Friday, January 12, 2007

Youngblood 2006: A Year in Review (September – December)

(Yale Rep.'s The Mistakes Madeline Made by Elizabeth Meriwether.)
As we finish our review of Youngblood’s accomplishments in 2006, it’s time to look at the closing months of the year.

Daria Polatin’s one-act Ninja: The Musical is part of Unbound, a theater workshop on Theatre Row, produced by Despina and Company. R.J. Tolan directs a cast that includes Jessica Bhargava, Leanne Cabrera, Kay Trinidad, and Nitya Vidyasagar in this tale of three singing ninjas.

Two new plays and the return of two others cram this month full of Youngbloodiness. Over at the Bank Street Theater, the 3Graces Theater Company produces a staged workshop of Sharyn Rothstein’s Neglect. William Harper and Geany Masai star as two neighbors who face a tense stand-off during a fatally hot summer day. Catherine Ward directs this show, a new version of which will be coming to Ensemble Studio Theatre in February as the full-length mainstage production in Youngblood’s annual Thicker Than Water. Masai and Harper will reprise their rolls. Over at Abingdon, the Visible Theater presents Krankenhaus Blues, a new play by Sam Forman about a group of artists held in a Nazi asylum. Donna Mitchell directs a cast that includes Christine Bruno, Bill Green, Joe Sims, and Angela DeMatteo.

Outside of New York, two theaters host the return of two Youngblood classics. Yale Rep is the new home for Elizabeth Meriwether’s The Mistakes Madeline Made. Directed by Mark Rucker, this production sees the return of Colleen Werthmann reprising her role of Beth. She is joined by Patch Darragh, Michael Chernus, David Jenkins and Aubrey Dollar as Edna. In LA, the Secret Rose Theater plays home to Kevin Christopher Snipes’ ten-minute play Party Lights, which is part of their ActoberFest. The LA premier is directed by David Robinson and stars Susan Savage and David DeSantos.

Meanwhile six new playwrights are welcomed into Youngblood. After a grueling elimination process that left hearts broken and faiths challenged, Youngblood admits into its ranks Delaney Britt Brewer, Jihan Crowther, Justin Deabler, Matt Schatz, Michael Sendrow and Emily Chadick Weiss.

It’s the return of the Youngblood Sunday Brunch! For the first Sunday of every month for the next seven months at EST, audiences will feast on pancake, bacon and four new ten-minute plays all written around a unifying theme. November’s theme? Naked Brunch. New naughty plays are revealed by Kevin Christopher Snipes, Edith L. Freni, Emily Conbere and Sam Forman.

Also in November, Ensemble Studio Theatre celebrates its 35th Anniversary with Project 35. 35 staged readings of 35 new plays span 35 days at the theater. Alongside new plays by Romulus Linney, Anton Dudley, Frank D. Gilroy and Jose Rivera are new works by Kevin Christopher Snipes and Annie Baker. The Chimes, written by Snipes and directed by Catherine Ward, follows a group of boys in a New England boarding school on the eve of World War II who slowly find their world torn apart. Christopher Murney and James Murtaugh head a cast that includes Greg Coughlin, David Gelles-Hurwitz, Corey Johnson, Alex Organ, John D. Ivey and Kurt Everhart. In Annie Baker’s Three Knocks Grant (Murphy Brown) Shaud plays as man at war with his girlfriend’s daughter. Dana Eskelson, Adam Horowitz, and Spenser Leigh star. Melissa Kievman directs.

Matt Schatz, Annie Baker, Courtney Lauria, Sharyn Rothstein and Sam Forman pen How the Brunch Stole Christmas, a collection of holiday themed ten-minute plays for the Sunday Brunch at EST.

In their end of the year retrospectives, David Cote in Time Out NY names Elizabeth Meriwether’s The Mistakes Madeline Made as one of the best shows of 2006, while actor/waiter/general hottie David Bell at Hot Guy Alerts names Heddatron the Best Off Off Broadway play.

With the year coming to an end, Youngblood heads to the Catskills for its Winter Retreat and a little rest and relaxation. New York waits in anticpation for the new year and all the great theater Youngblood will bring to it.

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Thus concludes Youngblood 2006: A Year in Review. Be sure to check out all the upcoming projects that will happening this year by visiting the Youngblood website.

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