A SYMPHONY FOR PORTLAND: Sarah Rosa

Interview by Jen Bush

Sarah Rosa enthusiastically lends her talents to the cast of the exciting new musical opening on August 18th, A Symphony for Portland.  It’s safe to say her heart is in the arts.  “What can I say about being an artist that hasn’t already been said? I can tell you, as an artist, I think it requires a certain level of passion and enjoyment for any of the arts, and I honestly think I have a lot of passion that makes up for my lack of experience.” This is Ms. Rosa’s first on on a professional stage.

When crafting a character Ms. Rosa’s creative process consists of research and trying different things until the character feels complete.  “My creative process is pretty standard. I’d say, it requires lot of research, as well as experimenting with types of looks & personality I bring to my own characters. I always go over it in my head, what works well and what doesn’t quite stick.”

Ms. Rosa was drawn to this play because of the characters and the unique way in which they are portrayed.  “To me, this play is about the underdogs. I don’t often see works about the struggling homeless, which is surprising considering that I live in New York. Poverty and young runaways is such an important topic that I feel, isn’t talked about enough. Seeing this play show the unsuspecting strength of such hardened people, being brought together as they hurdled on is both commendable and fascinating.”

A play with serious subject matter sometimes gives the actors an added sense of responsibility to execute the material more sensitively.  Ms. Rosa concurs.  “Oh, absolutely. I think representation is important. Especially when such a topic is dealing with the current issues of today. The world isn’t perfect and this play, exactly shows that, when we step into this world of the outsiders most people tend to ignore. It’s such a humane subject, and it has certainly changed the way I view things.”

Covid is far from over, but the performing arts have returned with a myriad of feelings from cast, crew and audience members about its’ return.   “It’s nerve wracking. I want to give the audience a good show, without worry over exposure. I will says, with vaccines and proper precaution (such as taking tests, wearing masks when needed, etc.) helps a ton. I’m truly grateful to preform despite these rough times.

There are also a multitude of ideas about what theatre should look like post-covid.  “I will say it… safe. We all enjoy the theatre and if we want to see more works on the stage, ideally safety precautions will have to be focused just as much as performances. We all want to be safe and healthy, and to achieve that, I believe, some guidelines need to be made and followed to insure the health of the everyone on stage and in the audience.”

Ms. Rosa is not sure what’s next, but she is on the right path to secure future employment in the arts.  With her wealth of passion and enthusiasm, she would be a welcome addition to any project.  “What’s next?  That’s a good question. I’m hoping a lot more projects. I am practicing honing my craft and will hope to apply that to any future projects that may come my way. With this experience, I’d be grateful to showcase other important issues or even something suited to my own strengths.” 

A SYMPHONY FOR PORTLAND: Ashlyn Prieto

Interview by Jen Bush

Ashlyn Prieto is part of the talented cast of an exciting new musical about to open called A Symphony for Portland.  She takes all the positive things that life has to offer and infuses that into her art.  If she was a painting, she would probably be a Monet as opposed to a Picasso.  “As an artist I try to take in everything humanly possible everywhere I go. I think it’s so important (today more than ever) to find the art, beauty, and humor in everyday life and I bring my findings to the people I portray.” 

Ms. Prieto’s creative process is instinctual.  She’s got a real Spidey sense about these things.  She can size up her character pretty quickly in the process.  “I follow my gut from the first read of the script and make discoveries as I spend time with the text and the energy of the play. I find believing in my first instincts is the closest I will ever get to a character, so I tend to play off of that so I don’t lose myself in a role and create an ingenuine persona.”

A Symphony for Portland is a powerful piece of theater.  The plot, the themes, and the power are what drew Ms. Prieto to this role.  It is because of the serious subject matter that she feels an added responsibility to portray the material in a more sensitive manner.  “It’s an intense plot and I was drawn to the sharp contrast between holiness and such horrendous, yet very real themes that have never been seen before on stage.” 

