Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Call for Original Scripts: The Seven Deadly "Winks"!


Wide Eyed Productions is hosting our second installment of the WINKS Reading Series, but this time with a twist! We will be focusing exclusively on original plays by local NYC playwrights! Wide Eyed Productions is excited to continue its work on new American plays like the award winning Animals by Sam Byron and the upcoming New York premiere of Dan Kitrosser's Dead Special Crabs, but we had such a good response to our last reading series, we wanted the fun to continue.

Presenting:
THE SEVEN DEADLY WINKS

Each month at the Drama League Center, we will feature a twenty minute segment from three original works by three different writers which are related to, or inspired by, that month’s “sin.” At the end of each night the audience will be invited to select their favorite of the evening by casting an anonymous ballot. The majority favorite will be named a semifinalist and be invited to submit a full text* to Wide Eyed Productions’ Artistic Board for consideration for our final round.

Two overall finalists will be chosen and given a full staged reading of their plays at the end of the WINKS series, and one winning text will be chosen based on audience and board votes. This winning text will then be submitted to the New York International Fringe Festival for production.
What you need to know:
  • The play does not need to be a World Premiere.
  • The play does not need to be a fully completed text when it is initially submitted.
  • Musicals will be considered as long as they are submitted with a music sample.
  • Directors and casts will be provided by Wide Eyed, but we love it when you have suggestions for people you love to work with!
  • Please submit selections of text, treatments, and other support material to winks@wideeyedproductions.com along with the “sin(s)” you think it matches by January 15, 2014.
* The full text is not to exceed a 90-minute estimated run time. Semifinalists will be given a deadline for submissions of full texts.

Happy writing!

Kristin Skye Hoffmann
Artistic Director

Monday, September 16, 2013

Glitz, Glamour & the Lowdown: Our Gala is September 28th!


Melissa Johnson
Wide Eyed Productions is proud to announce its first annual Gala event, which will be taking place on Saturday, September 28th. We caught up with Wide Eyed Board member and Events chair Melissa Johnson to find out what delights await our guests attending this very special celebration. 
  • Let’s talk about glitz and glamour first. Can you tell us a little bit about Dune Studios, where the event will be held this year? What’s your inspiration in terms of décor for the Gala?
Dune Studios is a beautiful professional photography studio and event space in the heart of SoHo. Guests will travel up to the top floor of the space at 121 Varick Street, and be greeted with stunning views of the city through the almost floor to ceiling windows. The space itself is very minimal and we don’t want to take away from that too much, so you will see a lot of small details in the décor. Twinkling lights, hints of gold accents and our signature red and black here and there. 
  • I hear we have some fantastic sponsors for this year’s event, yes?
Absolutely! We are very lucky to have such amazing support for this event. Our official sponsor for this event is Stone Creek Bar and Lounge, which has been such a huge supporter of Wide Eyed for many years. Jon Pirozzi, the owner, is a good friend to Wide Eyed and will be providing the beer for the evening, as well as something small for our swag bags. We’ve also just gotten the support of a local vineyard Lieb Cellars from North Fork, who will be providing some of our wine for the event. We are very excited to have them involved!  Also good friend and huge supporter to Wide Eyed, Tim Butterfield, provided us with some delicious wine, as well. He was the first one to come out and hand me a donation several months ago; now the big night's just a couple of weeks away!  
  • Word is we have some truly impressive items up for bidding in our silent auction.  Can you share with us what items will be crossing the auction block?
Thanks to Charity Fundraising Packages, we have some truly amazing celebrity autographed memorabilia to auction off this year. We've never held a silent auction like this before, but they are such an amazing organization to work with, that we just had to give it a shot. Some of the items guests will have an opportunity to have bidding wars over: An electric guitar signed by Sir Paul McCartney; a framed Star Wars Movie Poster signed by 10 of the original cast members; a framed, autographed photograph of Michael Jackson; a framed, autographed photograph of Taylor Swift; an autographed record album signed by U2; and an autographed record album signed by Billy Joel

