Leveraging Theatre for Social Good

Before it was fashionable to be an advocate or activist, my acquaintance Jessie Fahay invited me to join her very new theatre group. She had a vision to pair advocacy with theatrical productions, taking on socially relevant topics.

Jessica Jennings, Development Director of Ripple Effect Artists proudly talks about how they have stayed attuned to the most relevant issues pulling on the collective social conscience of all Americans:

That was in 2010. Seven years later, I could not be more proud of our endeavors and accomplishments at Ripple Effect Artists. Aside from the administrative feats, like becoming a 501(c)3 and earning grant funds, I mean that I am proud that we have stayed tuned to the most relevant issues pulling on the collective social conscience of all Americans. For example, we presented Tea & Sympathy, a play from the 50s about the bullying of homosexuals, and raised funds for the Trevor Project’s suicide prevention call center.

With each of our productions we both raise awareness with our audience, and make a financial donation toward an advocacy organization. We have worked with 11 different organizations on issues of heath care, suicide prevention, hospice, marriage equality, women’s rights, technology unemployment, sex trafficking, and now we will be looking at racism.

Our productions are paired with audience engagements such as talk-backs. While our dramas are wonderful for getting people curious about issues, real-world information and solutions from experts leave the audience empowered, informed, and pointed in a direction of taking action. Our audiences have reported taking these actions after our events: volunteering, signing petitions, conversing about these challenging issues in their own communities, and ending their participation in buying sex.

I am honored to have my work with Ripple Effect Artists as part of my artistic legacy. I like to say, in the spirit of Martha Graham, that there is no higher calling than to be fully used by our art.

Please get to know us better! We have a FREE event on May 11th, and a fundraiser on May 30th. Details and links are below.

Guarding the Bridge

May 11th @7pm

250 Park Ave., People’s United Bank.

FREE reading of Chuck Gorden’s GUARDING THE BRIDGE

Click here to RSVP

The Edge of Everyday

May 30th @ 8pm

Elektra Theatre, 300 W. 43rd St.

$45-$60 Tickets 

Rippleeffect.Jennings@gmail.com

 

Our Mother’s Brief Affair: LI Premiere

I will be performing the role of Anna Cantour

in

OUR MOTHER’S BRIEF AFFAIR

by Richard Greenberg

Studio Theatre will be the first Long Island theatre to present
this off-Broadway drama about a woman who stuns her family
by revealing a secret about her past. But how much of it is true?

Hope you can make the show!

January 13th through January 29th

 

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Fridays @8:00PM – 1/13, 1/20, 1/27

Saturdays @8:00PM – 1/14, 1/21, 1/28

Sundays @2:30PM – 1/15, 1/22, 1/29

Thursday, @8:00PM – 1/19

Directed by David Dubin

Edward Cress as her son, Seth

Lauren Duffy, daughter Abby

David Rifkind, her Lover/Dad

Tom DeAngelo, Stage Manager

Ticketshttp://www.studiotheatreli.com

For industry seats:  franceslmcgarry@gmail.com

Directions to Studio Theatre LI:

From the Southern State Pkwy: Take exit 35 south (Wellwood Avenue). Pass Route 109. Then pass Sunrise Highway (Route 27). Studio Theatre is on South Wellwood Avenue, 100 feet south of Hoffman Avenue (LIRR train trestle overhead). Theatre is on the right, above Bridal Shop.

From Route 27A : North on Wellwood Avenue. Theatre is on the left, just before the train trestle overhead. We are above the Bridal Shop.

Young Women in the Theatre and Media

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In our continuing effort to develop and promote women in the professional theatre The League of Professional Theatre Women invite you to another…

NETWORKING EVENT
Connect, Collaborate, and Consolidate
Join your colleagues, expand your networks, bring a potential new member!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Castillo Theatre 543 West 42nd Street

RSVP: Networking@TheatreWomen.Org

Young Women in the Theatre and Media
Learn from the young professional dynamos who make it happen.
Projects and strategies to create work for, by, and about women of all ages.

Panelists include:
LAURA ARCHER (Executive Director, March Forth Productions),
VALERIE BROOKS (Filmmaker/Director/DP),
CHRISTINE DIXON (Director/Producer/Actress/Singer, Harriet Tubman Herself),
RACHEL GRIFFIN (Composer/Lyricist, We Have Apples),
MITRA JOUHARI (Writer/Comedian, Full Frontal With Samantha Bee),
MEGAN MINUTILLO (Director/Producer/Writer/Arts Educator, Founder, TheWriteTeachers.com),
ELISABETH NESS (Producer/Actor/Creator, Redheads Anonymous),
DANA VERDE (Filmmaker/Producer, The Perfect Match)

Moderators:
KIMBERLY EATON, Broadway Producer/Director, Theatrum Mundi Productions
KATIE ROSIN, Publicist/Marketer, President Kampfire PR

LPTW Members: FREE Non-Members $15
Non-Members with Theatrical Union Affiliation $10

Brought to you by your LPTW Networking Committee:
Frances McGarry, Chair; Katherine Elliot, Salon Series Chair;
Ivy Austin, Mary Candler, Lorna Lable, Romy Nordlinger, June Rachelson-Ospa,
Amie Sponza, Amy Stoller, Elizabeth Strauss; Amanda Cardwell Aiken, Apprentice, Amanda Salazar, Apprentice

 

Presidential Proclamation — National Arts and Humanities Month, 2016

This month, we acknowledge all those who have proudly and passionately dedicated their lives to these diverse, beautiful, and often challenging forms of expression. In our increasingly global economy, we recognize the power of the arts and humanities to connect people around the world. Be it through the pen of a poet, the voice of a singer, or the canvas of a painter, let us continue to harness the unparalleled ways the arts and humanities bring people together.

