Feminine-Focus: International Artists

Anna Cherkezishvili came to the United States with a clear agenda, and that was to be an artist who gives back. She carefully choses plays and roles that allow her to represent the immigrant experience – whether it’s directly associated as in plays performed for children from other countries or roles showing the plight of the “outsider,” Anna hopes to enlighten while she entertains. She is DQ’s International Artist of the Month. We spoke with her about her journey.

What was it like coming to this country to pursue your dreams? 

It definitely has been an exciting journey and hard work. I was fortunate enough to come to this great country all the way from the post-soviet world, which of course was a big cultural change. I graduated here from world famous schools, Seton Hall University and Sella Adler Studio of Acting. In both schools, I gained education, that I always needed and I was trained to be a professional at my work. Right after graduating from schools, I was fortunate enough to have great friendships and networking opportunities. And career wise, it took me a while, but I am very happy to be given an opportunity to do theatre work that I have been dreaming about and have been lucky enough to do. It is huge to be given an opportunity to perform in New York plays and I am so fortunate and grateful of having these experiences.

What do/did your parents think of your desire?

My parents separated when I was young. I grew up with mom. She always knew I loved theatre and film but thought it was a rebellious and risky path to follow. She is an academic herself and mostly she would see me as choosing an academic path. As she watched me grow up and realized just how much I loved to participate in school plays, or go to theatre, or to write poetry and listen to the music, she knew this was what made me feel the happiest. She supported my choice to enter the Georgian University of Theater and Film for my colleague years. Since then every step of the way, she is supportive of my career. I am incredibly grateful for her strength and wisdom which guided me through years.

Who was here for you at this end?  

My friends, I have met at both of my schools, with whom I bonded over the years are always here for me. My acting teachers and mentors have always been there for me as well. I stay in touch with them and on occasions reach back to them for guidance, for which I am very grateful. My colleagues who I have worked with and met through several years of my stay here are the people I have great support from as well. Moreover, friends of my family who live in New York, stayed in touch with me all the way as I arrived here and started my journey until this day. I cherish these people, and have great appreciation for all their support.

Was it difficult getting hired once you came here?  –

At first the audition process was not easy, as this is a big city and theatre industry center, where it takes a while and hard work to book the part. I would feel nervous at the auditions. But, after practice of auditioning often, I started to trust myself more. It’s not easy to bring all the skills under two minutes of monologue and song. But with energy and belief in my dream, I managed not to feel discouraged, if no was being said to me.

In 2018, I joined a great organization for actors, ActorIndex for one year. They helped young actors with workshops and recording studios, to help them find the way in the industry. I remember one time they had a famous Broadway producer invited for the workshop, where he talked about importance of how actors can approach not booking the part. He said it is important not to take it personally, if no is said to an actor. He said to accept politely when not booking the part, and think of it, not as a defeat but as an opportunity to move on and find different chances. I would say this is how I think of auditions. And I learned over time that when I started to trust myself more that’s when I started to gain more approval at the auditions.

How is it being a woman in the arts here in NYC?  

I am usually comfortable as a woman in the arts. I believe in the talent and intelligence women bring into the arts world. I would be happy to see more females in the position of directors as well as playwrights and producers. Something that I am working on as a woman in the arts is to always grow and improve. I work on letting myself just be and not over critically approach myself. Sometimes I catch myself on trying to be perfect and fear that I should not be less than perfect in terms of how I look or work. But I realized over time that this kind of approach can paralyze my work instead of benefit it. So, now I strive towards progress but not perfection.

Are you looking to move into directing, producing, writing, etc.?  

One day I would be happy to move into directing and writing. As an artist, I believe I can create work, not just look for work. I would like to create work that is culturally relevant, political, as well as entertaining. I would like to master how to pitch projects as a producer as well and find collaborations with great co- producers. I would absolutely enjoy the process of forming the cast and crew with strong professionals and produce high quality work.

Defining Women

Women of Manhattan-Review by Jen Bush

If you like things like Sex and the City and The Real Housewives series, it is likely that you’ll enjoy Pink Arts Peace Productions, Inc., production of John Patrick Shanley’s play, Women of Manhattan. This production presented on Zoom was Produced by David Jung and Directed by Sunflower Duran who both also star in the production.

Women of Manhattan was written by John Patrick Shanley, one of the most respected playwrights and screenwriters alive today. He holds the distinction of being awarded the Tony, the Oscar and the Pulitzer. In addition of Women of Manhattan his credits include Doubt and Moonstruck among many others. In other words, the material was there and substantive. Now let’s examine the execution.

Three successful Manhattan based women gather for dinner. Their love lives are complicated and entwined. Billie is a married traditionalist. Rhonda Louise is a Southern Belle who recently broke up with her boyfriend but can’t part with his dirty sneakers. They reside in the living room to serve as a reminder of the relationship. Judy is a flirty hopeless romantic who goes on plenty of dates. Unfortunately, all her suitors end up being gay. Though the play centers on the lives and love lives of the women, we also meet Bob, Billie’s philandering husband and Duke who serves as a straight date for Judy. This play contains themes of love, friendship, dating and infidelity. The women have deliciously clever and witty dialogue as they explore their own unique situations in life and love.

