Back from Hiatus

After an extremely busy hiatus this past Summer, I will once again be updating this website regularly. In the meantime, here is what occurred over the past several months or what will be occurring in the months to come.

  • My short play Rebecca Says Be Cool not only won the Audience Choice Award at the 1st Annual Indie Boots Festival, but it was also given a staged reading during Chicago Dramatists' Short Comedy Saturday Series, in association with Second City Chicago. It will be produced next month at Second City's DeMaat Theatre as part of the Ben of Tens Festival.
  • I performed in the Waltzing Mechanics' World Premiere production of Kate's Dates, a rom-com-docudrama that followed one young woman's tumultuous journey through the millennial dating scene. I played all seventeen of the dates, a wild, entertaining arrangement of playboys, rude boys, and mama's boys.
  • I produced the Chicago Premiere of the Drama Desk-nominated two-hander musical ROOMS: a rock romance, which received was called the "Surprise Hit of the Summer!" by Chicago Sun-Times and was Critic Recommended by Chicago Theater Beat.
  • I will be producing one festival for each of my theater companies: the holiday-centric Hobo Robo 6: Hobos Roasting on an Open Fire for Hobo Junction Productions (December 2nd, 3rd, and 4th) and Bechdel Fest for Broken Nose Theatre (December 9 - 11, 16 - 18).
  • Having been cast in the Red Theater Chicago production of Dylan, I begin rehearsals for the show next Sunday. The show runs from November 23th to December 22nd at the Den Theater.
     
 
October 8th, 2013   |   Permalink   |  

"Rebecca Says Be Cool" an Indie Boots Finalist

"Rebecca Says Be Cool," my ten-minute comedy that centers around the What If's of re-entering the dating scene, will be featured at the Indie Boots Theatre Festival at Theatre Wit from May 20th - 22nd, with the contest culminating in the play that was voted as Audience Choice out of the 8 plays featured. More information may be found at http://www.indieboots.org/.

 
May 6th, 2013   |   Permalink   |  

Press Feedback - "Beautiful Broken"

"Beautiful Broken is is a fine and frothy romance. The cast charms ... as [they] fall in love with each other, we fall in love with them."

Katy Walsh, Chicago Now

"All of the performances are strong ... comedic performances by Matt (Micahel Bullaro) and Alex (Spenser Davis) offer most of the hilarity that runs throughout the production."

Jennifer Janke, Centerstage Chicago

 

 

 

 
May 1st, 2013   |   Permalink   |  

Exciting Developments for the Season

After a lengthy development process, and after weeks of rehearsals, Beautiful Broken is finally set to open in the Upstairs Mainstage of Greenhouse Theater Center. Preview performances are on March 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 27th, and 28th, with the show officially opening on March 29th and continuing until April 21st.

Tickets for the previews are already selling much quicker than we at Broken Nose Theatre originally anticipated, and we are hoping that word-of-mouth serves as a very powerful advertisement tool for a show of this nature.

In addition to that, Broken Nose's third and final show of our first season has been announced. The show is a two-hander musical titled ROOMS: a rock romance, with music and lyrics by Paul Scott Goodman. This Drama Desk and Outer Critics' Circle Award-nominated tuner tells the story of two budding musicians from Glasgow who go to London, and then to New York, in search of fame - unfortunately for them, they did not plan on falling in love in the process. I will be serving, alongside BNT company member Scott Johnston, as theatrical producer for the show, which is slated for a July/August production in Collaboraction's Pentagon space.

And to top it all off, my short play Dead Zone will be receiving its International Premiere in Toronto this May, as one of the selected plays in the 8th Annual InspiraTO Festival at Alumnae Theatre.

As an actor, a playwright, and now a producer, the 2012-13 theatrical season has shaped up to be my most personally-fulfilling yet.

 
March 14th, 2013   |   Permalink   |  

Next Up: "Beautiful Broken"

The second of two Beautiful Broken staged readings concluded this weekend, and Broken Nose Theatre Artistic Director Benjamin Brownson has already begun editing the play in preparation for its Spring world premiere.

