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CALLING ALL PLAYWRIGHTS!

Apply to the 2016-2018 Propulsion Lab!

The Application process is now open closed.   

Applications are now open for the 2016-2018 Propulsion Lab. The Propulsion Lab is a bi-monthly (every other Monday) writers group for Queens-based playwrights.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES:

  • Please submit one full length play (60 pages or more) in PDF format. Please choose the play you think represents you best as a writer. It doesn’t matter if it has been produced or if it is a first draft.
  • Please submit a brief cover letter using our online form.  You will be asked to supply the following information: Name, Neighborhood/Address, Phone/Email/Website/Twitter (if applicable), Productions/Awards you would like us to know about, how you heard about the lab, and also what you hope to gain from being a part of the Lab. This is not an artist statement so PLEASE don’t be formal, we just want to get to know you!
  • You must currently reside in the borough of Queens (any neighborhood), and have been a resident for at least 6 months. In order to be part of the lab, you must live in Queens during the course of the lab. Please make sure you have no immediate plans to relocate if you apply!
  • Willing and able to attend bi-monthly meetings.  Labs are held every other Monday usually from late August to mid-June.  Regular attendance is very important to the continuity of the work and to support your fellow writers.
  • Must commit to working on one full length play during the course of the lab.

The deadline to apply is July 1st!

Application is now closed

Participants will be notified at the end of August with labs beginning in September. 

Mission to (dit)Mars is thrilled to announce All Systems Go: Mission 4 as the final event for the LAUNCH PAD Reading Series this year.   This free play reading will be held at the Astoria Performing Arts Center at 30-34 Crescent Street in Astoria, Queens on Monday, June 20th at 7pm.  To attend the reading, please make a reservation.

Click here to view the program

Click here to view photos from the event

Photo Jun 20, 9 45 53 PM

ALL SYSTEMS GO: MISSION 4 is an evening of excerpts from eleven brand new plays by the Queens based writers group The Propulsion Lab.  Participating playwrights for this event are Kari Bentley-Quinn, Amy Witting, Mac Rogers, Jonathan Alexandratos, Mrinalini Kamath, Elizabeth Seldin, Lisa Huberman, Kristine M. Reyes, Scott Casper, Tori Keenan-Zelt and Tyler Rivenbark.  The evening is presented by Mission to (dit)Mars co-founders Kari Bentley-Quinn, Don Nguyen, Meredith Packer, and Laura Pestronk.  

The cast includes Jim Nugent, Susan Ferrara, David Shih, Daniel Isaac, Esther Chen, Brian McCormick, Alisha Spielmann, Alex Wilson, Mariana Newhard, Leemore Malka, Matthew Nichols, Elizabeth Seldin, Julia McLaughlin, Nat Cassidy, and James Edward Becton.

The evening is directed by Meredith Packer, Laura Pestronk, Kristin McCarthy Parker, and Dev Bondarin.  Stage Management by Jodi Witherell.

In talking about this year’s lineup, Meredith Packer says “With eleven pieces, this is our biggest undertaking yet! I am so proud to be a part of the creation process and the presentation of our writers work to the Queens community. As our group grows so does our collective voice and that voice is strong and full of heart. 

“It’s especially exciting this year to watch many of our returning playwrights grow and develop such a varied body of work. The Queens theater community has become a force to be reckoned with!” adds co-founder Laura Pestronk.

Going into its fourth season of presenting new works in Queens, the small company takes a moment to reflect on the growth and changes over the past several years.  “I am beyond proud of our fourth season – not only are our playwrights diverse and talented – but their plays have really shown huge range and depth this year.” reflects Kari Bentley-Quinn.  “A lot of risks have been taken, and the payoff has been these enormously inspiring plays that will no doubt see a huge life after the Lab.”

On the returning playwrights, co-founder Don Nguyen adds “Carving out a space in Queens to allow our playwrights’ voices to evolve and witnessing first hand the challenging new works that have come out of the lab and seeing it shared not only across the country but in fact all over the world has been an extreme source of pride for Mission to (dit)Mars.”

All Systems Go! Mission 4 will include excerpts from the following eleven new plays: 

Click here to view the program

Click here to view photos from the event

Photo Jun 20, 9 45 53 PM

WE SEE WHAT HAPPEN by Jonathan Alexandratos
Jonathan wants to perform his solo play about his grandmother’s immigration to the U.S. from Greece in 1951.  WE SEE WHAT HAPPEN is what happens when Jonathan’s grandmother and his old superhero action figures decide they’d better tell that story themselves.

