Fostering Artistic Exploration in the Performing Arts
In February 2014, Guild Hall debuted the John Drew Theater Lab (JDTLab), a workshop devoted to fostering East End performing artists and cultivating audiences for their work. The mission of JDTLab is to support actively-engaged performing artists by providing the helpful resources of the John Drew Theater to further them along on the journey of their creative process. Participants in the JDTLab will receive access to the theater and its rehearsal rooms as well as the support of Guild Hall’s administrative and production staff to present a one-night showcase of their work. Artists selected for the series will also receive a modest honorarium and a travel stipend to help bring in out-of-town collaborators.
Most JDTLab programs are presented free of charge to the public at 7:30pm on select Tuesdays.
Individual directors, musicians, playwrights, choreographers, actors and singers as well as local performing arts companies are welcome to submit a proposal to Josh Gladstone, Artistic Director of the John Drew Theater, for consideration in the series. Email email@example.com.
Dine at The 1770 House before the JDTLab and enjoy a special $27.00 two-course, prix fixe dinner by providing the code JDTLab!
Sponsored in part by Dina Merrill and Ted Hartley, and Suffolk County.
Upcoming JDTLab Events
Directed by Elizabeth Falk
Starring Drew Keil as James Joyce
Experience James Joyce, the Irish poet and novelist, prig, provocateur and high priest shaman of the stream of consciousness novel. The author of Dubliners, Portrait of The Artist As A Young Man, Ulysses and Finnegans Wake takes the audience on an intimate adventure through his humble beginnings, his self-exile from his God, country, church, state, family and friends who all conspired to thwart his literary genius. He tells the story of being labeled a shameless blasphemer and the three women, one his lover and wife and the others smart, fearless women who financed, edited and published his work, despite notorious backlash from a vengeful, prudish public. Come hear from the man who Ezra Pound introduced to the literary elite of expatriate Paris whose bold, experimental style opened the door for Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Sherwood Anderson.
Directed by Holly Kristina Goldstein
Music and Book by Dan Rider
Cast: Goldie Flavelle (Sam), Corynne Victoria Peters (Rose), Brinda Dixit (Cello), Dan Rider (Brian), and Taylor Edelhart (Bass and Stage Directions)
Sam feels empty. Well, she isn’t really feeling anything. That is until Sam meets Rose, her cello, and her multi-talented hands. Suddenly Sam is transfixed, transported, and…transforming? Perfect Fifths is a new musical written by Dan Rider and directed by Holly Kristina Goldstein that explores what it’s like to feel hollow and what it means to be whole again.
Staged Reading: MY GIRL by Judy Spencer
Directed by Minerva Scelza
It’s 1986, and Vivian, widowed after 40 years of marriage, has traded her suburban house for a spacious apartment on Philadelphia’s posh Rittenhouse Square. Her search for a roommate brings another widow into her life, Rose, a lesbian whose partner died after a 34-year relationship. When their new friendship blooms into an unexpected romance, both Rose and Vivian must deal with reactions from friends and family. As romance deepens into love, Vivian wonders is it possible to just “wake up gay” at the age of sixty-something, or is it just love?
Concert Staging: ECO, A New Musical
Music and Lyrics by Jenna Mate
Book by Bethie Fowler
A long long time ago, there were trees.
They could breathe
But then the toxic seas unleashed…
ECO is a young-adult musical about one girl’s journey through post-apocalyptic America. Separated from her parents for much of her childhood, Eco must make her way through a drastically altered future landscape to find them again. But will she even know them by the time she gets there?
“The play is a living kind of poem.” –Hilton Als
Playwright (& poet) Carol Muske-Dukes, has written a darkly humorous psychological drama about a marriage between an actor and a poet. In a piece published in The New York Times Magazine in March 2000, just months before her husband (the actor David Dukes) died suddenly, she compared being married to an actor to “living with someone who keeps getting kidnapped. And longs to be kidnapped.” Her look at constantly-disrupted life of an actor’s spouse is part satiric chronicle, part magic realism – as the wife who becomes a widow refuses to believe in her husband’s death. Death (for an actor) appears to be simply one more opportunity to play the role of escape artist and to provide strange inspiration for a poet’s imagination.
Chained to a rock as a meal for the sea monster, Andromeda is left for dead, alone with the thoughts in her head. Kate Mueth and The Neo-Political Cowgirls dive into this ancient myth and deconstruct it for a modern myth examination. This work-in-progress sneak preview peeks into the beginning phase of NPC and Kate’s newest immersive dance theater work in collaboration with award-winning puppeteer Liz Joyce.
