Jessica Wu: Open Access Paths to Success

Actors Equity is opening its doors. I think this is one of the most exciting things that’s happening in my almost two decades as a Union member. It shifts the way people can become members. . . It is now OUR choice to become a member and that’s incredible.

Jessica Wu is an award-winning NYC-based playwright, director, songwriter, educator, and actor. Performance credits include the Broadway revivals of A Chorus Line and Miss Saigon, and she is the writer of numerous theatrical works including several full-length musicals – YOU, ME, I, WE (O’Neill Conference Semi-Finalist, Live & In Color Finalist, Winner of NAAP’s Discover New Musicals), and Poupelle of Chimney Town (debuting in Tokyo, Fall 2021; NYC, Summer 2022). In addition to her writing, Jessica is an Adjunct Theatre Professor at American University in Washington DC, and a Lyricist-Mentor with the Harvard-Radcliffe G&S Players. After spending several years running a Times-Sq non-profit theatre as Associate Artistic Director, Jessica is now is the owner/operator of her own consulting and development company Inspirate Creative. 

More than writing, directing, dancing, or producing my own projects – I love helping other creatives find their voice. 

In these past 2 decades, I’ve worked with a lot of creative people, on a lot of creative endeavors, in a lot of different stages of creative development. I’ve witnessed some incredible successes, but I’ve also seen innovative concepts fail to launch and brilliant ideas buried in mundane works.

I can 100% say: the most successful artists I’ve met are those who are truest to their own voice and the story they have to tell. 

While this may seem simple to the non-artist – believe me, I know from first-hand experience how impossible it can be with hundreds of other people’s influences, opinions and demands (not to mention your own hyperactive ideas and intense self-doubt) swirling around you. 

And, even though it is more-than-often single-minded, lonely work – I sincerely believe you shouldn’t have to be on that creative journey alone. 

That’s where I come in.

Through open-hearted collaboration, we can work together to help you and your work soar. 

I’m here to amplify your creativity and I can’t wait to connect with you.

Everything is storytelling and you are the storyteller. Your story and how you tell it has no choice but to be unique.

But I’ve worked with too many directors, producers, dramaturgs, and so-called ‘artist-mentors’ whose version of guidance is to impose their ideas, their ego, upon your work. 

So, I’m here to help you find your voice. Not their voice. Not my voice.

Your voice. 

Open Access  · Actors’ Equity Association (actorsequity.org)

As actor and delegate Jessica Wu (she/her) said, “To open up access to, especially, these communities who have been historically excluded from our industry through systemic racism, opening up that one pathway to be able to be seen, is a big step. It does not do anything to make more jobs, specifically for BIPOC artists. But it opens the door.”

#OpenAccessEquity #AsianActor #AEA #JessicaWu #BaayorkLee #Actor #FirstOnlineWithFran #Arts Advocacy

FB/Instagram: @woohoojwu

Joan Kane & Gary Morgenstein: Taking a Bite of a Sweet Divide

I believe we’re broken. Everybody is broken in some way. Everybody has a story to tell. There are cracks in us…Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken objects by highlighting their cracks with golden powder. . . the original object is even more beautiful than before it was broken…America is going to be even more beautiful; we’re looking at our brokenness. And I really believe with my heart and soul that we’re going to be even more beautiful after this. ~Joan Kane

GARY MORGENSTEIN’S
A BLACK AND WHITE COOKIE
 IS A NEW OFF-BROADWAY COMEDY/DRAMA
ABOUT AN AFRICAN AMERICAN NEWSTAND OWNER ENCOURAGED TO FIGHT HIS EXORBITANT RENT INCREASE BY AN ECCENTRIC JEWISH RADICAL  

DIRECTED BY JOAN KANE, THE PRODUCTION NOW PREMIERES
THURSDAY, JANUARY 21 AT 7:00PM/ET AS PART OF TFTNC’s ON THE AIR SERIES
&  SUNDAY, JANUARY 24 AT 3PM/ET ON THE EGO ACTUS WEBSITE

Incorporating the pandemic experiences of the past eight months into their production that Covid-19 brought to a halt in March, the award-winning Ego Actus Theatre Company will still present Gary Morgenstein’s new drama A Black and White Cookie, but in an updated version that is set against the backdrop of New York City reopening, post-pandemic. The play’s schedule has been updated. The premiere will air as part of Theater for the New City’s virtual On The Air series. It is now slated for Thursday, January 21 at 7:00PM/ET, with an additional performance on Sunday, January 24 at 3PM/ET.
 
