My play BIRMINGHAM BLUES, the story of a disgraced doctor’s fall into the shadow world of the homeless has been cast and will have a full production in October at the Wilkerson Theater in Sacramento. It will be directed by Maggie Upton, well known regional director and actress. More will follow, but save the dates: October 13-28, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 p.m. A portion of each ticket sold will go to organizations helping the homeless in Sacramento and El Dorado County.
We are so thrilled to announce that ALABAMA BOUND has been chosen to be part of the “Best of FringeNYC 2013” Collection by Indie Theater Now. The Collection will be published this fall and will include “20 of the most interesting and appealing new works from this year’s festival.” That’s us, folks! This non-profit seeks to bring “contemporary American drama to a broad audience via the Internet. Our focus is on work that is fresh, current and representative of the diversity of American culture.” The “Best of the FringeNYC 2013” Collection will be available for schools, universities, actors, directors, and theaters to view, download and produce new contemporary plays from the world of indie theater including ALABAMA BOUND!!!! Oh, my gosh, we are so honored to be chosen as part of this group of 20, selected from the 185 shows that have been presented at the Fringe.
This has been an amazing week of theater. The Fringe is sort of like a Mardi Gras celebration without the floats. Additionally, it has been an amazing week for the women of ALABAMA BOUND, both in terms of the five memorable women featured in the one-woman play, and also all the women who make up the cast and crew. Earline, our fun, generous, patient and totally efficient venue director, has been there at every turn and steered us safely through every difficulty, even as I sometimes paced the floor like an expectant father waiting the delivery of his baby. Our great lighting wizard, Cynthia Staton, is another rock, always prepared and quietly efficient. I have so loved talking with her about her love of theater and her work with her own baby, the New AfriKan Theater group. Then there is the wonderful Silvia, who flew in from Barcelona with her project, Pep Talk, and is our totally capable stage manager. If she has suffered from jet lag, I haven’t seen it. She is a smiling, amazing presence. And of course, we are so grateful for Kalynn Dodge who is our ACR (Authorized Company Representative), who brought us wonderful cupcakes and flowers opening night and who is always there to do her job at the door, checking tickets and working with our box office rep. Then there is Linda Nalbandian. Oh my gosh, what can I say? Her first trip to New York and first time on any New York stage, and she continues to astound me with each performance. And of course, there is always my wonderful spouse Irene, who sits each day before the performance, folding programs, stuffing them with the appropriate material, making sure I have everything I need before I leave, and then sitting next to me in the audience each night. Oh my gosh, what would I ever do without her. So, these are all the women of ALABAMA BOUND who care deeply about this show. A very amazing group, and we are so fortunate to have them. (Pictured from left, Kalynn, Cynthia, Silvia, Charlotte, Linda and Earline)
Oh, my gosh. We got news this afternoon as we were about to do our tech that the opening night, Wed. August 14, has SOLD OUT! All of us were thrilled at the news. It feels like a huge accomplishment since we are a one-woman play from out of town. We have certainly worked as hard as we can not only in marketing/promoting the show — by appearing at every event we can — but by, most importantly, making it the best possible show that we can. Linda Nalbandian, star of the show, did five-minute teasers at the opening night gala party; did a fabulous teaser featuring Dixie, our raucous Bessemer, Alabama police dispatcher (will she or won’t she be able to get out of town on vacation with her worthless boyfriend Rodney) at the Fringe Central teaser Saturday; and will also appear with at least 17 other women’s Fringe shows Tuesday night at the Bluestocking Book Store. I, as the playwright, will also be doing a panel discussion on Thursday night on why we are captivated by subjects as varied as Soweto shanty towns to the dusty back roads of Alabama. But, ultimately, The Play’s The Thing. And both Linda and I are so proud to present this work. We love these women for all their heroic, tragic, funny, desperate and catastrophic ways of dealing with the issues in their lives — health, class, economic and aging. We do this so their stories can be heard. (Pictured above: Linda Nalbandian and I stand before the Fringe Central Sold Out Board.)