JESUS PLAYS BASKETBALL ON A HOT NIGHT IN IRAQ by Tyler Rivenbark
Mom and Dad’s son committed suicide. Mom and Dad may or may not go to Dollywood.

ALARM by Scott Casper
A Groundhog Day social commentary, where everyday obstacles to equality are examined as the inescapable cycles of violence they really are.

SHADOWS by Elizabeth Seldin.
An exploration of the Peter Pan story as told by his Shadow and the untold story of his grief that makes the magic of Neverland possible.

THE NEW ISRAEL PLAY by Lisa Huberman
When Yael took a position at a small Midwestern Jewish Community after her Israeli army service, she had no idea what to expect.  As she struggles to fit into a very different version of Judaism than she is accustomed to, Yael forms an emotional bond with Tommy, the Native American IT guy at the JCC, who is wrestling with identity issues of his own.  

BORN & RAISED by Kristine M. Reyes
Paul was adopted as a baby boy by a loving, caring, well-meaning white couple who raised him to be connected to his Chinese roots. Turns out, they were the wrong roots.

AIR (working title) by Amy Witting
Jo is stuck inside her one bedroom Sunnyside apartment with Pneumonia.  Expecting a grocery delivery she opens the door only to find surprise guests who refuse to leave.

[nbd] by Tori Keenan-Zelt
In conversation with MUCH ADO, [nbd] asks whether well-matched love can survive a world ruled by gender lines, high school hockey, and Internet selves.

LUCENT by Mac Rogers
Joan and Griffin’s relationship is treading water: no kids, bored with sex, bored with their jobs, borderline roommates. Until the day Joan steals a terrifying new technology from her employer that turns their slacker lives into a battleground of the unseen.

STUFF by Mrinalini Kamath
Elena’s late mother was left a lot of money by a man who died alone, and is apparently no relation.  Julius cleans out the apartments of dead people by day while trying to connect with live people at night.  Inspired by a NY Times article, STUFF looks at what it is we really want.

THE WORST MOTHER IN THE WORLD by Kari Bentley-Quinn
Nina is a new mom with an infant son, battling crippling anxiety attacks that are keeping her from being the mother she wants to be. When she decides to seek therapy, she makes an unexpected friend in the pregnant daughter of her therapist, who may or may not be a pathological liar.  

To attend the reading, please make a reservation.

Astoria Performing Arts Center at

Good Shepherd United Methodist Church

30-34 Crescent St. (at 30th Rd)

Astoria, NY 11102

Directions: Take the N/Q to 30th Avenue. Walk down 30th Ave toward the Trade Fair Supermarket, continue past Mt. Sinai Hospital of Queens. Turn left on Crescent Street, then right on 30th Rd. The entrance is the second set of red doors on your left.

 

This reading is made possible (in part) by the Queens Council on the Arts with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

QCA-Logo

About the Launch Pad Reading Series

The Launch Pad is a free reading series of new plays by Queens playwrights.  The mission objective of The Launch Pad is to serve as a testing ground for Queens based playwrights who need to hear their plays out loud.  Because Mission to (dit)Mars was co-founded by playwrights and directors, we understand implicitly how to answer those needs.  Through this program, the utmost care is taken to foster a safe and productive environment in order to propel the play forward.

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Eliza Simpson (Astoria)

This is a series of posts featuring our artists who are making things happen in and around our great borough of Queens.  Please check back weekly for new posts.

Eliza Simpson (Astoria)
Eliza Simpson (Astoria)

TitleOccupation
Actor, Creator and Co-Producer of The Mother Line Story Project

Where were you born?
Nyack, NY

Which Queens neighborhood do you live in and for how long?
Astoria, 2.5 years

How did you get involved in theater?
My parents were both performers. Theater was just part of growing up in my house.

What do you love most about Queens?
The people. Queens holds amazing communities of grounded, look you in the eyes kind of people.

Do you have an “only in Queens” moment you’d like to share?
There’s a woman on my block who walks a tortoise on a leash.

Your top Queens picks (food, entertainment, sights, etc)?
Food:

My whole life orbits around Vitality Market https://m.facebook.com/Vitality-Health-195941731782/
Queens Kickshaw http://thequeenskickshaw.com
Queens Comfort

 

Current/Upcoming projects?
Come see “The Woodsman” at New World Stages. Must close May 29th! And visit www.motherlinestoryproject.com for video, podcasts, and more. Then look for us at The People’s Improv Theater this August!

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Alisha Spielmann

This is a series of posts featuring our artists who are making things happen in and around our great borough of Queens.  Please check back weekly for new posts.

