists, so I will be listing a lot of things. Touching on a lot and giving you a peak into what a crazy month it was!
THE OFFICE LIFE
- Working hard and working a lot in the office.
- Lots of scanning, filing, running errands, sending out appointments, and talking to agents, directors, Michael, Alan, who ever.
- I like responsibilities and I appreciate the challenge of helping the office.
- Thank you to Elizabeth Saltzgiver for those office tasks. They have helped.
- So. Much. Alone. Time. I didn't think this would happen because it is only Michael and I (with the incomparable Alan Filderman, of course), but there have been long stretches where I am holding down the fort by myself. In that time, I have been doing whatever is needed and working on my own writing when there was down time.
- Saw an EPA and another round of auditions. Always important to see that you need to not only be prepared always, but to choose what shows you off in the best light. Also, HAVE FUN.
WRITING AND MORE THAN/LESS THAN
- More Than/Less Than premieres NEXT Wednesday. SO SO SO SO SO soon.
- Natalie and Lauren are incredible together. Last night's rehearsal in Shetler was inspiring for me as a writer and it was awesome to see my friends do good work in "the real world."
- Rebecca Schafer is freaking hilarious. Come to the show to see the pajamas.
- Doug has been a great help to have as he helps us set up everything we need and for supplying our cell phone sound.
- Evan is a great director who didn't brush off a 10-minute play. Instead, he mined it for every bit he could. It's going to be a great show because of his leadership and the incredible performances.
- I have applied for about 5 additional festivals and a residency. We will see what happens soon!
- Hope to announce another project soon!
SHOWCASE, SHOWS, AND FRIENDS
- We had a great weekend of showcase rehearsals and a performance for a great group of alumni. I am glad I got to see some old friends and meet new alums. Keeping in contact with them is going to be super important as the end of internship draws near.
- In all honesty, the showcase performance for alumni was not my best, but we have time. No time to sit and linger about what to do. Just take the notes and move forward. However, I loved performing with my class again and I look forward to the actual performance. It reminds me how much fun performing is...especially with your best friends.
- Speaking of friends....great times have been had with a few of my great friends from the O'Neill: David and Emma, as well as seeing Olivia Crawford and Jordan in the city. It is also great to spend the night over at Natalie, Evan, and Doug's apartment. Great times with great people keep you from feeling too lonely.
- Saw the incredible production of If I Forget (twice) at Roundabout Theatre, once with Doug and once with Mark Snyder. Thank you Mark for your incredible advice. It really makes a difference to have an alumnus you can talk to about writing. If I Forget may be my favorite thing I have seen here.
- Giving If I Forget competition would be the awesome production of Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, which I saw with Jordan. Great music. Great performances. Great dancing. Lots of fun.
- Other notable productions: Reduced Shakespeare Company's William Shakespeare's Long Lost First Play, NY City Center's Ring Twice for Miranda, The Dork Knight, and UCB.
- In case you didn't know, I went back to Otterbein for three days to surprise Sally Clark and see all my friends and family.
- Sally, that was payback for the summer.
- It was awesome to eat breakfast with my dad and Stephanie, as well as Sally, my brother Shawn, and his girlfriend Michelle.
- I was finally able to see Top Girls, which was well-worth the hype. Not sure if I enjoyed the script as much as the performances. Holy shit. My hat goes off to Daria, Kaylee, Grace, Lauren, Sally, Kara, and Isabel for a FANTASTIC show. Watching your progress from where you started to now was excellent and an honor. Thank you for being great friends to me and for spreading a whole lot of light on that stage.
- Shoutout to Chris Smith for the rides to and from the airport and for being an amazing friend. Keep writing buddy.
- Kunkel, don't stop making work. Take every comment with a grain of salt and just keep doing it. It is too important and I am proud of you for doing it.
- Matt Gittins is an AWESOME songwriter. Be on the lookout for him.
Since the time we became roommates three years ago, Evan and I would always call our friendship (really, we are brothers) and tag ourselves as "Meeker Moore-Coll" with dreams of either becoming kick ass co-heads of a BFA Theatre program or co-Artistic Directors of our own theatre company.
