Jen Bush’s predictions are good for Divination


Review by Jen Bush


Halloween may have ended 10 days ago but there are still some remnants of it going on at The American Theatre of Actors.  Divination is a play by Dorian Palumbo that delves into mysticism.  The tale centers around a crystal shop in N.J.  where six women with six gifts and six problems congregate for a weekly class in mediumship led by Geri Wheatcroft from Scotland.  My apologies to any superstitious readers for the aforementioned succession of numbers but quite fitting for a play of this nature.  All the women are familiar and comfortable with each other.  A new student named Tara played by Yating Sun, shows up.  She awkwardly infiltrates the tight knit group seeking a fast and easy solution to her problems.  Scenarios like that usually don’t end well for anyone.  In her quest for power and inner peace, Tara becomes something akin to The Scorcerer’s Apprentice sans the innocence.  There are consequences for all.  Hopefully six women from diverse backgrounds with different mystical abilities can reclaim their life balance.

The show was interesting and compelling with a twist thrown in for good measure.  The set was simple and functional.  The costumes were attractive and looked good on the cast. The ensemble was a shining cohesive unit of strong women with excelling acting chops.    Yating Sun’s portrayal of Tara came across as acerbic.  It was hard to empathize with her even after her character underwent a transformation.  Those were good and appropriate choices for that character.  The shop was owned by Michelle played by Esther Ayomide “Ayo” Akinsanya.  Michelle was somewhat angry and appeared to wrestle with the gifts given to her.  She showed appropriate vulnerability when her shop was in danger.  Her portrayal was serious and she had some witty sarcastic lines.  By stark contrast was the whimsical and at times inappropriate character of Louise played by Christine Dewar.  If she is not English in real life, her accent was amazingly spot on.  London Griffith did a fine and credible job of portraying Giovanna, a teacher with an ill husband. Abagail Choi Arader was wonderful portraying the young and vibrant Badriyah who was stuck with a less than young and vibrant husband.  Finally, a gifted actress playing a character with a gift was Meredith Rust as Geri.  She was so convincingly Scottish and immersed in her role, I completely forgot that just a short while ago, she was equally as wonderful as the saucy librarian in Banned in Bisbee at this very theater.  Her Scottish accent was flawless.  Another Banned in Bisbee alumni, Ken Coughlin, did a great job of directing his Bisbee cast mate and the rest of the cast.  Divination was a play well done by all involved.

Morgan Zipf-Meister is proud to be a Brute!

After a powerful run at Planet Connections 2018 Theatre Festivity, spit&vigor revives THE BRUTES, a gripping piece of history and drama written by Casey Wimpee. The new production will be at the New Ohio Theatre, 154 Christopher Street. If that address rings a bell, it is the old haunt of the legendary Wings Theatre, now in another pair of capable hands.

Sara Fellini stages THE BRUTES in-the-round with a minimalist set pieces that transforms into a theatre, a dinner table, and a nation on the brink of sweeping change. Civil strife, family devolution, and a country sharply divided – 150 years ago or right now – the parable of this drama remains strong. We get a tour of the backstage (literally) goings-on of an historic performance of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar featuring the renowned Booth theatrical family – brothers, Edwin, Junius Jr. and John Wilkes, Booth. There’s another familiar name. Performances are November 23 — December 9 (Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 3 pm). Tickets are $30. For reservations, please visit


Morgan Zipf-Meister.jpeg

Morgan Zipf-Meister is a brute in -well- The Brutes. When she is not one of a cry of players, she multi-tasks as a technician. Drama-Queens is always thrilled to meet multi-talented female artists

I’m an actor and lighting designer, I play one of the Brutes, kind of a menacing/magical presence throughout the play – who also ground the Booth family in the outside world and give them a sense of context.  It’s exciting to explore how this one small piece of the play can be so many different things.  I’ve been working in Indie Theater for over a decade and have worn a variety of hats over the years. I love the human element of the theater, collaborating with other artists to make something bigger than you could’ve done on your own, and being able to share that work with an audience who is in the room with you.        
[Independent Theater is] equally infuriating and rewarding, but above all else the act of sharing stories with other humans in a room, a communal space is incredibly valuable in times when we struggle to see the humanity in others. I am incredibly privileged that I can do this and will continue to do whatever I can so that the indie theater remains a place where all stories and voices can be represented, heard, and shared.

