The Society for the Preservation of Theatrical History presents STAGE STRUCK: Reclaiming the History of Women
The STAGE STRUCK writer/performers appear as Clara Morris (1847-1925), Minnie Maddern Fiske (1865-1932), Bertha Kalich (1874-1939), Katharine Hepburn (1907-2003) and Eartha Kitt (1927-2008). The production has been created using the words of these historical ladies (via autobiographies, biographies, published speeches, contemporaneous media accounts), and shaped by the dramaturgy of Director Melody Brooks. In this new iteration of STAGE STRUCK, we meet these women at a salon presided over by hostess Cynthia Bastidas*, who has conjured them for our entertainment and enlightenment in these "interesting times". Meganne George is Set Design Consultant, Joyce Liao is Lighting Designer. Carolina Arboleda is the Stage Manager.
THE SOCIETY FOR THE PRESERVATION OF THEATRICAL HISTORY was formed by Mari Lyn Henry after years of research and advocacy on behalf of influential but forgotten Theatre artists. It brings together scholarship on the people, circumstances and forces that shaped the modern era, with a performance component that allows the voices of these pioneering figures to be heard again. Especially important is recapturing the contributions of WOMEN who have played a substantial role in Theatre for over 200 years, and who had an extended influence on our civic and political life, especially in NYC. Educating contemporary audiences-principally young people-about the neglected heritage of women who labored as actors, directors, producers and playwrights is vital to challenging negative gender stereotypes for all fields.
NEW PERSPECTIVES THEATRE COMPANY is an award-winning, multi-racial company performing in the Theatre District, communities throughout NYC, regionally and as of 2015, internationally. Now in its 25th season, notable productions have included Richard III, starring Austin Pendleton; The Taming of the Shrew (OOBR Award for Excellence), Exhibit #9 by Tracy Scott Wilson (Audelco Award); Jihad, The Play 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); MOTHER OF GOD! by Michele Miller (Princess Grace Foundation Finalist) the U.S. and English-language premiere of Visit by world-renowned Argentinean playwright Ricardo Monti; and the New York Premieres of Vaclav Havel's The Increased Difficulty of Concentration, and OBIE-Winner Stephanie Berry's The Shaneequa Chronicles (w/Blackberry Productions). , which presents the work of female playwrights through the ages in staged readings and scholarly playbills.
Cynthia Bastidas (Hostess): SHE SHE SHE (New Ohio Theatre), Informed Consent (Gulfshore Playhouse), Lost/Not Found (Up Theater), Quit the Road, Jack (Radical Gags), The World's Fair Play Festival (Queens Theatre), The Golden Drum Year (Radical Evolution), Just Like Us (Denver Center Theatre), The Why Me Pen (Public Theater), Kita y Fernanda (Mo'olelo Performing Arts Co), Jackson Heights Trilogy (Theatre 167), Zero (Public Theater), The Way Knights Fall & Chastity of Heart (Spellbound Rep), Anna in the Tropics (Lehman Stages). Training: MFA Theater-Brooklyn College; HB Studio; Labyrinth Master Class; Andrew Wade, Royal Shakespeare Company.
Paula Ewin (Katharine Hepburn) is a Founding Member of the award-winning Off Broadway 29th Street Rep, where she played leading roles in over 27 NY and World Premiere productions since 1988. Playwright in residence Bill Nave has written characters for her including the "OOBR" winner Visiting Oliver and Bible Burlesque (opposite Edward Norton). She has toured the country in the Broadway production of On Golden Pond with Tom Bosley and Michael Learned and performed the role of Ms. Hepburn in the one woman show Tea at Five at The Pasadena Playhouse, among other venues. Most recently she appeared in the Off Broadway Premiere of For Heaven's Sake! by Laura Pedersen, directed by Ludovica Villar-Hauser at The Cherry Lane and at 710 Main Street Theatre in Buffalo. Paula has also appeared Off-Broadway at The Harold Clurman, Triangle and Actors and Directors Theaters and in regional and summer stock theaters. TV and Film: numerous daytime dramas, industrials and film. A graduate of The William Esper Studio, she holds a BA in Theatre from Rhode Island College. She is the recipient of an OOBR Award for Night of Nave and the ACTF Irene Ryan Award (Alternate) for Excellence. Member, AEA, SAG/AFTRA, League of Professional Theatre Women.
Ginger Grace (Minnie Fiske). Credits include The First Ladies Coalition, written and performed by Ms. Grace and directed by Austin Pendleton (Abingdon Theatre, NY; David M. Player Center for the Arts, AZ.) Her production of William Luce's The Belle of Amherst has played throughout the country since 2002, along with her own interactive performance piece, Inside Emily Dickinson: Her Poetry & Her Life. She toured nationally opposite Rich Little in The Presidents playing all of his First Ladies from Jackie Kennedy to Hillary Clinton. New York and Regional: Tennessee Williams' Vieux Carre with Mr. Pendleton, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Mississippi Mud); Doubt (WSCC); Look Homeward Angel (Mother of Invention); Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (Penobscot Theatre); Elektra, Faust (CSC); Miss Julie (The Pearl); Dancing at Lughnasa (Greenwoods Theatre); and A Midsummer Night's Dream (Woodstock Shakespeare Festival).. Film: 6-Minute Mom (Vancouver International Film Festival), FRAT STAR (opposite Chris Elliott), SHEER, and It's all Relative. Member of LPTW, Women Stage the World and Playwrights Gallery.
