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2006/2007 Season

Mainstage Productions

Back from the Front
by Lynn Rosen
Directed by Connie Grappo
May 2 - May 27, 2007
Theatre at Riverside Church
with  Jennifer Albano, Peter Bradbury, Karl Kenzler, Haskell King, Christopher Larkin, Aubrey Levy, Annie Torsiglieri

Back From the Front paints an absurd picture of America at war, a hilarious and finally tragic portrait of a family coming apart at the seams. When a government liaison announces to the Walker family on national TV that their son, Robbie, who’s been mysteriously inaccessible since his helicopter was shot down in Iraq, will be delivered home for Thanksgiving, they are overjoyed. But when a strange young man in uniform arrives on their doorstep, they go to record depths of denial to avoid the unbearable prospect of loss.

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Port Authority Throw Down

by Mike Batistick
directed by Connie Grappo
with Edwin Lee Gibson, Annie McNamara, Debargo Sanyal and Aladdin Ullah
Culture Project

Pervez, a Pakistani cab driver, is haunted by the ghost of his religious brother after he is picked up by the FBI on suspicion of terrorist activity. The brothers came to America to live a secular life in relative safety and now find themselves on two very different paths as they respond to the alienation they feel here.  Pervez reaches out to a homeless alcoholic who lives in the men’s room at Port Authority and a Christian missionary from Akron, Ohio as he attempts to navigate the lonely terrain of post-9/11 New York City.

"Debargo Sanyal, as Pervez, and Annie, McNamara as Barb, the mild-mannered missionary, get Port Authority Throw Down off to a rousing start . . . there are well deserved laughs and fine performances . . . [the play] sets its story in an atmosphere of intellectual fear and distrust, then pushes its characters in the direction of intercultural cooperation and support  . . . its battered heart is in the right place." Anita Gates, The New York Times, October 31, 2006

2005/2006 Season

First Stage Presentations

Killa Dilla (an Ogunde minstrel show for Jim Crow)
World Premiere

by OyamO
directed by Andre De Shields
with Kim Brockington, Leland Gantt, Laura E. Johnston, Angela Lewis, Gil Pritchett, Roslyn Ruff, Dan Teachost, Joan Valentina and Bill Weeden
The Players Theater

Using a kaleidoscope of performance styles Killa Dilla tells the story of La Barsha, a woman whose survival is threatened by her unresolved rage. A powerful call for self-examination and healing that challenges our cultural assumptions with wicked humor, outrage and compassion.

Port Authority Throw Down

by Mike Batistick
directed by Connie Grappo
with James Murray Jackson, Jr., Annie McNamara, Debargo Sanyal and Aladdin Ullah
The Access Theater

Pervez, a Pakistani cab driver, is haunted by the ghost of his religious brother after he is picked up by the FBI on suspicion of terrorist activity. The brothers came to America to live a secular life in relative safety and now find themselves on two very different paths as they each respond to the alienation they feel here.  Pervez reaches out to a homeless alcoholic who lives in the men’s room at Port Authority and a Christian missionary from Akron, Ohio as he attempts to navigate the lonely terrain of post-9/11 New York City.

Box Americana: A Wal-Mart Retail Fantasia
commissioned by The Working Theater

by Jason Grote
directed by Connie Grappo
with Lia Aprile, Stephen Bradbury, Avery Glymph, Julia Pace Mitchell, Chudney Sykes and Jim Wisniewski
Bank Street Theater

The ghost of Sam Walton is resurrected—with his own personal chorus of Chinese workers—to sing the praises of consumer utopia. Meanwhile, two female associates of Wal-Mart #24-2-128, the consumer epicenter of Sprawlville, USA, discover that the Promised Land has turned into a swamp of inequity and empty rhetoric. At a moment when the largest employer in the United States is defending itself against the largest class-action lawsuit in American history, and its anti-union activity is setting a bold low standard in the industry, we watch as two little Davids take on a retail Goliath.

Reading

Republicans, A Prose Poem
(Benefit for Iraq Veterans Against the War; sponsored by New Directions Publishing)

by Eliot Weinberger
directed Connie Grappo
with Leland Gantt, Gaby Kohen, Richard Masur, Novella Nelson, Jeanine Serralles, Lee Wilkoff, Eunice Wong
A powerful snapshot of the world as seen through the eyes of one of America's foremost essayists.

2004/2005 Season

Mainstage Production

Disconnect

by Rob Ackerman
directed by Connie Grappo
with Tina Benko, Matthew Boston, Brennan Brown, Elizabeth Connors and Lou Sumrall
The East 13th Street Theater

By inviting relatively unknown neighbors to dinner, a corporate consultant at a moral crossroads tries to avoid the lies of his job and his life.  Disconnect is about marriage, friendship and telecommunications. From the creative team that brought you the Drama-Desk-Award-winning Tabletop

Workshop and Staged Reading

Third Rail Quill
commissioned by The Working Theater

by Susan Mosakowski
directed by Elizabeth Margid,
with Larry Block, Joe Giocco, Kate Hall, Elizabeth Hesse and Andy Paris
Wagner Labor Archives at NYU’s Bobst Library

Third Rail Quill tells the story of Mike Quill, controversial founder of the Transport Workers Union, from his early days as an activist and union president in the 1930s to his leadership during the subway strike of 1966.

2003/2004 Season

Mainstage Production

Abundance
World Premiere; commissioned by The Working Theater

by Marty Pottenger
directed by Marty Pottenger and Steve Bailey
with Thom Riviera, Cary Barker, Nikki Walker, Joe Gioco, Herb Downer
Dance Theatre Workshop

Abundance (http://abundanceproject.net) is a tragic musical comedy based on a community arts performance project about the ways that people of different classes, races and ages negotiate economics in their daily lives.

