Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The New York Times Review of TNOTLD

THEATER REVIEW | '12TH NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD'

By JASON ZINOMAN

Published: October 30, 2007

“If music be the food of love, play on,” says the lovesick Orsino in “Twelfth Night.” But what to do, pray tell, if severed fingers and human intestines be the food of love?

There’s the rub of “12th Night of the Living Dead,” a gory marriage of the visions of those two singular showmen, William Shakespeare and George Romero, that never quite lives up to its ingenious title. This time the lovers don’t woo so much as wound. Poor priggish Malvolio (Tom Knutson) drools blood, and Viola (Lindsay Wolf) shuts up Sir Toby Belch (Timothy J. Cox) by feasting on his heart. You’ll probably never see another version of the play in which Orsino (Aaron Zook) offers his hand in marriage, literally.

The joke here — and there is just one — is that after a green shooting star crashes off the coast of Illyria, Shakespeare’s characters start turning into gasping, bloodthirsty zombies. The adapter, Brian MacInnis Smallwood, makes a valiant effort to stick to the script — using only Shakespeare’s words — but as the zombies keep multiplying, the spoken poetry becomes something simpler and more to the point: “Gaaaaaa!”

This made-for-Halloween production is part of a venerable tradition of zombie comedy that includes “Andy Punches” (a “Saturday Night Live” digital short featuring Andy Samberg and undead dancing), and the 2004 British satire “Shaun of the Dead.” Mr. Romero himself played with this idea brilliantly in “Dawn of the Dead,” a 1978 horror classic set in a shopping mall that hinted at the comic potential of eating human flesh.

The absurdist humor of “12th Night” is closer to Samberg than to “Shaun of the Dead,” and while it makes for a nice lark, it doesn’t add much to the zombie genre except, perhaps, for a dedication to blood and guts that you don’t often see onstage.

The director John Hurley’s cast is frighteningly game, especially Ms. Wolf, whose slobbering and stiff-legged gait are often confused as come-ons. But the gag does get tired after about 15 minutes of zombie-human interaction. And even the pun in the title is not as clever as the one on a sketch Mr. Smallwood wrote for a podcast advertising the show online. Its irresistible title: “Romero and Juliet.”

“12th Night of the Living Dead” continues through Nov. 10 at Teatro La Tea, 107 Suffolk Street, at Rivington Street, Lower East Side; (800) 838-3006 or brownpapertickets.com.

Monday, October 29, 2007

TNOTLD Opening

As you can see from the reviews below, people are loving TNOTLD. Audiences have howled with laughter over the show and I couldn't be more pleased. The show has really come together.

Larry Lesher, Synge Maher, Aaron Rustabakke and Pioneer Playhouse friends Billy Hatfield and Emerson St. John were nice enough to come see the play last evening. It was nice to have them in the audience.

Today is a day of rest.
Tomorrow...back with the show.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

NyTheatre.com Review of TNOTLD

nytheatre.com review
J Jordan · October 26, 2007

12th Night of the Living Dead is exactly what it sounds like: the famous Shakespeare love story crossed with flesh-eating zombies. The marriage of two such different genres could easily end up making its creators look foolish. In this case, the result is hilarious.

If you don't know the story of Twelfth Night, you're not going to get it here. [Editor's Note: You can a synopsis here.] Likewise, if you are a purist when it comes to Elizabethan Theatre, you should seek your thrills in London at the Globe. And here's why: the play is full of zombies. It's about zombies, people getting turned into zombies, and whether or not true love can conquer being turned into a zombie.

What I love about this production is that the actors are so invested in their zombie characters. In an interesting choice, we never see Viola as a woman. By the time she washes up on the shores of Illyria she's already been turned into a zombie (a freakish meteor hits the ship, causing the crash and ensuing zombie-ism).

And Lindsay Wolf , who playa Viola, is fascinating. I totally believed she was a zombie and that if I didn't remain still in my seat she would catch sight of me and come eat me. In fact, that is practically all Wolf does throughout the hour and ten minutes. And it's brilliant. She is thoroughly watchable.

Likewise so are her zombie counterparts. In fact, the only real problem with putting zombies in a play is that no one will pay any attention to you if you're not a zombie, unless you're about to become one. And there lies the rub. A zombie's intention is clear—she wants one thing: blood. Well, blood and guts and entrails, but that's it. A person, on the other hand, has all kinds of thoughts running through his head. An actor in a Shakespeare play has to communicate all of these thoughts in iambic pentameter and metaphors and who knows what else. It's a fight a zombie will win every time.