Directed by Joan KaneA Black and White Cookie was originally scheduled to premiere at the Pulitzer Prize-winning Theater for the New City on March 26, 2020. There are plans to stage the show at TFTNC when in-person performances are again allowed in New York City. 

The cast features Morry Schorr (Modern Family/ABC-TV), Roslyn Seale (The Color Purple/National Tour), Julie T. Pham (The OA/Netflix), Chris Collins-Pisano (Forbidden Broadway: The Next Generation/Off Broadway) and Mansoor Najee-ullah (Mulebone, G.R. Point, The Mighty Gents/Broadway).

Harold Wilson, a gruff, conservative African American senior, has finally reopened his East Village newsstand following the coronavirus lockdown. Then an exorbitant rent increase forces him to close after 30 years and reluctantly retire to Florida with his niece. Enter Albie Sands, an eccentric 1960s Jewish radical, who persuades Harold to fight the landlord. Overcoming their many differences, Harold and Albie form a powerful and unlikely friendship to confront corporate greed – and prejudice. 

Said Gary Morgenstein: “For this new production, it was important to update A Black and White Cookie by layering in the terrifying burden of the pandemic to portray a city struggling to come into the light. While the play reflects hard truths about fear, disease and bigotry, it’s ultimately positive and uplifting. What the world needs now more than ever is love and understanding, and faith in ourselves, and each other. If these two stubborn old guys can come together, so can all of us. You just gotta believe.”

Gary Morgenstein’s (playwright) novels and plays have been featured in national media from the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Parade Magazine, the New York Post, Sports Illustrated to NPR. His sixth novel A Fastball for Freedom, the sequel to his critically-acclaimed dystopian baseball-science fiction A Mound Over Hell (“1984 Meets Shoeless Joe”), will be published by BHC Press on March 25, 2021. In addition to A Black and White Cookie, he is the author of the stage dramas Saving Stan and A Tomato Can’t Grow in the Bronx, and the off-Broadway sci-fi rock musical The Anthem.  Morgenstein is developing the scripted television series Joyland, set during the tumultuous 1960s, with veteran network executive Russell Friedman and the award-winning Broadway performer and director DeMone Seraphin, who will direct the pilot episode on Zoom in early 2021.
 
Joan Kane (director) is the founding Artistic Director of Ego Actus and directed I Know What Boys Want at Theatre Row, Six Characters in Search of an Author in Oslo, Norway and Kafka’s Belinda in Prague. She also directed both Safe and what do you mean at 59e59 Theaters and in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, getting four star reviews for each. Kane was awarded Best Director in the 2016 United Solo Festival was named to the Indie Theatre Hall of Fame by nytheatre.com. She has also directed plays and readings for the Lark, Ensemble Studio Theatre, the NY Fringe Festival, Theater for the New City, Urban Stages, Workshop Theater, Nylon Fusion, Abingdon Theatre, Oberon Theatre, the Samuel French Short Play Festival, the Midtown International Festival and The Actors Studio. Joan has an MFA in Directing from The New School, an MS in Museum Education from Bank Street College. She is a member of The New York Madness Company, the Dramatists Guild and the Society of Stage Directors & Choreographers. Kane recently directed two plays during the Ego Actus Survival is Insufficient 10-play reading series.
 

KINTSUGI is the Japanese art of repairing broken objects by highlighting their cracks with golden powder.  Often undertaken as a form of art therapy to encourage resilience, the art of kintsugi follows a slow and painstaking process that requires patience and concentration. Day after day, week after week, step after step, the object is cleaned, gathered, cared for, mended and celebrated.  The object becomes even more beautiful then it was before it was broken. Its about accepting and celebrating our brokenness.

