Thursday, February 2 at 7:30 pm
Performance followed by discussion with the audience and light refreshments.
All tickets $20
(Proceeds shared with Interweave www.Interweave.org)
This evening, which will include readings of eight short plays followed by an open discussion with the audience and light refreshments, originated from a number of questions being asked by the artistic community in the last several months. Artistic Director Laura Ekstrand observed, “The inspiration for this project in part came from the response to the statement the “Hamilton” cast read from the stage. It raises the question of how we as a society view the theatre and the people who make it as participants in this society. I was also interested in discovering how the artists we know were processing and participating in the dialogue happening in our country surrounding the election.”
The discussion following will be focused on questions such as: What role does theatre have in civic discourse? What do audiences gain, or need, from their participation in theatre? And further, what contribution can artists as individuals make to this conversation? Dreamcatcher always strives to build community with the audience by providing opportunities for connection between the lives we are living and the stories told onstage, and this evening is just such an opportunity.
The plays range from comedy to drama to musical, and each is unique. Participating playwrights include Michael Aquino and Dania Ramos (Mi Casa Tu Casa), Nadine Bernard (In the Shadow of My Son), Suzanne Bradbeer (Shakespeare in Vegas), Richard Dresser (Rounding Third), Steve Harper (American Crime), David Lee White (Blood: A Comedy), David Meyers (We Will Not Be Silent), and Lia Romeo (Connected). Twenty-five actors will read the plays before the audience is invited to join in the conversation.
Dreamcatcher will share proceeds from “Continuing the Conversation" with Interweave, an interfaith, interspiritual learning center centered on integrated spirituality for daily living. Interweave’s mission is to deepen spirituality, strengthen wellness and promote the common good. This nonprofit has been offering opportunities for growth and support through programs, retreats, and support groups since 1980. Interweave sees the arts, both visual and performing, as a power vehicle for the reflective work we are called to do as individuals and as a society to move towards transformative growth. Interweave has campuses in Summit, Short Hills, Mendham and Montclair.
Interweave executive director, Janet Aulet Maulbeck says, "We are thrilled to be the recipients of this exciting benefit reading on "continuing the conversation". Theater is such a powerful mirror of our society, and who better to hold up that mirror than the incredibly talented Dreamcatcher ensemble." www.interweave.org
Meet the playwrights:
Michael Aquino is a Cuba-Rican musician and performer born in the urbanlands of northern New Jersey. His debut, solo album, Giants Will Fall, was released in October 2015. He has played at the Cape May Singer-Songwriter Festival, Madison Holiday Arts Festival, Hillside Cafe, Montclair State Centennial Celebration, Boro 6 Music Festival, and the Glen Ridge Arts Festival, among others. Michael has written over 100 original songs and was nominated for a 2013 Jersey Acoustic Music Award (Top Male Songwriter category). He created and facilitated 14 Songs in 14 Days, an intensive online songwriting workshop. He was also the creator and host of Indie Music Circus, a showcase for independent musicians. In 2010 Michael released The Black Friday Sessions with the band Sirs. He is currently working on his debut EP, City Stars.
Aquino is also a professional actor and has performed at regional and NYC stages including Luna Stage, The American Globe, George Street Playhouse, The NY International Fringe Festival, and Playwrights Theatre of NJ. He is a co-creator of Mi Casa Tu Casa, a bilingual stage production. Michael received a degree in theater from Montclair State University and is a member of SESAC and Actors Equity Association.
Nadine Bernard is a playwright and actor residing in Montclair, New Jersey. She is currently collaborating with award winning director Andy Sandberg (Application Pending and Straight, Off-Broadway) on her dark comedy, Opportunity of a Lifetime which had an industry reading in NYC last year and was a semi-finalist at the Women’s Project in NYC. An earlier version of the play appeared as a reading at the Meet the Artist series at Dreamcatchers Repertory Theater in Summit (May 2014) under the title, Then Let the Fish Go. Her play, In the Shadow of My Son, appeared at the New York International Fringe Festival in 2007 and has been produced in the past several years throughout the USA and Canada. A monologue from the play is published in the Smith and Kraus The Best Women's Stage Monologues of 2008.