Making Sport of Shakespeare


Carrie Isaacman is one of us!!!

A strong woman of the arts – taking control and telling stories!

Carrie is the organizer of Shakespeare Sports. Her inspiration for Shakespeare Sports is from her studies of Shakespeare’s First Folio and liked the idea of
using the question around of “scrolls” as a rehearsal tool or if they are intended for a group of actors who have little time to rehearse early in their rehearsal process, as the Elizabethans had very little time to rehearse, or are scrolls part of the show? Carrie chose ‘As You Like It’ because it looks at a group of teens who are put
in a position where they can – using only their wits – change the world – even while homeless. 

No scrolls here … she just kinda spoke! 

Tell us about yourself as an artist.

I am an actor and have been directing as of late.  I am the director of ‘As You Like It’.  I started organizing ‘unrehearsed Shakespeare’ readings and it occurred to me that with the requirements of ‘unrehearsed Shakespeare’, of working on Shakespeare’s stage directions first, including music, movement and anything technical, even with the scroll in hand for all actors by the time the cast has worked on all aspects like music and movement a cast might as well plan a full run of a show and I am now glad to be doing just that.

Phoebe (1).jpgTell us about your role in AS YOU LIKE IT. 

I got the idea for setting ‘As You Like It’ in 1968 as a response to the very vocal protesting around all of the elections over the last few years and the advocacy that goes along with the interests of those who are running for office.  

Shakespeare’s show ‘As You Like It’ should show the difference between court and country life and that includes dialects of speech dress and behaviors.  

The characters going away from their way of living that they are used to is political and it means that they will need to find away to survive with people who they may normally not interact with.  Through all of the circumstances the characters, Rosalind with Celia and Orlando with Adam, entertain one another as they are solving the problems that they are faced with and that is what makes the play a comedy.

Share with us your thoughts on independent theater. What is its significance to the skyline of entertainment in NYC? AND how has indie theatre helped Shakespeare and visa versa?

As a creator of Shakespeare’s theater in independent theater I look to see how larger theaters do community building and how they produce thier traveling shows especially because Shakespeare Sports works on a small budget.  I also look to see what larger theaters choose for their season.  And if I would want to share the work or Shakespeare Sports with a larger theater I would want to have an organized portfolio and mission for what and why produces Shakespeare.  This is also important is Shakespeare Sports is planning a season and planning ahead.



Lindsy … leave off the A for actress!

Jail time never was this much fun! Based a true stories, Jeffrey Milstein, a prolific author both in NYC and regionally, “lampooning to the tooning of Brooks, Reiner, and Simon” in telling the story of a low-level prison in the famed military installation … and then sets the whole things to music!

We spoke with several of the actors from the production and discovered that many are making a debut of sorts.

We received this letter from Lindsy Thomas from the company. Welcome to New York Lindsy! You’ll be great … You already have a stage name!



My name’s Lindsy. This is the first production I’ve been cast in in the city.

In this production of Fort Dicks, I play a few different characters that help make up the ensemble. A little bit about myself; I grew up as a competitive dancer training in pretty much all  basic styles of dance. After graduating high school I moved to New York to go to the conservatory at AMDA for their integrated program.

I play Judge Flashner, Nurse Ratshit, Medic #2, The Harpo Marx Mirror counter part, Swat CO, and various ensemble musical accompanists. The ensemble plays the part of creating the many different characters and personalities of the prison staff and the other inmates. We build the world of what Jefferey experienced and to tell that kind of a story with comedy has been really fun to get to play with.

Independent theater, speaking from the point of view of a young actor, allows you to be able to experiment and build a show from the ground up. You get to be a apart of the process from beginning to end and you have more freedom for suggestion. In this cast at least I feel we’ve had a lot of ability to make creative choices that have shaped our scenes. With that though also comes with learning how to work with people who have different experiences levels and training which you do experience in school but it’s different being all in the same training program as opposed to a more professional setting. It’s been an exciting


Dana Cavagnaro is happy to be here!