In the meantime, it has been determined that fellow BNT company member Leslie Ruettiger and I will be reprising our roles from the staged reading when the play gets on its feet next March. Auditions for the other four roles will be held soon.

 
December 14th, 2012   |   Permalink   |  

"Beautiful Broken" Goes to Holland

In choosing the last two works for our inaugural season, the other Broken Nose Theatre company members and I have agreed that our Spring production will be the world premiere of Beautiful Broken, a play written by none other than our own Artistic Director Benjamin Brownson. And in preparation for the slated run in March, Ben and Co. thought it best to stage two separate open-house readings of the play, in order to receive optimal audience feedback and solidify the script before 2013.

Included in the reading's cast are myself and fellow company member Leslie Ruettiger.

The first reading took place on November 18th at Chicago's Greenhouse Theater Center. The event received a good turnout, and was followed by a postshow discussion moderated by none other than yours truly. The patrons kind enough to stay for the Q & A highlighted their favorite moments of the play, while also generously pointing out dramatic beats that needed more emphasis, elaboration, and clarification.

The second reading, however, has yet to occur. On Saturday, December 8th, the cast, company, and I will be travelling to Holland, Michigan, Ben Brownson's hometown and "happy place." The reading will be hosted at Park Theatre; it will be preceded by a special musical performance by Sam Brownson (6:30 p.m.), begin at 7:30 p.m., and feature a postshow talkback moderated by Hope College's Michelle Bombe. Tickets are $10 general admission and $8 for students. The event will be sponsored by Lemonjello's and Brownson Properties.

Please visit beautifulbroken.bpt.me for tickets and more info. Come out and support new work produced in a storefront theater.

 

 
November 25th, 2012   |   Permalink   |  

Guess Who's Joining Another Company?

Shortly after the final performance of Broken Nose Theatre's inaugural hit My First Time, Artistic Director Benjamin Brownson cast me in the staged reading of his world-premiere play Beautiful Broken. With rehearsals for the reading beginning today, Ben and Broken Nose co-founder Scott Johnston have also invited me to be a company member! I am one of three new recruits -- marketing guru Matthew Sitz and actress Leslie Ruettiger round out the trio. Many thanks to Broken Nose, a young company with what I believe is a bright, exciting future.

I will also continue to serve as Literary Manager (and self-appointed Web Master) for Hobo Junction Productions, another Chicago-based theater company, dedicated to the development and production of world-premiere comedies.

 
November 2nd, 2012   |   Permalink   |  

Coming Up Soon

Two weeks ago, I was participating in three separate productions. At Collaboraction, I teamed up with Anthony Moseley (Artistic Director) and an ensemble of very talented actor-writers to devise the upcoming Spring production tentatively referred to as Crime Scene Chicago; the devising process culminated with a dramatic presentation made at the annual Beggars' Banquet earlier this month. At the Greenhouse Theater in Lincoln Park, I was a cast member in the Chicago premiere of the Off-Broadway hit, My First Time, produced by the brand-new Broken Nose Theatre and directed by Benjamin Brownson (Artistic Director). The show closed this past Friday to an enthusiastic audience. And with my own theater company, Hobo Junction, I took part in one of the nine short plays featured in our annual Hobo Robo Festival, called Hobo Robo 5: Hobos Across America. The play, "Hope Springs Eternal," was directed by Richard Paro, winner of the fourth Hobo Robo Festival. And, in an unprecedented move, the Audience Award went yet again to Mr. Paro. The festival ran from October 22nd - 24th, and was reduced to standing-room-only all three nights.

And now, all three projects are over, leaving me with the desire to embark on new opportunities.

One such opportunity arose when My First Time director Benjamin Brownson cast me in the staged reading of Broken Nose's next play, Beautiful Broken. We will prep the reading for late November/early December, with the understanding that we may or may not be cast in the full production next Spring.

My fellow Hobo Junction company members and I are also planning a writers' retreat for next January, during which we will build, collaboratively, a brand-new original musical from the ground up. What the musical is about, and where it will be produced, has yet to be determined.

With a staged reading in rehearsal, and one writing project slated for the beginning of 2013, I will continue to seek new productions to audition for, as well as other exciting playwriting opportunities.

