Jefe's House

Tag: daniel student

Blast From the Timeline

by on Apr.12, 2015, under The Sixth Boro, Theatre

According to an automated Facebook message I received this morning I posted this picture 4 years ago today on 4/12/11. I decided to check my blog for that date as well and yep, this was about to happen:

beautifulzion

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The America Play in Philly

by on Mar.27, 2013, under The Sixth Boro, Theatre

Suzan-Lori Parks. Photo via tumblr.com.

Up next at Plays & Players theatre in Philadelphia, from Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks comes a remarkable story of an African-American man who looks just like Abraham Lincoln and can be shot by would-be John Wilkes Booths for a small fee as a carnival attraction.

When the black Lincoln impersonator disappears into the Great Hole of History his wife and son go to find him. Questions of race, family, legacy, and the act of theatre itself play out in a surprising and emotionally stunning journey.

Leave it to artistic director Daniel Student and Plays & Players’ unique vision and desire not to do the expected with any play:  as a timely opening act to The America Play every night several world premiere shorts commissioned from local playwrights collectively entitled “Other American Cousins (named for the play President Lincoln was watching when he was assassinated, Our American Cousin) will examine “other” Americans’ places in today’s world.

This surrealist depiction of American history lands in Plays & Players’ third floor Skinner Studio as the season’s final production April 4th-21st.

As a former PDC @Plays&Players playwright-in-residence and current board member I’m thrilled that P&P keeps bringing it on.

See you in the sixth borough.  Tickets.

It takes a village…

THE AMERICA PLAY
Directed by Suzana Berger
Starring Lindsay J. Daniels, Langston Darby, Tanya O’Neill, Kirschen Wolford and Steven Wright

OTHER AMERICAN COUSINS
Directed by Malika Oyetimein, written by Quinn D. Eli and Kimmika L. H. Williams-Witherspoon

Set Design by Colin McIlvaine

Light Design by Andrew Cowles

Costume Design by Erica Hoelscher

Sound Design by Toby Pettit

Prop Design by Alyssa Velazquez

Dialect Coaching by Melanie Julien

Assistant Direction by Jeffrey Hyman

Dramaturgy by Lena Barnard

 

 

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“We’ve become relevant again.” Love it, love it.

by on Jun.10, 2012, under The Sixth Boro, Theatre

Today’ Philadelphia Inquirer.  Thrilled to be a playwright-in-residence and now a board member at Plays & Players…

Tom Stoppard's TRAVESTIES now at Plays & Players.

Philadelphia’s Plays

By Amy S. Rosenberg
INQUIRER STAFF WRITER

…At Plays & Players, the old guard has turned the reins over, somewhat reluctantly, to the youngsters: Daniel Student, 30, producing artistic director, and Rachel Dukeman, 28, managing director, both former volunteers who are now on staff. The two have a master plan to save the building, with $2.5 million in renovations and a vision of reinvigorating the private social club and remaking the house company as a professional group for emerging actors and playwrights.

“We’ve become relevant again,” said Student.

CONT’D AT PHILLY.COM>>

 

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AN IDEAL HUSBAND Monday 5/14 @7pm

by on May.07, 2012, under Film/TV, Politics, The Sixth Boro, Theatre

Sylvia Kauders

Dear Friends,

It’s my pleasure as a Plays & Players board member to invite you to the 3rd and final 100th anniversary reading and fundraiser next Monday 5/14 at 7pm.  All year long we’ve been presenting readings of plays that were performed at Plays & Players 100 years ago during its first season in 1911-12.

Blondell Reynolds Brown

This final reading is the most star-studded of them all.  The play is An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde, directed by Daniel Student, and features  features Sylvia Kauders (Witness, American Splendor, The Wrestler, Sex and the City, The Sopranos); Fox 29′s Good Day co-anchor Karen Hepp, City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, Revenue Commissioner Keith Richardson, restaurateur Jack Roe, Barrymore Award winning actors Madi Distefano and Amanda Schoonover; Joe Turner’s Come and Gone‘s Kash Goins and Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens creator Isaiah Zagar among others.

