13th Annual Downtown Urban Theater Festival Launches Today

By: May. 13, 2015

The Downtown Urban Theater Festival (Reg E. Gaines, Artistic Director) will present its 13th annual season in New York City today, May 13th - 30th, 2015.

Founded in 2001 with the purpose of building a fresh repertoire of stories that echo the true spirit of urban life while speaking to a whole new generation whose lives defy categorizing along conventional lines, the 13th annual Downtown Urban Theater Festival (DUTF) will be presented on the Mainstage at HERE (145 6th Avenue, Enter on Dominick St. -- one block south of Spring St. -- in NYC). This year, DUTF will present seventeen new stage works by eighteen of America's finest emerging playwrights, all sharing stories that interpret our history and our times through live performances fusing theatre, dance, music, media and visual arts.

The 13th annual Downtown Urban Theater Festival commenced with a special Opening Night event, which took place tonight, May 12th at 8:00 p.m. at 40/40 Club (6 West 25th Street, NYC). Acclaimed playwright/director/actor Danny Hoch (Pot Melting, Some People, and Jails, Hospitals, & Hip-Hop) will receive the 2015 DUTF Playwright Masters Award, awarded to a writer that embodies the spirit of the Downtown Urban Theater Festival, at the event. Previous honorees of the DUTF Playwright Masters Award include Nilo Cruz (Pulitzer Prize winner for Anna in the Tropics) and Adrienne Kennedy (OBIE Award winner for Funnyhouse of a Negro).

Founded in 2001, The Downtown Urban Theater Festival held its inaugural festival in 2002 at HERE in SoHo to help revitalize the NYC downtown arts scene, which was at the time experiencing a severe downturn following the WTC disaster. For the past thirteen years, DUTF has presented 147 plays written by 119 writers from across America's burgeoning multicultural landscape. Many of DUTF's previous playwrights have gone on to have their work presented in venues across the country, earning awards and other distinctions, including: Dominique Morisseau (DUTF 2006), whose play Detroit '67 was the 2014 Edward M. Kennedy Prize winner for Drama Inspired by American History; Karen Anzoategui, whose play Ser (DUTF 2012) went on to be produced by the Los Angeles Theatre Company and to win two LA Weekly Awards from five nominations in 2014; Helena D. Lewis, who won the 2014 AUDELCO Award for Best Solo Performance for Call Me Crazy (DUTF 2006); Darian Dauchan, whose play Death Boogie (DUTF 2012) won two awards for Best New Music and Best Innovation at the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland; Mayda del Valle (Culture Bandit - DUTF 2002 and 2004), who went on to be take part in the Tony Award winning Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam on Broadway in 2003, and also to present excerpts of her poetic writings before President Obama and the First Lady at the White House in 2009.

DUTF has been recognized as "one of the world's best festivals for new works" and described as "not only prestigious, but a slice of heaven for playwrights who want the chance to freely express themselves." (Lisa Mulcahy, Theater Festivals, Allworth Press, 2005).

Two-time Tony Award nominee Reg E. Gaines (Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk) returns as DUTF's Artistic Director. The Downtown Urban Theater Festival is staffed by T. Marc Newell, Founder and Producer; Bill Toles, Production Manager; DeVante Lewis, Playwright Coordinator; and Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez, Graphic Design/Creative Services.

The 13th annual Downtown Urban Theater Festival will showcase emerging voices from all over the New York City area as well as from around the country. Their stories express ideas on love, social change, human existence, and survival as we travel from the beautiful city of Paris to the Renaissance of Harlem and the slums of present-day Chicago.

This year, DUTF will proudly launch the New York International Urban Film Fest (NUFF) as part of its programming to provide an outlet for diverse emerging filmmakers to share stories and artistic reform. NUFF's mission is to create a marriage between theater and film by presenting works with strong theatrical elements that focus more on dramatic text and less on visual effects. DUTF has been inspired by several of its past playwrights who have incorporated film elements into stage plays or later adapted their plays into films, such as The Northern Kingdom and Crush (winner of the Best Short Film Script Competition at the 2011 NY International Latino Film Festival). As DUTF allows writers to bring their work from the page to the stage, NUFF will include works adapted from the stage to the screen. Desmond Hall, acclaimed filmmaker and former Creative Director for Spike Lee, is the Curator for NUFF.