Many people share Ms. Prieto’s thoughts about covid.  She is happy that she can return to pursuing her passion within a safe environment where people are doing the right things.  “It’s scary to think anyone at anytime can catch covid, which makes shows tricky because it’s like a domino effect. However, I’m happy there is simple awareness and respect for fellow castmates and creatives in this production!”

With the performing arts being severely impacted by covid, theater is bound to look different post-covid.  Ms. Prieto once again puts her good instincts to work with the prediction that some future productions will be about the pandemic.  “I imagine safety protocols still are intact in terms of testing cast and crew. For theatre itself, I think we’ll be reaching a point soon where shows aren’t afraid to address covid and the scare of 2020.” 

Ms. Prieto is not sure what’s next for her, but she and the cast and crew of A Symphony for Portland would love to share their art and their hard work with eager audiences.

A Symphony for Portland: Kristen Smith

Interview by Jen Bush

A Symphony for Portland

Tickets available at web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/1108269/prm/PORTLAND

Kristen Smith is part of the illustrious cast of A Symphony for Portland opening in mid-August.  She is a performer who wants to give the audience a cerebral experience while bringing people together through her art.  “I really enjoy telling stories that force audiences to think beyond their personal point of view and make them reflect on themselves. As an artist, I want my work to unify people.”

Ms. Smith’s creative process involves visual and kinesthetic methods, utilizing past experiences to shape the character and ensuring good communication and interaction with her scene partner.  “I immediately start rewriting all of my lines in my own words. This helps me with the memorization process so much and allows me to find ways to bring my own essence to the character with the lines written on the page. When I begin to do my character work, I always start with releasing my personal perception of myself while at the same time using parts of me that I think reflect the character. So in this instance, I realize that I am very different from Starr. I was never homeschooled, I wasn’t raised by a single parent, and I’m not 18 anymore. However, I can take myself back mentally to when I was 18 and how that felt. How it felt like I was just about to embark on this great journey of life with freedom to make decisions for myself. How exciting that was! I put that energy into Starr. Other than that, I try to really focus on listening to my scene partner, receiving and reacting to what they’re saying.”

Ms. Smith was drawn to this play because it was new.  Crafting an artistic interpretation from a blank canvas and to be the first person to breathe life into her character was appealing to her.  “I have always wanted to be a part of bringing a brand-new work to the stage, so this was a no brainer for me. There’s something so special and rewarding about being in a show that has never been done before. With a new work, the possibilities are endless. You can change things and really play with the material because there’s no expectation. That’s what’s so cool about this whole process. We just got to play around and find what really worked and what didn’t.” 

 Sometimes an artist will feel an added responsibility when performing in a show with serious subject matter.  “I definitely feel that responsibility. This subject matter is so heavy and still very relevant today. Sex-trafficking steals the lives of so many children and teens today and it is so important that we remember that during this process. My hope is that A Symphony for Portland will bring some more awareness to this massive issue.”

With Covid not over, the performing arts have found a way to return.  The integrity of the art has been maintained while protocols and procedures have radically changed.  Every artist has certain feelings about the return of the arts.  “I feel that it’s important that we open this show and share this story but it more important that we are doing it in a manner that is as safe as possible for the cast, as well as the audience coming to the show. Masks up, hand sanitizer available, disinfecting all surfaces and seats, that is all so important.”

Ms. Smith has the right idea of what theater should look like regardless of Covid.  “First of all, I would like to see theatre continue to become more inclusive to all people. No matter who they are, what they look like, or how they identify. We are all people and we all are worthy being seen and heard in this industry. I would also love to see more new works being brought to the stage, like this one!”

Ms. Smith is being proactive in secure future artistic opportunities.  She is wise to be open to all performing arts endeavors.  “In this next chapter, I’m going to continue to self-submit for auditions, network, and hopefully gain representation. I want to, of course, do more theatre and eventually move into TV and film. I am so excited to be back in New York and really hit the ground running in my career.” 

