The House of Blue Leaves, by John Guare
NYU Grad Acting, October 2022
'The House of Blue Leaves' is John Guare’s 1971 tragic satire about love and celebrity in the Irish-Catholic, working-class neighborhood of Sunnyside, Queens. Artie Shaughnessy is a struggling zookeeper torn between his failing efforts to care for his ailing wife, and his ambition to become a famous musician. When the Pope visits New York City to sue for peace in Vietnam, Artie hopes a miracle can make all his dreams come true.
This play asks questions about how people with disabilities are treated, valued, cared for, and the costs of that care. Having grown up with a brother who had cognitive disabilities, these themes hit very close to home. I am reminded of so many Americans whose lives are touched by disability, and the families who do their best to provide care, often without sufficient resources—financial, social, imaginative.
Martyr, by Marius Von Mayenburg
The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, May 2022
Martyr is a nightmarish vision of how casual misogyny can create a stifling, even lethal atmosphere in a small community. Benjamin Südel is an adolescent boy in Germany, who, reeling from the way his father abandoned him, adopts a bigoted form of Christianity. Out of deference to his religious freedom, school administrators support his vision for a school that teaches creationism, restricts revealing clothing for women, and bans sex education. As his power expands and he embraces anti-semitism, his teacher, the increasingly isolated and enraged Frau Roth, must take a stand.
Von Mayenburg is the house playwright at the Schaubühne in Berlin whose work treats the comical and absurd in contemporary life. I was thrilled to direct this fantastic hand grenade of a play for the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in May of 2022.
The Orchard Project: Hoo-Ha Jedi Mindf&&k
I'll be a resident artist with The Orchard Project’s Performance Lab this summer.
I'm thrilled to share that I'm a resident artist with The Orchard Project’s Performance Lab this summer, working with my dear friend and admired collaborator, Julia Blauvelt. I came alongside Julia last fall while working as a guest director at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts, where Julia was completing her MFA in playwriting. Julia's play, 'Hoo-Ha Jedi Mindf&&k,' takes the audience inside the world of a high school senior struggling with severe OCD. It’s a thrill to lead a movement-centered devising process along with our collaborators Jessica Ranville and Ian Wen. And since growing up with a neurodivergent brother shaped me in profound ways, disability rights advocacy is close to my heart. It’s also inseparable from other forms of human rights work like anti-racism, feminism, anti-capitalism, and so on. Check out this amazing podcast hosted by How to be an Anti-Racist author, Ibram Kendi, to learn about the explicit connections! And, of course, supporting stories of neurodivergence and expanding access to disabled Americans is critical to the continued health of the American theater.
This work is deeply personal and sacred for me, and feels like it calls to every part of my training and lived experience. I truly can’t wait to share it with you all, and will keep you posted. For now, I’ll leave you with Julia’s inspiring words, posted recently to her IG account: “We are going to breathe life into a story that’s more than dear to my heart: it IS my actual heart. I’m looking back at high school Julia today, with love, letting her know that she has support in telling this story. And I’m sending that same love and support to anyone touched by OCD and mental illness. You are not alone.”
July 5, 2021
Cambodian Rock Band - National Tour
I am honored to serve as Chay Yew’s Associate Director on the National Tour of Cambodian Rock Band.
Few works of art have affected me so profoundly as Lauren Yee’s Cambodian Rock Band. In 2020, this remarkable show had its New York premiere cut short by COVID-19. But we're back!
I love this story about artists confronting tyranny because it celebrates the richness of Cambodian culture and resonates deeply across AAPI communities. Even in the context of a horrific genocide, Yee captures the fullness of her characters' humanity. The story has even greater urgency in this moment, when anti-Asian hate and violence is rippling through our country. Cambodian Rock Band also reveals a complicated history that is essential to understanding contemporary American society.
It’s also a damned fine production, helmed by one of America’s most visionary artists, Chay Yew.
July 5, 2021
Egg & Spoon Theatre - Incubation Series Update
As New Play Development Coordinator, I've pitched and spearheaded a summer-long workshop series for global majority writers.