For more information, selected films and screening schedule, visit www.nuffnyc.com.

The full line-up of plays (listed chronologically) and playwrights can be found below:



By Darian Dauchan (New York)

Wednesday, May 13th at 8:30 PM

A glimpse into the lives of the minorities amongst the minorities; a theatrical exploration on those who, despite their skin, don't fit in with their own kin.

Darian Dauchan is an award winning solo performer, actor, and poet who has appeared on both Broadway (Twentieth Century) and Off-Broadway Theatre (Jean Cocteau Rep., Classical Theatre of Harlem). TV and Film credits include Law and Order, Nickelodeon's Bet the House as Darian the "SoundFX" Guy, and the Lionsgate feature film Things Never Said. He was a member of the 2006 National Poetry Slam Team for the legendary Nuyorican Poets Cafe, was crowned the 2007 Urbana Grand Slam Champion for the Bowery Poetry Club, was a 2008 Nuyorican Grand Slam Finalist, and was the 2009 New Word Artist for Urban Word NYC in conjunction with the Dance Theatre Workshop now known as New York Live Arts. He's also the 2012 winner of The Jerome Foundation's Stakeholder's Choice Award and one of his most recent shows Death Boogie, A Hip Hop Poetry Musical, was the 2012 winner of two Edinburgh Fringe Festival Musical Theatre Matters Awards for BEST New Music and BEST Innovation of a Musical. His band The Mighty Third Rail are 2015 American Music Abroad Finalists for the U.S. State Department, and in 2014 performed at SPKRBOX, the first Hip Hop Theater Festival in Norway. Black Sheep commissioned by the the Kitchen Theatre in Ithaca, NY with the support of the New York State Council on the Arts is his 5th solo show. www.dariandauchan.com


By Shonali Bhowmik (New York)

Thursday, May 14th at 8:30 PM

(presented in a double bill with Blackout 03)

In a society that depends on technology, outsourcing and mass surveillance, jobs at CVS have disappeared. Bill has worked at CVS for years and is the last employee standing. Connie, a CVS customer, regularly stops by the store just to shoot the shit with Bill. On this day their conversation is forced to come to an abrupt halt.

Shonali Bhowmik is a musician, actress, filmmaker, writer and director. She recently wrote and directed the comedy short film, Sardines Out of A Can, which won Best Romantic Comedy Short Film at the Bare Bones International Film Festival 2014. She is currently writing and starring in her own web series titled Shayla Hates Celebrities. She is the leader of the band Tigers and Monkeys and is a member of the popular comedy troupe Variety Shac. She currently co-hosts a monthly live variety show and podcast called We Don't Even Know.


By Kate Bell (New York)

Thursday, May 14th at 8:30 PM

(presented in a double bill with Bed Bugs and Hot Pockets)

Racial and class tensions flare between two couples on a Brooklyn rooftop during the blackout of 2003.

KATE BELL's plays have been produced or developed in New York at the Culture Project, Theater for the New City, Red Fern Theatre Company, New Perspectives Theatre, Manhattan Theater Source, Gallery Players, Random Access Theatre, and at the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, VA. Past honors include Finalist for The Playwrights Realm Fellows Program, Finalist/Honorable Mention for the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Semi-finalist for the O'Neill Theater Conference, runner-up for the Princess Grace Award, and recipient of two Hopwood Awards at the University of Michigan, where she earned her M.F.A. in Creative Writing.


By Adam Esquenazi Douglas (New York)

Friday, May 15th at 8:30 PM

World War II. Cleveland, Ohio. Two young, Jewish comic book creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, create Superman and change the world forever. But few know the real, bloody story behind the birth of the Man of Steel and the tragedy he created for these two artists for generations to come. The secret origin of the world's first, great superhero, and the heroes and villains who created him.

