Monday, December 15, 2014

Wide Eyed Welcome: Meet J Alexander Diaz, Resident Sound Designer



J Alexander Diaz is a sound artist originally from Colorado and now based out of Brooklyn, NY. His work encompasses sound for theatre, dance, and the concert stage. In the past year, J has collaborated with theatre and dance companies in Colorado, Indiana, New York City, and Ghana, Africa. Currently, J is working with the Accra Theatre Workshop on a new musical, several dance pieces and sound installations. Recent projects in NYC include working with the RadioTheatre, the Stella Adler Studio of Acting, Wide Eyed Productions, and volunteering with the 52nd Street Project. J received a Bachelor of Musical Arts in piano from DePauw University in 2013. There he studied with Dr. May Phang. His composition mentors have been Dr. Scott Perkins (Assistant Professor of Music Composition and Theory, DePauw), Veronica Pejril (Instructor of Music Technology, DePauw), and Dr. Harry Bulow (Head of the College of Liberal Arts at Purdue University). J will start his graduate work at the Vermont College of Fine Arts in February of 2015. He will work towards a Master of Fine Arts in music composition.

[J just came on as Wide Eyed's Resident Sound Designer. We are so excited to have him as part of our team! - ed.]
  • You designed the (extensive!) sound for our recent production of Dead Special Crabs. Can you tell us a little bit about that process, and your Wide Eyed experience?
The process for Dead Special Crabs began with design conversations with the director, Kristin Skye Hoffmann. I had imagined the design circling around the radio drama genre where music is melodramatic – creating shadows of suspense. Similarly, Kristin had been hearing underscoring for Dead Special Crabs from the film noir world. With this in mind, I set upon creating sound effects and original music to support our vision. This involved creating improvisations that I then took to rehearsals, and heard how they either helped or deterred a scene. My experience was more than wonderful. I find the Wide Eyed team open to new ideas and experimentation, which, after all, is what great art needs.
  • When did you know that you wanted to be a sound designer? How did you get started?
My first sound design was as a sophomore at DePauw University. My friend Ed told a director that he knew a composer who would write music for a play. Lo and behold, I ended up writing several string quartet pieces and directing the quartet live in the performances. However, I did not know that sound design for theatre could be a career path until my last year at DePauw. It was then that I designed the music for Mysteries…And Smaller Pieces by the Living Theatre Company and decided that I wanted to write music in theatre for a living. 
  • Are you working on any additional projects at the moment? Care to share with us?
Currently, I’m working on several dance pieces and a musical with the Accra Theatre Workshop in Ghana, Africa. I’m finishing up my own piano sonata inspired by the NYC soundscape and beginning a rock/EDM opera. Within a month’s time, I’ll also be volunteering with the 52nd Street Project. Other than that I am binge watching the show Parks and Recreation.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Call for Scripts: The WINKS Staged Reading Series Continues (Season Three)


Wide Eyed Productions will be hosting our third installment of the WINKS staged reading series! This time around, we will be focusing exclusively on new theatrical works of adapted content (meaning plays inspired by other works).

The Double Take Reading Series: A Wide Eyed Look at Theatrical Adaptation

Wide Eyed Productions is excited to continue its work on new American plays like our recent, world premiere production of Dead Special Crabs by Dan Kitrosser and the award-winning Animals by Sam Byron. We had such a good response to the previous seasons of readings, we want the fun to continue.

From March through August 2015, please join us on the first Tuesday of every month at The Drama League, where we will feature a 20-minute segment from three original works by three different writers, which are related to, or inspired by, that month’s theme (see below). At the end of each night, the audience will be invited to select their favorite of the evening anonymously. 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 (or three?) overall finalists will be chosen, and given a full staged reading of their play 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 workshopped with intent to produce in an upcoming season.

What you need to know:
  • Playwrights should currently reside within the five boroughs of New York City.
  • 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 Productions, but we love it when you have suggestions for people you love to work with!
  • *The full text of the final play is not to exceed a 90-minute estimated run time. Semifinalists will be given a deadline for submissions of full texts.
  • All submissions must be received by January 15, 2015.
  • Please submit selections of text, treatments, and other support material to submissions.wideeyed@gmail.com subject line, the appropriate theme for your play.
The 2015 monthly themes are as follows:  
  • MARCH: Anything But Disney: Adaptations from fairy tales from around the world.
  • APRIL: Shake it Up: Adaptations from any of the Bard's many works.
  • MAY: In the News: Adaptations from past or current news stories from all forms of media.
  • JUNE: It’s All Greek to Me: Adaptations from Greek texts and mythos.
  • JULY: myTunes: Adaptations from pop songs, opera and other musical inspirations.
  • AUGUST: Page Turners: Adaptations from works of literature.
Wide Eyed Productions exists to bring brave, bold and culturally relevant new texts to production. With a core ensemble of emerging theatre artists, we are dedicated to leaving our audience Wide Eyed.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Save the Date: Wide Eyed Productions' Second Annual Gala ~ March 7, 2015

Wide Eyed Productions
presents our 
Second Annual Gala

~Save the Date ~ 
 
Saturday, March 7, 2015
7:00 pm 

Dune Studios, 121 Varick Street, NYC

Please join us for a Masquerade Ball on March 7, 2015 in celebration of eight years of producing brave, bold, and culturally relative new texts. All proceeds to benefit our 2015 theatrical season. 
You won't want to miss it! 



Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Giving Thanks. #GivingTuesday.