[This} is a clear-eyed, barrier-breaking, unsettling, and ultimately optimistic new play that lives on in the mind days after you see it.The subject is money and the shame, guilt and terror that make us reticent to talk about it . . . The camaraderie I felt upon leaving the theatre was surprising, haunting and inspiring. Stan Richardson, Nytheatre.com, January 12, 2004

Reading

Fedunn

by Murray Mednick
directed by David Margulies
with Eric Altheide, Larry Block, Jarlath Conroy, Jack Davidson, Johnny Giacalone, Abigail Lopez, Jonathan Margulies, Josh Mostel, James Murtaugh, Gordana Rashovich, Eleanor Reissa, Gareth Saxe, Michael Stuhlbarg, Lori Wilner and Justin Yorio
Urban Stages

It is 1948 in the Catskills, a popular destination for New York Jews.  The three Silverman brothers own and operate the Manor Hotel.  Business is not good and the Holocaust is reverberating.

8th Annual Alumni Reading Series

Pusong Babae (A Woman’s Heart)

by Linda Faigao-Hall
directed by Marcy Arlin
with Corazon Custodio, Victor Lirio, Jordan Meadows and Eileen Rivera
The Blue Heron Arts Center

Filipina escaping desperate poverty in her home country comes to the United States as a mail-order bride and discovers that poverty corrupts and absolute poverty corrupts absolutely.

Clockwatcher’s Rumor

by Cedric Turner
directed by Woody King, Jr.
with Thomas Jefferson Byrd, Mark Johnson, Marcella Lowery, Jerry Matz, Rob O’Hara, Tom Pennachini and Levy Lee Simon
The Blue Heron Arts Center

Steel workers confront the ways their lives are changing as the need for industrial labor is threatened.  An evocation of the indignant yell of America’s voiceless majority.

Sky Fossils

by Lisa L. Humbertson
directed by Erma Duricko
with Steve Brady, Pamela Dunlap, Marissa Duricko, Judith Hiller, Trevor Jones, Paula Pizzi, George Sheffey, Janet Ward and Adrian Williams
The Blue Heron Arts Center

How do you argue that the child you love should never have been born? Yet what if it’s the only way to keep her alive? Sky Fossils is a story of insurance company greed and the value of human life.

Labor Days

by Tony Vellela
directed by Austin Pendleton
with Carlo Alban, Becky Ann Baker, Rebecca Fasanello, Jenna Jolley, Stephen Lang, Joe Moran, Anne Pitoniak, Molly Regan and Geoff Sullivan
The Blue Heron Arts Center

Every family has its secrets, myths and legends.  In this story of an Italian-American working class family, the lies are exploded and the true meaning of family values is discovered. 

2002/2003 Season

Mainstage Production:

Hold Please
New York Premiere

by Annie Weisman
directed by Connie Grappo
with Emma Bowers, Laura Esterman, Kathryn Rossetter and Jeanine Serralles
The Blue Heron Arts Center

Amid complex office politics and power struggles, two generations of secretaries, answering phones for bosses who never materialize, battle the corporate infrastructure, technology, and each other.

"Scathingly funny."  New York Daily News
"Sparklingly original and fun...risky, bold, unusual, and witty."  Variety

7th Annual Alumni Reading Series
Celebrating 18 Years of Working Theater Playwrights!

Luscious Music
by Matthew Maguire (The Windowman, 1994)
Abingdon Theatre

At a South Florida carnival, a working class family is torn apart by forbidden love and the self-destructive desires of a man caught between two sisters.

Appointed Rounds

written and directed by William Wise (Crown Cork Cafeteria, 1985, Man with a Raincoat, 1986)
with Lou Carbonneau, James DeMarse, James Doerr, Johnny Giacalone and Arleigh Richards
Abingdon Theatre

Russell the mailman lost his wife in a hit and run accident. Hal the record-store owner lost his to the Chief of Police. Years later, the wounds of these two friends are unhealed.

Harry and the Streetbeat

by OyamO (Let me Live, 1990, I am a Man, 1993)
directed by Peter Wallace
with Amanda Bailey, Elliott Chisholm, Francesca Choy-Kee, Johnny Lee Davenport, Akil Davis, Elizabeth Flax, Kate Gilligan, Keith Grant, Dennist Green, Robert Jason Jackson, Osage Lewis-Ashley, Charles Parnell, Tom Pennacchini and Nicky Walker
Abingdon Theatre

It is1968 when Harry Atwater leaves Ohio for the music and energy of Harlem. Will his dreams for the kids of 132nd Street be enough to keep them away from the violence and rage that is slowly taking over their neighborhood?

Abundance

written and directed by Marty Pottenger (City Water Tunnel #3, 1998)
with Rhetta Aleong, Cecilia Arana-Grant, Robert Arcaro, Sam Gordon, Annie Lanzillotto and Linda Mancini
Abingdon Theatre   

Abundance (http://abundanceproject.net) is a tragic musical comedy based on a community arts performance project about the ways that people of different classes, races and ages negotiate economics in their daily lives.

2001/2002 Season

Workshop Festival 2001

The 7th of October
commissioned by The Working Theater

by Linda Faigao-Hall
directed by Mark Plesent
with Robert Arcaro, Ted Deasy, Sarah Gifford, Ernest Mingione, Ramon de Ocampo, Thom Rivera, Curtis Mark Williams and William Wise
Access Theater

High above the rest of Manhattan, the worksite of a skyscraper in progress is its own insular world. When a gay man shatters that world by coming out to his coworkers, it will take more than concrete and steel to rebuild it.  A frank look at the insidious nature of intolerance, The 7th of October takes the audience on an emotional roller coaster ride through the terrain of human sexuality. 