All the actors do their best to hold their own above the zombies (before they become zombies themselves), but the one who stood out the most to me is Benjamin Ellis Fine, who plays Sir Andrew. He's hysterical and his sense of comic timing is impeccable.

A zombie purist might say the actors in this production give their zombies too much personality, but I would disagree. In a film, like George Romero's Night of the Living Dead, it pays for the zombies to be soulless entities devoid of personality or individuality. That's what makes them so scary. In theatre that would simply be boring.

And if there's one thing this play is not it's boring. Director John Hurley works hard to keep things moving and as entertaining as possible. There was a moment at the beginning when I thought if I kept laughing this much I wasn't going to make it through the play. Hurley also makes good use of the generous space at La Tea Theater, including a full-fledged graveyard (naturally) along with the rest of the town of Illyria in Rachel Gordon Smallwood's fabulous set design.

The costumes by designer Lillian Rhiger are fitting and, at times, humorous. Rhiger easily blends elements of Elizabethan couture with Bermuda shorts. If you don't believe me you'll have to see it for yourself. As for the makeup and special effects design, Alley Getz and her team of Janet Zarecor and Trixie Tuzzini deserve an award for their work on this production. It's the best I've ever seen.

The lighting and sound design, by Lilly Fossner and Ryan Dowd, respectively, do their best to move along the action without adding to the chaos onstage. The few blackouts leave something to be desired but seem like technical necessary evils.

I certainly didn't leave the theatre disappointed. There were plenty of zombies, an ending I was satisfied with, and plenty of blood. If there's one thing I hate it's that horror plays never use enough blood. When the audience was seated we were warned not to sit in the front row unless we wanted to be splattered.

There's also a ton of gore. It's really, really, really gross. Really. Gross. Just as it should be—after all, this is a zombie play. If you want to laugh and be grossed out and see a play about zombies, then head on down to La Tea to see 12th Night of the Living Dead. Just make sure you sit very, very still in your seat or they'll get you, too.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

BlogCritics.com Review of TNOTLD

Theater Review: Brian MacInnis Smallwood's 12th Night of the Living Dead, New York
Written by Hannah Marie Ellison
Published October 26, 2007

The Impetuous Theater Group, an always dependable, independent theatre company in New York, is serving up some gore and laughs with Brian MacInnis Smallwood's merging of the worlds of William Shakespeare and that of George A. Romero with 12th Night of the Living Dead. It is a wickedly funny homage to the films of Romero, Shaun of the Dead, and countless other zombie films.

The show opened with a flourish last evening at the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center (in the La Tea Theater) down on Suffolk Street. Smallwood, director John Hurley, and an impressive cast serve up a bare bones adaptation of the play (coming in at one hour) with something for everyone. It's fast, funny and very, very bloody.

The insanity begins with a shipwreck, not caused by a storm as in the original play, but from a meteorite crashing into the ship (presented here as a rib tickling puppet show), killing many on board. Well, not quite. The action then moves to the kingdom of Illyria, with the Duke Orsino (Aaron Michael Zook) lying around listening to music (Alex Pappas on ukulele), pining away for the love of Lady Olivia (Shashannah Newman).

Viola (Lindsay Wolf), now a zombie, is swept onto the Illyrian shore after the shipwreck. Alone in a strange land and very, very hungry for human flesh, she immediately and easily dispatches her first victim. She assumes that her twin brother, Sebastian (Jason Paradine), has been drowned - but yes, he has also been transformed into a zombie.

While looking for food, Viola goes to work in the kingdom of Duke Orsino, where she quickly becomes his favorite. He makes her (now named Cesario) his page. When Orsino sends Cesario to deliver a love message to Lady Olivia, Olivia herself falls for the beautiful young zombie, believing her (or it) to be a man. Orsino and Olivia are both just a wee bit clueless to the fact that Viola is a zombie.

