“Fifteen Men” a finalist

I’m very proud to announce that my play “Fifteen Men in A Smoke-Filled Room” was a finalist in the HRC Theatre New Playwriting Competition.

HRC Showcase

HRC Theatre Showcase is the “premier theater company of the Hudson River Valley.” It is based in Hudson, New York and was founded in 1991 by a group of dedicated theater artists (although the current name came later). The organization has always centered its mission around “the development of new plays and the presentation of classics.” Its new play contest was premiered in 1993 and currently garners upwards of 160 entries per year.

I am very, very honored to have “Fifteen Men” honored as a finalist in this year’s contest. My work was one of 14 plays (out of 130 submissions this year) to be so honored.

I have been invited to re-submit the work next year and will revise the play in preparation for that. It remains one of my personally best-loved and most sentimental plays.

“The Beggar of Bethesda”

“Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. 3 In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. 4 For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had…”

I am proud to announce I have finished a new play – entitled “The Beggar of Bethesda.” The play is a retelling of the story in the Bible when Jesus healed a lame man at the pool of Bethesda (John 5: 1-15). This Biblical story is one of the more interesting ones to me, both because it is told with the informative ambiguity that makes the Bible so fascinating and also because it embraces very forcefully the Christian concept of man’s relationship with God.

In my play, the story of the same man – the beggar of Bethesda – is re-told with a different lens, detailing the experience of the beggar before and after the miracle that made him walk. The beggar is not only lame, but cynical and spends his days conning passersby out of money in the great Temple of Jerusalem – until, that is, he meets this strange man who bids him to rise and walk. The news, however, is not as welcome as expected – not to the temple authorities, not even to the man himself – and so he is banished from the city and forced to wander aimlessly. Then, suddenly, a second chance at living comes the beggar’s way – perhaps the only chance he will ever have – but is he faithful enough to take it?

Beggar of Bethesda

You can find more information about the play here!

“Philosophus” honored again

Today I learned that my new farce “Philosophus” has achieved semi-finalist status in The Summer Playwrights Festival sponsored by The Road Theatre Company of North Hollywood, California.

The Road Theatre Company

The Road Theatre Company is devoted to

  • supporting world, American, and West Coast premieres of theatrical works which introduce socially and/or politically relevant new voices and new thoughts to the American stage.
  • introducing younger audiences to the world of theatre through our mainstage productions, workshops, and free weekly reading series
  • promoting theatrical outreach programs to seniors and at risk groups
  • furthering their resident company as a leader and champion of new works in Los Angeles and the nation.

From their website:

“The Road Theatre’s annual Summer Playwrights Festival (SPF7) is a fundraising event in late July that mounts 40 staged readings of new plays in 8 exciting days. The festival is growing larger every year with playwrights from around the country and around the world participating… Readings are held in both our Historic Lankershim Arts Center Theater and Gallery and in our new 77-seat theater in the NoHo Senior Arts Colony. Although we receive hundreds of submissions for our festival, new and established playwrights are encouraged to submit.”

…and, of the hundreds, “Philosophus” is among the finalist pack! Thanks so much to Road Theatre Company!

Photos from reading

Here are some photos that were taken from the staged reading of my play “Shadows of Men” at Fells Point Corner Theatre.

Many thanks to director Barry Feinstein and all the actors featured below:

  • Mark Squirek………..John Dos Passos
  • Tom Blair…………..Ernest Hemingway
  • Dawn Chapman………Margara Robles
  • J. R. Lyston…………Ramon Mayaguez
  • Peggy Friedman…….Josephine Herbst
  • Mark Robinson…………..Juan Posada
  • Casey Dutt……………Martha Gellhorn

Thank you, BPF!

I am very happy to say I had a great time the other day attending a staged reading of my play “Shadows of Men.” The reading was arranged by the Baltimore Playwrights Festival and directed by veteran director Barry Feinstein. Barry did a wonderful job selecting his cast and preparing the actors for the reading. I received excellent, useful feedback from the reading and am commencing the re-write process tomorrow!