Shreya Rawat: The Body as an Artform

An editorial by Jen Bish

Shreya Rawat is adept at using her body as an artform.  She is a dancer and choreographer hailing from India and making a name for herself in America.  At the age of 15 she was already dancing and choreographing as a senior member of DanceworX in Delhi.  Ms. Rawat is competent in many forms of dance including Modern, Jazz, Hip Hop, Indo-Contemporary and Creative Movement.  She continued to hone her craft at the Conservatory of Performing Arts in Pittsburgh, PA.  She is currently dancing her way through New York.  She secured a gig Off-Broadway and this summer you can catch her performing with Gotham Dance at the Queensborough Dance Festival that runs through September.  She is close to furthering her artistic journey in Los Angeles as a member of several commercial dance companies.

Contact Improv is a solo dance piece shot outdoors.  The sun and the grass made excellent co-stars in this video.  The Oxford dictionary defines dance as moving rhythmically typically following a set sequence of steps.  Ms. Rawat demonstrates that you don’t need music in order to dance proficiently.  Through fluid dance movements set to a narration about how a body feels being in love, the audience is treated to a visceral performance.  Every dance move portrays the words being spoken.  In an interview, Ms. Rawat talked about choreography being in part a cerebral process for her.  She can visualize an entire dance in her head.  Using this skill, she executed a creative and instinctual piece.

With and without music, Ms. Rawat is a strong and skillful dancer.  Her vast experience at such a young age coupled with her passionate ambition with take her far in her artistic journey. 

MICHAEL HAGINS ON THEATRE ROW: A Minute with Mary

Mary Sheridan Interview

Mary Sheridan plays Girlfriend in an upcoming exciting production entitled, S.U.N. in the U.S.A.  She’s been entertaining since childhood, and she considers the stage to be her happy place. “I’ve been acting and singing in theatre pretty much non-stop since I was 8 years old. It’s the one thing that always makes me happy even though it’s the most impractical career imaginable.”

Ms. Sheridan was drawn to this play because of its authentic historical perspective.  “I like that it’s about American history but from a perspective that doesn’t get told (until now.)”

S.U.N. IN THE U.S.A BY MICHAEL HAGINS

SATURDAY, JUNE 25, 2PM

S.U.N. IN THE U.S.A. IS A STORY THAT LOOKS AT HISTORY THROUGH THE EYES OF AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN EVERYMAN KNOWN ONLY AS BLACK, WHO IS “KINDLY” REMINDED JUST HOW GOOD HE HAS IT IN HIS TIME IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA—FROM THE BEGINNING OF AFRICAN SLAVERY TO TODAY’S CULTURE.  

THEATRE ROW, 410 WEST 42ND STREET, NEW YORK

Ms. Sheridan’s creative process involves building the character by finding similarities between the character she’s playing and people she knows in real life.  “I brainstorm of a person I know (or a collection of people) that are similar to the character I’m playing, and I think about that person and allow the character to be inspired and guided by them.”

 The pandemic changed the landscape of every aspect of life.  One thing that changed is a heightened sense of anxiety towards health and safety which Ms. Sheridan has been exposed to.  “The unfortunate part is everyone is concerned for their health/their family’s health when in a theatre or rehearsal room. But the fortunate part is peoples’ minds have been opened to new perspectives and ways of seeing the world (and I think this play is a perfect example of that.)”

When Ms. Sheridan is finished lending her talents to this production, she’s got more interesting projects to come.  “I’m producing a staged reading of a piece about Jeanette Ranking, the first woman elected to Congress before women even had the right to vote federally. Like Jeanette, I’m also originally from Montana.  Also, along with Michael, I’m an ensemble member of Rising Sun Performance Company and they’re cooking up a lot of exciting projects.”

MICHAEL HAGINS ON THEATRE ROW: Samantha Simone’s recipe for success

Samantha Simone interview by Jen Bush

Samantha Simone has been cooking with creative gas since the age of 10.  She will be portraying Lana Jones in the upcoming theatrical production of, A Shot Rang Out. 

