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FEATURED ARTIST

SEPTEMBER 2010

The 2010 New York Innovative Theatre Awards

A Theasy Q&A with Nominees


Off-Off-Broadway's artists get their annual nod from the theatre community this Monday, September 20th, at the New York Innovative Theatre Awards ceremony. New York consistently presents a world of vibrant, independent theatre, and here at Theasy, we are always glad to see that work recognized. You can read more about the NYIT Awards here. Behind impressive productions are talented artists - we asked them some questions to get to know them a little better. Check out their answers below and meet the nominees! Some of them anyway. For the full list of nominees click here, and check back to Theasy after the awards ceremony to see who won!



OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR NOMINEES


Brian Smith (nominated for PINK!)
WHAT DID YOU LOVE ABOUT THIS SHOW THAT MADE YOU WANT TO DIRECT IT?
Playwright (and nominee) Stacy Davidowitz and I developed this script together from an original 10-minute play she had written. The characters are so real, so well-developed that we just had to see what they could do if we expanded the story into a full-length script.
WHAT IS YOUR DREAM SHOW TO DIRECT?
My dream show to direct is one that hasn't been written yet--it's all about new work! Although, I won't lie, I'd love to rip that Newsies stage adaptation script right out of Disney's cold, corporate hands!
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT INDEPENDENT THEATRE?
The best part about independent theater is that people are really willing to take risks. That's often not as true as you move up the production-scale ladder. Also, the camaraderie: people working on this level really love what they do, and it shows!


Alex Roe (nominated for The Return of Peter Grimm)

WHAT DID YOU LOVE ABOUT THIS SHOW THAT MADE YOU WANT TO DIRECT IT?
David Belasco's play is a wonderful marriage of theatrical and real-life magic, at the heart of both lying the power of love and faith in unseen promise. As a window on our cultural past that still shows us a meaningful vision today, Peter Grimm practically defines Metropolitan's mission.


Kim Weild (Fêtes de la Nuit)
WHAT DID YOU LOVE ABOUT THIS SHOW THAT MADE YOU WANT TO DIRECT IT?
It's size, that when I first read it I had no idea how to do it and then discovered the possibilities within it. That it asks: What is love? What does it take to love? How do we communicate love? CHUCK MEE!
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT INDEPENDENT THEATRE?
The community which is filled with remarkably magical, creative, tenacious and dedicated artists who are able to make manifest their dreams. Courage.
IF YOU WEREN’T A DIRECTOR, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?
An astronaut


Heather Cohn (The Lesser Seductions of History)
WHAT IS YOUR DREAM SHOW TO DIRECT?
Cloud Tectonics by Jose Rivera
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT INDEPENDENT THEATRE?
the intimacy - indie theatre is up close and personal
IF YOU WEREN’T A DIRECTOR, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?
In another life, I think I'd be a midwife or a diplomat


Daniel Brodie (The Tenement)
WHAT IS YOUR DREAM SHOW TO DIRECT?
It's too difficult to say what my dream show to direct would be, but I've always had a fondness for the Sondheim musicals, Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd, and Assassins.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT INDEPENDENT THEATRE?
My favorite thing about independent theatre is the chance to break the mould and create new forms and contexts for theatre to exist.
IF YOU WEREN’T A DIRECTOR, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?
If I wasn't a theatre artist, I would dedicate my life to science or medicine.


Jonothon Lyons (The Tenement)
WHAT DID YOU LOVE ABOUT THIS SHOW THAT MADE YOU WANT TO DIRECT IT?
I created this show with my close friend and collaborator Daniel Brodie. We decided to co-direct so that our collective vision could be explored and presented.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT INDEPENDENT THEATRE?
Free from commercial pressure, ideas can be explored purely for their artistic merit.
IF YOU WEREN’T A DIRECTOR, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?
I would enjoy being an architect.




OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A FEATURED ROLE NOMINEES

Evan Thompson ("Loyalties" by John Galsworthy, produced by Unity Stage Company)
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THIS PRODUCTION?
Playing the lawyer in Act 3 was like being in a great episode of "Upstairs, Downstairs."
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT INDEPENDENT THEATRE?
Playing parts I wouldn't be cast in in plays that wouldn't be done in commercial theatre.
IF YOU WEREN’T AN ACTOR, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?
A hopeless drunk.


Kyle Haggerty (The Hypochondriac)
WHAT DID YOU DO FOR THE AUDITION THAT GOT YOU THIS ROLE?
I read the sides in my best attempt to blend the comedy styles of Chevy Chase and
Zach Galifianakis with the curiosity of my lovable dog Jazzmyn.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THIS PRODUCTION?
Getting to do whatever my childlike mind let me, namely licking my cast members.
IF YOU WEREN’T AN ACTOR, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?
I would be a skipper on the Jungle cruise ride in Walt Disney World.