John Patrick Shanley would be pleased. The cast and creatives took great care to bring forth a quality production in the new but hopefully temporary virtual venue of Zoom. At times the production was fun, compelling and heartbreaking. Each cast member was well suited to their roles. An absolute standout was Kingsley Nwaogu as Duke who was being set up with Judy on a date. He radiated smoothness and charisma. By the time the scene between he and Sunflower Duran who played Billie was over, I wanted to go on a date with him. Ms. Duran did a fine job of directing and portraying her ever optimistic character. Antonette Hudak gave a strong and compelling performance as Judy. Nicole Miranda as Rhonda Louise skillfully delivered some of the funniest lines of the play. David Jung produced a wonderful show and displayed fine acting chops as Billie’s husband Bob. If the opportunity arises, joining the Women of Manhattan for their dinner party should be on your agenda.

Infinite Variety Productions present an audio-version of the award-winning play, IN THEIR FOOTSTEPS

In honor of Veteran’s Day, Infinite Variety Productions invites you to listen and learn. Ashley Adelman’s compelling play, “In Their Footsteps” has been reworked into an audio drama and will be presented, November 9 – 11. join us November 9th, 10th, and 11th, online. Three nights of storytelling, discussion, celebration, and remembrance of our Vietnam War era vets.

Your registration grants you:  
–One week early ACCESS to the finished radio play;
–ACCESS to the Zoom Webinar to see the company recording the radio play
–ACCESS to the panel discussion following your chosen video viewing, all featuring different panelists with unique experiences related to the Vietnam War
–ACCESS to the Discussion Panels on Nov. 9, 10, and 11 (Guests TBA)
–Tickets to more than one talkback evening are available. A confirmation email will accompany your registration with directions on how to do so.
–ALL TICKETS ARE FREE. We hope you weill make a donation of whatever you can to the company so we might be able to continue bringing you such events as this Vertain’s Commemoration and Discussion. Purchase tickets at: ivp.simpletix.com/e/60009

IN THEIR FOOTSTEPS by Ashley Adelman is directed by Ashley Adelman & Andrew Dunn; with technical direction provided by Andrew Dunn and produced by Kelly Teaford. The voice actors include Chrystal Bethell, Kate Szekely, Caroline Peters, Criena House, Niki Hatzidis, with  Jessica Schecter and Andrew Dunn

For further information:
PRESS: jmcommnet@gmail.com
THE PLAY: kellyteaford@gmail.com

About In Their Footsteps:
Since its premiere in 2016, the play, which explores the stories of five American women who served in Vietnam during the Vietnam War, has been performed at The Kraine Theatre, Under St. Marks, 59E59 Theatres, and other locations around New York City, as well as The Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland and the Borderlight Fringe Festival in Cleveland, Ohio. It has been called “moving”, “astonishing”, “relevant”, “unmissable”, and “a celebration of real women in a messy and complicated war” by reviewers at Onstage Blog, Theater Pizazz, The Reviews Hub, and The Sunday Post. Now, it is being transformed, for the first time ever, into a radio play.

The cast recorded all of their audio parts separately because of the coronavirus pandemic. These separate recordings were masterfully edited together by our Technical Director, Andrew Dunn, into the radio play you will receive if you buy a ticket for this event. Then, with social distancing and other safety measures in place, the actors came together to record one final video recording of the full play, start to finish, with no stops, experiencing each other’s collective energy for the first time. At the launch of our radio play, we will also present this final recording to you: mistakes and all, because we believe community is a treasure to witness, especially during this current time of isolation. After experiencing the video recording, you will be treated to a panel discussion, with a different group of panelists each night, so that you can hear more and different stories from the Vietnam War, ask questions of the panelists, and participate in open, vibrant discussion about the war then and war now.

Infinite Variety Productions is a New York State registered not for profit organization dedicated to spotlighting women who have gone unnoticed throughout history and demanding awareness of women’s roles in historical and current events. To view our production history or to learn more about us, check out our website: https://www.infinitevarietynyc.org/

A Golden Play

The Golden Girl by the Sea-Review by Jen Bush


One might think seeing Greek Gods as exaggerated caricatures of themselves a la Gaston in Beauty and the Beast in a play with a solid premise driven by a silly and whimsical execution might not work.  It worked and it was golden!

The play opens with a track of multiple overlapping voices in a black box theater.  We meet the main character Xrysi on a beach in Santorini, Greece.   She is a lovely young lady in an appealing flowing blue dress.  In the distance she sees an enchanting mysterious woman who she declares that she is in love with.  Xrysi’s manner of speaking is very theatrical and poetic.  When a mysterious high priestess appears claiming that she can take Xrysi to her true love, Xrysi’s manner of speaking becomes more normal and casual demonstrating that the time period of the play is modern.  Suddenly, 9 more characters appear who are entwined and move together in visual poetry which they will continue to do for the rest of the play.  We learn that in order to find the one she loves, Xrysi much endure a set of trials prescribed by the Greek gods Aphrodite, Apollo, Dionysus, Zeus, Athena and Hera.  With each trial she completes, she receives a key to the door of the next god’s realm.

This play had elements putting in in danger of being campy and corny.  Fortunately between the solid cast and expert directing by Gwendolyn Snow and Adam Martin, it was a fun delightful romp through the realms of the Greek gods.  The play expressed themes of love, acceptance and tests of will.  My favorite realms were Apollo’s mansion of depressed muses and the sexual paradise of Dionysus.  All it took to lift the muse’s existential crisis was a Lady Gaga song.   As far as Dionysus’s realm, there is nothing like an eye opening simulated on stage orgy to take your mind off a pandemic!

