Friday, September 30, 2011

How to get free lunch and dinner and be entertained

Be an extra on the web sitcom I wrote, "The Share"
Here are the details:

Monday, October 3
from 10am-3pm join us at the bar
The Way Station
683 Washington Ave
(between Bergen St & St Marks Ave)
At 3pm, we'll give you lunch!

Or join us at

"The Share" Apartment
1055 Dean St 1st floor
off of Franklin ave
from 4pm-10pm and we'll give you dinner! And you'll be at a party!

Rsvp to writer/producer Emily,


Can't make it? Not too late to make the show possible with a donation:

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Asking For Trouble 2011: How Trouble Is Asked For

What's that sound? That sort of,'s a little bit like crying, a little bit like laughing, a little bit like screaming, a little bit like the sound of twenty-five plays being written and produced in two weeks. Oh, that sound, yes, of course. Why, that could only be

Every year, the we of Youngblood draw actors, a director, and a point of inspiration from a hat. Several hats, actually, but that's not the point. The point is that everything is random, and fast, and excellent. We draw those actors, and that director, and those points of inspiration--this year we drew both a title for our play and a song--and then we run off to our hovels and bathtubs and blanket forts and we write. We write like hell. You ever seen the playoffs? It's like the playoffs. Any playoffs. Except without eliminations. It's just like playoffs in that we all get sweaty and passionate and every game counts every word counts.

You see?

After the writing comes the rehearsing, and the rehearsing. We rehearse wherever we can. Perhaps you will recall how earlier I said "twenty-five plays," I was not joking. Twenty-five plays are being rehearsed right now. As I type, and as you read this, that is happening. We rehearse in theaters, in rehearsal spaces, in hallways, in offices, in bathrooms, on the backs of flatbed trucks. Anywhere. Everywhere. Then, just as things are picking up steam, suddenly everyone realizes that every single play has, at minimum, one completely ridiculous prop or costume piece, like, a working waterfall, or, a fighter jet, or, an exact replica of a 19th-century Prussian Army uniform, or, an entirely authentic genie that grants actual wishes.

This is about the point that the actors and directors start to get the crazy murdery looks in their eyes, start to ask the playwrights questions like "what were you thinking" and "dear god, what were you thinking" and "I hate you?" And the playwrights smile Cheshire smiles and say the only permissible response: "I was thinking of trouble."

In less than a week, Asking For Trouble will be on its feet and ready for you, and I think you should be there. I think you should absolutely be there. Because the real beauty of Asking For Trouble is all the little gems that are created out of all this chaos. The chaos emeralds, you might say. With very little time to second-guess and absolutely no time to get soft, the twenty-five plays and twenty-five directors and ninety-five actors draw from deep within themselves some amazing, courageous, hilarious, and poignant theater.

Details are below. I hope you'll join us.

Asking For Trouble 2011 will be performed in 4 series.
Performance Schedule:

Wednesday, October 5th
Series A - 7pm
Series B - 9pm

Thursday, October 6th
Series C - 7pm
Series D - 9pm

Friday, October 7th
Series B - 7pm
Series C - 9pm
Series A - 11pm

Saturday, October 8th
Series D - 3pm
Series A - 5pm
Series B - 7pm
Series C - 9pm
Series D - 11pm

All performances will be at Ensemble Studio Theatre, 549 West 52nd Street, 2nd Floor (between 10th & 11th Aves).

RSVP on Facebook! Also, tweet @ESTnyc using #AskingForTrouble and tell us what you think of the shows!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Share - a Sitcom for the web by a playwright

Inspired by some of the phenomenal actors I've met through Youngblood, I wrote a sitcom for the web called "The Share."

"The Share" is about too many twenty and thirty-somethings crammed into a Crown Heights apartment trying to make ends meet while finding a faithful or wealthy soul mate.

CAST for the PILOT of "The Share"


Steven Boyer as NATHAN – a former Lehman Brothers Trader looking for his next apartment after a bad break-up and his next stint as a fireman or accountant or horse whisperer…

Lucy Devito as MONA* – a freelance magician’s assistant who makes most of her money by overcharging her roommates to live in the apartment her parents bought her. She’s got the hots for Nathan and knows one day he’ll come around. Mona is a cat lover but tragically allergic to cats.

William Jackson Harper as LINCOLN – a perpetually frustrated visual artist who wants to be paid for his work, for his work to be understood, and to get with his roommate Justine. Lincoln sleeps in a closet.

Maureen Sebastian as JUSTINE – a Filipino actress who’s always cast as the wrong race when she is cast. Justine is always in search of a rich husband even if she kind of likes her poor artist roommate, Lincoln.

Katie Kreisler Black as THEA – an entrepreneurial lesbian who is always hatching new ideas for how to stay fit while eating everything in sight for her webseries “Work It Off with Thea Sabonelli.” Thea wants to be in a committed relationship with a baby yesterday.


Robert Askins as STU* – Mona’s brother who mooches off Mona, can make a mean smoothie, and despite being unemployed and out of shape, manages to get all the ladies.

Julie Fitzpatrick as MADELEINE – A beautiful teacher who can’t stand her students. Nathan falls in love with her instantly.

Scott Sowers as FRITZ – Crunchy, self-righteous, and middle-aged, Fritz thinks he’s better than saving the world than anyone else, especially because he’s the founder of the “Save the Chickens Jog.” Fritz is Madeleine’s fiancĂ©.

Megan Tusing as AMY – Nathan’s spitfire ex-wife who manages a restaurant and is always pissed about something.

