THE ROCK & THE RIPE Staged Reading Set for Hetrick-Martin Institute, 5/17

THE ROCK & THE RIPE Staged Reading Set for Hetrick-Martin Institute, 5/17

The Rock & The Ripe (established as a theatrical play, book, and movement in Chicago in 2012) is producing their first East Coast staged reading of the rock & the ripe at Hetrick-Martin Institute on May 17, 2014. The audience will be a conglomerate of students and youth from Hetrick Martin Institute's Harvey Milk High School and Rosie's Theater Kids as well as a selection of LGBTQA leaders and artists living and working in NYC.

Rosie's Theater Kids, under the Artistic and Executive Direction of Lori Klinger, is a non-profit arts education organization dedicated to enriching the lives of children through the arts. Their participation in the rock and the ripe reading and workshop is part of their "Safe Haven" initiative, empowering their students to be leaders in creating a safe place at RTKids home, Maravel Arts Center, for LGBTQA teens.

The 80-minute performance follows a wild story of heartbreak and coming-of-age depicted through the struggles of bullied queer youths in America represented by six high-school students waiting to receive punishment from their principal. A gay version of The Breakfast Club meets No Exit. "Blane captures the back-and-forth of teen talk precisely, with plenty of dark humor included," (Christine Howey, Rave & Pan Cleveland). "Blane is one to watch as a playwright and also as a voice for LGBT equality," (Matthew Rettenmund, The show has previously been performed to sold-out audiences in Chicago for its world premiere.

The play will be co-directed by two Brooklyn-based collaborators, Mark Blane, queer playwright and activist, and Kristin Kelly, a queer community-based artist and director. The two directors formed an artistic relationship while studying in the undergraduate drama program at Syracuse University and experimenting with performance, queer studies, and community outreach.

After the performance, a drama workshop will be lead by Blane and Rebecca Elkin-Young, Registered Drama Therapist, who received her MA in Drama Therapy from New York University. For the past four years she has worked in a major pediatric hospital providing therapeutic services to children and young adults in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. The workshop activities, including the creation of a QUEERYearbook, will produce tools and resources to engage LGBTQ teens in the quest toward self-actualization, identity, and self-empowerment.

The Rock & The Ripe began with a YouTube video ("The Bullied and Bruised Gay Youth of America) that started a viral movement in early 2012 after writer/creator Mark Blane took several trips across the USA to discover the truths behind the deaths of young teenage boys who took their own lives after relentless bullying and harassment in their schools, homes, and communities. The movement continued with international support via Kickstarter to fund the challenging new play and social justice project.

Introducing the professional cast: Nico Allen, Nuni Borenstein, Gaby Fernandez, Danny Kornfeld, Chase Newell, Corynne Victoria Peters, David Weinheimer, and Andrew Whipple.

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