The Riant Theatre Kicks Off 2020 STRAWBERRY ONE-ACT FESTIVAL With Encore Run Of Best Plays From Its Repertory

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The Riant Theatre Kicks Off 2020 STRAWBERRY ONE-ACT FESTIVAL With Encore Run Of Best Plays From Its Repertory

The Riant Theatre (Van Dirk Fisher, Artistic Director) -- the AUDELCO Award-Winning nonprofit, which provides a nurturing environment for playwrights and theatre creatives of diverse cultural backgrounds to develop new plays, presents some of the Best Plays From The Strawberry One-Act Festival at the Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Peter Norton Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway at 95th St, NYC. Tickets are $40 General Admission; $35 for Seniors and Students with I.D. Box Office: 212-864-5400 or online at www.SymphonySpace.org (Youtube Promo https://youtu.be/PTCS2ugfRL0)

Opening night, February 7, 2020 at 7:30pm Van Dirk Fisher directs EJYP JOHNSON, who has appeared in the films LIKE FATHER (Netflix) with Kristen Bell and Kelsey Grammar and SEE YOU YESTERDAY (Netflix) and television's BLUE BLOODS (CBS), in the play MAKE HER HAPPEN by L.E. McCullough. Co-starring is GLORIA BANGIOLA, who has appeared as Mina Murray in Bram Stoker's Dracula with InterACT Theater Productions, NJ and President Wintergreen in Brooklyn Baby (Let 'Em Eat Cake) with The Conservatory of Music of Brooklyn College. MAKE HER HAPPEN is a powerful play about people's obsession with being famous. We witness it today where having the most LIKES on social media has replaced the importance of making real connections. In Mr. McCullough's play, a waitress in a small town diner sees the opportunity for her entire life to change when a well dressed gentleman from New York City enters the establishment.

Also, on the program is A VISIT IN THE AFTERNOON by Fred Dennehy, a graduate of Yale Law School, who has had a practice for 40 years before taking up acting and playwriting. His recent credits include: HOMECOMING (Lucille Lortel Theatre) and he co-wrote with Lisa Black A NIGHT AT THE OPERA and DEAD RECKONING. The cast includes: Dawn Lanoue (Jessie in 'Night Mother), Russell Ortiz (George in Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf and Murray Burns in A Thousand Clowns by Herb Gardner, Westfield Community Players) and Allegra Mroz (Johanna in Sweeney Todd. Ophelia in Hamlet, and Cecily in The Importance Of Being Earnest). The play is directed by Ed Faver who has worked as an actor and director. Recent directing credits include: The Normal Heart and Children of a Lesser God. A VISIT IN THE AFTERNOON is a delightful and charming play about a teenage girl named Mara, who reluctantly agrees to visit her bad-tempered grandfather, who her mother tells her wants to give her something before he dies. What she receives from him is completely unexpected.

Best Play Award Nominee NOT THAT ILLEGAL by Yusuf Yildiz tackles the Hot Topic: Immigration, in which Ali Can, a Turkish immigrant, is forced to end his 10-year long journey in the U.S. due to unfortunate events. He convinces his best friend to help him with a highly risky plan to trick his arch-nemesis USCIS. Find out how USCIS's nerve-racking interview turns into a hilarious journey. The cast includes: Dylan Combs (Don John in Much Ado About Nothing, Laertes in Hamlet), Joshua R. Pyne (Dr. Jared Katz in Hanging Cow's The Accidental Awakening and Sheriff Grace in Toady Hoad) and Yusuf Yildiz. NOT THAT ILLEGAL is directed by Ayse Eldek-Richardson (Emre Ozpirincci's The New Yorkers and Ayse Eldek's Bald Boy The Musical). Mr. Yildiz moved to the United States after spending 20 plus years filled with mathematics and science in Turkey. He secretly kept writing love poems while his classmates tried to prove the Riemann hypothesis. Everything in his life changed once he stepped on stage as a thespian.

They are happy to present the Best Play Award winning play LEAVES by Victor Vaban, Jr., who also directed the play, is an actor and a former circus performer, who is in love with the art of writing. Born and raised in Brazil, Mr. Vauban became a bonafide circus performer at the age of fifteen after attending the Nacional Circus School in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As a circus performer he was able to travel the world and experience up close different cultures and witness all the diversity and beauty put in this world for us to enjoy, preserve and learn from. Mr. Vauban seeks in August Wilson, Anne Thompson-Scretching, Tennessee Williams, Franz Kafka, Susan Lori Park, and James Baldwin the inspiration to create a body of work that will move audiences in ways that will sparkle the need to reflect and take action when it comes to ways to better our community and the world. The cast of LEAVES includes: Wenday Heagy as Muriel, Benjamin Rowe as Curtis, Patricia Fields as Benita, Jennifer Jackson as Verna, Julian Kingston as James and Cassandra Borgella as Rhonda.