Douglas Scott Sorenson (The Hypochondriac)
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THIS PRODUCTION?
Working with the entire team. It was a completely ego-less environment where we all wanted to tell the same story.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT INDEPENDENT THEATRE?
The chances get taken. The fearless nature. The original stories.
IF YOU WEREN’T AN ACTOR, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?
I have never entertained the thought of another career, however, zoology has always interested me.


Michael Cyril Creighton (MilkMilkLemonade by Josnua Conkel)
WHAT DID YOU DO FOR THE AUDITION THAT GOT YOU THIS ROLE?
Interestingly enough, I didn't audition. I was offered the role. I'm not sure how to feel about the fact that someone thought: "Ya know who'd be GREAT at playing a chain smoking, elderly, severe grandmother with an oxygen tank and a love for the bible? MICHAEL CYRIL CREIGHTON!" But I'm sure glad they thought of me, and saw something in me that I perhaps did not. It's a blast to play that role. I love Nanna.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THIS PRODUCTION?
The 44DDD breasts that costume designer Sydney Maresca made me. And of course, The cast. It was one of those magical experiences where everything just clicked between us. We're doing the show again in late October at The Astoria Performing Arts Center. I'm excited to play with them all again.
IF YOU WEREN’T AN ACTOR, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?
Depressed.


Amir Darvish (PSYCH)
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THIS PRODUCTION?
Performing and the great audience feedback.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT INDEPENDENT THEATRE?
The ability to collaborate and incorporate everyone's vision.
IF YOU WEREN’T AN ACTOR, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?
Dead.




OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A LEAD ROLE NOMINEES

Tanya O'Debra (Radio Star)
WHAT DID YOU DO TO PREPARE FOR THIS ROLE?
I listened to old time radio shows and watched detective movies basically non-stop. I wanted to nail that snappy 1940's speech pattern, plus I wanted to search for any seemingly recurring stock character voices. Then it was a lot of trial and error to voice all ten roles. I would record myself on Garage Band to make sure the voices were distinctive and fun.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SHOW OR PERFORMANCE FROM THE 2009-2010 SEASON (EITHER ON BROADWAY OR OFF)?
I really loved "Hostage Song" by Clay McLeod Chapman. I also loved Erin Markey's "Puppy Love: A Stripper's Tale". And Travis Chamberlain's production of "Green Eyes" by Tennessee Williams. I have trouble with superlatives. How can you choose a favorite out of so many great shows?
IF YOU WEREN’T AN ACTOR, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?
Hmmm... I'd really like to be a wealthy lap dog. Or a retired elephant. But probably I'd just stick to writing


Elyse Mirto ("Next Year in Jerusalem" at the Workshop Theater Company)
WHAT DID YOU DO TO PREPARE FOR THIS ROLE?
To prep for show I drew on a personal loss I had recently been dealing with and technically I learned the Hebrew from a Cantor and practiced EVERY DAY for weeks before we opened...I had to make sure a little shiksa like myself did justice to the the beautiful words I was singing.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT INDEPENDENT THEATRE?
I love that indie theatre gives the actor and the audience so many opportunities to learn about life from different perspectives. Not just the Hollywood perspective. I have grown so much as a person and an actor in my 2 short years here in NYC indie theatre.
IF YOU WEREN’T AN ACTOR, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?
um...Happy?....just kidding...um maybe a DP director of photography...or maybe just a director.


Susan Louise O'Connor (Children at Play)
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SHOW OR PERFORMANCE FROM THE 2009-2010 SEASON (EITHER ON BROADWAY OR OFF)?
After Children at Play, my next favorite show was Aliens by Annie Baker at The Rattlestick Theater - incredible work from all involved
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT INDEPENDENT THEATRE?
The way in which the participants roll up their sleeves and dig in as a team, participating for the love of the art. I also value the brave risk taking that takes place in all components of indie theater
IF YOU WEREN’T AN ACTOR, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?
A ballet dancer - that's my retirement plan


Stephanie Wright Thompson (Anastasia in "Samuel and Alasdair: A Personal History of the Robot War")
WHAT DID YOU DO TO PREPARE FOR THIS ROLE?
To prepare for this role: I did a lot of listening...I listened to old radio broadcasts, to Russian dialect tapes, to 1950's American pop music, and listened to my wonderful co-creators.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SHOW OR PERFORMANCE FROM THE 2009-2010 SEASON (EITHER ON BROADWAY OR OFF)?
My favorite show on Broadway, or off: Nature Theatre of Oklahoma's "No Dice"...I had to go to Berlin to see it, but it was worth it. I suppose that's off-off-off Broadway.
IF YOU WEREN’T AN ACTOR, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?
I'd be a dairy farmer.