Monday, December 21, 2009

merry and happy

Going to shut down the Museum early this year, halls to deck and nog to swig. Thanks all for everything this year and may your days be merry and bright.

Our MMMQ (technically an MAMQ) keeps to the holiday theme:

We all know the Bing and Bowie bizarrity, but here are four other strange seasonal pairings. Spot the phony and have yourself a merry little Christmas.

1. Aretha Franklin and Tiny Tim

2. Elvis Presley and Wynonna Judd

3. Frank Sinatra and Cindy Lauper

4. Rod Stewart and Dolly Parton

Now I've got some wrapping to do.

Friday, December 18, 2009

little known fact

The "I" in Joseph I. Lieberman actually stands for "I'm a Worthless, Hypocritical Sack of Shit".

An old family name, apparently.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

whither scrappy?

Sorry, folks. Been in L.A. all week on bidness, just back late last night.

Hell of a place, L.A.

But I like my Rat City just fine.

Friday, December 11, 2009

happy hanukkah

Spin that dreidel, baby, and have a latke on me.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

ticket deal

Our good friend and compadre Louise Chantal is in town offering a deal on her new show. Louise produced The Exonerated in London and Edinburgh and if she's behind it, it's going to be quality work.

Here you go:


written by Nichola McAuliffe
at the 2009 Brits Off Broadway Festival, 59e59 Theaters

'Edge of the seat drama - it gave me some hope for the future of journalism.'
The Observer, London

We'd like to offer you a special discount to see a major new play which tells the incredible true story of a tragic miscarriage of justice. Already a big hit at this year's Edinburgh Festival, it is presented by the Pleasance Theatre - the biggest venue at the annual festival for the past 25 years - and follows Tahir Mirza, an 18 year-old boy who spent 18 years on Death Row in Pakistan before finally being released to go home to his family in Yorkshire. It's a true, touching and telling account of how the powerful and the powerless deal differently with bad luck. And it has a great cast of British actors including Olivier Award winner Nichola McAuliffe, who also wrote the play because it was her real life husband, the national journalist Don Mackay, who went to Pakistan to get the boy out of prison! As I said, it's an amazing story.

We've set up a discount with the code RIGHTS which is 30% off - i.e. $24.50 rather than $35 tickets - on all performances up to the 20th December. They just need to call the box office on 212 279 4200 or book online at and use the code RIGHTS.

The performance schedule is:
Tuesday at 7:15, Wednesday – Friday at 8:15 PM;
Saturday at 2:15 PM and 8:15 PM; and Sunday at 3:15 PM and 7:15 PM.

Please note, there is no performance on Christmas Day (Friday, December 25) or New Year’s Day (Friday, January 1). The curtain time on Thursday, December 24 is at 7:15 PM.

For more information, visit or

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

the dreaded feast

If you missed The Truth About Santa last go-round, here's a chance to sample the mayhem.

An excerpt of the play got published in an anthology called The Dreaded Feast: Writers on Enduring the Holidays and tomorrow night we're getting the old gang together and reading it at a publication party.

Tomorrow night, Thursday December 10, 7-8:30 at the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, 126 Crosby Street.

And I'll be reading Santa, so you don't want to miss that.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

all around the world

Away from computers all day yesterday, and I got a rule about no blogging after dark, so no MMMQ this week, sorry ladies.

Heard that Fatboy is being produced in Melbourne in March, so add that to the production in Malta in February and the Australia/U.K. tour of The Event and we've got some bona fide world-wide theatricals going on in 2010.

We're scheming to get to Malta, but so far all we've come up with is joining the merchant marines.

Seems a little hard-core even for us.

Suggestions welcome.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

sorry, Lee

Lot of chatter in the old blogosphere about Charles McNulty's L.A. Sunday Times interview with David Strasberg, (son of Lee) and the effectiveness of the fabled Method.

Let me kick a dead man here, just to keep him down.

Not only does the Method not help, it hurts.

There are only two places an actor can be, in her head or in the room. The whole trick is staying in the room, focusing on the other players and the audience, listening to the words.

The Method drives you into your head and traps you there, judging yourself, usually harshly and unfairly.

Acting is not believing. Acting is playing.

Acting is not a psychological effort.

It is a physical, social and political effort.

And, at the end of the day, you can't really teach anyone to act. You can watch honestly, critique encouragingly and ask the actors to be brave and clear-headed out there.

That's about it.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

bad moves in a fool's game

I'm dreading watching the President's speech tonight, afraid I'm going to see our man slowly transform into Lyndon Johnson by the end of the broadcast.

He inherited the mess, he knows he can't cut and run unless he's willing to be a one-term president, but he's smart enough to know he can't win.

Alexander the Great couldn't do it, the Red Army couldn't do it, we ain't going to do it.

Treasonous talk, but true.

I say pull them all out, stick about 1500 Special Ops guys on the Pakistan border and, well...

Exterminate the brutes.

But the Situation Room won't return my calls.

The Quiz Twins win again. Neither George Harrison nor The Beach Boys waltzed with the Band, but Rose conjures up a beautiful alternate universe, where Brian Wilson, Tiny Tim and a young Donny Osmond join together for a rousing version of Up on Cripple Creek.

Let it grow on you, it gets good.

Monday, November 30, 2009

rear view mirror

Gray day outside, a pot of coffee inside of me and a stack of work on the desk staring me down.

Monday after a long holiday weekend, time to get behind the mule and get it done.

I'm thinking back this morning, for some reason. A decade ago, when no one had ever heard of Osama Bin Laden, Barack Obama or Sarah Palin. When the towers still stood and Afghanistan was never in the news.

A crazy ten years, but we're all still here.

What will ten more bring?

Thirty three years ago on Thanksgiving Day, The Band performed their Last Waltz and so our MMMQ asks:

Who didn't climb onstage with the boys that night?

1. Van Morrison

2. George Harrison

3. Neil Diamond


4. Muddy Waters

Losers have to carry the weight, winners shall be released.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

thanks be

to Gob for all good things.

Shutting down the Museum early for the holidays.

Enjoy, all.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

a special place

in hell awaits these scumbags:

The United Homeless Organization, supposedly a nonprofit group set up to help feed and house the homeless, was actually an elaborate fraud.

According to a complaint filed by Mr. Cuomo on Tuesday morning, U.H.O. does not operate a single shelter, soup kitchen or food pantry. It does not provide food or clothing to the homeless. It does not even donate money to other charities that do.

Most of those coins and bills, Mr. Cuomo contended, end up in the pockets of the group’s founder and president, Stephen Riley, and its director, Myra Walker. The rest was kept by those working the donation tables, who paid a daily fee to Mr. Riley and Ms. Walker for the right to use the U.H.O. tables, jugs and aprons.

Nicholas Confessore, writing in the New York Times

Truly world-class scumbaggery.

Had a touch of the 24 hour Death Suck yesterday, kept me in bed most of the day. Sleep, tomato soup and the love of a good woman have restored me. Next week's MMMQ will be twice as tricky, promise.

Friday, November 20, 2009

get up and go

Mark Lawson has a piece in the Guardian about the ethics of walking out of a show in mid-performance.

I've never understood this problem.

Here's what you do:

Whisper "excuse me" to the person next to you, hit the aisle and fucking leave.

It's your time, your life, your night.

And if you're hating the thing, your presence is actually making it worse, you're not helping anyone by sitting there sleeping or fuming.

Get out of there. If the actors can't handle it, they shouldn't be up there. Stage acting is art in a shared public space in real time and the audience is not obligated to sit there and quietly suffer.

Get up and fucking go, folks.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

gustav says

One must be quiet and borgeoise in one's life so that one can be violent and original in one's art.


Some days that hits me right in my comfortable home.



Something wrong there.

The Quiz Twins are back, both winners. Ann for being right and Rose for being Rose.

Monday, November 16, 2009

kudos all around

Saw The Last Days of Dr. Jekyll over the weekend and it blew my tiny mind. An audience of about forty stands in the middle of the room, scaffolding and platforms against all four walls, actors running through the crowd, the ensemble whispering and morphing through the whole thing. Didn't feel like a play, much more intimate and dangerous, more like an immersion into someone else's dream.

Great work from Peter Clerke, Melanie Stewart and the entire cast and design team. They made my words sing.

And I saw this morning that my old friend Scott Organ has a play at the Humana Festival, something called Phoenix. Scott is a great actor and a wonderful writer, good to see him getting some Louisville love.

Here's an easy MMMQ, since we're all feeling good at the Museum.

According to noted cultural historian Iggy Pop, Raw Power had a baby and they called it:

1. Rock 'n Roll

2. Raw Power, Jr.

3. Thelonius


4. Jim Osterberg

Thursday, November 12, 2009

another opening

The Last Days of Dr. Jekyll opens tonight down at Rowan. Spitfire and I will wing our way down there this afternoon.

Got a good feeling that this one will rock.

On the road tomorrow, so happy weekend all.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

something to look forward to

Word is that American Idiot is coming to town.

Now who's got the balls to say yes to Yeast Nation?

Ann is back and correctly answers the MMMQ. Sinead O'Connor blows the roof off with her rendition of Mother.

How about The Wall on Broadway? Didn't somebody try that once? And if not, why not?

Monday, November 09, 2009

beautiful day

Seriously gorgeous autumn day out there. Hard to sit at the desk, but I know that the future of the American theater depends on it, so I toil on.

Great Get LIT event tonight at the Kraine, see previous post and see you there tonight.

Was listening to Roger Waters' "The Wall" live album over the weekend, for obvious reasons. Hadn't heard it in a while, truly brilliant stuff and fine fodder for a MMMQ.

Who sings the holy hell out of "Mother"?

1. Van Morrison

2. Sinead O'Connor

3. Marianne Faithfull

4. Joni Mitchell

Winners get liberation, losers live under a totalitarian system for forty years.