In LEAVES, Muriel and her two sisters had dreams of becoming the new musical sensation just like, "The Supremes" - but fate intervene. Muriel fell in love and married her college sweetheart, Curtis, putting an end to the girl group's dreams. Over thirty-years later the two sisters still resent the premature dissolution of the group blaming it on their so-called- good for nothing brother-in-law.

They will honor Reverend Carole "Imani" Parker with the COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP AWARDfor her Outstanding Contribution Enriching the Lives of Youth. Reverend Imani is an Interfaith Minister, speaking at various churches and venues. She is also a professional actress who has performed in numerous theatrical productions, including a one-woman monologue, depicting the life and times of Sojourner Truth and a production by Linda Cousins Newton called The Spirit of Mama Moses , which has been performed throughout the United States and in Ghana. In addition, Imani is a poet, motivational speaker, workshop facilitator, mentor and teacher. Most importantly, Imani has worked extensively to enhance the lives of youth. As a motivational speaker, Imani facilitated workshops and spoke at several youth facilities throughout New York State.

Saturday, February 8, 2020 at 7:30pm

A TWO-HUNDRED DOLLAR RHINOCEROS by Richard Lobel
Directed by Richard Charles Mueller

Featuring: Lukas Max, Royston Scott, Rew Starr
The play centers around two characters separated by age, race and socioeconomic status who are eventually brought together through incessant meddling. One is a grizzled, weary homeless man and the other is a young, idealistic college student.

NOT THAT ILLEGAL by Yusuf Yildiz
Directed Ayse Eldek-Richardson
Featuring: Yusuf Yildiz, Dylan Combs, Joshua R. Pyne
Ali Can, a Turkish immigrant, is forced to end his 10-year long journey in the US due to unfortunate events. He convinces his best friend to help him with a highly risky plan to trick his arch-nemesis USCIS. Find out how USCIS's nerve-racking interview turns into a hilarious journey.

A VISIT IN THE AFTERNOON by Fred Dennehy
Directed by Ed Faver
Featuring: Russel Ortiz, Allegra Mroz, Dawn Lanoue
Mara, a teenage girl, reluctantly agrees to visit her bad-tempered grandfather, who her mother tells her wants to give her something before he dies. What she receives from him is completely unexpected.

TWO GOOD DOGS by Anthony Roesch
Directed by Adriana Alter
Featuring: Valerie Donaldson, Aaron Smallwood Jr., Amy Stapleton
Two homeless people sit by the Chicago River discuss life, racism, love, loss and two good dogs.

RESERVATIONS FOR DINNER by Sean O'Leary
Directed by Mario Corry
Featuring: Ron Barba, Jessica Carillo and Melissa Capista

Reservations for Dinner is a hilarious comedy about husband and wife who suddenly become aware that they have different dreams and have been hiding from the truth for years as they prepare to celebrate the wife's triumphed return to the performing arts.

Sunday, February 9, 2020 at 7pm

A TWO HUNDRED DOLLAR RHINOCEROS by Richard Lopel

NOT THAT ILLEGAL by Yusuf Yildiz

TWO GOOD DOGS by Anthony Roesch

LEAVES by Victor Vauban Jr.

Presentation of the Pioneer of the Arts Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Theatre, Television and Entertainment

Pioneer of the Arts Awards presentation honorees:
Kamilah Forbes, an award-winning director and producer, is the Executive Producer for the Apollo Theater, a commissioning and presenting organization and theater located in Harlem, NY. Approaching its 85th year, the Apollo Theater remains dedicated to the projection of the African American narrative and its role in the development of American and global culture. Forbes' recent projects include directing the world premiere and theatrical adaption of Ta-Nehisi' Coates' New York Times Best-Selling novel Between the World and Me.

