Friday, July 29, 2011

New Class

I am teaching a new Beginning Playwriting class at Chelsea Rep Lab (Shelter Studios), beginning Sept. 11th. Here is the info:

The class runs for ten weeks, taught by award-winning playwright Anne Phelan, at Shetler Studios. Each class is on Sunday, 1-4 PM, beginning Sept. 11th (no class Sept. 25th, Oct. 9th, or Nov. 27th) until Dec. 4th. It will consist of in-class writing exercises, reading and discussing each others’ work, script analysis, learning Samuel French style (the professional standard), and reading and discussing a one-act play each week. Students are expected to work on plays they begin in class outside of class (plan on 5 hours per week of writing time). By the last class, you will have started at least nine one-act plays, and have completed a minimum of two.

The class will conclude with public readings of the students’ work by student actors from The Acting Studio, including the opportunity to go through the rehearsal process with a professional director.

The purpose of this class is to get you into the habit of writing, and to help you find your voice as a writer. Even playwrights who are not beginners can get a lot out of it. It will also give you playwriting tools (working from visual art, music, news articles, etc.; the ability to think critically as a playwright about your and others’ work) that you can use in the future.
Tuition is $250, payable in full in cash at the first class on Sept. 11th.
For more information, contact

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Stage Door

George S. Kaufman wrote a lot of plays, with several collaborators, Moss Hart and Edna Ferber among them. Other than The Royal Family and The Man Who Came to Dinner, they are rarely revived, I assume because the casts are so large.
But this August, you get a chance to see one of Kaufman and Ferber's less revived plays, Stage Door. I have never seen it produced; I've only seen the movie (with an incredibly young Eve Arden cracking wise), though many years ago I used a monologue from it for auditions. Chelsea Repertory Company (I teach playwriting in their Lab) is reviving Stage Door at Shetler Studios' Theatre 54. Directed by John Grabowski, it runs August 4-6 and 11-13 at 8, August 6 and 13 at 2, August 7 at 3 and August 10 at 7. Tickets are $20 at the Door (I already have mine), or $18 through Smarttix (link above). It features a cast of 31 (!- when was the last time you saw 31 actors on stage in a straight play?), among them my playwriting student Gregory Cohan.
Here's the plot summary: The Footlights Club in New York City provides a home for the struggling stage actresses who meet the challenges of surviving the Depression and the ups and downs of the Broadway theater with charm and grit. Terry Randall, a headstrong and witty girl from the Midwest, is determined to become a leading actress on the Great White Way. While pursuing her career, she becomes involved with two completely different bachelors - the left-wing arrogant playwright Keith Burgess and David Kingsley, a well-groomed elegant film producer. Also residing at the Footlights Club is Jean Maitland, who lands the Holy Grail - a seven-year film contract; Kaye Hamilton, whose lack of stage success leads to suicide; Pat Devine, a nightclub dancer; and Linda Shaw, a society girl who shocks her mother by having an affair with a wealthy married man. Terry sticks to her guns and wins both the leading role in a Broadway play and the affections and respect of the man she loves.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Yesterday, I finally saw Jez Butterworth's Jerusalem (which a friend of mine assured me was robbed of the Tony for Best Play, because who's not going to vote for a play about a boy and his horse with puppets?). I really enjoyed it, but I was disappointed because there were three cast substitutions, and that impacted on the shape of the play. These three actors were perfectly talented men, but there were pacing problems in Act 2, to the point where I didn't actually fall dead asleep, but I completely zoned out and closed my eyes twice. Jay Sullivan was fine as Lee (covering for John Gallagher, Jr.). Mark Rylance did a tremendous job as Rooster (I expected no less), as did Mackenzie Crook as Ginger and Danny Kirrane as Davy. Butterworth's play takes you to interesting places in the human psyche, places where you don't expect to go, ably abetted by Ian Rickson's direction. I think that Geraldine Hughes as Dawn had a hard row to hoe (two acts of Rooster's particular brand of insanity, and in Act 3 she shows up as the ex-girlfriend with their young son), but I believed that she still loved him, despite the fact she accepted that would come to nothing.

Monday, July 18, 2011


I first tasted porchetta when I was in Italy three summers ago, and I despaired at ever getting the real thing again. A few months later, Sara Jenkins opened her Porchetta at 110 East Seventh Street, between First Avenue and Avenue A. I had a meeting canceled at the last minute on Friday, so I decided to take myself there for a porchetta sandwich. Unbelievable! It tastes exactly the same as in Italy, and comes on this perfectly sized ciabatta to boot. The restaurant is quite small, and not fancy, but the food is fantastic.

The Last of the Photos

Photo #11: The couple with a whip.
Photo #12: The end of the play.
Photo #13: Tamer and tiger at rest.

More Photos

Photo #6: Rajah contemplates life without Stark.
Photo #7: Jacob and Tamara brainstorming.
Photo #8: Stark and Rajah at a standoff.
Photo #9: Stark contemplates her tiger, in front of the art installation (evoking a circus tent).
Photo #10: The dangerous dance that ends the play.
All photos copyright 2011 by Tom Bovo.

The Photos Have Arrived!

Here are the best of the production photos that Tom Bovo took during the dress rehearsal of "Mi Tigre, My Lover" at Open Source Gallery,back in June. Tom shoot over 200, he narrowed it down and then I chose my favorite 13.
Photo #1: Mabel Stark, Cotton Wright, has just told Rajah, Jacob Grigolia-Rosenbaum, she got a job offer from Chipperfield's Circus in England, and he can't come with her.
Photo #2: Stark has crossed Rajah, and he doesn't like it.
Photo #3: Stark and Rajah, as he looks for new places on her back to put a scar from his claws.
Photo #4: Tiger tamer Mabel Stark, in a moment of contemplation.
Photo #5: Director Tamara Fisch resets the pedestal (actually, a borrowed piano stool) as Jacob asks a question and Cotton looks on.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Marco Calvani Is the Best

My friend Marco Calvani just won the SIAE (Italian Society of Authors and Editors) Award for Best Italian Playwright at a ceremony at Teatro Caio Melisso during the Spoleto Festival last Friday. It could not have happened to a nicer, more talented guy. Here he is pictured with actress, author and director Franca Valeri.