Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Theatre Breaking Through Barriers - Some of Our Parts with a play by YB's Emily Chadick Weiss


If you haven't yet, come check out my play "Good Dancer" in Theatre Breaking Through Barriers' festival of plays about disability called SOME OF OUR PARTS.

Featuring new plays by Bekah Brunstetter, Samuel D. Hunter, Neil LaBute,

Kate Moira Ryan, Diana Son, Jeff Tabnick & Emily Chadick Weiss




Kimothy Cruse, Christina Roussos, Ike Schambelan, Nicholas Viselli

Mary Theresa Archbold, Melanie Boland, Tiffan Borelli, Kimothy Cruse, Shannon DeVido, Stephen Drabicki, Brooke Elsinghorst, Alden Fulcomer, David Harrell, Anita Hollander, Kenneth Kimmins, John Little, J.M. McDonough, Gregg Mozgala, Melanie Nicholls-King, Pamela Sabaugh, Nicholas Viselli

*appearing courtesy of Actor's Equity Association

Tues, Wed & Thurs at 7 · Fri at 8, Sat at 3 & 8, Sun at 3

Clurman Theatre

410 West 42nd Street · www.theatrerow.org

All Tickets $19.25

$18 plus $1.25 restoration charge

For more info call 212-239-6200, or visit www.telecharge.com

"SOME OF OUR PARTS contains some really excellent plays. The acting is flawless! This fascinating commentary on the state of disability in America proves exactly why Theater Breaking Through Barriers is as vital as it is! - David Gordon,nytheatre.com

"People with disabilities take center stage in SOME OF OUR PARTS. Well-acted. Provocative and Moving. - Dan Bacalzo, Theatremania.com

"An eye-opening experience! SOME OF OUR PARTS is fast, heartfelt and sometimes very funny. Each play is concise. performed with spunk, determination, resilience and humor. Excellent!" - Oscar Moore, Talkentertainment.com

"Emily Chadick Weiss' Good Dancer is nicely done, telling the tale of an African-American woman named Erica (Melanie Nicholls-King) who is getting ready to introduce her boyfriend Rich (Gregg Mozgala) to her parents for the first time. His being white is not the primary concern; she's more worried that she hasn't told her parents that Rich has cerebral palsy, and walks with a slight limp. The tone of the piece is wisely kept light, even as the situation exposes fissures in the couple's relationship." - Dan Bacalzo, Theatremania.com

Come check these plays out and let me know if you need assistance with the price of your ticket. Emilycweiss@gmail.com

Thanks! Have a terrific Tuesday.

Monday, June 27, 2011

I saw your play. What happened?

Stick around any Youngblood celebration long enough...give any playwright one too many cans of beer...ask a writer what she really thinks about her own production...and eventually, we all get to this point.

"These are people...who are alive...on the planet...until they dry off."

If you see it happening, do the right thing. Just walk away. Or give us a shoulder massage. That also works.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Short Plays and Bands Tonight in Williamsburg

Tonight marks the second installment of Pony Show's PLAYS/BANDS series in Williamsburg's Death By Audio situated near the Domino Sugar Factory and the East River at 49 S2nd St. It's an attempt to bring theatre to those who are too lazy/broke to cross the river and find the many possibilities of theater that are in this city. So we'll just throw it in their faces before a bunch of awesome bands. It's just 7 bucks, and we've got three ten minute plays from YB alum Rob Askins, and current Yoblo's Emily Chadick Weiss and myself. Not to mention performances and direction from EST favorites Dylan McCullough, Steven Boyer, Lucy Devito, Megan Tusing, and Jake Aron.

If you've got a spare 7 bucks and are looking for some theater that's a little more rough around the edges and don't mind getting served PBR by a dude who's beard is probably longer that your girlfriend/wife's haircut, come on out. The more folks we get to come out to these the more we can keep spreading great theater by young playwrights around Brooklyn.

