Karen Cecilia: Challenging the New Normal

We’re in a time where we are seeing new voices, new types of voices telling their stories and people create their identity through seeing themselves reflected in work, in all Art, all literature, in any aspect. And if you don’t see yourself reflected EVER then think about how that impacts your life and not only in the character, but the narratives in all its ways. And that’s why I hope to continue to create not only if I can create it, but foster it in other people.

Karen Cecilia She/Her/Hers (Playwright, Screenwriter, Director) Her work has been seen in NYC at 3LD, La Mama, HERE Arts Center, Dixon Place, Theater For The New City, Theatre Odyssey, Sarasota FL, The Coalescence Theatre, Illinois and The Firehouse Theatre, Richmond, VA and Jermyn Street Theater, London England.

As a writer, I feel it is a privilege to tell the stories of people’s lives and show their deepest struggles as well as their greatest triumphs. I strive to engage the audience with my writing, provoke thought about the world around us, and create a new narrative through characters with agency who do not fall into the standard conventions of the past. ~ Karen Cecilia

Perfectly Normal (previously named Mea Culpa) was chosen for the #Shepersisted festival in Bloomington, Illinois and received Semi-Finalist award from The Orlando Shakespeare Theater in 2019. Play Workshops: The Cry Havoc Theatre Company and IVP Productions. She was the winner of the Walter Prichard Eaton Prize for Playwriting Excellence from Hunter College in 2014. She was a co-screenwriter on Daughters of Solanas produced by The Women’s Weekend Film Challenge ‘19. Karen is a frequent guest on City World Radio speaking about theatre and playwriting.

In addition to her playwriting career, Karen founded a theatre company The Call Theatre in 2021 and also has been coordinating, producing and hosting local events that supports community and the arts. The Call Theatre’s mission is to inspire, educate, and truly represent the people of the community through story and community service.


The Call Theatre conceives that theatre can and should happen in any type of space and is in pursuit of claiming spaces in the community for the neighborhood to have access to theatre. *This is an independent theatre company and produces work in any city.

The Call Theatre respects its audiences, believing that public discourse is essential to a democratic society and that stories of underrepresented people are vital to our lives as individuals and as a collective.

The Call Theatre welcomes ALL to the theatre and supports community collaborations.

The Call Theatre conceives that theatre can and should happen in any type of space and is in pursuit of claiming spaces in the community for the neighborhood to have access to theatre. *This is an independent theatre company and produces work in any city.

The Call Theatre. Named to ask the audience, HOW WILL YOU ANSWER THE CALL?

Want to be involved?

email us at thecalltheatre@gmail.com

Instagram: thecalltheatre.brooklyn

Selected works: Ivy Walls-play finalist and produced at the Second Annual Theatre
Odyssey One Act Play Festival; Top Finalist Honors 2019 Ivoryton Women
Playwright’s Initiative. Perfectly Normal- Finalist #Shepersisted festival,
Bloomington, Illinois; Semi-Finalist The Orlando Shakespeare Theater, 2019,
Semi-Finalist The Athena Project, CO. Play workshops: The Cry Havoc Theatre
Company and IVP Productions. Winner: Walter Prichard Eaton Prize for
Playwriting Excellence Hunter College ’14. Co-screenwriter on Daughters of
Solanas produced by The Women’s Weekend Film Challenge ‘19. Writer/Director
(short) Vanish’d Sight. Video Director for the song Thinking About Leaving from
Kate Dulcich on her album Wrong Me.

Karen has an MFA in Playwriting from The Actors Studio Drama School, Member
of the the Playwright/Directors Workshop at The Actors Studio NYC, The
Dramatists Guild of America and on the Board of Directors for The League Of
Professional Theater Women. Publications: 100 MONOLOGUES FROM NEW
PLAYS 2020 — WOMEN Limelight Editions/The Applause Acting Series. “Zaza”
Monologue from STRIKE: All Women Stand United.

Instagram karen.cecilia6

Yvette Heyliger: Lessons to Learn

I am encouraging my students to be students of the world: to look around them, to see what’s happening, see how their lives are affected by world events and the changes of our society because that’s fodder for future plays that they may write or that they may participate in as artists.