The holiday season has officially kicked off, and we are so very grateful for our families, friends, audience, and donors. This Tuesday, December 2, marks #GivingTuesday. Wide Eyed Productions is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and we'd love to help you with that end-of-year tax deduction. Your generosity goes towards keeping our audiences wide-eyed for years to come

We'll see you under the mistletoe.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

On the High Road - and the High Seas - with DEAD SPECIAL CRABS

Look who's the Photo of the Week in Time Out New York! Many thanks to Al Foote III Theatrical Photography.


The reviews are starting to trickle in, and it's all goodness - this one from TalkinBroadway.com is a great primer ("funny stuff, indeed"). We'll be posting more of those as they come in to our Facebook page, so be sure to follow us over there.

Opening night is this Friday, November 14! Small reception to follow. Get those tickets.

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Genesis of Walter



Andrew Harriss grew a beard for DEAD SPECIAL CRABS and made a video about it.
We kind of love him for it. Previews continue tonight. Get your tickets here!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Meet the DEAD SPECIAL CRABS Cast: Amy Lee Pearsall

 
Amy Lee Pearsall is a long-time member of Wide Eyed Productions, having appeared with the company in The Trojan Women, One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, and their inaugural production of The Medea, among others. She was named as one of Indie Theater Now’s People of the Year for 2013. NYC stage credits include: Picture Ourselves in Latvia (New Light Theater Project); King Kirby (Comic Book Theater Festival/The Brick); Lickspittles, Buttonholers, and Damned Pernicious Go-Betweens (Boomerang Theatre Company); Blast Radius (The Honeycomb Trilogy) (Gideon Productions). A member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA, and the League of Professional Theatre Women, Amy Lee has served as a member of the nytheater now (née nytheatre.com) reviewing squad since 2010. www.amyleepearsall.com
  • You’ll be performing in our upcoming world premiere production of Dead Special Crabs. What was your history with the piece before coming on board for the full production (if any)? 
Wide Eyed Productions produced a staged reading of Dead Special Crabs during our WINKS staged reading series, season one. It was a real crowd pleaser. In that incarnation, I read the part of Aunt Missy, and had a great time with it. And the company just fell in love with Dan's play; it is so ridiculously funny. This time around, I’m playing Kathy - a different experience, but equally delightful.
  • How are rehearsals going? Can you tell us a little bit about the character you’ll be playing in Dead Special Crabs, and your favorite thing about this role? (No spoilers!)
Rehearsals have been a hoot. (Yeah, I said it.) It’s a fantastic cast and creative team - just a great group of people - and I’m delighted to be a part of it. I mean, really, just look at this photo. Those are not the faces of abject misery. We are clearly having a good time.

photo by Al Foote III
As for what I can tell you about Kathy…she’s a religious cult leader with a complicated past, and maybe some rage issues. But I think she operates from a place of deep conviction, and believes that her actions are for the greater good.
  • This is a road trip play, and the leaves are starting to change, so we have to ask: What’s your favorite place to go for a quick road trip getaway on the east coast?
For a complete change of scene a little over an hour from the city, I'm going to have to go with Cold Spring. You can drive up historic Route 9D, but for the car impaired, Metro-North also takes you right there. I lived there for a year. It was lovely; the commute every day just wore me down after a while. But when the leaves are changing, the fog's rolling on the Hudson in the morning, the hum of passing boats and trains are bouncing around Crow's Nest and Storm King mountains across the way, and you've got a mug of coffee in your hands and a date with a kayak, it's just kind of magical.
  • What’s your favorite work by Edgar Allen Poe? You know you have one.
I’m rolling with “The Raven.”
  • And while we’re on the subject: Crustaceans. Friend or food? Allergies? Assuming you eat them, which is your favorite one to eat? Any restaurants we need to know about?
I’m kind of a big fan of anything that comes out of the ocean looking like an armored car; it's usually protecting something delicious. In the city, I’m partial to Grand Central’s Oyster Bar, Cull and Pistol at Chelsea Market, and Lobster Place right next door.
  • Are you working on any additional projects at the moment? Is it something you can tell us about?
There is some talk of Boomerang Theatre Company reprising Johnna Adams’ verse play Lickspittles, Buttonholers, and Damned Pernicious Go-Betweens next year, and I'm excited about that. There’s also a film project that I’m super stoked about, but I can’t talk about it quite yet (details soon, I promise – keep an eye on my website). Other than that, my fellow Wide Eyed company member and buddy Andrew Harriss has informed me that I’m bringing brussels sprouts to potluck Thanksgiving. So I guess that’s my next big thing.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Meet the DEAD SPECIAL CRABS Cast: Greg Carere


Greg Carere is a New York-based, Canadian-born actor and writer. New York credits include: The Downtown Loop (3LD), If You Can Get To Buffalo (Incubator Arts Project), The Party Play (The Brick), The Grass is Greenest at the Houston Astrodome (FringeNYC), King John (The New Ensemble Workshop). Regional credits: Merchant of Venice, Pericles, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Twelfth Night (Shakespeare by the Sea), Rudy vs the World (OLS). He holds an MFA from The New School for Drama. Love to his family, friends, and Rose.
  • You’ll be performing in our upcoming world premiere production of Dead Special Crabs. What was your history with the piece before coming on board for the full production (if any)? Could you tell us a little bit about your last project?
I didn’t really have a history with Dead Special Crabs before I auditioned, but I’ve been friends with and a fan of both Dan Kitrosser and Kristin Skye Hoffmann for the past few years since they showed up at The New School for Drama. I’ve helped out a little with Wide Eyed WINKS, from whence Dead Special Crabs had an early reading, and I was really excited to have a chance to work with Dan and Kristin and the company.