ADAM ESQUENAZI DOUGLAS was born in Texas, grew up in Arkansas, was raised by a Jewish man and a Cuban woman, and, somehow, he doesn't have an accent. He is a graduate of the University of Arkansas' MFA Playwriting program, and ran away to Brooklyn shortly thereafter. His work has been produced across the United States from Los Angeles to New York City as well as in Canada and Japan. His work has been featured three times in the Downtown Urban Theater Festival: Suicide Notes in 2012, The Last Day of Oscar Wilde's Life in 2013, and Forever 27 in 2014, which he also directed and performed in. The Last Day of Oscar Wilde's Life took third place in the best short play category for DUTF 2013.


By Helena D. Lewis (New York)

Saturday, May 16th at 8:30 PM

While struggling to take care of her 82 year-old father and his pimp-like dog, Smokey, a "menopause baby" finds humor and resiliency in the unexpected loss of her mother.

HELENA D. LEWIS, from Newark, New Jersey is an award winning actress, poet, and playwright. Her one-person show, Call Me Crazy: Diary of A Mad Social Worker, chronicles her work in the social service field portraying twenty-five characters from pimps to menopausal women. Call Me Crazy has had over fifteen sold-out performances and was profiled on the National Association of Social Workers' (NASW) Social Workers Speak website and Rutgers Alumni Magazine. Call Me Crazy is the winner of the AUDELCO 2014 Best Solo-Performance Award, Best Short at the Downtown Urban Theater Festival in NY, and was festival Pick at the inaugural DC Black Theater Festival. Lewis has also performed Call Me Crazy at the NASW-NJ 2012 Annual Conference, Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Kumble Theater at Long Island University, Rutgers University School of Social Work Field Day, and was produced by Urbintel, Inc. in conjunction with the New York Public Library at the Schomburg Center in NY. Lewis has performed at numerous universities and colleges across the country and has been featured in the Peabody Award Winning series, "Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry." Lewis is currently a member of the performance troupe HERStory, the host of VERSES at the Nuyorican Poets Café in NY, and the host of the Midnight Poetry Jams at the National Black Theater Festival (NBTF) in Winston-Salem, NC. Lewis was most recently a featured performer at the 2015 Mother Tongue Monologues produced by Black Women's Blueprint, and can be seen in the television series, "The Cipher;" the Hip-Hop horror movie, "Golddigger Killer," which won Best Short at the Odyssey Awards; "What Goes Around Comes Around;" Freshman Seminar; and is a featured artist in "Art of Love & Struggle: Women in Hip-Hop." Her new one-person play, Shenanigans, will debut at the 2015 Downtown Urban Theater Festival (DUTF) in NY at the HERE Arts Center. In addition to her career as a performer, Lewis received her Master of Social Work (MSW) from Rutgers University School of Social Work. Lewis is also a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) and HIV/AIDS Health Educator who developed, implemented and supervised a drop-in center for drug-addicted prostitutes for the Community At Risk Reduction (CARR) Program in Newark, NJ. She also spoke at the New Jersey Woman and AIDS Network (NJWAN) Annual HIV/AIDS Symposium and her work with prostitutes has been featured on New Jersey News Network. Ms. Lewis has 14 years of experience working in prisoner re-entry. She helped develop a vocational rehabilitation component for a Department of Corrections (DOC) Community Release Program for women. She also spent three years working on a CDC/HRSA Correctional Demonstration Project providing prevention case management to HIV positive male inmates. Lewis is also the former program manager of three transitional housing programs for formally incarcerated men and women. She is currently working with Urban Renewal Corp. to facilitate the opening of their new Drug Court Expansion Initiative in Newark, NJ.



By Mel Nieves (New York)

Wednesday, May 20th at 8:30 PM

(presented in a double bill with For the Flies)

In the wee small hours of the morning Vincent and Anamarie are dancing to the tune of Jack Daniels and smokes (and I ain't talkin' about cigarettes), but the music is about to stop and a shoe is about to drop before the sun rises.