High stakes this week.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


This should be fun:

From Indie to Broadway: Does it change your work?

Join us for a great conversation with Urinetown's Greg Kotis and Blithe Spirit's Susan Louise O'Connor. Our fellow indie theater artists share their experiences in indie theater, Broadway and more at the next Get Lit with LIT event.

Great people, great conversation, and great beer!

Monday November 9
Kraine Theater
85 East 4th Street


No takers on the MMMQ, so I'll take the answer to my grave, never revealing that ?'s real name was Rudy Martinez.


Monday, November 02, 2009


Saw a very strong stumble-through of The Last Days of Jekyll and Hyde down at Rowan University Friday night. No sets, props or costumes and people still reaching for lines, but the thing held together very well. Huge kudos to Peter Clerke, the director and Melanie Stewart, choreographer. And the actors, of course.

We might just have ourselves a show.

Our MMMQ comes courtesy of the I-Pod shuffle. Great thing about the shuffle is you hear things you forget you even had, and in this case I was reminded I have the Cameo-Parkway recordings of ? and the Mysterians, hiding right there in plain sight, ready to rock and juke and shiver at will.

? never gave his name and claimed a Martian past. I believe everyone has the right to be who they want to be, but more earth-bound folk would tell you that ? was born:

1. Larry Borjas

2. Rudy Martinez

3. Joe "King" Carrasco

4. Freddie Rodriguez

Now back to the shuffle.

Friday, October 30, 2009

happy halloween

It's Spitfire's favorite holiday of the year, so we'll be out in the woods handing out Reese's Peanut Butter Cups to the intrepid little witches, ghosts and princesses marching across the lawn.

Great post on the NYITA blog by Shay on Community Boards, check it out:

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Woke up thinking about courage this morning, for some reason.

And I'm thinking of all of the incredibly brave actors I've been able to work with over the years. It's the old definition, being brave doesn't mean not being scared, it means being terrified and yet you keep going.

And I think of the courage of some writers, those willing to lay it out on the stage.

And yes, there are even some brave producers out there, not enough, but some. Those willing to take a chance on a new voice or follow some director on a dark dreamquest clear, at first, only to the dreamer.

It's no fun to be afraid, but sometimes that's the only way you know you're doing something new, I guess.

So let's all go out there and spook ourselves good, what do you say?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

back in the saddle

Home from the road. Spent some time in St. Louis, Memphis and a memorable night in Corinth, Mississippi where I saw a proclamation proclaiming Jefferson Davis as an American Patriot.

Yes. A different land down there, indeed.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

going dark

I'm off for a little vacation, back on the 27th.

Gobspeed and good hunting to all.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

hello, I must be going

Quick post today, got Jekyll to polish and a bus to catch.

Heard from a guy in Israel who wants to translate The Event.

Scrappy Jack in the Holy Land.

Now that's a movie I'd watch.

Dallas Taylor is lurking in the doorway, but if you look close it could be Michael Jackson, so Rose wins again.

Monday, October 19, 2009

first draft

Stunning autumn day out here in the Poconos, where I'm holed up finishing the first draft of the Jekyll and Hyde piece. Trees are a riot of color standing swaying in front of a deep blue sky.

Saw a black bear the other day. We were in the car and it was at least thirty yards away, just loping through the woods, heading away from us, but man, that gets the old primate brain cooking. We stopped the car and just sat there hooting, watching the beast shamble away.

Busy week ahead, Philly tomorrow, home Wednesday and then out to St. Louis and down to Memphis for a few days on family business. Nice to be on the road again.

Here's a MMMQ for all the hippies and hippies at heart.

I was looking at the cover of the eponymous Crosby, Stills and Nash album. The boys are sitting on the old couch on the front porch, staring into the camera all scruffy and brilliant. But whose that ghostly figure on the back cover, looking through the door?

Is it:

1. Paul Kantner

2. Dallas Taylor

3. Neil Young


4. Jim Gordon?

Winners get a ride on the Marrakesh Express, losers are a long time gone.

Friday, October 16, 2009

huge kudos and a great show

Ruth, Paul, Jen and Phil, take a bow.

Yesterday was the launch of Free Night here in Rat City and the whole magilla was scheduled for Union Square, with booths, installations, a big stage, you name it.

And then the weather rolled in.

These guys scrambled and scraped like the theater pros they are, somehow got the number for the owner of Union Square Theater and moved the whole thing inside, losing only about a half hour in the day's entire schedule.

It was beautiful, with words from Oskar Eustis, Lisa Kron, Mark Russell, Michael McKean, Susan Louise O'Connor and many others, performances by the Neo-Futurists, the TEAM and the extraordinary Cynthia Hopkins, all MC'd by the indefatigable Robert Zukermann.

Quite a show.

Last night I caught Laika Dog in Space, the Neo-Futurists full-length over at the Ontological-Hysteric.

My god, go see this show. Funny, truthful, about something, very silly, great music, honest and they serve piping hot borscht at the end.

Best thing I've seen in quite some time.

Bundle up out there and have a great weekend all.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

change of venue

Ignore previous post.

Just heard that the Free Night event has moved into the Union Square Theater, 100 E. 17th Street.

Nasty out there.

rain or shine

But in this case, rain.

Back in Rat City for the day, this Free Night Union Square launch event is on, baby.

Grab your parka and join us in the park.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

working man

Back down on the farm this week, working in the noon day sun, trying to harvest a show. Crop looks good, we just have to bring it in.

Phillies won last night, so lots of random shouting and irrational happiness all about. This town loves their team.

Rose wins the MMMQ because Rose always wins, but technically the correct answer is Washington, D. C. ("Sail on for the people of Washington, D.C.".)

But Rosie gets her sailing shoes and the forecast is fine sailing ahead.

Monday, October 12, 2009

free night's coming

Big doings on Thursday, MMMQ at end of post:

Where: South Plaza of Union Square
When: October 15 – noon to 6pm

Come celebrate and explore Off and Off Off Broadway theater!

Join hundreds of NYC artists, theater companies and service organizations
in a festive celebration with FREE performances, including;

Kate D. Levin, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, proclaiming that October 15th is, by mayoral decree, “Free Night of Theater Day”,

special musical guests, celebrities, booths, “Fame” flash mob with over 50 dancers,

children’s theater, NYC's top sleight of hand artists, con men & mentalists, makeup artists,

clowns of all shapes & sizes (and ratings), the Ice Capades on roller skates, a dog in space and

a fashion show extravaganza with famous costumes from TDF's special collection MCed by Joey Arias!

Plus Thoughts on the Theater from

Eric Bogosian,

Kathleen Chalfant,

Mike Daisey,

Kamilah Forbes,

Oskar Eustis,

Lisa Kron,

Judith Malina,

Michael McKean,

Scott Morfee,

Susan Louise O'Connor,

Robert Zukerman,

Dean Moss impersonating Vallejo Gantner

and Mark Russell (as himself)

To see the full schedule of events, companies and artists visit

In honor of Columbus Day, our MMMQ examines the great double live album Waiting for Columbus and asks in which U.S. city did Little Feat record part of the record?

Was it:

1. Atlanta

2. New Orleans

3. Washington, D.C.


4. Cleveland

Winners get their own Sailin' Shoes, losers go home with the Apolitical Blues.

Friday, October 09, 2009

up for air

I write to you from the lovely home of Liz and Tony Hostetter, fine folks and theater professionals who are putting me up while we thrash around devising a new take on Jekyll and Hyde.

Doing a lot of group movement work and beginning to drop in a little text. Focusing on decay, transformation and shamelessness. An incredibly game group of actors.

President Obama won the Nobel Prize this morning. Also Teen Beat's "Hunkiest World Leader", which can only deepen the rift betweeen him and Chavez.

Crazy world out there, be careful and have a great weekend all.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

riding the dragon

Doing my Chinatown bus routine again. Just back from Philly where we scoped out the performance space for the Jekyll and Hyde piece I'm writing for Rowan University. Just a big-ass room in the Art Department building, no fixed seating, no grid.

Which means we can get all creative on it.

Touring the whole building we found some other cool spaces, so we're playing with a promenade idea now, take the audience around to different spaces, etc.

It will all change four more times before we open of course, but that's the tip for now.

Ann and Rose win again. Ann because she has the correct answer and Rose because good non sequitors need to be rewarded in this world.

Well done, ladies.

Monday, October 05, 2009

imposters and illusion

Went to an amazing roundtable discussion at The Philoctetes Center over the weekend put together by Mark Mitton. The focus was Laney Salisbury's book Provenance, about one of the greatest art forgery scams in the history of art forgery scams. But Mark also had a government criminal financial investigator up there and Mark himself is a world-renowned magician, so the conversation turned to the psychology and mechanics of the conman, something I always think about when I'm teaching acting or watching a show.

I always tell students that the audience already wants to believe, so the less effort you put into pretending, the happier they are. It's like when you walk into a store already intending to buy a shirt and the salesman starts pissing you off by trying to sell you a suit. And sometimes you wind up walking out of the store without the shirt just to get away from the guy.

Our MMMQ keeps to the theme:

What does Roy Orbison not use in his song Casting My Spell on You?

1. A black cat

2. A cave bat

3. A green snake

4. A dog's jaw

Thursday, October 01, 2009

helping hand

This from Crain's:

Artists in the five boroughs could gain access to new exhibition and performance space and receive entrepreneurial training as part of a series of five initiatives city officials unveiled Wednesday to bolster the cultural sector in the five boroughs.

The new programs will give visual artists a chance to display their work in various city-owned properties, including the Brooklyn Army Terminal and St. George Ferry Terminal; provide free outdoor performance space in the city's parks; train 50 out-of-work entrepreneurial professionals to apply their skill sets to the nonprofit cultural world; help artists develop business plans and provide them with low-cost studio space; and provide $25,000 grants to each of two neighborhood “arts clusters” to help organizations draw audiences.

