We are thrilled to announce that Thursday, October 9th from 6-9 pm is our Fall Mixer! We are holding it at fabulous new beer bar Judy and Punch on 30th Avenue in Astoria! This is a great opportunity for you to mix and mingle with your fellow Queens artists! No RSVP necessary, but if you want to let us know you’re coming,email us! All artists are welcome – so please invite friends. We expect a great turnout, and we will be represented by many of our Propulsion Lab Writers.
Every Mission to (dit)Mars mixer guest (check in with us at the door) gets a wristband, which includes an extended Happy Hour: -$4 well drinks
-select $5 drafts/shot and beer specials
We are so excited to be in this gorgeous new space – check out their Facebook page and spread the word!
MtD Fall Mixer!
Thursday, October 9th
Judy and Punch
34-08 30th Avenue
N, Q to 30th Avenue
R to Steinway Street
Mission to (dit)Mars, a theatre arts collective serving Queens artists, is excited to announce the selection of nine new members to The Propulsion Lab, a Queens’ writers group serving emerging playwrights from the borough.
Tyler Rivenbark – taken at Martha’s Bakery in Astoria
Kristine M. Reyes – Taken under the Hell Gate Bridge in Astoria Park
Amy E. Witting
Jason Tseng (Long Island City)
Ray Yamanouchi (Astoria)
Nat Cassidy (Astoria) Photo by Alex Tursh, Prospect Photography
The nine new members are Jonathan Alexandratos (Astoria), Scott Casper (Astoria), John Caswell (Astoria), Mrinalini Kamath (Astoria), Elizabeth Seldin (Astoria), Mac Rogers (Astoria), Amy Witting (Sunnyside), and Tori Keenan-Zelt (Forest Hills) with returning members Lisa Huberman (Woodside), Kristine M. Reyes (Astoria) and Tyler Rivenbark (Sunnyside). Rounding out the group are inaugural members August Schulenburg (Forest Hills) and Mariah MacCarthy (Astoria), who will serve as “Writers in Residence.”
Each playwright will focus on writing a new full-length play over the course of the year. The new members were selected by Mission to (dit)Mars co-founders Kari Bentley-Quinn, Don Nguyen, Meredith Packer and Laura Pestronk. The writers group meets bi-weekly at the Secret Theatre in Queens.
On what excites her about the new members, Kari Bentley-Quinn explains “they are as diverse as they are accomplished…in style, ethnicity, and approach – much like the residents of our beloved borough.” Laura Pestronk adds “The new members excite me because of their amazingly different voices. Such a diverse group of stories are going to be told this season!”
Commenting on the surprisingly rapid growth of the lab, Meredith Packer suggests “The amount of submissions we had this year and the amount of talent we were given the opportunity to read meant that after three years this lab is what we have been preaching all along- that Queens has a vast amount of talented artists that are looking for a community in their own back yard. And that we are doing our job at Mission to (dit)Mars to bring them together.” Don Nguyen adds “the meteoric rise in members of the Propulsion Lab is a direct reflection of the immense growth of artists living and working in the borough and, in general, the increasing desire of making Queens a profound place to make theatre. We’re excited to help foster both.”
On its ongoing relationship with The Secret Theatre, Don Nguyen adds “Richard Mazda (Artistic Director) has been extremely supportive of new work in Queens and particularly of our group, where his generosity has been overwhelming on all fronts. Our relationship with has proven to be a rich one and we look forward to continuing and deepening our alliance with Richard and The Secret Theatre this year.”
The Propulsion Lab was created to meet the needs of like-minded theater artists who wanted to have a way of developing new work locally in Queens on an on-going basis. In addition to bi-weekly meetings, the year will include industry meet and greets with Artistic Directors and Literary Managers, three Launch Pad readings of full length plays, and All Systems Go!, an evening of excerpts from the new Propulsion Lab plays.
Meet our current Propulsion Lab writers
Nat Cassidy Astoria
Nat Cassidy is an award-winning writer, actor, director, and musician. He’s appeared in television shows such as “The Following” (Fox), “The Affair” (Showtime), “Red Oaks” (Amazon) “High Maintenance” (HBO), as well as numerous productions and workshops both Off- and Off-Off-Broadway. Nat’s plays have been nominated for a combined total of 17 New York Innovative Theatre Awards, including 3 times for Outstanding Full-Length Script (which he won in 2009, and in 2011 for Outstanding Solo Performance). His work has been seen throughout the country and is published by Samuel French, Smith & Kraus, NYTE, Applause Books, and Indie Theatre Now (where he is a bestselling playwright). In 2012 Nat was commissioned by The Kennedy Center to write the libretto for a world-premiere opera; and in 2014 his play Any Day Now was chosen to be part of Primary Stages’ ESPADrills (The Duke Theatre, directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel). He’s an inductee in the Indie Theatre Hall of Fame, an NYTheatre Person of the Year, and was a finalist for the Doric Wilson Independent Playwright Award. www.natcassidy.com
Ray Yamanouchi Astoria
Ray Yamanouchi is a Hunter College graduate with a degree in film and theatre. He has written numerous short plays and four full-length plays (Mercy Killing Kids, It’s Our Kitchen, Tha Chink-Mart, and Impact) which have been workshopped all across NYC. Tha Chink-Mart was a semi-finalist for the 2016/17 New Dramatists Princess Grace Award. He is a member of Working Title Theatre Co. Playwrights Collective (wttheatre.com) and currently works at the Lucille Lortel Theatre when he isn’t at the local bar.