Mel Nieves was born and raised in New York City. He is an actor/playwright/ screenwriter, a graduate of The William Esper Studio, and long time member of the award winning LAByrinth Theatre Company and The Actor's Studio Playwright-Director's Unit. As an actor he can be seen in the HBO series "The Leftovers." As a playwright he is a two-time Metlife Foundation "Nuestro Voces" playwrighting nominee. His work as a playwright has been presented in on the east coast in New York, Chicago, Rochester and on the west coast in Orange County, Los Angeles and San Diego. Most recently he wrote the screenplay for the film "Remembrance" produced by Bob Giraldi. "Between a Hot Dog & a Hard Place" marks his seventh play to be presented by The Downtown Urban Theatre festival.


By Camilo Almonacid (New York)

Wednesday, May 20th at 8:30 PM

(presented in a double bill with Between a Hot Dog and a Hard Place)

Pilar and Juan, two Colombian immigrants, take us on an interactive tour -- with a musical score and shaman-like transformations -- of the St Valentine's Day Massacre in the City of Chicago during the Roaring 20s . . . a time in history abundant with corruption, crime, and violence.

Camilo Almonacid received his MFA in Playwriting from Hunter College in 2014 under the guidance of Tina Howe, Mark Bly and Arthur Kopit. During this time, he won the Irv Zarkower Award for his play Checkin' In and The Rita Goldberg Playwriting Award for his thesis play Westpine Myopes. In the summer of 2014, Camilo's short play After the Crowds (part of the World's Fair Play Festival at Queen's Theater and produced by Theatre 167) was a New York Times Critic's Pick. He lives in New York City with his wife and is a teaching artist at East Brooklyn Community High School.


By Kim Yaged (New York)

Thursday, May 21st at 8:30 PM

A hilarious one-woman tour de force about strippers, identity politics, thongs, lesbians, feminism, and 8-inch stilettos-- with lots of soul searching and some air guitar sprinkled in -- Hypocrites & Strippers promises to be your best one night stand of the Spring!

Kim Yaged is an award-winning writer and photographer whose work frequently addresses issues of identity with a focus on using art for social change. Kim's chamber opera www.love was showcased by the New York City Opera and subsequently performed in Ann Arbor, MI. This production won four "Best of" awards, including Best Musical and Best Original Production. Kim was a co-recipient of a grant from ArtServe, the State of Michigan Council for the Arts, as well as a recipient of the Kennedy Center's Meritorious Achievement Award for the Diego Rivera Theatre's production of her theatre/dance hybrid America. America won the Audience Award at the Downtown Urban Theater Festival in New York and was part of House Special at ODC Theater in San Francisco. Kim has written children's books for Random House and Disney, and her short stories and poetry have been included in anthologies published by Ballantine Books, Cleis Press and Arsenal Pulp Press. Her one-person show Hypocrites & Strippers recently had a three-week run at Richmond Triangle Players in Virginia and was nominated for a Best Actress Artsie. An excerpt of Hypocrites & Strippers was published in Applause Books' One on One: The Best Women's Monologues for the 21st Century. Hypocrites & Strippers was also a finalist in the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, included in Fritz Blitz in San Diego, and part of the Double X festival celebrating women's theater and urban living in Baltimore. An animated short based on the play has screened at film festivals in New York, Chicago, Austin, and Tampa. A second animated short based on the play is currently in consideration at numerous festivals. For more information on the series, please visit www.hypocritesandstrippers.com. Kim's play vessels was commissioned for the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust in conjunction with an exhibit by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. vessels was also performed at the Renberg Theatre in Hollywood and included in the Native Aliens Theatre Festival in New York City. Kim's musical Leading Lady was part of Dixon Place's Festival "Warning: Not for Broadway" in New York. Her play Never Said was part of XY at Theatre 503 in London and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Never Said was previously part of Unity Fest at the Bank Street Theatre in New York and the Wild Plum Theater Company's One-Act Festival in Cleveland. Playwrights' Arena produced a reading of her play S'lichot in Los Angeles. S'lichot was previously produced at the Trueblood Theatre in Ann Arbor and as part of the Resident Theatre Company's Playwright's Festival at Fullerton College in California. Other productions of her work include The University of Mishegoss at the ATHE Conference in Toronto and Fullerton College; Kim's Spot at The Performance Network in Ann Arbor; and HER at Bailiwick Theatre in Chicago and API Theatre in Kalamazoo, MI. Kim was a head writer for Ricky is Famous, produced by Jeff Goode Entertainment, and there were staged readings of her television pilot Jersey City at Sony Studios and the Stella Adler Theatre in Los Angeles. There was a reading of her new play The Vast Mystery of Who You Are at Judson Church in New York in October. She also was the dramaturg for Director Ayat Najafi's Nothing Ever Happens Here. Kim's other honors include two Hopwood Awards, for her plays HER and Roomies, the Institute for Research on Women and Gender's "Community of Scholars" Fellowship, and the Center for Education of Women's Margaret Dow Towsley Award. Kim's photographs have been shown in London, Berlin and Tunisia.