The announcement came as Crain's held its Future of New York conference on the arts
industry, examining how dwindling attendance and donations have challenged the sector
during the financial crisis.

Deputy Mayor Patricia Harris said at the conference that in addition to the $5.8 billion in economic activity generated by the arts, another $5.4 billion comes from arts-motivated tourism. Half of the visitors to the city last year came for an arts-related activity.

“These initiatives will support our vital nonprofit cultural sector in these difficult economic times,” said Kate Levin, the city's cultural affairs commissioner, in a statement. “They will also provide new opportunities for the city's artists, whose creativity and innovation serve audiences from across
the five boroughs and around the world.”

Officials said the city's 1,400 nonprofit cultural groups employ 40,000 people and generate more than $5.8 billion in annual economic impact through direct spending.

The initiatives announced Wednesday are the latest in a series of moves by the city's Economic Development Corp. to support specific sectors of the city economy during the downturn, with many of the programs focused on entrepreneurialism. Other sectors where programs have been launched include media, fashion and financial services.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

how about seven grand?

Got this this morning and so I share it with you:

Artists' Fellowships

2010 Application Guidelines
Artists' Fellowships are $7,000 cash awards made to individual originating artists living and working in the state of New York for unrestricted use. Grants are awarded in 16 artistic disciplines, with applications accepted in eight categories each year. Since the awards began in 1985, NYFA has awarded over $22 million to over 3,688 artists. In 2009, NYFA awarded 131 Fellowships to 134 artists, with six of them working in a collaboration.

The deadlines for NYFA's 2009-2010 Artists' Fellowships will be:
November 2, 2009

November 3, 2009

November 4, 2009
Architecture/Environmental Structures

See the whole application at

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

that goddamned blank page

Some mornings I just sit and stare at that blank page.

I still write everything on a yellow legal pad with a number 2 pencil, everything except this blog, and some mornings putting pencil to page is like bench-pressing 300 pounds.

I get more coffee, I smoke another cigarette, I stare at the page.

By the end of the day the page is filled and others as well. Some of it survives and actually turns into something worth saving.

But the actual act of starting to write, some mornings it doesn't seem physically possible.

Ann regains the crown, or in her case the lampshade, and Rose joins her on the victory lap. Well done, ladies.

Monday, September 28, 2009

the boys are back

Greg Kotis and Mark Hollmann, who gave the world Urinetown about ten years ago, are kicking some Chicago ass with Yeast Nation (The Triumph of Life).

Early reviews are great, some one here in NYC should have the balls to bring it in.

On the home front, Spitfire got tangled up with some poison oak and I got tangled up with her, so we're itching and scratching here at the Museum. All rashy and red.

Which suggests our MMMQ...

Who sang the Leiber and Stoller classic Poison Ivy?

1. The Clovers

2. The Coasters

3. The Drifters

4. The Dixie Cups

Winners look but don't touch and losers are going to need an ocean of calamine lotion.

Friday, September 25, 2009

something fun

This came across my desk, looks cool:

Union Square Free Night of Theater Celebration October 15, 2009 12-6pm

Calling all Costume Designers and Actors to participate in a massive

costumed flash mob and Runway Show! Costume Designers are invited to

open their wardrobes and/or visit The Costume Collection who is opening their doors with more than 75,000 costumes. The objective is to costume volunteer actors who will then descend on Union Square to mingle with the

public and strut their stuff in a runway show hosted by a celebrity VIP.

Make-up artists are also called to offer their services to the General Public and to the many children who will be invited.

If you are interested in participating:

Actors - send headshot & resume

Costume Designers - send a resume

Make-up Artists - send a resume

Send an email at

Great weekend to all.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Jekyll and Hyde

So I signed on to provide the text for a Jekyll and Hyde inspired piece that will be devised by Scottish director Peter Clerke for Rowan University this fall.

It's always a little strange when you write this way, you put out some ideas and then the director and the actors thrash around on the floor and then you go home and try to translate their work into re-writes.

I couldn't come up with a thing to start with and then a couple of nights ago something clicked.

What if it's 2009 and the drug that Jekyll comes up with, something that erases all guilt and sense of conscience, becomes a huge commercial success? It's the number one anti-anxiety drug on the market. People are gobbling it down, the world is becoming over-run with amoral monsters, but everyone's happy.

Jekyll's working away like mad on an antidote, but no one seems to want it.

Haven't figured out the ending yet, but I think it's a place to start.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


To all the winners at the New York Innovative Theater Awards last night, especially my LIT compadre Robert Honeywell and his partners at the Brick Theater.

First day of fall today, my favorite time of year.

Rosie aces the MMMQ, it was the White Stripes sitting next to Jon.

Ann needs some Zen, so Rose, you're going to have to share.

Monday, September 21, 2009

monday, monday

Running and gunning today, kids, so let's just cut straight to the MMMQ.

Who was/were the first musical guest on The Daily Show?

1. The White Stripes

2. Kanye West

3. Eric Clapton

4. Black Eyed Peas

Winners get a moment of Zen, losers don't.

Friday, September 18, 2009

to tweet or not to tweet?

At the end of a business dinner last night, our partner Nate Brochin starts in on the necessity of Twitter.

Nate's always right about this stuff. He hectored me into starting this blog years ago. But Twitter?

And he says you have to tweet four, five times a day to get anyone to follow you. And you have to get like a thousand followers for it to be worth anything.

It all just sounds so strange.

Why would anyone want to hear from me four or five times a day?

"Hey, just finished another cup of coffee and thinking about smoking a cigarette!"

"This book about the battle of Shiloh sure is interesting!"

"Boy, my cat is cute! Such a cute cat!"

But, like I say, Nate is always right about this stuff.

Strange, strange days...

Happy New Year tonight, have a safe weekend all.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

random thursday

Halfway through September and I still haven't caught a rhythm to the fall. Summer was so busy I'm feeling like I should be on vacation, but of course there's no rest for the wicked or the freelance.

Been wanting to write something about how I can't seem to get excited about either Twitter or Mad Men, but there's really not much more to say about it than that.

Need a haircut.


Today's the anniversary of the battle of Antietam.

Look it up.

More coffee and back to work.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

lucky man

Just another day when I realize my great good fortune. Health, family, friends and the chance to do what I love every day.

Just heard someone's interested in a French adaptation of The Event. What would that be, Le Fait? Le Coup?

It would definitely be in French.

Ann knows her people who died. It was Teddy, sniffing glue, age 12, who fell from the roof.

Carroll was before your time, Rosie. But FYI, when Herbie asked Tony if Tony could fly, Tony couldn't fly, Tony died.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Get LIT tonight

Here's the info, MMMQ at end of post.

Get Lit with LIT is coming to you TONIGHT September 14 at 7pm at FANFARE 100 E 4th St buzzer 1 between 1st and 2nd Ave with special guests Ruth Eglsaer and Phillip Matthews of TCG's Free Night of Theater Program! So bring a friend and get the inside scoop on this exciting program.

What does Free Night of Theater 2009
mean to you?

Find out at the next Get Lit with LIT! event!

By now you've heard about the Free Night of Theater initiative. But what is it really? Why is it important? And how can you get involved?

Get the inside scoop directly from Philip Matthews and Ruth Eglsaer of Theatre Communications Group. LIT is going to be a big part of the event this year, it's a chance for us to connect with new audiences, particularly people who don't normally go to the theater.

Here's what you need to know:

Get Lit with LIT!
Topic: Free Night of Theater 2009
Monday Sept 14
FANFARE - 100 E. 4th Street Buzzer 1
between 1st and 2nd Ave.

Our MMMQ is a sad one, R.I.P. Jim Carroll, our favorite Catholic Boy.

Who fell from the roof on East Two-nine?

1. Eddie

2. Teddy

3. Bobby

4. Cathy

Winners get the Angel, losers fight that Wicked Gravity.

Friday, September 11, 2009

eight years on

This is always a hard day, but I noticed something different this morning.

With Bush out of the White House, it's a simpler day for me. There's just sorrow and a bit of wonder that such a thing happened. Every year before this the sorrow was mixed with and usually overwhelmed by anger and frustration at the enormous and destructive folly that followed.

Today, I'm just sad. And that feels better than before.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

think it through

Came across this while flipping through Time Magazine. Calling out Jay Leno is shooting a shark in the bathtub, but this struck me as beyond strange:

“We don’t gather anymore,” he says. “It’s the difference between standing outside a comedy club and looking through the window and standing on the other side of the wall in the room. The experience is a hundred times better when you’re in the room because you’re part of a communal thing with other people. And that’s what TV is to me, a gathering place.”

Emphasis mine, logic his.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

good news from downtown


This from the stalwarts on Wooster Street:

Thanks to the generous support of friends and supporters like you.
and the hard work of people like Joshua Babbit at Paul Weiss)
We have managed to step back from the abyss at least for another season.
Including ICE FACTORY 2010)

And so it is with particular pleasure that we announce
the Fall '09/Winter 2010 season.

25 + 26
(Soho Think Tank presents the return of)
Conni's Avant-Garde Restaurant
One of the monster hits of ICE FACTORY '09
Click here for Tickets

Hip-Hop Theater Festival
"The Hip-Hop Theater Festival is making an evident connection between the performers and the audience members, both of whose numbers are almost certain to grow. The atmosphere they have created is celebratory, a welcoming party for a language that hasn't often been heard in the theater their own." - Bruce Weber, The New York Times

October 27th- November 21
CREATURE by Heidi Schreck

Working Man's Clothes Productions
SHE LIKE GIRLS by Chisa Hutchinson

with the legendary DJ Silky

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
adaptated and directed by Stephen Earnhart

Stay tuned and check our website for further updates on this amazing season.

