Working Theater’s 2nd Decade

20th Season 2004 - 2005

Mainstage Production

Disconnect

by Rob Ackerman
directed by Connie Grappo
with Tina Benko, Matthew Boston, Brennan Brown, Elizabeth Connors and Lou Sumrall
The East 13th Street Theater
By inviting relatively unknown neighbors to dinner, a corporate consultant at a moral crossroads tries to avoid the lies of his job and his life.Disconnect is about marriage, friendship and telecommunications. From the creative team that brought you the Drama-Desk-Award-winningTabletop

Workshop and Staged Reading

Third Rail Quill
commissioned by The Working Theater
by Susan Mosakowski
directed by Elizabeth Margid,
with Larry Block, Joe Giocco, Kate Hall, Elizabeth Hesse and Andy Paris
Wagner Labor Archives at NYU’s Bobst Library
Third Rail Quill tells the story of Mike Quill, controversial founder of the Transport Workers Union, from his early days as an activist and union president in the 1930s to his leadership during the subway strike of 1966.

19th Season 2003 - 2004

Thom Rivera and Herb Downer in Abundance,2004
Photo © Carol Rosegg

Mainstage Production

Abundance

World Premiere; commissioned by The Working Theater
by Marty Pottenger
directed by Marty Pottenger and Steve Bailey
with Thom Riviera, Cary Barker, Nikki Walker, Joe Gioco, Herb Downer
Dance Theatre Workshop
Abundance (http://abundanceproject.net) is a tragic musical comedy based on a community arts performance project about the ways that people of different classes, races and ages negotiate economics in their daily lives.  [This} is a clear-eyed, barrier-breaking, unsettling, and ultimately optimistic new play that lives on in the mind days after you see it.The subject is money and the shame, guilt and terror that make us reticent to talk about it . . . The camaraderie I felt upon leaving the theatre was surprising, haunting and inspiring. Stan Richardson, Nytheatre.com, January 12, 2004

Reading

Fedunn
by Murray Mednick
directed by David Margulies
with Eric Altheide, Larry Block, Jarlath Conroy, Jack Davidson, Johnny Giacalone, Abigail Lopez, Jonathan Margulies, Josh Mostel, James Murtaugh, Gordana Rashovich, Eleanor Reissa, Gareth Saxe, Michael Stuhlbarg, Lori Wilner and Justin Yorio
Urban Stages
It is 1948 in the Catskills, a popular destination for New York Jews.  The three Silverman brothers own and operate the Manor Hotel.  Business is not good and the Holocaust is reverberating.

8th Annual Alumni Reading Series

Pusong Babae (A Woman’s Heart)
by Linda Faigao-Hall
directed by Marcy Arlin
with Corazon Custodio, Victor Lirio, Jordan Meadows and Eileen Rivera
The Blue Heron Arts Center
Filipina escaping desperate poverty in her home country comes to the United Statesas a mail-order bride and discovers that poverty corrupts and absolute poverty corrupts absolutely.

Clockwatcher’s Rumor
by Cedric Turner
directed by Woody King, Jr.
with Thomas Jefferson Byrd, Mark Johnson, Marcella Lowery, Jerry Matz, Rob O’Hara, Tom Pennachini and Levy Lee Simon
The Blue Heron Arts Center
Steel workers confront the ways their lives are changing as the need for industrial labor is threatened.  An evocation of the indignant yell of America’s voiceless majority.

Sky Fossils
by Lisa L. Humbertson
directed by Erma Duricko
with Steve Brady, Pamela Dunlap, Marissa Duricko, Judith Hiller, Trevor Jones, Paula Pizzi, George Sheffey, Janet Ward and Adrian Williams
The Blue Heron Arts Center
How do you argue that the child you love should never have been born? Yet what if it’s the only way to keep her alive? Sky Fossils is a story of insurance company greed and the value of human life.

Labor Days
by Tony Vellela
directed by Austin Pendleton
with Carlo Alban, Becky Ann Baker, Rebecca Fasanello, Jenna Jolley, Stephen Lang, Joe Moran, Anne Pitoniak, Molly Regan and Geoff Sullivan
The Blue Heron Arts Center
Every family has its secrets, myths and legends.  In this story of an Italian-American working class family, the lies are exploded and the true meaning of family values is discovered.