Alisha Spielmann
Alisha Spielmann

TitleOccupation
Actor; Creative Partner with Flux Theatre Ensemble, Company Member for Retro Productions

Where were you born?
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Which Queens neighborhood do you live in and for how long?
I’ve been in NYC for over 10 years but only moved to Astoria this past September, so…. 9ish months new!

How did you get involved in theater?
My mom always said that I knew how to sing before I knew how to talk, lol – apparently my cousin has a vivid memory of me singing along to the radio before I could talk too. I was definitely into plays at any early age, and my aunt and uncle use to take me to shows at The Children’s Theater and the Jungle Theater in Minneapolis. My first play I was a part of was in 2nd grade where I played a magic broom that saved the day (sidenote: so my mom made me a really great broom costume that apparently made a lot of noise, and I had the young acting smarts to know that when I wasn’t talking I should be doing something else (LOL), so I’d be dusting and “brooming” the room whenever I didn’t have a line, and my teacher made me stop because apparently my broom outfit was too loud and the audience couldn’t hear the other students…!!!) It wasn’t until 7th grade, though, when my middle school principal Dr. Young took my mom aside and told her that he thought I had that “something” worth giving to the world artistically that I started to really think that maybe this could be something that I could actually do for the rest of my life.

What do you love most about Queens?
I love that Queens is not Manhattan – it’s like the tiniest breath away from it though! Such a friendly and approachable neighborhood. The people, though, and the incredibly delicious food (as you’ll note down below) have a lot to do with why I love Queens – as well as Astoria Park!

Do you have an “only in Queens” moment you’d like to share?
Here’s one for the books: I had been working in Long Island City babysitting for a family every Monday from 8-5 for probably 3 years a bit ago.  I’d get on the train at around 5:10pm or so and the MTA guy who was working the booth would always wave to me, and being from Minnesota, I naturally waved back.  Cut to about 2 years after that and I’m hopping into the subway at 42nd Street after a show and my metro card has expired. I look at the ticket booth and there’s the same guy! We both recognized each other for the same reason: he would always wave and I would always wave back…. That for me is most definitely a NYC moment and a Queens moment all in one. 🙂

Your top Queens picks (food, entertainment, sights, etc)?
Food:

Best bagels: Brooklyn Bagel and Coffee Company http://www.brooklynbagelandcoffeecompany.com
Best fried pickles: Sweet Afton http://www.sweetaftonbar.com
Best burgers: Bareburger http://www.bareburger.com
Best sliders: Snowdonia http://snowdoniapub.com
Best Greek: Taverna Kyclades http://www.tavernakyclades.com
Best BBQ: The Strand Smokehouse http://www.thestrandsmokehouse.com
Best cheese shop: Astoria Bier and Cheese http://astoriabierandcheese.com
Best panini’s: Il Bambino http://ilbambinonyc.com
Best coffee: The Queens Kickshaw http://thequeenskickshaw.com
Best bakery: Martha’s Country Bakery http://marthascountrybakery.com
Best cocktails: The Astor Room http://www.astorroom.com
Best wine: DiWine http://www.diwineonline.com
Best BINGO night: Blackbirds http://blackbirdsbar.com
Best outdoor hang: Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden!  http://bohemianhall.com
Best museum: The Museum of Moving Image http://www.movingimage.us

Current/Upcoming projects?
I’ll be performing in Flux Theatre Ensemble’s upcoming play RIZING by Jason Tseng from May 20th – June 4th at the Access Theater, and you can find all sorts of information about that at fluxtheatre.org/rizing and alishaspielmann.com ! 🙂

Mission to (dit)Mars is thrilled to continue this season’s Launch Pad Reading Series with BRIGHT ANGEL QUADRANGLE, a new play by Mac Rogers (The Honeycomb Trilogy, Frankenstein Upstairs).

From the creative team that brought you the critically acclaimed THE HONEYCOMB TRILOGY (Gideon Productions) comes a brand new play about a contentedly married woman who finds her life turned upside-down one evening when she falls instantly in love with her friend’s new boyfriend, quickly turning into a horror story about love at first sight.

To attend the free reading, please make a reservation on our website: http://missiontoditmars.com/reservations/

The cast includes Rebecca Comtois, Tatiana Gomberg, Stephen Heskett, and Sean Williams.  The reading is directed by Jordana Williams.

CAST & CREATIVE TEAM

 

“Bright Angel is an endlessly fascinating look at extreme love at first sight. Mac’s work always borders on the magic, and this play takes the magic of our endless need for love to an extreme, hilarious and borderline compulsive edge” describes Laura Pestronk, Mission to (dit)Mars co-founder.