Meanwhile, Olivia's drunken uncle, Sir Toby Belch (Timothy J. Cox), his silly friend, Sir Andrew Aguecheek (Benjamin Ellis Fine), who is trying in his own fruitless attempt to court Olivia, Olivia's sharp waiting-gentlewoman, Maria (Erin Jerozal), and Feste (Larry Giantonio), the witty clown of the house, hatch a plan to play a practical joke on the pedantic Malvolio (Tom Knutson), the hard-faced steward of Olivia's household. Maria engineers a practical joke to make Malvolio think Olivia is in love with him. (The famous letter scene, which includes Malvolio's "change", is priceless).

At this point, Viola has made the rounds, quenching her thirst for flesh, and causing all hell to break loose in Illyria. Blood is flying everywhere, body parts are being removed and tossed around like softballs, and moans of "braiiinnnnsss" from the new zombies are heard everywhere. It's bloody mayhem and it's bloody good.

It is quite an ambitious undertaking to take a totally cinematic convention and transfer it to the stage. The Impetuous Theater Group is to be given high marks for meeting this challenge head on. While there is a lot of blood splattered in the play, much like Evil Dead: The Musical, none of the violence is meant to offend or even scare. It's all about the laughs for this production, and there are so many.

Each member of the ensemble cast is top notch, all looking like they're having the time of their lives, but favorites are definitely Timothy J. Cox and Benjamin Ellis Fine, driving the show with superlative comic performances as Sir Toby (he also has the play's most memorable death scene) and Sir Andrew, respectively.

Erin Jerozal also scores as a humorous Maria, and so does Larry Giantonio as an amusingly half-baked Feste. Lindsay Wolf, in the physically demanding role of Viola the zombie, is also to be commended.

Director Hurley keeps the show moving at a rapid fire pace with much of the dialogue overlapping and the action constant. Rachel Gordon's set is appropriately gloomy, while Lilli Rhiger's flamboyant costumes add to the ridiculousness of it all. The make up and special effects design, provided by Alley Getz and Janet Zarecor, is also quite vivid.

The show is one you don't want to miss because it has something for everyone. 12th Night of the Living Dead runs at CSV until November 10th. Please visit the Impetuous Theater Group for tickets and information.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Joseph A. Pennino

I received some very sad news late last evening. Joseph A. Pennino, the father of my friend and colleague Tony Pennino, passed away due to complications stemming from leukemia. He was 81. Tony mentioned that even though his father was diagnosed with leukemia almost two years ago, he was, through the care of some of the best oncologists on the East Coast, able to maintain a pretty good quality of life.

I am very saddned by the loss and ask that you please keep Tony and the entire Pennino family in your thoughts and prayers.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

TNOTLD Opening A Success!

A spirited audience gave cheer to the opening night performance of TNOTLD.

My first scene was a little off, because I got into a bit of a coughing fit (it always happens on openings, doesn't it). I recovered and the scenes popped with nice energy and enthusiasm.

We still have some work to do, but the reaction was nice and the cast looked like they had some fun.

Back again tomorrow.

TNOTLD Opens Tonight

Opening night has arrived for TNOTLD.

The show is not yet 100 percent ready, which is a little unsettling. Since we worked so briefly in the actual performance space, many of the cast are still finding their way on the stage. I certainly am.

I'll manage. I always do.

I am excited for the opening though and hope people enjoy themselves.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

First Night at CSV

We ran a cue to cue of sorts in the performance space last night, just to adjust some new blocking...work with costumes and all the blood.

While it was nice to be in costiume, I have to say that carrying all of that extra weight...meaning the fat suit...is uncomfortable at times, but we were starting and stopping...working for close to 3 hours, whereas the show itself will run only 1 hour...so in the end, it won't be so bad.

Tonight is the final dress rehearsal. I day away from the opening and a hopeful success.

A Great Wall Street Journal Article on Michael Caine

Michael Caine, Working Actor

By JOANNE KAUFMAN

October 9, 2007

New York

Sir Michael Caine has won two Oscars (best supporting actor in "Hannah and Her Sisters" and "The Cider House Rules"), four Golden Globes and assorted other trophies and medals. He prides himself on his cooking and his gardening, his artistic integrity and his ability to tell a good story. But if he knows himself to be outclassed, he doesn't hesitate for a second to acknowledge it.

Consider the case of "Sleuth," a psychological drama, opening Friday, that stars Sir Michael, 74, and Jude Law and involves a brief meeting of their lips. "Jude's a better kisser than me. Jude is good. He's had a lot more practice," allowed Sir Michael, who's been married for 34 years to a former model and contender for the Miss Universe title. "But I think I'm too old for Jude Law. He likes them a bit younger. I'm over the hill as far as he's concerned."