Today, we are super pumped to announce that the dream is one step closer to reality!
Manhattan Repertory Theatre has accepted my 10-minute play, More Than/Less Than into their March Short Play Competition, which means I will be making my debut as a playwright in New York City. Evan will be directing, making his NYC debut as a director.
More Than/Less Than premiered on January 28, 2017 in Festival 2017 at Otterbein University. Daniel Kunkel was the director with Emma Shine (Stacy) and Alyssa Samuelson (Mia) made up the cast.
We are also excited to announce that two of our classmates will be making their NYC debuts as actors in More Than/Less Than!
Natalie Szczerba will be playing Stacy and Lauren Kent will be playing Mia.
So if you want to come out and support us in our debuts (and it is still a competition), the show dates are March 1st at 6:30pm and March 4th at 6:30pm. If we make the finals, we will have an additional performance on March 11th at 9pm. All performances at the Manhattan Repertory Theatre. Ticket details coming soon!
We hope to see you there, especially the army of Otterbein people who are coming for Spring Break!
Much love and thank you for your support!
Well, week three is over and I am still alive and having a pretty good time. Lots of important things are coming up, so this one is going to be a little shorter than the rest.
MICHAEL CASSARA CASTING
We had a mixture of office time and sessions for the week. I was able to observe my first dance call which was incredible! It is always really cool to watch really, really good tap. Moving forward with momentum, the office is now starting to get more sessions and I am still keeping busy. I am working a lot on spreadsheets, sending emails/appointments, scanning, and doing more research on certain actors that Michael tells me to look at. Some of the most important lessons that keep coming up over and over again is to make sure your headshot looks like you, treat the readers and accompanist well, know what is important to have on a resume, and just be a human being. Yes, confident and professional, but be yourself and just be a human. That last point was echoed a few times during our class's meeting with AEA, an amazing opportunity that needs to continue for our university.
THE FINAL PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
Evan, Dana, Natalie, and I had the honor of watching our great friend, Jordan Donica, do his final performance as Raoul in Phantom of the Opera. Side note: Last row of the balcony is a great place to watch shows. However, I have a feeling he will return to that show soon. Congrats to Jordan on an amazing run and for getting me to see Phantom of the Opera twice!
I want to take a little bit of time to thank and congratulate everyone who was involved with Festival at Otterbein this past week. Of all the videos and photos I have seen, it looked incredible, beautiful, and inspiring. Student work is valid and incredibly beneficial and I am of the belief that we need to find a way to do more of it at Otterbein. I hope those conversations can be had by faculty, students, and alumni.
WRITING LIKE THERE IS NO TOMORROW
I have been discovering more and more that I really love to write. I get a lot of satisfaction in creating things for other people. I think maybe I am starting to enjoy it more than acting. Who knows? It's a moment for me to really pick what I want to do with my time and I just naturally keep going back to writing in my notebook and sending it out to different people. Right now, I am looking at options for Not the Truth We Seek and More Than/Less Than. I spent an afternoon editing my website including the new "Writer" tab, CHECK THAT OUT. I am currently in the process of finishing the first draft of my Distinction thesis and a new musical called at At the Barre... more on that later.
A RANDOM ENCOUNTER WITH CHOCOLATE
Walking through Times Square last night with Ev, Schmackery's in tow, we didn't really know what to do. It was that awkward time where you don't want to go home, but you don't want to do anything. So we just walked and then found two interesting locations: Hershey's Chocolate World and M & M's World. I have now realized that there is such as thing as too much chocolate, but hey, the size of these stores and to see how far both brands reach into pop culture is awe-inspiring.
Sally: Always worthy of a shoutout.
Coach: A great mentor. Thanks for coming out.
Evan: My partner in crime and commonly referred to (by Michael) as my life partner.
Ethan: Proud of you. Your work is beautiful.
Ben: Keep doing a great job with the troupe and your puppetry.
Remember....keep kicking ass and be well.