YVETTE HEYLIGER Playwright/Director/Producing Artist/Author is a lifelong theatre artist, as well as an educator, and the author of What a Piece of Work is Man! Full-Length Plays for Leading Women. Yvette is a long-time activist for women in the American theatre and was recently named a finalist for the Advance Gender Equity in the Arts 2022 AGE Legacy Playwright Grant. 

The Children of the People: Writings by and about CUNY students on race and social justice, offers the perspective of past and present CUNY students–some, now faculty–on the success of this experiment.

Join us in the James Gallery at the CUNY Graduate Center to celebrate the launch of the book with an evening of readings by the book’s contributors Connie Gemson, Yvette HeyligerJose LopezKate McCaffreyLee Painter-KimJavier RiverosCynthia Tobar, and Alison Wong who will be joined by the editors Rose M. KimGrace M. Cho, and Robin McGinty, followed by a discussion lead by scholar, editor, and activist Conor Tomás Reed on the writing of the book as well as the current state of CUNY and public higher education. 

Date and time

Thursday, September 15, 2022

5:30 PM – 7:00 PM EDT

Location

The James Gallery

365 5th Avenue

New York, NY 10016

YVETTE HEYLIGER is a playwright, producing artist, educator, activist, and author of What a Piece of Work is Man! Full-Length Plays for Leading Women. Yvette has contributed to many anthologies including On Holy Ground: The National Black Theatre Festival Anthology, ARTemis Arts Wisdom Anthology, She Persisted: 30 Ten-Minute Plays by Women Over 40, She Persisted: Monologues from Plays by Women Over 40, Performer’s Stuff, The Monologue Project, Later Chapters: The Best Scenes and Monologues for Actors over Fifty, Short Plays on Reproductive Freedom, 24 Gun Control Plays, The Best Women’s Stage Monologues 2003, and The Best Stage Scenes 2003. Yvette has also penned theatre industry-related articles for magazines, blogs, a scholarly journal, and textbooks including The Children of the People: Writings By and About CUNY Students on Race and Social Justice and Performing #MeToo: How Not to Look Away. Realizing that in order to grow as a playwright she needed to see her work living and breathing on the stage, Yvette hung up her shingle and became a producing artist. Yvette’s plays, including her one-woman show, have been presented in theatre festivals in NY and LA, as well as at the prestigious National Black Theatre Festival. Yvette is a long-time activist for women in the American theatre and currently serves as a member or in a leadership capacity with Honor Roll! (an advocacy group for women+ playwrights over 40), Dramatists Guild’s Diversity Equity Inclusion Access committee, the League of Professional Theatre Women, and 50/50 in 2020. Awards: Finalist – Advance Gender Equity in the Arts 2022 AGE Legacy Playwright Grant finalist, AUDELCO Recognition Award for Excellence in Black Theatre’s August Wilson Playwright Award, National Black Theatre Festival Emerging Producer Award, and Best Playwright nomination NAACP’s Annual Theatre Awards, among others. Memberships: Dramatist Guild, AEA, SDC, and AFTRA-SAG. Yvette Heyliger | New Play Exchange

Social Media: 

Facebook: Yvette Heyliger | Facebook

Twitter: Yvette Heyliger (@Twinbizness) / Twitter

Instagram: Yvette Heyliger (@twinbizness)

LinkedIn: Yvette Heyliger | LinkedIn  

Joan Kane: Speaking Truth

I had to tell my story. I needed to be able to say, ‘Look, I grew up in a time period in Brooklyn where racism was horrific and it was rampant.’ I needed to talk about sexual assault. I needed to talk about survival; how you can have horrible things happen to you. . . And I think it’s relevant today . . . I wanted to give some hope to folks: Look! Yeah, you can do it! You can go, you can push ahead. Tell your stories. Make sure that your truth is out there. For me, it’s very important that my truth is out there because, I believe, it’s truth that sets us free.

Joan Kane (writer/actor/producer) is the founding Artistic Director of Ego Actus.

The theatre is my church and I am a true believer. I see shows, I write plays. I produce, direct and perform. I love to see stories brought to life and I love making them.

Almost 13 by Joan Kane will be presented by Ego Actus in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe at Greenside Venues, 6 Infirmary St in August 2022. The play dramatizes the memories of a young girl’s violent summer in Brooklyn. Emotionally broken from witnessing a murder and ore, she finds herself dancing with a ghost. Can she survive being caught between a disintegrating family and racial violence?