In February, I pitched and began to spearhead a new play workshop series for Egg & Spoon Theatre Co, designed for global majority writers. We received an overwhelming response and we’ve announced the plays that will receive developmental readings: David Davila’s Hotel Puerto Vallarta, Reynaldo Piniella’s Black Doves, and Phanésia Pharel’s Black Girl Joy. For details on the reading series, visit www.eggandspoontheatre.org/incubation.
July 5, 2021
Travis Tate's 'Queen of the Night'
I’ll be serving as dramaturg on Dorset Theater Festival’s world premiere of Travis Tate’s Queen of the Night, directed by Raz Golden. Travis and I have been friends since grad school, and I’ve been attached to their play since early 2020. In May, I dramaturged a reading of Queen directed by dear friend Ken-Matt Martin, and I’m delighted to support the world premiere of this surprising, lyrical, dazzlingly theatrical story in August up in Dorset, Vermont.
July 5, 2021
A Documentary Film
I am in pre-production for a documentary film exploring and celebrating the life of a Filipino family from Marine Park, in south Brooklyn.
This intimate film takes place in the wake of an epidemic that has ravaged Filipino communities in particular, which have been on the front lines of the COVID epidemic as healthcare workers. Indeed, close to a third of all nurses who’ve died due to COVID have been Filipino, according to one study. I look forward to updating you as this project develops over the coming months.
July 5, 2021
Alone Together - Summer 2021
I'll return as a guest director for the Goodman Theater’s Alone Together program.
Led by Willa Taylor, the head of the Goodman’s Department of Education and Community Engagement, the Alone Together summer program engages high school students as they develop original one-person shows, which will be broadcast via youtube at summer’s end. Nothing excites me like nurturing and encouraging young artists as they develop their voices. Last year’s Alone Together program was a huge success, and I look forward to sharing our work with you in the weeks ahead.
July 5, 2021
Brooklyn College Showcase – Short Films
For the second year, I am serving Showcase Coordinator for Brooklyn College’s BFA Acting Program.
For the second year in a row, I am serving Showcase Coordinator for Brooklyn College’s BFA Acting Program. Thanks to the vision and leadership of Program Head Patrick Sabongui, we’ve forged a partnership with the Feirstein Film School. Our graduating BFA’s were paired with directing students from the Feirstein MFA program to create short films of the BFA students’ devising. I have also served as associate producer and on-set acting coach for these films, which has been a tremendous learning experience for me. I can’t wait to share the students’ work with you.
July 5, 2021
In 2020, I threw myself into filmmaking.
I’ve directed several short films during the pandemic. I’ve teamed pals old and new, developing projects with Sarah Saltwick, Drew Paryzer, and a music video for Adam Hilton. Look for more films on this channel in 2021, and beyond!
Egg & Spoon Theater Collective:
New Play Development Coordinator
I've accepted a staff position with Egg & Spoon Theatre Collective to serve as their New Play Development Coordinator.
I’m proud to partner with Egg and Spoon Theater in my new role as New Play Development Coordinator. Look for updates as E&S rolls out workshop opportunities for early and mid-career BIPOC playwrights. Egg and Spoon is a dynamic young company with a very bright future, and I’m thrilled to grow with them in the years ahead.
NYU-Tisch Guest Director
In December, I completed my second semester as a guest director in NYU-Tisch’s Steinberg theater workshop.
I’m pleased to have finished my second semester as a guest director in NYU-Tisch’s Steinberg new play workshop, taught by instructor Rinne Groff. This course is a core element of the MFA course of study at NYU. I’ve worked with three fantastic playwrights in semester-long collaborations, helping their brand-new scripts take their first steps in development.
Brooklyn College BFA Acting - Promotion
I'm thrilled to expand my role at Brooklyn College as the BFA Acting program undergoes a profound transformation.
The BFA program at Brooklyn College where I teach is undergoing a radical transformation. We have new, BIPOC leadership, a mandate to decolonize our syllabi, and a diverse, outstanding faculty. We’re also supporting our students as they prepare to take on roles in television and film. Amid these transformations, I’m proud to have re-imagined the syllabus for my advanced acting workshop, and expanded my role to include Showcase Coordinator.