Abundance
commissioned by The Working Theater

written and directed by Marty Pottenger
original music by Terry Dame
with Sam Gordon, Darci Picoult, Socorro Santiago and John Douglas Thompson
with musicians Terry Dame, Julian Hintz and Danielle Jablonski
Access Theater

Obie-award winner, Marty Pottenger takes the nation's economic temperature in this tragic musical comedy on the taboo world of household budgets, bank accounts and credit cards. Developed through two years of interviews with millionaires and minimum wage workers across the United States, Abundance asks "How much do we have?" and "What is enough?" (http://abundanceproject.net


Reconstruction
commissioned by The Working Theater

by Herman Daniel Farrell III
directed by John Steber
with June Ballinger, Jon Krupp, Tracey A. Leigh, Novella Nelson, Charles Parnell and Stephen Schnetzer
Access Theater

“I know nothing, I am nothing,” a young black woman suffering from amnesia tells her doctor in a Manhattan psychiatric hospital.  The attempt to reconstruct her memory from fragments leads to extraordinary revelations about race, identity and ultimately, the foundation of knowledge.

6th Annual Reading Series

The Orion

by Tom Minter
directed by Godfrey L. Simmons, Jr.
with Robert Arcaro, Sean Baldwin,Cynthia Boorujy, Chris Cerraso,  Charlotte Colavin, David Garone, Jeffrey Joseph, Vernice Miller, Lizan Mitchell, Justice Pratt, Souleyé Rasheed and Reena Shah
Manhattan Ensemble Theater

Producers cast a black man as a superhero in the new television series The Orion, but will they let the audience see his face? Tom Minter interweaves ideas of sex, race and modern mythology in this multimedia exploration.


Reconstruction
commissioned by The Working Theater

by Herman Daniel Farrell III
directed by John Steber
with Sam Freed, Laurie Kennedy, Novella Nelson, Charles Parnell, Kelly Taff and Joseph Urla
Manhattan Ensemble Theater

Temp Slave: The Musical!

by Catherine Capellaro and Andrew Rohn
directed by Daniel Goldstein
with Bob Arcaro, Bob Barth, Constance Boardman, Kate Gilligan, Michael Holmes, Erin Maguire, Patrick Mellen, Braden Miles, Ellen Mitenthal, Noah Weisberg and Itanza Wooden
Manhattan Ensemble Theater

What could bring together a single mom in a back-to-work program, a musician looking for his big break, a journalist, a painter, and a rebel lawyer who refuses to adjust to corporate life?  You’ll find out when these plucky temps tackle a right-wing plot to break the last of the unions and turn the economy over to temp agencies.

2000/2001 Season

Main Stage Production

Free Market
commissioned by The Working Theater and Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey

by Jim Grimsley, Julie Jensen, Sachi Oyama, OyamO, Guillermo Reyes, Elaine Romero, Karen Sunde and William Wise
Directed by Joseph Megel with Constance Boardman, Arthur French, Lourdes Martin, Godfrey L. Simmons Jr., Felix Solis, and Eunice Wong
with Constance Boardman, Arthur French, Lourdes Martin, Godfrey L. Simmons, Jr., Felix Solis and Eunice Wong

Eight playwrights explore the meaning of work and the individual's relationship to it in this evening of ten-minute plays.

ACT I:

Fire Drill by William Wise

2020 Sex Care by Karen Sunde

Day of our Dead by Elaine Romero

Kickin' Summit by OyamO

ACT II:

Free Market by Jim Grimsley

Bring Us This Day by Julie Jensen

Poodlesby Sachi Oyama

The Border Crossers Lounge by Guillermo Reyes

"Considering how much time the average urban adult devotes to work these days, the subject doesn't get much attention in theater, film and television. Many of those workplace-based sitcoms, from "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" to "Ally McBeal" are mostly about personality, camaraderie, or personal growth. "Free Market" is mostly about the work itself . . . an intriguing collection of short plays." Anita Gates, The New York Times, June 9, 2001

"Despite the assumption that most workers now fit a sort of cubicle-corralled Dilbert archetype, each play makes a strong argument for the diversity of the American workplace." Name, New York Magazine, June 11, 2001

5th Annual Reading Series

Free Market (The Working Project)
commissioned by The Working Theater and Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey

by Jim Grimsley, Julie Jensen, Sachi Oyama, OyamO, Guillermo Reyes, Elaine Romero, Karen Sunde, Ching Valdes-Aran, Dolores Whiskeyman and William Wise
directed by Joseph Megel
with Constance Boardman, Elisabeth Lewis Corley, Carlo D’Amore, Kevin R. Free, Arthur French and Zabryna Guevra<
The American Place Theater

Ten playwrights explore the meaning of work through the eyes of an actor, a sex care worker, a folk healer, an office worker, a farmer, members of a black caucus and a poodle stylist.

The 7th of October
commissioned by The Working Theater

by Linda Faigao-Hall
directed by Mark Plesent
with Robert Arcaro, Constance Boardman, Jude Chavez, Sarah Gifford, Peter Herman, Ernest Mingione, Dean Nolan and William Wise
American Place Theater

An exploration of the life of Ron Woods, the first gay United Auto Workers union delegate.

Affirmative Action
commissioned by The Working Theater

by Herman Daniel Farrell III
directed by John Steber
with Christina Apathy, Larry Block, Mike Hodge, Rochelle Hogue, Larry Keith, Rosemary Knower, Jon Krupp, Akili Prince and Brenda Thomas
American Place Theater

A black admissions officer and a white professor in a small liberal arts college try to put aside irreconcilable differences and fall in love.

Waiter, Waiter

by David Simpatico
directed by Steven Williford
with Randy Danson, Jerry Dixon, Saidah Arrika Ekulona, Bill Flatley, Jennifer Gibbs, Emily Loesser, Robert Montano, Pamela Newkirk-Arkin, Robert Strickstein, Susan Wilbur and Jane Young
American Place Theater

A brutally honest look at life, love, sex, death and decaffeinated coffee.

