Mike Turner: Giving Voice to Truth

Politics, to me, has nothing to do with Republicans and Democrats, and the left and the right –all these labels that we want to apply to people we don’t agree with us. I wanna focus on what we DO agree about; I want to build off that consensus about what we can do about this particular social issue.

Take one part blues, one part folk, one part country. Add a dash of Southern gospel, rock and jazz. Season with world-weary experience. You’ll have a taste of Mike Turner’s eclectic original music.

Raised outside Detroit in a family steeped in the traditional mountain music of West Virginia, Mike grew up listening to the diverse sounds of gospel quartets, classic country and Motown. A 30-year career in law enforcement gave him a perspective few encounter – a world populated with smugglers, gun runners and folks on the wrong side of the tracks, and the law.

In retirement, Mike picked up the ukulele and tenor guitar, wrote his first song and hasn’t looked back. He was named 2016 Traditional Gospel Entertainer of the Year by the Alabama Music Association, and 2017 New Gospel Entertainer of the Year by the North American Country Music Associations International (NACMAI). His recordings have played on Internet and terrestrial radio in the US, the UK, Europe, New Zealand and on the US Armed Forces Radio Network.

Mike directed and was a featured performer in the Alabama Bicentennial program, “200 Years of Alabama’s Music,” in 2019; and was showcased on the “15 Minutes of Fame Stage” at the 2020 Monroeville (AL) Literary Festival.

Mike handles A&R and public relations for Music For World Peace Records; and manages its subsidiary label, Blue Uke Records.

Mike makes his home on the US Gulf Coast, where, when not writing and performing, he sails an historic schooner.

Website: Mike Turner (miketurnersongwriter.com)

Facebook:: www.facebook.com/MikeTurnerSongwriter    

YouTube: https://m.youtube.com/channel/MikeTurnerSongwriter                                  

Email:  SailorUke@aol.com

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.

Maggie Stern: Sock Art Celebrates the “Sole” of America

My socks celebrate women who have changed the world for the better and never gave up fighting for what they believed in: justice, honor, the right to vote, equal rights. I started with a stitched design featuring Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who I wanted to honor because she is one of the great champions of equality in our time. Later, that stitched design turned into a manufactured sock.

MAGGIE STERN AND PHOEBE AT WORK

A children’s’ book writer, folk artist, and founder of Maggie Stern Stitches, a sock company featuring Stern’s illustrations of notable women — from Maya Angelou to Greta Thunberg to Gloria Steinhem.  On the sole of each sock Maggie stitches a quotation from the featured woman:  “I hope that their words inspire the wearer as much as they inspire me.”  A portion of the proceeds from sales goes to women’s organizations and other foundations whose work aligns with the ambitions of my heroes.  

Maggie Stern Stitches is a woman-owned and operated small business and we depend on our community, just like our community depends on us. With that in mind, MSS donates socks and proceeds from sock sales to non-profit organizations that respond to our world’s most urgent needs.

Feeding America 

The Feeding America network is the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. Together with individuals, charities, businesses and government they are working to end hunger in America.

First Responders Children’s Foundation

First Responders Children’s Foundation provides financial support to both children who have lost a parent in the line of duty as well as families enduring significant financial hardships due to tragic circumstances. First Responders Children’s Foundation also supports, promotes, and facilitates educational activities and programs created and operated by law enforcement and firefighting organizations whose purpose is to benefit children or the community at large.

COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO

The COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO (World Health Organization) is leading and coordinating the global effort to fight the coronavirus pandemic, supporting countries to prevent, detect and respond and insure all countries are prepared, especially those with the weakest health systems.

Delivering Good

Delivery Good distributes new product donations made by hundreds of companies in the fashion, home and children’s industries, creating a simple and effective way to bring brand new merchandise to people in need across America.

Project Place

Project Place promotes a community of hope and opportunity for homeless and low-income individuals by providing the skills, education and resources needed to obtain and sustain employment and housing in the Boston area.

350

An international movement of ordinary people working to end the age of fossil fuels and build a world of community-led renewable energy for all, and creating a future that is just, prosperous, equitable and safe from the effects of climate change.

To order socks. . .

National Museum of Women & The Arts 

The LPTW Gilder/Coigney International Theatre Award

At a time when international diplomacy is challenged, we are proud of the role that artists play as cultural diplomats and the creative, educational, non-political dialogue that is engendered through programs such as The International Award, produced by
The League of Professional Theatre Women.

~ Joan D. Firestone & Frances McGarry
Co-Chairs, 2020 G/C International Award

GC ImageThe League of Professional Theatre Women established an international award in 2011 named after two legendary women in the theatre, Rosamond Gilder and Martha Coigney, who opened opportunities across borders. Presented every three years, the award acknowledges the exceptional work of women internationally with the goal of amplifying their voices across borders and across the globe, highlighting their work as cultural diplomats.

Odile Gakire Katese (2011, Rwanda), Patricia Ariza (2014, Colombia), and Adelheid Roosen (2017, The Netherlands) were our first three winners.

