New Year and New Projects!

Sorry I haven’t posted in quite a while. Many who know me have heard that the wonderful Cheers Live on Stage tour shuttered suddenly halfway through its Chicago run.  The producers simply never found an effective way to advertise the show and accomplish the all-important task of selling tickets. The entire company was devastated by the news; we had become a close-knit band in those 7 weeks together, and it’s taken me some time to adjust to the fact that the promise of 9 months of work on my first national tour was suddenly limited to just those 7 weeks. But what seven weeks they were!

We opened at the Shubert Theatre in Boston, where my late parents used to take me to see the touring productions. I can’t even express how much it meant to me to open in my home town, and to see all my siblings and their spouses, and many of my local friends, at the show. Thank you all!  We then moved on and performed for three weeks in Chicago. All I can say is that Chicago is every bit as magical as I’ve always heard, and I simply can’t wait to find another project that brings me there. It can’t happen soon enough.

So now I’m back in NYC, seeking my next projects. But I can’t thank our wonderful director Matt Lenz enough for bringing me on board for Cheers. Despite the sudden closure and loss of work, I wouldn’t have missed a moment of it for the world. And the cast is still staying actively in touch, encouraging each other, seeing each other perform, and catching up over lunch or a drink. Some bonds last long past the project’s end.

Onward!

Big News: I’m in the “Cheers Live On Stage” National Tour!

Cheers_LogoAt last I can share this news: I’m playing the fabulous role of the mysterious Eric Finch in the upcoming Cheers Live On Stage national tour, which opens this September where I grew up: Boston, MA. I’m beyond thrilled to be working again with the fantastic and delightful Matt Lenz (who directed me in the award-winning 30th Anniversary production of The Foreigner at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre in 2014), along with my buddy Sarah Sirota (we just appeared together in Like Money in the Bank in NYC), costume designer extraordinaire Michael McDonald (who designed costumes for The Foreigner) and a host of other lovely people. The web site is still in progress, as is the itinerary; I’ll provide updates as soon as I have them. (And if you don’t remember who Eric Finch is, don’t do research–just come see the show and be surprised!) This is my first national tour, and I’m very excited.  I hope to see you when we come to your town.

Special thanks to Matt and to Joy Dewing of Joy Dewing Casting for bringing me in and for being such a wonderful audience at auditions.

You can read the press release by clicking here.

Great Reviews for “Like Money in the Bank”

IMG_0403Well, “Like Money in the Bank” has closed, so I’ve taken a look at the reviews.  I’m so happy the play and production received so many nice notices.  And I’m tickled that critics enjoyed my work, as I had a great time performing my three very different roles:

The cast is made up of bold, brassy actors, perfectly suited to a period piece. There was no weak link amongst the lot, but Andrew Sellon’s three character’s particularly stood out to me. His understated facial expressions reminded me of David Hyde Pierce’s own worriedly comedic expressions and movements quite a lot.Quick Theatre  (I get compared to David Hyde Pierce pretty much daily, and that makes me very happy as I think he’s terrific.)

Special mention to Andrew Sellon for his role of Lockett (also Socialist and Sidney); his innate talent for comedy is a joy to behold, not only in his characters but as he carries title cards across the stage.  Woman Around Town

And the reviewer from NY Theatre Guide praised all my lovely fellow cast members individually, then ended with this:

But I fell in love with Andrew Sellon’s effervescent characters. He was perfectly moody, manic, kooky and commanding. I adored his scene change unspoken seductive story telling. I found his work polished and quite perfect.NY Theatre Guide

My thanks again to  wonderful playwright Jerry Polner and delightful director Shana Solomon, not to mention each and every one of my cast members and our crew for a great experience.  On to the next project…!

The Return of Sherlock Holmes

Requiem Holmes LogoI’ve been so busy so far this year that I’m just now trying to catch up with some posts.  Back in 2015, I performed the role of the world’s greatest detective in a staged reading of Greg Oliver Bodine’s new play, A Requiem for Sherlock Holmes, which combines two famous Conan Doyle short stories into a very satisfying Sherlockian evening of theatre.