She recently adapted her play about Esther Howland, “The Mother of the American Valentine,” to be an inspirational piece for teen girls and young women, and she is collaborating with a NYC producer on an immersive production of the play: Miss Valentine (Ivy Austin, Producer – Associate Producer at Sunnyspot Entertainment, currently in development in NYC). She is also currently working with Artistic Director of Theater 167 (Ari Kreith), on her play Veils, about a group of New Jersey women in a belly dancing class who get caught up in the mystery and past of their belly dancing teacher. The play appeared in the HB Studios Playwrights Foundation staged reading series (also June Havoc Theatre and Manhattan Movement and Arts Center, NYC, Staged Readings, 2013 ). She developed her most recent play, Seize the Day After, about a mother finding the balance between science and spirituality as she raises a special needs child, at a writing workshop at Luna Stage in West Orange, NJ.
Other plays include, The Way to Summer, anti-Apartheid activist Helen Suzan, which she developed during a year-long writing residency at CAP21 in NYC, working with Artistic Director Eliza Ventura, Waiting For Fame to Come, The Almost Baby, The Jizo Story. Nadine has a BA from Cornell University and an MFA in Theater from Sarah Lawrence College. She has toured hospitals in New Jersey with her solo show of excerpts from In the Shadow of My Son. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild , The League of Professional Theatre Women, and the Jewish Theater Association.
Suzanne Bradbeer’s selected plays include: CONFEDERATES (Kilroy’s Honorable Mention 2015 and 2016) opened the 2016-17 season at TheatreWorks – Silicon Valley. NAKED INFLUENCE was premiered by Capital Rep in January, 2016. Other plays include: THE GOD GAME (Gulfshore Playhouse/Capital Rep, Hudson Stage, 4th Wall Theatre Company, etc.); SHAKESPEARE IN VEGAS (Dreamcatcher Rep/PTNJ); FULL BLOOM (Barrington Stage, Dreamcatcher Rep, Hudson Stage, etc.); LONE STAR GRACE (Theater Workshop of Nantucket); BETHLEHEM, PA (City Theatre of Miami). Suzanne was a contributing writer on SPEAKEASY (Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater), and is the librettist for the musicals COCUS AND DOOT (commissioned and produced by Vital Theatre Company) and MAX AND THE TRUFFLE PIG (NYMF).
Suzanne has received grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Berrilla Kerr Foundation, the Anna Sosenko Trust, as well as the BMI Foundation’s Harrington Award. She has twice been a winner of the NEXT ACT! New Play Summit at Capital Rep, and was twice an Honorable Mention for the Kilroy’s List. Suzanne was also a winner of the Ashland New Plays Festival and the Dayton Playhouse FutureFest.
Suzanne’s plays have been published by Playscripts, Samuel French, Applause Books, the Connotation Press, and in multiple Smith & Kraus anthologies. Suzanne worked as a dramaturg for Arthur Miller and Jim Houghton on Signature Theatre Company’s production of THE AMERICAN CLOCK. She is a member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre, the Dramatists Guild, and is a regular moderator at the Actors Studio Playwright/Director Workshop.
RICHARD DRESSER’S plays have been produced in New York, regional theater, and Europe. They include ROUND-ING THIRD, which started in Chicago, appeared off-Broadway and has had hundreds of productions. It was recent-ly made into a film starring John C. McGinley and Garret Dillahunt for release in 2016. BELOW THE BELT and GUN-SHY, both started at the Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville before moving off-Broadway. BELOW THE BELT was made into the film “Human Error” directed by Robert M. Young which appeared at Sundance. His trilogy of plays about happiness in America includes AUGUSTA (working class), THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS (middle class), and A VIEW OF THE HARBOR (upper class). Other plays are: THE LAST DAYS OF MICKEY & JEAN, SOMETHING IN THE AIR, THE DOWNSIDE, ALONE AT THE BEACH, WONDERFUL WORLD, and BETTER DAYS, plus many short plays.
