Black Coffee Production Announces Casting For The First FRESH GRIND FESTIVAL

By: Jan. 10, 2017
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Black Coffee Productions (BCP) is proud to announce the casting of their first Fresh Grind Festival which will showcase ten staged readings of new works. A diverse group of forty-three actors has been cast including two time Grammy Nominee Martha Wash, who is well known for the multi platinum single, "It's Raining Men." Wash will lead the cast in the zombie parody, I Want to Eat Brains (or the Day I Killed All My Friends). The eclectic mix of actor's credits range from regional, off-off Broadway to Broadway, and National television credits. Other notable casting includes Jeremy Villas in The Bishops. Villas played Young Lola in Kinky Boots on Broadway.

The themes, characters, and plays that were selected vary greatly and include an outcast walrus and starving polar bear meeting on an ice slab, two gay dads raising their adopted chess prodigy child when their story goes viral, and a musical zombie parody that answers the question, would it really be that bad to be a zombie?

The Fresh Grind Festival was created to feature new, original works in development and up-and-coming writers and directors. It is an opportunity to collaborate, to explore, and to develop original plays and musicals, culminating in public staged readings at Theaterlab, a white-box theatre in midtown. George Simon the Artistic Director of BCP serves as the Executive Producer for the festival.

List of Plays & Cast:

An Unexpected Thing Happens

Written by Michael Perrie Jr.

Directed by Lacy Reily

Cast: Nikita Chaudhry, Chris Chirdon, Jennette Nelligan, Corrin Thomas, and Lenny Thomas

Jazz is having a hard time lately. She works part time as a law secretary, and full time as a depressed comedian. Her best friend, Poppy, is on the verge of curing cancer, getting married, and buying a new brownstone. As Jazz is about to give up, she receives a mysterious gift from the Sea Turtle who lives in her dreams - a notebook with the cure for cancer scribbled inside.

Big Stuff

Written by Jenna Spiwack

Directed by Lauren Goldberger

Cast: Molly Johnson and Andrea Louise Soule

Big Stuff is a story of a couple having a check in conversation about the future of their relationship. Taylor and Ray are a young couple with different long term goals. Together they question if they should move forward knowing the future could be filled with nothing but heartbreak. Are they willing to compromise what they know they want for each other?

The Bishops

Book, Music, and Lyrics by Danny K. Bernstein

Original Story by Danny K. Bernstein and Adam Quinn

Directed by Adam Quinn

Musical direction by Evan Zavada

Cast: Ari Axelrod, Robert Gonzales Jr., Raquel Kahn, Kelsey Ryan Moore, and Jeremy Villas (Young Lola in Kinky Boots)

When an interview featuring their young chess prodigy goes viral, two fathers and their two children find themselves at the center of a national discussion about what makes a successful American family. With the country watching their every move, The Bishops are forced to confront their identities, their relationships and their fears as they strive to be a "picture perfect family."

Deeper Alexandria

Written by Emerson Fd

Directed by Dunya J. Karam

Cast: Jesse James Keital and Emily Murphy

In the human experience, thinking and doing are two very different things. To a robotic mind, however, absolutely everything is an action. Deeper Alexandria depicts a conversation between George and Martha, two intelligences who may or may not be artificial. Their words seem blunt, ridiculous, and out of place at times. However, as their dialogue progresses, it becomes increasingly clear that the two of them aren't just reveling in their own sentience and ability to make sentences, but desperately trying to grab hold of something, anything close to humanity.

Flat Fish

Written by Sean Dunnington

Directed by Jenna Spiwack

Cast: Morgan Hammel, Christopher Higgins, Jessica Kahler, Clare Parme, Bailey McCall Thomas, and Avery Whitted

When Willy goes missing, his older sister Jill goes on a quest to bring him home. By reading the journal he left behind, Jill comes to understand her brother's misguided search for love--and, ultimately, uncovers not only the answers that Willy has been looking for, but makes unprecedented discoveries about herself. Through witnessing the complicated and unpredictable past of Willy, as Jill unfolds her disregarded issues, Flat Fish tells a haunting story of family, connection, and love.

How to Talk to a Girl Wearing Headphones

Written by Adrienne Dawes

Directed by Dana Iannuzzi

Cast: Wilma Rivera, Gianmarco Soresi, and Khiry Walker

Guy meets girl. You've heard that story before...But what about when guy meets girl wearing headphones? How To Talk to a Girl Wearing Headphones is a millennial twist on the classic meet cute -- full of rich characters, hilarious dialogue, and a story that's become all too true in the age of social media.

