Erika L. Ewing: Fashioning Change

When we’re talking about the power of The Arts — the healing, the transformative powers — we’re really talking about the fact that we’re human. We’re humanizing the experience of others. So, we lead with empathy, and we lead in such a way that we put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. It’s more than meeting people for where they are –it’s BEING where they are. It’s getting inside of where they are . . . I can see new possibilities. NOW what can I do to change things?

Erika Lucille Ewing is a social impact entrepreneur and a
multimedia creative, actor, activist, and fashion designer,
“ARTIVIST.”

As former Chief of Staff of Black Lives Matter of Greater New York (BLMNY) Erika along with the powerful women of BLMNY organized the “Find Our Girls’ March to bring attention to the missing Black and Brown girls and youth across the globe. 

Got To Stop LLC is a social impact consulting company and lifestyle fashion brand that raises awareness about social injustice and empowers communities to take action. Got To Stop LLC designs clothing to invite courageous conversations around racism, poverty, health disparities, human trafficking, gun violence, voter suppression, domestic violence, and criminal justice reform.

Erika is very active in her Harlem community. In 2020, she co-produced the Black Lives Matter Mural in
Harlem. Erika has gained a stellar reputation and credibility as a community connector.
Most recently, Erika’s contributions to UNITAS (United Together Against Human Trafficking) curriculum
development team helped earn UNITAS the 2022 Anthem Award for its Transformative Anti-Human
Trafficking Curriculum. The curriculum is currently being implemented in NYC and D.C. public schools.

In addition to creating fashion for change, one of Erika’s goals is to create conversation collections for luxury fashion brands and cars. You can reach out to her at any of the social media channels.
Erika believes in the power of the arts to heal, unite, and be a catalyst for social justice, change, and
transformation.
Got To Stop LLC… It’s Not A Movement. It’s A Lifestyle

Erika holds a Bachelor of Arts from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, and a Master of
Fine Arts in Theater Arts from Mason Gross School of The Arts at Rutgers University. She is a member of the Actors Equity Association and Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

IG/FB Twitter:
@gottosopllc

Moise Morancy: Returning the Favor

Artists have a responsibility to reflect the times . . . my experience as a young Black male looks through the experiences of an African-American male, but I’m a Haitian-American, so then there’s all those different dynamics that I’m taking from my Haitian culture, and I’m bringing these things in, and I’m taking from my American culture. Let me pick their brain. Let’s talk about what’s going on. Let’s put it on a camera. Let’s be authentic and be good people while doing it and tell the story.

Moise Morancy is an American actor, writer, director, producer, poet and activist from Brooklyn, New York. 

Moise always had a passion for telling stories. His career as a writer began as a young boy, capturing personal aspects of life’s challenges through written expressions such as poetry, songwriting and eventually screenwriting. His literary works are transparent and serve as a safe haven for his life experiences. He has always had the mindset of turning one’s pain into power. He believes that is what gave birth to his writing career. 

His theatrical background has spanned for 20 years. He has performed at notable theaters such as the August Wilson Theater on Broadway, The Public Theater and has starred alongside Chloë Sevigny in Downtown Race Riot at the New Group which had a successful run at the Signature Theater. 

Since the age of ten, Moise has pursued a career in film and television. He has appeared on a number of television shows such as Law & Order: SVU as a Trayvon Martin inspired character. He was invited back years later as a guest-star as Antonio, acting with Hip-Hop legend, Ice-T. He has also appeared on Showtime’s The Affair,  Happy!, Quantico, Blue Bloods, Wu-Tang: An American Saga, Hunters, and more. 

Morancy’s diligence and willingness to learn has brought him under the guidance of television producer and show-runner, Patrick McManus as well as Littleton Road’s President, Kelly Funke. They were vital in assisting in the development of a television pilot based on his award-winning short film “When a Tree Falls,” a quasi-true story of his life, which was written, produced and directed by Moise himself. 

I wrote, directed, produced, and starred as Cleon in The Warriors prequel. A proof of concept. What would happen if Cleon, a Black man in the 70’s – formed a gang with people from different walks of life? Shout out to our amazing cast and crew! I would like to take this time to heap praise on everyone involved in the original film. We stand on your shoulders. You all paved the way for us to be better at our craft. Thank you for the audacity to make that film and make us feel like we can bop our way through any adversity. You guys weren’t good. You were “the best.” Growing up, I studied the video game and the movie. I’d always tell myself …. If there’s ever a Warriors remake and there’s an audition for the role of Cleon. You best believe…. ”it’s on. And we’re going.” The Warriors (2022) out now! 🙏🏿

Over the years Morancy garnered hundred of millions of views as his videos sparked conversations regarding sexual assault, race, AIDS awareness, politics, sexuality and more. 

Independently, Moise has been featured on platforms like: BET, Huffington Post, BBC News, Vibe Magazine, Essence, Deadline, Variety, NY Daily News, XXL Magazine, Shade45, AJ+ and more. He was even hailed as American Black Film Fesitval’s “Emerging Director.”

His viral poems and rap songs captured the attention of the likes of music legends such as T.I, Erykah Badu, Nas  and more. Hot97’s Ebro played his music on his radio show “Ebro in The Morning.”