 
October 31st, 2012   |   Permalink   |  

Opportunities Abound

As I continue my participation in Broken Nose Theatre's inaugural production, "My First Time" -- playing every Friday night at 11 p.m. at the Greenhouse Theatre -- I have also received two new theatrical opportunities back-to-back.

Currently, I am working alongside Collaboraction's Anthony Moseley and an ensemble of actors, writers and activists for build a show tentatively titled "Crime Scene Chicago," which will focus heavily on Chicago's crime epidemic and its inability to be white-washed by the phrase 'gang-on-gang violence.' The ensemble members and I will be making a presentation at Collaboraction's Beggar's Banquet this Saturday, to an audience of paying guests who share the theater company's enthusiasm for collaboratively devised work. The show will then continue being constructed and workshopped until its official premiere next Spring.

In addition, director Richard Paro, who I had the pleasure of working with in the Hobo Junction show "In Pursuit," has cast me in "Hope Springs Eternal," his ten-minute entry into Hobo Junction's fifth annual short play festival, Hobo Robo 5: Hobos Across America. Rehearsals begin this Saturday. Performances will be on the nights of October 22nd through 24th. Richard Paro, who won last year's Hobo Robo competition, will be defending his title against eight other Chicagoland directors.

 
October 12th, 2012   |   Permalink   |  

Joining the cast of "My First Time"

A day after "An Awful Night of Crap" helped close out the final night of Mary-Arrchie Theatre's Abbie Fest XXIV, I was offered -- and I accepted -- the opportunity to join the cast of a show titled "My First Time." The show, originally created by Broadway producer Ken Davenport, is receiving its Chicago premiere thanks to a new Non-Equity company called Broken Nose Theatre. After the production's initial run this past summer was such a success for the company, Artistic Director Benjamin Brownson decided to immediately remount the show with a (almost) brand-new cast.

The show, which consists of a series of vignettes spoken by two men and two women, will be coming to Greenhouse Theatre starting September 14th, and will play every Friday at 11 p.m. until the end of October, at which point... well, we'll see.

It is great to be part of a show that critics have already said great things about:

"Vivid and well-paced" - Asher Klein, Chicago Reader

"The tonal variety and the show’s well-established arc keeps the subject matter buoyant" - Lisa Buscani, NewCity Chicago

"The climax of the hourlong show is upbeat, with the actors reminding everyone that your first time at anything is rarely your best" - Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune

"MY FIRST TIME is late night fun!" - Katy Walsh, Chicago Now

 

 
August 25th, 2012   |   Permalink   |  

"An Awful Night of Crap" Begins Rehearsals

"An Awful Night of Crap," a one-act created by the company members of Hobo Junction Productions, began rehearsals late last night, under the direction of Theatre-Hikes' own Bradley Baker. The play was written in collaboration by Travis Barnhart, Kristi Parker-Barnhart, Ben Hertel, Dan Krall, Josh Zagoren, and I; as head writer and the company's Literary Manager, I was responsible for taking each writer's contribution and weaving it together into one large, messy, hour-long comedy that stayed true to its name while also providing its audience with some unpredictable entertainment. 

In addition to Parker-Barnhart, Krall, Zagoren and I, the cast includes Jamie Campbell, Dylan Jost, Richard Paro, Mike Rice, Zach Stinett, Maggie Suma, Chris Waldron, and Tamara White. The production will be stage-managed by Holly McCauley, who collaborated previously with Hobo Junction on our latest full-length production, "In Pursuit." 

"An Awful Night of Crap" will premiere at Mary-Arrchie Theater's Abbie Fest XXIV on August 17th, with additional performances potentially taking place on the 18th and 19th, depending on audience reaction. 

 
July 27th, 2012   |   Permalink   |  

"The Red Stuff" featured at ATC's Big Shoulders Festival

Almost one year to the day, I have been working as a playwright in the city of Chicago. I can't believe it has only been a year since my first short play "Minimalistic Men" was selected for, and received a staged reading at, the Chicago Dramatists Ten-Minute Comedy workshop.

