NY Fringe Festival Special: CATCHING THE FISH with Kristin Hanggi and John Davisi

LA Ovation Award winning director Kristin Hanggi (bare, Rock of Ages) is back in New York, directing CATCH THE FISH, what promises to be a clever new play written as a response to the popular Vanity Fair article "Rich, Jaded and Lost in L.A." It plays at the New York Fringe Festival August 18-26 and I sat down with Kristin and her producer John Davisi to catch up, learn about the play and more

So, tell our readers about this new play which has brought you both back to New York for at least the next few weeks

Kristin: We're doing this play called CATCH FOR FISH, which was written by a 26 year old playwright named Jonathan Caren. It's set in LA and it was really interesting, as it was based on the Vanity Fair article by Nancy Jo-Sales, who was a reporter from New York. She came to LA to expose the scene of the "Paris Hilton" generation. While she's there, she gets caught up in it all and finds herself drawn, as she's writing this article, to this group of people. What's really interesting about the play, is that it's really all about the dynamic of relationships and false personas and this desire to create a "fake person" to protect yourself. Everything in the play is so real...experiences that we all have and the girl who's trying to find her own identity factors in as well.

John: Each of the characters has a duality with what they're posing to be vs. what they actually are. Their past dictates what their future life should be...it's a real life drama.

Kristin: It's about how you eventually come to terms with yourself and drop the fake persona as life forces you to come to grips. It's of course set in LA where everything is about facades, but it's from a New Yorker's perspective so it's got many dynamics.

Tell us about Jonathan Caren, this young new playwright that you're raving about...

Kristin: We're so excited because he is so talented. I read it and the first couple of pages in, I was like "oh wow!" This kid has a great command of the language, wrote wonderful dynamic characters and I couldn't put it down.

John: The article that the lead character in the show is writing is based on the Vanity Fair author, as a takeoff of her journey. Jonathan witnessed her researching her article and wrote the play about it.

How did you find the play, or did the play find you?

John: The play found Kristin first.

Kristin: There's an actress named Zibby Allen on Grey's Anatomy, who's just been recently introduced as the one who's going to try to steal "McDreamy" away. She's a good girlfriend of mine and she had been offered the play in a workshop production of it in LA and she asked me if I'd read it and would come aboard.

I love new works, and was excited to sink my teeth into a play and as a musical theatre director, really help bring out the vibe and the feel of a play.

Please tell me that you've added music to it as well?

Kristin: <laughing> Sorry, no singing characters, but we have added a musical back drop to the show.

How did you two start working together?

John: Kristin and I decided to start producing together back in January, and to start developing projects together. We developed a new company called Wonder Falls Entertainment. When she was approached with this script, she asked if I wanted to come aboard and produce it. I loved it, met with Jonathan the playwright and thought he was just brilliant and so incredibly bright and talented.

To me, he just writes the human condition like I've never read. Everything he writes grabs you, and you feel like you can recognize it, or you've lived through it.

Kristin: The relationships in this play...you feel like someone came and read your diary. That's what I felt when I read this play. Oh my God, he knows what it's like to be inside my head!

John:You find parts of yourself in every single character.

How did you and John meet?

Kristin: We went to UCLA together, and we'd go to college parties together and ended up not actually at the party, but going outside and talking.

And how'd you get into the theatre world John?

John: I was a director of finance and HR and worked for LiveNation and other companies. I had my own theatre company on the side in LA, so I was producing / acting and composing myself on the side.

Kristin: What I was focusing on was developing my own work. In my 20s it was about developing new musicals and then we got together and decided to start our own company to develop new works that we love and that we thought others could fall in love with too.

That's a great vision, and I can't wait to see the play. Before I let you go Kristin,I have to ask about bare. The show is back "in the news" again are you still involved with it?

I'll somehow always be involved with my heart. It's a project that came out of my early 20s and this desire to find ourselves. I still work a lot with Jon Hartmere (book and lyrics), we actually worked on a project for Disney recently and wrote a children's book together. I think that all three of us that developed that show found it together, and are just embedded in it forever.

They're starting to license bare, and I'm going to see the first licensed projection in New Jersey for its opening, and I can't wait to see it and to go and support it!


For more information on CATCH THE FISH, visit http://www.catchthefishplay.com/

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Robert Diamond The 2001 Syracuse University graduate (School of Information Studies) is also the owner of Wisdom Digital Media, an award-winning leading design company for entertainment and technology web sites. In his previous life, he held an executive position for the world's leading publisher of technology magazines, web sites and conferences and, as a result, was named among the "Top thirty magazine industry executives under the age of 30" by FOLIO Magazine.

Robert Diamond founded BroadwayWorld.com in 2003, which has now become the largest theatre web site in the world. He also serves as the site's Editor-in-Chief, covering Broadway and beyond, with specific local coverage for 100 cities in the United States, 35 countries worldwide and 15 other related areas of entertainment - including dance, opera, fashion, concerts, comedy, films, television and more. In May of 2014, the site was awarded a 2014 Award for Excellence in Theatre Arts Education by the prestigious Theatre Museum.

Diamond got his start in the entertainment field, accidentally, when he created the 'official web site' (while in college) for Michael Crawford, the popular actor and original Tony and Olivier Award-winning star of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. (He still blames Crawford - and credits him - for anything that goes particularly right or wrong during an average day.)

As a respected member of the Broadway and theatre community, Diamond also served as Lead Producer for a series of sold-out shows using the BroadwayWorld.com 'brand' for a set of 'Standing Ovations' concerts, which also branched out into titles that included Holiday Shows and even more specific concerts like 'From Stage to Screen and Back Again' in tandem with publishers and movie studios. All proceeds were in turn donated to Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS, the industry's leader in aid for performers in need.

Robert lives in Manhattan with his wife and two dogs, growing the business and getting little sleep. In addition, you can usually find him in a theatre many nights a week. Robert's very popular blog, 'The Broadway Pulse' appears daily on BroadwayWorld.com and he also wrote weekly about theatre for the USA Network's Character Approved blog.

In December of 2011, Diamond was one of 5 Syracuse University Alumni, all having achieved success in the world of start-ups, business growth and venture capital, participating on a panel addressing young alumni who are currently pursuing their dreams of running their own business and experiencing the day to day challenges of a startup. It is part of the university's new Student Accelerator Program, for which Rob was recommended by Syracuse University's i-School.

In late 2012, Wisdom Digital Media announced the official spinoff and launch of 10 new entertainment web sites including BWWMoviesWorld.com, BWWTVWorld.com, BWWFashionWorld.com, BWWBooksWorld.com, BWWMusicWorld.com, BWWArtWorld.com, BWWComedyWorld.com, BWWDanceWorld.com, BWWClassicalWorld.com and BWWOperaWorld.com.

In January of 2013, BWWGeeksWorld.com, devoted to home entertainment, mobile technologies and social media launched as well, followed by BWWFitnessWorld.com and BWWTravelWorld.com in April of 2013. In July of 2013, BWWHub.com launched as a portal to the complete family of entertainment and lifestyle offerings.

In 2014, BroadwayWorld.com returned to the concert stage, with a series of benefit concerts featuring Broadway's brightest stars. A new partnership with Rock-it Science Records will record and release these special evenings, with proceeds benefiting various charities.