Staged Reading: WHAT WOULD NORA SAY? by Miriam Hipsh, Ted Sod and Elle Tyler
Mimi and Willow have laughed and cried through a 50-year friendship with Ephron as their role model. Now in their 60s, they are dealing with children, love, death, diets, marriage, dating, sex and no-sex, all the time asking themselves, “What Would Nora Say?”
Staged Reading: H…, A New Play by Megan Minutillo
H…is a story of three different teenagers – Zoe, Gemma, and Owen – all of whom struggle with heroin addiction. This is a story of how three teenagers and young adults have been effected by this monstrous drug, and how addiction not only changes the lives of the addicts but their families and loved ones as well. H… begs the questions: how does the cycle of addiction start? What role does society play in all of this? And more importantly, what’s it going to take to break the cycle of addiction? Will the cycle be broken before lives are lost?
REVISITING STEVE – An Evening of Cabaret Celebrating Stephen Sondheim’s Incomparable Musical Theatre Career
Join award-winning NYC cabaret artist and professional actor, Valerie diLorenzo, as she delivers her unique blend of vocal nuance and humor to selections from the Sondheim catalogue including Into The Woods, Follies, Gypsy, Sweeney Todd, Merrily We Roll Along, A Little Night Music and more. The joke about Sondheim’s songs is that there are just a million words in an often odd melody line, but, in revisiting Steve, audiences will hear how he captures the human condition (and speech pattern) as no else quite can. Accompaniment by Barry Levitt.
Staged Reading: LOVE, SEX, ANARCHY by Melissa Bell
Escaping a brutal childhood and the monotony of factory work in Russia, Emma Goldman arrives in New York City, ripe for the Anarchist philosophy. A fiery speaker, proponent of worker’s rights, women’s reproductive rights, and practitioner of Free Love, she becomes caught up in a passionate affair. Can Emma reconcile her idealistic beliefs with her all too human emotions? LOVE, SEX, ANARCHY explores ways in which ideologies conflict with emotions, as well as examines Emma Goldman’s inner psyche in parallel with her political significance and influence.
Originally created with Musicians Cathy Clasper-Torch & Nisha Purushotham. Director: Kelli Wicke Davis. Now with a new score composed by Janice Lowe.
In this one-woman show, Nehassaiu deGannes gives voice to experiences of immigration, displacement, enslavement and resistance, from a brilliant multiplicity of perspectives by embodying more than a dozen characters drawn from history, personal memory and present day interviews. Part docu-drama, part ritual theater – this play defies the segregation of American histories and invites us all to stand at the crossroads.
Past JDTLab Events
Directed by Megan Minutillo
Starring Raye Levine,Kelsey Torstveit, Jon Kovach, and Sawyer Spielberg
Two college buddies whose annual outing of male-bonding and debauchery veers precipitously off course when unmet expectations spiral into a volatile showdown. This darkly funny drama, first produced in 2009, explores the evolution of friendships – and the lengths to which we go to save them from falling into extinction.
A Staged Reading of THE APE & THE WHALE: AN INTERPLAY BETWEEN DARWIN & MELVILLE IN THEIR OWN WORDS by Barbara Novak
Directed by James Larocca
Featuring Gerard Doyle and David McElwee
While Darwin and Melville never met, their interests overlapped across a very wide range of issues, from the geography and science of the Galapagos to the peoples and cultures of the South Pacific, God, nature, madness, and immortality. Barbara Novak has artfully put them in the same room, imagined their intense conversation, and juxtaposed their actual words into a vivid dialogue. Selecting from their own letters, reports, journals and books, the author has constructed the riveting conversation they might have had had the stars aligned.
Friday, October 16, 2015 at 8pm
The wrenching, tough-love story of a mother and son
When Quinn descends into addiction after the sudden death of his father, Molly struggles to keep them both from going under. Now he’s just out of rehab, ready to audition for a place at one of the world’s best drama schools. But how ready is he? And how far will Molly go to help him? With a Memberfest reading to follow on Monday, October 19th at Ensemble Studio Theater in New York (2015 Drama Desk Award for commitment to producing new works), the actors will workshop ASHES AND INK at the JDTLab in the run-up to this staged reading, interwoven with strains of bird song and projection of a bittersweet family video. A Q&A will follow the reading, moderated by child psychoanalyst and family therapist Robby Stein.
