Monday, January 31, 2011

Thurs, Feb 10th @ 5:30 P.M: Free Celebration! “Off Off Broadway Festival Plays, 35th Series” at The Darma Book Shop

Come celebrate with Samuel French Inc.
At The Launch of The
“Off Off Broadway Festival Plays, 35th Series”

A collection of winning plays from our acclaimed
2010 Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival

Thursday, February 10th, 2011 at 5:30 P.M.

The world’s oldest and largest publisher and licensor of plays, Samuel French Inc., is proud to celebrate its newest release “Off Off Broadway Festival Plays, 35th Series” --A collection of winning plays from its acclaimed “2010 Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival” on Thursday February 10th (5:30-7:30 pm) at the Drama Book Shop (250 W. 40th Street). The launch celebration will include play readings and appearances by many of the winning authors who will be on hand to sign collection copies. The event is FREE and open to the public.

Off Off Broadway Festival Plays, 35th Series includes the following winning plays:
Skin Deep by Mary Lynn Dobson
The Pigskinby Gabriel Jason Dean
White Embers by Saviana Stanescu
The Bear (A Tragedy) by EJC Calvert
Dance Lessons by Josh Koenigsberg
The Mud is Thicker in Mississippi by Dennis A. Allen II

[Applications for the 2011 festival will also be available and Samuel French Off Off Broadway Festival Staff will be there to answer any questions you may have about the 2011 festival. Please visit for an application and festival information.]

Friday, January 28, 2011

Thurs, Feb 3rd @ 6 P.M: Fay Simpson will discourse on the concepts from her book, followed by Q & A and book signing at The Drama Book Shop

Fay Simpson will discourse on the concepts from her book: The Lucid Body; A Guide for the Physical Actor, followed by Q & A and book signing. Novice actors and stage veterans alike will discover a deeper level of consciousness through the exercises outlined in The Lucid Body: A Guide for the Physical Actor. Developed by Fay Simpson, The Lucid Body is a cutting-edge technique that lets you combine eastern yoga elements with your contemporary western way of life to bring truth to your acting and inner clarity to your life.

The Lucid Body technique has been presented by the author for 15 years in workshops, rehearsals, and schools, teaching actors to access their seven chakra centers. Now you can practice in your own home what hundreds of others have already discovered at the Yale School of Drama, NYU, and the Michael Howard Studios. Add vital energy to your life and your acting with The Lucid Body.

About the Author:
Fay Simpson has been the Artistic Director and co-founder of Impact Theatre since its creation in 1990 (D-Train, Degas' Little Dancer, Marital Bliss of Francis and Maxine, Kurt's Wife: A Story of Lotte Lenya, Grey Gone; The Forensics of Breath). As founder of The Lucid Body, (initially developed at The Michael Howard Studios) she currently teaches at Yale Drama School, The Studio/NY and Red Bean Studio in midtown Manhattan. Fay has brought the work to theatre companies in New York,;Terra Firma (Cries and Whispers), SATC (Miss Julie), Karin Coonrad ("Everything that Rises Must Converge,") and internationally in Toulouse with Innocentia Inviolata (Of Kings and Men) and in London with Gabriella Moleta (The Outsiders). She has a two year teacher training program now in place.

In 1999, Ms. Simpson was awarded a Fox Foundation Fellowship, which enabled her to serve as an Assistant at the New Globe Theatre in London under the artistic directorship of Mark Rylance. Ms. Simpson is the recipient of the 'Amy and Eric Berger National Theatre Essay Award' for development of her new book, The Lucid Body; A Guide for the Physical Actor. She is a member of the Actor's Center.

"Through ancient wisdom, her own personal wisdom, and the wisdom found in her students' bodies, Fay Simpson offers readers a path to their deepest truths-known and unknown, conscious and unconscious. Simpson, through her insight, intuition, experience and scholarship, pries open the secrets of the body and sets the spirit free. A demanding and rewarding spiritual journey I encourage every actor to take." Deborah Kampmeier, filmmaker (Hounddog, Virgin).