I Want to Eat Brains (or the Day I Killed All My Friends)

Lyrics & Book by Lily Dwoskin, Music by Danny Ursetti

Directed by Dunya J. Karam

Musical direction by Lena Gabrielle

Cast: Connor Briggs, TJ Nelson, Dave Stishan, Erin Ulman, Martha Wash (multi platinum single "It's Raining Men), and Kayla Ryan Walsh

I Want to Eat Brains (or the day I killed all my friends) is a ten-minute zombie parody musical. The world is in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, and our rag tag heroes are the only survivors. But what happens when one of them becomes infected? And would being a zombie really be so bad? I mean, honestly, when the undead rise, what's left to do but sing along?

Promised Kingdom

Written by T.J. Petty

Directed by Sivan Battat

Cast: Jo Chiang and Zach Fike Hodges

When an outcast walrus asks directions from a starving polar bear on a lonely slab of ice, they enter a friendlier dynamic than might be expected. But that lasts too briefly before the bear threatens the walrus with his life if he doesn't lead him back to the walrus herd for some lunch. As the pair get acquainted, tension both eases and bubbles. Turns out that neither fully meets the stereotype the other expected for their species, and as they swim along, they try to make some sense out of the end of the world, or at least the end of the Arctic as they know it.

Thank You Notes: Headed to Heaven W/ Flat Jimmy Fallon

Written by Vicki Vodrey

Directed by Jessica Ryan

Cast: Rebecca Brinkley, Megan Carver, and Nate Foster

After deciding life was too unbearable to continue, Angela put a bullet through her head. Her will included three requests: First, she wanted to be buried with her dog. Next, her cardboard cut-out of The Tonight Show's host Jimmy Fallon had to rest by her side for the rest of eternity. And the third wish - that her twin brother, Ethan, gives her eulogy by reading the handwritten notes that she left behind, all of which have been conceived in the format of Jimmy Fallon's "Thank You Notes" segment. As Ethan goes through each letter, Angela takes us through the hilarious, touching, and ultimately shocking journey of her life.


Written by Natalie Margolin

Directed by Alyssa White

Cast: Sophie Belle, Peter Falls, Julia Greer, Taylor Harlow, Natalie Margolin, Raffaello Perfetto, Sarah Sanders, Matt Walker, and Sarah White

This is a play about a girl who poops in her tutu during her first ballet recital. Tutus explores how we process our experiences, reminding us how important it is to laugh when things feel tragic, and questioning what happens when there's no room for laughter anymore.

Festival Show Dates:

• Wednesday, January 18th at 7:00 pm - Tutus & Flat Fish

• Thursday, January 19th at 7:00 pm - The Bishops

• Friday, January 20th at 8:00 pm - Big Stuff, Deeper Alexandria, How to Talk to a Girl Wearing Headphones, I Want to Eat Brains, Promised Kingdom

• Saturday, January 21st at 2:00 pm - Thank You Notes: Headed to Heaven W/ Flat Jimmy Fallon & An Unexpected Thing Happens

• Saturday, January 21st at 8:00 pm - The Bishops

• Sunday, January 22nd at 2:00 pm - Tutus & Flat Fish

• Sunday, January 22nd at 5:00 pm - Thank You Notes: Headed to Heaven W/ Flat Jimmy Fallon & An Unexpected Thing Happens

The creative team includes production stage management by Elizabeth Ramsay, assistant stage management by Emily Baver, Codi Chester, and Andrew Wenzel. Lighting design by Pat Hayes, sound design by Almeda Beynon, festival casting director Ariana Starr, poster design by Caitlin Sing, additional art & designs by Tasha Gross, producing intern Emily Hayes, and festival dramaturge Ashley Gerhardt.

The festival takes place at TheaterLab, 357 West 36th Street (between 8th and 9th avenues), 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10018. Subways: 1, 2, 3, 7, A, C, E, N, R, Q, W to 34th Street. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at

For more information visit

For festival fundraising info, please visit


Twitter: @blackcoffeepro

Instagram: @blackcoffeeproductions

About Black Coffee Productions:

Black Coffee Productions was founded in July 2016 by George Simon, a young producer seeking to create exciting and thought-provoking theatre, film, and music. Curbside Waltz marks the company's first short film, completed in November 2016 and now entering film festivals. BCP is producing the Fresh Grind Festival, a staged reading event featuring ten new plays and musicals, in January of 2017. The company is based in New York. Quality entertainment, highly caffeinated.