A Staged Reading of AIR RITES by Richard Brockman
Music by Heather Christian
Directed by Mirra Bank
Air Rites is the story of the dream, the realization, and the death of New York’s Pennsylvania Station, perhaps the greatest building ever made in America. The story weaves through the lives of three families – the ‘family’ that built it, the family that destroyed it, and the family of a boy whose passion for trains imagined it. Air Rites is a fairy tale story without a fairy tale ending.
Tuesday, September 29, 2015 at 7:30pm
Theatre of the Oppressed – Introduction to Forum Theatre
Join us for an evening of forum theatre and transform yourself from spectator to spect-actor! Forum theatre is a theatrical innovation created by Brazilian artist and activist Augusto Boal as part of his theatrical form: “Theatre of the Oppressed.” Often described as a rehearsal for revolution, the audience members interact with the actors within the forum piece to explore, analyze, and transform the reality they may live in or see before them. Forum theatre often portrays social issues in which the audience has the chance to create a dialogue and interaction between the other spectators and actors on the stage and in the room. In partnership with HUGS, Inc. and Act Two of Southampton, Applied Theatre graduate students from the CUNY School of Professional Studies, Denise Hughes, Chris Johnston, Kasia Klimiuk, Sarah Law, Shanti Rose, and Nicole Serra, will present a forum theatre piece on pressing social and human rights issues that young adults may face. After the forum performance, students can engage as spect-actors within the forum theatre piece and enact the change they want to see in the world.
A compelling tale of displaced children in the aftermath of WWII. Swept up by US Army units and outfitted as G.I. mascots, three boys are dumped at a Displaced Persons camp after their G.I. units are shipped back to the States. The American relief workers are tasked with repatriating the boys to their countries of origin, but the boys have come to see themselves as American soldiers and yearn to follow their buddies “home” to the USA.
From minstrel shows and Vaudeville to Broadway and back to the streets, the evolution of tap dance has been captivating audiences for over a century. This show will chronicle tap from its earliest forms and show how it has grown into the multi-faceted dance form that it is today. Featuring dancers and choreography from Our Fabulous Variety Show, dancehampton, and Royalenova Dance Studio, we will take you on a 90-minute romp through the history of tap!
Starring Joe Pallister, Lydia Franco-Hodges, Nick Fondulis, Dina Morgan Lotito, and James M. Lotito
LIFE IS SHORTS is a night to delight all those suffering from attention deficit disorder and convert all those unfortunates not yet suffering. Written and directed by Kat O’Neill, it weaves together 18 short plays with titles like, A DRAMA IN FIVE WORDS, I MET FRIDA KAHLO AT A DINER AND WHAT A BORE SHE TURNED OUT TO BE and IT AIN’T OVER TILL THE OLD LADY STOPS SCREWING. This is the debut of LIFE IS SHORTS.
Directed by Paul Hecht
Featuring Cynthia Darlow, Kim Sykes, Anthony Michael Hobbs, Peter Connolly, and Chloe Dirksen
Congress is mired in bitter partisanship, the country is in financial chaos and women and African Americans continue to struggle for a place in the American dream. Two smart and stubborn women, very much alike in spirit, Mary Todd Lincoln and Elizabeth Keckley, attempt to rekindle a friendship, despite their memories and mental failings during the upheavals of the late 19th Century.
Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 7:30pm
A Staged Reading of A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE GYNECOLOGIC ONCOLOGY UNIT AT MEMORIAL SLOAN-KETTERING CANCER CENTER OF NEW YORK CITY by Halley Feiffer
Directed by Aimee Todoroff
An unlikely pair of strangers — a twentysomething foul-mouthed comedienne and a middle-aged man in the midst of a nasty divorce — are brought together unexpectedly when their cancer-stricken mothers become roommates in the hospital. Together, these two very lost people must negotiate some of life’s heaviest problems — and make some of the world’s more inappropriate jokes — as they learn to laugh through their pain and to lean on each other when all they want to do is run away.
Directed by Bill Burford
Featuring Peter Connolly, Mary C. Davis, Chloe Dirksen, Josh Gladstone, Jack Herholdt, and David Logan Rankin
Known best in the US for Marat/Sade and Song of the Lusitanian Bogey, Peter Weiss also wrote a little-known play called Night with Guests. Based on the medieval German moritat – doggerel street ballads about gruesome deeds – Weiss draws on Kabuki, Punch & Judy, and crude country fair performances to create a “children’s nightmare.” Wildly theatrical. Don’t bring the kids. For this reading, we pair Weiss’s play with Out at Sea. A political cartoonist in Poland, Slawomir Mrozek became an underground playwright during the Soviet occupation. In this wry classic Mrozek opens up territory we now call Occupy Wall Street: three men of different classes, adrift and starving on a raft, try to decide who to eat.