18th Season 2002 - 2003

Jeanine Serralles, Emma Bowers, Kathryn Rosstter and Laura Esterman in Hold Please,2003 Photo © Carol Rosegg

Mainstage Production

Hold Please

New York Premiere
by Annie Weisman
directed by Connie Grappo
with Emma Bowers, Laura Esterman, Kathryn Rossetter and Jeanine Serralles
The Blue Heron Arts Center
Amid complex office politics and power struggles, two generations of secretaries, answering phones for bosses who never materialize, battle the corporate infrastructure, technology, and each other.
“Scathingly funny.”  New York Daily News
“Sparklingly original and fun…risky, bold, unusual, and witty.”  Variety


7th Annual Alumni Reading Series

Celebrating 18 Years of Working Theater Playwrights!
Luscious Music
by Matthew Maguire (The Windowman, 1994)
Abingdon Theatre
At a South Florida carnival, a working class family is torn apart by forbidden love and the self-destructive desires of a man caught between two sisters.
Appointed Rounds
written and directed by William Wise (Crown Cork Cafeteria, 1985, Man with a Raincoat, 1986)
with Lou Carbonneau, James DeMarse, James Doerr, Johnny Giacalone and Arleigh Richards
Abingdon Theatre
Russell the mailman lost his wife in a hit and run accident. Hal the record-store owner lost his to the Chief of Police. Years later, the wounds of these two friends are unhealed.
Harry and the Streetbeat
by OyamO (Let me Live, 1990, I am a Man, 1993)
directed by Peter Wallace
with Amanda Bailey, Elliott Chisholm, Francesca Choy-Kee, Johnny Lee Davenport, Akil Davis, Elizabeth Flax, Kate Gilligan, Keith Grant, Dennist Green, Robert Jason Jackson, Osage Lewis-Ashley, Charles Parnell, Tom Pennacchini and Nicky Walker
Abingdon Theatre
It is1968 when Harry Atwater leaves Ohio for the music and energy of Harlem. Will his dreams for the kids of 132nd Street be enough to keep them away from the violence and rage that is slowly taking over their neighborhood?

Abundance
written and directed by Marty Pottenger (City Water Tunnel #3, 1998)
with Rhetta Aleong, Cecilia Arana-Grant, Robert Arcaro, Sam Gordon, Annie Lanzillotto and Linda Mancini
Abingdon Theatre
Abundance (abundanceproject.net) is a tragic musical comedy based on a community arts performance project about the ways that people of different classes, races and ages negotiate economics in their daily lives.

17th Season 2001 - 2002

Workshop Festival 2001

The 7th of October
commissioned by The Working Theater
by Linda Faigao-Hall
directed by Mark Plesent
with Robert Arcaro, Ted Deasy, Sarah Gifford, Ernest Mingione, Ramon de Ocampo, Thom Rivera, Curtis Mark Williams and William Wise
Access Theater
High above the rest of Manhattan, the worksite of a skyscraper in progress is its own insular world. When a gay man shatters that world by coming out to his coworkers, it will take more than concrete and steel to rebuild it.  A frank look at the insidious nature of intolerance, The 7th of October takes the audience on an emotional roller coaster ride through the terrain of human sexuality.

Abundance
commissioned by The Working Theater
written and directed by Marty Pottenger
original music by Terry Dame
with Sam Gordon, Darci Picoult, Socorro Santiago and John Douglas Thompson
with musicians Terry Dame, Julian Hintz and Danielle Jablonski
Access Theater
Obie-award winner, Marty Pottenger takes the nation’s economic temperature in this tragic musical comedy on the taboo world of household budgets, bank accounts and credit cards. Developed through two years of interviews with millionaires and minimum wage workers across the United States, Abundance asks “How much do we have?” and “What is enough?” (http://abundanceproject.net)

Reconstruction
commissioned by The Working Theater
by Herman Daniel Farrell III
directed by John Steber
with June Ballinger, Jon Krupp, Tracey A. Leigh, Novella Nelson, Charles Parnell and Stephen Schnetzer
Access Theater
“I know nothing, I am nothing,” a young black woman suffering from amnesia tells her doctor in a Manhattan psychiatric hospital.  The attempt to reconstruct her memory from fragments leads to extraordinary revelations about race, identity and ultimately, the foundation of knowledge.

