Notable Stage Artists Join Planet Connections' PLAYWRIGHTS FOR A CAUSE

Notable Stage Artists Join Planet Connections' PLAYWRIGHTS FOR A CAUSE

A notable company of stage artists join a powerhouse team of playwrights and directors for Planet Connections' Playwrights for a Cause, Sunday, July 23, 2017

"This is an excellent group of plays... and players!" says Brock Harris Hill, curator of this year's annual Playwrights for a Cause benefit, hosted by Planet Connections Theatre Festivity. The celebrated event addresses powerful social and topical issues in our society through the works of prominent playwrights. This year, the event will be Sunday, July 23, and will benefit the New York Civil Liberties Union with "The Protest Plays," stories of standing up to injustice, are world premieres,? written by celebrated authors, Catherine Filloux, Lyle Kessler, José Rivera, David Stallings, and ReGina Taylor? specifically for Playwrights For A Cause.

"As a Latinx LGBT actor, it is an honor and a privilege to be part of such an important platform as Playwrights For A Cause. In these times of heightened intolerance, it is our duty as artists and citizens of the world to rise up the best way we know how, on the boards. I will be forever grateful to Planet Connections for this opportunity, and cannot think of a more auspicious organization than the NYCLU to transform our message into action," exclaimed Antonio Minino, who appears in The Baby Monitor.

"On behalf of my husband, Lyle Kessler, and myself; we are so very proud to be part of this deeply felt excellent theater serving to the community wonderful new plays that turn pain in our world into the pleasure that comes from the understanding and compassion that only the theater can bring. Someone said without a healthy theater there is no healthy society. We are beginning to have a healthy theater and hopefully a healthy society will follow," Margaret Ladd, featured in Mean Girls, contributed, exuberantly.

A reception will follow the performance. Tickets are available at PlanetConnections.org. Benefit tickets for reserved seating will be $20 - $125. The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) is one of the nation's foremost defenders of civil liberties and civil rights.

The 2017 Casts:

Mean Girls by Lyle Kessler

Directed by Glory Kadigan; Assistant Director: Adam Chisnall

Carol Kane (DONNA - MEAN GIRLS) Carol Kane made her theatrical debut in the 1966 production of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Since then, her theater work has included five plays by Beth Henley including The Debutante's Ball. Other credits include The Tempest, Macbeth, Wicked, Love, Loss and What I Wore, Harvey, The Children's Hour, and more. Her film and television credits are also extensive. She was nominated for an Academy Award in Joan Micklin Silver's Hester Street and won two Emmy Awards for the role of Simka on Taxi. She also garnered an Emmy nomination for her work in Chicago Hope. Carol can be seen as 'Lillian' on Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

Margaret Ladd (PEARL - MEAN GIRLS) Broadway: The Great Indoors with Geraldine Page, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie with Zoe Caldwell(Partial list). Other theater: Off Broadway: The Knack, director Mike Nichols. Williamstown: Long Days Journey into Night, King Lear; Public Theater Museum; Los Angeles Premiere The Fox (Best Actress in a Drama, Ovation Award); First Born (Lyle Kessler) Actors Studio. Film and TV: Mozart in the Jungle, Malcolm McDowell's wife; Woody Allen's Crisis in Six Scenes. Robert Altman's A Wedding; Emma Falcon Crest, 9 years (Best Comedic Actress in a Dramatic Series). Member of: The Actors Studio, LAByrinth, The Actors Center. Margaret is delighted to be performing in Lyle Kessler's Mean Girls at Planet Connections.

Geany Masai (RUBY - MEAN GIRLS) is proud to be a part of the 2017 Planet Connection event and to give voice to Lyle Kessler's Mean Girls as the character of Ruby. Ms. Masai has created such stage roles as: Ethel Waters in SweetMama StringBean, Hattie McDaniel in Hattie and Me, Pearl Haynes in The Weight of Water, Miss Essie in A Play About My Dad, and Mrs. Fowlkes in Unfinished Business. Geany has appeared on television in roles on The Sopranos, and Law and Order-SVU. Her film work includes such new works as: Places, Thank You Places, Wake and Approaching Union Square. Ms. Masai is definitely no stranger to giving voice and face time to the selling of radio and television commercials within the world of advertisement. Thank you for your support in this year's event.

