Great visit at NKU!

I had the tremendous pleasure of visiting the Department of Theatre and Dance at Northern Kentucky University over the past four days and meeting the excellent cast that will be performing in “Encore, Encore” in the Y.E.S. Festival. Festival Coordinator Sandra Forman was most kind in showing me around the campus and making me feel welcome. The visit allowed me to attend three rehearsals by the cast as they prepare for the big April 16th premiere. I also enjoyed meeting Ed Cohen, the show’s director, and his wife Dee Anne Bryll, another respected director.

A little more about Ed: “Mr. Cohen … has worked for the past 25 years as a director in live theatre throughout the region. Ed also teaches acting at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music’s Preparatory Department as part of their High School Musical Theatre Intensive program. He and (his wife) Dee Anne have been recognized by The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Acclaim program and ACT-Cincinnati for ongoing contributions to theatre in the Cincinnati area.”

Mikki Schaffner Photography did a great job taking publicity photos the other day of the cast from “Encore, Encore.” Below you will find Victoria Hawley and Hunter Henrickson (both excellent) playing the characters of Dorothy Parker and her husband Eddie.

EE Rehearsal

Great article about Y.E.S. Festival

The Northern Kentucky Tribune has published a great article about the upcoming Y.E.S. Festival at Northern Kentucky University. The article was written by Rick Pender.

You can read a full text of the article here!

Some sample snippets are below.

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“Something theatrical has happened at Northern Kentucky University every two years since 1981, and it’s unique to the Highland Heights campus. It’s the biennial Year End Series (Y.E.S.) Festival, back for its 17th iteration between April 16 and 26. Sandra Forman, the NKU theater professor, who has overseen at least 10 festivals, says she knows of no other university that regularly undertakes a festival on this scale.”

….

“For the 2015 festival Forman and her colleagues read 431 plays. Each theater professor reads and evaluates scripts, a process that narrows the number to approximately 40. Then they’re passed around and rated; a high score evoking another high score moves that script up the list. By the fall prior to the festival, the number has been reduced to a dozen or so plays. That’s when the three directors who have been engaged to stage the shows are asked to read them and indicate their interest.”

“For 2015, Forman says the three shows are “fun plays, not so much serious drama.” Terry Powell’s It’s a Grand Night for Murder, a spoof of murder mysteries, kicks off the festival on Thursday evening, April 16. On Friday night, April 17, David L. Williams’ The Divine Visitor, a Restoration comedy with a sci-fi overlay will debut. The third show, Colin Speers Crowley’s Encore, Encore, a play about legendary wit and caustic critic Dorothy Parker, premieres on Saturday evening, April. 18.”

“Ed Cohen, a veteran community theater director who regularly stages shows for NKU, is handling Encore.

“I thought this was the best play that I read, so I was glad to get the assignment,” he says. “The students didn’t really know much about Dorothy Parker, but she is an interesting person they can relate to — the first important female theater critic. It’s a story about her failed marriage to a man who went off to World War I and came back a different person.”

“The show is highly theatrical,” Cohen adds, “a memory play that jumps around in time to portray this woman who is witty and smart, but not really a nice person at all.”

Victoria Hawley, a senior theater major from Cloverport in Western Kentucky, is playing Parker. “She’s chock full of quips,” Hawley says, “but I’m trying to discover more of her heart.” She said she’s excited by the opportunity to create a role in a new play. “Not many people my age get to do this. I’m a fan of new works — you have to start from scratch and work your way up.”

Get your tickets now!

Tickets for my play “Encore, Encore” are now available on the website for the Department of Theatre and Dance at Northern Kentucky University.

Buy TicketsTicket prices are as follows:

  • Adult – $ 14.00
  • NKU Faculty/Staff/Alumni – $ 13.00
  • Senior (60+) – $ 11.00
  • Student (with valid ID) – $ 8.00
  • Group (10+) – $ 10.00

Also, from the NKU press release:

“Guest director Ed Cohen will lead … ENCORE, ENCORE by Colin Speer Crowley. Crowley’s play is a bittersweet tragicomedy about the legendary wit and caustic critic, Dorothy Parker. ENCORE, ENCORE traces Parker’s turbulent marriage and the pain it caused through to the meteoric rise of her career as a drama critic. Her fight comes at a price, positioning Dorothy to live in public denial of her painful personal life and stapling her inexorably to a witty, unabashed public persona that is not allowed the luxury of emotion. The play paints a deeply vulnerable portrait of a woman forced to live her life in the spotlight.”