1999/2000 Season

Main Stage Production

Tabletop
World Premiere

by Robert Ackerman
directed by Connie Grappo
with Rob Bartlett, Harvy Blanks, Jack Koenig, Dean Nolen, Elizabeth Hanly Rice, Jeremy Webb
American Place Theater

Nominated for two Drama Desk Awards, winner of special Drama Desk Award for outstanding Ensemble Performance

Tabletop takes you into the crisis-a-minute world of a TV commercial film studio which provides the product shot, or close-up, of the item the advertisers would like to convince you is absolutely essential to your well-being and survival. The play spans an afternoon of desperate re-shoots in the studio of Marcus Gordon, an autocratic director negotiating the slippery slope of advertising's A-list. Egos clash and burn, truths are revealed and concealed, people survive their jobs, and the work survives the pathology of the workplace. Tension and hilarity alternate unexpectedly as Marcus and his crew pursues the perfect beauty shot of the hero, a pink fruit drink with a swirl on top.

"Tabletop is the best new American play in quite awhile" Donald Lyons, New York Post, July 19, 2000

"Dean Taucher. . . has turned the performance space into a photographic studio so filled with authentic tools and equipment that it practically drags you into it. And the six people working in it put so much pressure on each other in pursuit of the perfect commercial that after 100 minutes you feel like slouching home to a friendly gin bottle. . . Mr. Ackerman has long been a property master for films, television commercials and shows, and he has acute eyes and ears for telling details." D.J.R. Bruckner, The New York Times, July 25, 2000

"Two Davids, Story and Mamet, have popularized the workplace play, a genre to which Rob Ackerman now contributes his highly estimable Tabletop. The title refers to TV commercials that are usually shot on a tabletop. The author is a practicing property master, and even if he is not a master dramatist, his observation, hearing, and orchestration are masterly enough." John Simon, New York Magazine, August 14, 2000

4th Annual Reading Series

Radium Girls

by Dolores Whiskeyman
directed by Joseph Megel
with Robert Carr, George Castillo, Donna Davis, Danielle Delgado, Shoshana Kuttner, Jim Ligon, Keith Randolph Smith, Jamie Sorrentini and Inger Tudor
American Place Theater

1926: Radium is a miracle cure, Marie Curie is an international celebrity and glow-in-the-dark watches the latest rage—until girls who paint them begin to die.


Tabletop

by Robert Ackerman
directed by Constance Grappo
with Talia Balsam, Rick Banks, Guy Boyd, Alex Draper, David Fonteno and John Slattery
American Place Theater

Tabletop takes you into the crisis-a-minute world of a TV commercial film studio which provides the product shot, or close-up, of the item the advertisers would like to convince you is absolutely essential to your well-being and survival.

The 7th of October
World Premiere

by Linda Faigao-Hall
directed by Mark Plesent
with Robert Arcaro, Emily Franzosa, Michael John Garces, Sarah Gifford, Ernest Mingione, Matt Saldivar, Edward Tully, Inger Tudor and William Wise
American Place Theater


Cheat

by Julie Jensen
directed by Elizabeth Murphy
with June Ballinger, Elisabeth Lewis Corley, Hank Fandel and Juanita Vega
American Place Theater

Life ain’t fair. Neither is Love. And that’s a cheat. Four women in a munitions factory a few weeks before the end of World War II.

1998/99 Season

Mainstage Production

Belmont Avenue Social Club
New York Premiere

by Bruce Graham
directed by Constance Grappo
with Malachy Cleary, David Kener, Ernest Mingione, Michael Moran, and William Wise
INTAR Theatre

Efforts to rig the outcome of a City Council election bring to the forefront issues that the members of the Belmont Avenue Social Club have tried to avoid for years. By struggling to preserve their neighborhood as they know it five men are forced to confront racism, the media, and eventually, the betrayal of trust.

"Belmont Avenue Social Club  is one of those rare plays that seems to tip its hand at the end of the first act, only to stun you with surprising developments and reversals at he end of the second . . . .you're guaranteed a rewarding ride when it reaches its conclusion." David Kaufman, Daily News, April 24, 1999

"Run to see this play."Aisle Say, May 1999

3rd Annual Reading Series

The Fat-Free Chicana and the Snowcap Queen

by Elaine Romero
directed by Michael John Garces
with Cecelia Arana, April Cantor, Jesse Ontiveros, Mary Perez, Carlos Rafart and Jeannette Torruella de Plaza
American Place Theater

Returning to her family’s restaurant to save them from their artery-hardening ways, a student of dietetics rediscovers her cultural heritage and learns that a little lard goes a long way.

The Art of Waiting

by Rob Shin
American Place Theater

A Korean-American man waits tables at a Chinese restaurant and is forced to confront his own racism.

Belmont Avenue Social Club

by Bruce Graham
directed by Constance Grappo
with Malachy Cleary, David Kener, Ernest Mingione, Michael Moran, and William Wise
American Place Theater

In this candid look at the back-room politics of a city council election in a working class neighborhood in Philadelphia, tensions run high as a group of friends must choose their candidate and make a tough decision between loyalty and honesty.

Blue Collar Bay

by Stephen Axelrod and Elizabeth Karlin
performed by Stephen Axelrod
American Place Theater

In a neighborhood where union cards are handed down from father to son, Stephen Axelrod dares to look for something different.  From Daily News truck driver to marine to high-powered stockbroker, he takes us on a personal journey to understand his father, himself and the value of work.

1997/98 Season

Mainstage Production

City Water Tunnel #3

written and performed by Marty Pottenger
original music by Steve Elson
directed by Jayne Austin Williams
The Judith Anderson Theatre

An Obie-award-winning piece by Marty Pottenger, which tells the story of the planning, building, and financing of the largest non-defense public works project in the Western Hemisphere- the building of a third water tunnel to insure the continued delivery of water to all of New York City from the upstate watershed regions.  The cost so far: several million dollars and 24 human lives. 