A Staged Reading of HOSPITALITY SUITE by Award-Winning Playwright Roger Rueff
Directed by David Watson
Starring Charley Tucker, Matthew Bretschneider, David Watson, and Elizabeth Meadows Rouse
In a small hotel room high above Wichita, Kansas, conflicting notions of character, salesmanship, honesty, religion, and love simmer until they boil over as two experienced salesmen and a young research engineer await a CEO whose visit to their modest hospitality suite could save their company from ruin.
A Staged Reading of HONOR KILLING, A New Play by Sarah Bierstock
Directed by Bill Castellino
Starring Justin Adams, Farah Bala, Sarah Bierstock, Andrew Botsford, Maria Couch, Alok Tewari, and Atif Toor
Allisyn Williams, an American reporter for The New York Times, heads to Pakistan to cover the honor killing of a young woman. Denied entrance and armed with the most current technology, she conducts her investigation remotely from Dubai. Through a series of cultural collisions, candid interviews, and dangerous encounters she learns the horrifying details of this murder. These circumstances cause Allisyn to re-examine the troubling details of her own past. One culture mirrors the other, asking questions about forgiveness, self-worth and justice.
Songs of the Heart will be a soulful performance of original compositions by composer, songwriter, and vocalist Sheree M.C. Elder. Featuring musician and songwriter Daniel Eugene and percussionist Dereck Rey. As an artist, Sheree has written and produced a commercial music jingle for Hampton Coffee Company aired on WBEA, WBAZ, and WEHM radio stations, performed at venues and events including productions at Guild Hall, Southampton Cultural Center and the Hampton Classic, as well as hosted the annual music showcase for East End Arts. Her pieces combine pop, soul, classical, and R&B styles into one unique body of work, and from start to finish, each song in this show will take you on a musical journey.
Directed by Tina Johnson
Starring Julia Motyka, Peter Rini, Drew Cortese, Elvy Yost, Caitlin O’Connell, Amanda Nichols, Sawyer Avery, Ella Knibb, Anna Schiavoni, and Bethany Dellapolla
UNDERNEATH THE LINTEL by Glen Berger
Performed by John Shuman
Underneath the Lintel is the story of a spiritual quest told by the most unlikely of narrators. Tracking down a delinquent book borrower takes a librarian on an around-the-world hunt. The evidence he collects gradually reveals the culprit’s identity. By walking in the culprit’s footsteps, the librarian experiences a unique spiritual reawakening that is surprising, amusing and profound.
WILD HORSES by Andrea Goldman
This is the story of how I fell in love. How I died. And how I learned that everything is made of wood. Or so begins Wild Horses, a poignant performance piece that is more of a visual poem than a play. Original music by Spanish composer and pianist Dani Campos takes us on an emotional journey throughout the piece.
A Staged Reading of ORPHANS by Lyle Kessler
Directed by Sawyer Avery and Megan Minutillo
Featuring Sawyer Avery, Joe Pallister, and Christopher Imbrosciano
2013 Nominee for Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play and Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Revival of a Play. Phillip never ventures out of his North Philly home. His brother Treat is a violent pickpocket who kidnaps a wealthy businessman Harold. Harold turns the table on the two brothers and – in a strange, hilarious, and moving way – becomes their long-lost father figure.
October 7, 2014 at 7:30pm
EASTERN STANDARD by Richard Greenberg
Directed by Peter Connolly
Featuring Joe Brondo, Peter Connolly, Chloe Dirksen, Jessica Mortellaro, Kate Mueth, and Tristan Vaughan. Four Manhattan yuppies strike up a friendship in a chic uptown restaurant after a bag lady involves them in an altercation. A month later, they converge in the Hamptons, hoping to alleviate their purposelessness with a misguided attempt at rehabilitating May, the bag lady who brought them all together.
September 30, 2014 at 7:30pm
Directed by Kate Mueth
When the newly engaged Stephanie falls for a male impersonator at a dyke bar, it upsets her whole world. Will she be able to walk the tightrope between sexuality and identity and discover her true self in this circus of drag kings and burlesque dancers?
CHICKEN-FRIED CICCONE: A One-Man Musical by J. Stephen Brantley
Nominated for two New York Innovative Theatre Awards -Outstanding Solo Performance and Outstanding Original Short Script!