This isn't his first go at "Sleuth." In 1972, he starred with Lord Laurence Olivier in the film version of Anthony Shaffer's hit play -- a cat-and-mouse game between a crafty best-selling mystery writer and his wife's callow young lover, the part then played by Sir Michael, now assumed by Mr. Law.

But Sir Michael wants you to understand that this "Sleuth" is not that "Sleuth." It's not some tedious remake but a whole fresh take. Only two lines from the original screenplay remain in the new script by Harold Pinter, he points out. Further, he says, in the 1972 movie the cuckolded novelist was a dangerous eccentric; this time out, he's a murderous psychopath. Entirely different ball game.

"The point is I never would have done the Tony Shaffer movie again, because between us we didn't do a bad job and it would have taken a tremendous effort to be very little better," said Sir Michael, relaxing on the couch in his midtown Manhattan hotel suite. "But when Jude came to me with the new screenplay, I thought 'this is fantastic.' When I was doing 'Sleuth' with Larry, I always thought his was the better part -- and now I'm playing it, so I'm happy."

Sir Michael has come full circle in more ways than one. He and Mr. Pinter were stage actors together half a century ago. Then "Harold decided to write plays and wrote a one-act called 'The Room' that I did at the Royal Court," said Sir Michael, referring to the legendary London theater. "So I was one of the first people to do Pinter. Then he wrote all these wonderful things for 50 years and I never did any of them, and I thought 'Well, I started you off and I never got another chance.' "

Sir Michael has embraced middle age and the years beyond with an ardor matched by very few performers. This attitude has kept him employed. Perhaps more important, it's enabled him to make the knotty transition from movie star to name-above-the-title character actor.

"I never became a failed movie star. I became a successful movie actor, which is your only choice," he said. "If you sit there waiting for romantic leads to come along and think you're going to get the girl at 85. . . And I'm still here and I'm being interviewed. A lot of people who were movie stars, if you sent their agent a smaller part the attitude would be, 'Oh, don't even give him that to read -- he's a star,' " said Sir Michael. "You had loads of these aging stars who never worked again and were in quite dire straits because they wouldn't do a small part or a character part.

"I have become a sort of leading character actor. The difference between that and a movie star is a movie star gets a script and he's reading it" -- here Sir Michael does a pantomime of paging through a document -- "and he's saying, 'Oh, Michael Caine would never talk like that. Michael Caine would never wear that. Michael Caine would never do that.' . . . A character actor looks at the script and thinks, 'Hmm, I'll put on weight for the part. I'll shave my head and be a bit bald.' He changes himself to fit the role, which is what I do."

He can hardly credit his success to any early encouragement. "When I was young, the advice I was given by my elders and my betters was 'give it up,' " recalled Sir Michael, the son of a Cockney fish-market porter and charwoman, who was born Maurice Micklewhite and got the inspiration for his stage name from a movie theater marquee advertising "The Caine Mutiny." "They thought I was useless. I was going into a profession where everyone spoke properly in a very posh accent, and I didn't talk like that.

"Even from my own kind, who you would expect to be encouraging, every single one of them said 'who do you think you are?' -- the inference being that I had ideas above my station. But I thought I could be a great movie actor. I was the first generation of performers who the first actor they saw when they were children was in the cinema. You read all those biographies of John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson and Larry, and it's always 'Nanny took me to the theater. The curtain went up and the lights went down and I knew what I wanted to be forever.' I went to the threepenny Saturday morning kids' program at the cinema and the first actor I ever saw was the Lone Ranger and I wanted to be the Lone Ranger and I knew I could do it. And I didn't have to have a posh accent."

The last laugh -- though Sir Michael says he hopes he isn't so shallow as to require such a thing -- has come in the form of his trophies and his title, his homes in London and Surrey. "I see myself as an example to young working-class people in England that you can do it," he said. "I felt vindicated one day when I read an article about the young Bob Hoskins, who when he was asked 'what made you think you could become an actor with your accent?' said, 'Michael Caine made me think it.' "

In civilian life, 50 years at the same job means a gold watch and, perhaps, a testimonial dinner. For Sir Michael, who will keep working "as long as I get offers I can't refuse," it has meant fielding endless questions about the secret of his long-running success. Here's the secret: "I always take life exactly as it comes." It has also meant sitting through many a celebratory retrospective.