"...Marty Pottenger establishes a city water delivery system as the backdrop for an often lyrical show that speaks with intimate knowledge and yes, even love, about holes in the ground and the people who drill them...the approach is a blend of Studs Terkel, Anna Deavere Smith and Pete Seeger." Peter Marks, The New York Times, June 9, 1998

2nd Annual Reading Series

Technical Support

by Dan O'Brien
American Place Theater

Wife. Baby. Mortgage.  Greg’s finally landed the dream job.  But, must he sell his soul to make it through his first day?


God, Sex, and Blue Water

by Linda Faigao-Hall
American Place Theater

New to America, a Filipina mystic experiences a crisis of faith when she falls in love with an irresistible Wall Street broker.

The Ballad of Lily from Hell

by David Grimm
American Place Theater

A pair of petty criminals cross paths with a 328 year old vampire and her henchman.  Blood is thicker than water and tastes a helluva lot better.

Madame Killer

by Honour Kane and Diana Kane
American Place Theater

Calculated to excite the most jaded playgoer, this howling, screaming, knock down drag out conglomeration has no duplicate on the American stage.

1996/1997 Season

Mainstage Production

A Drop in the Bucket

by Edward Belling
directed by Mark Plesent
with Dolores Sutton, Carol Morley, Bill Wise, and Randy Frazier
The Judith Anderson Theatre

Retired widow Bea is content to watch “Jeopardy” and bake cookies for her son's weekly visits, until she is befriended by a neighbor who introduces her to the excitement of Atlantic City.

"Playwright Edward Belling has fashioned an understated comedy out of the humdrum loneliness of aging  . . . as directed by Mark Plesent, it's a theatrical chamber piece of curious charm, full of quietly revelatory details." Pamela Renner, Time Out New York, June 5, 1997

"Expert performances." Lawrence Van Gelder, The New York Times, June 4, 1997


The Working Theatre Works

Workshop Productions

Working it Out
Excerpts from Construction Stories and City Water Tunnel #3

written, directed and performed by Marty Pottenger
The Judith Anderson Theatre

Selections from Marty Pottenger’s 1996 Obie0Award Winning City Water Tunnel #3 about NYC’s largest public works project as told through the collected stories of the people building the tunnel; and Construction Stories.  An intimate and informal evening with Pottenger, a progressive lesbian Garrison Keillor.  Working It Out makes use of everyday humor, cliff-hanging suspense and ordinarily eloquent tales.

Security

by Herman Daniel Farrell III
directed by David Greenspan
with Larry Block, Gary Brownlee, Anita Dashill, Alice Haining and Tommy Hollis
The Judith Anderson Theatre

This one-act chronicles a decade in the lives of two coworkers.  At the height of the boom-boom 80s, an investment banker confronts a building security guard and sparks fly.  Through subsequent terminations and arbitrations, Farrell deftly examines the disparity of the safety nets available to each man- a disparity based on race and class.

Low Rent WASP

written and performed by Honour Kane
directed by Diana Kane
The Judith Anderson Theatre

If you can’t hack it, get a job at the Gap selling socks. This solo performance piece takes you deep into the bladder of a vertically integrated media giant.  Corporate politics, self doubt, overblown egos and unanticipated aneurysm rage.

1st Annual Reading Series

Porchmonkey

by Kim Dunbar
directed by Karen Frillman
with Alvin Alexis, Starla Benford, Maude Boylan, Chad Coleman, Justin Collins, Randy Frazier, Regina Herod, Ron McLarty, Ramon Moses, Renee Joshua Porter and Jay Scully
The American Place Theater

Lisa’s boss is on the campaign trail again!  Just how much will she mutilate her identity to get this Republican senator back in office?

Madame Killer

by Honour Kane
directed by David Greenspan
with Mark Johannas, Mark Margolis, John McAdams, Molly Powell, Laurie Wickens and Caroline Winterson
The American Place Theater

Manhattan in 1878 is a city rife with vice and sin.  In Madam’s stately drawing room there are bones under the floor.


The Last Stand of Owen Tobias

by David Grimm
directed by Mark Brokaw
with Larry Block, Jennifer Harmon, Florencia Lozano, Thomas Pennacchini, Zack Shaffer, Victor Slezak and Janet Zarish
The American Place Theater

Ahhh, suburbia: Home of the entitled white male, failing marriages and spiritual decay.  Something’s gotta give, something’s gotta give, something’s gotta give or it will explode.

Running Tab

by Herman Daniel Farrell III
directed by Julie Boyd
with Logan Ernsthall, Alexandra Geis, Gail Grate, Paul McCrane and Rich Topol
The American Place Theater

At the dinner that never ends, a couple of guys meet to eat, drink, be merry and rap about the daily grind, life and race.  Later, when a sister drops by, throw gender into the blender.  The whole time the tab keeps running away from itself and ultimately, who pays for the unbred attitudes that alienate us?

1995/1996 Season

Union Reading Series Tour

A Drop in the Bucket

by Edward Belling
with Robert Arcaro, Randy Frazier, Phyllis Somerville and Dolores Sutton

Retired widow Bea is content to watch “Jeopardy” and bake cookies for her son's weekly visits, until she is befriended by a neighbor who introduces her to the excitement of Atlantic City.

1994/1995 Season

Mainstage Production

Heroes and Saints

by Cherrie Moraga
directed by Albert Takazauckas
produced in conjunction with the Downtown Art Company and Judson Memorial Church
with Isaiah G. Cazares, Doris Difarnecio, Matt Edwards, Elsie Hilario, Adriana Inchaustegui, Mario Mendoza, Claudia Rocafort, Jualkyris Santiago and Marta Vidal
One Dream Theatre

Inspired by the United Farm Workers documentary video, “The Wrath of Grapes”, Heroes and Saints brilliantly explores the inner life of a Chicano farm worker community under siege from ruthless growers and the poisonous pesticides of agribusiness run amok.