Jason Tseng Long Island City
Jason makes plays, comics, illustrations, and games — mostly about queer people and people of color. Most recently, his play Rizing received its world-premier in New York City with Flux Theatre Ensemble. His work has been featured in GeeksOut’s LGBT comics anthology Power, Sub Rosa magazine, and Nonprofit Quarterly. He also produces the podcasts Play x Play –featuring the best plays you’ve never heard of– and Queer and Present Danger, a queer nerd pop culture podcast. Find more at JasonTseng.com.
Jonathan Alexandratos Astoria
This is what Jonathan Alexandratos does when he’s a playwright: (1) writes DUCK, a full-length animal allegory about abuse, as a 2014-2015 member of Mission to (dit)Mars. (2) Submits DUCK to Nashville Repertory Theatre’s Ingram New Works Lab, and becomes an Ingram New Works Playwright for the 2015-2016 season. (3) Writes WE SEE WHAT HAPPEN, a full-length immersive theatre piece about his grandmother’s immigration to the U.S. in 1951, as performed by superhero action figures. He writes this for Nashville Repertory Theatre, who will perform the piece as a staged reading in May 2016. This play is also workshopped at Mission to (dit)Mars’ Propulsion Lab. (4) Attends a production of DUCK in Strasbourg, France, put on by PEACE Productions in June 2016. This is what Jonathan Alexandratos does when he’s not doing all of that: (1) writes academic essays on action figures for the book he’s editing, tentatively titled POINTS OF ARTICULATION: ESSAYS IN ACTION FIGURE STUDIES. (2) collects action figures. (3) co-manages Denver Comic Con’s literary conference. (4) awaits your email at email@example.com.
Scott Casper Astoria
Scott Casper is an actor, director and playwright living in Astoria, NY. As a writer, his short plays have been produced as part of the Asolo Conservatory’s Late Night Series, Firecracker Productions’ Red Light Nights, and Left Hip Productions’ From the Hip Festival. Scott is also the Artistic Director of taxdeductible theatre, and he has had several plays produced as part of The Dare Project (world-premiere ten-minute plays, written on a dare). The Dare Project also provided the starting point for his full-length play #hero, which was authored in collaboration by taxdeductible theatre. #hero received its world premiere in 2013.
Mrinalini Kamath Astoria
Mrinalini Kamath’s plays have been performed around the country as well as in the United Kingdom, Australia and India. She has been a semi-finalist for both the O’Neill and Seven Devils Playwrights Conferences, a finalist for the Actors Theater of Louisville Humana Festival and was Fluid Motion Theatre and Film’s inaugural Start the Story commission recipient. She won first place in the first East West Players (Los Angeles, CA) Got Laughs? Asian-American Comedy Play Contest and a Tennessee Williams Scholar at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Several of her short plays appear in various Smith and Kraus anthologies. She is an alumna of Youngblood, the emerging playwrights’ collective at Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York City and a current member of the Ma-Yi Writers’ Lab.
Lisa Huberman is a New York-based playwright and a third-generation vegetarian from Youngstown, Ohio. She received her BA in Theatre Performance at Bradley University and an MFA in Playwriting from Rutgers, where she developed the full-length play, Egyptology. Her full-length play, Sex and Charitable Giving, was developed in the New Light Theatre Project Darkroom Series and the Mission to (dit)Mars Propulsion Lab. The play was then produced in the inaugural F*ckfest at the Brick Theatre and recorded as part of the HeRD Podcast at The Tank. She is the author of several one-act plays, including Under the Rainbow(Regional Winner, Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival), Health Nuts(Semi-finalist, Little Fish Theatre Pick of the Vine Competition), Sub-prime (Winner, KNOW Theatre Playwrights and Artists Festival) and High and Uptight (Mile Square Theatre 7th Inning Stretch Festival). Her work has also been featured in multiple installments of CAPS Lock Theatre’s Pussyfest and the New Jersey One-Minute Play Festival. In addition to her playwriting, Lisa has recently begun to to explore the world of solo performing, and has performed at The Astoria Bookshop Storytelling Show, Monologues and Madness, QED, The Dump at the Creek and the Cave, and Jerusalem’s Comedy Basement. Lisa is a member of the Mission to (dit)Mars Propulsion Lab, The Drawing Board, and the Passage Play Lab.
Kristine M. Reyes is a playwright raised and based in New York City. Her plays have been performed in NYC, Chicago, Minneapolis, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and include Lily in Love (Mission to (dit)Mars Launch Pad Reading Series; Queens Theatre’s New American Voices Reading Series); Queen for a Day (Diverse City Theater Company’s First Draft Fellowship) and Stage/Mother. She was a 2014-15 Fellow at The Dramatists Guild, where she is also a proud member. She has been published on Indie Theater Now and has contributed as a guest blogger on Howlround. www.kristinemreyes.com
Tyler Rivenbark Sunnyside
Born and raised in North Carolina, Tyler Rivenbark received his MFA in Playwriting from the MFA program in Creative Writing and Literary Translation at Queens College, CUNY in 2010. Currently, he is an Adjunct Lecturer in the English Department of Queens College. Select plays include hands (The Bushwick Starr, Brooklyn), The Wild Papers (Latimer House, Flushing), This Woman Must Be My Wife (Gantry Plaza, Long Island City), Monosyllabic (Mellow Pages, Brooklyn), Silence (Dixon Place, NYC; Artists’ Bloc, Washington, DC), and Inside the Rain (Dixon Place, NYC). He co-curated the site specific theatrical experiment Unstaged as part of the Rough Draft Festival (LaGuardia Performing Arts Center). He has received a Poetry Society of America commission to adapt Rita Dove’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book of poems, Thomas and Beulah. He was a writer-in-residence at the Louis Armstrong House Museum, a residency he now oversees. He is the co-founder of The Hammer & Pick Collective and the Queens Writers’ Collective. He is a member of the Mission to (dit)Mars Propulsion Lab and the Dramatists Guild.
