Friday, March 23, 2012

2012 NYC World Theatre Day events!


Are you an actor? Or a theater person? Or a just a lover of Shakespeare?

Well. This is for you!

Saturday the 24th

There will be performances in Times Square celebrating World Theater Day! Or as we call them, SPLATs! (Site-specific Public Large-scale Acts of Theater)

One of the performances happening will be a large group recitation of Hamlet's To Be or Not To Be speech.

So. You wanna celebrate Theater? Shakespeare? Flash Mobs?

Come find the actors and musicians in Times Square and give the Bard's most famous speech your best shot with the rest of us! ( if you don't know it by heart, don't worry. We will have copies of it you can read aloud with us)

We will be performing the speech at 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, and 4pm on Saturday.

We will be right at the south end of the pedestrian plaza at 42nd street and Broadway.
Feeling shy? Well, then just come and listen and lend your support and appreciation for theater!!

See you there!


Also check out the NYC World Theatre Day blog and website

Follow on Twitter @nycwtd


Join us as we raise a glass in honor of World Theatre Day on 3/27 at the Houndstooth Pub.

TUESDAY, MARCH 27 from 5PM to 8PM
The Back Bar at Houndstooth Pub
520 8th Avenue at 37th Street
Hear the message read aloud and raise a glass with
fellow theatre makers. Drink Specials all evening!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Own up to your cultural diversity

Contributed by Guest Blogger of the Week, Kevin R. Free.

Hey, all. Today, on its Broadway Power list, Backstage reminded us that most of the power on Broadway is held by white guys. No surprise there, but I spent a few moments feeling disheartened and powerless.

Then I remembered having a discussion with one of those white guys on that list about how people of color don't have a "theatre-going lifestyle," so there's really no use marketing to them.

Then I was pissed off.   

Then I went to brunch.*


  1. There are folks who cannot afford full-price Broadway tickets. Many of those folks don't even know what indie theatre is.
  2. People of color don't chomp at the bit to attend theatre, because they are rarely represented onstage in theme or in person.
  3. There are folks who like theatre, but don't have regular access to it; or they don't even know yet that they like it.
  4. There are folks who love indie theatre, but don't attend theatre created by the unfamiliar (the others, as I discussed earlier this week).

All of the people listed above are a part of our community. We just have to figure out how to reach them/us/you. How do we do that? Christopher Burris and Derek Lee McPhatter offered ways to stay on top of it on this blog. Pun Bandhu has started the conversation about the inclusion of Asian artists in New York theatre. Kelley Nicole Girod blogged about her struggle with her multiracial identity, and now I'm adding my voice to the chorus.  

Perhaps it is time for the indie theatre community to own up to its own cultural diversity. To rejoice in - or, at least, raise a glass to - our differences, and ask each other for help when we want to reach our colleagues who are "other." We, the indie theatre artists, have power. We can reach more people, make more art, change more lives, and inspire more change than the dudes (and one lady) listed in Backstage today.  We've done it separately, in silos, but we can do it as a group, too. And I think we should.

My sister,  who's not a theatre person, once said to me, about my 17-year (really) quest to become a principal actor in a Broadway show: "But you don't really want that, do you? You make your own stuff. There's more power in that."

Indeed. Let's use our power for good.

*I had brunch with a white guy who makes indie theatre regularly. We both ate eggs, but they were prepared differently.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Contributed by Guest Blogger of the Week, Kevin R. Free.

I recently worked with a (white) woman who said, upon seeing the title of a theatre piece (a title which I cannot mention here), that she hoped that the play wasn’t “about being mad at white people.” I (a black man) remarked, nearly simultaneously, that I was suspicious, when I saw said piece, that it featured no people of color. We didn’t speak at length about our reactions, or about our expectations, which I really think are the issue in this situation; but - as I knew I’d be contributing to this here blog this week - I decided that we’d wrestle the expectations in this forum.

So. Let’s talk about titles. What do they do to you? I learned how to title my plays when I wrote for Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind (30 Plays in 60 Minutes). Often, I titled my plays to be provocative or funny, because I wanted our audience to see the titles and really, really, really really really (really) want to see them. So when I expanded my series of plays from Too Much Light into a full length called A Raisin in the Salad: Black Plays for White People, I am not sure what I expected, other than for people to want to see it. What kind of play do you expect when you read that title? Do you want to see it?  Are you intrigued? Are you afraid of what it could mean* (dramatic music)?