Here's the DL on the playz...

by Rob Askins

Joe's a dumpster punk who likes to beat the shit out of hippies. Jenny's got the perfect dress on for a first kiss, but there's something he should know first...

Directed by Dylan McCullough
With Steven Boyer and Lucy Devito

Written and Directed by Christopher Sullivan

Friends in a Williamsburg loft try to summon their dead friend via a Ouija Board made from the advice of an occult-based fashion blog written by a girl in Bushwick who fucked a ghost once.

With Jake Aron, Eric Goldberg, Emma Jane Gonzalez, and Erica Lutz

by Emily Chadick Weiss

A tsunami is about to hit New York City and everyone's trying to live it up before their lives are over. But what if the last person you'd want to party with is the only person who comes to your party?

Directed by Dylan McCullough
With Steven Boyer, Lucy Devito, and Megan Tusing

Followed by
GIRLFRIENDS - picking up speed like lonesome drivers pursuing foxy hitchhikers - http://girlfriendstheband.com/

TALL FIRS - dishing out harmonized soliloquy to the last syllable of recorded time - http://tallfirs.org/

THE HOUSE FLOOR - offering the sincerity of your oldest friendships with the tempo changes of your time-lapsed lifeline - http://www.myspace.com/thehousefloor

$7 Death By Audio
49 South 2nd Street
8:00 doors, plays 8:30

Monday, June 20, 2011

Green Cheese in Cyberspace

Silly playwright. What are you doing? You know you can't making a living writing plays. There's no money in theatre. You know where the money is? Grilled cheese.

That's right. Don't you read, playwright? According to the New York Times, The Melt--which will one day allow users to order grilled cheese sandwiches from their mobile phones--has raised 15 million dollars. It's not even up and running yet and they have 15 million dollars. No users, no sales. It's just an idea on a page. Sort of like your play. But this idea has 15 million dollars behind it.

You see, silly playwright, this is how the world works. I saw that reading of that new play of yours. I would invest, but it seemed...I don't know...like it needs a bit more development before I take it seriously.

But this guy, Jonathan Kaplan, he came up to me and told me about how I could order a grilled cheese sandwich from my mobile phone with his app and I decided to give him 15 million dollars. Because that would be so sweet if I could order grilled cheese from my phone--so much cooler than using my phone to call a restaurant to order grilled cheese and so much cooler than going on a website via my phone to place an order. And I'm never at home when I want a grilled cheese, where'd I'd have to use a lame computer. No, I want an app for that. A grilled cheese app.

How is The Melt going to do it? I haven't a clue. Not for me to say. But I trust that it will work and be popular. Meanwhile, I felt like the ending of your play wasn't really earned. I mean, what was with the juice? She drinks it? She doesn't drink it? I mean...??

But can I tell you about color? I gave color 41 million dollars. I'll be honest, I'm not even sure what it is. It's this app...with pictures? You know how kids share pictures? They'll be doing that with color soon--somehow unlike they do on facebook or twitter or flickr. It's going to be big. The CEO told me, so it must be true. So he's rocking out with $41 million just because! Because what if this thing is the next facebook? I'd be stupid to not give them $41 million! And who am I to tell them what's going to be popular? I mean, they're the tech people. They know what they're doing. So I'm keeping my mouth shut and writing checks.

Meanwhile, where does your story take place? Yeah, they're in a house...but where? What was the time period? Yeah...see, that's your problem.

Silly, playwright. It needs to be clear for me to invest. As clear as scvngr.com.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The HMS Youngblood

Meghan Deans and I have a very real, very serious artistic goal: one day, Youngblood needs to own a ship.  The natural synergies between a young playwrights group and a large expeditionary vessel are so obvious it's amazing nobody has put it together yet.