You will also be hearing from us on ways you can help us
hold on to our home at the Ohio Theatre.

In fact, feel free to "quantify your love" now and again.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

code of ethics

Daniel Talbott shared this with me, it's from

Check it out, a 1945 Code of Ethics for Theater Workers, written by Equity member Kathleen Freeman:

Foreword to the Code

“A part of the great tradition of the theatre is the code of ethics which belong to every worker in the theatre. This code is not a superstition, nor a dogma, nor a ritual which is enforced by tribunals; it is an attitude toward your vocation, your fellow workers, your audiences and yourself. It is a kind of self-discipline which does not rob you of your invaluable individualism.
“Those of you who have been in show business know the full connotation of these precepts. Those of you who are new to show business will soon learn. The Circle Players, since its founding in 1945, has always striven to stand for the finest in theatre, and it will continue to do so. Therefore, it is with the sincere purpose of continued dedication to the great traditions of the theatre that these items are here presented.”

The “rules” follow:

1. I shall never miss a performance.

2. I shall play every performance with energy, enthusiasm and to the best of my ability regardless of size of audience, personal illness, bad weather, accident, or even death in my family.

3. I shall forego all social activities which interfere with rehearsals or any other scheduled work at the theatre, and I shall always be on time.

4. I shall never make a curtain late by my failure to be ready on time.

5. I shall never miss an entrance.

6. I shall never leave the theatre building or the stage area until I have completed my performance, unless I am specifically excused by the stage manager; curtain calls are a part of the show.

7. I shall not let the comments of friends, relatives or critics change any phase of my work without proper consultation; I shall not change lines, business, lights, properties, settings or costumes or any phase of the production without consultation with and permission of my director or producer or their agents, and I shall inform all people concerned.

8. I shall forego the gratification of my ego for the demands of the play.

9. I shall remember my business is to create illusion; therefore, I shall not break the illusion by appearing in costume and makeup off-stage or outside the theatre.

10. I shall accept my director’s and producer’s advice and counsel in the spirit in which it is given, for they can see the production as a whole and my work from the front.

11. I shall never “put on an act” while viewing other artists’ work as a member of an audience, nor shall I make caustic criticism from jealousy or for the sake of being smart.

12. I shall respect the play and the playwright and, remembering that “a work of art is not a work of art until it is finished,” I shall not condemn a play while it is in rehearsal.

13. I shall not spread rumor or gossip which is malicious and tends to reflect discredit on my show, the theatre, or any personnel connected with them-either to people inside or outside the group.

14. Since I respect the theatre in which I work, I shall do my best to keep it looking clean, orderly and attractive regardless of whether I am specifically assigned to such work or not.

15. I shall handle stage properties and costumes with care for I know they are part of the tools of my trade and are a vital part of the physical production.

16. I shall follow rules of courtesy, deportment and common decency applicable in all walks of life (and especially in a business in close contact with the public) when I am in the theatre, and I shall observe the rules and regulations of any specific theatre where I work.

17. I shall never lose my enthusiasm for theatre because of disappointments.

In addition, the document continued:

“I understand that membership in the Circle Theatre entitles me to the privilege of working, when I am so assigned, in any of the phases of a production, including: props, lights, sound, construction, house management, box office, publicity and stage managing-as well as acting. I realize it is possible I may not be cast in a part for many months, but I will not allow this to dampen my enthusiasm or desire to work, since I realize without my willingness to do all other phases of theatre work, there would be no theatre for me to act in.”
All members of the Circle Theatre were required to sign this document. And they must have-because the theatre, and the group into which it evolved, was successful for many years.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

good ideas and another award

Thanks to Alaina for pointing this out:

Why wouldn't that work here?

Forgot to mention yesterday that The Event won a FringeNYC Outstanding Solo Show award Sunday night.

Truth be told, just found out about it this morning. We cut out of the awards ceremony early, school night and all that.

Congrats to Matt and Darlene and Kathleen and all others involved in the enterprise of the event.

Ann ducks and dodges, but the answer to the MMMQ is Mean Gene. Scorpio (or Mr. Ness) was one of the original five.

And the beat goes on...

Monday, August 31, 2009

endless summer

And it's finally coming to a close. Matt closed the NYC Event on Friday, Dave finishes his Edinburgh run in about twenty minutes, he's standing onstage over there as I type.

All in all, an eventful August.

Here's what's next, down in Philly. MMMQ at the end of the post.

You’ve seen Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance, now get ready for the newest dance-competition-reality-show-craze Kill Me Now. Playing with the live ammunition of real audiences voting for fictional characters, Kill Me Now blurs the line between art and reality, exposing the performers to the casual cruelty of the crowd. Kill Me Now is a fast-paced, comic experience with a different outcome every show. With the audience pulling the strings, the show becomes a ruthless examination of the performers' desire for an ultimate prize and all they are willing to do to get it.

Even before the curtain rises, you become familiar with the contestants though the videotaped confessionals playing in the lobby—and by reading their profiles on Facebook. The dancers range from Dexter Allen Anderson giving his 125,000 percent to Tina Marina's floor-licking routine, while judges like Sarah Manning with her pointless pontificating and Nigel Bruce Hancock with his oversexed ego battle for attention. Yell out to your favorite dancers as they alternate between contestants and judges while trying to win your heart and your vote—all under the whip of an MC whom some might call a dominatrix.

Melanie Stewart Dance Theatre's past Festival works include Claire (Philly Fringe, 2007) and Babel (Live Arts Festival, 2004). The show Kill Me Now was devised by the entire company. Hosting duties are performed by Catherine Gillard, co-artistic director of benchtours. The text is written by OBIE Award winner John Clancy.

Direction & Choreography: Melanie Stewart Text: John Clancy Lighting Design: Clifford Greer Jr. Costume Design: Stephanie Nichols Sound Design: David Cimetta Videography: Les Rivera Performers: Bethany Formica, Cassie Eckerman, Catherine Gillard, Scott McPheeters, Janet Pilla, Megan Mazarick, Les Rivera, Karl Schappell

Going back to vault again for this morning's MMMQ. Checking your knowledge of paleo-funk, in the dawning days of hip-hop, Grandmaster Flash had his Furious Five.

Who was not one of them?

1. Melle Mel

2. Scorpio

3. Mean Gene

4. Kidd Creole

Losers cross those White Lines, winners get Rapper's Delight.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

R.I.P Ted Kennedy

The lion sleeps tonight.

Just got wind of a Free Night deadline coming up, here are the details:

The 2009 TCG Free Night of Theater program is fast approaching. We are encouraging everyone who has a show in Independent/Off-Off community during the last three weeks of October to consider joining the program (October 8 - November 1). It is a great way to expose your work to a new audience and if you join this week (deadline Thursday) you will get your company or venue's name in all of the advance marketing.

In addition there will be a major all day event celebrating the start of Free Night in Union Square on October 15 that is open to the entire community. Companies and Artists from across New York City are being invited to gather in a great celebration with performance, music, presentations, and speeches. Individual booths are also available for companies and organizations interested in showcasing their work. The Mayor has been invited and we are hoping for a huge turnout in the square as he declares October 15th Theater Day.

If you are interested in participating in the Union Square kick off event please contact

Paul Bargetto at or
Jennifer Conley Darling at

We need volunteers too, so if you can help with the event let us know!

And the final performance of The Event here in NYC is Friday, August 28, 6 PM at the Players Theatre. See everyone there.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I've never claimed to be the smartest tack in that little cardboard thing... you know, that rectangular cardboard thing that you, um... keep thumbtacks in, but...

What's going on with our continued use of "rendition" only now with new and improved "oversight"?


Mr. President?

Just to be cold-blooded about this thing, isn't the whole point of rendition that there's no oversight? Why fly a guy to Syria to not torture him when we can just not torture him here? Save the airfare, right?

Isn't this like saying:

"I'm still going to slip you this date rape drug, but don't worry, we'll be chaperoned the entire time."?

And speaking of going the whole wide world (lousy segue, but I'm pressed for time), I pitched a big old can of corn over the plate for Ann yesterday and, true to form, she crushed it. Mr. Dury pounds the skins for Wreckless Eric and we all cheer and sing along.

Come out Friday and see The Event, 6 PM.

I'm going to be hawking this bastard every day until I hear we're sold out.

Monday, August 24, 2009

big thanks

to those who showed up for the 11 PM Sunday night performance of The Event last night.

Now that's hardcore.

Last chance to see it is this Friday, 6 PM.

Unless you're in Scotland, in which case you can see it everyday at 1:10 throughout the month.

Our MMMQ reaches back as it so often does to the glory days of punk and New Wave, the music of my youth, when the days flew by, the nights lasted forever and I knew so much more than I do now.

Wreckless Eric wrote and recorded one of the world's perfect songs with (I'd Go The) Whole Wide World. But who sat in the back and played the drums? Was it

1. Charlie Charles

2. Ian Dury

3. Eric Goulden


4. Rat Scabies?

Losers hang around in the rain, winners caress some warm brown skin.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Come on down to the Fringe Club, 54 Crosby Street and have a drink on LIT.

Starts at 11.

Big fun.

I'm off to Philly for the day, but I'll be back.

Great show last night at the Players Theater, thanks all for coming out.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

fringe frenzy

Calvitto continues to rock steady in Edinburgh, another 4 star review in Time Out London and a string of sold-out shows.

Early reviews on the New York production are very strong and Oberg is rocking the Players Theatre, come on down tomorrow night.

And Thursday night, join the LIT crew:

Join the League for some Fringe Festival Festivities this Thursday at 11:00pm at the Fringe Club! FREE admission with any FringeNYC badge or $5 for non badge-holders. FREE drinks for Fringe Artists.