This week was a busy one. In the span of a week, I did the following:
1. Was a reader for an audition
2. Was straddled by an actor at said audition
3. Ran into two of my friends from The O'Neill and FaceTimed a third
4. Saw a run of my play in Festival as well as heard an amazing song that was recorded for it
5. Hung out with my best friends at their apartment
6. Saw a few more Otterbein alumni
7. Stage doored Jordan at Phantom twice because we could
8. Saw a Broadway play
9. Saw an Off-Broadway musical
10. Saw a production at The Tank
11. Saw Project Playwright through the Sanguine Theater Company at SoHo Playhouse
12. Submitted my first play to a theater company
13. Saw La La Land in an awesome movie theater
14. Had Shake Shack for the first time.
15. Sorted many files and headshots
16. Finally had a street hotdog
17. Watched awesome wrestling on the WWE Network
18. Fell more in love with my awesome girlfriend
MICHAEL CASSARA CASTING
For the first time since the first day of internship, I actually spent time in the office. I was entrusted with answering phones, making reader sides, copying, making schedules, sending out appointments, uploading self-tapes, and scanning all in this week. The office is really busy, but it is great to know that I am making a positive contribution by helping Michael out. The two most valuable things that I did this week were drastically different. Firstly, I was the reader for auditions of 9 Circles at the Sheen Center. I found myself being a part of some intense readings as I was only 4 feet away from everyone who was auditioning. In the middle of callbacks, an actor decided that it would be a good idea to straddle me as a tactic. I couldn't move, so it happened, then we quickly finished the scene. It was very weird because he was so charming (British) that I immediately forgot that it happened by the end of auditions and thought he was great. The second most valuable task I got was actually a two part process. I was able to witness my first showcase and I had to take notes about who could be good fits for a project we are casting for. After giving my opinions, I was given a long list of names and tasked with studying all of their resumes and head shots and take notes on their look and special skills. From that, we would use the information to decide the best people to call in for auditions. It was very interesting to see what choices work in the room. It was very important to know that you need to check the casting breakdown multiple times to make sure you are a good fit.
SHOWS AND FRIENDS
OH, HELLO! (on Broadway)
Early on Sunday morning, my classmate Lauren and I rushed Oh, Hello! as it quickly approaches its closing night on Broadway. Unfortunately, we didn't get any rush tickets, but we were able to get affordable tickets and we sat front row of the balcony. John Mulaney and Nick Kroll were on fire that evening, perfectly blending their many scripted jokes with off-the-cuff banter and improvised quips at certain members of the audience like telling a person to turn off their phones, telling a couple that bringing their children to the show was a bad idea, and telling a pair of latecomers that they hope "getting high on 40th was worth it". Highlights included their Nightmare Ballet, the tour of their apartment, and an unscripted moment where Nick Kroll rolled completely off the stage and fell into the first row, seemingly hurting his wrist which became a joke for the rest of the show. One of the funniest nights I have had in a long time.
A DOG STORY (Off-Broadway)
Natalie and I were able to see the next-to-last performance of the Off-Broadway musical, A Dog Story. The premise was simply that a businessman wants to get married, so he can become a partner at his law firm. His best friend, Guy, suggests getting a dog to attract women in perhaps the catchiest song ever ("Get a Dog"). My biggest highlight is them using a mimed dog. Natalie's highlight? The actual dog that came out. Well...he was cute. Be sure to ask us about the dominantrix scene.
ReconFIGUREd (Honest Accomplice Theatre at The Tank)
Evan and I are submitting a play to The Tank, so he found out about this show and I tagged along. Honest Accomplice's mission centers around having a dialogue based around acceptance about women and trans people. This production was a series of vignettes that discussed issues with women and trans bodies. It was at its most effective during its movement pieces including the heartbreaking piece, "Babies Everywhere."
PROJECT PLAYWRIGHT (Sanguine Theatre Company at SoHo Playhouse)
Doug and I went to SoHo Playhouse to see the 7th Annual Project Playwright Festival (THANKS KAILA HILL!) which featured four 20-minute excerpts of brand new plays. After viewing the excerpts, we got to vote which one got a full production during Sanguine's season! Two plays were about the apocalypse, one was about race relations, and the winner dealt with moral issues regarding A.I. It was an amazing night as I got to see first hand that there are companies pushing and championing new work. I saw an actor I read with in one of the excerpts. Small world.