So with some regularity, we look for ships for sale online and send them to each other.  Sometimes the conversation goes like this:

Meghan:  Okay well let's not kid ourselves. That first one, that goddamn catamaran (CATAMARAN!!!) is wonderful. For chrissake, it has a massage cabin. A MASSAGE CABIN. And I love the tableau in picture B, where you could sit on the deck and... look... at... instruments? Like a guitar just hanging out? That's pretty fantastic

RJ: This is a heck of a ship but note the fuel consumption - 650-700 gallons PER DAY.  At probably $5+/gallon for marine fuel.  WHAT THE WHAT?  Clearly we're going to need a REALLY successful Kickstarter.
Meghan: But, here's what I also like, all of these "research vessels." You know how we get a "research vessel"? A Sloan grant, obviously. And if they're not going to play ball, I say, let's go all the way to the National Science Foundation. What, do they have something better to do?
My brother was on a research vessel for a couple months this spring (so jealous) and the ship itself had a website for kids, one that was clearly made to get some sweet sweet NSF funding. Education and whatnot. (They interviewed him, like, "hey kids! this is what a scientist does!" and their explanation of his research, the explanation written explicitly for children, is the first time I've actually understood what he does.)

RJ: "Pirate Ship (New)" - has the best disclaimer ever, "Pirates not included!"
Meghan: I don't even know what to say about the pirate ship. Except, what the: "Details include 6 bronze functional cannons, handmade canvases and ropes, a handmade metal-tipped anchor and also the sheathing impregnated by hot blood from oxen." OH GOOD. Because I was running low on SHEATHING IMPREGNATED BY HOT BLOOD FROM OXEN. HOT. BLOOD.

RJ: Maybe we've been aiming too high.  This one you don't dock, you park it.  Liveaboard would be a little spartan, true.
Meghan: So yeah, maybe you're right, maybe we want to go with the LARC Amphibious Vehicle. At least that one could also double as something that helps us get our IKEA furniture home.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Blogging Bloodworks: Link/March Pt. 1

People often tell me that they can't imagine me as a child.

I don't really know what this means, but more than one person has said it to me. In fact, even I have trouble remembering myself as a young boy. But I know I didn't always speak in the baritone that I do now. I was once a child. And while I'll never be one again, I briefly felt like one while writing The Bone Wars.

I didn't have many toys growing up, but I did have dinosaurs--an awesome T-Rex and a pretty sweet Brontosaurus. I think there was a Triceratops in the mix too. Boy, did we have some crazy adventures! I even had an awesome book called Patrick's Dinosaurs--how frickin' cool! I couldn't believe there was a book that not only had my name as part of the title, but was ALSO about dinosaurs. Life was complete.

Yet, I grew up too quickly. Hollywood was calling, or at least the local community theatre was, and I had myself some musicals to be in. That's right. When I was nine I was a triple threat. I acted, I danced (4 years tap--oh yes!), and I believed that I could sing. While Jordan was winning NBA Championships, Link was making a name for himself in local musical theatre. And I was very, very serious about it.

But, again, I grew up too quicky. When I was 15, I "didn't want to pretend anymore." So I put these musicals away in the dark closet of my soul, right next to Patrick's Dinosaurs. I locked the key. Never to return.

Until I started writing a musical about dinosaurs with Eric March and Jeff Bienstock--a musical you can experience for the first time ever on Wednesday, June 22 at 8:30pm on the 2nd floor of EST. The Bone Wars is a musical adventure about two leading paleontolgists of the 1880s and their conflicting ambitions. It's also about fame, survival, and science!

But for me (and maybe just me) it's about other things, too. Like finding fossils not just in the ground, but in the caverns of your mind; fossils that form the child you once were--a strange distant creature that once ruled the earth.