My last project was with Fringe NYC and Outside/Inside: The Grass is Greenest at the Houston Astrodome, by Michael Ross Albert (who, actually, now that I think about it, also has a bit of a history with Wide Eyed). It’s a tight little dramatic comedy about a group of artists in the aftermath of a gala, in which one of the artists had a psychotic break and destroyed almost every piece in the show. I played Marshall, a painter who’s trying to find his identity in the wake of his father’s death, and whose work was the catalyst for the aforementioned psychotic break.

I mentioned it was a comedy, yes?
  • How are rehearsals going? Can you tell us a little bit about the character you’ll be playing in Dead Special Crabs, and your favorite thing about this role? (No spoilers!)
Rehearsals are going terribly! Kristin is a tyrant! Dan is a talentless hack! The rest of the cast are all hideous trolls who wouldn’t know acting if it walked up and stabbed them in the gut! My character, Virgil, is a depressed misanthrope and I can’t seem to break character! My favorite thing about this role is NOTHING! NOTHING MATTERS!
  • This is a road trip play, and the leaves are starting to change, so we have to ask: What’s your favorite place to go for a quick road trip getaway on the east coast?
I don’t get to take quick road trips all that often, but I was just on Bear Mountain to watch two of my very good friends get married, and so if I was going to recommend anything, I’d say go watch two very good friends get married on Bear Mountain in the fall.
  • What’s your favorite work by Edgar Allen Poe? You know you have one.
It’s probably a little cliche, but it’s hard to deny “The Tell-Tale Heart”. It so perfectly captures madness and obsession and guilt, and the sequence where the narrator creeps into the old man’s room and opens the shutter of his lantern to have the beam fall on the eye (the eye!) has stuck with me since I was a kid. But, in some ways, I think “The Cask of Amontillado” captures a lot of the horror and obsession of “The Tell-Tale Heart” in a tighter, more efficient story.
  • And while we’re on the subject: Crustaceans. Friend or food? Allergies? Assuming you eat them, which is your favorite one to eat? Any restaurants we need to know about?
Friend AND foe! My favorite one to eat is ALL OF THEM AT THE SAME TIME, but if I had to choose, I would probably say lobster. And, speaking of which, the Red Hook Lobster Pound (which has locations in Red Hook, on the LES, and at Smorgasburg) does just about the best lobster roll I’ve ever had.
  • When did you know that you wanted to be an actor? How did you get started?
I don’t know if I really knew that I wanted to be an actor until somewhere near the end of my time at grad school, where I was getting an MFA in Acting. It wouldn’t be exactly fair to say I fell into it, but it was certainly something that kept pulling at me despite my best efforts to ignore it. I got “started” when I took a drama class in high school, because I needed an arts credit and thought it would be a bird course. And then I ended up majoring in theater in college, despite enrolling in a university without knowing they even offered theater. And then, after I graduated, I spent a lot of time trying to be a freelance writer and working as an administrative assistant in a government office before finally applying to grad schools, primarily as a playwright. Even The New School for Drama, where I ended up going to study acting, I had originally applied to as a playwright. Acting hunted me down, and I don’t know if I really gave in until just a few years ago, and at that point I’d been doing it on and off for 10 years. 
  • Who or what do you consider to have been your biggest creative influences to date? Why?
I’d say the people I met while at NSD, both students and teachers. It was a wonderful little laboratory, full of mad scientists, and everything, every breakthrough and mistake and blank out and triumph, that anyone made, was something that I learned from and that influenced me, and I’m guessing will continue to do so for a long time.
  • Are you working on any additional projects at the moment? Is it something you can tell us about?
Yes! A number of things! But almost none of which I can talk about! There are a couple of plays in development, and a TV pilot, and maybe a movie. But most imminently: keep an eye out for Hazard Rep’s first production, Cliff by Ryan Feyk. We’re developing it right now, and I think it’s going to be something special.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Meet the DEAD SPECIAL CRABS cast: Lee Seymour