Amy Witting Sunnyside
Amy E. Witting finally admits she is from New Jersey although now resides in Sunnyside, New York. Beyond owning three crockpots she is a semi-retired actor, producer, teaching artist, and playwright. Some of her plays include The House on Top of the Hill (Atlantic Theater Commission, Abingdon Theatre New Play Reading Series, Semi-finalist O’Neill National Playwrights Conference), There’s Never A Gavin: The True Story of a Disco Roller Skater (Atlantic Theater Amplified Reading Series, nominated 2016 Weissberger Award, Finalist The Ground Floor at Berkeley Rep 2016 ), The Midnight Ride of Sean & Lucy (Roundabout Underground Reading Series, Finalist SOURCE Festival), A BAD NIGHT (2015 Jerome Foundation Emerging Artist Fellowship), Day 392 (Kennedy Center ACTF/NNPN MFA Playwrights Workshop, Honorable Mention Kilroy’s List), Victor (Cabrini Rep, winner 2013 Thespis Festival), 36 Hours (Frigid Festival), FALLING (NY International Fringe Festival), G.I. Joe Jared (Edinburg Festival Fringe and 59E59) and Create Me Pegasus (finalist, The Sam French Festival). She was a 2015 finalist for the Leah Ryan FEWW award and nominated for the 2014-2015 Susan Smith Blackburn prize. She received an inaugural 2015 LAUNCH Commission from Atlantic Theater Company. Her plays have been developed at Tofte Lake Center, The Lark Play Development Center, The Kennedy Center, NNPN and Space on Ryder Farm. She received her MFA at Hunter College and is a member of PIPELINE PlayLab, Mission To (Dit)mars Propulsion Lab, and The Dramatists Guild.
Mac Rogers Astoria
MAC ROGERS’ plays include SOVEREIGN (New York Times and Backstage Critic’s Pick), BLAST RADIUS (New York Times Critic’s Pick), ADVANCE MAN (winner of the New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Premiere Production), FRANKENSTEIN UPSTAIRS (NYIT nominee, Best Premier Production), LIGATURE MARKS (CityBeat Critic’s Pick), VIRAL (winner, Outstanding Play at FringeNYC 2009), UNIVERSAL ROBOTS (nominated for four New York Innovative Theatre awards), and HAIL SATAN (Outstanding Playwriting Winner at FringeNYC 2007. Mac’s plays have earned acclaim from The New York Times, Backstage, The Wall Street Journal, Time Out New York, New York Post, Flavorpill, io9.com, Tor.com, NYTheatre.com, and many others. Also an audio dramatist, Rogers wrote the sci-fi podcast thriller The Message, which has been dowloaded over 4 million times worldwide.
Mariah’s work has been developed and presented at Ensemble Studio Theatre, Rattlestick, Primary Stages, Culture Project, New Dramatists, La MaMa, HERE, Dixon Place, The Brick, Atlantic Stage 2, Fringe NYC, various New York apartments, and Paris. Indie Theater Hall of Fame (“Person of the Year” 2012), PoNY nominee. Plays includeBaby Mama: One Woman’s Quest to Give Her Child to Gay People (winner of the Dr. Robert J. ThieraufProducer’s Pick Award; viewed over 41,000 timeson YouTube), Honors Students (Kilroys List Honorable Mention; EST/Youngblood Unfiltered),Safeword (Dixon Place), Magic Trick (FringeNYC and Theatre Row; winner of the Doric Wilson Independent Playwright Award and Lotos Foundation Prize in the Arts and Sciences), Mrs. Mayfield’s Fifth-Grade Class of ’93 20-Year Reunion (“sweet and boisterous…a lot of fun” –The New York Times), The Foreplay Play (two NYIT Award nominations), Ampersand: A Romeo & Juliet Story (twenty Looking Glass Forum Awards, FringeNYC “Outstanding Performance”), andThe All-American Genderf*ck Cabaret (“f*cking brilliant” -Kate Bornstein; performed in Baltimore, Fort Lauderdale, Chicago, and New York). Mariah is aFriend of Flux, a writer-in-residence ofThe Propulsion Lab, a member ofYoungblood andLather, Rinse, Repeat, Executive Artistic Director ofCaps Lock Theatre, and Associate Artistic Director-at-Large ofThe Brick.