*Katie Schorr will be playing MONA in the reading
*Jordan Clifford will be playing STU in the reading

written by Emily Chadick Weiss
directed by Christina Roussos
produced by Steven Boyer, Christina Roussos and Emily Chadick Weiss

We're having the first public reading and cocktail fundraising party

Tuesday, September 27 at 7pm
The Ensemble Studio Theatre
549 West 52nd St 2nd Fl

Yes that's right, EST has generously donated their space for a sitcom reading.

Please join us for the half-hour reading with theme song by Youngblood alumnus the mighty mighty MATT SCHATZ! Also tons of beer from Brooklyn Brewery, cocktails and an auction featuring massages, restaurant certificates, fitness sessions and more.
$20 suggested donation. Cash is fine or checks can be made out to Emily C Weiss Productions

We need to raise $10,000 to pay for film equipment and for everyone's time and talent. So far, people have been extremely generous, especially the theatre community!

Here's the link to our fundraising site

To find out more about the show, go to

Emily Chadick Weiss

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Well Done Signature

Oh hey! Look at this (in my opinion) awesome thing that Signature Theater is doing:

I think this is a really exciting and brave investment in new work and I would really love to see more theaters follow suit.
I wonder if you agree.
Please discuss.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Common Playwright Injuries

As you have no doubt heard by now, playwright and unemployed actor Aaron Sorkin recently broke his nose while writing. According to the Los Angeles Times, “Sorkin said he was working on a block of dialogue in the mirror when he accidentally head-butted himself.” Non-writers among you may scoff at this news—how could writing dialogue be so dangerous?—but nose-breaking is just the tip of the injury iceberg for playwrights.

1. Second Act Wrist. A stress injury that most often occurs in the days just after a playwright hears her work aloud for the first time and realizes she has a “second act problem.” Despondent, the playwright often copes by siting in a room, alone, muttering, her head buried in her hands, her weak wrists flexed beyond their usual capacity. This goes on for days. DAYS. Sometimes her wrists even snap clean right off. No kidding. I've seen it happen.

2. Nervous Hyperactorvention. In rehearsal, most playwrights are keen to give their director and their actors the space they need to do their jobs. But every so often, without warning, a case of Nervous Hyperactorvention strikes, and the playwright finds herself unable to shut the hell up. A playwright thus stricken may find herself giving line readings and suggesting that next time the director “read the [redacted] script before coming into the [redacted] room.” She may also drink all of the bottled water in sight.

3. Getting Punched In the Head. Both the cure for Hyperactorvention and an injury unto itself. Best treated with alcohol. Good thing you drank all that water!

4. La Emerging Writer Grippe. No doubt you recall Miss Adelaide’s Lament about how a single unmarried female, basically insecure, due to some long frustration may react with psychosomatic symptoms, difficult to ignore, affecting the upper respiratory tract? Replace “single unmarried female” with “anyone who’s been called an ‘emerging playwright’ for more than five years,” and you’ve got La E.W. Grippe. Keep a box of tissues handy.

5. Other People Paralysis. A sort of dead-eyed, frozen state, brought on by any number of things, like going to see the hot new play in town and realizing it contains an idea very similar to the one you’ve been working on; or like seeing a theater’s season announcement and realizing that your mortal enemy is getting produced yet again; or just by realizing, all of a sudden, how hard it is to write a play. Best treated by putting your head down and writing, dammit. Also maybe start some weight training for your wrists.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Playwright Money Matchup

In an attempt to look busy at work, I sometimes open an excel document and enter random bits of data. I've started to make a little game of it. I call this one Playwright Money Matchup.

Here's how to play.

Think of two playwrights who have had shows on broadway. Then go to The Broadway League and select NYC Grosses on the Research & Information page. Go down each playwright's CV, pulling the total NYC Grosses for each of their titles, and then see who has the higher grosses. See?

So, for example, Tom Stoppard's stat card might look like this:

Impressive, eh? The dude has done well.

Now, let's see what kind of cash David Mamet has brought in.

Ah. Mamet wins!

But, golly, isn't Mamet annoying? Wouldn't it be great if there were some female playwright who could step to the plate and take him down?

There is. You know who it is. Welcome Yasmina Reza to the ring. Better sit down....

Oh, snap! That's a lot of NYC grosses! Yasmina Reza wins the day.

Tune in next week to see Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber go at it.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Their Power Over You

When I heard that George Lee Andrews was leaving Phantom after 9,382 performances, I assumed it was because he was ready to retire. He's 68, has been in the show for 23 would make sense if he was ready to move on.

Turns out, he wasn't ready to move on. Only the producers were. In an attempt to "keep the show fresh," they're cutting the last original cast member.

The man had a good run, no doubt. Keeping any job for that long is an accomplishment, let alone on Broadway in the highest grossing show in Broadway history. A good run! But still...can't the man leave on his own terms? Did they have to cut him? Really?

I don't think there's any evidence that his performance was lacking. By all accounts, the man worked hard to make sure he was fully present every night. Sure, he's just two years younger than Dick Cheney, and you're not the same at 68 as you were at 58 (let alone 48), but you can't fire somebody just because they're old, can you?

...can you?

I don't actually know. Do you? I'm sure Equity has some kind of rule about it. If you're cast in a Broadway show as a young lover, and a few years go by, are the producers allowed to replace you even if you maintain the same weight and size as you were before? That wouldnt be too hard to believe. But in the case of George Lee Andrews, I think he plays an older character anyway. I understand if a girl playing little orphan Annie becomes too old to be little orphan Annie. But what if John Culum is playing the part of "old man" in a Broadway show? Is he ever going to be too old? I suppose it's possible. So when, exactly, does he become too old?

Obviously Cameron Mackintosh didn't consult me before he made his decision, but it seems like a curious thing. If an actor has been fine for the last 9,382 performances...why change it now? I don't think they need to keep him just because he's been around since the beginning, but if he can still do the job, why stop him?

Anyway, it's a strange problem that we'll likely never have again.