A new play, TROUBLE COMETH, about two executives locked in an existential struggle against an impossible dead-line premiered at the San Francisco Playhouse in the spring of 2015 and another new play, CLOSURE, premiered in the summer at New Jersey Repertory Theatre in Long Branch, starring Wendie Malick and Gary Cole. Other pro-jects include the book for a musical, JOHNNY BASEBALL (lyrics by Willie Reale, music by Robert Reale), about the Curse of the Red Sox, which premiered at A.R.T. in Cambridge, and moved on to the Williamstown Theatre Festi-val. A new bluegrass ghost musical, THE HOLLER (also with the Reale brothers) was workshopped at the William-stown Theatre Festival.
He recently finished “PUBLIC SPEAKING: Three short films starring Treat Williams.” He has also worked extensively in television. He created the web series “Life Coach” for AMC starring Cheri Oteri. He is a former member of New Dramatists and twice attended the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference. He currently teaches at Rutgers and is on the board of the Writers Guild Initiative, which does writing workshops with veterans and caregivers among other groups.
Steve Harper is a TV writer, playwright & actor dedicated to exploring the impact of culture and metaphysics on every day life. Steve’s web series, SEND ME, had a banner year, premiering on BET.com and garnering an Emmy nomination for series star Tracie Thoms. SEND ME was an official selection at 8 festivals and won two awards: Award of Excellence - Special Mention at the Indie Fest Film Awards and Winner of the Web Series Category at The Hollywood International Moving Pictures Film Festival.
Steve’s plays have been produced and developed by Classical Theater of Harlem, New York Theatre Workshop, New York Stage & Film, Freedom Train Productions, New Professional Theatre, Summer Play Festival/Naked Angels, Tribeca Theatre Festival, Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre, American Theatre Company (Chicago), Falcon Theatre, Malibu Playhouse, Loyola Marymount University and The Celebration Theatre (LA). They include Urban Rabbit Chronicles, Princeton Theory, Almost, Black/Out Stories, and The Escape Artist's Children, and Actual Cost (Juilliard /100th Anniversary: published by The Kenyon Review Online).
Steve is currently a writer on the ABC Series AMERICAN CRIME and he spent two seasons writing for the USA Network show COVERT AFFAIRS. He's also written the short film Intelligence, and Betty on the Bed (also director, producer and actor). Steve is a graduate of Yale, The A.R.T. Institute at Harvard, The CBS Writers Mentoring Program and the playwriting program at Juilliard. Steve is also a certified Creativity Coach specializing in helping writers craft dramatic scripts and launch professional careers.
David Meyers’ plays have been read and performed off-Broadway and at regional theatres around the country. His play "We Will Not Be Silent" will receive its World Premiere in 2017, and his play "BROKEN" about Mass Shootings was published in Indie Theatre Now's Best of the Year Anthology.
His plays have also been published by Applause Books and Smith and Kraus, and he used to be a staffer in the White House and U.S. Senate. He is thrilled to once again collaborate with Laura and the amazing team at Dreamcatcher. More at www.DavidActs.com.
Dania Ramos is an author, playwright, and teaching artist. Her middle grade novel Who’s Ju? (Northampton House Press) won the 2015 International Latino Book Award for Best YA eBook and was a finalist for the ILBA Mariposa Award for Best First Book.
Dania’s stage writing credits include Mi Casa Tu Casa (Luna Stage, Dreamcatcher Rep, New Jersey Theatre Alli-ance’s Stages Festival) and Hielo (developed through the Women Playwrights Project at Writers Theatre of New Jersey). Her plays have also been featured in the New Jersey Women Playwrights Series (co-presented by Writers Theatre of New Jersey and Speranza Theatre Company), Repertorio Español’s Nuestras Voces Reading Series, Writ-ers Theatre of New Jersey’s FORUM and Soundings Reading Series, Luna Stage’s Short Play Festival, and the Maslow Salon Reading Series at Wilkes University. She’s been a finalist in the MetLife Nuestras Voces National Play-writing Competition and the recipient of a New Jersey State Council on the Arts Playwriting Fellowship.