"You know what happens at a retrospective?" demanded the star of "The Ipcress File," "Alfie," "The Man Who Would Be King," "Educating Rita" and "The Quiet American." "They run all your movies in about half an hour and you watch yourself grow old. It's terrible. I come bouncing on in 'Zulu,' very slim and very young," Sir Michael added, referring to the 1964 movie that first brought him to the attention of audiences. "And gradually I end up . . . crumbling."

Ms. Kaufman writes about culture and the arts for the Journal.

Monday, October 22, 2007

TNOTLD Opens Thursday!

The show opens on Thursday, yet I don't feel nervous at all. After visiting the theatre this afternoon, just to look around and get a feel for it, I'll just be relieved when the show is up and we get those richly deserved laughs.

The show has received a huge PR push, thanks largely to Lanie Zipoy, whim I met very briefly at the photo shoot last weekend. Lanie has the show listed in all the major publications, online and print...so hopefully, we'll have great houses all throughout the run...assuming, of course, that people like the show.

We'll see.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

TNOTLD to Begin Tech Rehearsals

We ran the show for the first time, without tech, last evening. It felt nice to run it, get a feel for the pace of the whole thing. This show flies...it's amazing how fast it goes. The entire cast is pretty much non stop throughout the entire show, so you really need to be on your toes, which everyone is.

The scenes are poppping with good energy with everyone looking like they're having a good time, which is important. If an audience sees you, the actor, having a good time, then they will have a good time.

Costume designer Lilli Rhiger introduced me to my fat suit and it's just great. I'm going to be hot as hell wearing it, especially for two shows back to back, but it's worth it. Thanks, Lilli for all the hard work!

Two more rehearsals at Center Stage, then off to CSV to get some time in at the performance space. I'd love it if we had more time in the performance space, but what can you do.

JUDGE HATCHETT

At 8:45 am on this past Thursday morning, I arrived at 105 E. 106th Street to participate as a member of the courtroom audience for a taping of the courtroom series JUDGE HATCHETT.

I'd never done anything like this before and it looked like fun.

Well, it was fun and also an easy $50.

The episodes will air soon, but who knows if you'll be able to see me on camera.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

TNOTLD Updates and Other News

Just a few weeks until TNOTLD opens and everyone is excited. A few members of the cast (myself included) met today for a brief photo call (in full zombie make up) and it was fun to see what the make up people were able to do. Ben Fine added a fine touch of his own with some scary contact lenses.

We rehearse just about every night this upcoming week, so it's going to be pretty busy...but it's also the time when we start having fun with the show.

Last night, Amanda and I went to support Larry Lesher's new play SAY YOUR PRAYERS, MUG (playing at the Red Room until October 27th), which was a lot of fun. Congrats to Larry and the cast on jobs well done.

Heard from Ty Williams regarding the Writers Ink Productions film TRIUMPHANT HEARTS, where I play a small role as a film professor. The film is about 80 percent finished, so hopefully, editing should be completed in the next couple of weeks.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Last Evening's Reading

I met with Rhiannon West, Brendan Russo and a cast of strangers at the Public Theater to read Brendan's play MY BROTHER. The reading took place in a conference room in the theatre. Funny, a part of me thought we'd be reading it on the stage.

The reading went well. Rhiannon and Brendan were very nice and right on top of things. Brendan wrote this play in about 6 months and it's a pretty polished piece. Quite impressive really.

A production is slated for next fall, so a lot of work needs to be done by then. Rhiannon will keep me posted on things.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Book Recommendation: ACTORS AT WORK

Rosemarie Tichler (Ccasting director and artistic producer at The Public Theater) and playwright Barry Jay Kaplan's book featuring interviews with 14 great actors, including Kevin Kline, Meryl Streep, John Lithgow and Phillip Seymour Hoffman is an intriguing read so far.

Here are some great lessons I have have taken from my reading thus far.

"I think we never finish the learning process of acting. Ever,in fact. As I get older and older and older, I feel I have more and more to learn. And no matter how much you prepare before the first rehearsal of a play, if you are not open to the director's concept of your character, it will be a confrontation rather than a learning experience."

