NYCPlaywrights March 9, 2024

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Mar 9, 2024, 5:11:03 PMMar 9
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Greetings NYCPlaywrights


by Darrill Rosen
Part of Urban Stages' Solo Play Series

Darrill and his wife are trying to conceive. On his journey to understand his terror and take his place in the line of fathers, Darrill communes with his ancestry and demons and guides, all existing in a world of trauma, survival, music, love and artistry. A Staged Reading directed by Barbara Rubin.

Wednesday, March 27 · 7 - 9pm EDT
Urban Stages
259 West 30th Street New York, NY 10001


Six new Appalachian plays are chosen from the submissions to be given public readings by Barter’s company.
The playwrights are brought in at the beginning of the festival week to be a part of the rehearsal process. Each play is given about 8 hours of rehearsal time with the focus being on clarity of story.
Plays must be written by an Appalachian playwright (currently living in a state that contains the Appalachian Mountain Range — which, for our purposes, run from New York to Alabama.)


Cypress Productions is searching for new unproduced short plays to be a part of New Plays Now, our third collection of new short works.
We will be selecting 6 scripts. Selected playwrights agree to a full production of their script with a recording of one performance uploaded publicly to YouTube. Playwrights will also receive a $75 stipend.


Creative Nations, an all indigenous-led artists collective founded at The Dairy Arts Center in Boulder, Colorado, is launching the First Storyteller’s Festival in 2024. The festival is focused on developing new work from Indigenous artists across the continent. We are purposely avoiding defining the festival by any specific genre, and encourage creators from any discipline that is performed on a “stage” to submit (with the word “stage” being loosely defined).

*** FOR MORE INFORMATION about these and other opportunities see the web site at ***


When Rachel Sterner was growing up in Boiling Springs, Pa., she saw a summer stock production of “South Pacific” at the Playhouse at Allenberry. She was hooked.

“By 8, I was ushering. Two years later, I was running the spotlight that follows people across the stage,” Ms. Sterner said. “We did a new show every month from April through November. I loved it.”

Now she’s on Broadway, serving as the production stage manager for “Almost Famous,” the musical version of Cameron Crowe’s 2000 movie of the same name.

“People think stage managers are frantically running around backstage with a clipboard and a stopwatch. It’s the opposite,” she explained. “You need to be as far away from panic as possible. I’m the center of communication and the funnel through which everything is happening for the entire production.”



As a production stage manager, White’s job never ends. Schedules have to be coordinated, rehearsals must be held, costumes and props need to prepped. While White balances work and home life, she also is an expert at one of the important skills a stage manager requires: the ability to multitask.

White joined the production in December 2015, just five months after she gave birth to her daughter. “It was important to me that I show my daughter, as she grows older, that I am part of the work force,” White says. “There were a lot of times when I had my baby on my lap and I was practicing calling the show at home. It was important I show that balance: that I spend time with her and that I spend time with my career.”

Inside the stage management office, an unassuming room filled with charts, binders, and notes, White convenes with the two other stage managers who keep the show running. The first step is to create the performance’s “In and Out,” a list of which actors are out of the performance and who will be filling in.

Once it’s composed, White delivers the roster for the day. Walking through the theatre’s hallways, White greets the co-workers she passes en route. Those interpersonal relationships are vital for White. “Working on a long-running show like Hamilton is knowing that it’s not just about the run of the show, calling the cues at night, and typing up the paperwork. It’s about creating an environment that makes you want to walk through that door eight times a week,” White says. “If [the company] walks into that building and they feel like they are fed, creatively, and embraced as family, then it’s going to make for a better working environment. I love working beside these people.”



I first got to meet with Sam Knox, who is the Stage Manager for the show. Sam is a current senior Stage Management major, meaning Walking the Tightrope is her last show. Sam has been doing theatre since she was 14 at her high school in Cairo, Egypt. I asked her to define stage management in her own terms. She responded, “Stage managers are the center of communication…they are the people who can help facilitate and support, be a resource to people, problem solve, and foresee challenges.” Unlike most students at BU, this is not Sam’s first time working in-person this year; but, it has been the most complex project she has worked on. With video aspects, puppetry, projections, and props; Sam has a lot to keep track of, but she is excited to take the experience she’s gained working on this show into her life after graduation. The process of working on a show is what excites her most. Stage management has the chance to see the entire process go from conception to completion: starting with a blank script. They get to see the concept art from the designers. When rehearsals start they get to watch the entire process, which fills their script with notes. And finally, they get the chance to watch everything come together, fully realized. The reward of getting to see, “Everyone’s hard work on their ends through the process and getting to the final dress rehearsal and later sharing the opening…is so satisfying.”