This international cast wonderfully brought the work of Dorothea Gloria to life.  Incidentally, Ms. Gloria did a dynamic double dipping job of also portraying the ditzy insecure priestess guiding the main character through her journey.  Chrysi Sylaidi who is actually Greek, demonstrated her skillful acting chops by moving seamlessly from the comedic to the dramatic.  The actors portraying the Greek gods and goddesses did a nice job of embodying the strong and arrogant personas one would expect of deities.  The actors in beautiful motion gave a consistency and continuity to each scene.  They were almost like living scenery in perfect sync with each other.  They also did a fine job of portraying various characters in each realm.  This play was reminiscent of The Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland in terms of the main character’s quest.  It’s no myth that audiences will find enjoyment in this lighthearted play with a beautiful message in the end.




Well Spent “Hours”

The Hours-Review by Drama-Queens Lead Reviewer, JEN BUSH


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With this period in time being so challenging, it was nice to escape reality into three different periods of time in a play called The Hours.   The screenplay by David Hare was presented by Face to Face Films on Zoom and directed by Anthony Laura.

The Hours takes place in the early 1900’s, the 1950’s and the year 2001 and features three stories interconnected by Virginia Woolf and her novel Mrs. Dalloway.  Virginia Woolf was a renowned 20th century Modernist English author.  She is said to be an inspiration to feminism.  She was plagued by mental illness.   She died by drowning herself in River Ouse leaving behind a legacy of literature.

When the play opens, we meet Virginia Woolf and her husband Leonard.  The couple founded Hogarth Press so that Leonard could be at home to support Virginia.  Virginia tires of being tethered to doctors due to her mental state and longs for a change of location and more freedom.  In the 1950’s we see Laura Brown, a pregnant mother unhappy with her life.  She is baking a cake for her husband Dan’s birthday with her son and contemplating a dark demise.   In modern times we meet the grown-up version of Laura Brown’s son and his close friend Clarissa who is intent on throwing him a party for winning a prestigious poetry award.  Dan is ill with A.I.D.S.  This play takes on heavy themes such as mental illness and suicide and kinder themes of devotion and friendship.

It seems that even more screen time has dominated our lives.  Nothing can take the place of live theater which in a desperate act of attempting to thrive has taken to platforms such as Zoom.  It is very hard to capture the visceral nature and beautiful nuance that live theater affords.  Well, with an incredibly strong team of actors and a skilled director, The Hours was successful in providing a touching, poignant, moving and tragic theater experience to the viewer.  Each actor was squarely matched to their respective roles.  The solid and steady narration of Sofia Licata filled in a lot of the details that helped engage the viewer during the performance.

Kristen Hasty, Alexandra Rooney, Henry Priest Miller, Cebi Stough, Sally Lester, Amanda Kristin Cox and Jose Duran all did a fine job of embodying their characters.  Some of the cast stood out a bit, especially the ones doing double and triple duty.  Samantha Yestrebsky brilliantly played the younger and older versions of her character Laura Brown in two different time periods of the show.  Though they were the same character, the interpretation appropriately changed as the character aged.  Candy Dato ambitiously took on all three time periods playing a servant, a neighbor and a florist.  She was credible in all the roles.  Gabe Calleja had a riveting show stopping moment when he was trying to reason with is wife who was on the edge.  The authenticity of emotions bursting through the screen were incredible.  He had wonderful chemistry with Casey Hartnett who did an exquisite job of portraying Virginia Woolf.  Alex Commito wholeheartedly committed to playing the mercurial Richard.  The character called for depth and angst and he delivered.  Andrew Rosenbloom was simply adorable and a good actor too.  The effervescent Vivien Cardone had a good handle on the wide range of emotions her character called for.  Seeing The Hours were a few hours well spent.


Dorothea Gloria: International Artists in NYC (Part II of II)


Zoom levels the playing field. Ambitious companies are taking to zoom to get their work done and ambitious actors are staying relevant on these cyber works. Part II of our interviews feature DOROTHEA GLORIA. This Filipino burst of joy and energy took the advice of her mentor and headed for New York. Her bright outlook has helped her open doors … as an international woman of the arts. 

What inspired you to come to New York to be an artist?

I was inspired to go to New York by my mentor, Ana Valdes-Lim. I studied theatre under her for about 10 years. I met her when I was fourteen years old. It was always an experience diving into a scene with her. It felt like I was in another dimension whenever she would guide me through a moment as a character living. Under her tutelage, I was in a constant flow while acting. Ms. Ana was the first Filipino who graduated from Juilliard. She would always tell stories about her experiences back in New York: the teachings her teachers gave her, the various stage productions, the vibrant energy of the performing arts, etc. I would be entranced by these stories that I wanted to see what New York was for myself and experience my own creative moments here. 


What are the artistic differences between your home country and New York?

I think the biggest artistic difference between the Philippines and New York is that there are less avenues to do straight theatre back home. I feel like New York offers a balance between different kinds of theatre while in the Philippines, musicals reign the theatre scene. This is understandable because Filipinos love music and dance so much to the point that every household owns their own karaoke set up. If you ever visit the Philippines during Christmas or any other holiday season, you will hear a cacophony of houses singing different songs from their karaokes. 

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What is it like being a woman in the Arts… In your Homeland, and here in New York?

It’s actually great to be a woman in the Arts in New York and in the Philippines. I was constantly exposed to Women leaders in the Arts back in Manila. Ms. Ana Valdes-Lim was the Artistic Director of METTA. I also was a resident artist at the Philippine Educational Theatre Association which is headed by two women, PETA Artistic Director Maribel Legarda and PETA President Cb Garrucho. I also performed several productions under Repertory Philippines which was founded by a woman, Zeneida Amador, and is currently headed by three women that gave me many opportunities to grow my professional career as an actress namely: Baby Barredo, Repertory Chairman Emeritus, Liesl Batucan, Repertory Artistic Director, and Joy Virata, Repertory Creative Director. Since I was constantly exposed to strong women in the arts back home, when I came to New York, I sought out people who had a strong sense of leadership and a love for the arts. I eventually created a theatre company, TeamTheatre LLC, and the two other people that I head that company with are both women as well. Gwendolyn Snow, Chrysi Sylaidi and I are constantly creating theatre projects that are both empowering and diverse.
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How has the pandemic changed your career … Both tangible and philosophically?