This is a solo adaptation of the memories of a young girl’s hot, sweaty summer in Brooklyn. Can she survive being caught between a disintegrating family at home and racial violence on the streets? All she wants to do is jump in the waves at Coney Island and see the fireworks. Joan wrote the original 15 character play at the LaMama playwriting symposium in Umbria, Italy.

EGO ACTUS PRESENTS “ALMOST 13”
WRITTEN AND PERFORMED BY JOAN KANE,
DIRECTED BY BRUCE A! KRAEMER.
These are the memories of a young girl’s violent summer in Brooklyn.
Can she survive a disintegrating family and racial violence?
WHERE AND WHEN:
In the 2022 Edinburgh Festival Fringe
at Greenside Venues, 6 Infirmary St, Edinburgh EH1 1LS, Scotland
August 8 to 13 at 18:30
August 15 to 20 at 18:30
August 22 to 27 at 16:10
Tickets £12.00 (Concession £10.00)
Run time: 50 minutes

Edinburgh Festival Review

Published August 23, 2022 by Paul Levy

This is visceral, credible and well written drama, documentary yet delivered in part-fictional style through character acting, storytelling, occasional heart-breaking humour and a life-affirming message that lingers as we leave the theatre, pondering, humbled and ready to start talking further about Almost 13.

Bruce A! Kraemer (producer, designer, and playwright) is the producer of all Ego Actus shows.


Joan was named one of the 2011 People of the Year in honor of her contributions to the
NY theatre scene and inducted to the Indie Theatre Hall of Fame by nytheatre.com. Her
shows have been nominated for 61 awards, winning 21. Joan has also directed plays and
readings at the Lark, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Urban Stages, Workshop Theater, Nylon
Fusion, Articulate Theatre, Abingdon Theatre, Oberon Theatre, the Samuel French Short
Play Festival, the Actors Studio, T. Schreiber Studio, the Broadway Bound festival and
many others. Joan graduated from the High School of Performing Arts, studied acting at
the Neighborhood Playhouse and has an MFA in Directing from The New School and an
MS in Museum Education from Bank Street College. Early in her career she was an
Equity, AFTRA and SAG actress. She later became a teaching artist for Henry St
Settlement, Young Playwrights and Theatre for a New Audience. Joan went on to teach in
New York City Public Schools and she was a staff developer and at Fordham University
as an adjunct professor for both under graduate and graduate classes. Joan is a member of
The New York Madness Company, Rising Sun Performance Company, The Episcopal
Actors’ Guild, the League of Independent Theatre, the Dramatists Guild, New York
Women In Film and Television and the Society of Stage Directors & Choreographers. She
is a voting member for the New York Innovative Theatre Awards Artistic Achievement
committee and a Nominator for the Kilroys List. Joan is also an ex-officio Vice President
for Programming on the Executive Board of Directors of the League of Professional
Theatre Women.

Social Media Links
Twitter: @EgoActus, @kanejoan1
Facebook: EgoActus, Joan Kane
Instagram: egoactus, joankane9, kanejoan
Website: http://www.EgoActus.com, http://www.JoanKane.us

#ALMOST13 #One WomanShows #metoo #ViolaDavisFindingMe #EGO ACTUS #Sexualassault #Playwriting #Women’sRights

Jenny Lynn Stewart: A New York Spirit

It makes me feel happy. I feel happy when I sing. People who hear me sing tell me THEY feel happy; that I make their hearts happy. It’s the most joyful thing that I can do, I feel, for me and for others.

Photo:  Bill Westmoreland

JENNY LYNN STEWART, dramatic soprano, is a performer of uncommon versatility.

In 2021 Jenny officially became a member of the New York City Artist Corps when she received a $5,000 City Artists Corps Grant from New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA)

JENNY LYNN STEWART LIVE IN CONCERT

Ms. Stewart was recognized for The New York Spirit, a musical program of uplifting and inspiring songs targeted for the 55+ senior audience together with stories of success during the pandemic intended to lift the audiences’ spirits and inspire them for their lives going forward.

Lincoln Center’s Library for the Performing Arts was Jenny’s original participating partner for The New York Spirit for a performance on September 18, 2021 that was free and open to the public, a requirement of the grant. Due to Covid restrictions, the New York Library system decided to postpone all in person performances.