This past January 6th, on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s 126th birthday, Greg asked me to don the role of Sherlock again, this time for a staged reading at the Players Theatre, nimbly directed by Leslie Kincaid Burby.  We had a great audience, and a great time.

After the show, we were given a private tour of The Players, including Edwin Booth’s private rooms.  Remarkable and fascinating.

Here’s hoping I have the opportunity to bring Greg’s play and my Sherlock to a theatre for a full production sometime soon!

I’m Appearing in a Staged Reading of a New Drama December 7-8 in NYC

I’m appearing in a staged reading of a new drama by Sam Affoumado called Straight Talking.  It’s a play that examines the damage caused by “reparativeIMG_1452-1 therapy” practices that seek to convert gay men to heterosexual life.

I play Jonah, a self-proclaimed ex-gay man who runs one of these misguided therapy practices.  My husband noted that George Bernard Shaw always gave his antagonists great arguments, and Sam has given my character plenty of almost-convincing things to say.  It’s exciting to play a character so completely at odds with who I am.  One of the things that keeps acting so rewarding for me as a profession is occasionally stepping into the shoes of someone I believe to be wrong, wrong, wrong, but must portray as believing himself to be absolutely right.

It’s a good cast and an interesting play.  If you’re around NYC on the evening of Monday 12/7 or Tuesday 12/8, both nights at 7pm, consider joining us.  It’s at the Playroom Theatre, 151 West 46th Street, 8th floor.  And it’s free.  To reserve seats, simply email saffu@aol.com and specify which night you want to attend and how many tickets you need them to hold at the box office.  Simple!  Right now there are plenty of seats for Monday, and still some left for Tuesday, as well.

I hope to see some of you there.

One More Sneak Peek Performance of “Through The Looking-Glass Darkly”!

TTLGD LogoFirst: Thank you to everyone who managed to make it to one of my four “sneak peek” staged readings of my new play Through the Looking-Glass Darkly as part of the Alice150 conference last week in NYC. The audience response and feedback afterward was truly humbling. I’m extremely excited that people are so entertained and moved by this piece; I didn’t expect it, but a few folks were even in tears by the end. I’ve worked on this project for a long time and am thrilled to be able to share it in this form, while I continue to work towards a fully staged theatrical production down the road.

I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be giving one more sneak peek performance at 2pm on Saturday, October 24th, at the Monmouth County Library Headquarters, 125 Symmes Drive, Manalapan, NJ. The show runs 75 minutes, and I’ll be holding a talkback after the performance.

If you’re in the Manalapan area on 10/24, please join me in helping the Monmouth County Library celebrate Alice150! I hope to see some of you there. Telephone: 732-431-7220.

This performance is FREE.  There are no tickets or reservations; just come and enjoy!  My thanks to the library’s Donna Mansfield, Christina Roma, and everyone there for helping make this performance possible.  The play is suitable for ages 16 and up; it is not intended for children.

If you’re not able to see the show on 10/24, stay tuned–I will post more dates and news as they become available.

Through the Looking-Glass Darkly Sneak Peek at Alice150 in NYC!

TTLGD LogoI’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be presenting four “sneak peek” performances of my new 75-minute solo play Through the Looking-Glass Darkly, or Lewis Carroll and the Pursuit of Innocence, at Columbia University’s Butler Library on October 6th and 7th as part of the international ALICE150 conference.

You probably know that Lewis Carroll wrote two of the most popular books in history: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There.  You may not know that in real life, Lewis Carroll was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, Mathematical Lecturer at Christ Church, Oxford.  Imagine Lewis Carroll giving a lecture–on himself!  Come hear the full, untold story of his relationship with the real Alice, as taken from their own writings.

You can read all the details here.

I hope to see you there!