The pandemic has really given me the time to reflect and refocus on what I want to do with my art. All of us in TeamTheatre have constantly been meeting with one another to talk about the different advocacies we want to fight for. We’re planning on a season that will really focus on social justice. I think with everything that has been going on, all the more there is a need to find and adapt ways to be inclusive and global when it comes to the projects we decide to pursue. 


What are your plans for the future?

Currently, I’m writing a script that focuses on the drug war and the shutting down of news outlets back in the Philippines. I also know that Gwendolyn Snow is currently devising a piece that includes elderly writers and performers. I want to support her with that project and make sure that it will definitely come to life. 

Chrysi Sylaidi: International Artists in NYC (Part I of II)

52594475_10156150953856732_4089257019859533824_nZoom levels the playing field. Ambitious companies are taking to zoom to get their work done and ambitious actors are staying relevant on these cyber works. Scoring major kudos these days is CHRYSI SYLAIDI. A commanding presence, Chrysi shared her thoughts on coming to the U.S. — going from Greece to Queens!

What inspired you to come to New York to be an artist?

Leaving Greece was a big decision. I’ve been acting on stage since I was 13 years old and grew up loving my country and the amazing Theatrical tradition we have in it. Of course, there where problems, but that is common everywhere. However, after a while I already knew that eventually, I also wanted to live abroad for at least a period of my life. I wanted to challenge myself and my beliefs, try to become a citizen of the world. Sometimes we think reality is what we see around us and then we just accept it. We don’t change it or transform it into something else. We just get used to it. I have learned that custom is a slow death for the hungry child we all have inside. My opinion, and I am learning that through experience, is that that child and the relationship we have with it, is one of the most important factors for balance and happiness in life. So, by allowing myself to take a leap of faith, dream a life abroad and then pursuing it, I was also offering space for that child to keep on searching. To stay curious. One thing led to the next and I visited New York. In my heart a fell in love with this City immediately. I knew that this is the place that would keep me active, that would challenge me in all kinds of ways. I wanted to grow. And as I learned from my studies at the Adler Studio, growth as an actor and growth as a human being are synonymous. So, I moved here and since then it has been a true journey, full of challenges and amazing collaborations. I have definitely grown immensely both as an actor and as a human being. Which was always my objective.

As Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible with actor- Nikos Spiridonos

As Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible with actor- Nikos Spiridonos

What are the artistic differences between your home country and New York?

In New York it is all about the structure. It is a taf place, an expensive place. So, people here really appreciate their time and they expect you to do so too. You need to get the job done well and quickly. It’s just facts. For example, most of the time in a month long rehearsal process you must have a show and be ready to perform. This can feel sometimes rushed, but it teaches you to be more active and more efficient. The same mentality exists in the film industry. Things are fast. So, in order to keep up and actually do a good job, you need structure and you need to stay active. The motto is, think less, do more and keep moving based on trial and error. In Europe it feels like there is more time for you to go deeper with your work. You have more time to explore your art,your characters, your shows. Work is not focused so much on the productivity-quantity of it all, but on the quality. It is more of a full experience. That part I miss. But as a person that usually overthinks things and has attributes of a perfectionist, sometimes I end up taking a lot of time for my work in order to make sure that the result is as good as it can possibly be and that is not always for the best. I am learning more and more that perfection is an illusion and the real beauty is hiding in the imperfections. In any case, I see the benefits of both worlds, so I think the silver lining is somewhere in the middle and that is what I am after in my acting and in my artistic collaborations.

As Hermionie in The Winter's Tale with actor- Yann Hicke as Leontes -Stella Adler Studio of Acting, credits ak47division

As Hermionie in The Winter’s Tale with actor- Yann Hicke as Leontes -Stella Adler Studio of Acting

How has it been as an artist in New York? Tell us about some of your projects.

It has been a gift that keeps on giving even when it is challenging you in the most intense way. The people from all the different backgrounds I have met, the places I have been, the art I have been exposed to, the amazing artistic collaborations I’ve had the chance to be a part of, even being here through this pandemic they have all influenced my life is such a big way that it is difficult to sum it up in a few sentences. I will share though two special acting moments that come into my mind right now. In the spring of 2019 I had the opportunity to perform the iconic role of Hermione in Shakespeare’s “The Winter’s Tale” at the Stella Adler Studio. Shakespeare’s magical play, the talented director Ian Gould, the fantastic cast, the role and the whole production made my work as an actor so so easy and enjoyable. It is from those times as a performer that you can just relax and focus on exploration and on deepening your work. We were also incredibly honored to have all of our shows sold out. Personally, the beauty and peaceful strength of Hermione’s soul will stay in my heart for ever. She is an incredible female lead and I would strongly suggest it to any actor if they are given the opportunity. The second show I want to bring up, is “Sabbath Elevator”. This was a show that I acted in but also produced. The play was an original piece by Ellen Pober Rittberg, directed by Fotis Batzas, and it was featured at the Greek Cultural Center as part of TeamTheatre’s Fun Fast Feb Fest. Even though this play was a difficult one for the audience to watch due to the fact that it’s topic dealt with the power struggle between the female and the male gender and even dared to visit the social issues of physical abuse, it felt like it was really worth putting on stage. Plays that really tackle social issues and dare to talk about them many times are being avoided. However, I believe that in most cases, when art starts a conversation among those exposed to it it has succeeded its goal. These conversations are incredibly important.