Although Heroes and Saints is fiction, it came in response to the numerous events that took place in 1988 which brought growing visibility to the United Farm Workers' grape boycott in protest against pesticide poisoning. The greatest public attention came as a result of the 36-day fast by the president of the union, Cesar Chavez, which ended on August 21, 1988. Less than a month later, the vice-president of the union, Dolores Huerta, was brutally beaten by San Francisco policeman while holding a press conference protesting George Bush's refusal to honor the boycott.  

"A powerful blend of gripping family drama and unabashed agitprop, the play is easily one of the stand-out productions of the season." Michael Fox, San Francisco Independent, date

"I saw Heroes at its San Francisco premiere and was deeply moved by its powerful depiction of our struggle in the fields. I want to commend The Working Theatre, Judson, and Downtown Art for the brilliant idea of staging this play in the main space of an historic church that has long been associated with important justice struggle. The collaboration will help ensure that new audiences, especially church and working-class audiences, get a chance to experience great drama and learn about the struggles we share with working people everywhere." Dolores Huerta, Vice President, United Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO

Rhetorical Oratorio
commissioned by The Working Theater

by Robbie McCauley

1993/1994 Season

Mainstage Production

The Windowman

book and lyrics by Matthew Maguire
music by Bruce Barthol and Greg Pliska
directed by Bill Mitchelson
musical direction by Genji Ito
coproduced by Creation Production Company
with Angela Bullock, Frank Deal, John Nesci and Kaipo Schwab
with musicians Steve Alcott, Jules Cohen, John Jenkins and Henry Mann

Inspired by a true story of the murder of an Asian-American teenager by a Detroit autoworker in 1982, The Windowman addresses issues of racism, xenophobia and changes in the American blue-collar economy.

"Matthew Maguire is less interested in a literal recounting of events than in getting inside the head of racist rage . . . stopping time and repeating conversations till they're pushed to a breaking point, we feel a bit of the aggressor's heat, the stress of creditors and repo men that sends an already volatile personality over the edge." Jan Stuart, New York Newsday, May 13, 1994

1992/1993 Season

Mainstage Productions

I am a Man
Commissioned by the Working Theater

by OyamO
directed by Bill Mitchelson
music composition and direction by Olu Dara
>with Robert Arcaro, Paul Butler, A. Benard Cummings, Guy Davis, Larry Keith, James Murtaugh, Harold Perrineau Jr., Monte Russell, Howard Samuelsohn, Mark Kenneth Smaltz, Myra Taylor

On February 12, 1968, African-American sanitation workers, members of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 1733, struck the Memphis Department of Public Workers. Prior to the strike, newly elected Mayor Henry Loeb had refused to negotiate with Local 1733's president or to recognize the union. Within weeks, the city's African-American community, under the leadership of 150 black clergymen, united to defend and support the sanitation workers. I am a Man tells the story of this fight for workers' and civil rights that erupted into riots and culminated in the assassination of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

"A gripping new play by OyamO . . . Bill Mitchelson has assembled a first-rate cast and mounted an evocative production . . . the play takes unflinching aim at the often vitriolic feuds between the militant and the nonviolent arms of the civil rights movement and the liberal Jews who marched beside them." Wilborn Hampton, The New York Times, May 20, 1993

Persimmon Peel

written and performed by Laurie Carlos and Robbie McCauley

Persimmon Peel explores the lives of African-American women through dreams, monologues, and improvisations.

"By turns poetic and slapstick . . . every moment is richly earned with fluid bodies and pointed writing”.  Laurie Stone, The Village Voice, December 15, 1992

1991/1992 Season

Mainstage Production

Ascension Day

by Michael Henry Brown
directed by L. Kenneth Richardson
with Michael Beach, Jesse Bernstein, Betty K. Bynum, Matthew C. Cowles, Andre de Shields, Arthur French, Jack Gwaltney, Novella Nelson, Colleen Quinn, Ving Rhames, Jeremy Stuart, Earl Whitted, Rozwill Young

Winner of the Kennedy Center's Fund for New American Plays award, Ascension Day dramatizes the 1831 slave revolt led by Nat Turner.

"Ascension Day is . . .a long, sprawling, and swirling play in which we come to understand that the erosion of human spirit is not a straight descent, but maze- like . . . This is historical drama to outstay black history month: light on sanctimony, long on theatrical vigor." Jan Stuart, New York Newsday, February 17, 1992

1990/1991 Season

Mainstage Production:

Let Me Live

by OyamO
directed by Bill Mitchelson
music composed and directed by Olu Dara<
with Randy Frazier, LeLand Gantt, Earl Hagan, Rande Harris, Lawrence James, Robert Jason, Mitchell Marchand, Jasper McGruder, Eugene Nesmith, Monte Russell
The Harold Clurman Theatre

Let Me Live is based on the autobiography of labor-union advocate Angelo P. Herndon. After organizing thousands of destitute white and black workers to march in protest against the city of Atlanta when it summarily ceased relief payments, Herndon was harassed, beaten and illegally imprisoned. After a rigged trial, he was sentenced to life on a chain gang, a perverse form of living death. With the help of union members and enthusiastic public support, Herndon was freed after his appeal reached the U.S. Supreme Court. He went on to work on behalf of labor for many years.

"A striking new play by OyamO ostensibly about the political plight of real-life '30's labor activist Angelo P. Herndon, but actually about the constant negotiation of power that defines a black man in the racist U.S. of A.. . . buoyed by raunchy, irresistibly listenable black dialogue and an energetic, larger than life cast, Let Me Live . . . always remains, in the face of its characters' probable destinies of living chain-gang death, a play very much alive." Scott Poulson-Bryant, The Village Voice, January 22, 1991

"It is from transcripts of the trial and Angelo Herndon's autobiography that playwright OyamO has fashioned his powerful drama. . . the movement and timing were executed with precision, and kudos to Anne Patterson for her coordination of costume and set design which, like OyamO and Mitchelson's concern for realism, was right on the money."Herb Boyd, Amsterdam News, February 16, 1991

Working One Acts 1991

Bitter Cane

by Genny Lim
directed by Mark Plesent
with Mel Duane Gionson, Kiya Ann Joyce, Akira Takayama, Allan Tung and Ian Wen
Theatre Row Theatre

Lim combines myth and realism in a play about Chinese immigrant workers.