Those are just the celebrity items. We also have restaurant gift certificates, exercise equipment, and headshot sessions. There truly is something for everyone so bring those checkbooks and credit cards because all donations are tax deductible! 
  • As a performing arts organization, it just makes sense that Wide Eyed would include live performances during the course of the evening. What can our glamorous Gala audience expect to see and hear on September 28? 
We will start the evening with a little background music in the way of a live jazz piano set provided by Asen Doykin, then we will get into the performance program for the evening. Guests will see a short set by Wide Eyed’s new improv troupe, Real. Good. Spies. I am very excited about that; they are hilarious and I know they have been working very hard! After their set, we are going to get a sneak preview performance into a play that we read during our "Winks" series: Dan Kitrosser's Dead Special Crabs. I can’t say too much about what we will see, but I guarantee it will be highly entertaining.  
  • I hear we may have some paparazzi and creative photo opportunities at the event.  I don’t want to give away *all* the secrets, but are there more special treats in store for our Gala guests?
All I can say is dress to impress, because you will be having your photo taken! And be ready to have some fun with us, because we want to enfold all of our guests into the Wide Eyed world, and by the end of the night we should be able to show everyone what it feels like to be on stage with us.  
  • I know that some people would love to come to our first Gala, but time or distance may make that a challenge. How can our fans still participate as “patrons of the arts” from a distance? 
We completely understand that not everyone will be able to make it out to this event this time, but if you would still like to support Wide Eyed Productions and our next season, which is going to prove to be our most impressive undertaking yet, we appreciate any and all donations no matter how big or small. Donations can be made via our website, and all donations are tax-deductible. Also, look out for announcements for ways to get involved in our upcoming season! We are going to have lots of opportunities for artists in our area.  We are so thankful to our supporters everywhere; there are so many that have been with us from the beginning and we would be nowhere without our families, friends and fans. We have been waiting to throw and event like this for years, and we can’t believe it’s finally happening. We just know those who do attend will not be disappointed. 
  • Final question: Are tickets still available? Where can those be purchased, and can our last minute guests still get tickets at the door? 
Tickets are absolutely still available, and can be purchased through our website. You will also be able to get tickets at the door (credit card only), but I suggest getting them ahead of time. Also, I can’t stress this enough: The event starts at 7pm. I would highly suggest showing up on time! There will be a lot going on that starts right at 7, and some events will not be happening all night. You won’t want to miss anything! We'll see you at the Gala!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Killing It in Scotland

photo via production team of High Plains: A Western Myth
Much love and heartfelt congratulations to Wide Eyed company member Ben Newman, and to our dear friends Anthony Reimer and Brian Watkins. Watkins's High Plains (produced along with another haunting work by Watkins, My Daughter Keeps Our Hammer, as "The Prairie Plays" by Wide Eyed in 2010) is yet again proving itself to be a fascinating bit of theatre, this time at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Don't just take our word for it. Check out the reviews here.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Wide Eyed: On Board





photos by Kristin Skye Hoffmann
This past weekend set the stage for a passionate, productive Board retreat for Wide Eyed, and we are so grateful for the many talented people who are committed to working toward our future. Exciting things are happening:  New projects, new visions...And did we mention our upcoming Gala this September? Stay tuned.

Monday, July 1, 2013

A "Wink" and a REBORNING on Tuesday, July 9


The FREE "Winks" reading series concludes with

Reborning

by Zayd Dohrn

Directed by Jeremy Pape


Opening Act:  Kelley Swindall!

Kelley began playing original music at Banjo's Jim's in the East Village in 2008. Soon after that, she became the host of the Sunday music nights at the legendary St. Mark's haunt "The Holiday Cocktail Lounge" up until its closing in January 2012. She continues to play regularly throughout NYC, as well as her native South. When not playing music, she's acting, and is a member of The Amoralist Theater Company.

July 9, 2013

Doors open @ 6:30pm
Kelley Swindall @ 7:00pm 
REBORNING @ 7:30pm 

All performances are at The Underground Lounge
955 West End Avenue @ 107th St
New York, NY 10025

Tickets are Free, Space is Limited



In Reborning, Kelly, a pill popping addict, is a sculptor of dolls who gets a new client, Emily, a woman mourning a decades-old tragedy. As these two work together to create the perfect doll, both women are haunted by experiences from their past. This dark comedy will leave you on the edge of your seat as art and life intertwine.

Director Jeremy Duncan Pape holds a BFA in acting ('04) from Philadelphia’s University of the Arts and an MFA in directing ('12) from the New School for Drama.  Recent directing credits include Mr. Pape's new adaptation of Georg Büchner's Woyzeck at NSD, The Last Days by Carlos Cisco, Waste of Space by Bill Winegardner and William Whitehurst's Knuckleball, which won best drama and best overall production at the San Francisco Fringe in 2008.  In addition, he recently acted as assistant director for the Amoralists’ Amerrisiah as well as Hamlet with the Brooklyn Stage Company.  Jeremy performed design work for the Amoralists’ critically acclaimed 2008-2011 seasons at PS-122 and Theater 80 as well as White Rabbit’s award winning Meredith’s Ring (best one-act or short play, Planet Connections, ’09). From 2006-2010 he was the Associate Artistic Director and Technical Director of EndTimes Productions, a Manhattan based production company.  Currently, Jeremy is the Production Manager for the Amoralists.  www.theamoralists.com

 
ABOUT THE "WINKS" SERIES:

Dec 11, 2012 - July 9, 2013
The second Tuesday of every month! 