As Julie in the Sabbath elevator with actor- Billy Higgins

As Julie in the Sabbath Elevator with actor- Billy Higgins

You wear many hats, what has been the most successful?

Well, I am an actor. When I am acting I am at my best and that is my true passion. I have lost count in how many productions I’ve been part of. However, I’ve been on stage for more than 15 years now and after all this time you start developing skills in other areas too, especially if you are a curious person. When I was in Athens in 2016, I had the opportunity to Assistant-Direct a production that I am very proud of of the famous American Classic by Arthur Miller- “The Crucible”. I was also selected by the great Greek Director- George Kaloxilos to portray the role of Elizabeth Proctor for the same show. It was a truly challenging and fulfilling experience to direct and act in this. It is the timely nature and depth of this play as well as the multidimensional characters that makes for an unforgettable experience, especially when you have the chance to bring it to life with incredible artists collaborating with you. We were also very grateful of the overwhelming success with which that audience embraced our work. After that, I had the chance to fully wear the director’s hat at the beginning of 2020 for the play “No Friends” by Myrna Davonne which participated in the Fun Fast Feb Festival hosted by TeamTheatre at the Greek Cultural Center in Astoria. Our show was voted by the audience among the Festival’s top 5 finalists. Speaking of the Greek Cultural Center, in 2019, myself and a group of talented theatre artists, decided to come together and support the center and through it, the arts in Queens and in Manhattan. We renovated it and we hosted several events that promoted the arts and celebrated the different cultures that exist in the communities around the Center. The events varied from several different theatrical productions, to musical nights, to performances celebrating of the Center’s history and contribution to New York City. With the people that came together for this, in an organic way, the International Theatre Company, TeamTheatre, was created. Till now, this is probably one of the things I am mostly proud of in my career. Through this Theatre Company where I am a Founding and Board member, I had the chance to produce multiple productions with an incredible team of collaborators and act as a resource for dozens of emerging artists through multiple different shows.

What is it like being a woman in the Arts… In your Homeland, and here in New York?

When I started acting in Greece I realized that most positions with power in the arts, where held by men. Most producers where men and most directors where men. There where not really many female role models to look up to. However, there where a lot of amazing Greek actresses like, Katina Paxinou, Anna Sinodinou, Eleni Papadaki, Despoina Mpempedeli, Lydia Koniordou and many more. These were the ones that inspired me and influenced my work at the beginning. So, during those years I was mostly focusing on my acting and in general I had positive experiences. However, there were a few times that definitely my gender played a negative role in the way I was treated. Those times were hurtful and inappropriate and definitely made me question this profession as a main career choice. Acting though kept pulling me back again and again. Later on, my love for the work of other amazing actresses, like Katharine Hepburn and Meryl Streep, was one of the reasons I moved to New York. During the first couple of months I had moved to the city, I met an acting teacher that told me: “You are beautiful but also too smart and it shows. The people in this industry don’t like that. If you keep showing that quality, you are not going to find any proper work.” After that I was burning inside with fury. I couldn’t believe what I had just heard after traveling to the other side of the world in search of inspiration and a more professional working environment. Every inch of my body wanted to scream how horrible and wrong in every way was what that man had said. Even so, I kept going. And thank God I came to realize that that man represents only a small portion of this industry. It is a powerful portion but small none the less. My networking started to grow and I had the chance to collaborate with incredible Theatre Institutions and fantastic artists. Also, slowly but steadily through all my travels and while I was discovering my strengths as an actor, my background in management, economics and business started to emerge. The degree I have from the Athens University of Business and Economics started to be useful for my life in the arts when I decided to also start producing through TeamTheatre. When that started happening I realized that there is a world of possibilities that I could create for myself. And so, I also started investing into that direction. Sometimes we have to build the road we will walk on in life because it doesn’t already exist. This is true for many people, especially women and people that belong to minorities. I try to remember that and keep going.

How has the pandemic changed your career … Both tangibly and philosophically?

The pandemic affected us all. It still does and it will continue to do so. The arts are no exception. Often though, through big changes and challenges, new opportunities arise. At the beginning, most of us were mostly overwhelmed by what we were all experiencing. Just going through the day was the goal. Gradually however, during the pandemic, people really started to reach out and they did it in a much more honest and real way than how they were doing before. For me, other than reconnecting with family, friends and old collaborators, many new networking opportunities appeared. New collaborations and new ways to create live theatre. The internet and the platforms offered in it, opened a window to new possibilities. Bigger audiences, smaller costs, greater availability among artists, and a greater freedom to explore since nobody has ever done this before. Also, the pandemic has been a learning opportunity for myself. I started testing my strengths in different creative paths than I usually do, like writing and editing. The truth is, I am finding them very very hard but, they are also a great challenge. It might have taken me countless hours but I am proud to be able to say that during the pandemic I managed to put together the first short film that I fully wrote, filmed, edited, and acted in. It was featured at the Global Forms Theatre Festival produced by Rattlestick Playwrites Theatre. Now, Philosophically, I think, everything we are going through sheds a light on the importance of art and on the artists who create it. Theatre is a medicine for the soul and it will continue to be so even more effectively in the near future. After all, two of the main reasons why theatre was created was for humanity to find a safer place to express what we are feeling inside and to try to make sense of things. That is what our survival instincts desperately need right now. To make sense of things. In that way, I am predicting that as soon as it is possible again, theatre as we know it is going to come back like a tsunami. Of course the topics tackled will be affected by what our planet is going through and maybe the seats in the theatres will be cut in half, but I believe that in it’s basic form, Theatre will be back.