KATHLEEN O'NEILL (SALLY - MEAN GIRLS) NYC favorite original theatre acting credits include Landlady/Helgeland/Old Mrs. Cronin/Ensemble in Clover, Older in Over the River and Through the Woods with Planet Connections, directed by Glory Kadigan, Annie Jump Canon in Insignificant by Sean Michael Welch, Nana Jo in Sweet Sweet Spirit by Carol Carpenter, Blue Heron in Dark Water by David Stallings and the role of Su in A Collapse by Vincent Moreno. Other cherished credits include Lyubov in Cherry Orchard, Jessica Lyons in Cat's Paw and Olympia in The Conduct of Life (won The Hispanic Festival's Best Supporting Actor award). She is a proud member of SAG-AFTRA, AEA. Kathleen has a Production Company, BOO-Arts Productions. www.kathleenaoneill.com. She is delighted to be part of this wonderful company creating this new work. Thank you Planet Connections and Glory Kadigan.

The Baby Monitor by David Stallings

Directed by Brock H. Hill; Assistant Director: Anna Hogan

ANTONIO MINIÑO (PHILLIP- THE BABY MONITOR) Planet Connections: The Colonel's Wife (Winner Outstanding Actor), The Empress of Sex, The Stranger to Kindness (Outstanding Actor Nominee), Scene/Unseen (Outstanding Director Nominee); MTWorks: Anais Nin Goes to Hell (director), Dark Water, The Real Franco (director), Parts of Parts and Stitches, The Family Shakespeare (director), Variations of Mee, Arpeggio; DMAC: The Garcia's Trilogy (All About Power, All About Sex, All About Meat), Men in Towels, Adrift, Andy@62, Triptych, Confessions of a Cuban Sex Addict; Original Binding: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Limelight; Other select NY: Suddenly a Knock at the Door, Macbeth, The Other Day, Breathe Free. SAG-AFTRA. Full bio: www.antoniominino.com

Dan Shaked (DAMON - THE BABY MONITOR) Saviana Stanescu's Waxing West (World Premiere@ La MaMa Etc. + Bucharest tour), On The Spectrum + The Normal Heart (Fountain Theatre, LA), Naomi Wallace's The Fever Chart (Dir. Elena Araoz), Graham & Frost (PS 122), 2016 Great Plains Theater Conference participant. Film/TV: Mysteries of Laura, Body of Proof, How To Follow Strangers. 2010 PCTF Winner Outstanding Actor Featured or Cameo Role for Cake.

Kelly Zekas (CLAIRE - THE BABY MONITOR) is an actor and novelist who had the pleasure of joining Planet Connections as an intern several years ago. She returned to Planet to perform in a reading of Martirio (an adaptation of The House of Bernarda Alba) and The Empress of Sex. She has also understudied for PFAC in the past. She is thrilled to be a part of the festival again, working on this fantastic piece by David Stallings.

Resistance by ReGina Taylor

Directed by Tonya Pinkins; Assistant Director: Ashley Marinaccio

LYNDA GRAVATT (WOMAN - RESISTANCE) Broadway: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (with James Earl Jones), Doubt (standby), King Hedley II (u/s Ruby), 45 Seconds from Broadway. Off Broadway: The Hummingbird's Tour (Theatre at St. Clements), The Little Foxes (NYTW), Zooman and the Sign, King Hedley II (Signature), Crowns (Second Stage), Miss Witherspoon (Playwrights Horizons), Intimate Apparel (Roundabout), The Old Settler, Dividing the Estate (Primary Stages). Television: "Elementary," "Person of Interest," "The Good Wife," "30 Rock," all the "Law & Orders," "One Life to Live," "As The World Turns," "All My Children." Film: The Delivery Man, BounTy Hunter, I Hate Valentine's Day, Who Killed Atlanta's Children?. Three Audelco Awards, Helen Hayes Award, Connecticut Critics Circle Award. Graduate of Howard University.

Endea Owens (MUSICIAN-RESISTANCE) is a virtuosic bass player and music director. Born and raised in Detroit, . She graduated from the Detroit School of Arts and Michigan State University's Jazz Studies program. She has performed and recorded with numerous groups, and recently participated in a Jazz Mentors program as a bassist for the MSU Big Band Symposium. For her performance at JazzFest she'll be joined by Michael Jellic (piano), Judson Branam (drums), and Jasmine Yeliokake (vocals).