I created a website to facilitate collaboration within the Brooklyn College Community.
I’m excited to have helped create a new website. Brooklyn Backstage is a collaboration hub for the Brooklyn College community that connects artists with projects via searchable databases. This site already has over a hundred members and supports dozens of projects. Be sure to follow us on Instagram!
Brooklyn College BFA Acting Virtual Showcase
In November of 2020, I produced Brooklyn College's BFA Acting Class of 2020's Virtual Showcase.
The showcase lead-up included interviews with leaders who’re shaping the future of our industry: Victor Vazquez, Natasha Sinha, Luis Alfaro, and Greg Berlanti. Our live showcase was attended by casting directors, talent reps, and television and film professionals, who held individual meetings with each alum afterward.
This spring, I’ll return to produce the class of 2021’s showcase—this time in collaboration with students from Brooklyn College’s Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema.
UPDATE: Queen of the Night, by Travis Tate
I'm excited to work as dramaturg on Travis Tate's Queen of the Night in a developmental workshop led by director Ken-Matt Martin, produced by Dorset Theater Festival and Aye Defy.
After pitching my dear friend Travis Tate's new play, Queen of the Night, I decided to recast myself as dramaturg so there would be an opportunity for a Black director to lead the play's development and potential premiere. I wrote about the experience for Page by Page (read my article here). Travis and I also discussed how we arrived at this decision on Kevin R. Free's Reparations Show. It was a very moving conversation - watch it right here!
rain falls special on me, by Lane Michael Stanley
A reading produced by Aye Defy. Proceeds will benefit the Ali Forney Center and the Arts Administrators of Color Network.
I've teamed with playwright Lane Michael Stanley and a team of exceptional performers (Becca Blackwell, David Zayas, Keith Randolph Smith, Nate Miller, Catherine Palacios, Lana Dieterich, and Maya Quetzali Gonzalez) to direct a virtual reading of Lane's new play, rain falls special on me. The reading will take place at 8pm ET / 5pm PT, and tickets are available right here.
Alone Together: A Solo Voices Project
Presented by the Goodman Theatre's
Department of Education and Community Outreach
I’ve been honored to serve as a guest artist & mentor for the Goodman Theatre’s Alone Together summer youth theater program. The July cohort had their public presentation on Friday, July 24th, and the results were incredible.
Solo Performances by the
2021 Brooklyn College BFA Acting Cohort
In spring 2020, the BFA acting students whom I teach at Brooklyn College adapted to a distance learning environment by creating TikTok videos inspired by Chekhov’s plays. I was blown away by their creativity and fearlessness. Ensemble member Noah Firth edited footage from the videos projects together and I posted them to youtube, right here.
This project got a huge boost from playwright Jeremy O. Harris, whose TikTok Theatre Project provided an inspiration and template for the students' work. Jeremy also visited our class as a surprise special guest on the last class day.
Coming Soon: Queen of the Night
by Travis Tate
A reading produced by Aye Defy
In the early fall, I’ll team with my friend and collaborator, Travis Tate, for a workshop of their new play, Queen of the Night, produced by Aye Defy. A story of a father and son’s reconciliation after years of estrangement, Queen asks us about the ways masculinity is prescribed for Black men in particular, and how narrow notions of manhood keep parents and children from authentic connection. It also features camping, bear attacks, and the most soulful soundtrack. Also, be sure to check out Travis' stunning debut poetry collection, Maiden, available through Vegetarian Alcoholic Press.
Galactic Orphans, by Megan Tabaque
Public Reading: March 9, 7:30pm, The Yard (Herald Square)
I'm excited to team up with playwright Megan Tabaque for a reading of her play, Galactic Orphans, produced by Egg and Spoon Theatre Collective.
Where: The Yard, 106 W 32nd St, New York, NY 10001 (map)
When: Monday, March 9, 2020, 7:30pm.
February 12, 2020
"What is it like to see Fairview, Slave Play, and What to Send Up When it Goes Down as a bi-racial couple? Antoinette Nwandu, a Black playwright, and Graham Schmidt, a white director, talk about what they brought to these plays--and what they took home."