Moment from the Winter's Tale at the Stella Adler Studio- credits ak47division

What are your plans for the future?

Honestly, my need to reconnect even more so with my loved ones is very strong right now. For my personal life, that is definitely one of the things I will focus on for the future. For my professional life, I just want to challenge myself and the people I work with to keep this new momentum of possibilities going. In that way we can explore what else is there we can do through all these new tools we have in our hands. And I believe we can do a lot. Even when Theatres open up again, many of these new ways of creating live performances online will stay because they are inexpensive and easy to put together.


The Show Must Go On … in our Living Rooms!







The return of the Great White Way seems far away but you don’t have to be Les Miserables about it! There’s no use in sitting alone in your room, The Sound of Music will come to you! Performers and performance spaces were forced to think outside of the black box and be innovative with sustaining entertainment. As a result, there are many wonderful experiences to be had ranging from Broadway to independent theaters and more. These experiences are as diverse as theater itself. You can be a spectator to some wonderful entertainment. You can have asynchronous interactions with your favorite stars. You can also have personal one on one interactions with the performers you admire the most. In terms of price, these experiences range from free to a few hundred dollars. The more personal and time consuming, the more money they will be. Though much of the content is free, the entertainment industry is really struggling right now along with everyone else. If there is a chance to donate to the arts if you enjoyed what you saw, kindly do. Given that there are roughly 40 active Broadway theaters, 60 active Off-Broadway theaters and a whopping 200 Off-Off Broadway theaters, this article merely scratches the surface but has enough content to prevent you from being The Lion King and lounging around your home all day.

downloadDon’t Dream it, Stream it.

For all you streamers out there, look no further than your remote. Broadway HD is a streaming service much like Netflix and Hulu. They stream Broadway musicals and plays for a monthly charge of $8.99. You can Enjoy The King and I, Falsettos, CATS, Shakespeare and more from the comfort of your recliner. The ALW channel is releasing content under, The Shows Must go on. London’s National Theater is releasing shows to stream one week at a time. Also check out Marquee TV and Broadway on Demand.

1200px-Royal_Shakespeare_Company.svgSpeaking of Shakespeare, if you are a fan of members of The Royal Shakespeare Company and Star Trek, an interesting combination, be sure to “like” Patrick Stewart’s Facebook page. He reads a sonnet a day in that intoxicating commanding British accent of his. He’s up to his 54th sonnet. Engage with his page and make it so.

Don’t come to the cabaret my friend, it will come to you

220px-54_Below_logoFeinstein’s/54 Below is a premier supper club known as Broadway’s living room. Situated in the heart of Manhattan it offers top shelf entertainment. Broadway notables regularly grace their stage for intimate performances in an elegant space with gourmet food and beverages. Right now, 54 Below is streaming past shows under the name 54 Below at home. Broadway’s Living Room. Subscribe to their YouTube channel, youtube.com/54 below. You can enjoy a shared cabaret experience and even chat with others during the live stream. Upcoming shows include Andy Karl and Orfeh: Legally Bound and 54 Below Sings One Direction. I’ve been there many times and it never disappoints.

On My Own

Broadway might be the heart of theater but residing within the ventricles and aorta of the heart has always been Independent theater. There are countless independent theaters in N.Y.C. who like

Eponine Afloat through Donations.


The Lambs Theater is America’s first professional theatre club founded in 1874. It’s a place of gathering for all members of the creative arts endeavors. The Lamb’s, Inc. is not afraid of the big bad wolf of a time we are having now. Thanks to its president Marc Baron, you can be privy to some amazing content in the form of interactive events, discussions and interviews.


La Mama Experimental Theatre Group is dedicated to artists and all aspects of the theater. Founded in 1961 by Ellen Stewart, it is the only original Off-Off Broadway still in operation. They are offering some interesting and diverse content. La Mama has content for adults but is also keeping kids in mind with La Mama Kids online. This week Maiko Kikuchi offered a whimsical puppet show for the little puppets. It looks like Thursdays at 4:00 are dedicated to kids’ content. You might enjoy Café La Mama-Cope-a-Pandemic, a weekly digital platform for artists with guest curators.

The Tank is an independent theater with a mission to eliminate economic barriers from the creation of new works. They serve a few thousand artists in all manner of creativity and put on over 800 performances a year. They are running Cybertank right now which is a free virtual gathering place hosting dozens of artists each week bringing online entertainment into homes. They are cleverly asking viewers to fill the tank and donate to support them and the arts. Also check out their digital series and content with the compelling name, Distant Cadaver as well as their podcasts.

1781fe_af557914faa54a2ca189ee4a2262a8c8_mv2Spit & Vigor has maintained their vigor with captivating online programming which they call Quarantine programming. They are a NYC based traveling theater company with the unique distinction of making their own props and costumes from recycled and donated material. They are offering radio plays and recorded live streams of shows and staged readings.

Like a full Irish breakfast, The Irish Rep has enough online content to keep your theatrical hunger satisfied. The Kraine Theater is offering twice monthly content on Facebook live dedicated to the craft of emerging artists. The Public is offering a myriad of content under Joe’s Pub Live! From the Archives. If you search online, you’re sure to find many other independent theaters offering virtual programming.