More recently: My newest short comedy, "The Red Stuff," was featured in the American Theater Company's annual Big Shoulders New Play Festival last Tuesday, June 19th. Centering around a newly-married man who makes the mistake of asking for ketchup on his Chicago hotdog, "The Red Stuff" had the good fortune of being placed in a one-night program that included work by Chicago-based writers as varied as Idris Goodwin, Adrienne Dawes, Jenny Seidelman, Emile Ferris, Sadieh Rifai, Lauren Sivak, Shawn L. Price, Kristin Idaszak, Steven Simoncic, and Anthony Ellison. The play was directed by Michael Carnow of Profiles Theater, and it benefited tremendously from having a very game cast of actors working on it.

Many thanks to ATC and the Big Shoulders producers Josh Jaeger and Elise Walter for letting me take part in what was a great festival experience.

 
June 26th, 2012   |   Permalink   |  

Educational Bridge Program Ends

For the past twelve weeks, I have been working extensively with Chicago's renowned American Theatre Company on a series that they have deemed their "Educational Bridge program," in which they select eight-to-ten Chicago high school drama clubs for further theatrical development. After assigning each school with a playwright and a teaching artist, ATC asks that every team, during the twelve weeks, develops, writes, rehearses and produces a thirty-minute one-act play, to be performed for both the school audiences and on the ATC Mainstage at program's end.

After a short interview process, I was selected as one of the program's playwrights. I was assigned to Gage Park High School, a three-story high school located alongside the southern half of Western Avenue, just a few blocks from the Western Orange Line CTA train stop. There, I was introduced to my teaching artist Melissa Rosenberg, and we proceeded to - with the help of drama coach Maria Rivera and a cast of twenty-two students - develop a thirty-minute piece that ultimately became the comedy "Romeo & Juliet & All Their Facebook Friends." 

On May 10th and 11th, the students performed the production to very enthusiastic audiences. And on tonight, the comedy was presented to a crowd of friends, families, and ATC staff members, and it enjoyed a warm reception. During the Talkback session afterwards, I realized how close I had become with the 22-person cast; they each and every one of them brought something fresh and funny and interesting to the table. Most people say that, but I actually mean it. I wish them the best, and those in the group that are serious about pursuing theater ... let's just say I've tracked them down on Facebook to stay in touch.

Whether I am chosen for this program next year, I hope to continue building my relationship with American Theatre Company, a wonderful Equity theater that focused acutely on the concept of American identity.

 

 
May 19th, 2012   |   Permalink   |  

Graduation from University of Illinois

After what feels like a decade attending college, I have graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a Bachelor's of Arts in English, with a concentration in Creative Writing. I also acquired the coveted Highest Distinction, having completed a Senior Thesis project based around the Prohibition Era.

My educational experiences, mixed with the wealth of information I have obtained through my coursework, have been invaluable, even if college only seems less frustrating in hindsight than it actually was at the time. My interest in Christopher Marlowe, William Shakespeare and Edgar Allan Poe increased thanks to my time at UIC; not coincidentally, each of my next three dramatic projects involve one of these iconic writers.

 
May 19th, 2012   |   Permalink   |  

"Minimalistic Men" Selected for Publication

The good news regarding my short play "Minimalistic Men" just keeps on coming.

In addition to receiving a staged reading in front of a very enthusiastic audience last summer, and being featured in two successful short play showcases (produced by Appetite Theatre and Second City Chicago, respectively), "Minimalistic Men" has been selected as one of the plays to be featured in the Smith & Kraus Inc. anthology The Best Ten Minute Plays of 2012. I could not be more excited that, less than a year after deciding to dive into playwriting full force, a script of mine will be published in the newest installment of such a respected anthology. Mine will be one of fifty or so chosen as the best in the country, a representation of the fine (ten-minute) work that has been done both last year and in the year ahead.

The anthology is scheduled for publication in December 2012. More info as the date approaches.

 
January 23rd, 2012   |   Permalink   |  

"Dead Zone" chosen for Theatre Roulette 2012

Happy New Year to all!