Betting on the Dust Commander

by Suzan Lori Parks
directed by Liz Diamond
with Kevin Davis and Pamela Tyson
Theatre Row Theatre

An innovative, comic look at the endless repetition of daily life.

"[Betting on Dust Commander is] hypnotically written...it is a pointed,  beautiful play." Brian Parks, The Village Voice

Abandoned in Queens

by Laura Maria Censabella
directed by Bill Mitchelson
with Dean Nichols and Roger Serbagi
Theatre Row Theatre

A moving portrayal of a father and son struggling to come to terms with their abandonment by their wife and mother.

New Hope for the Dead

by John Sayles
directed by Earl Hagan
with Lyn Greene and Joseph Palmas
Theatre Row Theatre

A quirky comedy about immortality by one of America’s most exciting filmmakers.

"[New Hope for the Dead is] infused with the same generosity and spirit that runs throughout Mr. Sayles screenplays” Stephen Holden, The New York Times, June 26, 1991

Late Night Performance Series 1991

Black Male Characters

by Eugene Nesmith
Theatre Row Theatre

A one-man show exploring family life in the rural South.


Half a Dozen Broads in Grab Bag


with Maura Clifford, Evelyn Hathaway, Anne Lilly, Laura Millis, Honour Molloy and Donna Villella
Theatre Row Theatre

Persimmon Peel(excerpts)       

written and performed by Robbie McCauley and Laurie Carlos

An Evening with Hazelle

written and performed by Hazelle Goodman

Monday Night Reading Series

Having it All

by Ellen Melaver
Theatre Row Theatre

Maiden Voyages

by Bronagh Murphy and Honour Molloy
Theatre Row Theatre

Union Station

by David Becker
Theatre Row Theatre

1989/1990 Season

Mainstage Production

Special Interests

by Joe Sutton
directed by Mark Lutwack
with Lynn Anderson, Robert Arcaro, Jude Ciccolella, James Dumont, Judith Granite, Lorey Hayes, Fracaswell Hyman and William Wise
The Henry Street Settlement’s Abrons Arts Center

"Special Interests presents sympathetic views of people caught in situations that bring out the best and worst in them. It is a traditional play well told, an observer of how we behave rather than a proponent of how things should be." Richard P. Shepard, The New York Times, February 18, 1990


1988/1989 Season

Mainstage Production

Henry Lumper

by Israel Horovitz

Directed by Grey Cattell Johnson

with Robert Arcaro, Ralph Bell, Carol Bradley, Brian Delate, Michael DellaFemina, David Wolos-Fonteno, Randy Frazier, Kilian Ganly, Bill Gillogly, Luis Guzman, Joseph Jamrog, Cullen Johnson, Mary Klug, Jordan Lund, Honour Molloy, Paul O'Brien, Courtney Peldon, Cathy Reinheimer, Monte Russell and Roger Serbagi
Actors Outlet Theatre

Set in Gloucester, Massachusetts in the 1970's, the fishermen and longshoremen known as lumpers fear that the growing Asian American community will threaten their livelihood. Henry Lumper mirrors the plot of Shakespeare's Henry IV (Parts I and II) as two families vie for power within the longshoremen union.

"The play . . . . reveals an intrinsic strength...Mr. Horovitz, an accomplished playwright, has an interesting story to tell about the decline of a port town and morality." Mel Gussow, The New York Times, February 5, 1989

Working One Acts 1989

The Closer
World Premiere, commissioned by The Working Theater

by Will Holtzman
directed by R.J. Culter
with Earl Hagan, Jr. and Murray Rubenstein


Floor Above the Roof
New York premiere

by Daniel Theriault
directed by John Pynchon Holms<
with Richard Fiske, Randy Frazier, Mark Kenneth Smaltz and David Wolos-Fonteno

Freeze Tag
World Premiere

by Jackie Reingold
directed by Evan Handler
with Julie Boyd and Lyn Greene

Sand Mountain Matchmaking
New York Premiere

written and directed by Romulus Linney
with Robert Arcaro, Mary Foskett, Earl Hagan, Jr., John Karol, Paul O’Brien, Scott Sowers and Adrienne Thompson

1987/1988 Season

Working One-Acts 1988

The Road to Ruin
New York Premiere

by Richard Dresser
directed by John Pynchon Holmes
with Robert Arcaro, Victor Bevine, Cedering Fox and Nelson Simon
INTAR Stage II

Harvest Sun
New York Premiere

by John Olive
directed by Kent Paul
with Janet Aspers, Ralph Bell and Robin Polk
INTAR Stage II

No Time
World Premiere

by Lawrence Klavan
directed by Paul Dorman
with Susan Blommaert, Pam Cuming, Jay Devlin, Jordan Lund, Suzanne Marshall, Paul O'Brien and Murray Rubinstein
INTAR Stage II

The Last Temptation of Joe Hill
World Premiere, commissioned by The Working Theater

by Willy Holtzman
directed by Robert Owens Scott
with Mary Daciuk, Herb Downer, Brad Greenquist, Johnny Kline, Thomas Kopache, Bill Mitchelson and Honour Molloy
INTAR Stage II

1986/1987 Season

Mainstage Production

Man with a Raincoat
New York Premiere

by William Wise
directed by Steve Rosenfield
with Robert Arcaro, Janet Aspers, Maggie Burke, J. Kenneth Campbell, Mary Daciuk, Greg Giordano, Michael Grodenchik, Earl Hagan Jr., Jonathan Lipnick, Frank Lowe, Spartan McClure, Bill Mitchelson, Robin Polk, Barbara Ramsey, Marisa Redanty, Joel Simon, Nelson Simon, Ron Stetson, Wendy Weill and Daniel Whitner
American Folk Theatre

A detective loses his marriage and career in his compulsive need to solve the murder of three teenage boys in Chicago.