Last week, I saw a friend’s musical play off-broadway. It was quite good: well-performed, well-written, and well-produced. But, as I watched it, I realized there was no representation of myself in it. I mean that not only in a where-are-the-blacks-where-are-the-gays way, but also in a where-are-the-smart-people-who-struggle-with-existence-and-identity-in-a-world-that-values-happy-endings way. Before I saw the show - because of its title (which I will not name) -  I had a feeling that that would be my experience, but I bought a ticket and I attended anyway. I left the theatre depressed, because of how silenced I felt, but I also left feeling inspired to create more of the kind of work I like to see: challenging, thought-provoking entertainment that isn’t quite so easy to sum up, categorize, or dismiss.

I told the woman with whom I worked last week not to be afraid of provocative titles, and I hope she heard me. If you are white and you see a play that features angry black people shouting because they hate white people, or what white people do, or what white people have done and have plans to do, realize that those black people aren’t talking about YOU. They’re talking about WHITE PEOPLE. The monolith. The construct. They’re only talking about you in the abstract. BUT. They are talking about you if you aren’t there to hear it. But you know what they say: “If an angry black man shouts about white people in an empty theater  - or in a theater full of black people - does anyone really hear it?”

I decided long ago that I like to see race or ethnicity in a title. Love it. It lets me know that I am in for a ride. I believe that - for better or worse - we are bound by race in this country. Your whiteness, your blackness, your asianness, your definition of those nesses (and all the other othernesses) inform my identity, because we have all enslaved one another; I cannot separate my history from yours, no matter how hard I try. So. I’m provoked just by seeing you, and I am silenced when I don’t see me (“you” and “me” both being relative and abstract).  

I have never seen The Caucasian Chalk Circle, and I am trying to forgive myself.

*I wrote my first Black Plays for White People when I was in Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind. I wanted to write parodies of classic Black Theatre, and there were no black people in the company for whom I could write.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Guest Blogger of the Week: Kevin R. Free

We are so happy to announce that this week's guest blogger is Kevin R. Free.

Kevin R. Free has been either an actor, playwright or director Off-Off-broadway since 1996. His full-length plays, Face Value and A Raisin in the Salad: Black Plays for White People have been published by An alumnus of the New York Neo-Futurists, several of his plays have been published in 225 Plays by the New York Neo-Futurists from Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind. His play (Not) Just a Day Like Any Other, co-written with Christopher Borg, Jeffrey Cranor, and Eevin Hartsough, was the recipient of the NY IT Award for Outstanding Ensemble in 2009. In April/May, he will appear in a new Neo-Futurist  nerdcore musical about video games and identity, You are in an open field at HERE Arts Center. (

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Revolutionize Arts Support

Cultural Strategies Initiative, 3-Legged Dog & Americans for Community Development
A Teach In

 How The New L3C Business Structure
 Could Revolutionize Arts Support

Robert Lang – L3C creator
Michael Martin – an attorney with extensive L3C and Nonprofit Knowledge
And Michael DiFonzo- co-author of “L3C and the Arts”

Come hear the experts present the fundamental concepts of the L3C and how it can expand your options for revenue, whether you are an individual artist or an existing arts organization, and whether you might consider creating an L3C or partnering with one. Ask questions specific to your goals and challenges.

Friday, March 16, 2012
 3LD Art & Technology Center
80 Greenwich St.
$10 admission
Rsvp to

Everyone knows we need new models to support the cultural sector.  Take advantage of this opportunity to learn about this cutting edge new idea.

For more info on the L3C see:

Monday, March 5, 2012

World Theatre Day Celebration in NYC

Do you have a production that is running in NYC March 21st – 27th? Join the NYC World Theatre Day Coalition and help share this international celebration!

To become a member of the NYC World Theatre Day Coalition email
NYC WTD Coalition Members are asked to:
  1. Send an Eblast to your patrons Wishing them a Happy World Theatre Day on March 27th or in the week leading up to March 27th. We will design the eBlast for you so all you will have to do is forward it along or if you already have a planned eBlast we will create something you can easily include in your already planned eblast.
  2. Post a link to our World Theatre Day website ( on your website so your audience can find out about other ways to celebrate.
  3. Also if you are in performances, it would be wonderful if you could read and/or distribute the International Theatre Institute’s World Theatre Day Message during your performances March 21st – 27th in a curtain speech or in the program. We will provide you with a Program Insert.
In exchange for joining the Coalition, your company and/or production will be promoted on the NYCWTD website, in tweets, and on promotional materials. 

Plus you will be a part of an international celebration of theatre!