Directing

Sherlock Holmes and The Terror By Night Train

I’ve been working with some of the most talented actors (including my brother, best friend and awesome new friends) I’ve met for about a month now on the latest Sherri’s Playhouse podcast. I am directing this piece and came up with the story while my writing partner wrote the script. I’m very proud of them and look forward to introducing you to the cast.

So here they are the amazing cast of the Sherlock Holmes mystery, Terror By Night Train.

Sherlock Holmes-C. B. Floyd

 

 


0000time-wintersJohn Watson-Time Winters

 

 

 

0000-ray-2C Auguste Dupin-Raymond Brent

 

 

0000-toniaIrene Adler-Tonia Lee Carr

 

 

0000-cathyMoria St James-Cathy Kutz

 

 

juniorJames Moriarity-Junior Paul

 

 

 

10409783_803245753049352_3893712058043773424_nLady Phyllis Carstairs-Sherri Rabinowitz

 

 

0000-wendyAmelia Hammersmith –Wendy Pumarlo 

 

 

0000-jnaeCornelia Hammersmith  / Queen Victoria- J’nae Rae Spano

 

 

0000anneJane Higgins-Anne-Louise Fortune

 

0000-eliSamuel Pearlman-Eli Robert

 

 

00000-morweenaHenrietta La Pierre-Morwenna

 

 

11261914_466211656892983_3870129249476015631_n (2)Toby-Nathan Goodwin

 

 

0000-nickMycroft Holmes/Detective Inspector Lestrade-Nicholas Davidge

 

 

Sherlock Holmes and The Terror by Night Train comes your way January 29, 2017. Look for more information as we get closer to the production.

New Year, New Goals, New Shows

2016 has come to a close and 2017 has begun. In the past I’ve talked about how I’ve wanted to spend the new year blogging more, writing more, producing more content. I think I write a variation of this blog every year. this year, the goals are the same; blog more, write more, create more content.

Lets look at what I’ve written in the past year though. I adapted my play  #JohnDoe from podcast format to stage format and had it performed by my local theater, Hays Community Theater, in late April/early May. You can watch these (not very well recorded but still) performances on my YouTube page.

In late May/early June I worked on three new short plays; The Suicide Club (based on a story by Robert Louis Stevenson), A Knack For Living (a play set in the old west), and Moonlight (based on The Moonlight Road by Ambrose Bierce). At least two of these will be performed in the upcoming season of Sherri’s Playhouse, heard on the podcast Chatting With Sherri (the same podcast where Murder At Home and #JohnDoe premiered). In addition, I wrote some new 10-minute plays including Thoughts And Prayers in response to the Orlando shooting in June, which was performed in Kalamazoo, MI.

In December, I started work directing a new play for Sherri’s Playhouse as well, Sherlock Holmes and the Terror By Night Train. I came up with the story, my writing partner wrote the script, and I added in additional material. I’m really proud of this cast and can’t wait to share this story with you. It’s coming January 29th.

What does 2017 hold for me? I’m hoping to get Warning Shots, my monologue for young female actor, into the hands of some students for forensic competitions this year. I’d also like to get Superstar, a 10-minute two-hander, into some students hands as well. Both of these are available here on my website, along with some other free scripts. I’m working on an adaptation of the medieval poem The Owl And The Nightingale,  that I think would make for an interesting contemporary political themed piece.

Other goals include getting #JohnDoe into other theaters, seeing more productions of Tom Sawyer and Allie in Wonderland, getting a production of my adaptation of A Christmas Carol and continue writing about the arts and arts advocacy as needed.

So here is to more blogging, more writing, more content creation in 2017 (it probably won’t happen by the way 😉 )

The Friday Free For All: The Audition Process

I’m still looking for a better name for my Friday posting then “The Friday Free For All” because I’m not giving anything away for free but my mind and posts.

And speaking of sharing my mind and thoughts, I was accused today in a British Lit class of “being too deep” obviously this girl hasn’t read any of my plays.

