New Perspectives Theatre Stages NIGHT OF THE WORKING DEAD in NY Premiere, Now thru 1/19
New Perspectives Theatre Company (NPTC) has announced the NY Premiere of five short plays by Richard Wentz under the collective title, Night of the Working Dead. The production runs for five performances only, opening tonight, January 15, 2014 at 7:30pm, and closing Sunday, January 19th Performances will be at New Perspectives Studio, 458 West 37 Street at 10th Avenue.
An homage to working stiffs everywhere, Wentz gives a nod to communities across the country in which the term "recovery" holds a cruel irony for too many people. From Louisiana to the Finger Lakes, the five plays showcased offer a realistic look at those who have been left out, pushed aside or just plain forgotten. In Tuesday, 4:00pm, a young married man finds his only options for employment are to reenlist in the military, or manage a local Big Lots at a salary fit for a teen. R Train to Brooklyn engages a homeless vet with a guy just waiting for a train, while a mother and daughter lament lost opportunities in a pattern cemented long ago. The Other Side of the Trailer turns our stereotypical notions of Louisiana's working class on its head, as an entire community struggles with outdated expectations and a desire for something better. In a nod to Mamet, December 20th, 7pm provides a glimpse of the non-super star finance grunts in a surprisingly cutthroat competition, and The Wish Book is a fond look back at a middle class childhood some 40 years ago, without letting the nostalgia drag us down.
The plays are directed by Luisa Battista and Jenny Greeman; Meganne George is the Production Design Consultant, Joyce Liao is Lighting Designer; Alexandra Hall is Stage Manager. The production is part of NPTC's "First Look" Program, which is devoted to getting new works aligned with our mission on their feet and fully staged in a bare bones fashion. The five plays are performed by EJ An, Michael Christopher Bauer*, Teresa Fischer, Stephen Girasuolo*, Katie Mack*, Susan Montez*, Michele Richardson, Ray Rodriguez*, M. George Stevenson, Joyce Sylvester and Federico Trigo* in an AEA approved production.
NEW PERSPECTIVES THEATRE COMPANY is an award-winning, multi-racial company performing in the Theatre District and communities throughout NYC. Now in its 22nd season, notable productions have included Richard III, starring Austin Pendleton; MOTHER OF GOD! by Michele A. Miller (Princess Grace Foundation Finalist), The Taming of the Shrew (OOBR Award for Excellence), Exhibit #9 by Tracy Scott Wilson (Audelco Award); Jihad by Ann Chamberlain (OOBR Award for Excellence); Admissions by Tony Velella (10 Best Plays Citation, Backstage); the premiere of The Shaneequa Chronicles by OBIE-Winner Stephanie Berry (with Blackberry Productions); Anatomy of a Love Affair by Deirdre Hollman (Optioned by Essence Entertainment); and innovative productions of Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo & Juliet, Othello, and Julius Caesar. The Company's mission is to develop and produce new plays and playwrights, especially women and people of color; to present classic plays in a style that addresses contemporary issues; and to extend the benefits of theatre to young people and communities in need. Our aim is not to exclude, but to cast a wider net.
RICHARD WENTZ (Playwright) has worked in television and film production for 24 years, beginning in 1990 as a production assistant with The Coen Brothers on Miller's Crossing, shot in his hometown of New Orleans. In addition to writing and directing for film and theatre, he spent ten years as a Creative Director in the infomercial industry, and published his first novella, Tropical Depression in 2010. His first full-length work, the musical 4 Days in May about the student protests on the campus of Kent State University in 1970, is currently in development in NYC. He has recently completed an adaptation of Walker Percy's novel Lancelot for the stage and is continuing on the theme of the economy in America with a new full-length play entitled Fundamentally Sound about the Wall Street Crash of 1929. Richard is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America. www.creativegumbo.com
LUISA BATTISTA (Director) is a native New Yorker that has worked as an independent casting director for Scholastic, Mattel, Nickelodeon and PBS Kids as well as for such independent films as The Battle of Pussy Willow Creek, in which she also acted. She has directed off Broadway and off-off Broadway productions, and is currently working as a writer-producer for ION television here in NYC.
JENNY GREEMAN (Director) is an Artistic Associate at NPTC where she works as an actor, director, and sound designer. She was last represented on NPTC's stage as director of Running Out of Time in the 2013 Women's Work LAB Short Play Festival. Jenny was previously producer and director for ScreenPlay, which was invited for an off-Broadway run at 59E59 Theaters after winning "Outstanding Production of a Play" at the 2010 Midtown International Theatre Festival (MITF). Jenny is the Resident Director of the Dark Lady Players and helmed its most recent production, Shakespeare's Gospel Parodies: A Medieval Mystery Tour at the historic West Park Church. She is a Companie member with NPTC and a resident director for its Women's Work LAB, Voices from The Edge, WORLD VOICES and Apprentice Program Series. Additional directing credits include: As You Like It; Shakespeare's Three Marys; 365 Days/Plays; and Blue Box Productions' Sticky Series. Ms. Greeman is the author, with Elliot Lanes, of The Raggedy Ann and Andy Musical, awarded "Best Staged Reading" for the 2008 MITF.
PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE: Wednesday, January 15 to Sunday, January 19, 2014; Wednesday - Saturday at 7:30pm; Sunday at 4:00pm.
SPECIAL PANEL EVENT: Land of the Working Poor: Struggling to Make It In Post "American-Dream" America - A Free event with some of our country's most committed activists and political thinkers discussing the ongoing financial crisis and the real depth of its impact on working Americans. With Esther Armah, Harriet Fraad and Richard Greeman. Saturday, January 18th, 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Tickets: $15; $12 students/seniors with ID; TDF accepted. Advance Sale: www.newperspectivestheatre.org/productions/WENTZPLAYS.htm. Reservations: 212-630-9945; email@example.com. Location: All performances at New Perspectives Studio, 458 West 37th Street (at 10th Avenue).