"Actors, even very good actors, tend to live I the close confines of their own habitual physical realities. Fay's work encourages, even demands that they find pleasure and excitement in using their bodies in more expressive and challenging ways in service to the plays." Michael Howard - book introduction

The Lucid Body: A Guide for the Physical Actor
By Fay Simpson, Michael Howard
Paper. $19.95

Thursday, January 27, 2011

New Plays

By Gabe McKinley
Paper. $9.95

Lascivious Something/Roadkill Confidential/That Pretty Pretty; Or, the Rape Play: Three Plays
By Sheila Callaghan
Paper. $17.95

By Eric Simonson
Paper. $10.00

Call today to order these newly published Acting Editions: (212) 944-0595

The Understudy by Theresa Rebeck

Next Fall by Geoffrey Nauffts

The Pride by Alexi Kaye Campbell

Mirror Mirror by Sarah Treem

Superior Donuts by Tracy Letts

Sun, Jan 30th @ 3.00 P.M: How to Build and Maintain an Acting Career in NYC with Actress and Career Coach Annie Chadwick at The Drama Book Shop

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND! Whether you are a seasoned professional, a wide-eyed beginner or lost in the actor maze, Annie Chadwick's motivational career building workshop will give you: the vision to create your own unique theatrical career; no nonsense business strategies; innovative self-promotional techniques and the most current industry trends.

  • Have you just finished an acting training program and are ready to begin seeking work
  • Have you recently moved to NYC and need a plan to introduce your talent to the Big Apple?
  • Are you returning to acting or just starting after working in the business world?
  • Has your career stalled and you need fresh innovative tools to move to the next level?

In this 2 hour workshop, Annie will meet with you briefly before the workshop to review your picture/resume and help you target an area of concentration for the next 6 months.  In the actual workshop you will get handouts with current marketing tools and a clear, step-by-step path to evolve your acting career in NYC.

The Workshop will cover:

Marketing Tools and Strategies
Are your marketing tools a current representation of your talent?
This is one of the most important parts of building a career and introducing your talent to the industry. Learn the most current trends in effective Pictures, Resumes, Cover Letters and Postcard content, Website, Reels, Email Submissions, Industry Mailings and Personal Appearance. Get specific letter writing skills and tips to make your cover letters, postcards, follow-ups and submissions more targeted. Are emails, faxing, website promotion the way of the future?

Learn the most effective ways to introduce yourself to the industry agents, personal managers, casting directors, showcases, seminars.
Film/TV and theatre opportunities are greater than ever in NYC. Learn how a talented actor can get auditions without representation and start developing a legit career. Get information on how to self-submit and get your own Film/TV auditions from Online Casting Opportunities and Trade publications. Learn what TV/Film projects are shooting in NYC and who is doing the casting. For theatre projects you will get specific tips on how to find out six months in advance what's being produced before casting notices go out; the best ways to get auditions, target and identify the roles you are most right for; and how to see the latest NYC Off-Broadway theatre for free.

Classes, Coaches, and Resources
Training for artists never ends. Get recommendation of on-going classes and coaches that will help you get noticed in the very competitive NYC market. We'll also go on a tour of the Drama Book Shop with a list of resources that are essential to keeping-up with the latest projects and acting techniques.

For more information on Up-to-Date Theatricals and Annie Chadwick, visit:

The cost of this workshop is $50, payable on the day of the workshop. For reservations call 212-265-0260, or the Drama Book Shop at (212) 944-0595 (option 3) during regular business hours.

Annie just worked with director P.J. Hogan on the new Jerry Bruckheimer film, CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC, playing John Lithgow's wife, Mrs. Edgar West.

