C. A. JOHNSON (playwright) is a Louisiana native currently living in Queens, New York. Her plays include GOSSAMER, MOTHER TONGUE, THE CLIMB, WAITIN’ ON THE MOON, ELROY LEARN HIS NAME and THIRST. C.A. is The Lark’s 2016 Van Lier Playwriting Fellow, a member of 2016-2017 R & D Group at The Civilians, and a 2016-2017 Dramatists Guild Fellow. Her work has been developed at NYU Tisch, The Lark, Open Bar Theatricals, UC San Diego, and The Fire This Time Festival. In addition to her playwriting, C.A. was a Mellon Mays undergraduate fellow, a winner of a Legacy Prize from The Creativity Foundation, and a creative writing instructor at her alma mater, the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, DC. BA: Smith College MFA: NYU
Nat Cassidy in an award-winning playwright, director, and actor, and a sandwich-winning musician. Born in North Carolina and raised in the deserts of Phoenix, Arizona, he received his BFA in Acting/Directing from the University of Arizona in 2004. As an actor, Nat has appeared in television shows like “The Following” (Fox), “The Affair” (Showtime), “Red Oaks” (Amazon) “High Maintenance,” as well as in over 50 theatrical productions at venues such as Lincoln Center, Cherry Lane, The Public, SoHo Playhouse, Classic Stage Company’s East 13th Street Theatre, The Arclight, 59E59, Theatre Row, P.S. 122, Manhattan Theatre Source, The Gallery Players, 45th Street Theatre, The Players Theatre, The Players Club, and many others. Nat’s scripts have been produced and/or developed at The Kennedy Center, Washington National Opera, Primary Stages, The Flea, One Minute Play Festival (The New Ohio), The Players Club, The Players Theatre, LaMaMa ETC, Flux Theatre Ensemble, Nosedive Productions, Piper McKenzie, Adaptive Arts, CAPS LOCK Theatre, Retro Productions, Blood Brothers Present, Manhattan Theatre Source, The Gallery Players, The Brick, The Den Theatre (Chicago), American Theatre Company (Oklahoma), World’s Stage (Wisconsin), Finborough Theatre (UK), and others. His work has been published by New York Theatre Experience, Smith & Kraus, Applause, and Indie Theatre Now. His plays have been nominated for a combined total of 17 New York Innovative Theatre Awards, including three times for Outstanding Full-Length Script (which he won for his play THE RECKONING OF KIT & LITTLE BOOTS in 2009). Other scripts include I AM PROVIDENCE (winner, New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Solo Performance, 2011); ANY DAY NOW (Primary Stages’ ESPA Drills workshop at The Duke Theatre, August 2014, directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel); OLD FAMILIAR FACES; THE ETERNAL HUSBAND; SONGS OF LOVE: A THEATRICAL MIXTAPE; THE TEMPLE, or, LEBENSRAUM; THE DEMON HUNTER; TENANTS; PIERCE; GOLDSBORO; and many others. In 2012, Nat was commissioned by The Kennedy Center to write the libretto for a new opera with composer Scott Perkins as part of the inaugural American Opera Initiative. The Washington Times called their piece, CHARON, “terrific,” “remarkable,” and wrote that “both the composer and librettist have an uncanny ability to [do] what a great composer like Verdi once did and what so many modern classical composers fail to do—make a visceral connection to their own times.”
He’s currently at work on a boatload of new scripts, screenplays, teleplays, and a couple musicals. He also never thought he’d leave Brooklyn, where he lived for over 10 years, but after moving to Astoria, it took him about 45 minutes to realize he wanted to stay in Queens forever.
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.
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.
Paul has been a playwright, AEA actor, and director in New York City for eight years. His one act, The Dark Land of the Sun, was produced at the National Comedy Theatre and the Manhattan Repertory Theatre’s Summerfest 08’. His full-length, The Landlord, had a successful reading produced by The Drilling Company (directed by John Gould Rubin). Another of his full-length plays, The Land of Snow and Ghosts, was workshopped by The Dramatic Question Theatre Company (NYC) as part of their “Fresh Faces 2012/2013” and has been published online by Independent Playwrights.
Paul’s play Smallpox in the Blankets has been produced as part of Variations Theatre Group’s “Harvest Theatre Festival,” where it advanced to the “finals.” Smallpox was also performed this summer in Toronto, Canada as part of Newborn Theatre’s “Odds and Ends Festival.” His play The Horses in Central Park was produced as part of AND Theatre Company’s “Eclectic Evening of Shorts” and Emerging Artists Theatre’s (EAT) 10th Annual New Work Series.
Paul is excited to be working with Variations Theatre Group and Theatre Southwest on two new projects this fall. Paul is a Eugene O’Neill Award Semi-Finalist, and a 2011 participant of the prestigious Sewanee Writers’ Conference. He is a proud graduate of Webster University where he received a BFA in Theatrical Performance. Follow him on Twitter at @PaulHufker.
Nick is proud to call himself an Astorian Artist, though he hails from the great mitten state of Michigan. He is a founding member of ASTORIOOOUS as well as SATURDAY MORNING CARTOONS: Live (www.smclive.org). He has performed all over the world in many mediums, and is also a teacher and ambassador for ASTEP: Artists Striving To End Poverty (www.asteponline.org), for whom he has created workshops and taught for the Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festivals, a school for social change in India called SHANTI BHAVAN, the New York Public School, and the International Refugee Committee. He is a proud member of AEA/AFTRA/SAG and graduate of Western Michigan University.
Mrinalini Kamath’s plays have been performed around the U.S. as well as Australia, the UK and India. Her short plays have been included in several Smith and Kraus anthologies (including the recently released Best Ten Minute Plays of 2011).
Nora Chau loves a good story. She is a member of the Ma-Yi Writer’s Lab, a former ABC/Disney Grant Recipient for New Talent in Screenwriting, an ABC/Disney Writing Fellowship finalist, and a Women’s Project Lab finalist. Her short plays have been published by Smith & Kraus and you can see her crazy web serial atprettypreciousunicorns.com. She is currently working on her first novel and attempting to write a graphic novel with her artist husband – that is, if he doesn’t kick her off the project.
Jenny is an Astoria-based writer from Troy, Michigan. Her work has been presented at or developed by the terraNOVA Collective, Sightline Theatre Company, Artistic New Directions, IRT, The Bridge Theatre Company, the New Ohio Theatre, 3LD Art & Technology Center, the Gene Frankel Theatre, Theatre 54, Manhattan Shakespeare Theatre, The Washington Rogues, Gorilla Tango Theatre and Columbia Stages.
Her work includes Harlowe (developed under the mentorship of Sarah Ruhl, winner of the Alec Baldwin Fellowship at Singers Forum, and a finalist for the TS Eliot US/UK Exchange); Psychomachia (recipient of the Gatsby Grant); The Seer and the Witch (developed in the Groundbreakers Playwriting Group at terraNOVA); The Would-Be Room (performed in New York City, Chicago and Washington D.C.); Convergence; The Burning Brand; and Does Anyone Know Sarah Paisner? Her ten minute pieces A Fever in the Feast and Uriel’s Garden were both workshopped with Anne Bogart. Fever…, as well as another short play, PIN, was workshopped at Ensemble Studio Theatre in early 2011.
She is a graduate of Columbia University — where she was taught by such remarkable artists as Chuck Mee, Anne Bogart, Lucy Thurber, Sheila Callaghan and Kelly Stuart — and Sarah Lawrence College. Currently, Jenny is the Administrative Director for the League of Professional Theatre Women and the Literary Manager for the Astoria Performing Arts Center.