Michael Hagins’ WORLD PREMIERE:
A Shot Rang Out. Thursday, June 23 @ 8:00 pm; Theatre Row Studios (Theatre 2).
Thursday, June 23 @ 8:00 pm; Theatre Row Studios (Theatre 2) , NYC
Produced in association with the Downtown Urban Arts Festival
A white police officer is trapped in a warehouse during an increasingly violent protest with a scared Black teen and a disgruntled schoolteacher.

She got her start on a cooking show which has been a recipe for success ever since.  “I have been acting professionally since I was 10 years old, starting off on a kids cooking show on the BBC called Planet Cook! Ever since I have not stopped creating. I now enjoy acting and producing work that tells compelling stories. Whether it is on camera, on stage, or any other medium I find ways to stay creative every day.” 

Ms. Simone was drawn to this play because it was a teachable moment for society.  “I was drawn to this play because of my education background. As a teacher in today’s world we have so much to worry about outside of educating the children. In moments of tragedy so many lives get destroyed and that is an important message to share.”

 Ms. Simone’s creative process entails in depth character analysis.  Beyond the script, she explores the life that her character embodies.  “Well, I always start with story and character. I like to know my character inside and out. The play is always just a glimpse into their lives, but what are they like when the curtains close? Once I understand how my character operates, I layer in the story and surroundings. I was a dancer before I was an actor so getting up and putting things in my body always helps me.

A work with serious subject matter can make an artist feel an added responsibility when presenting the piece.  Ms. Simone’s approach to that responsibility is presenting the work in an authentic manner.  “I think our responsibility as artists is to reflect to the public what they need to see, what needs to change, or what we can all learn from. I feel responsible to tell these stories truthfully and with compassion for members of the audience who have potentially dealt with the same issues. At the end of the day, I feel it is an artist’s responsibility to spark dialog. If you got people talking or questioning, then you did your job!”

 With the pandemic came change and things that needed to change as a result.  “Oh god, everything is different. From the nature of auditioning on self tape all the way up to performance, nothing feels the same. Personally there is always a sense of fear with it too. Mostly, for me, it’s a fear that the numbers will spike again and everything will shut down again. The first few months of the pandemic were challenging on many levels, but one of the hardest things to face was the lack of creativity. In terms of what should be different, I think we are learning new things everyday about the people in our lives. This pandemic has helped me be more vocal about my boundaries, but it has also made connecting with others more challenging. We need to continue to share, listen, and respect our fellow artists in order to make it out of this pandemic on the other side.”

 Between a puppy, a partner and performing, Ms. Simone has no shortage of what’s next for her.  “What’s next, a little bit of everything! I love to stay busy so this summer is full of teaching, auditioning, acting as the opportunities arise, producing and of course spending some time with family, friends, partner, and my adorable puppy Ned.” 

Amanda Cannon: Start with Family

Amanda Cannon Interview by Jen Bush

There is usually a lot of drama in high school.  Amanda Cannon happens to like drama.  It lead her to her current career path as an actor and  writer.  “I fell in love with theatre while doing a play for my Speech class during my senior year of high school. I went on to graduate with a BA in Theatre from Southern Arkansas University, and moved to New York right after college. I am an actor and a writer, and while I’m drawn to dramas or dramedies, I also love doing a good comedic piece as well.”

To do or not to do Shakespeare.  That is the question.  Ms. Cannon is thinking yes.  “I think it’s important to do Shakespeare. He’s obviously a huge contributor to the development of theatre, and the language is everything. It forces the actor to really think about what they’re saying, and to make sure that they’re conveying it properly to the audience.”

There are some staples of summertime like ice cream trucks, sprinklers and Shakespeare productions.  They are ubiquitous.  Ms. Cannon has a good idea as to why.    “Shakespeare’s plays lend themselves to being produced in outdoor venues, whether it’s large amphitheaters or random spots in the park.”