Tony Award winning Actress, Marian Seldes


"I always wanted to have it just happen. In other words, I don't have a technique. I could never fall back on affective memories of something I have worked subconsciously. I don't know what I do or why I do it; I just do it. So I have no kind of conscious technique, and I always wanted it to be that you would walk out and let the character emerge."

Academy Award winner, Estelle Parsons


"The process of rehearsal is to practice and invent endless possibilities."

Emmy and Tony Award winning actor, Mandy Patinkin


"The most exciting thing about acting is surprising people, setting up some expectations and then defying them. That's why playing a scary part is so much fun. When you jump out of character and scare the daylights out of someone."

Emmy and Tony Award winning actor, John Lithgow

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Cast of MY BROTHER

My Brother Cast List (** appearing courtesy of Actor's Equity Association)

Asia Booth - Jennifer L. Nasta
John Wilkes Booth- Peter B. Coleman
Edwin Booth- John A. Russo
John Sleeper Clarke- David Geinosky
Junius Brutus Booth- Timothy Joseph Ryan**
Lucy Hale- Myleah Misenhimer
David Herold- Jeremy Tant
Molly Booth- Allyson Morgan**
Young Asia Booth- Maggie Takyar
Young Wilkes Booth- Peter B.Coleman
Young Clarke- David Geinosky
Edwina Booth- Maggie Takyar
Garrett/Theatre Manager- Timothy J. Cox
Doherty-John Lopez
Shiphand/ Soldiers- Matt Brown

Writer _Brendan Russo
Director_Rhiannon West
Producer_Aaron Diehl
Stage Manager_ Kimberly Elenich

Thoughts on MY BROTHER

I read the MY BROTHER script yesterday and think it's fantastic! Brendan Russo is to be highly commended for penning such an exquisite play.

A few months back, I read James L. Swanson's wonderful book Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer. Many of the events and details that Swanson discloses in his book are played out in the play.

Garrett, who I'll be reading, is Richard Garrett, the man whose farm a wounded Booth was brought to after his failed attempts to get away after the assasination of President Lincoln and where he would eventually die after soldiers caught up with him. Against orders, Booth was shot by Sergeant Boston Corbett. Booth's body was then carried to Garrett's porch, where he died.

Garrett has one very brief scene in the play, but I'm happy to be a part of the reading and looking forward to hearing it read aloud.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Cast in A Reading of the Play MY BROTHER at The Public

I have just been cast (in two small roles) in a staged reading of Brendan Russo's play MY BROTHER, which will be presented this Thursday evening at the Public Theater. Rhiannon West is directing a reading as a part of the New York Cornerstone Guild.

Here is a synopnsis of MY BROTHER:

Mid nineteenth-century America. A theatrical family falling apart at the seams tries to hold itself together as the country inches towards Civil War. Asia Booth, daughter of the great “mad tragedian” Junius Booth grows up with her younger idealistic brother John Wilkes (called Wilkes), holding down the fort at home, while their older brother Edwin tours the country’s stages with their father.

Upon Junius’s death, and Edwin’s failure to return home to the farm, Wilkes grows resentful, providing for the family as best he can, and vowing to carry on his father’s legacy on the stages of the South. At the onset of the Civil War, the divide between Edwin (a supporter of Lincoln and the Union) and Wilkes (a Confederate blockade-runner) grows even greater. They have become two of the most famous men in the country, while Asia is now stuck in a dead-end marriage to a third rate actor who married her for her family’s theatrical influence. With his mind warped by delusions of grandeur, Wilkes kills the president. The rest of the family is now left trying to understand the reasons why all of this has happened. Wilkes is on the run, while Asia and Edwin are left to finally face the ghosts of their past and – with the eyes of the entire country on them – to heal.


Thanks to Rhiannon for the chance to be a part of the reading.

Brian MacInnis Smallwood in nytheatre.com Podcast

TNOTLD playwright Brian MacInnis Smallwood was featured on the latest episode of
nytheatrecast, a podcast created by Martin Denton of nytheatre.com.

The episode is available at this link: http://www.nytheatrecast.com/blog1/archives/75

Follow the directions on how to download the episode. It's quite funny.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

TNOTLD is Moving Along Wonderfully!

I couldn't be more pleased with how TNOTLD rehearsals are going so far. It's been a great first week. Today is my day off to relax a little.

I'm meeting with costume designer Lilli Rhiger tomorrow to try on the fat suit and some costumes. I'm delighted that Lilli, who did such a wonderful job on the extreme reading, is costuming the production. She's just great!

