Brooke Berman's CASUAL ENCOUNTERS Plays at Rising Phoenix Rep, 4/22


Following the sold out performances and overflow crowds for its first year and a half of Cino Nights presentations (including new plays by Gary Sunshine, Mando Alvarado, Courtney Baron, Florencia Lozano,Kristen Palmer, Emily DeVoti, Lucy Thurber, Jessica Dickey, Adam Szymkowicz, Laura Eason, Daniel Reitz, Megan Mostyn-Brown, Dael Orlandersmith, Keith Reddin, Crystal Skillman, and Charlotte Miller), Rising Phoenix Rep continues the series on April 22nd at 7 p.m. with Casual Encounters by Brooke Berman.

In the play, Jamie and Austin, best friends since college, open their laptops like Pandora's box and peer into the seductive world of no-strings-attached sex. But is any encounter ever *really* casual? Casual Encounters is directed by Josh Hechtand features Aaron Michael Davies, Harris Doran, Sean Dugan, Shannon Esper, Maggie Lacey, and Jesse Pennington.

The show runs Sunday, April 22nd at 7 PM and features Aaron Michael Davies, Harris Doran, Sean Dugan, Shannon Esper, Maggie Lacey, and Jesse Pennington. Located at the Seventh Street Small Stage, 43 East Seventh Street (6 to Astor Place, R/W to 8th Street, F to 2nd Ave). Admission is free; space is extremely limited. Reservations are strongly encouraged and can be made by calling 212-946-5198. For more information please visit

Inspired by Joe Cino and his Caffe Cino-one of the original birthplaces of Off-Off-Broadway theatre and early home to such writers as Doric Wilson, Robert Patrick, John Guare, Sam Shepard, Lanford Wilson, and William M. Hoffman-New York Innovative Theater Award winning company RisingPhoenixRep has commissioned nineteen playwrights to write new, full-length plays for the Seventh Street Small Stage, the intimate back room space at Jimmy's No. 43 in the East Village, where the company has mounted critically acclaimed and award winning productions of new plays for the past six years.

RisingPhoenixRep artistic director DanielTalbott described the series as a place to tap into the raw, inspired, inventive, and pioneering work of the Caffe Cino, where the love of theatre and new plays was joined with a scrappy, do-it-yourself work ethic. All shows will be rehearsed for a week and then fully mounted and produced, warts and all, for one night only with free admission.

CinoNights are currently scheduled through June 2012 and will celebrate the spirit of indie theatre as a home for new plays and theatre artists as well as hopefully honor what has been said of the Caffe Cino: "the first studio of theater where playwrights can experiment as painters and poets have done for a century, free from the tyranny of audience, box-office, church, and criticism." The plays will be fully produced for one night only on a more or less monthly basis. The remaining two playwrights, whose plays will be presented in June, are Daniel Talbott (June 10th) and Cusi Cram (June 17th).

The previous productions in the series were:

Gary Sunshine's BEST SEX EVER premiered on October 3, 2010. It was directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel and featured Stephen Bel Davies, Cathy Curtin, Jimmy Davis, Mike Doyle, and Jeffrey Nauman.

Mando Alvarado's (O)N THE 5:31premiered on October 24, 2010, directed by Taibi Magar and featuring Jolly Abraham, Sarah Baskin, and Bernardo Cubria.

Courtney Baron's HEREILIE premiered on November 7, 2010, directed by Daniel Talbott and featuring Denis Butkus and Samantha Soule.

Florencia Lozano's BUSTED premiered December 12, 2010, directed by Portia Krieger and featuring Maggie Bofill, Audrey Esparza, Nate Miller, Puy Navarro, Ana Reeder, and Jeanine Serralles.

Kristen Palmer's THE STRAY DOG premiered on January 23, 2011, directed by Julie Kline and featuring Stephen Brown, Chad Goodridge, Brian Miskell, Laura Ramadei, Jelena Stupljanin, and Haynes Thigpen.

Emily DeVoti's THE UPSTART premiered on February 13, 2011; directed by Taibi Magar and featuring Edward Carnevale, Julie Kline, and Anne O'Sullivan.

Lucy Thurber's NAMED premiered on February 27, 2011; directed by Jenna Worsham and featuring Lila Dupree, Ronete Levenson, Katie Meister, and Sarah Tolan-Mee.

Jessica Dickey's ROW AFTER ROW premiered on May 22, 2011; directed by Stephen Brackett and featuring Sevrin Anne Mason, Michael Kingsbaker, and Bjorn Thorstad.

Adam Szymkowicz's CLOWN BAR premiered on June 19, 2011; directed by Kip Fagan with lyrics by Adam Szymkowicz and Adam Overett, and music by Adam Overett. The cast featured Alex Anfanger, Brett Aresco, Stephen Bel Davies, Sam Breslin Wright, Jamie Effros, Jessy Hodges, Beth Hoyt, Jessica Pohly, Dominic Spillane, and Stephen Stout.