Snow Day by Catherine Filloux

Directed by Susan Tenney

Ivette Dumeng (LATEISHA - SNOW DAY) is an award winning actress. Recently played Charlie Chaplin in The Chaplin Plays by Don Nigro (Planet Connections Award for Outstanding Actress). Francesca De La Tours in The Real Machiavelli by Monica Bauer. Alicia in John Jiler's Half Moon Bay at The New Ohio (Nylon Fusion/ mentored by John Patrick Shanley) Queen Kristina in August Strindberg's Kristina and Julie in Miss Julie for August Strindberg Rep. Ivette is Artistic Director of Nylon Fusion Theatre Company. She performed in Playwrights For A Cause on it's initial season in John Patrick Shanley's Tennessee. She is a member of The League of Professional Theatre Women, Actors Studio PDU, SAG/Aftra and TRU.

Grayson Taylor (GRANT - SNOW DAY) credits include: Mothers and Sons starring Tyne Daly (Original Broadway Cast), Radio City Spring Spectacular. TV: Broad City, Inside Amy Schumer (Comedy Central), Blue Bloods (CBS), Royal Pains (USA), Billions (Showtime), Team Umizoomi (Nickelodeon), multiple appearances on The Colbert Report (Comedy Central) and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (CBS), and numerous commercials and voiceovers. He wrote his first novel at the age of 7 and loves to create his own films; see his books and blog at www.graysontaylor.info

Fall of the Sparrow by José Rivera

Directed by Kat Yen; Assistant Director: Vinny Eden Ortega

MEHRET MARCH (NICOLE - THE FALL OF THE SPARROW) 10 years old, most recently completed her first feature film, Straighten Up and Fly Right following a year long run as the first African born Young Nala on Broadway in The Lion King. Other credits include: What Would You Do? (ABC) Super Wings, various voice overs, Broadway Sessions, vocal solo, 54 Below, Tree Hause Broadway Cabaret, Tunes in Times Square, Carols For A Cure CD, opening solo; The Lion King cast, and..was honored to sing a solo on "I have a Voice" for Broadway Kids anti- bullying campaign. She is excited to be included in this years, Playwrights for a Cause, and an important cause it is.

Alfredo Narciso (CESAR - THE FALL OF THE SPARROW) Broadway: Motherfucker With The Hat (LAB/Public), A Streetcar Named Desire (Roundabout) . Off-Broadway: The Way West; Thinner Than Water (LAByrinth), Basilica (Rattlestick), Good Mother (New Group), Red Dog Howls; Ivo Van Hove's Misanthrope (New York Theater Workshop), Chimichangas and Zoloft (Atlantic - HOLA Award), The Ugly One (Soho Rep/Play Co.), Drunken City (Playwrights Horizons), Measure For Measure; Chair (Theater For A New Audience), among others. Film: Jacqueline Argentine, Demolition, Like Sunday, Like Rain, among others. TV: House of Cards, The Family, Beauty and the Beast, The Following, Madam Secretary, The Blacklist, The Good Wife, among others. Memberships: LAByrinth, Ensemble Studio Theater, Partial Comfort, The New Neighborhood, The Actor's Studio and the Co-founder of a location-based film company.

EMCEEs:

KAELA MEI-SHING GARVIN is a Brooklyn-based Asian American writer, performer, and producer. She's a founding member of Undiscovered Countries, creator of A Girl's Guide to Surviving Fascism, co­-creator of 2 Girls | 1 Asian, & writer for upcoming series BKPI with Super Deluxe. Recent work includes writing and performing in Ambition: the female American serial killer musical at Ars Nova & PCTF 2016 (nominated for 7 awards, winner: Outstanding Production of a Musical, Outstanding Music and Lyrics, Outstanding Lead Actress) & acting in Clover at LaMaMa. www.kaelameishinggarvin.com

Shaun Peknic Associate Director for Once the Musical. Select directing credits: Fireflies (Musical Theatre Factory); Fool for Love (Lee Strasberg Institute); Manifest Pussy (Joes Pub); I'm A Lot Like You (Salty Brine's Living Record Collection); Pulp Vérité (Lee Strasberg Institute Directing Fellow); Sherlock Holmes & the West End Horror (Cortland Repertory Theatre, nominated Best Director 2015 SALT Awards); A Snowfall in Berlin (Nylon Fusion); Pageant Princess (PCTF 2012); Must Be The Music (ArsNova); A Streetcar Named Desire (New York University). Shaun directed the PCTF Awards Ceremony in 2013 and 2014; he is an alumnus of NYU and the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, member of SDC and MTF, and on the directing faculty at PHTS/NYU.?