Thursday August 20th
11pm - 1am
54 Crosby Street (between Spring and Broome)

Join us in a casual atmosphere after your show, at a party hosted by the League of Independent Theater as part of the Fringe CLUB series at the New York International Fringe Festival. Is your Fringe show stressing you out? Here's your chance to blow off some steam with fellow Fringe artists, have a few drinks and unwind.

This event is sponsored by Tanqueray and includes 2 FREE Tanqueray drinks for each guest.

Missed the MMMQ yesterday, traveling and whatnot. Extra obscure quiz next week.

Friday, August 14, 2009

fringe first for The Event

Good news from the auld country.

The Event was awarded a Scotsman Fringe First this morning, along with Edgar Oliver's East 10th Street, so Rat City was well-represented on the dias.

Congrats to Dave Calvitto, who soldiers along alone over there through the month of August.

Meanwhile, stateside, young Matt Oberg opens the show tomorrow, 1:30 PM at the Players Theater.

This is like the theatrical equivalent of Risk.

We shall conquer the world, one solo show at a time.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Check out me and Trav S. D. havering away at:

Had a good tech today at the Players Theater down on MacDougal Street.

Show opens on Saturday.

See you all there.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

more Lothian love

Four stars in the Herald today. Show just keeps on rocking.

For those stuck here in Rat City in the swelter and the sweat, no worries, you can see the state-side version with Matt Oberg, opening on Saturday. Tickets at

Rose got one of the answers right, to haver is to blather and believe me, I should know. So half a plate of haggis for Rosie, but no neeps and tatties.

Sorry, darling, have to be strict with the neeps.

Monday, August 10, 2009

rocking auld reekie

Back from Edinburgh last night after opening The Event on Friday.

Early reviews are in and strong, four stars in The Scotsman and The Guardian.

Check out the love here:

But no laurel resting or champagne toasting here at the Museum. While Calvitto toils away all month in Scotland, we open the show again, with the lovely and talented Matt Oberg, at the New York International Fringe Festival this Saturday.

No rest for the wicked, as my father used to say.

Got Scotland on my mind, so our MMMQ concerns Craig and Charlie Reid or The Proclaimers, the best songwriters out of Scotland since Robbie Burns himself.

In their big hit from back when, 500 Miles, they promise that

"If I haver, I'm going to be the one who's havering with you."

If you're havering, you're

1. Drinking

2. Blathering

3. Vomiting


4. Breaking and entering

Winners get a big plate of haggis, losers get the same.

Friday, July 31, 2009

a little break

Off to Edinburgh on Monday, back in a week. Probably won't be blogging, so take care out there.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

mind melt

Back to back rehearsals with Dave and Matt.

Same lines coming out of two different actors' mouths, me scribbling the same notes on the same legal pad.

And yet the shows are completely different.

The mind is a-melting.

Despite the evil machinations of Rose, Future Bible Heroes is already taken. The New Crazies was the counterfeit band, still a great name in my book.

Back to the grind.

Monday, July 27, 2009

ready, set

It's T minus 7 days for the annual Edinburgh journey. Need to get about a month's worth of work done this week, posting may be a bit light.

Thanks to all who made the LIT party on Friday night a rocking little affair. Cognac Sheena in particular, very nice stuff.

Here's your MMMQ, testing your knowledge of the prodigiously gifted Stephin Merrit.

Most folks know The Magnetic Fields, but Mr. Merrit stays very busy. Which of the below is not one of his bands?

1. The 6ths

2. The New Crazies

3. Future Bible Heroes

4. The Gothic Archies

Winners get the Book of Love, losers run around like a chicken with it's head cut off.

Friday, July 24, 2009

shameless self-promotion Friday

Did a podcast with Trav S. D. for yesterday, talking about Trav's show Willy Nilly and my show The Event, both of which are playing FringeNYC.

And tickets are now on sale at Get them quick, we only play five shows.

LIT party tonight at P.S 122, starting around 10:30, free booze for all.

Get Lit with LIT.

And on Sunday,

1st Annual Indie Theater Midsummer Classic (Softball Game and Picnic)

Sunday, July 26th
noon to 4pm
Central Park's Great Lawn
(Enter the park at 81st Street)

Picnic (bring your own) - noon to 1:30
Softball Game - 1:30 to 4pm
Drinks at a nearby pub - 4pm til they run out of beer

Your team captains Tim Errickson and Michael Criscuolo ask that if you have equipment to please bring it and to be prepared to share a glove with a neighbor.

4pm drinking and continued socializing will be done at:
Blondie's Sports Bar on 79th Street (between Broadway & Amsterdam)

See you there.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

tomorrow night

Just a reminder, tomorrow night starting at 10:30 a free party thrown by the League of Independent Theater and the undergroundzero festival, P.S. 122.

Join the party.

And apparently the entire state of New Jersey is under arrest this morning for...


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

nice night

And a great party thrown by the NYITA crew. Saw some people I hadn't seen in years and met some new folks as well. Congrats to all of the nominees.

Ann is back and eating meatloaf with Stoney, can't throw the Lampshade Queen.

Rose gets the leftovers, but sometimes they're better the next day.

Monday, July 20, 2009

the time is now

Reminder of what's going on this week, MMMQ at bottom of post:

A celebration of Independent theater hosted by the Innovative Theater Awards, The League of Independent Theater and the Community Dish! Please mark your calendars with the following events!

The New York Innovative Theatre Awards
5 Year Birthday Party
& Nominee Announcement

June 1st marked the end of the 2009 season, which means that the nominees will soon be announced.

It also marked the 5 year milestone for the IT Awards.

Please join them:

MONDAY, JULY 20, 2009
at the historic Off-Off-Broadway Venue
Demo Hall / Carmine St. Center at Our Lady of Pompeii
located at 25 Carmine Street (corner of Bleeker)

from 7pm to 10pm

The actual public announcement starts at 8pm, so come early, have a drink, get your picture taken and rub elbows with some of the most talented and exciting theatre artists in New York City!

Tickets are on sale now on our website for $15, on a first-come, first-served basis! $20 at the door.


LIT MIXER! As part of the undergroundzero Festival at PS 122

Enjoy parties? Meeting new people? Dancing the night away?

Come to the LIT MIXER!
As part of the undergroundzero Festival at PS 122

Friday July 24th
PS 122 - 150 First Avenue

We in the Indie Theater Community work hard. Very hard.

But we're also the most fun.

Let's prove it. See you there!

1st Annual Indie Theater Midsummer Classic (Softball Game and Picnic)

Itching to dust off your curveball? Meet some fellow Indie Theater folks?

Please join The Community Dish, The New York Innovative Theatre Foundation, The League of Independent Theatre and United Stages for the

1st Annual Indie Theatre Midsummer Classic (Softball Game and Picnic)

Sunday, July 26th
noon to 4pm
Central Park's Great Lawn
(Enter the park at 81st Street)

Picnic (bring your own) - noon to 1:30
Softball Game - 1:30 to 4pm
Drinks at a nearby pub - 4pm til they run out of beer

Your team captains Tim Errickson and Michael Criscuolo ask that if you have equipment to please bring it and to be prepared to share a glove with a neighbor.

Celebrate the summer with a turkey sandwich, a few grounders and some good friends!

4pm drinking and continued socializing will be done at:
Blondie's Sports Bar on 79th Street (between Broadway & Amsterdam)

Hope to see you at all three.

I'm thinking of Meat Loaf this morning, as I do most mornings. Something about that big, sweaty guy I love.

The first album Mr. Loaf ever released was:

1. Bat Out of Hell

2. Stoney and Meatloaf

3. Meat Loaf Soul

4. Freaky and Meatloaf


5. Blood on the Tracks

Losers get leftovers, winners get meat loaf.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

darkly dreaming Dick

Reading about the secret CIA program run out of the ex-V.P's office all I can think is Cheney saw the Jason Bourne movies and thought:

Now that's what I'm talking about!

Something's got to stick, right?

At some point these guys end up in jail, right?

Sweet Rose takes a swing and a miss, Ann is AWOL and Billy Strayhorn remains the patron saint of the MTA.

Monday, July 13, 2009

underground man

Been rehearsing The Event up at Calvitto's spacious living room in his new digs in Washington Heights. Saving some do-re, but I'm coming from the Lower East Side, so that's about an hour door-to-door.

I could be in the Poconos, for the love of Gob.

To get to Dave's it's the F to the A and then I take the A train just about to the end of the line.

Which leads us to our MAMQ.

For all you jazzbos out there (I'm looking at you, Ann),

Who composed the stunning Take The A Train?

1. Dizzy Gillespie

2.Billy Strayhorn

3. Duke Ellington

4. Count Basie

Losers get service delays, winners ride express.

And all should, naturally, stand clear of the closing doors.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

sometimes the good guys win

Saw this on WNYC News:

NEW YORK, NY June 29, 2009 —An arts organization that's been serving the Lower East Side out of a dilapidated tenement for nearly 30 years, is on its way to building a brand new community center, thanks to a grant from the city.

ABC No Rio offers the community access to their 'zine library, silk screening shop, and other collaborative arts and outreach programs. and it says the $1.65 million grant will allow it to nurture a new generation of artists.

Executive Director Steven Englander says ABC No Rio applied to the city for funding three times, retooling their request each time, before succeeding.

Way to go, Steven.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


This from East River Commedia:

The 2009 undergroundzero festival is open! There is an exciting line-up of performances this week including our own Jamal Lullabies, by Emily Conbere opening tonight at 9:00 pm.

Also this week is the South Wing's AOI! at 7:00pm, Eric Dean Scott's Tales from Bordertown, Thinking Persons Theater She of the Voice, and Nora Woolley and Christine Witmer's Selling Splitsville!

Please come and join the festivities! Tickets are available online at; only $15.00!

We were part of this last year, it's a great festival.

Get on out there and see some shows.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


To Subjective Theatre Company, one of the four new resident companies at Horse Trade Theater Group. Also, Wreckio Ensemble, BE Company and The Assembly.

