Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Mission to (dit)Mars Announces New Writers for the 2016-2018 PROPULSION LAB

Mission to (dit)Mars is excited to announce the selection of three new members to the 2016-2018 Propulsion Lab, a Queens based writers group serving emerging playwrights from the borough. In addition to the new lab members, three returning members have been named Writers in Residence and two have been named Orbiting Artists.

The three new Propulsion Lab members are Nat Cassidy (Astoria), Jason Tseng (Long Island City) and Ray Yamanouchi (Astoria). For the Propulsion Lab, each playwright will focus on writing a new full-length play over the course of the year. The new members were selected by Mission to (dit)Mars co-founders Kari Bentley-Quinn, Don Nguyen, Meredith Packer and Laura Pestronk. The writers group meets bi-monthly in Queens.

In addition to the new lab members, Mission to (dit)Mars has named Lisa Huberman (Woodside), Kristine M. Reyes (Astoria) and Tyler Rivenbark (Sunnyside) as our Writers in Residence and Mac Rogers (Astoria) and Tori Keenan-Zelt are our newly created Orbiting Artists. Returning Propulsion Lab members are Jonathan Alexandratos (Astoria), Scott Casper (Astoria), Mrinalini Kamath (Astoria), and Amy Witting (Sunnyside).

On what excites her about the new members, Kari Bentley-Quinn explains "Each has a distinct voice and point of view, not to mention a ton of talent, and all three are a wonderful addition to our already exciting and diverse group of talented playwrights."

Laura Pestronk adds "The talent pouring forth from the new labbers blew us all away, and we're so happy to get to work with such diverse and lively new voices!"

Commenting on the returning lab members, Meredith Packer states "It's such a privilege to meet with this group of writers each year. I am so excited to get in the room with our familiar and fresh faces and see what worlds we will explore together this year."

The Propulsion Lab was created to meet the needs of like-minded theater artists who wanted to have a way of developing new work locally in Queens on an on-going basis. In addition to bi-monthly meetings, the lab will include industry meet and greets with Artistic Directors and Literary Managers, three Launch Pad readings of full length plays, and All Systems Go! 5, an evening of excerpts from the new Propulsion Lab plays.

Writers in Residence positions are a way to address the growing needs of certain lab members who have been with us for some time by offering additional developmental support custom tailored to them. In exchange, our writers in residence act as artistic associates on Mission to (dit)Mars' behalf and help our organization in certain capacities, such as reading script submissions.

Orbiting Artists are informal positions that allow current lab members whose availability has changed due to unforeseen reasons the chance to continue participating in the Propulsion Lab on a limited basis.

BIOS OF THE NEW PROPULSION LAB MEMBERS

Nat Cassidy (Astoria)

Nat Cassidy is an award-winning writer, actor, director, and musician. He's appeared in television shows such as "The Following" (Fox), "The Affair" (Showtime), "Red Oaks" (Amazon) "High Maintenance" (HBO), as well as numerous productions and workshops both Off- and Off-Off-Broadway. Nat's plays have been nominated for a combined total of 17 New York Innovative Theatre Awards, including 3 times for Outstanding Full-Length Script (which he won in 2009, and in 2011 for Outstanding Solo Performance). His work has been seen throughout the country and is published by Samuel French, Smith & Kraus, NYTE, Applause Books, and Indie Theatre Now (where he is a bestselling playwright). In 2012 Nat was commissioned by The Kennedy Center to write the libretto for a world-premiere opera; and in 2014 his play Any Day Now was chosen to be part of Primary Stages' ESPADrills (The Duke Theatre, directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel). He's an inductee in the Indie Theatre Hall of Fame, an NYTheatre Person of the Year, and was a finalist for the Doric Wilson Independent Playwright Award. www.natcassidy.com

Ray Yamanouchi (Astoria)

Ray Yamanouchi is a Hunter College graduate with a degree in film and theatre. He has written numerous short plays and four full-length plays (Mercy Killing Kids, It's Our Kitchen, Tha Chink-Mart, and Impact) which have been workshopped all across NYC. Tha Chink-Mart was a semi-finalist for the 2016/17 New Dramatists Princess Grace Award. He is a member of Working Title Theatre Co. Playwrights Collective (wttheatre.com) and currently works at the Lucille Lortel Theatre when he isn't at the local bar.

Jason Tseng (Long Island City) makes plays, comics, illustrations, and games -- mostly about queer people and people of color. Most recently, his play Rizing received its world-premier in New York City with Flux Theatre Ensemble. His work has been featured in GeeksOut's LGBT comics anthology Power, Sub Rosa magazine, and Nonprofit Quarterly. He also produces the podcasts Play x Play --featuring the best plays you've never heard of-- and Queer and Present Danger, a queer nerd pop culture podcast. Find more at JasonTseng.com.

To view bios on all our Propulsion Lab members, please visit: http://missiontoditmars.com/2014/08/25/the-2014-2015-propulsion-lab/



Related Stories

More Hot Stories For You


JAG Productions Announces 2022/2023 Season
August 15, 2022

JAG Productions, a Vermont and New York City-based company serving as an artistic sanctuary for Black creatives in the American theatre, announced its 2022/2023 line-up this week.

HISTORY OF HOUSE Comes to Edinburgh This Month
August 15, 2022

Ministry of Sound/ARIA-nominated DJ Groove Terminator teams up with 3 x Grammy Award winners Soweto Gospel Choir for History of House an exhilarating journey through the history of dance music for two nights only at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.  

GableStage Presents FADE By Tanya Saracho This Month
August 15, 2022

GableStage presents the witty dramatic comedy FADE by Tanya Saracho, a story about friendship, opportunity, assumptions, ambition, culture and betrayal. Directed by award-winning Miami-based actor, director and writer Teo Castellanos, FADE runs August 19, 2022– September 18, 2022 and it is available for streaming from August 24 to September 18.

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD is Now Playing at Theatre Tallahasssee
August 15, 2022

A hilarious musical whodunit! The audience chooses the murderer in this rollicking adaptation of Charles Dickens’ unfinished novel. Written by Rupert Holmes (Curtains, Escape (The Pina Colada Song)), the show was the first Broadway musical with multiple endings (determined by audience vote). The musical won five Tony Awards out of eleven nominations, including Best Musical. 

Baiba Skride Brings PRELUDE to Theater St.Gallen Next Month
August 15, 2022

She plays with world-class orchestras and is one of our long-awaited soloists: In the first Tonhalle concert of the season, the Latvian violinist Baiba Skride interprets the light-flooded violin concerto by Jean Sibelius, one of the great, immensely popular solo concertos for violin.