Laura Eason's The Undeniable Sound of Right Now premiered on August 28, 2011; directed by Kirsten Kelly and Laura Eason and featuring Daniel Abeles, Estelle Collins Bajou, Jimmy Davis, Jeff Still, and Lusia Strus.

Daniel Reitz's BLOOD STROKES premiered on September 25, 2011; directed by Daniel Reitz and featuring Tom Bozell, Joel Johnstone, and Chet Siegel.

Megan Mostyn-Brown's EDIE & ALEXANDER premiered on November 13, 2011; directed by Mia Rovegno and featuring Erin Gann and Molly Ward.

Dael Orlandersmith's KILLING FLOOR premiered on January 15th, 2012;directed by Christian Parker and featuring Jack Gwaltney and Stephen Payne.

Keith Reddin's SOLITARY MAN premiered January 29th, 2012; directed by Meg Gibson and featuring Sam Breslin Wright, Katie Kreisler, Stephen Park, and Mandy Siegfried.

Crystal Skillman's SEX AND DEATH IN LONDON premiered on February 12th , 2012. It was directed by MichaelPaddenand featured ShykoAmos,MeganHill,NathanHintonandJamesLeighton.

Charlotte Miller's favorites premiered on March 25th, 2012. It was directed by John Michael DiResta and featured J.Stephen Brantley, Jimmy Davis, Seth Numrich, Amelia Pedlow, and Addie Johnson-Talbott

Reservations will be available one week before the performance each month. Seating is extremely limited. For reservations please call 212-946-5198; for more information please visit

Brooke Berman is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter, and memoirist whose work has been produced and published across the US. Originally trained as an actor and solo performer in the experimental theater, Brooke began performing her own work on the Lower East Side of Manhattan before receiving formal training in playwriting from the Juilliard School. Her play Hunting and Gathering, which premiered at Primary Stages, directed by Leigh Silverman, was named one of the Ten Best of 2008 by New York Magazine. Her memoir, No Place Like Home, published by Random House, was released in June 2010 and named "Highbrow/Brilliant" by New York Magazine's Approval Matrix. The book made's "Top Ten Summer Reads" and was featured in Los Angeles Magazine's summer reading roundup.

Brooke's plays have been produced and developed across the US at theaters including: Primary Stages, The Second Stage, Steppenwolf, The Play Company, Soho Rep, Williamstown Theater Festival, Naked Angels, MCC, WET, SPF, New Dramatists, New Georges, The Theater For One, The Hourglass Group, The Bay Area Playwrights Foundation and the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center. In the UK, her work has been developed at The Royal Court Theatre, The National Theatre Studio and Pentabus. Plays include: Hunting and Gathering (Primary Stages); Smashing (The Play Company, The O'Neill); Until We Find Each Other (Steppenwolf, The O'Neill); The Triple Happiness (Second Stage), Sam and Lucy (SPF, Cleveland Playhouse), A Perfect Couple (WET), Out of the Water (Cape Cod Theater Project, Ars Nova), Casual Encounters (New Dramatists Creativity Fund) and others. Her plays are published by Broadway Play Publishing, Playscripts, Backstage Books and Smith & Kraus.

Brooke is the recipient of a Berilla Kerr Award, a Helen Merrill Award, two Francesca Primus Awards, two LeCompte du Nuoy awards and a commissioning grant from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture. She completed a seven-year residency at New Dramatists, where she served on the Board of Directors and developed countless plays. She has received support for her work from the MacDowell Colony and the Corporation of Yaddo and commissions from Arielle Tepper Productions and CTC in Minneapolis.

Brooke's short film All Saints Day, directed by Will Frears, won Best Narrative Short at the Savannah Film Festival and played at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2008. Other screenwriting credits include MAJOR MINOR DETAILS, the adaptation of her play SMASHING, and the adaptation of Jane Hamilton's novel, DISOBEDIENCE.

Brooke attended Barnard College and is a graduate of The Juilliard School. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, PEN and the MCC Playwrights Coalition.

Josh Hecht is a Drama Desk Award-winning director of new plays. His productions have been seen in New York at The Duke on 42nd (WEARING LORCA'S BOWTIE, a devised piece), New World Stages (Bradford Louryk's CHRISTINE JORGENSEN REVEALS – Drama Desk Award, GLAAD Media nomination), Culture Project (Drew Larimore's OUT OF ICELAND), MCC Theater (Bob Morris's ASSISTED LOVING), The Cherry Lane (Megan Mostyn-Brown's GIRL), 13P (Winter Miller's THE PENETRATION PLAY), the DR2 (Anna Ziegler's BFF), PS 122 (Joseph Keckler's JOBZ), Ars Nova (THE GAY AGENDA), NYMF, Partial Comfort, Joe's Pub, the Ontological, and others. Upcoming: Jake Jeppson's THE CLEARING (Axial) and AMANDINE (Dixon Place).