Workshop Reviews
"I came to Annie's workshop hoping to at least get some decent info for $50. What I came away with was not only worth the price, but much more than I had hoped for. Annie is genuine, goes out of her way to not only make you feel special, but to really give you that extra individualized attention, which is completely unexpected but absolutely appreciated. Her workshop was not only chalked full of relevant and useful information, but she added something that I did not expect to find there...hope and inspiration. What a truly fabulous workshop! I highly recommend it to anyone who is beginning their career or feeling like they are at a stalemate here in New York!"--Krista, NYC actress/singer/musician

"I took your career-building workshop yesterday. I wanted to drop you a line to say how thankful I was for your advice, attention, and for all the wonderful information you gave us. It was so awesome! I was so energized and excited after the meeting that I felt hopeful I could indeed pursue this career on a professional level. I feel like I have a clear-cut focus for how to approach the next six months and I feel awash in relief! Where to put your time, money and energy in your acting career feels so overwhelming, so it was nice to get some solid, practical advice. Thank you again."--Jennifer, NYC actress

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Intermission Talk by TONY VELLELA: January 25, 2011

“The Importance of Being
Earnest,” “Long Story Short”
and Other Observations

What do “Hairspray,” the film “Birdcage” and the current revival of “The Importance of Being Earnest” have in common? Actually, what TWO things?

One, they are all built around well-written and cleverly directed material. And, they all benefit from consummate male actors using their exquisite comedy timing to inhabit larger-than-life female characters – in the case of ‘Hairspray,” the reference is literal. What Harvey Fierstein did for Edna Turnblatt, and Nathan Lane did for Albin, the commanding Brian Bedford now delivers in Oscar Wilde’s epigram-stuffed 1895 classic, as he stalks the stage as Lady Augusta Bracknell. Plus, he directs.

This Roundabout Theatre Company production comes to Broadway from its acclaimed run at Ontario’s 2009 Stratford Shakespeare Festival, a kind of Disneyland for theatre-lovers. The American Airlines theatre stage line is bound by clamshell faux footlights, to evoke theatres of the Victorian era in London and the countryside. And all the excellent design work [Desmond Heeley's set & costumes, Paul Huntley's wigs and hair design and even Duane Schuler's lighting] cheerily take us into that world like the White Rabbit pulling Alice down the rabbit hole. Curtain up, and we’re all the way in.

The un-earnest duo at the center of this love tangle, Algernon [Santino Fontana] and Jack [David Furr] have each created a fictitious, woes-laden fellow – a brother for Algernon, a neighbor for Jack – whose “troubles” always seem to take their creators away from where they are, to get them to where they would rather be. Deceit being the currency of this social set, the lads are comfortably manipulating social situations until each of them gets flattened instantly by Cupid’s pointy slender shaft. For Algernon, it’s Cecily [Charlotte Parry], and Jack’s heart throb is Gwendolen [Sara Topham]. Unfortunately for everyone under thirty, the fair maidens each have a connection to Lady Bracknell. She is Gwendolen’s mother. And, since the elderly Lady in question reigns supreme as matriarch of her clan, it is her self-anointed role to approve of Algernon’s love interest. The Lady doth protest as much, or more, as anyone can.

Bedford knows just how to protest – he does it undiminished confidence, a slight lowering of eyelids, an adjective’s attenuated pronunciation, a slow sweep of the head to harpoon all in the room with a menacing gaze, always prompting waves of laughter and broad, happy smiles. She owns contempt, and we love her for it. Festooned in upholstery-strength brocade, feathers on birds of prey perched forward on hats clinging to their patron, and bodice-distracting ruffles, Bedford resembles [for boomers who know the reference] the actress Doris Packer, seen in the 1950s as Beaver’s often unflinching grade school principal, Mrs. Rayburn. His Lady Bracknell pilots her floor-length ship of state from one revelation to the next, in her to-the-manor-born mission to keep up appearances, shield her daughter and nephew from ill-advised matches, restrict the guests to those worthy of her presence and squelch any possible impropriety that might stain her immaculate white gloves.