Don't know the last three, but if Erez is giving them the nod, they must be up to something good.

Ann and Rose, take a victory lap and feel free to polka all along the way.

Monday, July 06, 2009

indie theater week

Something we've been cooking up with NYITA and the Dish.

MMMQ at the end of post.

Can’t get enough of awards season? Join us!

The New York Innovative Theatre Awards
5 Year Birthday Party & Nominee Announcement

June 1st marked the end of the 2009 season, which means that the nominees will soon be announced.

It also marked the 5 year milestone for the IT Awards.

Please join us:

MONDAY, JULY 20, 2009
at the historic Off-Off-Broadway Venue
Demo Hall / Carmine St. Center at Our Lady of Pompeii
located at 25 Carmine Street (corner of Bleecker)

from 7pm to 10pm

The actual public announcement starts at 8pm, so come early, have a drink, get your picture taken and rub elbows with some of the most talented and exciting theatre artists in New York City!

Tickets are on sale now on our website for $15, on a first-come, first-served basis! $20 at the door.



Enjoy parties? Meeting new people? Dancing the night away?

Come to the LIT MIXER!
As part of the undergroundzero Festival at PS 122

Friday July 24th
PS 122 – 150 First Avenue

We in the Indie Theater Community work hard. Very hard.

But we’re also the most fun.

Let’s prove it. See you there!


Itching to dust off your curveball? Meet some fellow Indie Theater folks?

Please join The Community Dish, The New York Innovative Theatre Foundation, The League of Independent Theatre and United Stages for the

1st Annual Indie Theatre Midsummer Classic (Softball Game and Picnic)

Sunday, July 26th
noon to 4pm
Central Park's Great Lawn
(Enter the park at 81st Street)

Picnic (bring your own) - noon to 1:30
Softball Game - 1:30 to 4pm
Drinks at a nearby pub - 4pm til they run out of beer

Your team captains Tim Errickson and Michael Criscuolo ask that if you have equipment to please bring it and to be prepared to share a glove with a neighbor.

Celebrate the summer with a turkey sandwich, a few grounders and some good friends!

4pm drinking and continued socializing will be done at:
Blondie's Sports Bar on 79th Street (between Broadway & Amsterdam)

Expect to see you all there at all three events.

Our MMMQ goes all old-timey this week. Spent the weekend deep into swing and big band and all of that for some reason. Kept playing Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy and marveling at the Andrews Sisters.

Name the missing sister:

Maxene, Laverne and

1. Patty

2. Betty

3. Rhonda

4. Debbie

Winners do the Victory Polka, losers get beaten eight to the bar.

Friday, July 03, 2009


Cutting out early for the weekend.

Enjoy and be safe.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

mobius post

Just a quick note to say that I don't have any time today to post anything.

No time to point towards anything interesting in the blogosphere or the mainstream news.

No time to mourn Karl Malden.

Can't relate any amusing personal anecdote or indulge in an over-written rant about the latest political outrage.

Just can't do it.

Wish I could.

No time.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

pina bausch RIP

Now there's a loss.

Working on The Event with Dave Calvitto today, it's looking good. So grateful when I work with smart, intuitive actors.

On the MMMQ front, asking who coined the term punk rock, I always heard that it was Ed Sanders of the mighty Fugs, but someone I trust just swore to me that it was Dave Marsh. This is one of those things lost in the mists, I expect, so I'm declaring this one a toss-up, everyone wins but no prizes awarded.

Monday, June 29, 2009

some good news

The National Endowment for the Arts as well as the National Endowment for the Humanities received a $170 million budget from the U.S. House of Representatives for 2010, nearly a 10 percent increase from their current $155 million budget.

The vote was 254 to 173.

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee's budget proposal for the cultural agencies calls for $161.3 million each. President Obama proposed $161.3 million for the NEA and $171.3 million for the NEH.


NYTE has won the Microsoft/Techsoup “Show Your Impact” contest, which gives them a grant of $5K in cash and $25K in software. Well done, Martin and Rochelle.

Our MMMQ takes us back to the early 70s, when punk rock was thrashing about getting born. Who, in those dark and distant days, first used the term and gave the sound a name?

1. Lester Bangs

2. Legs McNeil

3. Ed Sanders

4. Dave Marsh?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

day of the dead


You've certainly heard the news by now.

Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson, both dead.

You can either take Ed McMahon as the third (these things come in threes, as my fellow Irish-Americans know), or we should think seriously about organizing a 24 hour medical/security force stationed around Bruce Springsteen.

Icons dying.

People in the street.

And me sitting on the couch, staring at the TV, feeling like the World's Only Cold-Hearted Bastard.

Michael Jackson was someone's child, brother and friend. For his family, his mother, his father, his brothers and sisters, his old friends, this is a terrible, terrible day.

Michael Jackson was one of the most purely gifted raw entertainers in the history of show biz. No one, no one, could move like him. Thriller is the greatest selling album of all time. Can't deny that combination of talent, craft, instinct and anticipating what the market wants.

But he's dead now, at 50, after this great career, and let's think about this for a second.

What is the "loss" we find ourselves bemoaning?

People die.

At 50, at 86, at 12. Every one of us. We don't want to think about it, naturally, but, come on. Jackson is no exception.

Would it be worse if he lived another 20 years, another 30 and then died all old and broke?

Was he on the brink of some extraordinary comeback, resulting in new music, a new sound, that is now lost to all of us?

Maybe. Overwhelming odds suggest no, probably not.

And again, doesn't matter, a man is dead and for those who knew him, grew up with him, knew him, it's a terrible day.

But for the rest of us, for the crowds in the street and all of the babbling heads on the TV screen, can we all just get a fucking grip and shut the fuck up for a second and admit that the only thing that really happens when an icon dies at 50 is we realize with a terrible jolt that we're getting older and that we too will someday die?

"If Michael Jackson can die, well then, Jesus... Maybe there's something to this after all..."

Icons go past the human, and when they die, then all bets are off. And that scares the shit out of us in a very, very deep way.

And, folks, let's be completely straight here. Let's not forget everything we know just because we're a little stunned that someone we've placed in a position Beyond Human while he was living here with us has succumbed to the Inevitable Eviction.

Michael Jackson was a pedophile.

Maybe not legally, but, come on.


Never proven, never admitted, but absolutely fucking no-doubt-about-it true.

Michael Jackson was right out of his own fucking mind for the last twenty-five, thirty-five years.

Not his fault, maybe, who knows? But a fact.

So we mourn a pedophile who can dance and sing like that for forty years but we think it's rough justice when some talentless pedophile gets beaten to death in prison?

I know, cold-hearted as all hell. Why not just join the chorus and remember Where I Was When I Heard the News? Can't do it.

If you knew him, a very bad day.

If you think you knew him, you really, actually, didn't.


Good luck on the Big Tour, Mr. Jackson.

I hope, sincerely, that the Critics are kinder than me.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

the curious case of Mark Sanford

Deep craziness out of South Carolina.

A self-professed "man of faith" and full-throated bellower of "family values" admitting to an affair is hardly news these days.

But this one just kept slipping farther into Looney Land.

Not only did Sanford spend the first two minutes of his press conference rambling on about his love for "adventure trips" and then bizarrely insisting that his love for such trips was "true", not only did it take him over seven minutes of apologizing, (only breaking down when apologizing to his friends as opposed to his wife) but during the entirety of the press conference, directly over Sanford's right shoulder, two grinning young women beamed at the cameras, particularly lighting up when Sanford would say something like:

"I hurt her. I hurt my boys."

Fiends in human form? Non-English speakers who thought they were getting a tour of the Statehouse?

Curiouser and curiouser...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

blank page

Oh, man.

Spinning my wheels and staring down the blank page today, trying to find the door that leads to the end of the play.


I'll never confuse what I do with actual hard work, manual labor or air traffic controlling, say, but somedays it's a bitch.

Ann gets the picture, Rosie stares out the window, dreaming of lost scorecards...

And now, back to work.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Great weekend up in the Berkshires and now back in Rat City for a full week of work.

Need to nail that Kill Me Now script so that the designers have time to design.

Some interesting Off Broadway stats in Crains last week:

Listening to some old Laurie Anderson over the weekend and was struck anew by the freaky beauty of Excellent Birds. Peter Gabriel sings back-up and released an alternate version of the song titled:

1. This is the Picture (Excellent Birds)

2. Falling Snow (Excellent Birds)

3. Sitting at the Window (Excellent Birds)


4. Mercy Street (Excellent Birds)

And for the purists out there, this is not a MMMQ, it's a MAMQ, so you'll need the other scorecard.

Friday, June 19, 2009

thanks, Andy

Andy Propst is shutting down on June 30.

I feel like the Times is closing or I've just been told I'm going to lose one of my five senses in a couple of weeks.

He's been doing it since 1998 and it's been a part of my morning routine for years.

So, thanks, Andy, for the years of service.

Good weekend to all.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

rainy day

And me back on the road, heading up to Greenfield, MA for a few days to check in on Spitfire's dad.

Had a read of The Event with Dave Calvitto yesterday. Strange to be walking back into that script with a different actor. Completely different rhythm and feel to it, which is going to make for a very exciting rehearsal process.

And kudos to my old compatriot Madi Distefano who just picked up some cash from the Pew Center by way of the Philadelphia Theater Initiative.

Way to go, Madi.

Don't blow it all at the track.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

health care for artists

Something I learned about last night at the Get LIT gathering, thanks to International Culture Lab:

It is called Artist Access and is part of the HHC Options program that is only available to artists living in the five boroughs of New York. It is not health insurance, it is affordable health care.

Check it out here:

And I'm going to need to fire the intern again or stop farming out those MMMQs. Ann is right, twice, on the Keb' Mo' covers of the Robert Johnson classics.