Vivian Reed Credits include: 'Tartuffe,' 'Damn Yankees,' 'Show Boat,' 'Marie Christine,' 'Sophisticated Ladies,' 'Blues In The Night,' 'Tintypes,' 'Roar of the Greasepaint, Smell of the Crowd,' 'Bubbling Brown Sugar,' 'High Rollers,' 'Hallelujah Baby,' 'More than a Song,' 'One For My Baby,' 'Countess of Storyville,' 'Blues for an Alabama Sky,' 'Crumbs from the Table of Joy,' 'Cookin' at the Cookery,' 'The Second Tosca,' 'Pork Pie,' and 'Invisible Life.' Awards include two TONY Award Nominations, Drama Desk, Mabel Mercer, NAACP, Dance Educators of America and Outer Critics Circle. Also, Vivian has created 4 one-woman shows: An Evening with Vivian Reed, Standards and More, Vivian Reed Sings Lena Horne and Little Bit of Soul, Little Bit of Pop. She has performed in major theaters and clubs in the US as well as Europe. www.vivianreed.com

Alton Fitzgerald White In addition to his 4308 performances as King Mufasa in Disney's The Lion King, White's other Broadway starring roles include: Mister in The Color Purple, Coalhouse Walker Jr. in Ragtime, Ken in Smokey Joe's Cafe, John in Miss Saigon and The Hawker in The Who's Tommy. He made his West End debut as Ken in Smokey Joe's Cafe in London. Alton has performed concert dates all over the world and is also a popular motivational speaker and author. His critically acclaimed book MY PRIDE: MASTERING LIFE'S DAILY PERFORMANCE was published by Disney Editions. He has also had guest star roles on the hit TV series "Law and Order," "Bull," "The Blacklist," "The Good Fight," "Code Black," "Elementary," "Mindhunter," and "Madam Secretary" to name a few. Alton has had recent featured roles in several motion pictures including The Goldfinch, as a social worker opposite Oscar Winner Nicole Kidman. Alton's popular TEDx Talk can be found on YouTube. https://altonfitzgeraldwhite.com/

On February 12, 2020 at 6pm & 8:30pm the Strawberry One-Act Festival will begin its next competition of short plays at Theatre 54 @ Shetler Studios & Theatre, 244 West 54th Street, 12th Floor, NYC. The festival called "The American Idol for playwrights" by the New York Daily News, has been presenting New York premieres and world premieres of short theatrical works submitted for competition from all over the country. Since 1995, it has produced over 1,500 one-act plays. Reflecting the diversity written into the mission of its presenter, The Strawberry One-Act and Theater Festival features plays that vary in length (from 15 to 90 minutes) and deal with wide array of topics, from stories of human connection and comedic takes on love and sex to works dealing with pressing social and political issues like women's rights, immigration, mental health, classism, and sexual orientation.

Strawberry One-Act Festival features a playoff-style competition, in which the audience members vote for their favorites, selecting six finalists. The chosen plays will be judged by the jury of industry experts. The winners receive awards for Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Costumes. The main prize, The Best Play Award, comes with a $1,500 prize and a development deal for a full-length play produced by the Riant Theatre. Awards will be presented at the Closing Night Ceremony and Performance on February 23rd at 5:30pm at the Theatre 54 @ Shetler Studios & Theatres. In addition, some of the plays in the festival will be selected for publication in print in the festival's anthology The Best Plays From The Strawberry One-Act Festival: Volume Nine.

"I'm very happy that the Riant Theatre is able to offer so many playwrights, actors, singers and artists an opportunity to showcase their work," says Van Dirk Fisher, Artistic Director of the Strawberry One-Act and Theatre Festival. "The competition makes it an exciting event for the audiences, but at the end of the day all of our participants are winners as they use our event as an opportunity to network and develop future artistic collaborations," he further explains.

There will be a Launch Party for the Festival at the CAFÉ VICTORIA, 70 West 107th Street, NYC, on Sunday, February 9, 2020 at 4pm. The reception will include food and drinks and a screening of the VIDEO DIARIES PROJECT, a series of short films about the artists in the festival. Tickets are $75 before February 1st and $85 after January 31st. www.TheRiantTheatre.com Box Office: 646-623-3488.

The Wrap Party for the Closing Night Performance and Award Ceremony is on Sunday, February 23rd at 5:30pm at the Theatre 54 @ Shetler Studios & Theatres. Tickets (Festival shows: $25 advance/$27 at the box office; Launch Party: $75 before February 1st and $85 after January 31st, also cash only at the door at the event; The Awards Ceremony: $30 Online, $35 cash only at the box office) are available through https://www.therianttheatre.com/ or by calling 646-623-3488. Check the website or call Box Office for information on Festival Pass discount packages.