I just received news that, in addition for being a 3rd LabWorks Comedy Finalist, my short play "Dead Zone" will also be produced in the MadLab (Ohio) Theatre Company festival Theatre Roulette later this year. Known as "Ohio's longest running annual shorts festival," Theatre Roulette is entering its 12th year. I'm very excited about this opportunity, and I will provide you with more information as the performance dates (which look to be in May of this year) approach.

 
January 20th, 2012   |   Permalink   |  

"Dead Zone" is 3rd LabWorks Comedy Finalist

My short play "Dead Zone" has just be announced as one of the eight comedy finalists (out of over 250 submissions) of the 3rd National LabWorks Festival, hosted by the Valley Repertory Company in Connecticut. Beginning on February 12, 2012, "Dead Zone" and the other finalists will be performed for audiences, who then vote for the festival's overall Best Comedy Award.

More information as the festival approaches.

 
November 11th, 2011   |   Permalink   |  

"Minimalistic Men" premieres at Bruschetta 2011

My short play "Minimalistic Men" premiered at the Bruschetta Festival this past week. The Bruschetta Fest, hosted by Appetite Theatre, will continue performances every Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m., November 10-19, at the Live Bait Theatre on Clark Street.

Other featured playwrights include Emmy Award winner James Brown, Nicholl scholar Arthur M. Jolly, Harrington recipient Justin Warner, and independent filmmaker James C. Ferguson.

"Minimalistic Men" will also be featured in a Best of the Ten Minute Plays showcase at the Donny's Skybox Theatre, located on the fourth floor of the Second City Chicago building (Piper's Alley). More information on that production as the opening weekend approaches.

 
November 5th, 2011   |   Permalink   |  

Hobo Junction's new Literary Manager is...

The Chicago-based theater company Hobo Junction has elected to bring me in as their new Literary Manager. Having worked with the company previously in their Fall 2011 production, "In Pursuit," I am thrilled and humbled by the fact that they even considered me for the position.

So, with that in mind, if you are at all interested in submitting your play or musical for production consideration, please e-mail the following materials to hobojunctionsubmissions@gmail.com:

1 page synopsis

10 page dialogue sample

Playwright resume

Cover Letter (letting us know a little bit about yourself)

Please note Hobo Junction's mission statement (we only produce comedies, however dark or even macabre). I'm looking forward to any submissions received.

 
October 25th, 2011   |   Permalink   |  

"Minimalistic Men" Selected for Bruschetta 2011

In addition to its upcoming performance at Second City Chicago, my short play "Minimalistic Men" will also be featured as one of the plays at Appetite Theatre's 2011 Bruschetta Short Play festival. More details will be made available as the performance date arrives.

 
September 16th, 2011   |   Permalink   |  

"Minimalistic Men" is Pick of the Vine Semi-finalist

My short play "Minimalistic Men" has advanced to the semi-finals of the Pick of the Vine Short Play contest. The contest is being hosted by Little Fish Theatre, located in Southern California.

The other semi-finalists and I will be informed whether we have advanced to finals by mid-October.

 
September 5th, 2011   |   Permalink   |  

"Minimalistic Men" to be Produced at Second City

Back in April, when I first submitted my short play "Minimalistic Men" to the Chicago Dramatists Saturday Series staged reading contest, I wasn't sure how the judging panel would react to it. After all, it's a play about two young men who, well, discover that they are characters in a play. And what's worse, when the play ends, they die. At the time I thought it was a fun concept, but when executed, sometimes the comedy turned dark. And when you want to keep your audience laughing even as the characters are staring their own deaths in the face, you have to balance that. So when my short play was one of six accepted, I was exciting and surprised and more than a little nervous.

The staged reading took place in June. And, as it turns out, having my short play read in front of a 50+ person audience was not the only reward for being selected. It turns out that all six of the short plays selected will now be receiving full realized staged productions during a five-week run.

The performances, as of now, will be every Thursday at 10:30 PM, starting November 17th and ending December 15th, at the Second City Donny's Skybox theatre. Other playwrights include Chicago Dramatists Network Playwrights Chad Baker and Steven Peterson ("Invasion of Skokie"), as well as Alex DeWitt, Emilie Syberg, and Michael Salomon.

Casting info will be released shortly.

 
September 2nd, 2011   |   Permalink   |