Went back and looked at the question to see if I could bullshit some way of saying I was being extra tricky, but no, I just missed Kind Hearted Woman Blues on the Keb' Mo' album.

Maybe I can interest Ann in playing guest quizmaster next week.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Get Lit tonight

This is what's happening tonight:

Get Lit with LIT!! is coming again this MONDAY JUNE 15 at 7PM with special guest LIT Executive Director John Clancy.

at: Fanfare, 100 East 4th Street
between 1st and 2nd Avenue.

The League will be holding a special election at the start of the event, but after that its FREE BEER and a chance to mingle with the League and hear from LIT Executive Director John Clancy.

Me and free beer. Not so bad.

So come on down.

This morning's MMMQ tests your knowledge of the blues, old and new:

On Keb' Mo's eponymous debut album, which Robert Johnson classic is covered quite lovely?

1. Kind Hearted Woman Blues

2. I Believe I'll Dust My Broom

3. Cross Road Blues

4. Come On In My Kitchen

Winners get a deal with the devil, losers get a different deal altogether.

Friday, June 12, 2009

all clear

Disregard previous post, Spitfire solves the cyber-riddle.

cyber woes

Something went weird with the website yesterday, Walsh is still trying to figure it out. Until further notice, will bounce right back at you.

If you need me, use the gmail account,


In my day, you'd just pick up the phone, give it a few cranks, and you'd be talking to someone clear across the state, no problems, unless there was a storm coming in or something.

Good weekend to all.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

lucky man

Sitting at my desk, typing away, rain falling outside, rock and roll playing softly in the background.

Hot coffee in the cup.

Work to be done, plenty of time to do it.

Simple things today, grateful for them all.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


AP has the headline,

"Lincoln Center Names Real Estate Exec As New Chair"

Nine words that manage to sum up the major problem with theater in America.

The MMMQ Twins romp again. Congrats, ladies.

Monday, June 08, 2009

me neither

Didn't see the Tonys. Not really a choice, forgot they were on and got caught up in a bunch of old Dexters.

Love that serial killer.

Kill Me Now had a nice showing on Friday at the nEW Festival and then scorched the roof off of the place on Saturday. Everything came together, the rhythm and the flow and the performances and the audience was with us from the opening speech. Very encouraging.

Pulling our MMMQ out of thin air today, but here goes:

Which Englishman was born David Robert Hayward-Jones in 1947?

1. David Bowie

2. Sid Vicious

3. Davy Jones

4. Joe Strummer

Friday, June 05, 2009

random friday

Saw the President's speech in Cairo yesterday.

Love the man, but if 90% of success is just showing up, then I'd give that speech a 90.

If you're in the Philadelphia area, come check out a Kill Me Now teaser at the Drake Theater tonight and tomorrow at 10:00 PM. Part of the nEW Festival put on by Melanie Stewart Dance Theater.

Last chance to help New York Theatre Experience pick up five thousand dollars today.

Details at:

And I find that I have no interest in the upcoming Tony Awards. Would like Diane Paulus to win, she's an old friend, but other than that...

Sometimes it just feels like a whole other world down here.

Enjoy the weekend, folks.

Thursday, June 04, 2009


Got some kind of low-level bullshit that's keeping me down today, can't get focused on the job at hand.

I'll just keep drinking coffee until I start twitching, that usually works.

Check out the Brick's latest, opening this weekend:

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

help out NYTE

If you have a minute between now and Friday, the good people at New York Theatre Experience could use your help getting 5K.

Info at:

Ann and Rose prepare a fine hog, indeed.

Monday, June 01, 2009

beautiful day

Holy God, I can't believe what's outside my window. Perfect blue sky, trees shimmering green in the sun, birdsong everywhere.

Have to leave paradise, drive into Rat City, work for a few hours and then back down to Philly for a tech tonight.

No complaints here.

Missed our MMMQ last week as the Museum was shut for the holidays, so here's our first summer quiz:

Noted musician and outlaw chef Tom Waits takes us through the steps of cooking up a Filipino Box Spring Hog on Mule Variations.

Which of the below is not recommended by Mr. Waits?

1. Slap that hog

2. Roll him over twice

3. Baste it with a sweeping broom

4. Rub him all over with the Rebel Yell

Winners get a Chocolate Jesus, losers have to room with the Eyeball Kid.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

radio silence

Deep into Kill Me Now this week and traveling like a bastard, little time for the Museum.

But kudos to the Film-Makers Cooperative. Good to see that there are still good people in the world and Charles S. Cohen is one of them.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

working man

I'm back on the Chinatown bus this week, going down to Philly every day to work on Kill Me Now with Melanie Stewart and crew. We're putting up a little teaser at the nEW Festival next weekend.

And I just read that we've lost the great Brooks McNamara, dead at 72.

Friday, May 22, 2009

good news from soho

I heard last night that the Ohio Theater's new landlord has given them the green light to book shows for the fall.

So it ain't over yet.

There are a lot of slots to fill and it's coming right up, so if you're interested in performing at the premiere downtown venue this fall, contact Robert Lyons at

And tell him Scrappy sent you.

Good holiday weekend to all.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

wise words

This is Feingold writing in the Voice yesterday:

The Internet and its attendant activities—e-mailing, Googling, Twittering, social networking, chatting, IM-ing, downloading-on-demand—have changed and are changing every aspect of human relations. Our civilization has become "virtual." The majority of our one-on-one contacts are now computerized, carried on in the absence of each other's bodies, faces, and often even voices. The theater—a place of three-dimensional solidity that, by its transience, links us to the spirit's invisible world—has to be both more than virtual and less. It has to build, each night, a context in which an audience wants to live for a time, and it has to fit that context into some larger sense of aliveness that all the virtual contacts and all the downloadable data on the Web can somehow never supply. Its immediacy, its defiant reality, the ultimate invisibility that makes it mysterious—taken together, they make the reason we do it, the reason we remember those who did it well, the reason we so look forward to those who will come to amaze us next, by the way they give meaning to the vanishing moment.

Michael Feingold, VV, 5/20/09

Really struck a chord with me.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

small steps, right direction

There's a new Basic Showcase Code going into effect in New York on Monday:

Essentially it raises the allowed budget up to 35K and gives an extra week of rehearsal.

Reacting just as an independent artist, not speaking for the League of Independent Theater or anyone else, I think this is a positive sign and a good first step.


The two most important issues, number of performances and the ability to videotape, remain unchanged.

What we really need is the creation of a new code, something like an Extended Showcase Code, that allows successful shows to stay alive and be seen.

I have no doubt that these Code revisions are a direct result of the advocacy we've all been engaged in and I'm heartened to see these changes, small though they may be.

Step by step.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


To all of the Obie winners last night.

Especially glad to see Sarah Benson get the nod, she's done amazing things down at Soho Rep.

And a new streak begins for the Lampshade Queen.

Monday, May 18, 2009

best laid plans

You know how some mornings you head out of the house for a quick errand and one goddamned thing turns into another which becomes a third and then a fourth and you wind up limping your befuddled ass home at five?


One of those.

Still have time for a MEMQ, so here's a golden oldie:

Who, in fact, wrote The Book of Love?

1. The Hollys

2. The Monotones

3. The Sliders

4. The Drifters


5. God His Own Self?

Winners remember the meaning of romance, losers get their reading privileges revoked.

Friday, May 15, 2009

when words fail

Looking for some help here.

The folks in Edinburgh are looking for press release for The Event pretty soon.

I can usually bang these things out in my sleep, but I'm having trouble nailing this one down in a couple of sentences.

So, loyal readers, if you caught the show anytime over the last year, send me a few lines.

Thanks and enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

sick day

Canceled a morning meeting and stumbled back to bed.

It's not the Death Suck, just some low-level nastiness.

Interesting stuff over at 99 seats:

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

new blood

At the LIT board meeting last night we officially voted in our three new Artist/Professional board members.

Welcome Amanda Feldman, Chris Harcum and Chris Heath.

And thanks to the outgoing board members, Michael Goldfried, Moira Stone and John Pinckard.

That big wheel keeps on turning.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

iron man

Chained to the desk prepping for a LIT board meeting tonight and trying to figure out how to rehearse the same show with two different actors.

Had my annual physical this morning and once again was astonished to hear the doctor say:

"You're in great shape."

Man, if I quit smoking and drinking I'd be a triathlete this time next year.

Thanks for the genes, o mighty ancestors.

And a fabled streak has ended, friends. The Lampshade Queen has stumbled, bringing sweet Rose down with her. Elliot's older brother Mike is an Elvis Costello fan, singing Accidents Will Happen in the kitchen while the alien waits above.

Deeply obscure, I know. Sorry, ladies.

Monday, May 11, 2009

double act

Looks like we're doing a one-man show in two different Fringe Festivals at the same time.


Dave Calvitto will be doing The Event at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this August while Matt Oberg will be doing the show at The New York International Fringe Festival.

I'll be directing both while balancing a chair on my chin.

Just keeping things interesting around here.

Last week for some inexplicable reason I watched E.T. The Extraterrestrial from beginning to end. And so to our deeply obscure MMMQ.

Elliot's older brother Mike comes home from football practice after school, rummages through the fridge and sings which song?

1. Psycho Killer

2. Accidents Will Happen

3. In the Flesh

4. I Don't Like Mondays


5. The theme music from E.T. The Extraterrestrial?

Winners get the Reese's pieces, losers get left behind.

Friday, May 08, 2009

hot off the presses

UPS dropped off my ten complimentary author copies of Fatboy last night.

Every writer will tell you it's a surreal thing to hold in your hand an object that began with a few scribbled words on a yellow legal pad.


Pretty cool.

And this has been bothering me:

Dom Deluise made me laugh my ass off when I was a kid and he seemed to be a decent man and it's a sad thing that he died, but let's stop calling Space Balls a classic, all right?