The reasons that Ms. Cannon was drawn to this play have to do with some F-words…FUN and FEMALE!  “Shakespeare isn’t known for creating a lot of female-driven plays, but Merry Wives very much is. I love the playfulness and the humor, and there is nothing I love more than plotting against a self-proclaimed casanova.”

It’s lovely that Ms. Cannon’s inspirations start with family.  “My inspirations are many.  My grandma. My brother. The theatre company I’m a part of. Alanis Morissette. Taylor Swift. Olivia Rodrigo. Kesha. Zendaya. Katrina Lenk. MacKenzie Scott.” 

For Ms. Cannon, the creative process begins by delving into the text.  After a solid understanding of the words, she plays around with the characterization to find the best approach to the portrayal. “My creative process varies sometimes, depending on the role. The most important thing for me is the words. So I read through the script a lot, picking up all the details that I can about who I am and why I’m doing what I’m doing. I always create a bit of a backstory, but if it’s a really emotionally-deep character, I will create a more complex backstory. And then I just try different things in rehearsal and see what sticks.” 

The pandemic changed everything including instilling a sense of fear and uncertainty into all of our lives.  Hopefully a deeper appreciation of life is a positive side effect of what the world has been going through.  Ms. Cannon discusses how the pandemic currently impacts her.  “For me, everything is different. I’m still very careful about what I do. I don’t know if I will ever shake the feeling of not knowing what the future–even the next week–holds. I will never take seeing my friends for granted, and I will always value being able to be onstage and perform after two years of not doing it. What should be different is that all of us should be holding each other’s lives in higher regard than our own individual wants and comforts.” 

Ms. Cannon said, “we’ll see!” when we asked her what’s next.   Given that she’s about to tackle Shakespeare and the fact that all the world’s a stage (I wonder who said that?), there will be many stages for her to set foot upon to share her artistic gifts with eager audiences.

Ava Diane Tyson is here to tell stories

Ava Diane Tyson Interview by Jen Bush

Ava Diane Tyson is thrilled to be a cast member of Relapse, an exciting new musical premiering in mid-June.  Hailing from a place aptly called The Valley of the Sun, this bright up and comer came to the right city to pursue her craft.   “Hi I’m Ava! I am a NYC based actor originally from Phoenix, Arizona. I grew up with a passion for the arts and decided to continue my lifelong journey of telling stories by moving to NYC in 2018 to get my BFA from CAP21/Molloy College. This experience fostered my love for this craft even further through discovering the stories that fuel my artistry and the community of artists around me. It gave me a unique perspective that I bring to everything I do. Some of my favorite projects in and outside of school were Lizzie The Musical (dir. Marina Montesanti), Love Rehab (Written and conceived by The Saunders Collective), and Wes & Lyla, a short film I worked on with my good friends Blake and Wes. I’m so excited to continue my artistic journey.”

Between the compelling subject matter, the interesting complexity of the flawed characters and the opportunity to raise awareness of mental health issues, Ms. Tyson was deeply drawn to this piece.   “This project immediately caught my attention. One of the reasons was that the story and the characters are raw and so imperfectly human through their challenges. l love the ways in which this type of story lets the audience into a deeper connection and relatability with the story. The subject matter is very important to me. Mental health awareness is an essential conversation that still lacks proper representation. Theatre is one of the only things that has helped me get through my mental health struggles by giving me an outlet, and so what better way to initiate a conversation about mental health than through theatre.” 

For this production, Ms. Tyson’s creative process was two pronged.  It began with an analytical deep dive into the script and internalizing the text.  “My creative process varies for each project. For something like this, I find that text analysis, subtext, and inner dialogue are essential. With characters that have so much going on in their heads and lives at all times, inner dialogue informs what they choose to say (whether it’s what they really mean or not), and creates a closer relationship with the character’s state of mind. I find that doing the work on text & inner dialogue creates a pathway for the raw action to come through truthfully.” In addition to the cerebral, Ms. Tyson takes a visceral approach to creating a character.  “I also log physical responses to different things I personally feel. When I’m feeling a heightened emotion in my own life, I will write down the way it manifests in my body and the different places I find pressure, tension, or sensation. I find this helpful when beginning to create physical and behavioral responses to the text/what a character is feeling.”