LA LA LAND
Three bros went to see La La Land. I freaking loved it. I loved the dancing, the score, the acting (EMMA FREAKING STONE), the magic, the movement piece towards the end, and I really liked the ending. I felt like a kid watching it. I just got excited to keep telling stories. The Three Amigbros (Doug, Evan, and myself) will probably not see another movie until Power Rangers. Here's hoping Power Rangers is just as good.
I saw two O'Neill friends this week! First, I saw my wonderful director friend, Talia, in a coffee shop by the Sheen Center. It was awesome getting to catch up with her. She is going to kick ass with her gig at La Mama and fingers crossed, we could be working together soon! Finally, I saw one of my favorite writers, Emma, at the Davenport Theatre while she was working concessions for A Dog Story! It was such an unexpected surprise and we will screamed with excitement. The world is truly small.
I JUST SUBMITTED MY FIRST PLAY TO A THEATER COMPANY.
So. Yeah. Thanks to Kaila Hill, I met the producer of a company and the producer told me to send her Not the Truth We Seek and she will personally read it. I submitted it on Tuesday and I couldn't be more excited and nervous. I am going to start sending it to a few more contacts here in the city and Columbus, as well as a few other places. Fingers crossed that something cool happens.
Sally: You know why you get a shoutout. Keep being the greatest.
Jobe, Elizabeth N., and Chris: Thank you for the calls and thank you for your friendship.
Shawn: Thank you for the reviews on the WWE U.K. Championship Tournament matches.
Ben: Thank you for taking care of the troupe.
Kunkel, Shine, & Alyssa: Thank you for taking care of More Than/Less Than.
The Bells & Dad, Stephanie, and Mom: Thank you for your support.
Matt: We are going to write one hell of a musical.
Crawford and Crago: I miss you. Thank you for your friendship and encouragement.
Jordan: Keep kicking ass.
Abigail: You are the freaking best.
Maggie & Jeremy: Keep your head up. Keep being amazing human beings.
Company of Festival: BREAK EVERY LEG! It's going to be an amazing couple of nights.
Until the next entry...
Much love and continue to kick ass.
SEVEN DAYS IN.
Coming at you from the greatest place on earth: Drama Book Shop!
Growing up in small town Ohio, I honestly thought that I would hate New York City. I am a little paranoid about safety and I love Ohio. However, just spending time with the people here and starting to get used to everything, I like it here.
Also. I live in a rectory in Brooklyn. Father Perry is amazing. I am so honored for the opportunity to live here in such a supportive community. Thank you to Sean, Anthony, and Rebecca for helping me with this transition!
QUICK SHOUTOUT TO DANIEL KUNKEL, EMMA SHINE, AND ALYSSA SAMUELSON! They are doing incredible work with my new 10-minute play More Than/Less Than for this year's Festival at Otterbein University! I can't wait to see the next run later this week!
ANOTHER SHOUTOUT TO JORDAN DONICA, NATALIE SZCZERBA, EVAN MOORE-COLL, LAYNE ROATE, and REBECCA SCHAFER for being awesome and greeting me and hanging during my first night. Also...thank you for letting me pass out on the floor after being up for 38 straight hours!
Here's just a brief overview of my first week in the big city!
MICHAEL CASSARA CASTING
Michael is an incredible boss. After a day of working in the office (filing, scheduling, printing, copying, highlighting, and scanning), we immediately had three straight days in auditions with Tantrum Theater located in Dublin, Ohio. I got the opportunity to view auditions for both plays and a musical, be the reader for a morning, and got to hear some casting conversations. I also got to see many rooms inside of Pearl Studios and hear the sounds of various other auditions, rehearsals, and classes. I also got the opportunity to be the reader for auditions for a production that will be produced at the Sheen Center! Getting the opportunity to talk to Michael to and from auditions is amazing. I am honored to have the opportunity to work for such an amazing professional. I am thankful for the opportunity to keep learning more about the craft of acting, learning about casting, and just see what it takes to make it in the business, first-hand. I look forward to the next couple of months in the office! These the seven most important things I saw in the room this week:
1. Say thank you.
2. Know the scene. Know the play. Know your objectives.
3. Make sure your headshot looks like you.
4. Be yourself.
5. Go for it on the first try. Give your all.
6. Know who is in the room.
7. ALWAYS REMEMBER: You may be the best actor they see, but you may not get cast because of reasons that have nothing to do with your audition. Never get discouraged and keep going.