6th Annual Reading Series

The Orion
by Tom Minter
directed by Godfrey L. Simmons, Jr.
with Robert Arcaro, Sean Baldwin,Cynthia Boorujy, Chris Cerraso,  Charlotte Colavin, David Garone, Jeffrey Joseph, Vernice Miller, Lizan Mitchell, Justice Pratt, Souleyé Rasheed and Reena Shah
Manhattan Ensemble Theater
Producers cast a black man as a superhero in the new television series The Orion, but will they let the audience see his face? Tom Minter interweaves ideas of sex, race and modern mythology in this multimedia exploration.

Reconstruction
commissioned by The Working Theater
by Herman Daniel Farrell III
directed by John Steber
with Sam Freed, Laurie Kennedy, Novella Nelson, Charles Parnell, Kelly Taff and Joseph Urla
Manhattan Ensemble Theater

Temp Slave: The Musical!
by Catherine Capellaro and Andrew Rohn
directed by Daniel Goldstein
with Bob Arcaro, Bob Barth, Constance Boardman, Kate Gilligan, Michael Holmes, Erin Maguire, Patrick Mellen, Braden Miles, Ellen Mitenthal, Noah Weisberg and Itanza Wooden
Manhattan Ensemble Theater
What could bring together a single mom in a back-to-work program, a musician looking for his big break, a journalist, a painter, and a rebel lawyer who refuses to adjust to corporate life?  You’ll find out when these plucky temps tackle a right-wing plot to break the last of the unions and turn the economy over to temp agencies.

16th Season 2000 - 2001

Main Stage Production

Free Market

commissioned by The Working Theater and Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey
by Jim Grimsley, Julie Jensen, Sachi Oyama, OyamO, Guillermo Reyes, Elaine Romero, Karen Sunde and William Wise
Directed by Joseph Megel with Constance Boardman, Arthur French, Lourdes Martin, Godfrey L. Simmons Jr., Felix Solis, and Eunice Wong
with Constance Boardman, Arthur French, Lourdes Martin, Godfrey L. Simmons, Jr., Felix Solis and Eunice Wong
Eight playwrights explore the meaning of work and the individual’s relationship to it in this evening of ten-minute plays.

ACT I:
Fire Drill by William Wise
2020 Sex Care by Karen Sunde
Day of our Dead by Elaine Romero
Kickin’ Summit by OyamO
ACT II:
Free Market by Jim Grimsley
Bring Us This Day by Julie Jensen
Poodlesby Sachi Oyama
The Border Crossers Lounge by Guillermo Reyes

“Considering how much time the average urban adult devotes to work these days, the subject doesn’t get much attention in theater, film and television. Many of those workplace-based sitcoms, from “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” to “Ally McBeal” are mostly about personality, camaraderie, or personal growth. “Free Market” is mostly about the work itself . . . an intriguing collection of short plays.” Anita Gates, The New York Times, June 9, 2001

“Despite the assumption that most workers now fit a sort of cubicle-corralled Dilbert archetype, each play makes a strong argument for the diversity of the American workplace.” Name, New York Magazine, June 11, 2001

5th Annual Reading Series
Free Market (The Working Project)
commissioned by The Working Theater and Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey
by Jim Grimsley, Julie Jensen, Sachi Oyama, OyamO, Guillermo Reyes, Elaine Romero, Karen Sunde, Ching Valdes-Aran, Dolores Whiskeyman and William Wise
directed by Joseph Megel
with Constance Boardman, Elisabeth Lewis Corley, Carlo D’Amore, Kevin R. Free, Arthur French and Zabryna Guevra<
The American Place Theater
Ten playwrights explore the meaning of work through the eyes of an actor, a sex care worker, a folk healer, an office worker, a farmer, members of a black caucus and a poodle stylist.

