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THE FRIDAY SIX: Q&As with Your Favorite Broadway Stars with Ensemble Studio Theatre's Marathon Playwrights, Series B!

Want to know what hooked your favorite Broadway stars to a career in the theater? Dying to know more about their dream roles? Their Broadway crushes? Every Friday afternoon, BroadwayWorld is bringing you THE FRIDAY SIX: Q&As with the best of Broadway and beyond.

In this week's special edition, we caught up with playwrights from Ensemble Studio Theatre's Marathon of One-Act Plays. Series B features: Falling Away by Christopher Shinn, Down Cleghorn by Julia Specht, On the Outs by Christina Gorman, Linus and Murray by Leah Nanako Winkler and Disney and Fujikawa by Lloyd Suh. For more information, visit: www.ensemblestudiotheatre.org


THE FRIDAY SIX: Q&As with Your Favorite Broadway Stars with Ensemble Studio Theatre's Marathon Playwrights, Series B!Christopher Shinn

What is the first Broadway show you ever saw?

1981 revival of My Fair Lady

What is your most unique writing ritual?

A pre-writing bath

Do you have any memorable "the show must go on" moments?

A psychotic man walked onstage during the first preview of Where Do We Live at the Royal Court and had to be removed by security. Later, a fire alarm went off and the theatre was evacuated. Eventually we finished the performance.

What are you working on next?

My new play Against opens in August at the Almeida in London.

Who is your Broadway or Off-Broadway crush?

Tarell McCraney

Where can people follow you online?

@chris_shinn on Twitter


THE FRIDAY SIX: Q&As with Your Favorite Broadway Stars with Ensemble Studio Theatre's Marathon Playwrights, Series B!Julia Specht

What is the first Broadway show you ever saw?

I didn't get to go to Broadway for the first time until I was 24. My first Broadway show was Hand to Godand I loved it. However, when I was 16, I listened to the Company soundtrack so many times that I broke my CD.

What is your most unique writing ritual?

I clean my toilet a lot while I write! Mostly to procrastinate, because writing is hard. I don't think that's actually very unique. I also listen to the same album on loop for the duration of a project - it becomes meditative, kind of. For Down Cleghorn, it was K. MICHELLE's "Anybody Wanna Buy A Heart". Only Spotify knows how many loops it took to write the play.

Do you have any memorable "the show must go on" moments?

Most of my job happens before the show starts, so during those moments I am mostly just feeling compassion for the actors! During this play (Down Cleghorn), they have to make a real tuna casserole on stage, and in dress rehearsal, mushroom soup wound up everywhere. Patricia Randell (who plays Deanna) and Emily Jackson (who plays Jezebel) are both such pros though, and they handled it like champions.

What are you working on next?

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about faith and how beliefs become a core part of who we are, even if they can't be supported with evidence. The play I'm writing now (called Patty) is about a group of bigfooters (people who sincerely believe in and try to prove the existence of Bigfoot). It's a low-key 2016 play - it was prompted by the presidential election (what isn't, my goodness) and it's how I'm thinking through the whole Belief Against All Logic thing. It's also an excuse to spend hours reading the bigfooting sub-reddit.

Who is your Broadway or Off-Broadway crush?

I have so many! I am always amazed by how smart and talented people are. Annie Baker, I reread her plays constantly. Lauren Yee. Samuel D. Hunter.

Where can people follow you online?

I'm @janderspecht on Twitter! I retweet jokes and talk about how I want to arm wrestle Arthur Miller's ghost.


THE FRIDAY SIX: Q&As with Your Favorite Broadway Stars with Ensemble Studio Theatre's Marathon Playwrights, Series B!Christina Gorman

What is the first Broadway show you ever saw?

Annie. I saw it twice when I was ten years old. Changed my life.

What is your most unique writing ritual?

When I'm in the research/note-taking stage before I start the first draft of a play, I take notes in an unlined sketchbook. I write a note, then spin the page slightly and write another note, until the page is filled with notes written in all different directions. I'm a linear thinker, and this process keeps my mind free-associating as have ideas about the play.

Do you have any memorable "the show must go on" moments?

In my pre-playwright days, I was stage managing Caryl Churchill's MAD FOREST, which has three-acts and a ton of scenes. During the afternoon of a performance, the light board blew up. We couldn't get another one until the next day. After much discussion, we decided to run the show that evening, indicating scene changes by flicking the work lights on and off. Before the show, we told the audience about our situation. They watched and loved it.

What are you working on next?

A play for and about my alma mater, as well as a play set in the world of extreme mountain climbing.

Who is your Broadway or Off-Broadway crush?

Reed Birney. Like bacon, he makes everything better.

Where can people follow you online?

I don't do the Twitter thing or the Instagram thing, etc. I'd never get any writing done!


THE FRIDAY SIX: Q&As with Your Favorite Broadway Stars with Ensemble Studio Theatre's Marathon Playwrights, Series B!Leah Nanako Winkler

What is the first Broadway show you ever saw?

Man Of La Mancha

What is your most unique writing ritual?

Hmmm...maybe that I don't have one? I'm pretty flexible on how or where I write as long as I have a laptop.

Do you have any memorable "the show must go on" moments?

This is such a good question....I actually haven't had any of these moments which makes me super paranoid that it's coming!!

What are you working on next?

My play Two Mile Hollow will have a rolling world premiere next year with Artists At Play in Los Angeles and three other theaters yet to be announced (all outside of NY so I'll be traveling a lot!) I'm also working on a play called God Said This which takes place seven years after my play Kentucky with some of the same characters - though it stands on its own. And a pilot!

Who is your Broadway or Off-Broadway crush?

Phillipa Soo

Where can people follow you online?

@leahnanako on Twitter and Snapchat!


THE FRIDAY SIX: Q&As with Your Favorite Broadway Stars with Ensemble Studio Theatre's Marathon Playwrights, Series B!Lloyd Suh

What is the first Broadway show you ever saw?

FREAK. A John Leguizamo solo show, in the fall of 1998.

What is your most unique writing ritual?

This is technically more of a not-writing ritual, but does lying on the floor and groaning count?

Do you have any memorable "the show must go on" moments?

I've had to sub in myself for a missing actor in two different productions, and I don't recommend it.

What are you working on next?

A new play for young audiences with Children's Theatre Company, a couple of plays examining key moments in Asian American history, and one of those Oregon Shakespeare Festival Play On! Shakespeare "translations" ofHenry V.

Who is your Broadway or Off-Broadway crush?

Ralph B. Pena and Mia Katigbak

Where can people follow you online?

I am social media deficient. I have a Facebook account that I barely use, and that's it.

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