Lee Seymour is an actor, writer, and producer. Highlights as an actor include Triassic Parq (Off Broadway) and As You Like It (Stratford-Upon-Avon); as a producer they include Godspell (Broadway) and BALLS: The Musical (Off Broadway). He has written two novels and is working on a trilogy of Young Adult books about supernatural creatures hiding out on Cape Cod. He sits on the board of the artist residency SPACE on Ryder Farm, and enjoys Scotch smoky enough that you could mistake it for bogwater. MA from LAMDA, BA from Yale.
  • You’ll be performing in our upcoming world premiere production of Dead Special Crabs. What was your history with the piece before coming on board for the full production (if any)? Could you tell us a little bit about your last project?
I have absolutely no history with the piece (I think I’m [one of the few] on board for whom that is true). I was connected to it by the wonderful casting director Kate Murray, who suggested me to our wonderful director Kristin Skye Hoffmann. The rest is wonderful history.
  • How are rehearsals going? Can you tell us a little bit about the character you’ll be playing in Dead Special Crabs, and your favorite thing about this role? (No spoilers!)
Rehearsals have been a blast. We’re two weeks from previews and I still crack up watching the play. Everyone involved is massively talented and hilarious. My character is Barney Horntub, a detective from Western Massachusetts who is really not very good at his job, but does it with all the gusto he can muster. Like so many, deep down he’s just looking for a little bit of love.
  • This is a road trip play, and the leaves are starting to change, so we have to ask: What’s your favorite place to go for a quick road trip getaway on the east coast?
Cape Cod, no doubt. Nothing like a weekend by the sea with a solid lobster roll in hand (even though the play is about people from Maine, I’ve got to say Cape Cod does lobster better – heresy, I know…)
  • What’s your favorite work by Edgar Allen Poe? You know you have one.
"The Raven" is so beautiful that it excites me inappropriately.
  • And while we’re on the subject: Crustaceans. Friend or food? Allergies? Assuming you eat them, which is your favorite one to eat? Any restaurants we need to know about?
Friend and food. I love a good snorkel, and nothing delights me more than finding a big friendly lobster peering out from under an overhang. Nothing…except, of course, for eating lobster afterward. I do love me some delicious arthropods. The best seafood place is in Chatham, MA: The Impudent Oyster. They serve lobster rolls that are basically a pile of fresh meat with a bun buried somewhere underneath. Flawless.
  • When did you know that you wanted to be an actor? How did you get started?
When I set myself on fire in chemistry class by accident and turned it into a silly dance that entertained everyone. I thought, “I wonder if people get paid for this kind of thing.” Turns out the usually don’t, but that doesn’t stop it from being a fun thing to do with your nights.
  • Who or what do you consider to have been your biggest creative influences to date? Why?
Eddie Izzard, Robin Williams, Anthony Hopkins, Judi Dench. Stand-up comics and Knights of the British Empire, basically.
  • Are you working on any additional projects at the moment? Is it something you can tell us about?
I sit on the board of SPACE on Ryder Farm, a phenomenal artist residency program just north of NYC in Brewster. We host hundreds of artist every summer – from multiple Tony, Pulitzer, and Emmy winners to brand new up-and-comers – on our 130 acres of woodland. I’m hugely passionate about it and encourage anyone reading this to apply for our upcoming 5th season next year. (Also to donate to our organization, if that’s your thing. Art ain’t cheap, yo.)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Meet the DEAD SPECIAL CRABS Cast: Nic Marrone


A Georgia native, Nic Marrone made his own cross country road trip three years ago to attend the Master’s program at The New School for Drama. He is saddened knowing that after working on this piece, with this writer (Dan Kitrosser), and this director (Kristin Skye Hoffmann), and this incredible group of actors and crew, there just won’t be another opportunity quite as amazing as this one for a long, long time. www.ndmarrone.com
  • You’ll be performing in our upcoming world premiere production of Dead Special Crabs. What was your history with the piece before coming on board for the full production (if any)? Could you tell us a little bit about your last project?
I was fortunate enough to do a reading of Dead Special Crabs a couple years ago under the direction of Kristin, and amazingly enough I got the chance to work with the dynamic duo (Kristin and Dan) on Dan’s thesis project The Old Forever New Things at The New School for Drama. These two create the perfect balance in a room with tons of hard work combined with incredible bouts of laughter and play.
  • How are rehearsals going? Can you tell us a little bit about the character you’ll be playing in Dead Special Crabs, and your favorite thing about this role? (No spoilers!)
I’m playing Loomer, and rehearsals have been a blast as expected! I’m usually cast as the weirdo or the comedic relief so my favorite thing about this role is getting to play the straight man. It’s a challenge because I have to constantly react as if everything is happening for the first time and I have to somehow keep from laughing at the brilliant comedians in the room.
  • This is a road trip play, and the leaves are starting to change, so we have to ask: What’s your favorite place to go for a quick road trip getaway on the east coast?
Georgia, baby! Always! Savannah is the East Coast king!
  • What’s your favorite work by Edgar Allen Poe? You know you have one.
"The Tell-Tale Heart"!
  • And while we’re on the subject: Crustaceans. Friend or food? Allergies? Assuming you eat them, which is your favorite one to eat? Any restaurants we need to know about?
My family traditionally has lobster for New Year’s Eve! And there’s no better NYC dining than the Red Lobster in Times Square…
  • When did you know that you wanted to be an actor? How did you get started?
I played the Owl in my kindergarten’s production of Hoo Hoo Who Lost a Shoe. Never looked back.
  • Who or what do you consider to have been your biggest creative influences to date? Why?
I’m actually in a weird place to be asked this question, haha! Lately I’ve been very interested in the transfer of energy (both physical and abstract) and the span of its ripple effect. So I guess I would consider everything that has ever happened to me ever as a creative influence. That’s a lil too deep, but here we are.
  • Are you working on any additional projects at the moment? Is it something you can tell us about?
Haven’t signed the official contract, but I’m on board as the male swing in the national tour of Peter and the Starcatcher! Hooray!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Meet the DEAD SPECIAL CRABS Cast: Ellen David