August Schulenburg Forest Hills
August’s plays include Carrin Beginning, Kidding Jane, Rue,Riding the Bull, Good Hope,Other Bodies, Honey Fist, Dark Matter, Jacob’s House, DEINDE, Dream Walker, Denny and Lila, Dark Matter, Jane the Plain and The Lesser Seductions of History. His plays have been produced and developed at the Lark Play Development Center, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Chelsea Playhouse, Theater for the New City, Portland Stage Company, Dayton Playhouse, Colonial Players, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Contemporary Stage Company, Abingdon Theater Company, Gideon Productions, New Amerikan Theatre, Penobscot Theatre, Impetuous Theater Group, Decades Out, Soundtrack Series, Reverie Productions, Wolf 359, Blue Box Productions, Piper McKenzie, Boomerang Theatre Company, Adaptive Arts, Hall High School, Nosedive Productions, MTWorks, Purple Repertory, Valley Repertory Company, The Brick Theater, CAPS LOCK Theatre, Chameleon Theatre Circle, Retro Productions, Elephant Run District, TheatreLAB and Flux Theatre Ensemble, where he is the Artistic Director. He is a member of the Propulsion Lab for Mission to (dit)Mars. His work has also been published in the New York Theater Review, Stage and Screen, Indie Theater Now, Midway Journal, NoPassport Press and in two issues of Carrier Pigeon. He also writes for film and television with MozzleStead Productions.
Writers of all genres and experience levels welcome. Composers, dancers, performers, and visual artists are also welcome to attend.
The Noguchi Museum is one of our borough’s magical spaces. The space, designed by the late Japanese-American sculpture artist Isamu Noguchi, includes an open-air sculpture garden and several galleries, each with its own feel and family of Noguchi sculptures. The works of art and the spaces in the museum are mysterious, evocative, and playful. In short: this is an awesome place to spend a day creating.
The workshop will begin with a brief contemplative exercise to open up the senses, and will continue with a silent walking meditation around the galleries of the museum, followed by writing prompts and discussion to get the ideas flowing. Participants will then have time to explore the museum independently and create writing about or inspired by specific works of art. The workshop will conclude with a sharing circle where writers can share their work from the day aloud.
Please arrive at 12:50pm and meet us at the entrance. We will enter the museum as a group at 1pm. Bring something to write with and on. $20 total- $10 museum admission and $10 for the class.
Let us know if you’re planning to attend! We’d love to see you!
ALL SYSTEMS GO: MISSION 2 is an evening of excerpts from five brand new plays by the Queens based writers group The Propulsion Lab. Participating Queens based playwrights for this event are Lisa Huberman, Kristine M. Reyes, Tyler Rivenbark, Mariah MacCarthy, and Don Nguyen.
The cast includes Matthew Park, David Shih, Jenni Putney, Alexandra O’Daly, Tom Coiner, Margaret Hee, Megan Lee, Paula Galloway, Lori Parquet, Bryant Carroll, Siho Ellsmore, Katie Consamus, Jesse Geguzis, Turna Mete, Kristan Brown, Jen Ring, Raja Burrows and Elizabeth Seldin.
The evening is directed by Kel Haney, Colette Robert, Aimee Todoroff, Christopher Diercksen and Kristin McCarthy Parker.
A reception will be held following the event, where beer and wine can be purchased.
Excerpts will appear from the following five new plays:
Lily in Love by Kristine M. Reyes
directed by Colette Robert
Lily is a good Catholic Filipina daughter who’s always known exactly what to do with her life — until she falls in love with a woman. Lily’s life just got complicated.
You Like It
by Mariah MacCarthy
directed by Kel Haney
Ganymede is “new in town,” and Orlando won’t shut up about his ex-girl Rosalind. Secrets, gender, forbidden love: this bromance is about to get real. A queer riff on a classic.
The Hydra by Tyler Rivenbark
directed by Aimee Todoroff
Through an amalgamation of Greek and American folk tales, The Hydra finds Iraq War Veteran, Stephen Ajax, in a netherworld inhabited by Gods, Goddesses, and puppets to face the aftermath of his former life.
Sex and Charitable Giving by Lisa Huberman
directed by Christopher Diercksen
In a tiny Queens apartment, Natasha and Ankit embark on a BDSM journey together. When they decide to sponsor a little girl in Nepal to help out Natasha’s roommate Marcy, the couple find themselves confronting uncomfortable truths and pushing boundaries that go beyond sexual role play.
Hello, from the Children of Planet Earth by Don Nguyen
directed by Kristin McCarthy Parker
On the eve of the spacecraft Voyager 1’s crossover into interstellar space, William gets a phone call that will possibly change his life forever.
This free play reading will be held at The Secret Theatre located at 4402 23rd Street in Long Island City on Monday, June 30th at 7pm.
The Secret Theater
4402 23rd St, Long Island City
E, M, G to Court Sq.
7 to Vernon Blvd/Jackson Ave or Court Sq.
N, Q to Queensboro Plaza
1 of 5
Lisa Huberman (Woodside) Lisa’s work includes Egyptology (developed under the mentorship of Lee Blessing and a nominee for a National New Play Network award), Under the Rainbow (Regional Winner in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, Finalist for the John Cauble Short Play Award), Health Nuts (Semi-Finalist for the Little Fish Theatre Pick of the Vine Competition, produced by the Panic Room Playwrights), Life Play (Secret Theatre’s Act One: One Act Festival), Sub-Prime (KNOW Theatre Playwrights and Artists Festival), High and Uptight (Mile Square Theatre’s 7th Inning Stretch Festival) and Heart/Succor (La Petite Morgue’s inaugural Fresh Blood Series). She has participated in the One Minute Play Festival, Pussyfest, and Monologues and Madness. Under the Rainbow, High and Uptight, and Egyptology are available for purchase and download at The Monologues Database. A member of The Dramatists Guild, Drawing Board, The Panic Room Playwrights, Lisa is also an Artistic Associate for La Petite Morgue. She has attended playwriting workshops at Kennedy Center Playwriting Intensive and Chicago Dramatists. She received her BA in Theatre Performance from Bradley University and her MFA in Playwriting from Rutgers University, where she currently teaches freshman composition. Lisa was raised by vegetarians in Ohio and also maintains the food blog, Sometimes A Vegan.