Dania is a creative writing instructor and a theatre teaching artist. She has led arts residencies and workshops for organizations including New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Writers Theatre of New Jersey, Writopia Lab, and the New Jersey School of Dramatic Arts.
Dania is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America, the Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators, and Actors Equity Association. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University and a BFA in Theatre Perfor-mance from Montclair State University. She lives in New Jersey with her husband.
Lia Romeo’s plays have been produced at 59E59, Project Y Theatre Company, Unicorn Theatre, HotCity Theatre, Stillwater Theatre, Renegade Theatre Experiment, Forward Flux Productions, New Origins Theatre Company, Jersey City Theater Center, and Xpressions Performing Arts Network, and have been developed at the Lark Theatre, San Francisco Playhouse, Abingdon Theatre, Writers Theatre of New Jersey, Orlando Shakes, New Jersey Repertory Theatre, Kitchen Dog Theatre, and elsewhere. She has been nominated for the American Theatre Critics’ Association’s Steinberg Award for best new play, the New York Innovative Theatre Award for outstanding full-length play, the L. Arnold Weissberger Award, and the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. She has been recognized by the O’Neill (finalist), the Heideman Award (finalist), and the Kilroys List (honorable mention).
She was the National New Play Network Emerging Playwright-in-Residence at Writers Theatre of New Jersey, and she is currently a member of the Project Y Playwrights Group, the Athena Theatre Playwrights Group, and the BMI Librettists Workshop. Her plays are published by Playscripts and Smith and Kraus. She is also the literary manager at Project Y Theatre Company, and the author of a novel, Dating the Devil (BelleBooks), and a humor book, 11,002 Things to Be Miserable About (Abrams Image), which has sold over 35,000 copies worldwide.
David Lee White
David Lee White is a New Jersey based playwright and educator that has worked with Passage Theatre, McCarter Theatre, Dreamcatcher Rep, PlayPenn, Rider University and Drexel University as well as many other theatres and theatre programs in the NJ/NY/PA area. He was recently commissioned by the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and Passage Theatre to create the play SANISM, which will premiere in 2017. In the summer of 2015, David creat-ed the show FIVE MINUTES TO PLACES for the McCarter Theatre Education Program’s Comedy Conservatory. His play BLOOD: A COMEDY was been produced at Passage Theatre (2009) and Dreamcatcher Rep (2012). David also worked with Passage’s Artistic Director June Ballinger to create the mainstage shows TRENTON LIGHTS and PRO-FILES, which made use of interviews with Trenton residents on the topics of race, identity and history in Trenton, NJ. His play SLIPPERY AS SIN also received its world premiere at Passage in 2011. The one-act play WHITE BABY was originally produced at Passage Theatre, then at Emerging Artists Theatre in NY. His newest play REAL TRUE CRIME received a reading in the Hive Exposed series in NY in March of 2015, and his solo show PANTHER HOLLOW will be seen at Dreamcatcher Rep, Drexel University and the United Solo Festival in the NY in the Fall of 2015.
Since 2005, he has been creating oral-history based plays with Trenton area teens based on social and cultural issues. IF I COULD IN MY HOOD I WOULD… was about inner-city gangs, FIRE GIRLS took on the issue of girl-bullying and URBAN CENTRAL examined the 1967 race riots that took place a Trenton Central High. Subsequent shows in this vein include GET OFF THE BUS and BOBASHELA. He created “Stoop Theatre” with the Trenton High drama club and created the show THIS TRENTON LIFE which was the subject an Emmy-Award nominated broadcast on PCK Media’s STATE OF THE ARTS.
David Lee White is the Associate Artistic Director and Resident Playwright at Passage Theatre in Trenton. He also runs the Passage Play Lab which has aided in the development of plays by New Jersey-based playwrights. David is also the curator of the Rider University New Play Festival , an instructor at PlayPenn in Philadelphia and teaches Dramatic Analysis at Drexel University. He is currently working on the play THE FESTIAL QUARTET and the musical LIVE STREAM with singer/songwriter Sarah Donner and director/co-creator Adam Immerwahr. The piece has been workshopped twice at Bristol-Riverside Theatre as part of their “America Rising” series.