The Bone Wars
Music and Lyrics by Eric March and Jeff Bienstock
Book by Patrick Link
Wednesday, June 22 at 8:30PM

Directed by RJ Tolan
Featuring Chris Hoch, Anthony Holds, Sarah Corey, Joel Rooks, Catherine Jones, Josh Davidson, Lance Rubin, Aaron Phillips, Steven Boyer, John Bennett, Shawn Randall, Matthew Baldiga, and Nate Weida.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Shut Up, David Mamet*

Shut up, David Mamet. STFU. Be quiet. No, seriously, shut the fuck up, David Mamet. * You don't know what you're talking about when you say things like:

On Phil Spector:

"I don't think he's guilty... They should never have sent him away. Whether he did it or not, we'll never know but if he'd just been a regular citizen, they never would have indicted him."

Oh, really? Phil Spector wore a fright wig and kept Ronnie Spector prisoner. That's not something regular citizens get the chance to do.

On unions:

"I realized I had been screwed by unions as much as I'd been helped by them."

So much for minimum wage and five day work weeks.

On Sarah Palin:

"I am crazy about her. Would she make a good candidate for president? I don't know but she seems to have succeeded at everything she put her hand to."

Like shooting wolves from a helicopter. I can't even.

Read the whole thing if you want your brain to die a painful death. Ugh. Everything is the worst.

*The opinions expressed in this post are Conkel's only, and not necessarily the opinions of Youngblood as a collective.

Hear Them Roar!

According to Isherwood, this Broadway season has been a tad low on significant roles for women. This got me thinking about how Youngblood treated our female characters during the 2010-2011 season. I think Isherwood would have been pleased with our ladies (until they address the audience).

Unfiltered 2011 gave life to three new plays (Sweet Forgotten Flavor, In Quietness, and The Sluts of Sutton Drive) all of which had hefty leading roles for women. Featuring the talents of Kristin Griffith, Julie Fitzpatrick, and Megan Hill, these women were on the Verge of a Glorious Takedown of all the male characters trying to share the stage with them. These plays also showcased from some phenomenal supporting females (Diana Ruppe, Clare McNulty, Katie Atcheson and Amy F-ing Staats).

As for The Ladies Who Brunch, who could forget Eric Dufault's Defensive Driving with Molly Carden and Cathy Curtin? Or Anna Kerrigan's In Transit with Julie Leedes and Diana Ruppe? Not to mention Mira Gibson's infamous short Skandal Skank with Lucia Brizzi, Jenny Gomez, Allyson Morgan, Amy Staats, and Megan Tusing? Sure, we had the Sloan Brunch which somehow only provided one female character (rock on, Kristen Harlow!), but I swear that was a fluke.

I imagine Asking for Trouble had some good female roles, but that whole weekend is a blur to me, so I'm just going to give a shout out to Kelli Lynn Harrison and Abigail Gampel in Eric March's musical tribute to Arbor Day.

And while Bloodworks ain't over yet, we've already had Erica Saleh's In Memory of Julie Simmons and Alex Borinsky's Unpleasant Men, both boasting all-female casts.

We'll never have enough female characters, so we'll continue to write them. In the meantime, I'm glad to be part of a theatre where the women are strong, the men are above average, and the kids are from 52nd Street.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Unpleasant Men

I hope you'll all come to the Bloodworks readings tonight.

If you're sitting at home, sure that you'll be there for Emily's at 6:30 but not sure that you want to stick around for this guy Alex's thing, try the following.

1. Ask your house big band to strike up something hot and sassy and approximately 1877.
2. Warm up your Macbook and hit play on the ol' Edison viral vid below.
3. Have someone with a deep, caramel voice (there's a certain Youngblooder you might have in mind) warm up their own Macbook, log on to the Youngblog, and read you the description below.

Yeah? You said you're coming?


It's 1877, cusp of the modern world. Everything's new. Two brothers and their dad lose everything and head to New York. Men are rich in this city, gin is smooth, mansions are fucking big, and there might be a revolution happening. There are also some quietly broken hearts.

What's that? Yes, darling, it's play about manliness, graft, and ambition for three badass women.

Now imagine yourself on the Sixth Avenue elevated train, rattling along behind a steam-powered locomotive. Oh! Watch your bustle, dear. And you, sir, hold onto your hat. This modern monster -- a modern miracle! -- is busting off the tracks and -- Oh? Where's that it's taking us?