Wide Eyed Productions is embarking on a season of development as they explore new works, revisit the classics, and reimagine some of the best plays in the contemporary canon. This season predicates future seasons by workshopping and reading plays to excite and invigorate  theatergoers and the production company alike. Through a series of readings open to the public, Wide Eyed Productions aims to strike a chord within ourselves and the community.

This season of “Winks” is intended to develop work that will further define Wide Eyed as a company, as well as its place in the New York arts world. Every reading will give the audience a chance to have a voice on what Wide Eyed produces in its seventh season, as well as build support for the company and all of its talented members. We’ve picked our favorite contenders, and by attending and giving your feedback, you can help shape the next season at Wide Eyed.

UPCOMING:

Please join us for Wide Eyed Productions' first Gala Fundraiser,
which will be held at Dune Studios on September 28, 2013.

You can still get your tickets at the "Early-Bird" rate of $80 through July 9.
Cocktails & appetizers included. Join us!
Buy your tickets now at http://wideeyedproductions.eventbrite.com


Monday, June 10, 2013

Say "Yes, and..." to tomorrow's reading of TALLGRASS GOTHIC

Members of our improv troupe ready themselves to open for our *free* staged reading of TALLGRASS GOTHIC tomorrow night at The Underground Lounge

Doors open at 6:30pm. Check out the Facebook invite for details.

photo by Chloe Lewis

Thursday, June 6, 2013

TALLGRASS GOTHIC "Winks" on Tuesday, June 11


The FREE "Winks" reading series continues with

Tallgrass Gothic

by Melanie Marnich

Directed by Kristin Skye Hoffmann


Opening Act:
The Premiere of Wide Eyed's Improv Troupe!

June 11, 2013

Doors open @ 6:30pm
Wide Eyed Improv @ 7:00pm 
TALLGRASS GOTHIC @ 7:30pm 


All performances are at The Underground Lounge
955 West End Avenue @ 107th St
New York, NY 10025

Tickets are Free, Space is Limited


The longing, isolation, desire and fear of the classic Jacobean tragedy The Changeling are transported to the Great Plains of the Midwest in this haunting tale. At the center of the story is Laura, whose need to leave her small, rural home and controlling husband is ignited when she falls in love with a man who offers her escape and a future. But in this place where history and its ghosts populate the landscape, Laura's hunger for a new beginning sets off a violent chain of events that leads her not out of town, but to a profound (and terrifying) understanding of her true nature.

 
ABOUT THE "WINKS" SERIES:

Dec 11, 2012- June 4, 2013
The second Tuesday of every month! 

Wide Eyed Productions is embarking on a season of development as they explore new works, revisit the classics, and reimagine some of the best plays in the contemporary canon. This season predicates future seasons by workshopping and reading plays to excite and invigorate  theatergoers and the production company alike. Through a series of readings open to the public, Wide Eyed Productions aims to strike a chord within ourselves and the community.

This season of “Winks” is intended to develop work that will further define Wide Eyed as a company, as well as its place in the New York arts world. Every reading will give the audience a chance to have a voice on what Wide Eyed produces in its seventh season, as well as build support for the company and all of its talented members. We’ve picked our favorite contenders, and by attending and giving your feedback, you can help shape the next season at Wide Eyed.

UPCOMING:

July 9 - Reborning by Zayd Dohrn

And...

 ~ Save the Date: September 28, 2013 ~

Please join us for Wide Eyed Productions' first Gala Fundraiser!
It will be held at the beautiful Dune Studios.
Buy your tickets now at http://wideeyedproductions.eventbrite.com


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Wide Eyed goes 501(c)(3): Co-founder + Board chair Liz White breaks it down for us

Liz White
Wide Eyed Productions is proud to announce its official not-for-profit 501(c)(3) status. We caught up with Wide Eyed co-founder and Board chair Liz White to find out exactly what that means for the company and its donors. 
  • In addition to being one of the founders of Wide Eyed Productions, you currently serve as its Board chair. What exactly does that role entail, and what's your favorite part about it? Least favorite part?  
Right now, Wide Eyed is building its Board and bringing in new talents and skill-sets. We are really working on getting out of the “founding” Board stage, and moving into the “governing” Board stage. As a result, my role has been building the infrastructure of the Board by creating functioning Board committees, engaging in strategic planning and requiring full Board participation in fundraising, and so much more.  

