The workshop of REB+VoDKa+ME at NYU that performed this past weekend was one of the most intensely rewarding experiences I’ve had as a writer.
It’s been a little over 3 years since I sent Julia links to these two related articles and was like “Don’t think I’m a scary person but could this be our next musical?” and she basically said “You’re not scary and yes.” Two years ago, we started writing the show with director Ben Kamine in R&D Group, led by dramaturg-extraordinaire Megan McClain. A year-and-a-half ago Rich Silverstein came on board when we shared our first 16 songs from the show in public. And five months ago we finished a first draft of the script.
And this weekend the show was given a fully designed and produced workshop staging with a cast of amazing juniors and seniors from the New Studio on Broadway at NYU/Tisch. To call this opportunity a gift is an understatement – we wrote a show that doesn’t exist in a physical space and by not being bound by music stands we were able to learn more than we ever could have imagined about our work.
Much credit for that goes to our amazing creative and design team (partially pictured here) for helping us to develop our own world and our own physical language to make the 90-minutes of the show a complete thought.
And we could never have seen our work as fully as we were able to without the willingness, openness, depth, and hard work of the twelve students in the cast. They navigated this technically, musically, and emotionally complex piece with the kind of grace and heart we couldn’t have imagined when we first had the idea three years ago.
Immense thanks are due to Kent Gash, Sarah Schlesinger, and Brandon Anderson for inviting us into this collaborative process. Be on the lookout for some production photos in the near future!
Our week in San Diego came to a close with a reading of the show on Saturday afternoon. It was so wonderful to get to hear the new draft (with four new songs and a bunch of new pages) and to get to know the wonderful people of Diversionary!
Thanks to our cast (L-R in the photo) Lauren King Thompson, Susan Hammons, Allison Spratt Pearce, Sam Heldt, Chase Hauser, and Adam Cuppy; thanks to music director Patrick Marion, who guided these six wonderful actors through more than 20 songs in about that many hours; thanks to stage manager Kira Vine for keeping us together; thanks to the whole staff at Diversionary (Jenny, Sebastian, Skyler, David, and Anthony) for welcoming us and making us feel at home; and big thanks to Artistic Director Matt Morrow for bringing us out and guiding the show towards the spring. We can’t wait to head back and start rehearsals in six short months!
After almost a year of planning, we have finally arrived in San Diego to workshop The Loneliest Girl in the World with Diversionary Theatre!
Julia and I are spending the week here to hear the show, meet the team, and get the lay of the land before our production in the spring. Diversionary has put together such a great group for our week here, with Artistic Director Matt Morrow at the helm with music director Patrick Marion. Perennial favorite (and perennial Tommy) Sam Heldt has made the journey with us to join a cast that includes San Diegans Allison Spratt Pearce, Adam Cuppy, Susan Hammons, Chase Hauser, and Lauren King Thompson.
I’m so excited to spend the week putting the pieces together with these wonderful folks (and the palm trees, sunshine, and hummingbirds)!
Julia and I are excited to be once again working with director Benjamin Kamine and music director Rich Silverstein on the project. And special thanks to GMTWP’s Sarah Schlesinger and NSB’s Kent Gash for the opportunity to work with students to bring the show to life!
Check back here for casting (after next week’s auditions) and ticket info in the coming weeks…
Julia and I got back this morning from seeing Pregnancy Pact in Windsor, Ontario, produced by The Edge Productions at The Rondo. It was such a moving experience on so many levels – so amazing to see the show again (it’s been 3 years since 54 Below…), so wonderful to be flooded with memories of all the remarkable people whose hearts are in every moment of it, and beyond incredible to see strangers (now friends) take our work and bring it to vivid life. It felt like a really defining moment in my journey as a writer, and I’m so grateful!
My immense thanks go to the superstars in this picture for their dedication to our show (clockwise from the top left): Shayla Hudson (Jeanelle), Rebecca Lashmar (Jenn), Avonlea Smith (Kaylee), Samantha Bourque (Maddie), Janine Marley (Assistant Director), Sean Sennett (Cory/Justin), Nathaniel Cedroni (Set Designer), Sam Poole (Music Director), me, Julia, Olivia Ridpath (Sansanee), Miriam Goldstein (Director), Miranda DiPietro (Brynn), and Morgan Corbett-Collins (Stage Manager.)
I’m so excited that Pregnancy Pact is being produced by The Edge Productions in Windsor, Ontario next month! Directed by Miriam Goldstein, the production runs August 14-17 at The Rondo. I’m so sad to have to miss the production – it’s such a strange and new feeling to know that my work is being performed without me there! – but anybody who’s in the Windsor/Detroit area should go and check it out… And then give me a full update!
With Diversionary’s Artistic Director Matt Morrow at the helm, the show will run May 24 through July 2, 2018. (Only 361 days until the first rehearsal, not that I’m counting.) Before the production, Julia and I will get to head out to San Diego later this year to do some work and meet some San Diegans.
Founded in 1986, Diversionary’s mission is to “provide an inspiring and thought provoking theatrical platform to explore complex and diverse LGBT stories, which influence the larger cultural discussion” and to “foster and amplify the next generation of LGBT voices by providing live entertainment in a dynamic, inclusive and provocative environment that celebrates and preserves our unique culture.”
To top it all off, the rest of the season is filled with West Coast premieres of work by some amazing playwrights and peers. Check out the rest of the season on their website!
In just three weeks, we get to see PIED! up on its feet for the very first time!
Julia and I have spent the last few weekends in Philly rehearsing, rewriting, and relishing (different re-, I know, but I like things in threes.) I’ve been completely blown away by the cast of UArts students. They’ve been working incredibly hard, engaging with the (admittedly challenging) material head on, making smart choices, asking smart questions, and showing us some brand new sides of the piece. (Now they just need to graduate so we can work with them in NYC.)
They are (clockwise above): Katie Markey (Kay, etc.), Elexis Morton (Koreen, etc.), Hannah Parke (Anita Bryant), Bianca Teresi (Sandra, etc.), Carrie Thorwarth (Mary Ann Mobley, etc.), Jackson Teeley (Dick Clark, etc.), Cody Swanson (Brother Bill, etc.), Matthew Oster (Kyle, etc.), Patrick Henkel (Tommy), Bryce Crandall (Bob Green), and Marcus Briddell (Johnny Carson, etc.)
(I’m equally amazed by our Assistant Director Chelsae Bazzel and our Stage Manager Alyse Hogan, but they don’t have fancy headshots.)