Well, arrived in NYC this past Saturday evening. Flying in over Manhattan and seeing all those skyscrapers pointing in the air reminded me somehow of the quills on the back of a porcupine. The evening was balmy; everyone dining at sidewalk cafes or sitting on the steps of Union Square enjoying it. I hurried down to Fringe Central to see our show postcards: all the shows’ cards are lined up in these see-through slots, kind of like newborn babies at a hospital nursery. Went straight up to our beauty and said, “Mama’s here, Sugar!” I have been busy ever since I got here working on getting our crew and props together — had to leave the originals behind in California. Spent several hours at Salvation Army Stores — a mind-boggling array of things to browse through. We are so fortunate to have found some amazing people as part of our crew: Kalynn Dodge, originally from Placerville and now an actress here in New York, is our official company representative in NYC. Kalynn is the daughter of Kathleen Dodge, head of El Dorado’s County’s Film Commission. Show biz obviously runs in the genes. NYC local Cynthia Staton, our lighting czar, recently graduated in theater technology here in New York and works for the Fringe. And our stage manager Silvia Sanfeliu, an accomplished director, adaptor, producer, and translator, is our stage manager. Silvia is here with another Fringe show and lives and works in Barcelona. Pretty impressive, huh? Our star Linda Nalbandian arrives late tonight, and we will have a couple more rehearsals before we open Wednesday, August 14 — a week from today. Stay posted; it’s a whirlwind here.
FRINGE NYC is almost here!! Seems like only yesterday that I was jumping up and down and laughing because I had just gotten the email that ALABAMA BOUND had been selected to be part of The New York International Fringe Festival, aka FringeNYC. And now I leave Saturday morning to fly back to New York to start my Fringe experience. And it is an experience — a kind of creative carnival. I will be traipsing around the city looking for our final props (up to Harlem Goodwill, then to Sylvia’s for a fried chicken lunch); meeting with the other companies that share our venue to prepare it for our shows: hanging out at FringeNYC Central, swapping postcards and busking our shows; our star Linda Nalbandian performing a 5-minute teaser at Fringe Central; me joining with other playwrights on a panel to talk about why we write the sometimes strange things we do; hanging out with old New York buddies; seeing other amazingly creative Fringe shows; maybe sneaking out to see Kinky Boots; eating great New York food; and enjoying the fabulous place that is known as New York with the unforgettable experience known as FringeNYC. Oh yea, and performing ALABAMA BOUND.
Hey, somebody’s got to do it!!!!!
ALABAMA BOUND is so excited to be heading to the The New York International Fringe Festival, aka FringeNYC2013…the largest multi-arts festival in North America. This creative bash, both for participating artists and audiences, runs 16 days from August 9 through 25 and features 200 shows with 1200 performances, 5,000 artists, at 20 different venues in Manhattan. More than 75,000 people attend the Fringe. Wow!! And it is definitely a labor of love: Its very small staff is supplemented by 2,500 volunteers who work very long hours to create an amazing Fringe community that we are so happy to be a part of. As Fringe Director Elena Holy says, “Fringe is a festival run on energy created by a community of artists, audience and volunteers.” Linda Nalbandian, Eileen Lewis and I are happy that ALABAMA BOUND was selected from more than 800 submissions. NEW YORK, HERE WE COME. Click here to view the FringeNYC website.
In May I traveled back to New York to get my first taste of FringeNYC. It was a whirlwind trip…dropping off paperwork, meeting some of the amazing Fringe staff and volunteers, and other Fringe participants, looking for props, talking marketing. We compared notes about our shows, and I heard some unbelievably creative ideas developed by people from all over the greater New York area and the country. Most International companies didn’t make it there for this round, but we are all excited about meeting them in August. I concluded the trip with a subway ride to the Harlem Goodwill Store to pick up a prop for the show: a wheelchair that will be used by our nursing home resident, Miss Evelyn, in the vignette called “Old Woman.” It was interesting getting the thing back through the turnstile, up the stairs, and down the streets of lower Manhattan. By the time I got to where I was staying, I would have liked to be sitting in it with someone behind pushing me along.