A funny guy is dead, but let's keep some perspective.

Great weekend to all.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

fine televised viewing

Just heard from the good folks at New York Theatre Experience, Inc. that the first episode of Indie Theater Now! will be showing on the Manhattan Neighborhood Network:

Wednesday, May 20 at 7:00PM on channel 56

Monday, May 25 at 11:00PM on channel 67

Sunday, May 31 at 11:00PM on channel 56

You can hear me and Kirk Bromley and Elena K. Holy and Ellie Covan pretending that we know what we're talking about.

Right there on your TV.

O, brave new world...

Wednesday, May 06, 2009


On the road today, back to Rat City and the Fat Bunny.

Check out Don Hall's post from yesterday about technique:

Couldn't agree more.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Tony nominations are out and I got overlooked again.

It's like you have to have a show on Broadway to even be considered.

It's all politics.

Kirsten and Ann split the imaginary prize (and it's a good one this week)and Rose gets the imaginary consolation prize just for playing.

So everyone wins.

Monday, May 04, 2009

monday on the road

Family business has taken us to Greenfield, MA, Spitfire's hometown and drum major stomping grounds. Nestled here in the Berkshires, the town hasn't changed in the 20 years I've know it. Beautiful.

We had the Super Hits of the 70s cranking on the way up here, so here's an easy MMMQ:

In which song will you hear the bizarre but immortal chant


Is it

1. Jungle Boogie

2. Boogie Fever

3. Hot Child in the City

4. Hooked on a Feeling


5. Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring?

Friday, May 01, 2009

get LIT

Put it in your calendars:

Monday May 4th at 7pm
Free for LITNY Members
$5 for non-members

@ the Red Room 85 EAST 4TH STREET Between 2nd ave and Bowery.

This month's guest is Phillip Matthews, Director of Audience Programs with TCG

Get Lit with LIT! is a monthly Cocktail Salon hosted by LITNY board member Leonard Jacobs. Each month the League will invite an important VIP from our sector to join our membership for cocktails and intimate question and answers.

Thursday, April 30, 2009


Holed up in the woods for a few days with my folks who are on their way from touring Gettysburgh, PA.

We'll be doing re-enactments and waiting for this swine flu thing to blow over.

Loved the 100 day press conference last night, how refreshing to be thinking that the President is the smartest guy in the room.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

60 is the new 100

Welcome to the fold, Arlen.

Now let's make Franken official and get something done.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

lend a hand

Check this out:

The Clyde Fitch Report is a great site and Stolen Chair is a great company, so do what you can.

Ann knows her Boys, sorry Rosie.

When traveling the MMMQ, always ride with the Lampshade Queen.

Monday, April 27, 2009


As in "hot as..."

Yesterday was another example of the new world of postmodern weather, in which the traditional narrative of seasons is disregarded by the Sky Gods.

Crazy out there.

Yesterday was also the first annual members meeting for the League of Independent Theater. Thanks to all for showing up. Always great to sit in a room brainstorming with like-minded people.

And yesterday I found myself listening to Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians and remembering a Sacramento summer many years ago when my buddy Steve Summers turned me on to Mr. Hitchcock. In those distant days Robyn's band was:

1. Lost Boys

2. Hard Boys

3. Soft Boys

4. New Boys


5. Blue Ridge Mountain Boys?

Winners get a ride on Brenda's Iron Sledge, losers have to hang with Leppo and the Jooves.

Friday, April 24, 2009

making shakespeare dull

Can't remember if I've posted this before, too lazy to check the archives.

In honor of the late great Billy Shakes, a day late, something from the vault:


When I think of Shakespeare, I think of Gulliver in Lilliputia: a giant tied down and held fast by hundreds of tiny ropes. We are the Lilliputians when we approach Shakespeare, busily fastening our slim theories, inspirations and critical interpretations to the great bulk in a foolish and futile attempt to hold the Titan still.

Another metaphor: a ship so covered in barnacles that the weight makes the sailing sluggish and slow. The generations of criticism, prejudices, assumptions and unchecked misperceptions cling to the great ship Shakespeare and all but drag it under. The barnacles are then blessed with the pomp and sanctity of hallowed writ and the once living ship descends to the depths, the Titan becoming a Titanic, distant, cold, dead.

The constant miracle, of course, is that all one must do is read the lines aloud and listen to them, unvarnished and alive and Shakespeare is among us again, breathing hard on our neck and pushing us about the stage. And if we hold three things in our heads and refer to them throughout the rehearsal process, Shakespeare again becomes accessible, simple and immediate.

The first thing to hold in your mind when working with Shakespeare is that he wrote for the stage, not for the page. The Globe was open to the sun, half the audience was standing and the reverent, hushed atmosphere of today’s audience was something a player had to earn and fight to keep against great odds, not something assumed. For the actor, this translates simply to making the primary focus and scene partner not your fellow actor, but the audience immediately in front of you. It is not a job for psychological realism or imitative dexterity; it is a job for speaking clearly and standing still. The audience is directly addressed, of course, in the constant soliloquies and asides, but these moments are not departures from the world of the play but rather logical extensions. When playing Shakespeare, you are never in Verona, never in Arden, never in Egypt, Rome or England. You are always on a stage, playing a role in front of an audience. This consciousness will both heighten the urgency of your speech and action and add a necessary freedom and critical distance to the degree of your role-playing. By not burying yourself in character, you remain free to engage in the larger wordplay and dramatic conceits of the language. While this understanding is blatantly essential when playing a fool or a rustic, it is no less necessary in the more subtle and complex roles. There is always an awareness in Shakespeare that another living being is watching and listening. To disregard this is as crippling as disregarding the rhythm and meter of iambic pentameter.

The second principle, which follows from the first, is that Shakespeare used poetry to write drama, not the other way around. Since the formal, rhythmic constraints of blank verse shape the thoughts and expressions of his characters, the actor must understand and respect the rules of the verse. But neither the actor nor the director should ever be concerned primarily with the beauty of the language. Shakespeare has already created the language; your job is to make sure it is heard clearly. The creative team must be concerned with action, character, and drama. The reason Shakespeare’s plays are still performed is not because of their gorgeous language, but because of their theatrical economy, wit and intelligence. You are never reciting. You are always playing. The character is never engaged in wordplay for it’s own sake, but only to complete or initiate an action. One must accept that the characters speak in this fashion, understand the rules and governing principles of the style and then banish the idea of “poetry” and all of the word’s passive associations in order to chase and follow the actions and thoughts of the character and the play.

The third essential thing to understand when playing Shakespeare is the simplest and yet the most widely disregarded. This is the principle of playing the opposite. Over and over we see “regal” kings and “comical” clowns and “virtuous” heroines and “noble” heroes plodding dully across countless stages in what seems to be a conscious conspiracy to render Shakespeare dull, obvious and dead. Playing a clown as comical is as good an idea as pouring sugar on ice cream. To approach a villain with the goal of expressing his malice is to twirl a mustache and wear a black hat. It is a universal truth that comedy is funny in direct proportion to the gravity of the comedians. If Lou Costello doesn’t passionately want to know who’s on first, the bit becomes quickly endless and endlessly annoying. If we remember that the fools in Shakespeare’s time literally lived on their wits and depended on the understanding and appreciation of their words for their food, clothing and shelter, we would see far fewer slouching, winking, leering and unfunny fools on our stage. In the same way, a tragic figure is only tragic to us when we are allowed to see his frailty, her humanity. Play the man who bears the crown, not the king who wears it. Pay attention to the heroine’s work, not her worth. You will find Shakespeare reaching towards you and handing you the tools if you begin to play the opposite and the weight of the great roles will lift from your shoulders and become wings.

When working on Shakespeare, stay on the stage, aware of the audience, study but never play the poetry and look for the opposite of the established understanding of the role. With these three things in mind, Shakespeare becomes your collaborator and partner and his plays live again, rescued from the depths of unthinking tradition, liberated from the thousand thin ropes of theory.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Looks like my one-man piece The Event is going to play Edinburgh this summer, thanks to the indomitable David Calvitto.

Thanks, Dave.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


A long, profane and pretty hilarious interview Spitfire and I did for the International Brecht Society:

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Great piece in the Science section of the Times today about some guys modifying a Lockheed F-104 Starfighter so that it will run on ground so's that they can break the land speed record.

Current record is 763 miles an hour.

On land.

I'd just like to be in the passenger seat playing with the radio on that ride.

Ann aces, Rose reaps well from under the wing.

Monday, April 20, 2009

good news, true words and the MMMQ

This from David Pincus:

Last week, Community Board 5 unanimously passed a resolution drafted by
its Arts Task Force, under the leadership of David Diamond, calling for
City and State Agencies to recognize the value that Small to Mid-Sized
Theaters add to the financial and community stability of New York City

In addition, this week's edition of New York Press has a feature article
on the State of Small to Mid-Sized Theaters, which provides an excellent
overview of the problems and positive strategies that some theaters are
employing in order to stay vital to their artistic missions.

Please read and pass this link along:

So the Community Boards keep stepping up.

And in New York Magazine, Nathan Lane and Bill Irwin are talking about Waiting for Godot and Lane quotes Elaine Stritch:

“Oh, Nathan, if that play isn’t funny, it’s one long fucking night in the theater.”

Words that should be printed on the first page of every published copy of that play.

It's Monday morning and we've got Dylan playing over the loudspeakers of the Museum. Listening to the Bootleg Series Vol. 3 and for my money the best song on any of the volumes, Blind Willie McTell.

God is in his heaven and we all want what's his
But power and greed and corruptible seed
Seem to be all that there is

Our troubadour stands at the window of which hotel when these words come out of his mouth?

1. St. James Hotel

2. Clarendon Hotel

3. Heartbreak Hotel

4. Golden Gate Hotel

Losers get their big plantations burned down, winners get to strut their feathers well.