It’s safe to say that Moise is a man of many talents, you don’t know what you’ll get next…

#The Warriors #BET #WhenATree Falls #AmericanBlackFilmFestival #TVpilotColumbia #Patrick McManus

Social media handles:

www.facebook.com/moisemorancy

www.instagram.com/moisemorancy

www.twitter.com/moisemorancy

Margarita Espada: Teatro Yerbabruja, a Conduit for Change

The immigrant stories that are here. . . when they see in us the possibility that it’s real. That’s why I focus on a specific community because we know the challenges . . . so young artists they see in us, [and] know that [change] is possible and we are here to support them.

Margarita Espada has traveled the world in her careers as an artist, educator and cultural organizer, training in physical approach to theater practice. Margarita is the founder and director of Teatro Experimenantal Yerbabuja, an art organization with the mission to use the arts as a tool for social change.  She is part of the faculty at the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at Stony Brook University where she teaches theater and activism.

Teatro Yerbabruja’s mission is to use the arts as a tool for social change, to promote professional artists and to nourish emerging artists. Its programs are designed to promote creativity and to motivate civic dialogue. (The Yerbabruja is a medicinal plant from Puerto Rico that flourishes in the harshest of conditions.) 

Teatro Yerbabruja’s mission is to use the arts as a tool for social change, to promote professional artists and to nourish emerging artists. Its programs are designed to promote creativity and to motivate civic dialogue.

The Yerbabruja is a plant that flourishes in the harshest conditions and survives for a better tomorrow with just the sunlight for hope. Our mission at Yerbabruja is to connect community, art, and education and create a positive impact in the lives of the people we connect with through our work! 

Yerbabruja believes that artistic enrichment and social revitalization go hand-in-hand, and together build strong and sustainable communities. Teatro Yerbabruja’s programs are anchored in the values of racial justice that honor the contributions of people of color, and that are truly diverse, equitable, and inclusive. We understand that definitions of art, culture, and creativity depend on the cultural values, preferences, and realities of residents and other stakeholders in a given community.   

We create and produce experimental theater & use theater and other art forms to increase and encourage the understanding among people of different cultural backgrounds; provide opportunities to minority artists through performance, arts and workshops to develop their works. We provide knowledge and appreciation for the arts.

Get involved:  volunteer; artist opportunities; vendor opportunities

Margarita received her Master of Fine Art in Dramaturgy  from Stony Brook University and her Bachelor of Art in Education from Puerto Rico University. She is a New York State and Puerto Rico-certified theatre teacher with over 30 years of experience as an educator, performer, playwriter, arts activist, and cultural and community organizer.  

She has conducted research, supported school and organization change efforts, and facilitated teacher / professional learning around applied theater, culturally responsive practice, curriculum design, problem solving, and reflective communication. Margarita also works as a project manager for Center for Community Inclusion, Long Island University. Her works includes coordinating with Family Engagement Specialists/Parent Liaisons in various districts to develop and conduct family friendly practices within schools.

  Margarita has won multiple awards for her arts excellence and community work including Suffolk County Proclamation,2019, Recognition Senator Boyle, 2019. Martin Luther King Living Legend Award, NAACP Islip, NY, 2018. Citation for  Cultural Organizer, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office, 2018, Artist of the Year, Legislator Monica Martinez, Suffolk County, NY,2016.

  She has received numerous awards and proclamations for her leadership, her art and community work including Suffolk County Proclamation,2019, Recognition Senator Boyle, 2019. Martin Luther King Living Legend Award, NAACP Islip, NY, 2018. Citation for Cultural Organizer, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office, 2018, Artist of the Year, Legislator Monica Martinez, Suffolk County, NY,2016. Her work has been reviewed in the New York Times and by the Associated Press, Newsday, and numerous other media outlets.

Location: Second Avenue Firehouse Gallery

17 2nd Avenue
Bay Shore, NY 11706
631.626.3603

Facebook: #teatroyerbabruja

Instagram: #teatro.yerbabruja

Coni Koepfinger & Dan Carter: LIVE FROM THE BARDO: My Dinner With Mary

The Greeks believed that theatre was threefold: to entertain, to educate, and exalt the human spirit. And if we’re going to exalt the human spirit we’re gonna have to understand that we can only do that through love. ~Coni Koepfinger

Coni Koepfinger, a 2021 recipient of the Olwen Wymark Award by the Writer’s Guild of Great Britain, is currently playwright-in-residence at both Manhattan Rep and Cosmic Orchid and has worked with several other notable NYC companies such as Theatre for the New City, The Secret Theatre, the New York Unfringed Fest, Broadway Bound Festival and Pan Asian Rep. She has connected hundreds through her virtual programs Airplay and Determined Women. She is a member of the Dramatist Guild, a former board member of the International Centre for Women Playwrights (ICWP) and a chair for the League Professional Theatre Women (LPTW) and currently sits as Media Advisory Board of the Lifeboat Foundation. As a very prolific indie artist, Coni’s work has been published and produced all over the globe.