Jail time never was this much fun! Based a true stories, Jeffrey Milstein, a prolific author both in NYC and regionally, “lampooning to the tooning of Brooks, Reiner, and Simon” in telling the story of a low-level prison in the famed military installation … and then sets the whole things to music!

We spoke with several of the actors from the production and there is an undeniable sense of joy coming from them all. How UNUSUAL for an indie play. What’s Milstein doing RIGHT??

Bright and fresh-faced, Dana Cavagnaro was simply gushing during the interview.


Tell us about yourself as an artist.
I’ve always been in love with musical theatre. Growing up, my family introduced me to all kinds of music and theatre so it’s always been a huge part of my life and my biggest passion. I try to perform as much as possible because I am at my happiest and most content while working on and performing in a show. The creative process is the most exhilarating thing, especially in a hilarious musical comedy like Fort Dicks! This whole experience has been a dream come true for me.
Tell us about your role in FORT DICKS
I play a few characters in Fort Dicks including Bailiff, Linda, BOP Operator, and Inmate Weiner. Linda, Inmate Tony’s girlfriend, is my favorite character to play because of her fierce attitude and the amount of physical comedy I get to do while playing her! I also love performing Inmate Wiener, who broke his leg and can’t seem to get the doctor to take is injury seriously!
Share with us your thoughts on independent theater. What is its significance to the skyline of entertainment in NYC?
Independent theatre is so important because it gives talented writers, performers, and musicians a chance to showcase their new works that they may not have the opportunity to showcase anywhere else. It’s so important to the landscape of professional theatre that independent theatre is being created because it opens the doors for more interesting and diverse stories to be told.
Rock on, Dana, Rock On!

Large Talent for such a “Small Craft”

Small Craft Warnings by Tennessee Williams

Regeneration Theatre, whose missions is to bring the rarely seen back into the spotlight took one of Tennessee Williams’ lesser plays and breathed new life into it. Lesser ONLY in the sense of visibility. This incredible gem is currently running at 13th Street Playhouse featuring Robert Maisonett,  George A Morafetis, Jenne Vath, Jed Peterson, Nicole Greevy, Jon Spano, Jason Pintar, and Christian Musto and is directed by Barnaby Edwards and Marcus Gualberto; with lighting & sound by Allison Hohman.

We spoke with several of the actors in the production. Here we have our conversation with theater veteran, Nicole Greevy. 
Tell us about yourself as an artist.
I’m Nicole Greevy, I am an actor and a writer.  I am a regular contributor to the award-winning podcast Uncanny County, which is a world away from Tennessee Williams! 

Tell us about your role in Williams’ Small Craft Warnings (actors, please discuss your part and its relation to the lot; creatives, tell us your function to the project/company)
I play Leona, an aging beautician who lives in a trailer, or, as she euphemistically calls it, a “home on wheels.”  She is, I think, the best role I have ever done, and it blows my mind that, in 1973, Tennessee Williams created a middle-aged woman so in touch with her anger.  In the past couple of years there’s been more and more conversation about how women are not allowed to be angry in our society and getting to play her now feels so timely.

Share with us your thoughts on independent theater. What is its significance to the skyline of entertainment in NYC?
Without independent theater, I think there will be no risk-taking in NYC theater.  The costs of commercial theater are so great now that I think producers feel they have to play it safe- if they don’t believe the show will sell enough tickets, there’s no point.  This play is not one of Tennessee Williams’ big ones, although I have come to love it every bit as much as I do The Glass Menagerie or A Streetcar Named Desire or Cat on a Hot Tin Roof or Summer and Smoke. But the beauty and pathos of Small Craft Warnings doesn’t come across on page the way it does on stage- I think the audiences who come to see it will have a very different experience than those who just read it.  And that’s the genius of Williams- his words, beautiful and carefully chosen as they are, are best heard, not read.  And heard with an audience.  I didn’t realize until opening night, with a full house, how very, very funny Small Craft Warnings is.  That’s a discovery I couldn’t make without an audience.  And it was really exciting.

And without independent theater, neither I nor the audience would have had that experience.  Whether it’s new material, like the Fringe Festival does, or offering up forgotten gems like Regeneration Theatre does, independent theater offers experiences that commercial theater just can’t afford to.