The 7th of October
commissioned by The Working Theater
by Linda Faigao-Hall
directed by Mark Plesent
with Robert Arcaro, Constance Boardman, Jude Chavez, Sarah Gifford, Peter Herman, Ernest Mingione, Dean Nolan and William Wise
American Place Theater
An exploration of the life of Ron Woods, the first gay United Auto Workers union delegate.

Affirmative Action
commissioned by The Working Theater
by Herman Daniel Farrell III
directed by John Steber
with Christina Apathy, Larry Block, Mike Hodge, Rochelle Hogue, Larry Keith, Rosemary Knower, Jon Krupp, Akili Prince and Brenda Thomas
American Place Theater
A black admissions officer and a white professor in a small liberal arts college try to put aside irreconcilable differences and fall in love.

Waiter, Waiter
by David Simpatico
directed by Steven Williford
with Randy Danson, Jerry Dixon, Saidah Arrika Ekulona, Bill Flatley, Jennifer Gibbs, Emily Loesser, Robert Montano, Pamela Newkirk-Arkin, Robert Strickstein, Susan Wilbur and Jane Young
American Place Theater
A brutally honest look at life, love, sex, death and decaffeinated coffee.

15th Season 1999 - 2000

Main Stage Production

Tabletop

World Premiere
by Robert Ackerman
directed by Connie Grappo
with Rob Bartlett, Harvy Blanks, Jack Koenig, Dean Nolen, Elizabeth Hanly Rice, Jeremy Webb
American Place Theater
Nominated for two Drama Desk Awards, winner of special Drama Desk Award for outstanding Ensemble Performance
Tabletop takes you into the crisis-a-minute world of a TV commercial film studio which provides the product shot, or close-up, of the item the advertisers would like to convince you is absolutely essential to your well-being and survival. The play spans an afternoon of desperate re-shoots in the studio of Marcus Gordon, an autocratic director negotiating the slippery slope of advertising’s A-list. Egos clash and burn, truths are revealed and concealed, people survive their jobs, and the work survives the pathology of the workplace. Tension and hilarity alternate unexpectedly as Marcus and his crew pursues the perfect beauty shot of the hero, a pink fruit drink with a swirl on top.

Tabletop is the best new American play in quite awhile” Donald Lyons, New York Post, July 19, 2000

“Dean Taucher. . . has turned the performance space into a photographic studio so filled with authentic tools and equipment that it practically drags you into it. And the six people working in it put so much pressure on each other in pursuit of the perfect commercial that after 100 minutes you feel like slouching home to a friendly gin bottle. . . Mr. Ackerman has long been a property master for films, television commercials and shows, and he has acute eyes and ears for telling details.” D.J.R. Bruckner, The New York Times, July 25, 2000

“Two Davids, Story and Mamet, have popularized the workplace play, a genre to which Rob Ackerman now contributes his highly estimable Tabletop. The title refers to TV commercials that are usually shot on a tabletop. The author is a practicing property master, and even if he is not a master dramatist, his observation, hearing, and orchestration are masterly enough.” John Simon,New York Magazine, August 14, 2000

4th Annual Reading Series

Radium Girls
by Dolores Whiskeyman
directed by Joseph Megel
with Robert Carr, George Castillo, Donna Davis, Danielle Delgado, Shoshana Kuttner, Jim Ligon, Keith Randolph Smith, Jamie Sorrentini and Inger Tudor
American Place Theater
1926: Radium is a miracle cure, Marie Curie is an international celebrity and glow-in-the-dark watches the latest rage-until girls who paint them begin to die.

Tabletop

by Robert Ackerman
directed by Constance Grappo
with Talia Balsam, Rick Banks, Guy Boyd, Alex Draper, David Fonteno and John Slattery
American Place Theater
Tabletop takes you into the crisis-a-minute world of a TV commercial film studio which provides the product shot, or close-up, of the item the advertisers would like to convince you is absolutely essential to your well-being and survival.