So until something better comes along, welcome to The Friday Free For All, where I will be discussing a play or musical I’ve seen or read, discussing the writing process, or going into thoughts about the art and craft of theater. Kind of whatever is on my mind regarding theater.

The Audition Process and Education

Twelve years removed from the first time I went to college, I recently went back to study English and Secondary Education. The purpose is to be, obviously, a teacher of English and Drama. I bring this up because my college recently held auditons for the Kander and Ebb musical Curtains, a fun musical set in the world of theater in the 1950s. And for the first time in nearly two decades of being involved in the theater, I wasn’t cast.

I understand not being cast, every show has limited parts and not every actor is suited for every role. It is obviously difficult for a woman to be cast in The Reduced Shakespeare Company’s The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) or David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross, since there are no parts for women or for a man to audition for Steel Magnolias since there are no parts for men. A show like Simon’s The Odd Couple only has a couple of female roles and a handful of male roles, there is no place to “create roles” for more actors, no matter how talented they are. Same with Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years or the Jones/Schmidt musical I Do! I Do!, both of which has a cast of two (one male, one female) and no room for expansion.

My point to this is, the reason I wasn’t cast, wasn’t because I was wrong for any roles or that I gave a bad audition, in fact in both instances it was the exact opposite. I wasn’t cast because “we decided to cast people that we’ve worked with from the music department”.

Hey, I understand, not a problem. Rep theaters are like that. Close knit communties where you work with the same people over and over again. Community theaters are like that as well. My issue with this is, if that is what you are doing, then don’t call it an “Open Audition”. Or if you do call it that, be prepared to expand your ensemble or cast people you weren’t expecting too.

As a writer/director, I’ve written shows where I’ve precast someone before pen ever touched paper (or finger to keyboard), but in those instances I’ve never held “open auditions”, I’ve gone to that actor and said “hey I’ve got a role for you, are you interested?” and we move from there. But I’ve also seen what happens when a young person takes a leap of faith and auditions for a show for the first time and they nail it. The first show I ever did in college was The Fantasticks (a show I’ve been in love with ever since), our Mortimer had never acted before and was brilliant. A shining star in a production with lots of shining stars. It was also a show that, due to it’s limited cast size, we created an ensemble for. And everyone that auditioned and accepted the role, was involved in. I can only imagine the frustration, embarrassment, lack of self worth attitude that a young artist might experience after not getting cast (especially when the statement “everyone will get cast” is made from an instructor/director) in a school production (whether that be in grade school, middle school, high school, or college). I had some of those feelings after getting cut and I’ve been doing this for over 20 years in a variety of roles. That’s why I try and keep the casts in the shows I write flexible so you can work in as many or as few “extra characters” as needed. In Allie In Wonderland, they are Playing Cards and CookieMen. In The Absolutely Real Story of Tom Sawyer as told by Becky Thatcher, they are just extra kids with lines (in fact the character of Mary in Tom Sawyer was written thanks to a young actor wanting to join our company about a week or two after rehearsals had started. My co-director/producer, an English teacher and grade school principal, couldn’t say no and I had to write more lines. The actor was amazing and perfect in the role and I can’t imagine the show without her).

I’m not suggesting we coddle actors during their education and give out roles or create roles where they aren’t there. As I’ve said above, there are plays wth male only casts and plays with female only casts. And some actors just aren’t right for roles. But far too often I’ve seen people with little or no experience fall deeply, madly in love with theater because they were “given” a part or without prior experience.

Directors, when you hold open auditions or are preparing your season, keep that in mind. My suggestion, depending on different factors (ages, type of theater [i.e. community, educational, rep, professional], gender), is to work up a variety of different shows for your season. Do some that are more “exclusive” then others and do some that are very open to everyone. But if you are doing a large cast, open audition musical in which an ensemble can be worked in, work it in and be ready to be surprised by who comes out.