My favorite part is working with all the bright and committed Board members. I work with non-profit Boards in my work life and I can say, hands down, this is the most active Board I have ever worked with. It’s a rarity if someone can’t participate.  

I can’t say I have a least favorite part, but there are definitely challenges. The biggest challenge is that our budget is small and we don’t have a staff. As a result, the Board fills in the gaps where a staff member would normally in other organizations. It makes it difficult to get out of the founding Board stage when you still have to operate like a grassroots organization. Slowly but surely!  
  • Wide Eyed has, up until now, been operating under the umbrella of a fiscal sponsor organization (Fractured Atlas). Can you please explain what that means, in civilian terms?
Basically, [operating under] Fractured Atlas allows organizations to use [Fractured Atlas’s] non-profit identification number so the organization can fundraise and give their donors tax receipt letters. An organization would choose to be fiscally-sponsored if they didn’t want the legal responsibility of being a 501(c)(3), were [a] very small [organization], only did programs every so once in a while, and/or didn’t want to go through all the paperwork to be independent. When Wide Eyed first started, we didn’t know where we were headed, so it made sense. Now, we need more independence. It means more work for the Board because we need to have strong financial controls in place and proven Board leadership, but it also means we can apply for grants without going through a third party. We can throw our first annual gala; we can pay people in our shows; we have a direct cash flow and don’t have to ask Fractured Atlas to release funds, etc.  
  • What upcoming activities or funding opportunities can Wide Eyed look forward to now as a 501(c)(3) organization?  
Grants, grants, grants!!! Bigger and better events!!!  
  • Speaking of bigger and better events, Wide Eyed has its first annual gala coming up in September, which we are very excited about. Can you tell us a little bit about how not-for-profit status will benefit our donors?  
With our 501(c)(3) status, any donation we receive is a tax-deductible donation, whether it is for an auction item, or a ticket, or just a general donation. The benefit is going to be rockin’, so be sure to buy your tickets for the gala before the early bird special ends in July!  
  • Did you foresee Wide Eyed becoming at 501(c)(3) organization when the company was first started? How does it feel to know, after seven years, we're "official"?  
It’s amazing! I am always so proud of Wide Eyed Productions and how far it has come. It is definitely the members that have made this happen, and I am super grateful for the amazingly talented and committed people I get to work with at this organization.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A "Wink" & Smile with Broadway veteran Ken Jennings

Ken Jennings
Ken Jennings is working with Wide Eyed Productions for the first time, but his support of the company goes back to his days acting with co-founder Sky Seals in the Off-Broadway premiere of Sessions at the Algonquin Theatre. Ken originated the role of Tobias on Broadway in Sweeney Todd (Drama Desk Award – Outstanding Featured Actor), and was also on Broadway in Side Show, Urinetown, and Grand Hotel. Ken’s extensive film and television work includes “Law & Order” (NBC) and  “Mildred Pierce” (HBO).
  • Youʼll be performing in our staged reading of Proof as part of our “Winks” series. No doubt many people in our audience will be familiar with your work on Broadway. Can you share with us a bit about your most recent project?  
Too early to say. Been offered one job; another in the works. But don’t know if negotiations will work out. My 10-year-old son, Brendan, is with me every weekend.  So every job has to work around him.  For most jobs, they have to be in NYC or close to it.  If they’re a bit away from NYC, I have to figure out how Iʼm going to get Brendan to me on the weekend. I never speak about possibilities until theyʼre definite. 
  • I believe you are originally from Jersey City. Growing up, did you spend a lot of time at the theatre? When did you know that you wanted to be an actor? How did you get started? 
I was always doing plays and improvs. I didnʼt see any professional theatre until high school. But my friends and I were always acting out the movies weʼd seen and changing them to fit our tastes:  TV westerns from the 50s; the monster films; the Hercules movies. All such ideas (and more) were our source materials. We even gave out awards among ourselves each week. There were three of us: me, Johnny, and Billy. The other two boys usually gave me the acting award each week. Johnny was usually given the directorial award. Johnny and I usually split the writing award. Poor Billy rarely was awarded anything. But he always played with us. 