Mariah MacCarthy (Astoria) Mariah MacCarthy’s work has been presented and developed at Rattlestick, Primary Stages, EST/Youngblood, Culture Project, New Dramatists, La MaMa, HERE Arts Center, The Brick, Atlantic Stage 2, Bowery Poetry Club, Jimmy’s No. 43, Theater for the New City, Players Theatre, site-specifically around New York, and in Austin, Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, San Diego, Baltimore, South Carolina, and Fringe NYC. Plays include You Like It (dev. EST/Youngblood), The Hazards of Loving While Broken (dev. Mission to (dit)Mars, HUB-BUB, and Filling the Well), Safeword (dev. Flux Theatre Ensemble and Kid Brooklyn Productions), Baby Mama: One Woman’s Quest to Give Her Baby to Gay People (dev. Bughouse SPIN, Sparking Fuse/Pull Together Productions, and FTW), Mrs. Mayfield’s Fifth-Grade Class of ’93 20-Year Reunion (Caps Lock),Magic Trick (Fringe NYC), The Foreplay Play (two NYIT Award nominations: Outstanding Production and Outstanding Full-Length Script), Lysistrata Rape Play (dev. The Theatre Project and FTW), Ampersand: A Romeo & Juliet Story (winner of 20 Looking Glass Forum Awards and FringeNYC “Outstanding Performance”), The All-American Genderf*ck Cabaret (“f*cking brilliant” -Kate Bornstein; productions across America) and A Man of His Word (winner, California Young Playwrights Contest; dev. New Dramatists). Winner of the Doric Wilson Independent Playwright Award and the Lotos Foundation Prize in the Arts and Sciences, 2012 nytheatre.com “Person of the Year,” Executive Artistic Director and founder of Caps Lock Theatre, Associate Artistic Director of the Brick, curator of Pussyfest and Sex With Robots, Filling the Well resident artist, San Diego native, Skidmore graduate, and a member of Youngblood, the Propulsion Lab, and Lather, Rinse, Repeat.
Don Nguyen (Long Island City) Full-length plays include Sound (Bay Area Playwrights Festival 2014, Playwrights Realm Fellowship), Red Flamboyant (Ojai Playwrights Conference 2011, nomination – L. Arnold Weissberger Award 2011, finalist O’Neill National Playwrights Conference and Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Cherry Lane Mentors Project nomination, Woodward International Playwriting Prize), The Man From Saigon (Reading – Naked Angels, 2012 New York Stage and Film Founders Award, Nomination – L. Arnold Weissberger Award 2012), The Commencement of William Tan (NYSAF Residency, 2G Jumpstart Commission), Three To Beam Up (The Shelterbelt Theatre, Nebraska Arts Grant recipient). Don is a member of the New York Public Theater’s 2008 Inaugural Emerging Writers Group, The Civilians R & D Group, Ma-Yi Writers Lab, Mission to (dit)mars co-founder and volunteer at The 52nd Street Project.
Kristine M. Reyes (Astoria) is a playwright raised and based in New York City. Her plays include the full-length Queen for a Day(Diverse City Theater Company’s First Draft Fellowship); one-acts Quarter Century Baby, Something Blue (both produced at Diverse City Theater Company) and Lola Luning’s First Steps (commissioned and produced by Women of Color Productions); and the ten-minute pieces Balikbayan Birthday (Leviathan Lab) and Ready, Aim…Fire! (ESPA at Primary Stages; published on Indie Theater Now). Kristine is a Playwright Associate at Diverse City Theater Company, and a founding member and former co-director of the Leviathan Lab Asian American Women Writers Workshop. She was a 2012 Mary Louise Rockwell Scholar at The Einhorn School of Performing Arts (ESPA) at Primary Stages, and has also studied at Ensemble Studio Theatre. She is a member of The Dramatists Guild.
Tyler Rivenbark (Sunnyside) Tyler was born and raised in Warsaw, North Carolina, and is now based out of Sunnyside, NY. He is a graduate of the Queens College, CUNY, MFA program in Creative Writing and Literary Translation with a focus in Playwriting. Select plays include Monosyllabic(Mellow Pages), (Silence) (Dixon Place and Artists’ Bloc), Inside the Rain (Dixon Place), Frogs; or How to Fail at Business (Left Hip), How they Played Games and Fell in Love (Abingdon Theatre) and Joe (Short Play Lab). In 2012 he received a commission from the Poetry Society of America to adapt Rita Dove’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book Thomas and Beulah for the stage. In 2011 he founded the Oh, Bernice! reading series in Queens. He was a 2009 writer-in-residency at the Louis Armstrong House Museum, a residency he now oversees. He is currently an English professor at Queens College, CUNY. He is also a member of the Dramatist Guild. And when not making theatre, he can be found around the city making music.
Kel Haney (Astoria) Recent directing credits include Jonathan Caren’s THE RECOMMENDATION (The Flea), Jessica Dickey’s ROW AFTER ROW,Rachel Bonds’ LITTLE ROCK (both at Williamstown Theatre Festival),Nathan Leigh (music & lyrics) & Kyle Jarrow’s (book, music & lyrics) THE CONSEQUENCES (Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre – world premiere) & Edith Freni’s EL FUEGO (Partial Comfort Productions). Kel has also directed and developed new work atArs Nova, Atlantic Acting School, Desipina & Company, Dixon Place, The Directors Company, Cherry Lane Theatre, Emerging Artists Theatre,Ensemble Studio Theatre/Youngblood, Keen Company, The Lark, Ma-Yi Theatre Company, Naked Angels, New Dramatists, New Georges, NY Fringe Festival, Premiere Stages, Rattlestick, Rising Phoenix,Studio 42, United Solo Festival, Vampire Cowboys, Westport Country Playhouse, 3 Graces & the 52nd Street Project.