I had the opportunity to see GREAT improv at UCB twice this week due to really affordable tickets. Evan and I sat front row at Frank the Snitch on January 2nd and I was able to catch up with Kayla Walsh and watch another one of their weekly shows, GOAT, later in the week. After two solid hours of improv, I came away with three takeaways:
1. We all need comedy in our lives right now.
2. Good improv is SO good.
3. If you thought Mainstage Improv's long form was weird....go see UCB.
I MET ANOTHER MIME.
Sunday morning at 10am, I walked into the June Havoc Theater and had the honor of watching the awesome Bill Bowers perform an excerpt from his newest solo piece, All Over the Map. During which, he told stories through text and mime about his life on the road. Before and after the performance, I had the opportunity to talk to Bill and mentioned my connections to Michael and my mime instructor, Rick Wamer. I look forward to talking with him more about mime, choreography, and performance. Watching his work took me back to my first year of mime training where I was in awe of the magic of mime. I hope to create magic just like him.
NOT THE TRUTH WE SEEK
In addition to writing my (already 37 page) thesis to complete the Distinction process, I have been so inspired by the city that I am pursuing a way to produce Not the Truth We Seek in the city! I have been working on smaller edits and adding a 10-15 minute movement sequence to fully complete the play. After it's done within the next few days, I will be sending out proposals to a few theater companies and festivals! Wish me luck!
Afterwards, I will start on a new writing project. Hint: A musical version of a movie that's based on an old book.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SLEEP
Last semester, I didn't sleep.
I am actually going to bed at a decent hour and because of that, I am hitting my creative stride again, feeling good, eating a little better, and knowing it is okay to let my brain relax. Relaxing isn't a bad thing.
Much love to everyone!
Continue to kick ass!
It's a busy week for the Department of Theatre and Dance at Otterbein University. In the midst of master classes from Pat Chan and the National Theater Institute (WOO!), closing and striking The Addams Family, the annual Common Hour about pitching suggestions for next season, and rehearsals for Distinction and Drag Show, Mainstage Improv takes a very important step this week.
Tonight, we hold auditions for the troupe and it's always fun to laugh with a great group of people and just play games. After the auditions, we will call people back next week and do long form with them. After that, we have new members. At the end of the semester, Luke and I will be leaving the troupe for internship and at the end of the year, two more seniors will be gone. With that, a link to the original troupe is gone and Mainstage Improv will once again reinvent itself to what works best for them. It's an exciting time that will need to be filled with patience, fun, and more shows to figure it all out.
Saturday, October 1st is our illegal Family Weekend show at 5:15pm in the Riley Auditorium in Battelle! We are rating it PG...unless families don't show up. We are doing games and long form, so join us again! If you can't, another show is coming up soon on October 23rd!
In only two short rehearsals, my cast of 14 women, my assistants, my stage manager and I have blocked all 60 pages of my new play, Not the Truth We Seek, based on the work of WWE character Bray Wyatt, Lord of the Flies, and Charles Mee. It's going by really quick. We will have the confirmation about its status as a Distinction Project for graduation by the end of the week or the beginning of next week. We are moving forward in big ways over the next two weeks: meetings with faculty, individual meetings with actors to discuss characters, blocking adjustments, meetings with designers, first round of advertisements, and it all leads up to our first run of the show on October 2nd.
Of course, some doubts start to creep in as a creator. Are they standing around too much? Is that how people actually talk to each other? Will my dad like this? But there is plenty of time. There is always time enough, as Coach would say.
No matter what, the premiere is December 1st in the Pit. More updates to come!