I chose the high school I attended because they did two full productions a year - most other schools did one. I attended college on a dramatic scholarship. I got my first Broadway show (All Godʼs Chillunʼ Got Wings) from an EPI - Equity Principal Interview. They didnʼt have to audition you in those days...didnʼt have to speak to you at all, just had to look at you and accept your picture and resume. They were looking for a short Irish gangster. I went to the EPI and got the part. 
  • Who or what do you consider to have been your biggest creative influences to date? Why? 
Well, no doubt that a really big creative influence on me was George C. Scott. He directed All Godʼs Chillunʼ Got Wings  He also directed and starred in Present Laughter on Broadway (I replaced Nathan Lane in that one). George was so powerful. The best director of comedy Iʼve ever worked with. No one else has even come close. George was like a metronome. Heʼd tell you the exact timing - the exact beat - on which to get the laugh. He was exact and correct. And, oddly enough, often quite drunk. But heʼd get on that stage and it was as if a demon or angel suddenly possessed him. The audience never saw his drunkenness (even though he would often be quite literally stumbling backstage). And, when he directed the OʼNeill, he was like a locomotive. He showed one poor actor how he wanted a certain monologue done. But no one could do it like George. Only George could bring that power. I remember watching him do the monologue and feeling like I was pinned to the back of my chair. 
  • Can you describe for us what your favorite part is of the creative process before a show opens? And once youʼve opened, do you have a particular pre-show ritual that you engage in before curtain? If so, is it something you can share with us? 
It varies. I love the shadowy, blue lights black stage. The darkness inches from the bright lights. The solitude, the quiet. I love dropping exhausted on a rehearsal floor, half-sleeping in the dust of a rehearsal floor, especially if the floor is quaking with tap dancers. 
  • Do you have any additional projects coming up that youʼd like to tell us about? 
Nothing I can share at this time (as I was typing this, I was interrupted by my agent with an update on negotiations). Iʼve had to say no to a number of things. Brendan has to fit into the picture. Brendan was born two weeks before my 55th birthday. Iʼve had a lifetime of being an actor - got my first professional job when I was 19 - but only 10 years of being a father. So Brendan gets priority.

Monday, May 6, 2013

The PROOF is in the "Wink" on Tuesday, May 14


The FREE "Winks" reading series continues with

Proof 

by David Auburn

Directed by Celine Rosenthal


Opening Act: Rachel Gavaletz
Rachel Gavaletz is a singer/songwriter, jazz chanteuse, electro-pop alien performer, and animal advocate hailing from Seattle, WA. Being a professional musician for nearly twenty years, she takes pride in her chameleon approach to the business, and enjoys finding new ways to bring her training and passion for several genres to her art. 

May 14, 2013

Doors open @ 6:30pm
Rachel Gavaletz @ 7:00pm 
PROOF @ 7:30pm 


All performances are at The Underground Lounge
955 West End Avenue @ 107th St
New York, NY 10025

Tickets are Free, Space is Limited


Proof is the story of Catherine, the twenty-something daughter of an esteemed mathematician, who is mourning the passing of her brilliant, yet mentally unstable father. She meets and befriends Hal, her father’s protégé, who finds a proof in her home of a mathematical theorem once thought impossible to solve. She claims she wrote it, but did she? Proof is the story of human relationships that prove to be just as difficult as solving a mathematical theorem.


ABOUT THE "WINKS" SERIES:

Dec 11, 2012- June 4, 2013
The second Tuesday of every month! 

Wide Eyed Productions is embarking on a season of development as they explore new works, revisit the classics, and reimagine some of the best plays in the contemporary canon. This season predicates future seasons by workshopping and reading plays to excite and invigorate  theatergoers and the production company alike. Through a series of readings open to the public, Wide Eyed Productions aims to strike a chord within ourselves and the community.

This season of “Winks” is intended to develop work that will further define Wide Eyed as a company, as well as its place in the New York arts world. Every reading will give the audience a chance to have a voice on what Wide Eyed produces in its seventh season, as well as build support for the company and all of its talented members. We’ve picked our favorite contenders, and by attending and giving your feedback, you can help shape the next season at Wide Eyed.

UPCOMING:

June 11 - TBD
July 9 - Reborning by Zayd Dohrn

And...