If you have ever performed on a stage, chances are a stage manager has swept it first, alerted you to “places,” and signaled a light board operator to make you visible to the audience. Although most stage managers work for their entire careers in relative obscurity from the public eye, Ruth Mitchell (1919–2000) is described in her obituary as one of the “best-known backstage bosses” of her time. Indeed, she worked steadily on Broadway from the 1940s through the late 1990s, stage managing and producing some of the most famous musicals of the 20th century. Stage managers, their labor, and their lives are virtually absent from theatre scholarship, despite being essential to the operations of modern theatre, dance, and all manner of live performance. The Billy Rose Theatre Division at the Library for the Performing Arts houses the Ruth Mitchell papers, an extensive collection of her production and personal files, making it a crucial archival source for understanding this influential stage manager’s life and career in a largely male-dominated backstage world of 20th-century Broadway theatre.



“I kind of describe it as like a food chain,” says Schroeder. “Producers are at the top. They’re the ones that are raising all the money.” They also bring on the general management office, which creates the budget for the show and hires everyone else (with input from producers). This includes hiring the company managers, who are responsible for payroll, policy enforcement and meeting the day-to-day needs of select patrons, cast and crew.

Schroeder’s day usually starts around 10 or 11 in the morning and ends around 9 or 9:30 at night.

“One of our actors, Mel, came from England,” she says as an example of a recent workday. “At one point I was balancing a payroll sheet, budgeting, and at the same time I’m unpacking, like, 200 boxes from Amazon actually moving this woman into her apartment.”

Technically, she gets one day off per week. Often she’s roped into last-minute duties even on that day, though.

“Sunday was my day off and I think we got four or five last-minute house seat orders,” she says, referring to seats booked privately through the show for VIPs or people in the company. “I spent the morning getting those last bits of ticketing in.”



The (Almost) Complete Guide to Stage Management

With Kent, the Actors Equity Association stage manager
Have you ever wanted to become a stage manager? This is the series for you! The (Almost) Complete Guide to Stage Management will take you from your first day of preproduction through opening night and beyond.


The New York Times review of the production cited the show’s strengths but went in on Gray:

One major casting miscalculation, Spalding Gray’s flip Stage Manager . . . constantly disrupts the fragile text, the firm staging and the otherwise well-chosen cast. Mr. Gray notwithstanding, the virtues of this production are there to be savored . . .

Wilder was primarily a celebrant of the small town and the American century; he was not a debunker to be confused with Sinclair Lewis or Edgar Lee Masters. The attempt, through Mr. Gray, to turn the playwright into something he’s not derails Mr. Mosher’s ”Our Town.” While it would no doubt be sickening to see a Stage Manager resembling the lovable old codgers in wine-cooler commercials, Mr. Gray swings too far the other way, presenting the narrator as if he were a narcissistic new-wave raconteur exactly matching the storyteller in his own autobiographical performance pieces. Much as one may have enjoyed Mr. Gray’s ”Terrors of Pleasure” and ”Swimming to Cambodia,” their blase TriBeCa hipness belongs to another planet than that of ”Our Town.”

Mr. Gray’s silver hair and New England accent do serve the role. His smart-aleck attitude and lapsed preppie outfit do not. ”Nice town, y’know what I mean?,” says the Stage Manager early in the play; in Mr. Gray’s delivery, the second clause of the line is punched with a snide cynicism, as if to imply that Grover’s Corners is less a nice town than a precursor of the setting of ”Blue Velvet.” One can’t really fault the performer; he’s just doing his star turn out of context, following the Lincoln Center company’s indulgent example of Robin Williams in ”Godot.” Mr. Mosher should have realized, however, that ”Our Town” becomes merely unpleasant, rather than revisionist, when our guide through Grover’s Corners seems to be condescending to his fellow performers, the audience and the play.

You can see the review grappling with Gray’s still-novel minimalism, trying to justify its distaste, trying to classify Gray’s affect as cosmopolitan and cynical rather than just simple. Yet Wilder himself said that Our Town was too rarely performed how he wanted it to be performed: “without sentimentality or ponderousness—simply, dryly, and sincerely.” Gray’s performance of the opening monologue seems faithful to that spirit; it lets the surprising speech act he’s performing be the star. If you want to weigh in on the hated delivery of “know what I mean,” or simply experience Wilder’s monologue anew, you can watch the monologue:
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