Vital Drama League Alumni Directors Fest Runs 4/27-5/7

By: Apr. 24, 2006

This spring, the Drama League Directors Project is teaming up with Off-Broadway's Vital Theatre Company to present the Vital Drama League Alumni Directors Fest.  It will run from April 27th through May 7th, with performances Thursday through Sunday evenings at 8 p.m. at the McGinn/Cazale Theatre (2162 Broadway at 76th Street, adjacent to the Promenade Theatre).

Vital Drama is the brainchild of Vital Theatre artistic associate Julie Hamberg, who is also a Directors Project alumna. Vital invited alumni from the renowned Drama League Directors Project to tackle pieces they love, with playwrights they admire, to present eight distinct visions of theatre-of-the-now, melded into two evenings. 

Week one will take place from April 27th through 30th. 

In Yehuda Hyman's Swan Lake Calhoun (Actors Theatre of Louisville Heideman Award winner), two regular guys are ice fishing when an accident occurs. A lovely swan (or maybe a goose--she won't admit which) who happens to be an enchanted Ukrainian former dental technician, comes to the rescue," state press notes. Pesha Rudnick directs.

Mahayana Landowne creates and directs Blue Period: Still into Life.  "She engages physical imagination with Picasso's paintings to create a performance translation of his blue world through scenes that address war, poverty, longing and love."

In Shawn B. Hirabayashi's Poor Ophelia, "a sad young woman sits and sips champagne while reading the Bard, poised on a limb over a pond of cool water. She suddenly finds herself in the pool where a bizarre mix of strangers--Bette Davis as the Snake, a Fellini-esque clown gravedigger, her mass murderer boyfriend and his oblivious mom, and others--try to keep her from the cave that calls to her." Julie Hamberg directs.

In Brian Sloan's Bumping Heads, "when a night of dancing at the Roxy goes terribly wrong, two men spend the balance of their Saturday evening in an Emergency Room tending to wounds both physical and emotional.  A sassy medical intern doesn't help matters as they try to sort out their relationship."  Andrew Volkoff directs.

 Week two will run from May 4th through 7th.

Gregory Lamont Allen directs Dearborn Heights by Outer Critics Circle Award winner Cassandra Medley. "Two African American women--one light-skinned, the other dark--meet in a home-style diner in Dearborn Heights, Michigan. What starts as a gushing new friendship turns hellish when their own prejudices are pushed by the intolerance shown by the other diners."

Max Sparber's The Older Gentleman "is set in a small, repressive Midwestern town in the early 1960s, where a college student and his flamboyant vocal coach discover they have more in common than anyone would suspect." Rob Urbinati directs.

Push It is Maria Gabriele's comedy of the brutal." In a reality show gone wild, actors playing Chekhov's Three Sisters are pitted against each other. As the host eggs them and the audience on, The Chopper waits in the wings, ready to take off a body part of the loser." Tom Rowan directs.

In Tell Her That by Michael John Garcs, "two divorced parents try to get their uncommunicative daughter to explain a dramatic event at school. In Garcs' perceptive and staccato style, no one understands, no one connects, and no one can finish a sentence." Moritz von Stuelpnagel directs.

"With audiences over 47,000 strong and now in its eighth season, Vital Theatre Company has mounted 24 full-length mainstage productions, ten installments of the Vital Signs New Works Festival, six short-play series, two Vital Directions projects, plus Late Night offerings from vaudeville to sketch comedy. To date, 19 plays in Vital Signs have gone on to publication. Vital Children's Theatre has presented 35 productions, most brand new musicals, all played by adult actors for young audiences and their families. Well over 4,000 NYC students have been touched by Vital Voices Arts-in-Education program."

"The Drama League Directors Project is the only national, comprehensive career development program for early and mid-career directors, and is also dedicated to creating work opportunities for its alumni.  Their 208 alumni have had a profound effect upon the American Theatre, and can be found working in every aspect of the profession.  They can be found directing on and Off-Broadway, at theaters across the country and in film and television.  They are the artistic directors, associates and resident directors at forty-five professional theatres, and their work has been honored with Tony, Emmy, Obie and Drama Desk Awards, as well as numerous grants and fellowships."

Tickets are $18 and are now available online at or by calling 212-352-3101.   For more information, please visit

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