By Kacie Devaney (New York)

Friday, May 22nd at 8:30 PM

Nina and Mathieu stumble across a metaphysical landscape as they confront their ideas of change and conformity. A kaleidoscope of shifting scenes and performance styles including original song and movement.

KACIE DEVANEY is a playwright, lyricist, dancer, and actor who spent most of her formative years in northern California. In 2011 Kacie moved to Paris, France, where she obtained a bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature and theater studies. In Paris, Kacie wrote her first full length Play, Changing Tables, which was presented as a staged reading in the Moving Parts reading series Paris. In 2013 Kacie moved to New York City to fully purse her work as an artist. In 2014 Changing Tables was accepted into The Thespis Theater festival in NYC and had a successful three night run at one of the smaller theaters in time square. Kacie recently submitted her second full length play to the Fringe festival in New York and is currently writing a full length one woman show. Kacie is in the process of choreographing a dance piece for the DUMBO dance festival in Brooklyn-her piece is a combination of her original folk music and choreography where she uses her guitar as a dance partner instead of a person. Kacie is honored to have had Changing Tables accepted into The Down Town Urban Theater festival 2015 and looks forward to presenting her dynamic and exciting play to all of you.


By Dominique Miller (California)

Saturday, May 23rd at 8:30 PM (presented in a double bill with Spades)

Are public figures obligated to use their fame to address social issues? Are community problems more important than global issues? Academy Award winner Hamilton Robinson finds himself having to wrestle with these questions until a tragic event forces him to say something.

DOMINIQUE MILLER is an emerging playwright whose interests in social justice and underrepresented perspectives come through in her work. Her first play, Say Something, had the privilege of being part of The Robey Theatre Company's 1st Inaugural Paul Robeson Theatre Festival. After years of academic writing and completing her Master's degree in Arts Management, she participated in the Playwright's lab at The Robey to further develop her skills as a writer and explore her creative side.


By J.E. Robinson (Missouri)

Saturday, May 23rd at 8:30 PM (presented in a double bill with Say Something)

To the surprise of his fellow Harlem Renaissance writers, Wallace Thurman returns to New York after working as a Hollywood screenwriter as a sick, dissolute man, and his friend, Bruce Nugent, wonders "why?"