Sweet Charity Organizations Giving Back 

There are many long-standing organizations in the business of directly supporting and promoting the arts, artists and theatrical endeavors. Through a wide variety of giving, these organizations sustain artists when they are in need. For the public, they make theater more accessible to all. These organizations support through funds, fundraising, workshops, educational programming and much more.

301-1-mThe Actors Fund is a charitable organization that addresses the unpredictability and inconsistency of the entertainment industry. They offer a wealth of assistance to members of the entertainment industry in the areas of essential needs such as housing, healthcare, senior care. They also offer support in the form of workshops, career advice and benefits to raise money for those in need. During the lockdown, The Actors Fund offers many choices of exciting daily entertainment. You can donate what you wish to see the content. They have some very interesting offerings like Viral Vignettes with original works from stars of the 70’s and 80’s like Barry Bostwick and Anson Williams. They partnered with Broadway World to present Stars in the House hosted by Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley. Stars of stage and screen perform live to support the fund every day, usually at 2pm. Check their website for schedules for the above entertainment as well as programming entitled Broadway Jackbox and The Intermission Mission.

fgEJoXby_400x400Theatre Development Fund’s mission is to bring the power of the performing arts to everyone. We know theater tickets, even in the nosebleed section can set one back quite a bit. Without an organization like TDF, theater would not be as accessible to people with low income or even average income who cannot fit theater into their budget. People who are differently abled also benefit from a myriad of TDF’s programs. For many years now, TDF has been offering discount tickets to a multitude of theatrical and musical events, most importantly, Broadway. They also offer accessibility programs such as autism friendly performances of shows in which they alter the sights and sounds of the production to make it more comfortable for certain audiences. Currently TDF continues to support their members, artists and a wide range of audience members both in NYC and nationally. They have extended memberships to make up for the time that their members are unable to be physically present at shows. They publish daily lists of available shows to watch online. They are assisting with the usage of ASL and closed captioning on video platforms for their deaf members. They are engaging, facilitating and partnering with individuals and organizations to continue to offer performances to the masses.

Getting to Know You

You don’t always have to wait at the stage door to meet a star. While you won’t get an autograph, with some of these offerings, you’ll get a one on one unforgettable personal experience to treasure forever.

Under normal circumstances, Broadway Fantasy Camp helps participants know what it feels like to be in a Broadway show. Imagine spending a few days in a rehearsal studio with a real Broadway director and choreographer. They’ll teach you numbers from a Broadway show with all the bells and whistles including amazing costuming. If you’re more of a fan than a performance type, they will arrange  a live meeting with a star after you see their show. Belly up to the bar with a Broadway star and enjoy some cocktails and conversations. Perhaps you have an idea that is not listed as an option on their website. Providing it’s reasonable, they will attempt to curate a customized experience just for you. At the moment, they are offering a 60 minute Zoom meeting with a Broadway star of your choosing moderated by a fantasy camp host. That is a great amount of time to have stars in your eyes and on your laptop screen.

In a similar vein, Broadway Plus offers Broadway VIP Experiences. You can have a one hour music or acting lesson with a star from their impressive roster including Alex Brightman and Beth Leavel. Those range from $100-$300. They also have their own version of Cameo with a video message from a star ranging in cost from $25 to $100. How does hearing a song from a show they performed in with lyrics written especially for you! I’d be swooning for that! Like Broadway Fantasy Camp they have a one on one video chat with a star for $50-$250. They don’t specify the length of time. You can just chill and chat or get some career advice from a seasoned pro. Lastly, they offer group Zoom parties or educational experiences for one hour from $150-$500. Social events can have up to 30 people in the Zoom and educational experiences go up to 99 people. If you can get 30 of your friends to cough up $5.00 each for the $150.00 experience, I’d say you scored yourself quite a bargain and good time. Even the $500.00 experience shared among 30 friends is not so bad either. All the talent have their own specific price for each experience. To inquire about availability, pricing and scheduling, you click on Reserve Now to enter your details and you’ll get a quote.

How would you like a personal video message from one of your favorite stars? Cameo will make that happen for you. They have an impressively huge roster of famous people from stage, screen, YouTube, reality television and more. Broadway lovers will recognize Cheyenne Jackson, Telly Leung, Laura Osnes, Liz Callaway and Jeremy Jordan. You’ll find a whole host of West End stars to say ‘ello as well. From $5 to a few hundred dollars, your chosen celebrity will text and email you a personally tailored video message. Depending on the talent, you can request a happy birthday, a song or a sonnet. I have both gifted and received these little video gems and I can tell you firsthand, your heart will go pitter patter when you receive it. I got a video message from an actor named Gideon Emory. He declared that he was going to put a smile on my face if there wasn’t one already and he read me one of his original poems entitled Moon in a very theatrical manner. When he was finished reading, he said some other lovely things. Suffice to say, a huge smile appeared and remained. If you need a pick me up, you can play these messages over and over to your heart’s content. Here is a tip to get the most bang for your buck. Always look at the videos each star displays on their page. If they average 27 seconds, it might not be worth your money. If I’m going to gift a Cameo, I’ll choose someone that does at least a minute and a half.

Pivot step, walk, walk, walk

5678 Broadway might not be interactive but it’s very active. How exciting is the finale from A Chorus Line? How much more exciting would it be if you were in it? Well you can be in the comfort of your own home and you’ll burn a few calories too while you kick ball change. 5678 Broadway is a 30-minute workout program choreographed by Joseph Corella, a chorographer, dancer and dance fitness instructor. He calls his students his cast and takes them through fun authentic Broadway moves with positive energy and encouragement. The DVD/digital download features songs from Broadway hits such as Hairspray, Grease and of course, A Chorus Line. I purchased this program and had a blast doing it.