Mari Lyn Henry (Clara Morris) is the founder of The Society For The Preservation of Theatrical History, and director of the Heritage Program for the League of Professional Theatre Women. She holds a Master's Degree In Theatre History from Catholic University in Washington, D.C; her published thesis concerned the development and significance of the dramatic sketch and playlet in American vaudeville, 1893-1925. After twenty years as a casting director she started a career coaching business and is co-author of How To Be A Working Actor which for 30 years has been considered the 'bible of the biz'. The foreword is by Tony- winning actor Joe Mantegna who has called it "one of the most comprehensive books on show business I've ever read..." Her workshops have been very successful in cities and universities across the country as well as in Toronto, London, Oxford and Sydney. Currently she is the Dean of Students at the Tom Todoroff Conservatory.
Judy Rosenblatt (Bertha Kalich) FILM/TV: The Cobbler with Adam Sandler, Dustin Hoffman, Steve Buschemi and Ellen Barkin, Taxi Brooklyn (Web series), The Sopranos. NY THEATRE: Understudy for Roberta Maxwell and Marcia Rodd in HELLMAN V. McCARTHY with Dick Cavett (Abingdon Theatre); The Biscuit Club (The Cell.); Moses, The Author, Fringe Festival Encore 2014 (Amy Wright, dir.)The Pinter Connection (HB Playwrights Theatre, Austin Pendleton & Chris Martin, Dirs.); Woman Before A Glass (Abingdon Theatre & United Solo Festival, Austin Pendleton. Dir.); Peggy Gugenheim Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors (Alliance Francaise), There Or Here (14th Street Theatre, Amy Feinberg, Dir.); The Dancers, Perfect Analysis Given By A Parrot (HB Playwrights Theatre, Kate Bushmann, Dir.); Monkey, Monkey (New Theatre Workshop, Harold Scott, dir.): REGIONAL: Diary Of Anne Frank, The Rose Tattoo, Streetcar Named Desire, Lovers & Other Strangers, Death Of A Salesman. Judy holds a BA from Cornell and a MA from NYU. She studied acting at Central School of Dramatic Art in London, and with a variety of fantastic acting teachers, including Joseph Balfior (of the original Group Theatre), Sanford Meisner, William Esper, Austin Pendleton, and Uta Hagen. Member of The Players Club, League of Professional Theatre Women, AEA and SAG/AFTRA. She is also the writer/creator of Mystery & Mayhem.
SANDHI SANTINI (Eartha Kitt) is a New York-based cabaret performer-playwright. She received her B.A. in Journalism from Howard University with a Theatre Arts Minor. Subsequent studies were obtained in Human Rights from Columbia University's Graduate School of International and Public Affairs, The Playwriting Program at Woodie King, Jr.'s New Federal Theatre; and Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN), Media Production. She is an associate member of LPTW; Associate Artist of New York Live Arts Fiscal Sponsorship Program; SAG-AFTRA; and World Cultures Connect (WCC). A South Carolina native, Sandhi has performed as a cabaret singer throughout the USA, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia and Africa, with singing residencies that include The Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand; Lemuria and Ephelia Constance Resorts, Seychelles, Africa; Hilton Hotels in Istanbul, Munich, Dusseldorf, Vienna, and Budapest, among others. She has headlined on-board Italy's Poesia Cruise Line, and recorded with several record labels in Italy, returning there regularly to perform in festivals. Sandhi has recently completed The Last Chanteuse, a full-length, one-woman play based on the life and times of Eartha Kitt
Melody Brooks (Director/Dramaturg) has been producing and directing in NYC since 1983; in 1991 she founded NPTC and serves as Artistic Director and CEO. Its mission of using theatre for social change and providing access and inclusion to all artists is a result of her long experience working in the Off- and Off-Off Broadway arenas. Melody directs the NPTC Women's Work LAB, which develops short and full-length plays by 12-15 members per year. She also serves as Executive Producer for NPTC's Voices From the Edge Festival, which has showcased more than 75 new works by African-American writers since 1997 and of ON HER SHOULDERS. Through these and other programs she has developed and directed numerous original and classic plays (with 2 OOBR Awards, an Audelco Award, a Princess Grace Finalist and Essence Entertainment Option among the honors received by the plays she has developed/directed) Melody received the "Spirit of Hope Award" in 2015 from Speranza Theatre Company for her work with and support of women theatre artists for more than 25 years, and was named a "Person of the Year" IN 2009 by NYTheatre.com as a co-founder of 50/50 in 2020: Parity for Women Theatre Artists. She is currently on the Board of LPTW, where she also serves as co-chair of the 2017 LPTW Gilder-Coigney International Theatre Award for women artists working outside the U.S.
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