We are seeking LPTW Members, international affiliates, and national and international cultural and artistic leaders to nominate an outstanding theatre woman working outside the U.S.

Nominees are evaluated on five criteria. They must have achieved artistic excellence, particularly in the exploration of new forms of theatrical expression; have received recognition of their work at home and abroad; demonstrate a commitment to the support of women through theatrical practice; have a body of work that inspires and educates US theatre practitioners with new ideas from abroad; and be able to leverage greater recognition and opportunity via receipt of the G/C Award.

The G/C Award includes a $1000 cash prize and all travel expenses to New York City for the recipient to be honored. A series of special events surround the award ceremony to showcase the winner’s work, to provide artistic and professional networking opportunities, and to celebrate all of the nominees. The next Award will be presented on October 20, 2020 at The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center/CUNY.

2020 Nomination Form (Google Form)

2020 Nomination Form (Word Document; Downloadable)

Formulario de Nominación 2020 en Español

2020 Nomination Flyer

Nomination Guidelines

Frequently Asked Questions

Information about the 2014 Gilder/Coigney Award

Information about the 2017 Gilder/Coigney Award

Questions? Email: InternationalAward@TheatreWomen.org

Check out this article on HowlRound! A League of Their Own: League of Professional Theatre Women’s International Theatre Award

It’s All A Game: an interview with Erin Cronican, Executive Artistic Director, The Seeing Place Theater

The take away for audiences who come to see The Maids is to “make people stop and think about how they treat people, particularly people who are in service; that our society is built on people in service positions and we can treat people with humanity . . . to understand what it’s like to be ‘less-than’ and to walk out with a new found empathy for those in the service industry.”

Gaia Visnar, Erin Cronican

Gaia Visnar and Erin Cronican Photo credit Russ Rowland

“The Game — can we continue with it?” a question posed in The Maids, an absurdist play by Jean Genet is not so remotely detached from the current complicity confronting both American and global citizens. Pretending to strangle their employer, Claire and Solange, sisters and maids to Madame, struggle for their sense of selves under the guise of a game of make-believe; at first, the fantasy is amusing but then turns darkly tragic for the women who find themselves prisoners of their own diversion.

 

Produced by The Seeing Place Theater, Executive Artistic Director Erin Cronican exposes the dilemmas associated with the abuses of power in the class system. Selecting plays rarely seen, Cronican chooses to utilize her theater programs to focus on “creating edgy and compelling reinterpretations of works by playwrights that reflect the struggles and triumphs of our current society.” Honing a three-phase methodology, Cronican guides the ensemble through an organic two-month process: Pre-Rehearsal “Discovery”; Rehearsal Inquiry; Performance Feedback. One full month is spent “just breaking down the play, talking about it, talking about its impact on society, and what the playwright is trying to say, what he’s trying to do.” The Maids has its singular challenges in that there “are no definitive texts or quotes to pull together the things that have been written . . . hours were spent exploring the play’s meaning.” Once the ensemble creates a vision for its production they then proceed to getting it staged. Rather than have directors bring their singular perceptions to the play, Cronican’s approach invests in the imaginations of its talented cast — Gaia Visnar as Claire, Christine Redhead as Madame. “We don’t have the directors do it separately,” explains Cronican, who serves in both roles as actor/ Solange and director, “[that way] the actors are part of that developmental process.” Once the cast is “up on [their] feet trying out a lot of things discussed in the pre-production period . . . by the time we get to performances we have plumbed the depths of these plays very, very personally, and I think that makes the play very different for our audiences because we know them so intimately.”

The outcome of this organic process compels the cast to answer the major dramatic question: What is the effect of the abuses of power in the class system? In its final performance phase “we want the audience to look at this and say, ‘I recognize this struggle of power, maybe not in my own life, but maybe I recognize it elsewhere and what do we do about it?’”
Gaia Visnar personally shared how “it speaks to me today because . . . [as an immigrant working in the USA on a VISA] it’s about being subordinate and not having power and not being fair.” Cronican adds how artists pursuing their art, be it music, dance, theater feel a sense of “helplessness . . . being an artist in the city, wanting to take care of people but not necessarily have the resources to do so.”

At the close of the fast and furious hour and twenty-minute performance, actors go in the lobby to address audience questions so they “have someone to talk to about what they saw.” Feedback has been favorable: “People so far have really loved the play.” Audiences are encouraged to “come up with the answers for themselves.”

The take away for audiences who come to see The Maids is to “make people stop and think about how they treat people, particularly people who are in service; that our society is built on people in service positions and we can treat people with humanity . . . to understand what it’s like to be ‘less-than’ and to walk out with a new found empathy for those in the service industry.”

For Erin Cronican, the Arts truly are transformative. “‘The Seeing Place’ is the literal translation of the Greek word for theater, theatron: ‘the place where we go to see ourselves’ and if we can open up our [hearts and minds] and really listen to a piece of art, and try to find [ourselves] in it — painting, music, dance, that’s everything; then it opens your heart . . . it opens up your empathy. And it just makes you a better citizen.”

TSP The Maids