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NATIONAL ARTS AND HUMANITIES MONTH, 2016

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

 

 

Throughout history, the arts and humanities have been at the forefront of progress. In diverse mediums and methods — whether through the themes of a novel, the movement of a dancer, or a monologue on a stage — the arts enrich our souls, inspire us to chase our dreams, and challenge us to see things through a different lens. During National Arts and Humanities Month, we celebrate the important role the arts and humanities have played in shaping the American narrative.

Our achievements as a society and a culture go hand-in-hand. The arts embody who we are as a people and have long helped drive the success of our country. They provoke thought and encourage our citizenry to reach new heights in creativity and innovation; they lift up our identities, connecting what is most profound within us to our collective human experiences.

In seeking to break down barriers and challenge our assumptions, we must continue promoting and prioritizing the arts and humanities, especially for our young people. In many ways, the arts and humanities reflect our national soul. They are central to who we are as Americans — as dreamers and storytellers, creators and visionaries. By investing in the arts, we can chart a course for the future in which the threads of our common humanity are bound together with creative empathy and openness. When we engage with the arts, we instill principles that, at their core, make us truer to ourselves.

This month, we acknowledge all those who have proudly and passionately dedicated their lives to these diverse, beautiful, and often challenging forms of expression. In our increasingly global economy, we recognize the power of the arts and humanities to connect people around the world. Be it through the pen of a poet, the voice of a singer, or the canvas of a painter, let us continue to harness the unparalleled ways the arts and humanities bring people together.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 2016 as National Arts and Humanities Month. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this month with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and programs to celebrate the arts and the humanities in America.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-first.

BARACK OBAMA

Off-Broadway Review: ‘The Lady Liberty Theater Festival’ at Urban Stages

New York Theatre Guide Posted By: Jacquelyn Claire on: September 10, 2016

LLTF promo poster June 24

“The Lady Liberty Theater Festival,” presented by Aizzah Fatima and Monica Bauer, comprises three short punchy plays and a song in praise of freedom and against Islamophobia. As I arrived in the theater, the soundtrack was blasting out music with American themes. I got into the mood as Neil Diamond sang, “they’re coming to America.” As a recent immigrant to the shores of the Land of the Free, I felt the need to sing along, quietly.

. . .deeply satisfying. . .

The scene setter was a quirky comedy called “Lady Liberty’s Worst Day Ever,” written by Monica Bauer. Lady Liberty (Frances McGarry) has been summoned to her agent Vinnie’s office (J.Dolan Byrnes), and if she can stay off her cellphone for long enough, he will tell her the shocking news that Trump is about to rebrand her in his image and do away with the Emma Lazarus poem on her pedestal.

Cheryl King directs this comedic sketch, where she crafts a pithy little satirical stab at the “Orange” man who has literally forgotten where he comes from. Byrnes and McGarry charge around the stage with enough energy to set the Lady’s torch on fire. They have great stage chemistry together and seem to really enjoy their volleys of dialogue, served forcefully at each other.

Dolan Byrnes soulfully covered the scene change with a rendition of the Irish traditional folk song “No Irish Need Apply,” beautifully setting the context of bigotry and exclusion through the ages in Manhattan. We segued into the next movement, “No Irish Need Apply,” written by Monica Bauer and directed by Cheryl King. Joan Fitzgerald (Frances McGarry) is a shop owner looking to hire a new employee. Ahmed Famy (Ali Andre Ali), a Shi’ite Muslim, enters to apply for the position. He takes one look at the image of the “Bleeding” Christ on the wall and decides he would not be welcome.

What follows is a very clever job interview which exposes prejudices and cultural assumptions in a refreshing way. Ali is powerful as the defensive and stoic academic. He has a wonderful command and ease on stage, which makes him extremely watchable. McGarry was lovable and charming as the irreverent and open-minded Irish widow. It feels like this sort of situation is happening all over the city on a daily basis, but I am not sure that the outcomes are as congenial and generous as this pleasant oasis.

The final element of the theatrical Lady Liberty hat-trick was “Dirty Paki Lingerie,” brilliantly written and performed by Aizzah Fatima, with direction by Erica Gould. This was more of a standard one-woman show length, so it was deeply satisfying. The other performers had joyfully served up the appetizers and entrees so that we could sink our teeth into this delicious main course. Fatima and her transforming piece of green fabric weave a tale of various Pakistani women living in the U.S. who are torn between cultural expectation and their personal desires. She inhabits mothers, strong independent woman, children, teenagers, and traditional girls who show the diversity of experience of being a woman in their community and in the United States. The six Muslim-American women were drawn from real-life incidents and interviews, which lends a truthfulness to the production that is spellbinding.

Gould has ensured a piece that has flawless transitions between characters and situations, allowing Fatima to excel in birthing this wide range of distinctive female Pakistani dreamers. Fatima is an extraordinary performer with a vocal range that is impressive, and she is enormously funny. This piece will definitely have a long life ahead of it!

“The Lady Liberty Theater Festival” celebrates freedom of speech, the power of artists to defy oppression, and the ability to heal after traumatic life events. On the eve of the 15th Anniversary of 9/11, this festival is a perfect way to honor the past by submerging oneself in the shadow of Lady Liberty to remind ourselves of our glorious freedom.

Running Time: 90 minutes, with one 10-minute intermission.

Advisory: Adult language makes this production inappropriate for some audiences. Recommended for ages 16 and up.

“The Lady Liberty Theater Festival” plays through September 25, 2016 at Urban Stages in New York City. For more information on this festival, click here.