There’s No Place like Home

The perfect way to end this article is to strongly encourage you to stay home and be safe. I’ve provided you with a plethora of options to keep you entertained and to help keep the arts alive. If you need further encouragement and entertainment, look no further than Richard Skipper Celebrates.

0Richard Skipper is an entertainer who loves entertainers and the entertainment industry. He is also a skilled interviewer and theatre historian among a multitude of other talents. Richard Skipper celebrates life, people and the arts. He has branded Richard Skipper Celebrates into a love letter to people who sing, dance and act. His contemporaneous #Stay Home campaign has taken off like a helium balloon. He asked his colleagues in the arts to record a PSA encouraging people to stay home during this lockdown. This man truly rallied an amazing array of talent from all walks of entertainment including yours truly to spread a vital message in this time of contagion. There are too many to count at this point and they’re all wonderful. They can be found on YouTube at Richard Skipper Celebrates.

Big Deal over Little Women


“As our resident artist ensemble continues to grow, I am excited to be exploring the works of writers that present complicated, fascinating and challenging women to their audiences. There is no better place to start than Ms. Gerwig’s version of Louisa May Alcott’s ‘Little Women‘ a story rich with varied women who each touch our souls.”

34108666_10100609293194186_4887255011379118080_nSo speaks Anthony Laura regarding the inauguration of an online reading series produced by his multimedia corp., Face To Face Films (www.facetofacefilms.net).
The screenplay of “Little Women” by Greta Gerwig, directed by Laura and featuring members of his company, many of whom will be appearing in the revival of his acclaimed stage play, The Girl With The Red Hair, will be done over Zoom at 2:00 PM on Saturday May 23. The reading is free with a suggested donation of $5- $15 that will go to charities affected by COVID19. 
Casey Hartnett (who plays Hayley Jones in The Girl with the Red Hair and a creative partner at Face To Face as well as with the reading series) will play Jo March. Vivien Cardone (Everwood and A Beautiful Mind) will play Meg March. Samantha Yestrebsky will play Amy March. Alexandra Rooney will play Young Beth March. Rheanna Salazar will play Beth March. Kristen Hasty will play Marmee. Rosanne Rubino will play Aunt March. Alex Commito will play Laurie. Josh Adwar will play Mr. Laurence and Gabe Calleja will play John. Some actors will double in under roles. Unless mentioned, all of the March sisters will be played by the same actor in both timelines.
Sofia Licata serves as an actual stage manager in this virtual production.

Attendees should RSVP at facetofacereadings@gmail.com

Dark Planet shines!



DARK PLANET: Not Your Mother’s Valentines Day is a series of short plays that explores love, betrayal, sexual orientation and communication. The festival is divided into two parts, the first part is titled THE X’s and includes four short plays, the second is THE O’s and features six short plays. The plays were a charming combination of humor and sincerity whilst exploring many dynamic characters.

Each play required a set change and the sets were minimal but provided more than enough to establish the world the characters lived in. The sound design was also really effective at creating the environment, though it was subtle.

The opening play was a very candid look at online dating and the excitement and discomfort it brings. The connection between the actors was believable, the nervousness paired with false confidence was gripping and, it was the perfect opener and set the right tension for the show

Shadow Dance really stood out amongst the other plays in THE X’s. The surreal writing combined with the strong performances from each of the actresses. Joyce Miller’s performance was particularly memorable because she delivered each line with a mystical sincerity, not a child nor an adult, not human but not alien, capturing the confusion that love creates.

Bank was also a memorable piece, it explored the frustration the LGBTQ community faces when dealing with the ignorant, and the confusion the ignorant must overcome to adapt to this modern environment. This was a really beautiful scene, a young banker (Ashleen Rowan) attempts to help a man (Michael Gnat) deposit a check but when she is informed that he is married to a man, she becomes hesitant and uncomfortable. The tension builds as the man explains his impatience with the banker and everyone like her that he has had to accommodate for and she begs for his patience, for this is her first experience with a a person who is gay. There is not an animosity between the two characters but rather a genuine connection as they learn to understand one another. The actors, Michael Gnat and Ashleen Rowan, truly did a beautiful job of creating tension and sympathy in this scene. Both of these actors appeared in other scenes and proved themselves as versatile and talented actors.

A Day At The Beach was a hilarious conclusion to the set of plays. The ridiculousness of the play and the genuine cluelessness of the younger brother, (Ali Arkane) who has impregnated his mother (Madalyn McKay) offset by the older brother’s (John Fico) perfectly comedic irritation with them,created a bizarre dynamic that addressed disjointed families that lacked true connection or good communication. The father (Micheal Gnat) is unconcerned with the development of his younger sons relationship with his mother, instead focusing on his own affair and the state of his boat, meanwhile the mother lays sunbathing in a beach chair, oblivious to the chaos around her.

The other pieces throughout the festival were not as provocative and felt a bit familiar, they still explored interesting themes about power and communication, but each other piece had prominent flaws that distracted from those themes. There was a lack of believability and connection between the actors on stage, though the performances independently were fine. Each play did have an element of intrigue they just weren’t as strong as the previously mentioned pieces.

I had the privilege of seeing it on Valentine’s Day and it truly made the night, it was an overall, funny, sincere, and wonderful experience and I would recommend seeing it and interpreting each piece for yourself.