When working on a project with serious subject matter, an artist sometimes feels an added sense of responsibility when presenting the material.  Ms. Tyson feels this responsibility and sees it as a way to form a richer connection with the audience.   “The reason I do what I do is to tell stories that change or question the way we think about things. So there is always an added pressure to do justice to the work and the character not only for the creators, but the audience as well that may relate and see themselves in this sort of subject matter.” 

With a freshly printed college degree in hand, Ms. Tyson stepped off the commencement stage right onto the New York theater stage.  She hit the ground running and is off to a spectacular start.  “I just graduated college on May 24th! This is my very first project in NYC outside of school and I am hoping to continue meeting wonderful creatives and working on new projects!” 

Ventura means Fortune!

HANNA VENTURA Interview by Jen Bush

Hanna Ventura will be bringing some poetic justice to her role in Existence.  Poetry is her passion, but she has room for other aspects of artistry.I consider myself a poet first. a singer second and an actor third. Though, they have all meshed together many times lending themselves to whatever project I was working on in the moment. I’m drawn to content that centers on the human experience, especially from voices that are not “conventionally” heard from in theater and/or poetry. I’m always looking for new inspiration- letting things affect me on daily basis. 

It was both the writer and the relatable subject matter that drove Ms. Ventura to the play.  “David Willinger for one drew me to this play! I know he is a crazy, mad genius, but a genius no doubt- and from working with him in the past, I trust his vision, his way of working and listening to me as a performer and collaborator. Being that the play is about graduate students studying philosophy, I felt close to the subject being a grad student myself studying theatre.” 

 Being inquisitive serves Ms. Ventura well in her creative process.  “I ask a lot of questions. I question everything and take in things with an objective viewpoint at first so I’m able to connect later. I always attempt to make decisions about my character’s background, fears, and desires. Getting into the physicality of the character is always fun! and it’s always the best way for me to start digging into the character’s psyche.” 

When undertaking a work with serious or topically charged subject matter, some artists feel an added sense of responsibility.   “Yes, I feel a responsibility to ask questions and be as authentic as possible.” 

Ms. Ventura feels as we all do that the pandemic has changed everything for everybody.  She also feels certain things should change.  “There should be adequate access to education and healthcare.”  It’s impossible to argue with that!

In the immediate future, Ms. Ventura will be busy with her studies but not too busy to pursue performing endeavors as well.  “I’m going to continue my master’s education in Applied Theatre from the CUNY School of Professional Studies. I’m never going to give up performing and making connections in my own community as well as the ever-fluid theatre community.” 

The Theatre Tattler

“You’re a Weirdo, Annie Best” presented by Fresh Fruits Festival’s All Out Arts, 2022 reviewed by Yvonne Tutelli, “The Theatre Tattler”

Erin Shin Brady’s background as a social worker and therapist is the foundational support to this sensitive polyamorous tale of theys and thems, we’s and she’s recently mounted at the Wild Project on the lower east side. Under the direction of Maddie Rostami, the confounding situational queer rom-com takes to the Festival stage with hope and heart.

As a straight person, I had to sit upright and pay attention as focal character Annie Best (Juliet Roll/ she/her) stays her welcome in a relationship with Nate (Jahill T Hall /he/him/they) while living with her longtime girlfriend Chris.

Everybody is busy in this piece: when not engaging in new romantic pursuits with Annie, Nate spends time with his male partner Jess (Ronnie Williams/he/him). A talented foodie, and a soon-to-be confidante of Chris’s, William’s Jess is a lover, of all– and all details.

But hold up—it won’t be long till we discover that Annie’s live-in girlfriend can swing all ways herself, and after a bout of depression, she finds solace and new potentiality with Jess, making a Christmas Eve double-date an extra special action-packed special event.