J.E. ROBINSON was born in Alton, Illinois and received a BA in Classics from Howard University, 1987 and an MA in Ancient History from the University of Missouri-Columbia, 1989, with additional graduate study at the University of Chicago (Byzantine history, 1989-1990). Robinson is formerly, creator, producer, and host of "Eavesdropping," a half-hour conversation, WBGZ-AM, Alton, 1993-2004 ... he interviewed William Least-Heat Moon and Wole Soyinka, among others. Robinson began producing and publishing poetry as a college student in 1983; stopped working in poetry in 1986 to concentrate upon fiction. resumed writing poetry in 1997, producing "Five Verses," which has appeared widely, including in the public radio podcast "Calling America," since 1997, poems have appeared widely. Since 2002, he has been producing personal essays, mostly on schizophrenia, from which he suffers. In 2005, the essay "Notes from a Janitor's Closet," published in KARAMU, received the Illinois Arts Council Literary Award; essays have appeared widely, and have received a Pushcart nomination. SKIP MACALESTER (2006) took seven years to publish; it was named a "Paperback Pick" by the American Booksellers Association in summer 2006. A general, and prevailing, interpretation is that the book is autobiographical in some way, despite the author's protestations to the contrary. The play in one-act MOTHER'S DAY was presented at Actors' Theatre in Louisville, Kentucky, as part of the Juneteenth Jamboree of New Plays in June 2005.



By Daphny Maman and Sujin Kim (New York)

Wednesday, May 27th at 8:30 PM

(presented in a double bill with La Bestia: Sweet Mother)

Every day a young barista arrives at the coffee shop to serve its customers, but today, the first customer at the shop is an odd-looking man with an unusual and surprising request that impacts the barista and his manager in a way they never imagined.

DAPHY MAMAN is a screenwriter, playwright and lyricist, living and working in New York City. Daphny has more than nine years of experience as a professional writer for Television in various roles - from a Dialogue Writer, through Script Editor and Head Writer to being the Creator and Head Writer of sitcoms and dramas for the Israeli TV, as well as two musical comedy shows. Together with her collaborator Sujin Kim, she recently wrote a full length musical comedy titled Wait!. Her work has been performed at 54Below and the Laurie Beechman Theatre. Daphny is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America and the Israeli Screenwriters Association. She holds an MFA from the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts in May, 2013, and a B.A in Film from Tel Aviv University. www.daphnymaman.com.


SUJIN KIM is a musical theatre/jazz composer living in New York City. She graduated from Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at NYU in May, 2013. She also graduated from Berklee College of Music in jazz composition (May, 2011) and from Yonsei University in classical composition (May 2001). SuJin Has written music for TV drama and incidental music for websites and ringtones at Soundpolis in Korea in 2005. Her musical, Wait!, words by Daphny Maman, was read by equity actors at NYU in May 2013. Recently, Sujin was the musical director for "Sunday in the Park With George" at Burning Cole Theatre in Raleigh, North Carolina in November, 2013. She also music directs concerts for Enob which is a non-profit organization in New York City. Currently, Sujin teaches piano and musical theatre to young children at Junamok Art School in Queens, NY.


By Tom Block (Maryland)

Wednesday, May 27th at 8:30 PM

(presented in a double bill with Good Morning for Coffee)

The knife's edge between creation and destruction . . . Based on humanity's earliest creation myths, it is a multi-media (live music, a capella chorus and dance) exploration of three mothers -- a Syrian, Honduran and American -- who are forced to become destroyers. Such, we are told in those earliest tales, is the cycle of life.

TOM BLOCK is an author and artist whose plays are a unique combination of visual art, philosophy, mysticism, existential searching, music and choreography. His previous plays include Oud Player on the Tel (presented as part of the 2014 Jewish Plays Project at the 14th Street Y), Muse, Butterfly (which had its first reading at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.), and his first play White Noise, which was presented at Theatre for the New City.


By Irene Hernandez (New York)

Thursday, May 28th at 8:30 PM (presented in a double bill with Run. Hide. Be Quiet.)

A young woman gets unexpected thrown out of her apartment... in a text message. When it comes to surviving in New York, she'll have to think outside the box... and pack her sense of humor.

IRENE HERNANDEZ is an actor, writer, producer, director, teaching artist and has a non-profit theater company, Dancing Frog. This is Irene`s 2nd year with the Downtown Urban Theater Festival. Her entry last year, Gee, Thanks, was also accepted into the Lower East Side Festival of the Arts and produced by the Family Repertory Company.


