IYOM, THE WINTER'S TALE and More Set for WorkShop Theater's 20th Anniversary Season
WorkShop Theater Company, and Artistic Director Scott C. Sickles, has announced its 20th season, celebrating its diverse history. WorkShop's Main Stage Season begins in September with the world premiere of Lou-Lou Igbokwe's Iyom; November marks the return of Philip Hall's highly acclaimed musical adaptation of Mark Twain's Life on the Mississippi; and the spring will bring director Ryan Lee's vision of Shakespeare's challenging classic, The Winter's Tale. In addition to developing new plays and reviving classics, WorkShop has broadened its scope in the past few years by fostering new short plays, musicals, and children's theater. This fall, WorkShop welcomes a new Managing Director, Joseph Giardina, who is also an arts education consultant for the New York City Department of Education's (NYCDOE) Office of the Arts and Special Projects. WorkShop Theater Company is located at 312 West 36th Street, 4th Floor in NYC and online at www.workshoptheater.org.
'WorkShop has a twenty-year history of developing new plays and exploring classics,' remarks Sickles. 'Our season not only represents that tradition, but also demonstrates how we've been building -- and will continue to build -- upon it. A mixture of both musical and non-musical original works and classics -- some traditional, others adaptations -- we're presenting a year-long love letter to our patrons, old and new.'
Giardina states, 'I am excited to be joining the WorkShop Theater Company as Managing Director. I was drawn to the Company because of the incredible talent pool of actors, directors, playwrights, and designers; the dedicated members who work so hard to make all the projects a success; the incredible array of new plays, musicals, readings and classical theater being presented; and most importantly, our incredible audience members who bring their sharp eye, intelligent feedback and support to every project we do.'
During the 2013-2014 20th Anniversary Season, the WorkShop will also present three Plays-in-Process bare-bones developmental productions: Dana Leslie Goldstein's Daughters of the Sexual Revolution, Jennifer Makholm and Ian Wehrle's Relent, an indie musical; and Eddie Antar's evening of short plays Full Frontal: a Naked Exploration of Sex and Sexuality. Also planned are two short play festivals: Super Shorts 2013, a 'best-of' festival of the company's finest one-acts, and All in a Day: 1994, in which playwrights write plays based on news stories from 1994, honing them in a microcosm of the company's developmental process, then performing them at the end of that week.
There will be no shortage of special solo-performance events designed to entertain while raising funds for the company. They will include Greg Oliver Bodine's adaptation of Charlotte Perkins Gilman's psychological drama The Yellow Wallpaper starring Annalisa Loeffler; Charles E. Gerber and SAndy Moore's The Simple Stories, based on works by Langston Hughes and starring Mr. Moore, and Leland Gantt's solo tour-de-force Rhapsody in Black.
Rounding out the season will be several staged readings of new works in progress by company playwrights, the free Sundays@Six series featuring sit-down readings of early drafts of new plays followed by a moderated discussion, and the 11th Annual Will-A-Thon, in honor of Shakespeare's 450th birthday..
WorkShop Theater Company's artistic director since 2009 has been Scott C. Sickles, an award-winning playwright and Emmy-nominated writer, whose plays have been seen across the United States, as well as in Canada, Australia, the U.K., and Lebanon.
Joseph Giardina is excited to be working with the WorkShop Theater Company as Managing Director. Most recently he has worked as an arts education consultant for the New York City Department of Education's (NYCDOE) Office of the Arts and Special Projects. He contributed to the DOE's Curriculum Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in Theater and for the past nine years he has been a lead facilitator for their professional development workshops for certified drama teachers. He is a mentor for the Michigan State University Wharton Center's Young Playwrights Festival and teaches a graduate course in the Education Department at Lehman College on how to teach Shakespeare in the classroom. He was the Director of Education at the New Victory Theater in New York City, which is New York City's only theater dedicated to kids and their families. Prior to that he was the Education Director at Theatre for a New Audience (TFANA) an award-winning Off-Broadway classical theater company. At TFANA he helped win grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities for their Shakespeare Fellows project. He was the Artistic/Education Director at Arts Horizons where he helped to re-design the Artist/Teacher Institute. While at Arts Horizons he was one of the co-founders of the New Jersey Arts Education Collective. Mr. Giardina started his career as an actor and director. He continues to direct for various theater companies.
WorkShop Theater Company began its life in 1994 as the 42nd Street WorkShop in a walk-up on the corner of 42nd Street and Dyer. Founders Sam Schacht, Michelle Bouchard and James Demarse started a collective where theater artists could meet and read new plays. Over the years, the company began presenting its works in development as staged readings and, eventually, in full productions. Due to redevelopment on 42nd Street, the company moved to its current digs in The Theater Building at 312 West 36th Street. With the new address came a new name: The 42nd Street WorkShop would then be known henceforth as the WorkShop Theater Company. Since then, the WorkShop, as it's known for short, has presented dozens of productions and hundreds of readings, working in various capacities with Olympia Dukakis, Richard Easton, Bill Irwin, Theresa Rebeck, David Simpatico, Florencia Lozano, and cast members of the original and recent revival Broadway productions of Hair.
The WorkShop has garnered two 2012 Drama Desk Award nominations for Eddie Antar's The Navigator, as well as a cumulative sixteen New York Innovative Theater Award nominations, of which it has won two (Outstanding Lighting Design, Duane Pagano and Outstanding Directing, Leslie Kincaid Burby, both for The Navigator).
WorkShop Theater Company's mission is to provide a creative home for a diverse group of playwrights, directors, and actors. WorkShop has developed hundreds of plays, among them Eddie Antar's NY Times Critics' Pick, Drama Desk?nominated, and NY Innovative Theatre Award?winning hit The Navigator("cruises in entertainingly high gear" -- NY Times) and Ken Jaworowski's Interchange (NY Times Critics' Pick). Another WorkShop play, Allan Knee's The Man Who Was Peter Pan, became the acclaimed film Finding Neverland, which received an Academy Award nomination for its screenplay by David Magee and was produced by Nellie Bellflower -- both of whom are WorkShop Theater Company alumni. www.workshoptheater.org