Kristin McCarthy Parker (Astoria) is a Queens-based director and sometimes actor. Her directing work includes Bears (59E59), kumrads won’t (FringeNYC), All’s Well That Ends Well (Mad and Merry), and the upcoming spoof Hold on to your butts: the Jerassic Parque Experience. She has developed a variety of new work with Amios’ Shotz! (penned by Mat Smart, Sevan K. Greene, Lindsay Joy, and others) and assisted under Ed Iskandar (The Mysteries), Michael Greif, Trip Cullman, Wendy Goldberg, and Jenn Thompson. Kristin is a graduate of The University of Evansville.
Aimee Todoroff is the Artistic Director of Elephant Run District, and indie theatre company based in NYC, where she helmed the popular Brecht in the Park, the Stampede Lab Series and American Gun Show, among others. She has directed at Primary Stages, The Living Theatre, HERE Arts Center, 59E59, The Metropolitan Theatre Company and others, and has directed the premieres of works by Cusi Cram, Daisy Foote and Chris Harcum, including Green, We Haven’t Told Anyone About This Yet and Rabbit Island, a Backstage Magazine’s Critic’s Pick and a “best of” the 2012 Frigid Festival. Recently, Aimee served as the Assistant Director under John Rando for David Ives’ new play The Heir Apparent at Classic Stage Company. Aimee received her MFA from Southampton Arts. www.aimeetodoroff.org
Colette Robert is a Los Angeles native currently living and working in New York. Recent directing credits include: Something Like Loneliness (EST Marathon), when last we flew (Diversionary Theatre, FringeNYC, GLAAD Media Award), Barriers (Desipina/HERE), Pluck & Tenacity (Samuel French Festival Winner) andStockton (EST Unfiltered). Colette is a proud member of Ensemble Studio Theatre, the Old Vic/New Voices Network, Lincoln Center Director’s Lab, and was the Public Theater’s 2009 Van Lier Directing Fellow. She has developed new work with Naked Angels, The 52nd Street Project, New Georges, Classical Theatre of Harlem, The Old Vic, Ma-Yi, 2g, Vineyard Arts Project, NYTW, and Sundance Theatre Lab. M.A., RADA and King’s College, London. B.A., Yale University. www.coletterobert.com
Christopher Diercksen (Astoria)
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 pleased to present in our second reading of the season
The Hazards of Loving While Broken
By Mariah MacCarthy
Directed By Jordana Williams
Featuring Jesse Geguzis, Diana Oh, and Kristen Vaughan
Mel loves Kerry’s son, who happens to be dead now. When Mel goes to stay with Kerry in her beautiful beach house, past and present loves collide. Can love emerge from grief? Or do broken people just break each other further?
We are very excited to bring you a play by another one of our incredibly talented Propulsion Lab members! It’s a new work that we’re really excited to share with the Queens community. And by then let’s hope New York is shaking off the last of it’s winter doldrums and maybe, maybe Spring is showing up to the show.
Please RSVP – we expect this one to fill up quickly. Please let us know how many seats you need. This event is 100% free to the public – just the way we like it!
About The Secret Theatre
The Secret Theatre hosts theatre, musicals, dance, music, opera, film, video, classes, rehearsals, art openings, parties, film festivals and more. They produce both in house, co-produce and accept rental submissions.
Both of their current spaces are available for hire for rehearsals and performances – for more information on the venue, please visit The Secret Theatre.
Mission to (dit)Mars, a theatre arts collective serving Queens artists, presents the fourth in a series of free play readings as part of the 2013/2014 LAUNCH PAD Reading Series.
THE FIELDS OF BLUE AND GLOW, a new play by August Schulenburg will be directed by Heather Cohn and features David Shih and Jordan Mahome.
The play follows Jon, a wildly successful author of horror fiction, called (to his dismay) the “Asian American Stephen King”. One dark and stormy night, Jon’s friend Daryn, who disappeared for a few years, comes knocking on his door. The Fields of Blue and Glow is a ghost story which tackles the themes of childhood, growing up, and the power of crossing over into something new.
This free play reading will be held at LIC Bar in the Carriage House located at 45-58 Vernon Blvd in Long Island City on +Tuesday, October 29th +at 7pm.
Mission to (dit)Mars, a theatre arts collective serving Queens artists, is excited to announce the selection of four new members to The Propulsion Lab, Queens’ newest writers group serving emerging playwrights from the borough.
The four new members are Lisa Huberman (Woodside), David Lawson (Astoria), Kristine M. Reyes (Astoria) and Tyler Rivenbark (Sunnyside). Along with current members of the Propulsion Lab, each playwright will focus on writing a new full-length play over the course of the year. The new members were selected by Mission to (dit)Mars co-founders Kari-Bentley-Quinn, Don Nguyen, Meredith Packer and Laura Pestronk. The writers group meets bi-weekly in Queens and is facilitated by Kari Bentley-Quinn and Don Nguyen.