 ~ Save the Date: September 28, 2013 ~

Please join us for Wide Eyed Productions' first Gala Fundraiser!
It will be held at the beautiful Dune Studios.
Buy your tickets now at http://wideeyedproductions.eventbrite.com


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Wide Eyed in the Field: Duane Ferguson

Duane Chivon Ferguson is an actor, writer, director, producer, editor, cinematographer, singer, and poet. He was born in Harlem, New York and raised in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. He first developed his creativity performing in plays at his alma mater, Herbert H. Lehman College of the City University of New York. He also performed on various stages in New York and did repertory work with The Positive Youth Troupe and The Citykids Foundation. On camera, Duane has hosted various episodes of magazine shows and has appeared in numerous independent shorts. He is currently a member of Wide Eyed Productions in NYC. His life is all about the chase....whether it be after the dream, the fantastic, or the joy of being surrounded by his friends and family. He dedicates all of his efforts to his lovely daughter, Soul. [You can keep up with Duane on Twitter, and check out more of his work on youtube and Vimeo. - Ed.]
  • Let’s just get this out of the way: You won an Emmy last week. What was that like? Can you tell us a bit about what you won for?
What was it like? Well…. I remember last year at the NY Emmys, a couple of good friends and colleagues won their Emmys. One won his second; another won her first. I remember thinking, “You know what? Next year... I’m winning one.” I kinda put it out there, like a mantra. I then was given the opportunity to create a segment for CUNY TV's Study With The Best. The segment featured poetry written by members of the City University of NY community; we call it ‘Digi-flow’. This particular one featured Wide Eyed's former Artistic Director, Tim Butterfield, a Brooklyn College graduate. The segment was then featured in an episode that was nominated…and ultimately won the category of Education Program/Special.
CUNY Vice Chancellor Jay Hershenson, Study with the Best producer Duane Ferguson, senior producer Nehama Miller-Kohn, & CUNY TV Executive Director Robert Isaacson, NY Emmy ceremony (Photo by Vincent Verdi)
When we were announced as the winner... It was one of the proudest moments in my life. I loved it, not only because I kept my promise to myself, but because the team of producers I worked with all worked their asses off and it showed. It’s one of the best examples of teamwork I’ve ever had the pleasure to experience.
  • You have been quite active in recent months with The Inspired Word spoken-word poetry series. How did you become involved? When did your love affair with poetry begin? Do you find yourself most inspired by anything or anyone in particular?
Well, one day I was damn depressed, and I said to myself, “Self… stop being so damn depressed. You know what you need? Jesus.” I didn’t have his number on speed dial, so I decided to do the next best thing and Google ‘open mics NYC’. One of the top hits on there was Inspired Word. So on a whim, I just went. On the day I decided to sign up, it also happened to be a slam night. So…I just said, ”Screw it. Do it”. I didn’t win that night…but it was a hell of a lot of fun, and now months later I have another family.

Photo by Michael Geffner
Poetry was something I had always dabbled in, but never had the guts to really perform. I remember performing a poem I wrote years ago when I was with The Citykids Foundation, and I remember the response it got. It was phenomenal. Added bonus, I performed on the same stage that day with poet Amiri Baraka. That always stuck with me. I was always a poet, but I somehow neither had the opportunity nor the courage to do it, which was super ironic since I had already established a comfort level with performing on stage at an early age.

Ever since I’ve began performing with the ‘Word’, I’ve gained so much more confidence. I started playing guitar in public…When I hit the mic, no one knows if I’m going to sing, play guitar, do poetry or just whistle patriotic songs through my nose. I love performing. But I love watching performers. Whenever I see a poet, or comic, or singer, or musician move the crowd, not just vocally but with energy…. It’s just such a turn on. It’s like whenever I watch a company member, or any actor for that matter, move an audience. It’s the same thing. That’s where I draw the most inspiration: from other bad-ass performers.
  • Under the umbrella of your production company, Baba Soul, Ent?, you’ve been generating “digi-poems” in collaboration with other local poets and creating shorts like I Am: Keep Your Hood Up in memory of Treyvon Martin. Can you share with us what your mission is with Baba Soul? What inspires you to undertake the projects that you create? 
I want to be able to provide a showcase for people with a voice. Like I mentioned, I love performers. If I see one I particularly like, I essentially accost them, and tell ‘em stuff like, “Damn. I love your shit. I’d love to work with you on something one day.” Most of the time I have no idea what that would look like, but I don’t care. I just want to put it out there. Because of digital technology, artists have no more excuses as to why they don’t have a digital or showcased forum for their art form. I just want to be able to not only help show their work, but to inspire other cats to do the same. I particularly want to take advantage of my skill as a camera operator and editor…who also happens to act, write and direct.

  • We may be a little biased, but we think you’re a very talented actor. Do you have any plans to be on the other side of the lens sometime soon? 
Hell yes. The whole point of me doing digi-shorts and poems was for me to stop bitching about not being cast and do my own stuff. I just never found the right opportunity to cast myself, because sometimes I think too much like a director and would imagine other actors in roles that I write. I have to stop doing that crap. I’m gonna write myself out of a freakin’ job.
  • Can you share anything with us about any upcoming or additional projects you have coming up? 
Speaking of acting... I am working on a feature film that I’ve been cast in, thanks to [fellow Wide Eyed member] Carly Knight who had the foresight to refer me to the filmmaker. Because of her, I’m acting again. That Carly… always looking out. The added bonus is I’ll be sharing the screen with her, too. That’s awesome.