Karen Hepp

This final reading and fundraiser kicks off our Next 100 Years campaign to renovate and restore our beautiful old building which is a National Historic Landmark. For the past six months the acclaimed nonprofit Community Design Collaborative has been working with Plays & Players to create a 10-Year Master Plan with recommendations on sustainability and accessibility under the direction of Philadelphia’s leading architectural firm Studio Agoos Lovera.  The May 14 reading will feature raffle drawings, a silent auction, and a chance to hear about the Master Plan.

Tickets: 
$50 VIP – Reading and Meet the Cast post-show reception from 9-10pm at Quig’s Pub

$25 – Reading

$10 – Reading artist/industry ticket

PURCHASE TICKETS ONLINE NOW

Thanks so much, and I hope to see you there.

Jeff
[photos via wearysloth.com, philasun.com and ovi.com]

 

 

 

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Philly Inquirer sez Joe Turner Rocks

by on Jan.26, 2012, under The Sixth Boro, Theatre

A hoodoo man and a searcher: Damien Wallace (left) and Kash Goins, who meet at a boardinghouse. (DREW HOOD / Throwing Light Photography)

‘Joe Turner’s Come and Gone’: A tale of searching, tinged with mysticism

By Toby Zinman, for The Inquirer

Joe Turner’s Come and Gone is a big, strong, juicy play, and Plays & Players’ production is just as big, strong, and juicy. Representing the second decade in August Wilson’s “Century Cycle,” Joe Turner takes place a hundred years ago in 1911, a suitable choice for Plays & Players Theater’s 100th anniversary. While the building may be old, the company is new; it’s led by Daniel Student, who is rapidly proving himself a young director of range and vision.

Joe Turner – brother of Pete Turner, a late-19th-century governor of Tennessee – arbitrarily seized black men off the streets and forced them into slave farm labor for periods of seven years. Herald Loomis (the excellent Kash Goins), the mysterious, half-destroyed visionary figure at the center of Joe Turner, has spent three years since being freed walking with his young daughter Zonia (Lauryn Jones), searching for the wife who vanished while he was captive. They arrive at a Pittsburgh boardinghouse – the perfect locale to represent the comings and goings of the Northern Migration – run by the practical Seth Holly (James Tolbert) and his comforting wife, Bertha (Cherie Jazmyn).

 The other residents are a hoodoo man named Bynam (the thrilling Damien Wallace), who can bind people with a song and spell; Jeremy, a hotshot country bumpkin (Jamal Douglas); Mattie, a sweet, often-betrayed woman (Candace Thomas); and Molly, beautiful and dangerous (Mle Chester). There is a boy (Brett Gray) next door, who befriends Zonia, and a traveling peddler (Bob Weick), the “people finder” who is the grandson of slave traders.
Their lives briefly intersect – as they would in a week-to-week boardinghouse – mingling romance and business and desperation and pain and storytelling. The play powerfully suggests significance far beyond the plot: In the vision Herald Loomis sees of bones walking on the water and of people “shaking hands and saying goodbye to each other and walking every whichaway down the road,” Wilson give us the Middle Passage, to slavery, to the diaspora, to freedom.

The play lays down a solid layer of mundane detail – lots of biscuit-eating and coffee-drinking and dishwashing – allowing the extraordinary to stand out, especially the terrific Juba scene: wild, African-derived dancing after Sunday night’s fried-chicken dinner. The interesting set designed by Lance Kniskern is, suitably, half realistic, half suggestive, allowing the mysticism to mingle with the commonplace.

Get your tickets here.

 

 

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Joe Turner’s In This Town

by on Jan.16, 2012, under The Sixth Boro, Theatre

Excited to report that August Wilson’s masterful Joe Turner’s Come and Gone opens on the mainstage of Plays & Players this Thursday, January 19th. The play is set in 1911, the same year Plays & Players was founded, which is part of the reason for its inclusion in our 100th anniversary season.  It’s also included because it’s a smart and powerful play, and because it’s part of our mission statement to bring greater diversity to Philadelphia’s theatre scene.

Wilson took the title from the old blues song Joe Turner, my favorite version of which is the one by Mississippi John Hurt:

They tell me Joe Turner’s in this town
They tell me Joe Turner’s in this town
He’s a man I hate, I don’t want him hangin’ around.