Ellen David is the proud recipient of the 2006 New York Innovative Theater Award as Outstanding Actress in a Lead Role for Working Man's Clothes' production of To Nineveh by Bekah Brunstetter. After studying in London at Guildhall, she moved to Israel where she appeared on Israel National Television, toured with The English Theater of Tel Aviv, portrayed Pilate's Wife in the Norman Jewison film Jesus Christ Superstar, and dubbed numerous international movies. In New York, she was a founding member of the sketch comedy group "Rubber Feet". Regionally, she has performed at The Cleveland Playhouse and the Hanna Theater. At The Schoolhouse Theater, she played Geneva in Landford Wilson's Redwood Curtain and the fabulous Bunny in Albert Innaurato's Gemini. She had the title role in Clifford Odet's Country Girl at Fleetwood Stage where she also performed Love Letters with Matthew Arkin. She can be seen in the Law & Order episode "Kid Pro Quo." Last season, she played twelve characters in The A is for Abortion Play at FringeNYC. Recently, she took part in the HB Studios' Ten Minute Plays, where she played the scientist, Lise Meitner. She has recorded numerous Talking Books for the blind and visually impaired. www.ellendavid.com
  • You’ll be performing in our upcoming world premiere production of Dead Special Crabs. What was your history with the piece before coming on board for the full production (if any)? Could you tell us a little bit about your last project?
I had the great pleasure of meeting the author, Dan Kitrosser, through a director friend, Isaac Byrne. About four years ago, Dan asked me to do a table read of Dead Special Crabs, which was followed at a later date by a staged reading. I was delighted when I was asked to audition for the world premiere! And this past spring, I portrayed Lise Meitner in Maria Torres' The Job Offer at HB Studios' Ten Minute Play Festival.
  • How are rehearsals going? Can you tell us a little bit about the character you’ll be playing in Dead Special Crabs, and your favorite thing about this role? (No spoilers!)
Rehearsals for Dead Special Crabs are fun, exciting, and daunting. I play Aunt Missy, a cantankerous Maine crabber with a mission. Mayhem ensues! I love finding the shades of Aunt Missy…just when you think you know what she's about…she throws you a curve. The company is so talented and director Kristin Skye Hoffmann has a bold and zany vision that she happily shares with us all.
  • This is a road trip play, and the leaves are starting to change, so we have to ask: What’s your favorite place to go for a quick road trip getaway on the east coast?
At this time…or any time…I like to head up to Boston to see my sister!
  • What’s your favorite work by Edgar Allen Poe? You know you have one.
My favorite work by Edgar Allen Poe is "The Pit and The Pendulum." I recently reread it and got all shivery.
  • And while we’re on the subject: Crustaceans. Friend or food? Allergies? Assuming you eat them, which is your favorite one to eat? Any restaurants we need to know about?
Yum! I love shrimp, scallops, lobster, and crab! Joe's Stone Crab in Miami is my favorite! Nothing raw though!!!
  • When did you know that you wanted to be an actor? How did you get started?
I knew I wanted to be an actor from the age of twelve, though it took me till age fifteen to get enough courage to actually audition. That first role was Mary Warren in The Crucible, and I was hooked!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Meet the DEAD SPECIAL CRABS Cast: Samantha Cooper


Samantha Cooper is tickled pink to work with this hilarious, talented group of artists. Recent credits include: Leah In Vegas (FringeNYC, dir: Kristin Skye Hoffmann), the award-winning Goliath (Culture Project, Wild Project, California tour); Worldwide Plays/Writopia Lab ‘13 & ‘14 (Theatre Row, June Havoc); Ok! Cupid! The Musical, Foreign Bodies (Women Center Stage/Culture Project); And Then They Came For Me (NCTC); Twelfth Night (BoCoCa Festival); The Killing of Jacob Marr (221 Films). Samantha received her B.A. from UC San Diego, and has trained at Shakespeare Santa Cruz, A.C.T., Circle In The Square, and the Lorenzo de’Medici school in Florence, Italy. Administrative Director/Company Member - Poetic Theater Productions. Founding Member - Brass Tacks Theatre Collective. For Toby, always. www.samanthafcooper.com 
  • You’ll be performing in our upcoming world premiere production of Dead Special Crabs. What was your history with the piece before coming on board for the full production (if any)? Could you tell us a little bit about your last project? 
This run is my introduction to the world of Dead Special Crabs, although I have worked with many members of our hard-working team. The lovable Dan Kitrosser directed me in the Writopia World Wide Play Festival a few years ago, and I have been craving to be in something he has penned. The incredible Rosie Kolbo has stage managed the past three projects on which I have worked and I never want to part with her. And this past summer, the effervescent Kristin Skye Hoffman directed Kara Ayn Napolitano's new piece, Leah In Vegas, for FringeNYC. I played two challenging roles; the work was hard, fast, fun, and complemented by a very talented cast and crew. 
  • This is a road trip play, and the leaves are starting to change, so we have to ask: What’s your favorite place to go for a quick road trip getaway on the east coast? 
It's funny because Leah In Vegas was also a road trip play, although I did not partake in the road trip (and now I am - thanks, Dan - I finally get to hold the steering wheel!). My favorite NY getaway is Fire Island. I was lucky enough to spend my summers there as a kid. It is the only place I can fully relax (yes, relaxing is hard for me, hush) but hand me a Corona with lime and a beach chair and I'm good to go. 
  • What’s your favorite work by Edgar Allen Poe? You know you have one. 
The Tell-Tale Heart. 
  • And while we’re on the subject: Crustaceans. Friend or food? Allergies? Assuming you eat them, which is your favorite one to eat? Any restaurants we need to know about?
Crustaceans. Huge fan. Shrimp, crab, lobster with some lemon butter sauce...I'm hungry. Lobster is my true favorite and if you put it in a bisque, I'm yours. A great old-time favorite is The Oyster Bar in Grand Central. My dad and I go there when we're feeling particularly skinny and need to rectify that situation. 
  • Who or what do you consider to have been your biggest creative influences to date? Why?
You know, during rehearsal, we keep bringing up certain films that are reminiscent of the comedic style of Dead Special Crabs. Clue is one of them, and we randomly break into quotes (which I do in my daily life, as well). So I think I finally have to come out and state for the record that Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, Michael McKean and the rest of that zany cast influenced my humor and timing more than any other ensemble of actors...with cast of Robin Hood: Men In Tights coming in as a close second. 
  • Are you working on any additional projects at the moment? Is it something you can tell us about? 
I am a company member of Poetic Theater Productions, and they are about to open Back, by Mickey Bolmer and directed by Andrew Willis-Woodward, at the cell on 23rd Street. I can't wait to see it; audiences are definitely in for a party. In November, I'm set to shoot a role in the film I Fell in Love with a Psychopath by Whitney Ellis.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Meet the DEAD SPECIAL CRABS Cast: Andrew Harriss