Is this New York University? And is this the Goldberg theater?

Well, dear, shall we give it a try?


Unpleasant Men
by Alexander Borinsky
directed by Colleen Sullivan
with Clare Barron, Megan Hill, and Nana Mensah
stage directions by Justin Perkins

Monday, June 13th, 8:30 p.m.
Goldberg Theater, NYU
721 Broadway, 7th Floor

The Relief - Bloodworks by Emily Chadick Weiss 6:30pm TONIGHT!


a play about a dysfunctional non-profit trying to help Pakistani flood victims.

written by Emily Chadick Weiss

directed by Linsay Firman

Amy Staats
Geneva Carr
Debargo Sanyal
Gracie Bea Lawrence
William Peden

6:30pm -8pm

Rita and Burton Goldberg Theatre

7th floor 721 Broadway, between Waverly and Washington Pls

Your audience participation would be much appreciated!

DENMARK by Anna Kerrigan

Check out a reading of my new play DENMARK on Tuesday, June 14th at 6:30 pm at EST (part of the Bloodworks Reading Series).

This is a play that's surprisingly personal for me. While writing, I literally laughed and cried. I'm not expecting anyone to cry during a reading but if you laugh it's cool by me.

We have an awesome cast (Scott Sowers, Michael Cullen, Betsy Aidem and Sue Jean Kim) helmed by tour de force director Carolyn Cantor. Hope you can come.

In a rickety Albuquerque hospital, dutiful younger brother Griffin tries to help his verging-on-senile older brother Denmark recover from a stroke with the aid of a clunky station wagon, some VHS recordings of Saved by the Bell, copious legal pads, a pot-smoking doctor, and an ex-wife in pursuit of missing property. A dark comedy about two screwed up brothers trying to set things right.

Friday, June 10, 2011

I Wanna Destroy You

There's a reading of my new old play on Tuesday, June 14th. I say new old play, because I wrote it rather quickly a few years ago for my very first Bloodworks reading.

And it kind of sucked.

Sure, the idea was great. I wanted to write a play about the trope of the gay sidekick- something I hate with a burning passion. Why is it we only get to be around so long as we're decorating an apartment or saying something sassy or doling out sex advice to straight girls? I suppose it is better than it was. When I was a kid people only wanted to see representations of gay men who were dying. In that respect, I suppose Stanford from Sex and the City is a step forward. Still, when I hear Kathy Griffin or whoever talking about "their gays" it makes me want to go to sleep forever.

So I wanted to write a comedy about a gay man surrounded by glamorous women who is struggling to be the star of his own life. And... I kind of failed. I wrote it really quickly and couldn't really handle all the themes that were jumping out.

That said, I recently dug the play out and completely gutted it and reworked it. And you know what? I really like it. I think it's funny and sweet and less angry than a lot of my other work. It actually turned out to be a sort of romantic comedy, which surprised the hell out of me. It wants to be an adorable little indie film starring, like, Joseph Gordon-Levitt or some shit. So if you don't like my play The Sluts of Sutton Drive or MilkMilkLemonade, maybe you will like this one.

Here's the other thing. This is my last Youngblood event ever. So you should come celebrate with me. If there's one thing I've learned from I Wanna Destroy You, it's this: I'm a better writer at 30 than I was at 27. And it's all because of Youngblood. And that is something to celebrate.

I Wanna Destroy You
by Joshua Conkel

A staged reading at Ensemble Studio Theatre.
549 W 52nd St., Second Floor

Tuesday, June 14th
8:30 pm


Tuesday, June 07, 2011


A lesson in how to change, keep it simple, and remain unbelievably sexy.

Watch this (circa 1990):

And then watch this -- to the end -- starting around minute 3:30 (circa 2005):

(There are earlier videos of Ms. B, too...)