On what excites her about the four new members, Meredith Packer explains “I was so excited by not just the high level of work they submitted to us, but how incredibly different each of the writers are in their approach, styles and voice. I thought that combination of diversity and work would be great to get to the table.” Kari Bentley-Quinn adds “I think the most exciting thing for us was finding four voices that are all very different from each other.”
“The plays that caught my attention were the ones that were both well-written and moving,” said Laura Pestronk, explaining how the members were selected. “I was looking for a firm grip on style that caused me to feel something and hopefully either shake me inside or make me laugh out loud or both.”
The Propulsion Lab was created to meet the needs of like-minded theater artists who wanted to have a way of developing new work locally in Queens on an on-going basis. “The first year we did this Lab, we had such an extraordinary response to it. The writers were really happy, and our end of the year presentation ALL SYSTEMS GO! was a sold out house” said Kari Bentley-Quinn.
The four new playwrights will be joining current members of the Propulsion Lab: Kari Bentley-Quinn (Astoria/Woodside), Courtney Lauria (Astoria), Mariah MacCarthy (Astoria), Don Nguyen (Long Island City), and August Schulenburg (Astoria).
For more information and bios of each of the Propulsion Lab members past and present, please visit this link.
BIOS OF THE NEW PROPULSION LAB MEMBERS
Lisa Huberman (Woodside)
Lisa’s work includes Egyptology (developed under the mentorship of Lee Blessing and a nominee for a National New Play Network award), Under the Rainbow (Regional Winner in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, Finalist for the John Cauble Short Play Award), Health Nuts (Semi-Finalist for the Little Fish Theatre Pick of the Vine Competition, produced by the Panic Room Playwrights), Life Play (Secret Theatre’s Act One: One Act Festival), Sub-Prime (KNOW Theatre Playwrights and Artists Festival), High and Uptight (Mile Square Theatre’s 7th Inning Stretch Festival) and Heart/Succor (La Petite Morgue’s inaugural Fresh Blood Series). She has participated in the One Minute Play Festival, Pussyfest, and Monologues and Madness. Under the Rainbow, High and Uptight, and Egyptology are available for purchase and download at The Monologues Database. A member of The Dramatists Guild, Drawing Board, The Panic Room Playwrights, Lisa is also an Artistic Associate for La Petite Morgue. She has attended playwriting workshops at Kennedy Center Playwriting Intensive and Chicago Dramatists. She received her BA in Theatre Performance from Bradley University and her MFA in Playwriting from Rutgers University, where she currently teaches freshman composition. Lisa was raised by vegetarians in Ohio and also maintains the food blog, Sometimes A Vegan. Website: http://lisahuberman.blogspot.com
David Lawson (Astoria)
Lawson’s plays have been produced at/by The Brick Theater, Dixon Place, IRT Theatre, the Secret Theatre, the Downtown Urban Theater Festival (at Manhattan Movement & Arts Center), The FRIGID New York Festival (at UNDER St. Marks), The Dream Up Festival (at Theater for the New City), Alchemical Theatre Laboratory, the Brooklyn LaunchPad and The Parkside Lounge. Lawson holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from Emerson College (MA) and studied at the O’Neill National Theater Institute (CT). Lawson is a proud member of The Dramatists Guild of America and the League of Independent Theatre of New York. Website: www.dtlawson.com
Kristine M. Reyes (Astoria)
Kristine M. Reyes is a playwright raised and based in New York City. Her plays include the full-length Queen for a Day(Diverse City Theater Company’s First Draft Fellowship); one-acts Quarter Century Baby, Something Blue (both produced at Diverse City Theater Company) and Lola Luning’s First Steps (commissioned and produced by Women of Color Productions); and the ten-minute pieces Balikbayan Birthday (Leviathan Lab) and Ready, Aim…Fire! (ESPA at Primary Stages; published on Indie Theater Now). Kristine is a Playwright Associate at Diverse City Theater Company, and a founding member and former co-director of the Leviathan Lab Asian American Women Writers Workshop. She was a 2012 Mary Louise Rockwell Scholar at The Einhorn School of Performing Arts (ESPA) at Primary Stages, and has also studied at Ensemble Studio Theatre. She is a member of The Dramatists Guild.
Tyler Rivenbark (Sunnyside)
Tyler Rivenbark was born and raised in Warsaw, North Carolina, and is now based out of Sunnyside, NY. He is a graduate of the Queens College, CUNY, MFA program in Creative Writing and Literary Translation with a focus in Playwriting. Select plays include Monosyllabic(Mellow Pages), (Silence) (Dixon Place and Artists’ Bloc), Inside the Rain (Dixon Place), Frogs; or How to Fail at Business (Left Hip), How they Played Games and Fell in Love (Abingdon Theatre) and Joe (Short Play Lab). In 2012 he received a commission from the Poetry Society of America to adapt Rita Dove’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book Thomas and Beulah for the stage. In 2011 he founded the Oh, Bernice! reading series in Queens. He was a 2009 writer-in-residency at the Louis Armstrong House Museum, a residency he now oversees. He is currently an English professor at Queens College, CUNY. He is also a member of the Dramatist Guild. And when not making theatre, he can be found around the city making music.
An Evening of Excerpts from the Propulsion Lab Plays
By Kari Bentley-Quinn, Jennifer Lane, Courtney Lauria, Mariah MacCarthy, Jane Miller, Don Nguyen, and August Schulenberg
Directed by Christopher Diercksen, Dev Bondarin and Don Nguyen
Featuring Samantha Rosentrater, Shaun Fauntleroy, Natalie Kim, Katrina Day, Samantha Walsh, Stuart Luth, Gus Schulenburg, Jason Liebman, Alexandra O’Daly, Sol Marina Crespo, Curry Whitmire and David Shih.