The 7th of October
World Premiere
by Linda Faigao-Hall
directed by Mark Plesent
with Robert Arcaro, Emily Franzosa, Michael John Garces, Sarah Gifford, Ernest Mingione, Matt Saldivar, Edward Tully, Inger Tudor and William Wise
American Place Theater

Cheat
by Julie Jensen
directed by Elizabeth Murphy
with June Ballinger, Elisabeth Lewis Corley, Hank Fandel and Juanita Vega
American Place Theater
Life ain’t fair. Neither is Love. And that’s a cheat. Four women in a munitions factory a few weeks before the end of World War II.

14th Season 1998 - 1999

Mainstage Production

Belmont Avenue Social Club

New York Premiere
by Bruce Graham
directed by Constance Grappo
with Malachy Cleary, David Kener, Ernest Mingione, Michael Moran, and William Wise
INTAR Theatre
Efforts to rig the outcome of a City Council election bring to the forefront issues that the members of the Belmont Avenue Social Club have tried to avoid for years. By struggling to preserve their neighborhood as they know it five men are forced to confront racism, the media, and eventually, the betrayal of trust.
Belmont Avenue Social Club  is one of those rare plays that seems to tip its hand at the end of the first act, only to stun you with surprising developments and reversals at he end of the second . . . .you’re guaranteed a rewarding ride when it reaches its conclusion.” David Kaufman, Daily News, April 24, 1999
“Run to see this play.”Aisle Say, May 1999

3rd Annual Reading Series

The Fat-Free Chicana and the Snowcap Queen
by Elaine Romero
directed by Michael John Garces
with Cecelia Arana, April Cantor, Jesse Ontiveros, Mary Perez, Carlos Rafart and Jeannette Torruella de Plaza
American Place Theater
Returning to her family’s restaurant to save them from their artery-hardening ways, a student of dietetics rediscovers her cultural heritage and learns that a little lard goes a long way.

The Art of Waiting
by Rob Shin
American Place Theater
A Korean-American man waits tables at a Chinese restaurant and is forced to confront his own racism.

Belmont Avenue Social Club
by Bruce Graham
directed by Constance Grappo
with Malachy Cleary, David Kener, Ernest Mingione, Michael Moran, and William Wise
American Place Theater
In this candid look at the back-room politics of a city council election in a working class neighborhood in Philadelphia, tensions run high as a group of friends must choose their candidate and make a tough decision between loyalty and honesty.

Blue Collar Bay
by Stephen Axelrod and Elizabeth Karlin
performed by Stephen Axelrod
American Place Theater
In a neighborhood where union cards are handed down from father to son, Stephen Axelrod dares to look for something different.  From Daily News truck driver to marine to high-powered stockbroker, he takes us on a personal journey to understand his father, himself and the value of work.

13th Season 1997 - 1998

Mainstage Production

City Water Tunnel #3

written and performed by Marty Pottenger
original music by Steve Elson
directed by Jayne Austin Williams
The Judith Anderson Theatre
An Obie-award-winning piece by Marty Pottenger, which tells the story of the planning, building, and financing of the largest non-defense public works project in the Western Hemisphere- the building of a third water tunnel to insure the continued delivery of water to all of New York City from the upstate watershed regions.  The cost so far: several million dollars and 24 human lives.
“…Marty Pottenger establishes a city water delivery system as the backdrop for an often lyrical show that speaks with intimate knowledge and yes, even love, about holes in the ground and the people who drill them…the approach is a blend of Studs Terkel, Anna Deavere Smith and Pete Seeger.” Peter Marks, The New York Times, June 9, 1998

2nd Annual Reading Series

Technical Support
by Dan O’Brien
American Place Theater
Wife. Baby. Mortgage.  Greg’s finally landed the dream job.  But, must he sell his soul to make it through his first day?

God, Sex, and Blue Water
by Linda Faigao-Hall
American Place Theater
New to America, a Filipina mystic experiences a crisis of faith when she falls in love with an irresistible Wall Street broker.

The Ballad of Lily from Hell
by David Grimm
American Place Theater
A pair of petty criminals cross paths with a 328 year old vampire and her henchman.  Blood is thicker than water and tastes a helluva lot better.

Madame Killer
by Honour Kane and Diana Kane
American Place Theater
Calculated to excite the most jaded playgoer, this howling, screaming, knock down drag out conglomeration has no duplicate on the American stage.