I also wrote a webseries that I am hoping to get up and running this summer, and I actually cast myself in the lead role. So I am hoping to add to the fine Wide Eyed tradition and follow in the footsteps of Andrew [Harriss], Neil [Fennell], Jake [Paque] and Trevor [Dallier] as company members who have graced the digital screen [in their own webseries]. Plus, I’m kinda hoping I might get to jump on stage with those crazy Wide Eyed kids again. It’s like the NY lotto. Hey…ya never know.

Friday, April 19, 2013

"Buddy System" in Action: Jake Paque & Trevor Dallier's StagNation Productions


Buddy System – the web series created and starred in by Wide Eyed company members Jake Paque and Trevor Dallier – launched on April 10th with a public screening at Manhattan’s Stone Creek Bar and Grill. We caught up with Jake and Trevor to discuss current and upcoming projects for StagNation Productions, their film and media production company. Be sure to check out Episode 1 of Buddy System on youtube (you can also watch it below)! 
  • Please tell us about how this web series was conceived. What inspired you to create Buddy System
JAKE: Trevor and I started kicking around these characters of BB Roo and Trent Dulcimer and we loved their dynamic: BB, this music video writer who gets fired and doesn’t really know how to do anything else, and Trent, a person who works for a fictitious company called Buddy System that helps people re-enter the workforce. We spent hours riffing on situations these guys could get into, so with the help of our director Kurt Rodeghiero, we built a home for them in our web series Buddy System. We also desperately wanted an opportunity to work with some friends whose work we really respected, but the industry doesn't always provide that opportunity. So we just did it on our own and it was immensely rewarding. 

TREVOR: I think Jake’s point about wanting to find a venue in which we could work with as many of our favorite people as possible was a huge draw for me. And that is to say, that our company, StagNation, was also formed with the same hope in mind. We thought that this concept would allow us to write scenarios fitting each person we know specifically. After completing filming on another project, we were hooked and knew we had something good going for us in StagNation. 
  • This worked out to be somewhat of a bi-coastal creative process for your team. Can you share with us some of the technicalities of that? Would you say it worked in your favor? 
JAKE: We had all of our post done in LA. It was a decision we made with Kurt, knowing he wanted to work closely with our editor Jeremy Bird. Once we decided that the edit would be done out there, it just made sense to have the rest (color correction, sound etc.) done out west as well. The experience was actually pretty cool. We were able to stay updated by watching edits and adjustments via private youtube links and videos stored in Dropbox. We were in the loop every step of the way. Saw dozens of versions of the episode and were able to make adjustments. It definitely worked in our favor and allowed us to establish relationships with industry pros we might not have met otherwise. 

Photo by Lauren Marsh Photography

TREVOR: We also had our hearts set on making sure that Kurt was able to direct. This was a tough decision (upping the cost of the production), but we really felt he was an integral part of both the storytelling and the production as a whole. He had such a huge influence on the production, from script edits, to story ideas, to helping us find a great crew and working closely with our DP, Nolan Maloney, we have to give him major props! 
  • Can you tell us a little bit about your plans for future episodes of Buddy System? What’s the next step in the production process for you? 
JAKE: We have the next few episodes written and in pre-production. There is a ten-episode arc that we'd love to be able to produce all of. The first episode has already helped expand our audience base and we're really pleased with all the feedback. We also hope that Meet and Greet intrigues potential financiers that would be interested in investing in Buddy System or future StagNation Productions. The immediate next step is acquiring further funding, locking down locations and booking the crew/talent for episodes two and three! 
  • You produce the Stagnant Thoughts podcast. Can you tell us it about that? What inspired you to create a podcast? What excites you about it? 
JAKE: The Stagnant Thoughts podcast is an opportunity for us to check in with our friends in the entertainment industry and let others know what they're up to. The podcast medium has always excited me. I love the back and forth, riffing and storytelling that comes out of each episode. The unspoken goal of the Stagnant Thoughts podcast is to bring to light some of murkier elements of the entertainment biz. There are a million places you can go to hear what famous people are doing, but the majority of artists are struggling, scrapping to get the next project. I wanted our podcast to discuss the successes and failures of the emerging artist, while making sure the guests talk about things that are important to them. We love the opportunity to share our friends’ voices and hopefully give people a laugh. For instance, the Goro Fighting reference in our most recent episode...