ABOUT EGO ACTUS
The award-winning international production company Ego Actus (Latin for “My Way”) was founded in 2009 by Joan Kane and Bruce A! Kraemer, who created an independent theatre company dedicated to creating art for art’s sake. Since then their shows, which have been presented in New York City and Europe, have been nominated for 61 awards, winning 21. Ego ActusOff-Broadway shows have included Play Nice! at 59e59 Theaters, I Know What Boys Want at Theatre Row and Sycorax, Cyber Queen of Qamara at HERE, with other critically acclaimed productions at Theater for a New City, Urban Stages, and the WorkShop Theater. The European productions included Safe and what do you mean at the Edinburgh Festival and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Kafka’s Belinda and The Telegram in the Prague Fringe festival, while The Metamorphosis was performed in Prague and Budapest. Their two reading series have included Off the Page, seven scripts read to live audiences at TornPage and Survival is Insufficient, 10 scripts seen on Zoom.

Jennifer Katona, Ph.D. Open a New Window Weaving Arts Education in Today’s Classrooms

How do I make sure every kid gets that kind of emotional connection to their education? The Arts are how you do that. I am passionate about working with schools and spreading the word on how powerful and impactful learning through the arts can be. I have seen schools transform time and time again, and I want to help all schools find this success.

QUESTION: Comment on how an arts-inclusive education impacted your life?

Dr. Jennifer Katona, President and Founder 3 Looms Creative Education Consulting is currently the Visual and Performing Arts Sr. Manager for the Norwalk Public Schools is the former Director and Founder of the Graduate Program in Educational Theatre at the City College of New York (CCNY), where she oversaw the certification of pre and in-service Theatre teachers and training of non-certified theatre educators.

Through her work at CCNY Jennifer created and oversaw the middle school afterschool drama program at PS 161 the neighboring K-8 school in Harlem. Another hallmark of the CCNY Educational Theatre program was the partnership with Roundabout Theatre Company and Teaching Technical Theatre course which was taught in the off-Broadway studios of Roundabout Theatre Education. Additionally, under her leadership CCNY Educational Theatre Program partnered with the Arthur Miller Foundation to create the scholar’s program to help support the preparation of more arts teachers for the New York City public school system. Jennifer has served as mentors for Fulbright scholars through her work at CCNY.

The name 3 Looms is homage to the influential work that started my journey into education over twenty years ago.

My first taste of how to liberate a classroom came from watching Dorothy Heathcote’s documentary, 3 Looms in Waiting. Dorothy famously would walk into a classroom and ask students, “What shall we do a play about today?”

Now while I recognize we cannot walk into a class and ask students what they want to learn, I strive to create environments that take us as close to learner-centered as possible. As close to allowing students to say, “This is what I would like to learn about today…”

Jennifer served as the Arts Education consultant for Westport Country Playhouse in Connecticut and has served as a curriculum consultant for Disney Theatrical Education, Broadway’s Come From Away,  created study guides for Broadway’s Once on this Island Revival, and facilitated workshops on curriculum mapping for the Arthur Miller Foundation Fellows,  New York City Department of Education Office of Arts and Special Projects as well as facilitated webinars on the same topics for teachers nationwide through AATE where she currently serves as Chair of the Board of Directors and has previously served as Director of Regional Programming –overseeing Theatre In Our Schools initiatives.  As Board Chair Jennifer serves as representative to National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS) which is a partnership of organizations and states leading the development of new core arts standards for the United States.

Prior to coming to CCNY Jennifer taught middle school theatre in Brooklyn and worked as Teaching Artist for numerous cultural organizations throughout the Tri-State area most notably New Victory Theatre, Arts Connection, NorthShore Music Theatre and Starlight Youth Productions.  She has an extensive performance, directing, choreography resume and extensive experience in technical theatre and stage management.