By Shyla Idris (New York)

Thursday, May 28th at 8:30 PM (presented in a double bill with Outside the Box)

A woman finds herself confined to a seclusion room on an inpatient psychiatric ward. Here she will have to wrestle with her sanity, her family, a dark secret and her future . . . if she can get out.

Shyla Idris is a self-taught painter, photographer, actor, writer and filmmaker. Her first film, RELEASED, is a Documentary Short on suicide and the failure of the mental health system, premiering at The Reel Recovery Film Festival Fall 2015 at Quad Cinema NYC. She is currently writing her memoir "Committed" about her childhood and later commitment to the infamous Creedmoor Psychiatric Center. She dedicates her work to her late twin brother Robbie and survivors everywhere. susanspangenberg.com.


By Nikolai Mishler (New York)

Friday, May 29th at 8:30 PM

"To be a mother is to be possessed by a power beyond wonder. It lives in every mother's heart. For her child, a mother will suffer any suffering." - Euripides

To be a son is to be possessed by a power beyond virtue. It is all -eternal.

Nikolai Mishler is entering his final year at the Experimental Theater Wing at NYU Tisch this Fall. At ETW, he has written and directed several pieces, including ABSENTIA, a piece examining differences between the American public's reactions following Pearl Harbor as compared with 9/11. He has performed in Pericles (dir. David Schweizer and Rinde Eckert), Troilus and Cressida (dir. Tea Alagic) and Fragments from a Triumphal Arch (dir. John Jesurun) as well as multiple student-run projects, most recently as Orpheus in Sara Ruhl's Eurydice. Nikolai has worked as a sound designer/composer for student productions at Tisch and around the city.


By Keelay Gipson (New York)

Saturday, May 30th at 8:30 PM

A group of friends meet to welcome home Kenneth, a runway model who has just spent time in Milan for Fashion Week. With the wine flowing, and the arrival of Kenneth's new significant other, they begin to talk about standards of beauty. Will the mention of a new job opportunity for Kenneth lead their conversation into some stigmatizing territory?

Keelay Gipson is an award-winning playwright and multi-disciplinary artist including work as an actor, filmmaker and director. As an actor he has performed in World Premiere musicals such as Quanah (Pace New Musicals), with music by the Grammy Award-winning Larry Gatlin of The Gatlin Brothers and Darling (Pace New Musicals) by composer-lyricist Ryan Scott Oliver. He has directed productions of Red Light Winter and See What I Wanna See (Studio 501) in New York as well as new plays, musicals and concert pieces including Sign "O" The Times (Duplex Cabaret Theater) and Blood (Manhattan Repertory Theater) and My Name is Annie King. Regionally he has directed Star-Spangled Girl and Boeing-Boeing at The Mar-Va Theater in Maryland. He has assisted on projects such as The Last Days of Judas Iscariot by Stephen Adley Gurguis and White's Lies starring Betty Buckley (New World Stages). His work as a playwright has been seen at The Wild Project, Tom Noonan's Paradise Factory, Bowery Poetry Club, The Theater at Alvin Ailey, Pace University, the University of Houston, 133rd Street Arts Center, Loft227 and HERE Arts Center in NYC. He helped adapt Aimee Bender's New York Times Best-selling novel The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake into a theater piece with a group of writers which has gone on to be performed in NYC as well as in Chicago. He has been featured in The Advocate, Next Magazine and Time Out New York for his play N/F.

The 13th annual Downtown Urban Theater Festival will be presented on the Mainstage at HERE (145 6th Avenue, Enter on Dominick St. - one block south of Spring Street) Wednesday, May 13th - Saturday, May 30th, 2015. This season's selected plays will be performed once, and all performances will be presented Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8:30 PM. Tickets for all plays being presented as part of the 13th annual Downtown Urban Theater Festival are $18.00 and are now available.

For schedule, tickets and other information, please visit DUTF online at www.dutfnyc.com, or follow on Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Downtown-Urban-Theater-Festival/152194641470752 and Twitter: www.twitter.com/DUTFNYC.