The reading was held at the wonderful Fells Point Corner Theatre in the Fells Point section of Baltimore. I enjoyed absorbing the theatrical surroundings and also walking around the Fells Point neighborhood.

Fells PointMany thanks to Miriam Bazenksy, festival producer, and the other sponsors of the festival!

Check out this press release here!

Check out this piece

I received a nice “farewell” gift from Southeastern Louisiana University when this article was published in The Lion’s Roar (the university’s student publication). I recall chatting with the young man who wrote the article – Ian Fischer – after the second performance of “Encore, Encore.” He formerly served in the military (thanks, Ian!) and was a great joy to speak with.

The article he wrote provides a great overview of my experience at SLU and is also very well-written.

You can check out the article here!

Up next…

Check out my play “Shadows of Men” in Baltimore!!

Baltimore Playwrights Shout-out

“Shadows of Men” will receive its first staged reading at Fells Point Corner Theatre on March 26, 2016!

You can find more information about the play and also the Baltimore Playwrights Festival here.

Today, I also received the comments written about the play by the readers who recommended it for the festival. One reader summed up the play as an “outstanding fleshing out of history” focused on  ”studying ideas versus human life” and also commented on the  ”well written characters and story.” Another reader complimented the “smart and witty” dialogue smart – and, to my especial pleasure, passed this comment: “the playwright provides a good balance between the sharp, sometimes biting humor in some exchanges and the more fundamental exchanges in others.”

Come and see the reading to see if you agree!!

Thanks to SLU!

Tonight was the final performance of my play “Encore, Encore” at Southeastern Louisiana University and I couldn’t be happier with the production.

Director Jeff Polito did a wonderful job directing the piece. He totally grasped my vision of the characters and deftly used lighting and sound effects to marshal the audience through various flashbacks in Dorothy Parker’s life. He also deserves kudos for giving the actors creative space to add great spontaneity between their characters.

Set and lighting designer Steve Schepker did a stupendous job as well. He crafted a set that was more fluid and moveable than anything I have ever seen used for the play (makes me rethink my original “black box” vision). His lighting design also expertly transitioned the audience from the “present” to the “past” with subdued skill.

Madison Paulus was a very dedicated, focused stage manager (as well as a great tour guide!).

…and, of course, what can I say about the actors? Angela Garritt brought witty power and verve to her role as Dorothy. Matthew Dale Carona gave a super-charged performance as Eddie Parker and nailed the full rainbow of his character’s emotions like no one else could. Taylor Sinclair charmed the audience as Robert Benchley with a quirkiness that cannot possibly be surpassed (and, additionally, did some wonderful comic tidbits with Neal Eli as Robert Sherwood). Bennett Cockerham was a “fabulous” Alexander Woollcott and William Hyde, Shelly Sneed, and Duncan Martin added great comedy and flare.

Above all, thank you to Southeastern Louisiana University – especially professors Jim Winter and Chad Winters – for arranging the festival and making everything possible! It was tricky for a little bit (a good ol’ Louisiana rainstorm interrupted the planned performance schedule) but all went well in the end.

Kudos to SLU for their dedication to new work!

Great opening night!

I had the tremendous pleasure of attending the opening night for my play “Encore, Encore” at Southeastern Louisiana University. I’m so impressed by the breadth and the depth of the actors in the production. This is nothing short of an excellent adaption of my play.

Southeastern Louisiana University is nestled in quaint, picturesque Hammond, Louisiana. The play itself was presented in the 400-seat Vonnie Borden Theater on the university’s campus. The people at Southeastern have been extremely pleasant during my stay.

Hammond D Vickers“Encore, Encore” runs from March 8 to March 12 (Tuesday-Friday) of this week.

Go here if you want to get tickets!