Armed with an acoustic guitar, actor-playwright J.Stephen Brantley reveals how he got from junkie to functional with a little help from the queen of reinvention. Chicken-Fried Ciccone is one man’s journey to heroin and back, set to countrified covers of new and classic Madge. Obie-winning master of the one-man-show David Drake directs this funny and poignant quasi-cabaret about recovery and reconnection.
September 9, 2014 at 7:30pm
BLUEBIRDS by Joe Brondo
Directed by Joe Brondo
Featuring Joe Brondo and Sophie Vanier
A young couple’s relationship is tested when an unfulfilled Walt reveals his plot to sell a stolen rare book, which sets into motion a night of past hurts brought to light and new revelations that will change their lives for better or worse.
September 16, 2014 at 7:30pm
Up-and-Coming East End Bands & Singer-Songwriters in Concert featuring singer-songwriter Skylar Day playing original songs in a solo set, singer Olivia Salsedo, alternative band Shore Road, whose members are Skylar Day, Kevin Preller, Ryan Jaquin, Joe Mineo, and Nick Arpino, and band Supply Side, whose members are Sage Gibbons, Josh LeClerc, Gage Lynch, Caiti Jo Fioriello, Jack Aldrich, and Jackson Clark.
JDTLab and the Springs School present School Street Theater Lab: Final Performance
A newly conceived dance theatre art piece by Kate Mueth and the Neo-Political Cowgirls.
The April Fool’s Show
Directed by Chloe Dirksen. Featuring Alan Ceppos, Peter Connolly, Chloe Dirksen, Lydia Franco-Hodges, Josh Gladstone, Kate Mueth, Bobby Peterson on piano, and a very special racy performance from Liz Joyce of Goat on a Boat Puppet Theatre. Join us for an intrepid evening of April Fool’s delight: we explore scenes from a range of comedic plays, present some new work, sing a song or two… and who knows?
VENUS IN FUR by David Ives
Staged Reading Directed by Tina Andrews. Featuring Adam Donshik and Alexandra Cohen-Spiegler. “The teeter-tottering test of wills that takes place in VENUS IN FUR makes even the most fraught encounter between a domineering director and a sensitive performer seem like a play date in the sandbox. Actors may be pleased to hear that in this ninety minutes of good, kinky fun, the upper hand does not necessarily belong to the usual suspect.” — NY Times.
TURING TEST, Staged Reading of a New Play by Dominick DeGaetano
Directed by Aimee Todoroff. David McKenna has a baby on the way; he needs money. Unluckily, the former enfant terrible is only qualified to do one thing: teach poetry. He lands a position at a large research university, but only after agreeing to a strange request: to tutor a single student while under observation, as part of a top secret experiment.
THE PERSONALS, Staged Reading of a New Play by Brian Sutow
Directed by Isaac Klein. Featuring Trevor Vaughn, Kate Mueth and Josh Gladstone. After surviving a tragedy, estranged husband and wife Don and Janna go on a series of “blind dates” with each other to try to save their marriage. Based on the critically acclaimed film Blind Date by Theo Van Gogh and its subsequent American remake by Stanley Tucci, The Personals is the third incarnation of a story that is both heartbreaking and hilarious. The Personals is a moving inquiry into humor, compassion and our ability to endure.
Improv Comedy Workshop
Featuring Julian Ambler, Joe Brondo, Anna Carey, Talia McCaskie, Kate Payne, and Susan Vecsey, actors enrolled at New York’s Upright Citizens Brigade. Plenty of audience participation!
THE FAMILY ROOM, Staged Reading of a New Play by John J. Mullen
Directed by Stephen Hamilton. Featuring Joseph Brondo, Stephen Hamilton, Lydia Franco Hodges, Ellen J. Myers, and Julie King. A funny and hard-hitting new play that explores the lasting effects of childhood. In a waiting room at a local hospital, two sisters and a brother, estranged for more than 30 years, struggle to come to terms with their relationship as their mother lies dying in the Intensive Care Unit.
BILOXI BLUES by Neil Simon
Sawyer Avery makes his directorial debut, working with a cast of local favorites from Guild Hall’s recent production of The Cripple of Inishmaan and Bay Street’s The Diary of Anne Frank. Co-directed by Megan Minutillo. Featuring Stan Demidoff, Christian Scheider, Sawyer Avery, Christopher Imbrosciano, Joe Pallister, Evan Daves, Chloe Dirksen, Jessica Mortellaro, and Aaron Costa Ganis. In this Tony-Award winning play, Eugene Jerome is a young army recruit during WWII learning about Life and Love while stationed at boot camp in Biloxi, Mississippi in 1943.