Taming of the Shrew for NY Classical Theatre

11537710_10153600539869384_4153203356461985571_nApologies!  I’m posting this very late, but we’re coming to the end of our long run of The Taming of the Shrew for NY Classical Theatre.  I play Gremio, the rich and cranky old suitor to the young and seemingly virtuous Bianca.

For those of you who have never seen a production by NYCT, they are now in their 16th year of providing free Off-Broadway classical theatre to NY audiences in city parks.  We played in Central Park for a month, in Prospect Park for two weeks, and now we are ending our run with four final performances in the tiny and beautiful Teardrop Park in Battery Park City.

All performances start at 7pm and are weather permitting.  We will be at Teardrop Park on Wednesday, 7/8, and then Friday-Sunday, 7/10-12.  For more information: http://www.newyorkclassical.org/whats-playing

If you’re in the city with one of these evenings free, stop by for about 90 minutes of silly Shakespearean fun!

I’m Playing Multiple Roles in a Staged Reading of “A Question of Country”

A Question of CountryI’m delighted to share that I’m going to be playing multiple juicy roles in a staged reading of a fascinating new fact-based play about apartheid called A Question of Country by the supremely talented Janet Neipris.  Janet is head of graduate screenwriting and playwrighting at NYU, and has turned out a host of wonderful writers in her many years there.  Janet went to South Africa and lived with one of the two women her play is based on, so she’s writing what she knows in a very powerful way.

The reading is being directed by the wonderful Susan Einhorn, who has headed the acting program at Queens College for 25 years, and recently completed her term as department chair.  Her professional relationship with Janet has spanned many years and many plays.

On top of it all, we have a wonderful cast, including my dear friend Anne Marie Cusson; we haven’t seen each other since the five months we spent together last winter playing down at Asolo Rep.  It’s so great when people I love working with come back into my orbit!

There are only two performance of this free staged reading:

Monday, May 4th at 7pm at Theatre for the New City
Tuesday, May 5th at 7pm at the Colden Auditorium at Queens College

If you’re free either evening, come see our reading of this compelling tale!

Call 212-254-1109 for more details, or view the PDF flyer attached to this post.

A Question of Country Flyer final

The Foreigner Wins 2014 Carbonell Award for Best Production of a Play!

11080971_10204557945843422_3783491060650476424_nLast night, I attended the 39th Annual Carbonell Awards in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, as part of the delegation from the fabulous Maltz Jupiter Theatre. And I’m thrilled to share the news that our production of The Foreigner, in which I played the title character, beat out the impressive competition to land the coveted 2014 Best Production of a Play award!

Our terrific director, Matt Lenz, accepted the award on behalf of everyone involved in this special production. The Foreigner means a lot to me for many reasons, not just Charlie is a tour-de-force role. The script is incredibly inventive, and frequently downright hilarious. I’ve never done a play that made an audience laugh more. But by the end it also manages to be surprisingly touching, and seriously thought-provoking. Its messages of tolerance, and of the importance of second chances, resonate with every audience that sees it.

I am so grateful to have been Charlie for this wonderful production, to have been part of such a well-cast production, which included Michael Edwards, Brooks Anne Hayes, Matthew Minor, Maddie Jo Landers, David Sitler, and Carrington Vilmont. Our incomparable stage manager Brandy DeMil and her assistant stage manager, Neil Krasnow, kept us running every day like a well-oiled cuckoo clock. My thanks and congratulations to everyone involved in the production onstage, offstage, and in the administration at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre. It was a joy, starting with the auditions in NYC at Bob Cline Casting, to the first read through with the wonderful cast, to the sold-out, standing ovation closing performance with the wonderful Jupiter area audience.

My thanks to Bob Cline for bringing me in to audition. And special thanks to Matt Lenz for directing us with such a gracious and generous hand, and to the theatre’s brilliant Producing Artistic Director, Andrew Kato, for championing this play, this production, and me. I’m honored to have been a part of this terrific show, and so happy that we are ALL receiving this recognition from the South Florida theatre community. It means we made playwright Larry Shue’s voice heard.

To everyone involved, I can only say: Blasny, blasny!!