Dan Carter served over thirty years as a university theatre administrator at Penn State, Florida State, and Illinois State, also serving as Artistic Director of Pennsylvania Centre Stage, Producing Director of Illinois Shakespeare Festival, and co-founder and Artistic Director of Appalachian Theatre Ensemble. He is Past President of the National Theatre Conference and the National Association of Schools of Theatre and is Immediate Past Dean of the College of Fellows of the American Theatre. He served Actors’ Equity Association for four years as Area Liaison from the State of Florida and is a recipient of the Society of American Fight Directors’ Patrick Crean Award. As a long-standing member of the National Theatre Conference, Dan Carter can be seen in the video archive of their Living Legacy Project.

Ever since I was a little girl, I felt that there was more to the story.  That a curtain would lift and, well, something more would be revealed.  My sister swore that I used to go into my bedroom closet and disappear, then show up again several hours later. As I grew up, I continued the practice, but localized my travels in dreams.  It wasn’t until college that my waking life and fantasies began to merge… And thus, my quest became clear- the theatre of the awakened dream. Walking into your dreamlife, can be risky… so I decided to bring my dreams to life.

Writing plays became my way of communicating with all life-  from the ordinary people to the sublime consciousness… all of which seemed to operate on the same plane for me.  It was clear that we are all human life forms that can conform, reform or deform to the energetic stimulus around us-  but when we PERForm- we are able perfect the form, taking it to a higher creative state. I was always surrounded by art. My sister, my cousin, my uncles… Music, painting, drawing was like bread and water. Passion, yes. Madness, yes. But I wanted to know more…  What was   beyond the curtain?  Why is art so important to the human experience? 

It was not until this play, LIVE FROM THE BARDO: MY DINNER WITH MARY, with the help of my brilliant co-author, Dan Carter, that I now have an answer.

The search for the inexplicable and metaphysical began influencing my playwriting in the early 1990s… In the play CANDLEDANCING, about the voice of St. Julian of Norwich, a medieval anchoress, there is a line… “ When you ask God to be your dance partner- the music never stops.” Well that sure makes life simpler but where exactly is God when I am in question? In 2019, I began to explore the concept of the Bardo-  a Tibetan Book of the Dead term that explains the Christian notion of purgatory, the place in between this life and next. It became clear to me that there in the Bardo, existed THE BARDO THEATRE, the place where the scenes of life were crafted by the ascended artists for those still living on Earth. So what does this have to do with Art here and now.  Hmmmm…

LIVE FROM THE BARDO: My Dinner with Mary is a new, provocative show that dares to peek beyond the stage doors of death. In this evolutionary look at life, death, memory, and imagination, two veteran actresses are now mysteriously reunited over the brainchild of creating art from their real lives. Revisiting their separate and disparate memories, they weave a tale worthy of their upcoming appearances in eternity at The Bardo Theatre, just beyond the veil in the Great Hall of the Players Club. As conduits of Divine Destiny, the spirits of legendary actors Joseph Jefferson, Helen Hayes, Katharine Hepburn, and Jose Ferrer emerge from their portraits to inspire these actresses as they move into their next incarnations onto a higher stage of existence and offer us a refreshing look at what’s beyond the stars. Written by Coni Koepfinger and Dan Carter, starring Mary Ellen Ashley and Mary Tierney, and directed by Dan Carter, this exciting new play will be presented by Theater for the New City January 13-23, 2022.

In  MY DINNER WITH MARY, two estranged friends, Mary and Mary Ellen, reunite.  We ask why?   I say to Dan, “Maybe Mary is dying?” He says, “Write the scene.”   I do and it starts to work. Then he says, “What if Mary Ellen is already dead?” Perfect! And of course, I imagine her in the Bardo. She’s auditioning for the “role of a lifetime” at The Bardo Theatre. But how does she communicate with these great, eternal artists?  What do they sound like to us?  To the audience. Where is this voice of the great beyond? The play is set in a dream, a fever dream, but dinner begins at THE PLAYERS CLUB. Here we are surrounded by memory of the actors whose portraits don the walls of The Great Hall.  And once again Helen Hayes, Jose Ferrer, Katharine Hepburn, Joseph Jefferson begin to speak beyond the walls of time… As they speak to us through Art.

DONATE TO “MY DINNER WITH MARY” https://theaterforthenewcity.net/donate/

In  MY DINNER WITH MARY, two estranged friends, Mary and Mary Ellen, reunite.  We ask why?   I say to Dan, “Maybe Mary is dying?” He says, “Write the scene.”   I do and it starts to work. Then he says, “What if Mary Ellen is already dead?” Perfect! And of course, I imagine her in the Bardo. She’s auditioning for the “role of a lifetime” at The Bardo Theatre. But how does she communicate with these great, eternal artists?  What do they sound like to us?  To the audience. Where is this voice of the great beyond? The play is set in a dream, a fever dream, but dinner begins at THE PLAYERS CLUB. Here we are surrounded by memory of the actors whose portraits don the walls of The Great Hall.  And once again Helen Hayes, Jose Ferrer, Katharine Hepburn, Joseph Jefferson begin to speak beyond the walls of time… As they speak to us through Art.

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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