Regional productions at the Humana Festival (Allison Moore's SLASHER), The Guthrie Theater (Megan Mostyn-Brown's LIZARDS...), The Berkshire Theatre Festival (Rachel Schroeder's HELIANTHA), The Kennedy Center (Ping Chong and Co's INSIDE/OUT – writer/performer), the Boston Center for the Arts (CHRISTINE JORGENSEN – IRNE nomination), Axial Theater Company (Howard Meyer's WELCOME) and Half Moon (Annie Baker's CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION). CHRISTINE JORGENSEN also played internationally at the Dublin Arts Festival and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (Fringe First). INSIDE/OUT has also been presented at the Flynn Center in Burlington, VT; The Round House Theater in Bethesda, MD; and the Amaryllis Theater in Philadelphia, PA.

He develops between one and two dozen plays a year in readings and workshops at such theaters and development organizations as MCC, NYTW (where he is a Usual Suspect), Playwrights Horizons, Primary Stages, The Kennedy Center, The Public Theater, Rattlestick, LAByrinth, New Georges, The Geva, New Dramatists, New York Stage and Film, the O'Neill, the Playwrights Center, the New Harmony Project, the Orchard Project, Voice and Vision, P73, JAW at Portland Center Stage and many others.

For five years, he was the Director of Playwright Development at MCC Theater where he helped found and run the Playwrights Coalition, initiating a spectrum of development programs for emerging writers. While there he worked with some of today's most honored playwrights. More recently, he was the Director of New Play Development at WET. He is an alumnus of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab and the LCT Directors Lab.

He has taught playwriting at New Dramatists, ESPA/Primary Stages, The Field, the Play Development Collective and at World InterPlay and the Queen's Street Studio in Sydney, Australia. He has taught directing at the National Theater Institute at the O'Neill Center, was for two years on the faculty of the MFA program at the New School for Drama (where he created the course Co-Lab III, a thesis requirement for graduating third years) and is currently on faculty at the SUNY Purchase BFA program and at ESPA. Other work in educational environments includes directing the University of Minnesota's BFA Acting thesis productions, presentations of Carnegie Melon's MFA playwriting theses, and mentoring and directing the work of teenage writers at Young Playwrights, Inc. and the MCC Theater Youth Company.

2007 Caffe Cino Fellowship and New York Innovative Theatre Award winning RisingPhoenixRepertorywas founded in 1999 by Artistic Director Daniel Talbott. The phoenix takes the energy of the old, combines it with the new, and soars into the future. By learning from the traditions of the past and the teachings of the present, we want to rediscover the craft of a raw and vital Living Theatre. Rising Phoenix Rep started by producing an ongoing reading series of new plays as well as workshops and festivals, and now produces both in the Indie Theatre and Off-Broadway. Upcoming Off-Broadway productions include the world-premieres of 3C by David Adjmi (produced with Rattlestick and piece by piece productions) and Analphabet by Martin Moran (produced with piece by piece and The Barrow Group). Recent productions include the acclaimed, sold-out Off-Broadway runs of ElectiveAffinities (produced with piece by piece and Soho Rep), Slipping (produced with piece by piece and Rattlestick) and TooMuchMemory (also with piece by piece), which transferred to the New York Theatre Workshop's Fourth Street Theatre after winning the FringeNYC award for Outstanding Play in 2008. RPR is currently in the middle of a year-and-a-half-long event called CinoNights, inspired by Joe Cino and his Caffe Cino-one of the original birthplaces of Off-Off-Broadway-for which the company has commissioned nineteen playwrights to write new, full-length plays to be fully produced in the intimate back room of East Village restaurant Jimmy's No. 43 on a shoestring budget. Other recent productions include Ceremony, Afterclap, Birthday, and Don'tPettheZookeeper (Seventh Street Small Stage); 365Days/365Plays (Jimmy's No. 43 and The Public Theater); WhatHappenedWhen (HERE Arts Center); FallForward (part of the Sitelines/River to River festival produced by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council); TheTellingTrilogy (including TheRide, 2006 NYIT Award Nominee – Outstanding Original Short Script/Crystal Skillman), RulesoftheUniverse (Winner, 2007 NYIT Awards for Outstanding Original Short Script/Daniel Reitz and Director/Daniel Talbott), and ThreeSisters(Seventh Street Small Stage); Gift by Mark Schultz and Ponies by Mike Batistick (FringeNYC). Rising Phoenix Rep serves as a home base for a company of theatre professionals that encourages an open exchange of work and ideas within the greater theatre community. The company is a proud member of the Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York and The Dish.

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