After that, I'm back in rehearsals.

Make sure you purchase your tickets. I have a hunch that seats are going to go quickly on this one.

The Fantastic Two Shoot

I went out to a televisin studio in Fairfield, NJ early yesterday morning to record a voice over for the next webisode of THE FANTASTIC TWO. It was a fun experience. Heck, it was 10 minutes of work. A hundred bucks for 10 minutes of work is not bad at all.

Thanks to director Seth Grossman for the chance to be a part of the project.

I believe the webisode is going to be available for viewing on October 17th.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

THE FANTASTIC TWO Voice Over Recording Tomorrow

Tomorrow, I will be heading out to Fairfield, NJ to record a voice over for The Fantastic Two Internet Web Series.

I will try to replicate the Talking Car, Kitt from Knight Rider (The voice of William Daniels of St. Elsewhere).

Thank you to Casting Director Allison Twardziak for helping me book this job.

Check out The Fantastic Two on: http://www.thefantastictwo.com

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

George Grizzard, Distinguished Actor of Stage and Screen, Dies at 79

George Grizzard, Tony Winner and Albee Interpreter, Dies at 79
By Robert Simonson

George Grizzard, a seasoned stage actor adept at both leading and character roles, and particularly known for his work with playwright Edward Albee, died Oct. 2 in Manhattan. He was 79.



Mr. Grizzard starred in the original Broadway production of Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? He played Nick, the cocky young teacher whose teetering marriage to the flighty Honey is maliciously sabotaged by the warring older couple of George and Martha. Mr. Grizzard held his own against stars Uta Hagen and Arthur Hill, and — though he had received two Tony Award nominations prior to that time — the play firmly established his name.

The actor surprised many when he left Virginia Woolf after only a few months for the opportunity to play Hamlet in Minneapolis at the Guthrie Theatre. He remained in Minnesota for two years, playing many parts.

Mr. Grizzard was back on Broadway in an Albee play in 1996, when he starred as Tobias, the patriarch of a crumbling, if gentile, clan in a Lincoln Center Theater revival of A Delicate Balance. The production was hailed as a fresh vision of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play about family and loyalty, with Mr. Grizzard singled out for his thoughtful, subtle, layered work. Many critics said he was better than the play's original star, Hume Cronyn. This time, he won the Tony Award. (His previous nominations had been for The Disenchanted and Big Fish, Little Fish.)

His final visit to Broadway, in the 2005 revival of Seascape, was also his final collaboration with Albee. The playwright's fantastical tale of a meeting between two humans and two lizards was termed somewhat slight, but again Mr. Grizzard was commended for his ease with Albee's brittle language and his ability to breathe human life into the arch proceedings.

George Cooper Grizzard, Jr. was born on April 1, 1928, in Roanoke Rapids, NC, and grew up in Washington. He attended college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He worked briefly at a Washington advertising agency, but quit to audition for the newly established Arena Stage.

He made his Broadway debut in 1955 in The Desperate Hours opposite a young Paul Newman. The two played escaped convicts. In 1959, he starred in Budd Shulberg's adaptation of his own novel, The Disenchanted, alongside Jason Robards, Jr., who played a dissolute novelist based on F. Scott Fitzgerald. He and Robards worked together again in in 1961 in Hugh Wheeler's Big Fish, Little Fish.

Hollywood came calling in the early 1960s and Mr. Grizzard scored a significant role in Otto Preminger's "Advise and Consent." But he never had a prosperous film career. Television treated him much better, giving him work in countless television series and movies.

His other Broadway credits include The Happiest Millionaire, Face of a Hero, Big Fish, Little Fish, The Glass Menagerie, Noel Coward's Sweet Potato, The Gingham Dog, Inquest, The Country Girl, The Creation of the World and Other Business, The Royal Family and California Suite.

Easygoing, charming in a Southern gentlemanly way and philosophical about the life of an actor, Mr. Grizzard never stopped working in his later years, taking Off-Broadway roles in Nicky Silver's Beautiful Child and Paul Rudnick's Regrets Only. He played a gay elder statesman of fashion in the latter play, his final New York stage role. Critics noticed that he seemed to do very little to bring to the role the class, humor and gravitas it required.