All this plotlines muddle of feigned emergencies and instant amour registers more comprehensively on the stage than on the page, because director Bedford has kept his staging crisp and linear. Even the basic set pieces in each act [I = Algernon's morning room in his London flat; II = the garden at the Manor House, Woolton; III = the Manor House Drawing Room] occupy the same relative areas, act to act. This proves all the better for permitting us to absorb the doubles tennis match Wilde has served up – one set of volleys conveys the workings of the plot, while the other set delivers the striking serves and dazzling backhands of Wilde’s breath-taking bons mots – a virtual Wimbledon of witticisms. Wilde’s style influenced comedy-writing for decades to come, even when whimsy substituted for wit, as in George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart’s “The Man Who Came to Dinner.”

Of the four youngsters, Ms. Parry and Mr. Furr are most engaging due to their well-paced restraint, while Mr. Fontana’s smug mugging seems lifted from the English Music Hall realm. Rounding out the cast of characters are Dana Ivey as Miss Prism, Cecily’s tutor, and Paxton Whitehead, as the clueless Rev. Chasuble. When Jack’s real provenance is improbably and hilariously unearthed, until Act Three thought to be the undeclared presumed orphan famously cradled in an abandoned handbag railway station coat room, it shatters Prism’s staunchly conservative reputation. Ivey’s performance, tagged ‘redoubtable’ by many, is in fact far more – it matches Bedford’s diamond-sharp moment-to-moment savvy, a triumph of tiny choices and self-control.

Since both young women have predetermined that their destined spouses must be named Earnest, it should be noted how Wilde named some of his comedy’s inhabitants. As I tell my students, everything is a choice. Jack is meant to denote a common fellow. Algernon translates as someone with moustaches [plural], and therefore possibly a man with an overbearing prissiness. Anyone christened Cecily loves music. Gwendolen derives from Guinevere, of the Roundtable gang. Prism seems to be sarcastically named after something that is dazzling. The good reverend’s surname comes from a vicar’s outer, sleeveless garment – someone who doesn’t have arms and can’t grasp things, perhaps? An old-fashioned aside: in “The Odd Couple,” Neil Simon named his Pigeon sisters after Wilde’s vacuous heroines.

The most apt Christian moniker of all surely is that of Lady Bracknell – Augusta. This ‘august’ personage indeed commands our laser-like attention and blind obedience. Failure to give her both, in full measure, guarantees swift and unimaginable consequences.

Consequences of historic proportions rattle around the make-believe stone steps on the set of “Colin Quinn Long Story Short,” a 75-minute humorous, and sometimes laugh-packed monologue that traces the history of civilization. Yup! Directed by Jerry Seinfeld, Quinn’s rather intelligent riff on how man screwed up big time boils it all down to ethnic idiosyncrasies, quirky behavior and the occasional buffoon in the right place at the wrong time. With a serious debt to Mort Sahl, the comic mines a couple hundred centuries of mankind’s back story through the lens of today’s social norms, or ab-norms, as the case may be. The material does seem rushed, and often, a clever quip comes off as the seed of a potentially riotous premise, only to be left on the floor instead of being nurtured into a full-grown bit.

Quinn’s act makes only fair-to-middling use of full screen projections and amusing animation, but any time comedy requires the audience to know the difference between the Middle East and the Midwest, it deserves acclaim. Broadway’s smallest house, the Helen Hayes, helps to keep the atmosphere casual. The performance ends with a stand-up routine that pretty well ties it all together, but given the fact that it’s had the entire planet’s real and mythological events to draw from, “Long Story Short” should not have taken its title so literally.

A few weeks back, word circulated that Arthur Laurents and Stephen Sondheim have met with Barbra S. to conjure up a new screen version of “Gypsy.” Conventional wisdom among theatre folk who rate movie musicals is that the 1959 Rosalind Russell starrer, directed with Hollywood adjustments by Mervyn LeRoy, failed to capture the great show’s magic.