Andrew Harriss is an actor and writer who has been a member of Wide Eyed Productions since its inception in 2007. Company credits include The Medea, Much Ado About Nothing, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, A Devil Inside, The Last Days Of Judas Iscariot, Henry VI (Part III), and Plight Of The Apothocary in 2011’s A Girl Wrote It. Other credits include Gorilla Rep's Hamlet, The Jack Johnson Project, and All For Love with Boomerang Theatre Company. Andrew is also the writer, producer, and star of the webseries White Liars, and the short films The Friday Before Christmas, Moroccan Birdhouse (co-wrote), and Best Friends Club. He is originally from Irvine, California and holds a BFA from Hofstra University.
  • You’ll be performing in our upcoming world premiere production of Dead Special Crabs. What was your history with the piece before coming on board for the full production (if any)? Could you tell us a little bit about your last project?
I was asked by (director) Kristin Hoffmann to participate in a reading of Dead Special Crabs for the 2013 Wide Eyed WINKS reading series (season 1). She wasn’t sure which role she wanted me to read for, so I read the script on my flight home for Christmas, and by the time I got to page 37 I was like, “oh, oh, yes, I would very much like to play Walter.” So I texted Kristin as soon as we landed, and luckily for me she felt the same way.
  • How are rehearsals going? Can you tell us a little bit about the character you’ll be playing in Dead Special Crabs, and your favorite thing about this role? (No spoilers!)
Rehearsals are going well. Coming from the reading, which was now over a year and a half ago, it’s been interesting to expand on the choices that were made and to put Walter into a deeper context within the play as a whole. I absolutely love playing him. I think of any character I’ve ever played he has the most positive outlook on life.
  • This is a road trip play, and the leaves are starting to change, so we have to ask: What’s your favorite place to go for a quick road trip getaway on the east coast?
Well, I’m from the west coast, so my first thought is, “What is this word…fall?” which is ridiculous because I’ve lived here for almost 15 years. I just went to Boston for the first time and had a blast there. I don’t know, I love DC, and Vermont seems like it might be nice. I imagine you could probably get an amazing cozy fall breakfast in Vermont.
  • What’s your favorite work by Edgar Allen Poe? You know you have one.
I really like the version of ‘The Raven’ The Simpsons did. That pretty much sums up my experience of EAP.
  • And while we’re on the subject: Crustaceans. Friend or food? Allergies? Assuming you eat them, which is your favorite one to eat? Any restaurants we need to know about?
I could eat lobster rolls for days. Crab rolls, too. Luke’s Lobster does a great job at both of those. Are oysters crustaceans? The oldest tavern in New York City, The Fraunces Tavern, has a special on weekends where you can get a pint of stout and 3 oysters for 12 bucks. Beer and oysters in a place where George Washington used to hang out? Yes, please.
  • When did you know that you wanted to be an actor? How did you get started?
I have wanted to be an actor since I was about 9 years old. My mom signed me up for some drama-for-kids program at some local community center, and my first role was as a dog named Bowser who owned a pet shop.
  • Who or what do you consider to have been your biggest creative influences to date? Why?
That’s a hard question to answer. Everything? I generally take influence from whatever is going on in my life, or whomever I happen to be spending time with. John Ritter was a big influence on me, and Robin Williams. My family is an endless source of creative influence, too.
  • Are you working on any additional projects at the moment? Is it something you can tell us about?
I’m a member of Real.Good.Spies., Wide Eyed’s improv troupe, and I’ll be in a reading of Sam Byron’s play Butcher during one of our dark nights [at the TBG Theatre] when we’re not tearing it up with Dead Special Crabs.

Be sure to check out Real. Good. Spies. Improv Crabtacular on Oct. 23. All proceeds to benefit Dead Special Crabs!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Real. Good. Spies. Improv Crabtacular!


Come join the fun on Thursday, October 23rd and help us raise money for our upcoming world premiere production of Dead Special Crabs by Dan Kitrosser!

Wide Eyed Productions’ own improv group Real. Good. Spies. will be performing, and there will be raffles, drinks, music, dancing, and laughter to be had. And crabs.
  
The Drilling Company
236 W 78th St, 3rd flr

The fun starts at 7pm
Real. Good. Spies. goes on at 7:30pm

$20 tickets available for purchase in advance 
$25 tickets available at the door

Ticket prices include one free drink.
We'll see you at The Drilling Company!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

DEAD SPECIAL sketch: How to Intercourse Someone with Kathy and Walter without Kathy

We're deep in the throes of the rehearsal process for DEAD SPECIAL CRABS, and we know a lot of you are wondering..."What are they *building* in there?"  So here's a teaser sketch written by DSC playwright Daniel Ajl Kitrosser, directed by DSC director Kristin Skye Hoffmann (shout-out to our epic DP Justin Liebergen), and featuring wide-eyed cast member Andrew Harriss as Walter. 