Jennifer holds a Ph.D. in Urban Education: Arts Policy and her current research explores Factors Which Influence the Decision of a School Leader to Maintain or Eliminate Arts Programming in their School and building sustainable arts programming in urban schools.Jennifer has spoken and presented on this topic at many conferences across the country. As well as worked closely with Americans for the Arts on arts advocacy related matters.

Twitter @profkatona

Iman Aoun: Breaking Down Walls &Cultivating Hope Through Theatre

For over thirty-five years, Iman Aoun, a theatre-maker from Palestine has dedicated herself to advancing her mission of “breaking down walls” that exist as both physical and psychological phenomena by “cultivating hope [and creating] beauty and change” through her art.  Refusing to compromise her commitment to stripping both visible and invisible walls, Iman’s work has become a source of healing not only for her Palestinian communities, but also global populations.

Iman 2020

Iman Aoun (Actress, Director, Producer) began her career in 1984 with the internationally renowned Palestinian Theatre Company El-Hakawati. In 1991 she co-founded ASHTAR Theatre and serves as Artistic Director . Aoun holds a Bachelor Degree in Social Studies and a Diploma in Psychodrama and has written and published many theatre studies; devised many plays; and directed nationally and internationally. She is a recognized international trainer of the Theatre of the Oppressed technique, an Award winning actress and director for the stage in more than 60 productions, and has appeared in national TV series and international movies. Aoun has received numerous commendations for her work from different countries, international organizations and festivals, and has served as a Panelist for various world congresses and international conferences.

Among her most notable global projects is The Gaza Monologues.

Please visit the link below to become a patron of ASHTAR Theatre:  contributions could be as little as 5$ a month. Your support grants our continuation https://www.patreon.com/ashtartheatre

Global Giving at https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/ashtar-online-performances/photos/?fbclid=IwAR0-ihQ-TXfHKZZPNd16vTocB-eyCve4lY97WdX1BfdMkwwC3o7Glynh_fw#menu

iman@ashtar-theatre.org

https://www.facebook.com/iman.aoun.18

March Hare Media + Wheatsheaf Studio Productions marchharemedia.com

“Keep The Light On For Me” vocals, music and lyrics by Yuri Turchyn yuriturchyn.com

Aizzah Fatima airing her “Dirty Paki Lingerie”

 

So, what’s a young Muslim woman born in Saudi Arabia, raised as a US citizen in Mississippi, only to defy all the odds by moving to NYC to become a one-woman sensation in her highly- acclaimed show Dirty Paki Lingerie? Listen in to her airing an authentic assessment of how women, women of color, Muslim women break all the boundaries of what it means to be an American today.

AizzahFatima-097

 

Aizzah is an actress and writer from New York City by way of Mississippi. After training as a Microbiologist and working as an ads engineer at Google, she traded in her Google perks for the arts, and hasn’t looked back.

 

Dirty Paki Lingerie will stream on Facebook and YouTube through the Family Festival: Galactic Women on June 6, 2020.

Aizzah Fatima has been featured on NPR, The Guardian, Women’s Hour (BBC), The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, The New York Times, and The Huffington Post. Her comedy one woman play ‘Dirty Paki Lingerie’ has toured in the UK, Italy, Canada, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She co-produced the feature film ‘Horror Time’ with James Franco, and is currently in post production on her feature film American.ish. She wrote and starred in short films Off Duty, Doff Thy Name, and Stuff opposite Annette O’Tolle. TV acting credits include High Maintenance (HBO), The Good Wife (CBD), The Code (CBS), Mr. Robot (USA Network), Patrice O’Neal’s Guide to White People (Comedy Central pilot), and Matae Jaan (HUM TV, Pakistan). She is currently developing a comedy TV pilot titled ‘Muslim Girls DTF: Discuss Their Faith’ based on the webseries of the same name.

Here is a link to a short Dirty Paki Lingerie promo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-z3gc7fMqY4

IG/Twitter:  @AizzahFatima

#MPAC   #Muslimartists   #DirtyPakiLingerie