It’s curious that Arthur’s golden girl choice for what many called the definitive revival recently, Patti LuPone, does not seem to be in the running, despite being closer in age to Madame Rose – she’s about 50, and Miss S is coming up on 69. And it’s still a mystery why the two surviving creators of this classic musical don’t comment on the 1993 TV-movie version starring Bette Midler. One wonders how Sondheim’s score will fare when sung by the independent-minded musical genius who makes every composition her own. Ready or not, here comes Momma!

On Book

Oscar Wilde (ne Fingal O’Flahertie Wills, from Dublin) ingested the 19th-century Aesthetic movement, which advocated art for art’s sake, and rose to become its leading spokesman. He sharpened his pencils and his wits, and turned out some of the English-speaking world’s most memorable wordplay masterpieces, such as the biting satire “An Ideal Husband” for the stage, the wrenching poem “The Ballad of Reading Gaol,” and the haunting novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray.” Check out two collections that will give you hours of pleasure: Harper Perennial’s “The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde: Stories, Plays, Poems and Essays,” and “Wilde: The Complete Plays,” from Metheun Publishing.

TONY VELLELA wrote and produced the PBS documentary series about theatre, “Character Studies.” He has written about theatre and the arts for The Christian Science Monitor, Dramatics Magazine, Parade, Rolling Stone, and dozens of other publications. His award-winning play “Admissions” is published by Playscripts. He has taught theatre subjects at Columbia University Teacher’s College, HB Studio, the New School and other institutions, and now conducts small classes and private tutoring sessions. Information is available through

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Thurs, Jan 27 @ 6:00 P.M: Free Panel Discussion: Theatrical Giants: Cheryl Crawford and Horton Foote at The Drama Book Shop

Free Panel Discussion: Theatrical Giants: Cheryl Crawford and Horton Foote

"Theatrical Giants: Cheryl Crawford and Horton Foote" with Lyricist/Librettist Tom Jones, Authors Milly Barranger and Wilborn Hampton, and Director Michael Wilson

Four panelists will talk about and read from their works that reveal the far-reaching influences of the Broadway producer and the playwright on the American theatre.

About the Authors:

Lyricist/librettist Tom Jones is co-creator of The Fantasticks, 110 in the Shade, I Do! I Do!,and Celebration, and author of Making Musicals: An Informal Introduction to the World of Musical Theatre; Milly Barranger is author of books on Cheryl Crawford, Margaret Webster, and McCarthyism; Wilborn Hampton's biography of Horton Foote describes the storyteller's life and writing for theatre and film; and Michael Wilson, artistic director of Hartford Stage Company, staged Foote's nine-hour The Orphans' Home Cycle most recently at New York's Signature Theatre.

About the Books:
Tom Jones' Making Musicals is a brief history of the American musical followed by a description of the proces' from getting started to getting produced. Milly Barranger's A Gambler's Instinct: The Story of Broadway Producer Cheryl Crawford describes the unprecedented success of a woman producer at mid-twentieth century with plays by Tennessee Williams and musicals by Kurt Weill, Alan Jay Lerner, and Frederick Loewe. Crawford also co-founded the Group Theatre and the Actors Studio with other theatre notables. Wilborn Hampton's Horton Foote: America's Storyteller traces the playwright's creation of award-winning screenplays and plays set in the American Southwest; and Horton Foote's Cousins and The Death of Papa, the third volume of The Orphans' Home Cycle, brings the story of two families to a close.

A Gambler's Instinct: The Story of Broadway Producer Cheryl Crawford
by Milly S. Barranger
Paper. $29.95

Every Monday night at 9:00 p.m.! LATE NIGHT OPEN MIC at The Drama Book Shop

Staff member, Matt Alspaugh runs a LATE NIGHT OPEN MIC at The Drama Book Shop every Monday night at 9:00 p.m.! Read below for more info on this great weekly night of comedy!