The song is about Joe Turney, aka Joe Turner, a real-life kidnapper of blacks during the Jim Crow South after the Civil War.  I quote liberally from usprisonculture.com:  “In the late 19th century, a man named Joe Turney became well-known in the South. He was the brother of Pete Turney who was the governor of Tennessee. Joe Turney had the responsibility of taking black prisoners from Memphis to the Tennessee State Penitentiary in Nashville. It is said that Joe would make a habit of distributing some of the prisoners to convict farms along the Mississippi River, where employers paid commissions to obtain laborers.

“According to Leon F. Litwack in his terrific book Trouble in Mind: Black Southerners in the Age of Jim Crow:  ‘Most of the prisoners had been rounded up for minor infractions, often when police raided a craps game set up by an informer; after a perfunctory court appearance, the blacks were removed, usually the same day, and turned over to Turney. He was reputed to have handcuffed eighty prisoners to forty links of chain. When a man turned up missing that night in the community, the word quickly spread, ‘They tell me Joe Turner’s come and gone.’ Family members were left to mourn the missing (p.270).

“Joe Turney was the embodiment of the convict leasing system. ”

Set in a boarding house in Pittsburgh’s predominantly black Hill district during the Great Migration, this is a play about the search for identity, family and home after centuries of slavery.  It is at times heartbreaking, hilarious, musical and entertaining. In 1911 as emancipated slaves move north in search of employment and a chance to start over, Seth and Bertha Holly’s boarding house offers a new place to call home. Their routines are shaken when an angry and lost man arrives looking for his wife whom he hasn’t seen for years after he was captured and put in a chain gang by Joe Turner.  They are all forced to confront their own demons and come together to help the lost stranger find his way.

Don’t miss it. Get your tickets here.

Plays & Players Presents:
Joe Turner’s Come and Gone by August Wilson
Directed by Daniel Student
Starring Kash Goins, Damien Wallace, James Tolbert, Cherie Jazmyn, Jamal Douglas, Candace Thomas, Mlé Chester, Bob Weick, Lauryn Jones, Brett Gray, and Erin Stewart

 

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Virginia Dare reading 1/24/12

by on Jan.14, 2012, under Politics, The Sixth Boro, Theatre

Virginia Dare; the first English child born in the New World.

On Tuesday 1/24/12 @ 4:00pm as part of my PDC@Plays&Players residency in Philly we’ll be presenting a rehearsed reading of my unproduced play Virginia Dare.  There’ll be a Q&A afterward and I’d dearly love your feedback on this work in development.

VIRGINIA DARE is a multidisciplinary, multicultural play; a 21st century Southern Gothic drama gone global.  Set in a not-too-difficult-to-imagine near future in which the US has boots on the ground not only in Iraq and Afghanistan but Pakistan and even India, the play is a high stakes tale. An Appalachian brother and sister plot patricide against a backdrop of perpetual war and cosmic collisions.  With a touch of magic realism and a

The Hindu mother goddess Durga rides into battle.

spike of Eastern religion, the plot focuses on two irreparably damaged working class siblings who are struggling to deal with memories of their violent childhood, a forgotten murder, an impending murder looming on the horizon, and even a trip to the afterlife.  Startling images and verbal sparring send them both hurtling toward a dark decision.

WHAT: Reading of Virginia Dare  featuring Pardon My Invasion actors Emily Gibson and Joe O’Brien, directed by Daniel Student

Eternally volatile and disputed Kashmir.

WHEN:  Tuesday 1/24, 4pm-6pm.

WHERE: Plays & Players, 3rd floor Skinner Studio; 1714 Delancey Place (in Center City), Philadelphia, PA.

[images via todayontoday.com, wisdomlaughterhealing.com and dismalworld.com]

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Superheroes at the Brooklyn Lyceum

by on Dec.02, 2011, under NYC, The Sixth Boro, Theatre

I speak from first-hand experience when I highly recommend Daniel Student’s Superheroes Who Are Super! show dropping into Brooklyn from Philly on 12/17-18. It’s hilarious, it’s smart, you’ll have a blast. Dan is also the artistic director of Plays & Players Theatre in Philly where I’m currently a playwright-in-residence, and he directed my Philly Fringe show Beautiful Zion: A Book of the Dead which got raves. If you make it to Superheroes be sure to say hi to Dan; he’s a gem and a real talent.