Our seven members of the Propulsion lab writers group have been hard at work on their new plays and they’re excited to share some excerpts with you.
June 24, 2013 @7pm
The Chain Theatre http://chain-theatre.org/
21-28 45th Rd, Long Island City
E, M, G to Court Sq.
7 to Court Sq.
N, Q to Queensboro Plaza
The event is free.
A reception will be held in the lobby of the Chain Theatre immediately following the reading. Please join us for complimentary wine. Beer and snacks can also be purchased.
Join Mission to (dit)Mars this summer for a 3-part, interactive mindfulness and writing workshop designed specially for Queens-based writers and artists to gain inspiration from our own neighborhood.
Mindfulness and Creative Writing teacher Emily Herzlin will lead the class in walking meditation, mindfulness on the subway, mindful eating, and writing prompts to enrich our creative experience as well as our experience of Queens.
We’ll start off with our first workshop in Gantry Plaza State Park, travel in our second workshop along the NQ train line and write (yes, on the subway!) and end our writing mission in—where else?—Ditmars, for mindful eating and food writing at Martha’s Country Bakery.
$5-$10 suggested donation for each class. Attend just one, two, or all three. Stay tuned for more specific descriptions of each class, and instructions regarding where to meet up.
No experience with mindfulness necessary. Writers of all genres welcome.
PART I—GANTRY PLAZA STATE PARK
Sunday, June 16th, 12-2pm (rain location TBA)
7 train to Vernon-Jackson, walk to the East River.
In Part I of our summer writing workshop series we’ll explore the waterfront at Gantry Plaza State Park. On the agenda: sense perception awareness exercises, walking meditation, writing prompts, sharing writing aloud (optional,) and more.
Writers of all genres welcome. No experience with meditation necessary.
In case of rain, we will meet at a location tba, and an email will be sent to those who RSVP in advance. You can check our Facebook page for updates, too.
NOTE: it is not necessary to RSVP, but helpful for us to get a head count.
PART II—NQ TRAIN
Sunday, August 11th, 2-4pm
In Part II of our summer writing workshop series we’ll investigate our joyful, wretched, bored, exhausted, amusing, richly complicated relationship to the NYC subway. On the agenda: basic introduction to mindfulness, journal prompts, awareness exercises and subway writing prompts, personal writing time, and sharing writing aloud.
Meet promptly at 2pm at Packard Square Café, 41-43 Crescent St, near Queensboro Plaza. We will meet there briefly for introductions and instructions. (They have a small outdoor seating area out back, where we will be if weather permits. Otherwise we will meet inside.) From there we will board the train at Queensboro Plaza. More instructions will be given on the day of the workshop.
Bring paper and something to write with.
NQ Train to Queensboro Plaza.
Note: It is not necessary to RSVP, but helpful for us to get a head count.
PART III—MARTHA’S COUNTY BAKERY (Ditmars): Sunday, August 25th, 3-5pm
In the grand finale of our summer writing workshop series we’ll indulge–mindfully–and practice mindful eating and write about food at the Astoria favorite, Martha’s Country Bakery. On the agenda: basic introduction to mindfulness, food-based writing prompts, sense perception exercises, discussion and sharing writing aloud, and, of course, dessert.
Meet promptly at 3pm at Martha’s Country Bakery. We’ll most likely be inside at a table, but if it’s crowded we will get a table outside. If it’s REALLY crowded we will gather at Martha’s, get our pastries, and walk to Astoria Park for the workshop.
Bring paper and something to write with, and enough cash for a pastry or two plus tip.
N/Q Train to Ditmars
Martha’s Country Bakery
3621 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria, NY 11105
$5-$10 suggested donation
Note: It is not necessary to RSVP, but VERY helpful for us to get a head count to secure enough seating.
Any questions, feel free to email Mindfulwriters@gmail.com.
Please RSVP below:
At the tender age of twelve, Emily decided she would grow up to be the female Frank Rich and get paid to write about theater for a living. But then, in a summer writing workshop at Young Playwrights Inc. just before she made the arduous journey from Long Island to NYU, she discovered what it means to write a play. After studying different flavors of writing at Columbia and Naropa Universities, these days Emily mostly writes creative nonfiction and poetry (publications include USA Today, The Millions, The Women’s International Perspective, and more.) She has folded mindfulness meditation into her creative life to tackle the writing roadblocks that inevitably pop up, and to broaden her awareness in order to excavate more material to write about. Emily is training in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) at UMass Medical School this summer, and has taught meditation and creative writing for the past two years at Columbia University, The Interdependence Project, The New School, and GreenspaceNYC. Check out her writing and other upcoming classes at EmilyHerzlin.com or follow her on Twitter: @emilyherzlin.
(Emily’s love affair with Astoria has been the kind of thing where you’re tentative at first, but then you let go and fall hard, and then you discover all the things that annoy you about each other, but you deeply love each other anyway and can’t stop eating at bakeries.)
In a brick house in Astoria, Queens, shadowed by the RFK bridge, a young woman is sorting her emotions. In jars. Literally. Claire’s phobias have gotten the best of her for long enough, and the way she is living doesn’t feel like living at all. Bridges and Boundaries charts Claire’s quest to overcome her road blocks, and create a future she actually wants to feel. This crafted tale explores love, trust, and issues that aren’t just water under the bridge.