Why Cry when you could laugh? Come watch some of New York's top up and coming stand up comics, performing at the world famous Drama Book Shop.

Stand Up Comics = 6 mins for $5
Audience = FREE

Every Monday night, 9-11 pm. Sign up is on a first come, first serve basis, starting at 8:30 pm. Contact Matt Alspaugh for further details.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Every Monday night at 9:00 p.m.! LATE NIGHT OPEN MIC at The Drama Book Shop

Staff member, Matt Alspaugh runs a LATE NIGHT OPEN MIC at The Drama Book Shop every Monday night at 9:00 p.m.! Read below for more info on this great weekly night of comedy!

Why Cry when you could laugh? Come watch some of New York's top up and coming stand up comics, performing at the world famous Drama Book Shop.

Stand Up Comics = 6 mins for $5
Audience = FREE

Every Monday night, 9-11 pm. Sign up is on a first come, first serve basis, starting at 8:30 pm. Contact Matt Alspaugh for further details.

Fri, Jan14 @ 5 P.M: FREE Book Talk and Signing with Internationally Renowned Voice Coach Stewart Pearce at The Drama Book Shop

FREE Book Talk and Signing with Internationally Renowned Voice Coach Stewart Pearce—The Alchemy of Voice: Transform and Enrich Your Life Through the Power of Your Voice

Stewart Pearce is an internationally renowned voice coach and sound healer who has held positions at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and the Drama Centre of London. He has worked with many celebrities and statespersons, including Simon Callow, Princess Diana, Vanessa Redgrave, and Anita Roddick, as well as with corporations such as BBC and L’Oreal.

About The Alchemy of Voice

Offering straightforward and highly effective techniques to those seeking personal healing, this manual provides ways in which the power of people's voices can improve and enhance their lives. Identifying sound as the center of creation and an individual’s unique signature note—the song of the soul—that unifies the mind, body, and spirit, this important tome urges readers to rediscover this inner sound and move onto the path of healing and the hope of creative fulfillment. Exercises to achieve peace and harmony, boost self-confidence, and add color and passion to self-expression help seekers reach their potent, powerful, and most importantly, their personal sound.

"Stewart's gift is to show us how extraordinary the power of the voice can be."--Simon Callow, actor

"Stewart Pearce is an inspirational force . . . he guides his students to experience their true creative potential." --Peter Kyle, manager, Shakespeare's Globe Theatre

"Ever since meeting Stewart, I've wished others could benefit from his knowledge and wisdom. Now, The Alchemy of Voice makes this possible"--Shelley von Strunckel, astrologist

The Alchemy of Voice: Transform and Enrich Your Life Through the Power of Your Voice by Stewart Pearce Paper. $14.95

Thursday, January 06, 2011

POW! (Play Of The Week)

by Fabrice Roger-Lecan
Translated by Christopher Campbell

This two-fisted hander is a brittle comedy which brings out the best and the worst in the male ego. Jammed packed with testosterone -- that is, corporate testosterone, French playwright Roger-Lacan exposes the mores and unstated but necessary male code of relationships in today’s business world.

Bernard is 40 years old today. An important day! Why should he not believe that his best friend and business partner for many years would want to help him celebrate his big “4-0”. But business partner Adrien has other plans. He is a member of an elite gentlemen’s club, which has its excusive monthly dinners on that very date. It’s an elite club, which he never told Bernard about!

Questions! To what extent will a man go to break into an elite gentlemen’s world with the promise of corporate success? To what extent will a man go to maintain an important male relationship?

These questions and others are explored with biting humor and violent action. These two men are “civilized”, but surely there are limits. Or are there? Would you be moved to murder by strangulation by neck-tie?

MEMBERS ONLY doesn’t speak at today’s corporate world; it yells at it.

All I can say is, “Women beware”! Men will not only be men, but there’s no stopping them. And don’t you forget that!

Good monologues and scenes for two men

Review by W. Martin