UNDERSTUDIES:

Richarda Abrams (U/S) WOMAN - RESISTANCE) Performances: Last Days Of Judas Iscariot director Estelle Parsons (LaMaMa), Clover director Glory Kadigan - Planet Connections (LaMaMa), Richarda tours her one woman show First By Faith: The Life of Mary McLeod Bethune. Memberships: AEA, SAG-AFTRA, Actors Studio, AACM, BTN, LPTW, & NYWIFT. Won two AUDELCO awards. NYU-TSOA alumna. www.RichardaAbrams.com

SUSAN G. BOB (U/S PEARL/RUBY - MEAN GIRLS) AEA,SAG/AFTRA Won Planet Connections Theater Award for outstanding actress in Stranger To Kindness by David Stallings. Originated role of Dee in Pulitzer Prize winning play No Place To Be Somebody (Off Broadway ,Broadway, National tour), nominated for Best Performance in leading role by Los Angeles Drama Critics.

MOLLY COLLIER (U/S CLAIRE - THE BABY MONITOR) has been seen performing at Theatre Row, T. Schreiber Studio, & The Kennedy Center. She has also worked with Labyrinth Theatre Co., Nylon Fusion Theatre Co., The Farm Theater, The Actors Studio, and NY Madness. She won Best Actress in a One Act Play at the 2016 Planet Connections Theatre Awards. She is a member of Barefoot Theatre Co.

AZARIAH GUNN (U/S LATEISHA - SNOW DAY) Baltimore Center Stage: Endgame. LAByrinth Theater Company: Paradox of the Urban Cliché, Funnyhouse of a Negro; (Sarah, Named one of NY's Top Actresses Off-Broadway, NY Sun); Classical Theater of Harlem: American Maul; Culture Project: Black Flag; 59 East 59th: Velvet Rope; (Best Supporting Actress); Planet Connections. Trouble In Mind; PlayMakers Repertory: High Priestess of Dark; North Carolina Black Repertory.

Adin Lenahan (U/S DAMON - THE BABY MONITOR) is an actor, writer, and receptionist. RECENT CREDITS: True Right (Ars Nova, New Ohio); Clover (LaMaMa), Pilgrim Notes (Planet Connections); MaryShelleyShow (Congregational Church of Jefferson Park, IL); Lark/Song (Red Cloud Opera House, NE). New York Universitybio (BFA Drama). Their solo show Asher Rhys Got Married too Young premiers July 22 at The Wild Project, via The Fresh Fruit Festival. adinlenahan.com.

Mateo Moreno (U/S CESAR - FALL OF SPARROW, U/S PHILLIP - THE BABY MONITOR) Recent: Villain DeBlanks (featuring Brenda Braxton), Pride & Prejudice (interACT), The Public Domain (Lincoln Center), An Unseen Visitor (Symphony Space), Fix Number Six (Planet Connections: Outstanding Actor in a Featured or Cameo Role). As a playwright: Bohemian Valentine, Paper Airplanes, Fairground Attraction. Recipient of the 2013 PCF Congeniality Award.

MISTI TINDIGLIA (U/S DONNA/SALLY -MEAN GIRLS) a 6 time PCTF nominated actress with 3 wins for 'Acts of Love ' & 'The Home' both written by Gabrielle Fox. Other PCTF plays are "Good Lonely People" by Carol Carpenter and "When The Party's Over" by Glory Kadigan and understudied for the 2016 Playwrights For A Cause's 'Double Cross' by John Patrick Shanley. Besides theater she also works in independent film, TV, commercials, animated films, v/o's and industrials. SAG-AFTRA http://resumes.actorsaccess.com//mistitindiglia

Kara Young (U/S NICOLE - FALL OF THE SPARROW) Pretty Hunger (dir. Martha Banta, The Public NYC) Syncing Ink (dir. Niegel Smith, Alley Theater), Company Cypher's Gutting (National Black Theater), CCP's Chokehold for the 2015 Planet Connections Festivity (PC's Best Outstanding Actress), and Vertigo Theater Company's Bareknuckle (dir: Laura Savia,). MTV's Girl Code (4 seasons) @karaakter.

Producer: Brock Hill

Associate Producer: Glory Kadigan

Assistant Producer: Jazmyn Arroyo

Assistant to the Producer: Vinny Eden Ortega

Event Director: Joyce Laoagan

Front Of House Manager: Britt Lafield

Lighting Designer: Benjamin Ehrenreich

Scenic Designer: Raye Levine

Costume Designer: Ariel Pellman

Sound Design: Jacob Subotnick

Casting Director: Robin Carus

Production Stage Manager: Kathryn Meister

Assistant Stage Manager: Maayan Voss de Bettancourt

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