Co-founder Kari Bentley-Quinn adds “the play uses the classic tropes of the much loved living room play – with a twist. Mac’s strength is in his characters and their all too human ways of loving, hating, and communicating, and the result is a hilarious and often shocking examination of love and the inexplicable connections we forge with our fellow humans.”  

“The beauty in this play lies in the dichotomy Mac sets up for the audience.  You never feel unsafe in Mac’s hands, but you don’t feel at home either. It’s a great ride to go on” explains co-founder Meredith Packer

Mac Rogers is a current member of the Propulsion Lab, Mission to (dit)Mars’ bi-monthly writers group and currently resides in Astoria.

This free play reading will be held at Long Island City Music Academy on Monday, April 25th at 7pm.

To attend the free reading, please make a reservation on our website: http://missiontoditmars.com/reservations/

LIC Music Academy

44-02-23rd Street Suite # 203 (2rd fl)
Long Island City, New York

E, M, G or 7 to Court Sq.

N, Q to Queensboro Plaza
This reading is made possible (in part) by the Queens Council on the Arts with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

QCA-Logo

About the Launch Pad Reading Series

The Launch Pad is a free reading series of new plays by Queens playwrights.  The mission objective of The Launch Pad is to serve as a testing ground for Queens based playwrights who need to hear their plays out loud.  Because Mission to (dit)Mars was co-founded by playwrights and directors, we understand implicitly how to answer those needs.  Through this program, the utmost care is taken to foster a safe and productive environment in order to propel the play forward.

Mission to (dit)Mars is thrilled to continue this season’s Launch Pad Reading Series with WHAT HAUNTS YOU, a new play by Elizabeth Seldin.

The stage is barren. The audience is gone. A single ghost light warming an empty theater and suddenly whispers of the past begin to mingle with the present. All theaters are haunted….everybody knows that. Especially Thomas…

The cast includes Tyler Gardella, Kristen Koed, Rebecca Spiro, Evan Montgomery, Chad Carstaphan, Adam La Faci, Melanie Beck, and Meghann Garmany.  The reading is directed by Mission to (dit)Mars co-founder Meredith Packer.

“One of Elizabeth’s strengths as a writer is world building, and What Haunts You is a perfect example of that. With deft characterization and a focus on atmosphere, Elizabeth transports the audience into the fascinating metaphysical world she has carefully crafted.” describes Kari Bentley-Quinn, Mission to (dit)Mars co-founder.

Meredith Packer adds “This play is such an immersive piece. It could be done in an amphitheatre on a warm day and the audience would still be transported to a dusty dark theater.”  

“The haunted doors to her theater make you want to come inside and face your fears.” adds co-founder Laura Pestronk

Elizabeth Seldin is a current member of the Propulsion Lab, Mission to (dit)Mars’ bi-monthly writers group and currently resides in Astoria.

This free play reading will be held at Long Island City Music Academy on Monday, February 15th at 7pm.

To attend the free reading, please make a reservation on our website: http://missiontoditmars.com/reservations/

LIC Music Academy

44-02-23rd Street Suite # 203 (2rd fl)
Long Island City, New York

E, M, G or 7 to Court Sq.

N, Q to Queensboro Plaza

This reading is made possible (in part) by the Queens Council on the Arts with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

QCA-Logo

About the Launch Pad Reading Series

The Launch Pad is a free reading series of new plays by Queens playwrights.  The mission objective of The Launch Pad is to serve as a testing ground for Queens based playwrights who need to hear their plays out loud.  Because Mission to (dit)Mars was co-founded by playwrights and directors, we understand implicitly how to answer those needs.  Through this program, the utmost care is taken to foster a safe and productive environment in order to propel the play forward.

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    2015year-in-review

    A lot can happen in a year, especially in Queens.  Here’s a look back at what we accomplished in 2015:

    Featured Artists

    We featured ten new artists on our popular Featured Artists section.  Click here to read up on their reasons for loving Queens and their favorite places to eat and drink.

    January 2015

    Lily-FB-COVER

    In January we featured a sold out Launch Pad reading of Kristine Reyes’ newest play LILY IN LOVE

    March 2015

    hydra-poster3

    We continued our successful Launch Pad Reading series with Tyler Rivenbark’s new play THE HYDRA

    June 2015

    Artwork for All Systems Go: Mission 3

    Going into our third year of producing an audience favorite, our night of excerpts from the Propulsion Lab ALL SYSTEMS GO: MISSION 3 was a huge success!  Click here for more photos

    August 2015

    We continued our popular mindful writing series (lead by Emily Herzlin) with POETRY IN STONE at the Noguchi museum in Astoria.