Monday, June 06, 2011

Blogging Bloodworks: Deans Edition

So I love cozy mysteries. The ones with near-puns in the titles, like, it'll be called MURDER TAKES A MOUTHFUL and the protaganist is a plucky young middle-aged woman who runs a bakery in a small town and someone she knows, a little distantly but she still has a connection to him, that person gets murdered and she accidentally on purpose solves the crime, bewildering the local sheriff who is also now in love with her. Did I say I love them? Maybe that's a strong word. I mostly love them. I love them when I'm burnt out and it's either, we're going to watch an entire season of America's Next Top Model or we're going to go outside and read something. These are the somethings I pick. A good cozy is wonderfully comforting, despite the murders.

When I started writing The Hooks, I thought I'd just write a cozy. I made a list of all of the things that my favorite cozies had in common. I wrote myself a plucky heroine, I gave her an oddball shop. I gave her a best friend. I gave her a mystery. I gave her someone to fall in love with. Then a weird kind of thing happened. I fell in love with getting my plucky young heroine to fall in love. Like, real deal. All of a sudden, The Hooks was also a love story.

'Cause that's the funny thing about cozies. Lots of them have romances. If it's a multi-book series, that's a thread for your reader, but also, if it's a multi-book series, things can't move too fast. So lots of those plucky heroines push back against the romance. I wanted to write into that instinct, the push-back instinct. I wanted to figure out why there might be more fear in love than there was fear in figuring out who'd stabbed whom. So I grabbed my magnifying glass and I called up my trusty sidekick and...no, no, I didn't. No magnifying glass. But I did write a play. And you can see a reading of it. Tonight! THE DETAILS ARE AS FOLLOWs!

A man is found dead in the local historical society, stabbed in the back with a(n historical) hook. The town's local sleuth is a little in love with the sheriff's lead suspect. And then there's this matter of some buried treasure...?

The Hooks is a love story, with murder.

Written by Meghan Deans
Directed by Dylan McCullough

With the considerable acting talents of Robert Askins, Pepper Binkley, Steven Boyer, Kristen Harlow, and Brian Morvant; plus the lovely Dana Chehansky on stage directions.

Monday, June 6th
New Location! IRT Theater
154 Christopher Street (at Washington)
3rd floor (buzzer 3B)

Thursday, June 02, 2011


Today's Quotation of the Day from the New York Times:

"In effect, Saleh is dragging the country into civil war."

-Abdulghani Al-Eryani, a political analyst in Sana, on In Memory of Julie Simmons, a new play by Youngblood playwright Erica Saleh*

Don't miss it!

In Memory of Julie Simmons
by Erica Saleh
Tuesday, 6/7 at 6:30 PM - Ensemble Studio Theatre

*Although this isn't actually what Mr. Al-Eryani was saying, this play does indeed have the strength to destroy nations.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Don't Stop Til You Get Enough

Do you want to write a play? Looking for an idea?

According to this, back on September 10, 2001, Michael Jackson had a concert at Madison Square Garden. He brought two of his best pals along with him--Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando. The following day was September 11, 2001. Michael tried to have a private jet take the three of them somewhere far away...but they learned pretty quickly that that wasn't going to happen. So what happened?

Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor, and Marlon Brando drove themselves to Ohio.

(Go ahead. Read that sentence again.)

Apparently this happened. Is it true? How can something that good not be true? Corey Feldman (who, I guess, chose not to leave with them, but was hanging with them the night before) says it's true, and I have no reason to not trust Corey Feldman. Regardless, truth spoils too much fun, so let's not even go there yet.

Do you think it would make a good play?

Three incredible characters....all great, all flawed, all iconic...but difficult, if not impossible, to cast.

Questions abound: Who drives? What do they listen to on the radio? What do they talk about? That's a long drive!

I don't know if it'll be a good play, but I know it won't be a play at all unless you write it. So if you're on the prowl for new play material and this rubs you the right way, go forth!

Just be sure to send me your pages.