This is the 20th Anniversary of New York’s heralded Fresh Fruit Festival, All Out Arts 2022, and of the plays seen thus far (the Festival continues through the 14th), this is the most ambitious in its reach-out to the everyday hetero, or anybody else watching who is interested and curious as to how these things work. I am speaking of the fluidity with which the dizzying switch-offs between partners becomes so natural that even I, the raging aging exotic cougar that I am, can be drawn into understanding. Sorta. I’ve never met a more accepting group of human beings.

Writer Annie is on a life quest to find her best self opening the show in a scene with Nate, a new male love interest. A student of movies, books, and Nora Ephron rom-coms, Annie has a tendency to search a deeply, explore fastidiously, and care overtime. Annie is a weirdo: she’s inquisitive and curious and continually needing to explain and substantiate the underlying reasons for all of her life encounters sussing out meaning in every experience.

Lawyer girlfriend, Chris, played by stunner Julianna Mitchell (she/her), brings her down to earth, but is overwhelmed by Annie’s need to have every answer. Something’s been bothering Chris for a while now, and she just needs some well-deserved space. Is it Annie’s new fling with Nate what has Chris so discombobulated? Seems reasonable to me, that such jealousy could exist, even in this in this fluid and acceptable

just be you/youse lifestyle, but I am certain I don’t know how that goes, and “You’re a Weirdo, Annie Best” opens a dialgoue and window into an unapologetically polyamorous lifestyle as I don’t know it.

Playwright Brady delves into happiness: What is it? How do you find it? If one’s family doesn’t accept you, how do you find your queer chosen family? The cast of very relatable actors certainly explore all of possibilities available to them, through holiday cheer the queer way, in fact a double date with characters Annie, Nate, Chris and Jess goes doobly double; everyone is doing everyone. In a stark holiday karaoke bar scene Annie up-stagegedly grabs the mic and sing-outs out proud Tammy Wynette’s most classic anthem, assuring us that people are just people, and we should stand up for all of our many Selves.

Life goes on and we find that seat of Chris’ depression is the result of a recent dumping by her outside girlfriend Kate, a situation fully known and accepted by Annie. Annie’s intense curiosity seems to all stem from the chaos caused by her mother’s death and her father’s intolerance of her explorative nature.

The boys seem blissfully happy and content some how. And why wouldn’t they be? They’ve got it all.

A long-time-coming meeting with her estranged father (Greg Mills) is one of the strongest package-wrappers of Brady’s protagonist Annie.

“I’m not going to compromise my life to be a better daughter for you! Annie stubbornly proclaims, “Why can’t you be curious about the things you don’t know? Annie rails on her conventional Dad, played by Mills to tolerant perfection.

In one scene, one of Annie’s mentors, Nora Ephron (Juliana Forrest/she/her) pays a visit from the other side, dropping in to offer advice and soothe Annie’s frazzled nerves with a big pot of mashed potatoes.

Annie asks of everyone all the questions everyone wants to ask, but doesn’t. Sometimes the simplest answer is the best, or so the Ephron persona seems to intimate.

“You’re a Weirdo, Annie Best” explores the themes of polyamorous love, of life, and of what’s of value in humanity’s slogging search for family and belonging.

“If you’re happy, won’t you be a better partner?” Annie’s question is one we all ponder. This hopeful play explains the many diverse paths to figuring it all out in a world where we are all feel, at one time or the other, ‘fundamentally misunderstood.’

“If you don’t know what you don’t know, put “You’re a Weirdo, Annie Best” on your dance card this week. On the quest to be her best Self, a young writer finds that she can indeed find her best queer family roots.” Yvonne Tutelli, “The Theatre Tattler”

“You’re a Weirdo, Annie Best” explores the themes of polyamorous love, of life, and of what’s of value in humanity’s slogging search for family and belonging.” Yvonne Tutellis, “The Theatre Tattler”