TREVOR: Adding on to what Jake said, podcasts are a perfect venue to describe what independent producing is like for us as a personal experience. I feel like when I was younger, I would have latched onto a program like ours to get a feel for the real world of independent arts. I hope we can both inspire and educate our listeners. I also hope they laugh with us in our rants about Goro fighting and “fixing things in post” (which will never happen, by the way). 
  • Can you tell us about other projects you have in the hopper? 
JAKE: We have a ton of things we're interested in producing… sketches, shorts and ultimately a feature. These are each on individual times lines, but I'll say for certain, our youtube channel will be filling with content very soon. The response to Buddy System has been phenomenal and we promise to continue bringing that level of entertainment. 

TREVOR: All I can say is that I am extremely excited to be working on our upcoming projects, in all facets, and I hope to learn and grow as a producer and an artist. Our viewers will not be disappointed!


Thursday, April 4, 2013

At the table: GORDY CRASHES

photo by Sky Seals

The next staged reading in our *free* "Winks" series: GORDY CRASHES by Wide Eyed's resident playwright Sam Byron. Check out the the Facebook event here.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Winking on April 9: GORDY CRASHES



The FREE "Winks" reading series continues with

Gordy Crashes

by Sam Byron

Directed by Judy Merrick

Sam Byron is a Chicago-born playwright living in New York City. His plays include "A Substitute for Margo" (Out of the Ashes Theatre Co., Chicago, IL), "Debt" (Horse Trade Theater, New York City, and Dillingham Center for Performing Arts, Ithaca, NY), "Brooklyn Vacancies" (finalist, New Works Program at T. Schreiber Studio, New York City), "Static" (finalist, HotCity Theater’s Greenhouse Festival, St. Louis), and "Animals" (Wide Eyed Productions, The Present Company, Fringe NYC, winner of award for Overall Excellence in Directing, Kristin Skye Hoffmann).Sam is currently pursuing an MFA in Playwriting from The New School for Drama where he was the 2012 recipient of the Steinberg New Playwrights Fellowship. He is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild of America and the Resident Playwright for Wide Eyed Production’s 2012- 2013 season.

Opening Act: Erik Frandsen

Legendary Greenwich Village guitarist, singer/songwriter extraordinaire, actor, and playwright who has recorded with many popular artists, and is also the co-author of the hit musical Song of Singapore joins us for April’s Wink. The NY Times calls him “Brilliantly Inventive,” and the Boston Globe described him as "The Straight Cole Porter.”

April 9, 2013
Doors open @ 6:30pm
Erik Frandsen @ 7:00pm 
GORDY CRASHES @ 7:30pm 

All performances are at The Underground Lounge
955 West End Avenue @ 107th St
New York, NY 10025

Tickets are Free, Space is Limited


After being displaced by Superstorm Sandy, Gordy couch-hops between friends before finally taking up an offer to crash with Ally, a girl from work with whom he has slept a few times. However, once Gordy arrives, he discovers that Ally is nowhere to be found, and Gordy is instead left with her roommate, who by unhappy coincidence happens upon his estranged ex-girlfriend, Mere. Taking place in the days before and after the election, Gordy Crashes follows Gordy as he forms an unlikely, and potentially dangerous, relationship with Mere's mysterious new boyfriend Job, who helps Gordy find the guts to face Mere and gain the closure that he has avoided for so long.

 
ABOUT THE "WINKS" SERIES:

Dec 11, 2012- June 4, 2013
The second Tuesday of every month! 

Wide Eyed Productions is embarking on a season of development as they explore new works, revisit the classics, and reimagine some of the best plays in the contemporary canon. This season predicates future seasons by workshopping and reading plays to excite and invigorate  theatergoers and the production company alike. Through a series of readings open to the public, Wide Eyed Productions aims to strike a chord within ourselves and the community.

This season of “Winks” is intended to develop work that will further define Wide Eyed as a company, as well as its place in the New York arts world. Every reading will give the audience a chance to have a voice on what Wide Eyed produces in its seventh season, as well as build support for the company and all of its talented members. We’ve picked our favorite contenders, and by attending and giving your feedback, you can help shape the next season at Wide Eyed.

UPCOMING:

May 14 - Proof by David Auburn
June 11 - TBD

July 9 - Reborning by Zayd Dohrn

And...

 ~ Save the Date: September 28, 2013 ~

Please join us for Wide Eyed Productions' first Gala Fundraiser!
It will be held at the beautiful Dune Studios.
Buy your tickets now at http://wideeyedproductions.eventbrite.com