Jenny contacted the City Artist Corps and told them about the development.  She was told that The New York Spirit must have a performance that was free and open to the public by October 31, 2021 or she would have to return the grant money.

After spending countless hours searching for a participating partner who would host The New York Spirit for a concert that was free and open to the public, Jenny found Bruce’s Garden.  www.Brucesgarden.net.   There, she met the Artistic Director, Aaron Scott who agreed to host a performance of The New York Spirit  that was free and open to the public on Saturday, October 23, 2021.  Aaron Scott in addition to being the Artistic Director of Bruce’s Garden, is a well-known jazz musician and played drums with the McCoy Tyner Trio.

Stewart Will Present ‘The New York Spirit’ at Lincoln Center’s Bruno Walter Auditorium on October 15

Hopefully, the third time is the charm.  After two postponements related to covid, singer Jenny Lynn Stewart will bring her musical performance “The New York Spirit” to Lincoln Center’s New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Bruno Walter Auditorium, in Manhattan on Saturday, October 15, 2 p.m. The venue is located at 111 Amsterdam Avenue, between W 64th and 65th Streets. Patrons are asked to register for the free event via Eventbrite here

The New York Spirit is a musical program of uplifting and inspiring songs targeted for the 55+ senior audience. The program includes such popular songs as “High Hopes”, “On the Sunny Side of the Street” and many other show stoppers including an audience sing-along of “New York, New York.” Success stories will be shared with the audience intended to lift their spirits and inspire them for their lives going forward. Stewart will be accompanied by Matthew Martin Ward (piano) and Ritt Henn (bass). The performance is directed by Ira Siff. 

The New York Spirit

An upcoming performance will be at:
Lincoln Center’s New York Library for the Performing Arts
Bruno Walter Auditorium
Saturday, October 15, 2022, at 2:00 PM
The concert is free and open to the public.
Free tickets required.

The Eventbrite link

This program is made possible by the New York City Artist Corps.

Jenny has toured in the United States and internationally in such Rodgers and Hammerstein classics as Carousel (Nettie) and The Sound of Music (Mother Abbess) with fellow artists including Marie Osmond, John Davidson and Patrick Cassidy.

Ms. Stewart’s performance of her one-woman show “Give a Little Bit More, Richard Rodgers Revisited” at Don’t Tell Mama in New York City received amazing reviews including John Hoglund of BackStage saying “I believe she sounds most like a combination of a very young Barbara Cook and the late opera great Eileen Farrell. Her luminous sound fills the room with vocal magic.”  Audiences left the club full of joy and passionate about the performance.

Her classical music career includes solo performances at Carnegie Hall and the title roles in Aida and Tosca.

She has received reviews in “The Boston Globe,”, “Backstage,” “The Greenville News,” and “Press Focus” to name just a few.  “The Boston Globe,” for instance wrote “As the Mother Abbess, Jenny Lynn Stewart turns in a very successful “Climb Every Mountain.” Outside “Sister Act,” where else could a nun get such an emphatic standing ovation?”

Some of her tailor-made programs include a “Tribute to Barbara Cook,” “On Broadway:  The Forties and Fifties,” “The Sixties:  On Broadway,” “Lift Your Spirit (That’s The Spirit)” “Sondheim, Rodgers and Kern,” and “Magical Musical Moments,” a potpourri of Jenny’s unique offerings featuring moments from Broadway shows, popular songs and classic opera arias.  Her shows have been described as “classy, elegant, and fun-filled and holds great appeal for audiences of all demographics.”  She specializes in preparing programs for unique purposes such as fund-raisers, political events, and corporate events.

Ms. Stewart also has estimable opera, concert and recital experience. Her operatic repertoire includes the title roles in Aida and Tosca, Amelia in Un Ballo in Maschera, Leonora in La Forza Del Destino, Leonora in Il Trovatore, Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana and Magda in The Consul. Also, Ms. Stewart has performed the roles of Anne Coleman and Abigail Clark in the opera Mary Dyer by American composer, Richard Owen with New York Lyric Opera. She has sung with the Fort Worth, Arlington, Brooklyn Lyric, il Piccolo Teatro dell’ Opera and Surry, Maine opera companies, the Interlochen Opera Theater and Mid-America Productions. Ms. Stewart made her Carnegie Hall debut as the soprano soloist with the Manhattan Philharmonic in the Dvorak Requiem.