We'll be dropping a few more of these gems between now and our first preview date in November. Love it? Share it! And please donate to our indiegogo campaign (check out that campaign progress sidebar to your right). No amount of love given is too small. Walter has that on good authority.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Wide Eyed Finalists for our Seven Deadly WINKS series


 
We have our finalists for our second annual WINKS staged reading series! The Wide Eyed board came together after reading all of the semi-finalist plays, and ultimately chose three finalists. Each will receive a staged reading this fall. We hope you will join us!

November 17 - 7pm
Butcher
by Sam Byron
Directed by Stephanie C. Cunningham

November 18 - 7pm
Salt
by Pete Turo
Directed by Kai-Hsiang Tu

November 19 - 7pm
The Wedge Horse
by Nick Gandiello
Directed by Kristin Skye Hoffmann

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

DEAD SPECIAL CRABS: Do you believe in light? (We've only just begun...)

photo by Amy Lee Pearsall
We kicked off our rehearsal process last night for Dead Special Crabs with a table read that knocked all of our socks off. (It was, very simply, dead-special.)

Previews for Dan Kitrosser's hilarious new play begin on November 7, and our indiegogo campaign, "40 Days of Crabs," went live today. Check it out for ridiculous videos, swag, and more. We'll be posting additional videos and snippets as production progresses. 


As for the show itself, we'd love for all of you to come see it, and more than that, we'd love for all of you to be a part of it. Your donations help to make the magic happen. So join us. Be a crab. All the cool crustaceans are doing it. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Wide Eyed WINKS Audience-Favorite Winners / Semi-Finalists

Congratulations to the audience-favorite winners / semi-finalists of our second season of our WINKS staged reading series! Our theme this year was "Seven Deadly WINKS" based on the seven deadly sins, and we had a great time with it. It's been an honor to host and share the stage with everyone who participated in our second season of our WINKS staged reading series. Congrats to all.
 
 Audience-Favorite Winners / Semi-Finalists: 
 
FEBRUARY - LUST
Porn Play or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love The Porn
by Bailey Williams
Directed by Stephanie C. Cunningham
 
 MARCH- WRATH
The Wedge Horse by Nick Gandiello
Directed by Kristin Skye Hoffmann
 
 APRIL- PRIDE
I Catch You Dreaming by Rafael Albarran
Directed by Gama Valle
 
 MAY- SLOTH
At The Breakaway
Written and DIrected by Nat Cassidy
 
 JUNE- GLUTTONY
This month was a tie!
 Snatchers! by Holcomb & Ivy
Directed by Suzanne Karpinski
*and*
Did Someone Order a Pizza? by Sarah DeLappe
Directed by Lily Lamb-Atkinson
 
 JULY- GREED
Butcher by Sam Byron
Directed by Liz Carlson
 
 JULY- GREED
Salt by Peter Turo
Directed by Kai-Hsiang Tu
 
Our Wide Eyed Board will be reading and reviewing all of these works, and our two finalists will be announced next month. Stay tuned for that, and for more information about our upcoming full-length production this autumn, Dead Special Crabs by Dan Kitrosser!


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Season Two of the Seven Deadly WINKS Series Concludes with "Envy"


Season two of the WINKS Series concludes this month!
 
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 featuring the Seven Deadly Sins. Each month you’ll see a 20-minute segment from each play, and then vote on your favorite. The winner will be invited to submit the full text and given a full staged reading.
(More details below.)
 
**This month: ENVY**
Featuring:
SALT
by Peter Turo, directed by Kai-Hsiang Tu
Empty Rooms
by Annie Harrison Elliott, directed by Mia Sommese 
Home
by Tariq Hamami, directed by Pitr Strait
 
Thursday, August 28th – 7:30pm
 
$5 Contribution
Refreshments available - $5 suggested donation
*** credit cards accepted***
32 Avenue of the Americas
Ground Floor - Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley Studio
New York, NY 10013

Congratulations to last month's winner (GLUTTONY): 
Butcher
written by Sam Byron, directed by Liz Carlson


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.

Each month will feature a 20-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 will be invited to submit a full text to Wide Eyed Productions’ 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.

Can’t make it this month, but still want to support?

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Brianne Blessitt: Don't Rain on My Parade


Laurie Beechman Theatre
Saturday, August 9, 2014, 4pm

Tickets: $20 (Please purchase in advance at the website below)
**Plus $15 Food/Beverage Minimum Per Person
 
Please join our Brianne (Mai) Blessitt this Saturday, August 9, at 4pm for "Don't Rain On My Parade," an afternoon of music and poetry to benefit The Shriners Hospital for Children. Due to a very kind anonymous donor, all ticket proceeds will go to the Hospital in honor of Brianne's late father, Lee "Harley" Mai.

Brianne's band will feature the talents of Charlie Hanover, Chris Blessitt, Curt Garey, Elizabeth Olson, Jeni Magana, and our own Neil Fennell and Sky Seals. Several members of The SymphoNYChorus will also be making an appearance.