    October 2015

    full-speed-ahead
    This year we held our first ever fundraiser!  The evening was hosted at Sek’end Sun.  There was lots of fun and lots of raffle prizes awarded.

    November 2015

    12042902_916020921767418_5683571503347369938_n

    And because we are crazy, we decided to hold another Launch Pad reading barely two weeks after our fundraiser! Our final reading for 2015 was Jonathan Alexandratos’ new play DUCK

    Screenshot 2015-12-29 10.17.12

    November also kept us busy with a second reading of LILY IN LOVE, hosted by the New American Voices reading series at Queens Theatre.

    December 2015

    We closed out the year with a holiday party for our Propulsion Lab playwrights!

    Mission to (dit)Mars was created by four people who love Queens and it has been sustained throughout the year by all of you.  Thank you so much for making 2015 such a productive and artistically rewarding year for us.  We couldn’t have done it without you!  We’ve managed to accomplish all of this with very little money.  If you’d like to support us, click here to find out the best way to do so!
    Afterparty at Se'kend Sun
    Happy New Year and see you in Queens in 2016!

    The Mission to (dit)Mars Team

    Kari Bentley-Quinn, Don Nguyen, Meredith Packer and Laura Pestronk

    Mission to (dit)Mars is thrilled to kick off this season’s Launch Pad Reading Series with DUCK, a new play by Jonathan Alexandratos.

    Teenage Duck Carl Duckett and his father are the only two Ducks living in a town populated entirely by Sheep.  This is what happens when Carl tries to survive that.  The cast includes David Shih, Mariana Newhard, Ava Eisenson, Jennifer Tsay, Scott Pestronk, and Colleen Wilson.  The reading is directed by Laura Pestronk.

    Describing the play, Mission to (dit)Mars co-founder Kari Bentley-Quinn says “Jonathan has created a touching, funny, and often heartbreaking tale of childhood friendship, abuse, and resilience.”

    Laura Pestronk (co-founder and director) adds “Jonathan creates delicate structures where our deepest fears and anxieties are shown in a gentle light. From the stage directions to the sparse design, we are all allowed to be a little vulnerable and open in the world of Duck.”

    “Jonathan’s ability to create a world that feels young and fantastical while grappling with themes of the most intense and adult caliber is a gigantic feat.” adds co-founder Meredith Packer.  “It’s a strong piece that I am proud to present with Mission to Ditmars.”

    Jonathan Alexandratos is a current member of the Propulsion Lab, Mission to (dit)Mars’ bi-monthly writers group and currently resides in Astoria.

    This free play reading will be held at Long Island City Music Academy on Monday, November 2nd at 7pm.

    To attend the free reading, please make a reservation on our website: http://missiontoditmars.com/reservations/

    LIC Music Academy
    44-02-23rd Street Suite # 203 (2rd fl)
    Long Island City, New York
    E, M, G or 7 to Court Sq.
    N, Q to Queensboro Plaza

    About the Launch Pad Reading Series

    The Launch Pad is a free reading series of new plays by Queens playwrights.  The mission objective of The Launch Pad is to serve as a testing ground for Queens based playwrights who need to hear their plays out loud.  Because Mission to (dit)Mars was co-founded by playwrights and directors, we understand implicitly how to answer those needs.  Through this program, the utmost care is taken to foster a safe and productive environment in order to propel the play forward.

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    As we are going into our fourth (!) season, we continue to grow and expand as an organization. With that growth and expansion comes the need to raise some funds. For the past three years, we have been so fortunate to have most of our resources donated. As Queens becomes an artistic center, those free/cheap resources are becoming more scarce. We want to keep our programs FREE for artists and the community. So, we are pleased to announce we are holding our very first fundraiser – kindly hosted by our friends at Sek’end Sun!

    TICKET PRICES:
    -Full Speed Ahead ticket ($20 online, $25 at door, cash only) – 2 drink tickets and 5 raffle tickets
    -Warp Speed Ahead ticket ($40 online, $45 at door, cash only) – 4 drink tickets and 10 raffle tickets!
    -Raffle and Support – $15 online – 5 raffle tickets and our heartfelt thanks!

    Drink tickets included in admission get you well drinks, beer and wine ALL NIGHT LONG!

    Raffle items include (More coming!)
    -Tickets to Lincoln Center!
    -Prints of photographs by talented artists!
    -Naming rights to a character in Kari Bentley-Quinn’s next play!
    -Gift certificates to local Queens businesses!
    -Private acting coaching by Elizabeth Seldin
    AND MORE!

    Support ongoing arts in Queens by purchasing your ticket now!