12th Season 1996 - 1997

Mainstage Production

A Drop in the Bucket

by Edward Belling
directed by Mark Plesent
with Dolores Sutton, Carol Morley, Bill Wise, and Randy Frazier
The Judith Anderson Theatre
Retired widow Bea is content to watch “Jeopardy” and bake cookies for her son’s weekly visits, until she is befriended by a neighbor who introduces her to the excitement of Atlantic City.
“Playwright Edward Belling has fashioned an understated comedy out of the humdrum loneliness of aging  . . . as directed by Mark Plesent, it’s a theatrical chamber piece of curious charm, full of quietly revelatory details.” Pamela Renner, Time Out New York, June 5, 1997
“Expert performances.” Lawrence Van Gelder, The New York Times, June 4, 1997

The Working Theatre Works
Workshop Productions
Working it Out
Excerpts from Construction Stories and City Water Tunnel #3
written, directed and performed by Marty Pottenger
The Judith Anderson Theatre

Selections from Marty Pottenger’s 1996 Obie0Award Winning City Water Tunnel #3about NYC’s largest public works project as told through the collected stories of the people building the tunnel; and Construction Stories.  An intimate and informal evening with Pottenger, a progressive lesbian Garrison Keillor.  Working It Out makes use of everyday humor, cliff-hanging suspense and ordinarily eloquent tales.

Security
by Herman Daniel Farrell III
directed by David Greenspan
with Larry Block, Gary Brownlee, Anita Dashill, Alice Haining and Tommy Hollis
The Judith Anderson Theatre
This one-act chronicles a decade in the lives of two coworkers.  At the height of the boom-boom 80s, an investment banker confronts a building security guard and sparks fly.  Through subsequent terminations and arbitrations, Farrell deftly examines the disparity of the safety nets available to each man- a disparity based on race and class.

Low Rent WASP
written and performed by Honour Kane
directed by Diana Kane
The Judith Anderson Theatre
If you can’t hack it, get a job at the Gap selling socks. This solo performance piece takes you deep into the bladder of a vertically integrated media giant.  Corporate politics, self doubt, overblown egos and unanticipated aneurysm rage.

1st Annual Reading Series

Porchmonkey
by Kim Dunbar
directed by Karen Frillman
with Alvin Alexis, Starla Benford, Maude Boylan, Chad Coleman, Justin Collins, Randy Frazier, Regina Herod, Ron McLarty, Ramon Moses, Renee Joshua Porter and Jay Scully
The American Place Theater
Lisa’s boss is on the campaign trail again!  Just how much will she mutilate her identity to get this Republican senator back in office?

Madame Killer
by Honour Kane
directed by David Greenspan
with Mark Johannas, Mark Margolis, John McAdams, Molly Powell, Laurie Wickens and Caroline Winterson
The American Place Theater

Manhattan in 1878 is a city rife with vice and sin.  In Madam’s stately drawing room there are bones under the floor.

The Last Stand of Owen Tobias
by David Grimm
directed by Mark Brokaw
with Larry Block, Jennifer Harmon, Florencia Lozano, Thomas Pennacchini, Zack Shaffer, Victor Slezak and Janet Zarish
The American Place Theater
Ahhh, suburbia: Home of the entitled white male, failing marriages and spiritual decay.  Something’s gotta give, something’s gotta give, something’s gotta give or it will explode.

Running Tab
by Herman Daniel Farrell III
directed by Julie Boyd
with Logan Ernsthall, Alexandra Geis, Gail Grate, Paul McCrane and Rich Topol
The American Place Theater
At the dinner that never ends, a couple of guys meet to eat, drink, be merry and rap about the daily grind, life and race.  Later, when a sister drops by, throw gender into the blender.  The whole time the tab keeps running away from itself and ultimately, who pays for the unbred attitudes that alienate us?

11th Season 1995 - 1996

Union Reading Series Tour

A Drop in the Bucket
by Edward Belling
with Robert Arcaro, Randy Frazier, Phyllis Somerville and Dolores Sutton
Retired widow Bea is content to watch “Jeopardy” and bake cookies for her son’s weekly visits, until she is befriended by a neighbor who introduces her to the excitement of Atlantic City.