If you are unable to attend but would still like to contribute, please feel free to do so here http://goo.gl/zJPJ04 and enter Lee Mai in the Deceased Name entry.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Wide Eyed Productions Call for Actors: DEAD SPECIAL CRABS

Wide Eyed Productions Call for Actors -
World Premiere Production of Dead Special Crabs


Wide Eyed Productions
Category: Performer
Description:
Wide Eyed Productions is holding auditions for
Dead Special Crabs by Dan Kitrosser
Directed by Kristin Skye Hoffmann

The play will be performed in November 2014 at TBG Theatre on 36th street in Manhattan.

SYNOPSIS:

Dead Special Crabs by Dan Kitrosser is a wacky, road-trip adventure that follows Loomer, his best friend June, Detective Horntub, Loomer’s Aunt Missy, and an unknown serial killer as they find misadventure after misadventure. While the play does get nuttier and nuttier, and darker and darker, the characters get deeper and deeper and eventually find themselves confronting new levels of their own lives and humanity.

Seeking:
3 Female Actors and 4 Male Actors
(chance that cast size may expand)

AUNT MISSY, A sixty-sum crabber from Maine.
LOOMER, her nephew, a twenty-something ornery, hopeless romantic
JUNE, she is his best friend in the whole wide world. Petite and a little crazy.
DETECTIVE BARNEY HORNTUB, in his late forties/fifties, his name says it all.
KATHY, in her late thirties to mid-forties, a fiery bartender/cult leader
WALTER, in his late thirties to mid-forties, her odd husband
VIRGIL, he is a twenty-something poet
BARISTA, a lesbian
MAN, a person with the genitalia, appearance and worldview of a man
RADIO, various radio voices
EDGAR ALLEN POE GIRL, an aloof college student dressed as her poetic namesake

NOTE on casting:
The actor playing KATHY may also play BARISTA and various RADIO voices.
The actor playing WALTER may also play MAN and various RADIO voices.
The actor playing JUNE may also play the EDGAR ALLEN POE GIRL.

Please send headshot and resume to submissions.wideeyed@gmail.com

www.wideeyedproductions.com

Job Start Date:
9/15/2014

Job End Date:
12/6/2014

Union Information:
potential AEA showcase code

Salary:
Stipend

Company:
Wide Eyed Productions

Address:
Astoria, NY 11102 US

Response Method(s):
At Audition
Audition Information
When:
8/15, 8/16 with callbacks on 8/17

Where:
You will receive audition location when you are confirmed an audition slot.

Notes/What to bring:
A hard copy of your headshot and resume a list of your conflicts

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Season Two of the Seven Deadly WINKS Series Continues: "Gluttony"


Season two of the WINKS Series continues this month!
 
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 featuring the Seven Deadly Sins. Each month you’ll see a 20-minute segment from each play, and then vote on your favorite. The winner will be invited to submit the full text and given a full staged reading.
(More details below.)

Come join us the last Thursday of the month
from February to August!
 
**This month: GLUTTONY**
Featuring:
Did Someone Order a Pizza?
by Sarah DeLappe, directed by Lily Lamb-Atkinson
Juggalicious
by Britton Buttrill, directed by Celine Rosenthal
At The Breakaway
by Justin R.G. Holcomb & John D. Ivy, directed by Suzanne Karpinski
 
Thursday, June 26th – 7:30pm
 
$5 Contribution
Refreshments available - $5 suggested donation
*** credit cards accepted***
32 Avenue of the Americas
Ground Floor - Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley Studio
New York, NY 10013

Congratulations to last month's winner (SLOTH): 
At The Breakaway
written and directed by Nat Cassidy


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.

Each month will feature a 20-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 will be invited to submit a full text to Wide Eyed Productions’ 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.

Can’t make it this month, but still want to support?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Season Two of the Seven Deadly WINKS Series Continues: "Sloth"


Season two of the WINKS Series continues this month!
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 featuring the Seven Deadly Sins. Each month you’ll see a 20-minute segment from each play, and then vote on your favorite. The winner will be invited to submit the full text and given a full staged reading.
(More details below.)
 
Come join us the last Thursday of the month
from February to August!
 
**This month: SLOTH**
 
Featuring:
 
HDPE
by Paul Hufker, directed by Judy Merrick
Martin Rabinowitz’s Guide to Life
by Fred A. Bernstein, directed by David Lally 
At The Breakaway
written and directed by Nat Cassidy
 
Thursday, May 29th – 7:30pm
 
$5 Contribution
Refreshments available - $4 suggested donation
*** credit cards accepted***
 
The Drama League
32 Avenue of the Americas
Ground Floor - Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley Studio
New York, NY 10013


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.

Each month will feature a 20-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 will be invited to submit a full text to Wide Eyed Productions’ 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.

Can’t make it this month, but still want to support?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Join us for Wide Eyed Trivia Night this Sunday, May 4 @ 7pm!


Come one, come all, to the Wide Eyed Trivia Night! Grab a drink, join your friends (or make some new ones) and flex those mental muscles on Sunday, May 4th, beginning at 7pm!

140 East 27th Street
NYC

$10 at the door
($9 if you bring your program from Wide Eyed's “Wink”” of PRIDE this past April)

Teams must be between 2-5 people - Bring your own team or join one there!

Your entry fees directly support Wide Eyed Productions as we prepare to mount our next full production in Fall 2014.

* Five rounds of ten questions + a bonus round;
* You may NOT use your electronic device to find an answer, as that is cheating, and cheating is wrong;
* Winning team gets their entrance fee back + a round of drinks!

Come out and play with us. Really, what else are you going to do Sunday night?
(Answer: Nothing you can’t TiVo.)