NKU Y.E.S. Festival schedule

My play “Encore Encore” will be performed at the following times in the Y.E.S. Festival sponsored by Northern Kentucky University:

  • April 16th at 8pm – Corbett Theatre
  • April 18th at 1pm – Corbett Theatre
  • April 20th at 8pm – Corbett Theatre
  • April 23rd at 8pm – Corbett Theatre
  • April 25th at 8pm – Corbett Theatre

YES Schedule

“Fifteen Men” a semi-finalist

I learned today that my play “Fifteen Men In A Smoke-Filled Room” is a semi-finalist in a new play contest sponsored by Silverthorne Theater Company. The theater received 425 submissions and my play was one of the top 40 chosen by the play-reading committee. The readers “found the characters and dialogue (of the play) compelling.”

Silverthorne Theater CompanyI am grateful to Silverthorne for their consideration and wish them the best of luck with the rest of their season!

Enter “Shadows of Men”

I am pleased to announce that I have recently finished a new play – “Shadows of Men.”

I have been working on this play for the past 7 months or so. I have long meant to write a play about this particular incident in history because it touches a theme deep in my intellectual heart. The play itself is a story about the dignity of the individual and the survival of human friendship and loyalty across the abstractions of man-made ideologies.

In terms of plot, “Shadows of Men” is a two-hour historical drama about the search by novelist John Dos Passos for his dear friend, José Robles, who mysteriously disappeared during the struggles and turmoil of the Spanish Civil War. This obsessive search ends up isolating Dos Passos from many of his literary colleagues – especially the blustery Ernest Hemingway – who believe that Dos Passos’s focus on friendship is rather pedestrian when the survival of “democracy” is at stake. As Dos Passos investigates his friend’s fate, however, he gradually begins to understand the madness swirling around him, exposing a murky, cold, often heartless world where human beings are subservient to the abstractions for which they fight.

Ernest Hemingway and Others in SpainYou can read a synopsis of the play here and a sample here!

Great show at the Firehouse!!

I want to extend my sincere congratulations to Anne Easter Smith and the wonderful cast she got together for the staged reading of “Encore, Encore” last night! The cast was superb and Anne incorporated many theatrical elements in the performance that are typically lacking for staged readings – including lights, sound effects, and stage action. The play was very much brought alive by Anne’s ingenuity and the excellent work by the cast – especially Gina Colombo. Gina was a fabulous Dorothy, balancing the sweet with the sour, and Michael Johnson brought great feeling and depth to the role of Eddie.

I would also like to thank the audience members who attended the performance (we almost had a full house of 200 people). The Firehouse Center for the Arts draws from a supportive and talented community of actors and artists, which adds a special level of professionalism to their theatrical work. The audience was clearly engaged in the show and the post-show feedback was rich and insightful, clearly coming from an audience with a knowledgeable perspective of the theater. The members of the Firehouse itself were also extremely welcoming and kind.

EE FirehouseA special thank you to director Anne Easter Smith and Firehouse Artistic Director Kimm Wilkinson for their warm support!

Next up… the Y.E.S. Festival!

New Works Festival opens

The New Works Festival at the Firehouse Center for the Arts opens tomorrow with my play “Encore, Encore!”You can check out the following press releases for more information:

The Firehouse Center for the Arts opens its 13th annual New Works Festival, which runs for two weekends — Friday and Saturday, Jan. 23 and 24, and Friday and Saturday, Jan. 30 and 31. All shows start at 8 p.m.

“Providing insight on the play-writing process from conception to presentation, this festival allows us to share with the community a rare and special look at the abundant talent that surrounds us,” according to the Firehouse.

This time around 191 plays were submitted from all over New England and were judged by an independent panel of theater professionals in blind readings.

Come and check out the festival!

Article about “Encore, Encore”

I was interviewed the other day by Ann Reily, Editor-in-Chief of Newburyport Magazine, for the staged reading of “Encore, Encore.” Ann “grew up in Amesbury and has more than 13 years of experience as an editor and reporter.” She interviewed the director of “Encore, Encore” (Anne Easter Smith) a few days before she interviewed me. Ann Reily wrote her article for the local Newburyport News.

“Encore, Encore” is the opening play of the New Works Festival at the Firehouse Center for the Arts. The cast includes Gina Colombo, Tim Gurczak, Sanford Farrier, Eliot Johnston, James Manclark, Julie McConchie, and Michael Johnson. Many thanks to Jim Vaiknoras for the rehearsal photo below.

Encore Encore RehearsalYou can check out the article here!