My First Headshots

Wow, I can't believe I still have these. These are my first headshots...at least 10 years old. I don't even remember the name of the photographer.

Some of these are pretty laughable.

Who am I kidding; they're all pretty laughable.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

From Impetuous Theater Group

From the folks at the Impetuous Theater Group...

Give Blood, Brains, Bucks...Adopt a Zombie

In crowded slums and remote villages around the world, Zombies are waiting.

Waiting for someone who will help them rise above their impoverished performing conditions.

Waiting for someone to care.

You can be that caring friend to a Zombie in need!

Your sponsorship gifts of $10 to $1000 will help provide one special Zombie with essentials such as regular gore and make up, clothing, rehearsal supplies, emergency food, and more. As a sponsor, you’ll be able to watch your Zombie grow and flourish, knowing you are helping make it all possible.


Visit http://www.impetuoustheater.org/donate.html to make a donation.

Click Here to Purchase Tickets for TNOTLD

Here's the link as well: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/21674

Also, just heard from Danville colleagues Emerson St. John and Billy Hatfield and I am delighted that they will be attending the October 26th performance of the show.

Emerson and his crew filmed the documentary that will soon be available for viewing. Billy was a member of the crew as well, but also appeared on stage in BABE and in a very funny cameo in the opening scene of SERVANT OF TWO MASTERS. Two great guys!

Monday, October 01, 2007

TNOTLD

12TH NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD

In the latter half of the year 1601, William Shakespeare brought his new work, Twelfth Night, to his contemporary Ben Jonson. After reading the piece, Jonson was purported to say "It's not bad William, but about the zombies . . . " As William had a certain affinity for zombies (his father was a butcher), he quickly renamed the piece Twelfth Night of the Living Dead and mentioned the change to some locals. These locals could not remember the latter half of the title and the play was thus coined Twelfth Night; or, What you Will. Impetuous Theater Group presents the play as Shakespeare intended it.

by BRIAN MACINNIS SMALLWOOD (and WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE)
stage manager SARAH LOCKE*
directed by JOHN HURLEY

featuring
sir toby belch TIMOTHY J. COX
olivia's sister REYNA DE COURCEY
captain NEIMAH DJOURACHI
sir andrew aguecheek BENJAMIN ELLIS FINE
feste LARRY GIANTONIO*
maria ERIN JEROZAL
malvolio TOM KNUTSON
valentine JOE MATHERS
olivia SHASHANAH NEWMAN
curio ALEX PAPPAS*
sebastian JASON PARADINE
fabian WILL SCHMINKE
antonio CL WEATHERSTONE
viola LINDSAY WOLF*
orsino AARON MICHAEL ZOOK*


original artwork JOE BOYLE
graphic design ANA PAULA RODRIGUES
makeup/special effects design ALLISON GETZ & JANET ZARECOR
set design RACHEL GORDON
costume design LILLI RHIGER
lighting design sound design LILY FOSSNER
sound design RYAN DOWD
puppet design JOE POWELL

production staff:
production manager BRIAN MACINNIS SMALLWOOD
technical director JOE MATHERS
general manager COREY HAYDU
box office manager TAYLOR SHANN
head usher AVERIA GASKIN
artistic director JAMES DAVID JACKSON
managing director JOSH SHERMAN
production manager JOE POWELL

* Equity Approved Showcase

Performance Schedule

Thursday 10/25 - 8pm (opening night)
Friday 10/26 - 8pm
Saturday 10/27 - 7 & 9:30pm
Sunday 10/28 - 7pm

Tuesday 10/30 - 8pm
Wednesday 10/31 - 8pm
Thursday 11/1 - 8pm
Friday 11/2 - 8pm
Saturday 11/3 - 7 & 9:30pm

Wednesday 11/7 - 8pm
Thursday 11/8 - 8pm
Friday 11/9 - 8pm
Saturday 11/10 - 7 & 9:30pm
Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center
La Tea Theater
107 Suffolk Street, 2nd Floor
F to Delancy St. - J/M/Z to Essex St.lemente Soto Velez Cultural Center

TNOTLD: Weekend

I had TNOTLD rehearsals on Saturday and Sunday and we're off to a great start. John seems very pleased thus far.

The great thing about John Hurley, as a director, is that his passion and energy for the project rubs off on you and it makes you want to give him your best. It also helps that when you're working, John becomes your biggest fan.

You can't ask for anything more from a director.