THE STRAWBERRY THEATER and ONE-ACT FESTIVAL SCHEDULE

Sunday, February 9th at 4pm

Launch Party at the CAFÉ VICTORIA, 70 West 107th St, NYC

Reception

Video Diaries Project screening

Sunday, February 9th at 7pm

Performance of the BEST PLAYS FROM THE STRAWBERRY ONE-ACT FESTIVAL and Pioneer of the Arts Award Ceremony honoring Kamilah Forbes, Vivian Reed and Alton Fitzgerald White

Wednesday, February 12th at 6pm

FIRSTS by Naya James

BLANK GENERATIONS by Austin Sky Parker

HOPPER REVISITED by Nancy Finn

TRANSFERENCE by Debra Whitfield

Wednesday, February 12th at 8:30pm

MESSAGES by Fred Dennehy

NO FALL MY HAND by Amy Losi

HAND-ME-DOWNS by Ruthanne Lee

PETRIFIED LIGHTNING by Maggie Brill

Thursday, February 13th at 6pm

MESSAGES by Fred Dennehy

NO FALL MY HAND by Amy Losi

HAND-ME-DOWNS by Ruthanne Lee

PETRIFIED LIGHTNING by Maggie Brill

Thursday, February 13th at 8:30pm

FIRSTS by Naya James

BLANK GENERATIONS by Austin Sky Parker

HOPPER REVISITED by Nancy Finn

TRANSFERENCE by Debra Whitfield

Friday, February 14th at 6pm

SPIT DECISION by Joseph C. Anania

Directed by Barbara Grecki
Featuring: Joseph C Anania

An exciting and scary journey of a gay man's life from the 1960's to the present.

Saturday, February 15th at 1pm

OVER THE RIVER by Alexander Nathan Kanter

WHISKEY by Tony Prestandrea

POSTAL MADNESS by Michael Anthony & Perry Crowe

NORTH CAROLINA, 2028 by Jessa Smith Campbell

Saturday, February 15th at 3:30pm

LITTLE WING by Julia D'Angelo

EDWIN FARNSWORTH by Alex McFarlane

SEEING WHAT IS REFLECTING by Tamara Brown

Saturday, February 15th at 8:30pm

SPIT DECISION by Joseph C. Anania

Directed by Barbara Grecki
Featuring: Joseph C Anania

An exciting and scary journey of a gay man's life from the 1960's to the present.

Sunday, February 16th at 1pm

LITTLE WING by Julia D'Angelo

EDWIN FARNSWORTH by Alex McFarlane

SEEING WHAT IS REFLECTING by Tamara Brown

Sunday, February 16th at 3:30pm

OVER THE RIVER by Alexander Nathan Kanter

WHISKEY by Tony Prestandrea

POSTAL MADNESS by Michael Anthony & Perry Crowe

NORTH CAROLINA, 2028 by Jessa Smith Campbell

Sunday, February 16th at 6pm

FIVE CONSECUTIVE ZEROS by Roberto Ragone

ENTR'ACTE by Anthony Fusco

THE WAITING ROOM by Rick Charles Mueller

Monday, February 17th at 8:30pm

FIVE CONSECUTIVE ZEROS by Roberto Ragone

ENTR'ACTE by Anthony Fusco

THE WAITING ROOM by Rick Charles Mueller

Tuesday, February 18th at 6pm & 8:30pm

The Semi Finals

Wednesday, February 19th at 6pm & 8:30pm

The Semi Finals

Thursday, February 20th at 6pm & 8:30pm

The Semi Finals

Friday, February 21st at 7:30pm

NELLY by William Holland
Directed by Alexa Kelly
Life was changing in the 1950s, people learned that friendship could come in different colors.

Friday, February 22nd at 9pm

ALBERT AND THE TURTLE by Andrew Katzman

Directed by Andrew Katzman
A surreal and simple play about love and growing up with a big talking turtle and a time Machine.

Saturday, February 23rd at 12pm

The Finals

Saturday, February 22nd at 5pm

ALBERT AND THE TURTLE by Andrew Katzman

Directed by Andrew Katzman
A surreal and simple play about love and growing up with a big talking turtle and a time Machine.

Saturday, February 22nd at 6:30pm

NELLY by William Holland
Directed by Alexa Kelly
Life was changing in the 1950s, people learned that friendship could come in different colors.

Sunday, February 23rd at 5:30pm

The Closing Performance and Awards Ceremony

Featuring the four best plays selected by the industry judges. Awards will be presented for Best Play, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Set Design, Best Costumes and Best Video Diary.

For more about plays competing in the Strawberry One-Act Festival, visit https://www.therianttheatre.com/index.php?n=strawberry_one-act_festival.

For information on the full-length plays in Strawberry Theatre Festival, go to https://www.therianttheatre.com/index.php?n=strawberry_theatre_festival.

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