Adding to her credits, Ms. Stewart was a Finalist in the Center for Contemporary Opera’s International Opera Singers Competition and was honored to be the soloist for a special veteran’s memorial service at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Arlington National Cemetery, in the Memorial Amphitheater.

Ms. Stewart is a frequent and acclaimed recitalist with a deep and varied repertoire. Her recital appearances include Ann Arbor, Dallas, Detroit, Lenox and New York as well as Busseto, Italy and Graz, Austria. She has been featured as the opening recitalist for the prestigious Morning Music Club’s recital series in Nyack, New York and has presented recitals at New York City’s Donnell Library to warm and enthusiastic audiences.

Ms. Stewart holds degrees in television and radio from Michigan State University and in voice performance from the University of Michigan. She continued her education in Europe, first at Karl-Franzens University, in Graz, Austria, studying the German language and then in Busseto, Italy where she worked with Renata Tebaldi and Carlo Bergonzi. She has explored the Wagnerian repertoire with Mr. Jean Cox and Anna Reynolds in Peesten, Germany. Her voice teachers and coaches include Nancy Stokes Milnes, Sherrill Milnes, Gene Cline, Bill Lewis, James de Blasis, Ira Siff, Gustav Meier, Leona Witter, Laurel Miller and Charles Riecker.

Guest Lecturer at The City College of New York School of Education

This past Monday evening, Iwas a guest lecturer at the CCNY Program in Educational Theater Teaching Literacy Through Drama graduate course.  One of the assignments is The Diary Project; wherein, classmates creatediary entries from their childhood and adapt them as monologues and/or scenesculminating in a devised performance.

To get them started on thisproject, I selected a playwriting icebreaker exercise from Young Playwrights Inc.’s Write A Play Curriculum calledWhat’s In A Name? Each participant introducedthemselves by substituting their last name with a new one that reflected eitheran aspect of their personality of which they are particularly proud, orsomething they recently accomplished. For example, I became Fran Dream Reaper; others included SobhaSeedplanter, Marissa Laughter, Laura Lunacy, Joe Bridgemaker, EricSilkscreener, and so forth.  The groupselected Amy Jazzhands as the name they found to be the most evocative.  Delineating the difference between the REALAmy and the one that the group would create, the character evolved as aseven-year-old girl who wore red sequined tap shoes with bows, a neon greentutu with yellow suspenders, had bright red-curly pigtails that bounced whenshe walked.  She carried a journal in herdoggy bag pack and spoke with a froggy voice. She left her home in Staten Island to tell the group something that made thisday different than any other.  She said, “I am leaving home.”  Another response, “I have jazzy hands and Ineed your help.”  Another had her announce,“A crime has been committed and I’m here to solve it.”  Each participant was instructed to choose oneof the prompts and write a monologue clarifying Amy Jazzhands’ Need To Tell.  The renditions were read aloud and the groupdiscussed how the character communicated WHAT she needed to tell, WHO sheneeded to tell and WHY this day was different from all other days? Tofacilitate the lesson further, the class deconstructed the exercise:  the power of choices, how names tell ussomething about the character, how selections impact characterization,etc.  In addition, a discussion ensued onhow the exercise could be integrated into their professional praxis.  During the hands-on demonstration, I stepped outof role to note “teachable moments”; for example, how it applied to a COREstandard, literacy goals, classroom management strategy, etc.

The Paper Airplane exercise was used as an assessment tool:  every member “flew” their paper airplane andshared what they learned.  We exploredhow that same urgency for feedback can be applied to playwriting.  To learn more about how these exercises andothers are used as playwriting tools, the class was encouraged to attend Young Playwrights Inc.’s Teacher Training Institute.

To further assess theefficacy of the demonstration, participants were encouraged to imagine possibilities, integrate the lesson into theirprograms, and share their implementationthrough their testimonies on my website.  Ultimately, my goal was to INSPIRE them to take these new tools outinto the field as theater education practitioners and encourage them to putthem to use!

Thank you, Professor Sobha K. Paredes and theCCNY Program in Educational Theater!

How do you use playwriting as ateaching tool?