Meet one of the Dramatist Guild 2015-2016 Fellow: EllaRose Chary

EllaRose DGWhat was your first experience with Theater?

My entry point into theater was cast recordings, when I was a kid that was all I listened to (let’s be honest, they’re still basically all I listen to…I listen to cast recordings at the gym). I had a cassette tape when I was very young of songs for kids from Broadway shows?—?“Consider Yourself,” “Getting to Know You,” “I’d Do Anything”?—?that I listened to every night before I went to bed. I memorized the songs. My parents noticed this and they also were musical fans, and so they took me to a variety of local and regional productions. My first really clear memory of seeing a piece of theater is seeing the SECRET GARDEN tour in Chicago (I’m from Gary, Indiana…). My mom and I had watched the number from the show on the Tonys and we had been listening to the tape, and I think that was the first major touring show I got to go to. I remember sitting in the front of the balcony, peering over the edge and watching Mary sing and thinking that could be me, I need to be a part of that.

When did you recognize you were a writer? Or when did you start writing?

I used to write stories when I was in elementary school and everyone would tell me I was a writer, and I would say, “yeah, yeah, I want to be a painter.” And then, in middle school I got picked to write a column for the local newspaper and I HATED it, and everyone said, “oh you’re such a good writer, you should be a writer,” and I said, “No way. I’m never going to be a writer, that’s the last thing I ever want to be after this.” But, there was a musical theater writing class in my high school that was a big deal, where you got to take a trip to New York (from Indiana), so I did that and I loved it, but I still wasn’t going to be a writer, I wanted to be an actor. When I got to college, Brown had this program where students could write musicals for the main stage and I did that with my friends and it started to creep into my mind that MAYBE if I could write musicals, that wouldn’t be so bad. But I was still in denial about being a writer. My playwriting teachers were amazing, and very encouraging, but I don’t think I really accepted that I was a writer and that that was going to be the thing that I was going to do until after I graduated from the Musical Theatre Writing grad program at NYU. I still don’t really love the label, I never want to be one thing, I want to do all kinds of things, so now I say I’m a writer AND…

Read the full interview here.

‘Playing the Assassin’ Shows Football’s Power

By, Jim Rutter, for The Inquirer

Playing the Assassin” performed by the Delaware Theatre Company stars Ezra Knight (right) and Garrett Lee Hendricks.

In 2013, I called David Robson’s Assassin a brutal gridiron drama, a verdict that holds up for his revised Playing the Assassin, now in a thrilling production at Delaware Theatre Company.

His current script builds on his original themes of guilt and recrimination, accidental suffering born of tragic circumstances (the hit didn’t violate rules, but Baker, like his real-life counterpart, Tatum, never apologized) and expands the depth of its humanity.

Some credit goes to Knight’s ferocious performance; like a tiger, he stalks the stage in a partial crouch, ready to unload on offenders, and instills his braggadocio with authenticity. But much goes to Robson, who has added great insight into the relationship of football to society and the evolution of the game as it has gone from a city-vs.-city sport to a corporate behemoth more bent on coddling millionaires and selling advertising and merchandise than on fueling intense rivalries.

The verbal sparring between the never-played Lewis and the veteran Baker accurately captures how football (and all team rivalry based sport) enables populations to sublimate violent urges into something less catastrophic and localized, no matter how violent that surrogate.

Read the full review here.

Ticketing information:
Playing the Assassin
Through Nov. 8 at Delaware Theatre Company, 200 Water St., Wilmington.
Tickets: $30 and up. Information: 302-594-1100 or www.delawaretheatre.org

St. Germain’s ‘BEST OF ENEMIES’ in Burbank: Racial fireworks explode from the stage

bestofenemiesOnly one week left to catch Mark St. Germain‘s BEST OF ENEMIES at the Colony Theatre in Burbank, CA.  “The production is mandatory viewing for anyone who values the stage’s ability to provoke thought about serious social issues,” remarked reviewer David C. Nichols of the LA Times.

Based on a true story, Ann, an African-American civil rights activist, and C.P., the Exalted Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan, are forced to work together by the federal government to achieve integration in their small North Carolina town fifteen years after Brown v. Board of Education.

Read the full review here, and for more information and ticketing, follow here.

Mark St. Germain Will Be One of the Most Produced Dramatists in the 2015-16 Season

American Theatre published a list of the top 20 most produced dramatists for the 2015-16 season, based on surveys of 386 theaters and 2,159 productions.  Mark St. Germain was ranked 9th.  The list is below:

1. Ayad Akhtar, 21 productions.

2. Tennessee Williams, 17.

3. Rick Elice, 17.

4. August Wilson, 16.

5. Sarah Ruhl, 15.

6. Arthur Miller, 15.

7. John Patrick Shanley, 13.

8. Lauren Gunderson, 13.

9. Mark St. Germain, 10.

10. Dominique Morisseau, 10.

11. Eugene O’Neill, 10.

12. Ken Ludwig, 9.

13. Christopher Durang, 9.

14. Tom Stoppard, 9.

15. Christopher Sergel, 9.

16. Aaron Posner, 9.

17. Jonathan Tolins, 9.

18. Laura Eason, 9.

19. Steve Yockey, 9.

20. Anne Washburn, 8.

Read the full article from the Washington Post here.

Fountain Theatre Celebrates its First 25 Years as a Vital, Intimate L.A. Stage

la-2436084-stephen-sachs-kaf350-c-jpg-20150821From the L.A. Times, by Charles McNulty

“I was working at the time at the Canon Theatre in Beverly Hills,” Sachs recalled. “I was there for almost two years, and we were doing ‘Love Letters,’ which was running forever, when I got this call out of the blue from Deborah Lawlor, who said that she wanted to start a company.

“Deborah and I had worked together on a project when she was an independent theater producer in L.A.,” Sachs continued. “But she was in New York and had got in a very serious car accident. When she was lying in the hospital, she said to herself, ‘If I survive this, I’m going to do what I always wanted to do, which is to have a theater of my own.’ Thank God she survived. And she called me — I remember that phone call so well — and said, ‘I want to start a theater. Will you run it with me?’ I said, ‘Absolutely.’ ”

The Fountain occupies an easy-to-miss building on a nondescript stretch of Fountain Avenue, the street made famous by the practical advice Bette Davis reputedly offered young actors with their sights set on Hollywood: “Always take Fountain.”

Inside, with its folksy upstairs café and single unit men’s room with delicate plumbing, it looks more like a private home in need of a gut renovation than a prominent theater and dance hub. (The Fountain, in addition to being one of the top five small theaters in L.A., is also the foremost presenter of Flamenco in the area.)

The moment Sachs and Lawlor walked into the building, they knew they found their theater. “There’s the wonderful relationship of the stage with the audience that’s intimate and embracing. We just felt that this was home,” Sachs said. “We bought the building in 1990. We own the building outright. Smartest thing we’ve ever done.”

Stephen Sachs will be honored on October 3rd at a special event commemorating the theatre’s 25th anniversary.

Read the full article here.