". . . as urgently directed by Stephen Rosenfeld, written by Wise, designed by Michael C. Smith and performed by Campbell and company, this was one of the most exciting and satisfying evenings of theatre in many a year  . . . . The Working Theatre under the direction of Robert Owens is a place to watch." Victor Gluck, Back Stage, December 12, 1986

Working One Acts 1987

The Great Labor Day Classic
New York Premiere

by Israel Horovitz
directed by Robert Owens Scott
with Janet Aspers, Joseph Daly, Greg Giordano, Earl Hagan, Jr., Kristina Loggia and Nicola Sheara
INTAR Stage II

Montana
New York Premiere

by David Kranes
directed by Richard Bly
with Janet Aspers, Spring Aspers and Marisa Redanty
INTAR Stage II

Mac Terrance Muldoon's Dress Rehearsal
World Premiere

by John Heller
directed by Stephen Rosenfield
with Robert Arcaro, Bill Corsair, Johnny Kline, Honour Molloy and Jackie Reingold
INTAR Stage II

San Antonio Sunset
World Premiere

by Will Holtzman
directed by John Pynchon Holms
with Dennis Green, Earl Hagan, Jr. and Bill Mitchelson
INTAR Stage II

Walking Papers
World Premiere

by Michael Stephens
directed by William Alderson
with Honour Molloy and Ron Stetson
INTAR Stage II

Breakdown
New York Premiere

by Bill Bozzone
directed by Peter Zapp
with Jonathan Lipnick and Nelson Simon
INTAR Stage II

Comrades
World Premiere

by Elizabeth Diggs
directed by Gabrielle Roth
with Janet Aspers, Laralu Smith and Ron Stetson
INTAR Stage II

How Women Break Bad News
New York Premiere

by John Bishop
directed by Lee Costello
with Johnny Kline and Robin Polk
INTAR Stage II

Asleep on the Wind
World Premiere

by Ellen Byron
directed by Kent Paul
with Danielle Du Clos and Earl Hagan, Jr.
INTAR Stage II

Deep Sleepers
World Premiere

by Charles Leipert
directed by JoAnna Beckson
with Robert Arcaro, Mary Daciuk, Robin Polk and Ron Stetson

"The idea is that a writer can say more—or at least, as much—in a brief period of time, if he limits his scope. . ..The Great Labor Day Classic is a pithy example of the form .. .for the sedentary audience the play can be a vicarious experience . . . San Antonio Sunset takes a look at the values. . . it establishes the bleak, blues-like atmosphere of the period and takes a prismatic view of its characters. The acting is accomplished and the steady direction is by John Pynchon Holms.” Mel Gussow, The New York Times, May 27, 1987

1985/1986 Season

Mainstage Production

Crown Cork Cafeteria

by William Wise
Directed by Robert Owens Scott
with Robert Arcaro, James Carruthers, Mary Daciuk, Rich Ferguson, Greg Giordano, Earl Hagan Jr., Johnny Kline, Jonathan Lipnick, Bill Mitchell, Honour Molloy, Robin Polk, Marisa Redanty, Jack Shmidt, Nelson Simon, Ron Stetson and Wendy Weill
Actors Outlet Theatre

Set in the 1960s in the lunchroom cafeteria of a bottle cap factory on the southwest side of Chicago, frustrated workers discuss their working conditions.

"Mr. Wise has an ear for the flat, harsh language of that group, a tongue that smashes and tears rather than cuts." D.J.R. Bruckner, The New York Times, February 9th, 1986

Working One Acts 1985

Buck Fever
New York Premiere

by Bill Bozzone
directed by Stephen Lim<
with Robert Arcaro, Bill Mitchelson, Jackie Reingold and Ron Stetson
INTAR Stage II

Sky Readers
New York Premiere

written and directed by William Wise
with Herb Downer, Johnny Kline and Nelson Simon
INTAR Stage II

The Person I Once Was
Commissioned and Produced by the Actors Theater of Louisville

by Cindy Lou Johnson
directed by David Briggs
with Mary Daciuk, Greg Germann and Holly Hunter
INTAR Stage II

Johnny & Evan
World Premiere, commissioned by The Working Theater

written and directed by Tomy Re
with Robert Arcaro and Nelson Simon
INTAR Stage II

No Trains for Harris

by John Heller
directed by Christian Angermann
with Earl Hagan Jr, Robin Polk, and William Wise
INTAR Stage II

Horse
World Premiere

by Michael Stephens
directed by Stephen Rosenfield
with Bill Mitchelson and Ron Stetson
INTAR Stage II

The Buffer
World Premiere

by Edward Allan Baker
directed by Ed Bianchi
with Jonathan Lipnick, Honour Molloy and Marisa Redanty
INTAR Stage II

The Three O'Clock Appointment
World Premiere

written and directed by William Wise
with Johnny Kline and Wendy Weill
INTAR Stage II

Till Then
World Premiere

by William Wise
directed by Jeff Martin
with Earl Hagan, Jr., Johnny Kline, Jonathan Lipnick, Bill Mitchelson and Evan Pappas
INTAR Stage II

Bridget & Katherine
World Premiere

by Kevin Murphy
directed by Alice Spivak
with Honour Molloy and Marisa Redanty
INTAR Stage II

"As one might expect, the emphasis is on acting and directing. The pieces are designed precisely to challenge actors—and directors—to impose their own meaning. . .in [The Person I Once Was]. . .Greg Germann's realization is a fine exercise in revelation of character. . .his command of intonation and timing makes his lines rainbows of rhetoric and his movements match his words. . .William Wise's Sky Readers is a wise little episode in racial and social understanding." D.J.R. Bruckner, The New York Times, June 17, 1986

 

 

 

 

 
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