Superheroes Who Are Super!

presents A VERY SPIDEY CHRISTMAS
at the Brooklyn Lyceum
Saturday, December 17, 2011 at 3pm and 6pm and 9pm (9pm is the PG-13 version; the rest are family-friendly)
Sunday, December 18, 2011 at 3pm and 6:00pm

Word for word staged readings of classic comic books with the best in low budget costumes and special effects

Tickets: $10
brooklynlyceum.com

Starring Ray Fallon, Michael McElroy, Brendan Norton, Angela Smith, and Johnny Smith

Directed by Daniel Student

featuring…

Marvel Team-Up #1 featuring Spider-Man and The Human Torch, “Have Yourself A Sandman Little Christmas” (1972)
Written by Roy Thomas

Spider-Man and The Human Torch team up to keep the Sandman from ruining Christmas but all he really wants to do is get home to his mama. Now if they could only find their own Christmas spirits and stop bickering with each other.

Marvel Holiday Special #3, “Revisionist History”
Written by Peter David

Doctor Leonard Samson tells the story of Hanukah. You know, the story that involves Captain America, The Hulk, and Wolverine. And robots. You know. THAT story of Hanukah.

Marvel Holiday Special #3, “The Big X-Mas Blackout”
Written by Richard Howell and Stan Lee

Electro wants to put the light out on the Rockefeller Center Tree. Oh and also all of New York City. Not if Spidey can help it.

 

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Philadelphia City Paper also sez PMI Rocks

by on Nov.13, 2011, under Politics, The Sixth Boro, Theatre

Pardon My Invasion

Through Nov. 19, $15-$20, Plays & Players Theatre, 1714 Delancey Place, Philadelphia

by Mark Cofta, City Paper

Smart and silly, Joy Cutler’s Pardon My Invasion receives an impeccable première by director Cara Blouin in Plays & Players’ 50-seat studio. Emily Gibson plays Penny, announcing, “There’s a man inside me.” Soon soldier Pvt. Mac takes over, requiring Gibson to play him trapped in a teen girl’s body, accomplished brilliantly. Pulp fiction writer mom Jennifer Summerfield copes not only with Penny’s boyfriend (Julian Cloud) and a curious cop (Theresa Leahy), but imaginary characters from her fiction and CONT’D AT CITYPAPER>>

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Philadelphia Inquirer sez PMI rocks

by on Nov.08, 2011, under Politics, The Sixth Boro, Theatre

Review: Pardon My Invasion

by Wendy Rosenfield, Philadelphia Inquirer

So here’s a real surprise: On the third floor of Plays and Players Theatre, there’s a world premiere by an under-the-radar local playwright — Joy Cutler — filled with amateur actors, directed by a relative newcomer. All outward signs indicate a hot mess; instead, it’s a blast.

Cutler’s oddball black comedy, Pardon My Invasion, features an AWOL Iraq war soldier hiding, Exorcist-style, inside the body of Penny, a 13-year-old American girl whose single mother Rita (Jennifer Summerfield) writes pulpy detective novels for a living. And that synopsis only covers the first few scenes.

Last season, director Cara Blouin created Dan Rottenberg Is Thinking About R@ping You, a sharp comedic, feminist response to the Broad Street Review editor’s article blaming CBS News reporter Lara Logan for her own sexual assault. Blouin’s the right woman for this job too, blowing up Cutler’s surreal take on sexual politics into Roy Lichtenstein territory with big, bright cartoons whose primary-colored confidence threatens to either saturate the mere mortals around them or smother them.

The Army, particularly tough-as-nails moustachioed Sarge (Joe O’Brien, who literally somersaults onto the stage and maintains that momentum throughout), teaches men to kill or be killed; Rita’s novels show women, particularly her main moll Honey Babe (an outrageously busty, lusty Angela Smith), as red-dressed, red-lipsticked carnal dynamos.

Meanwhile, Rita and Penny — along with that body snatcher, Pvt. Mack Jack (Emily Gibson, both vulnerable and hilarious in each role) — exist much further down the charisma spectrum, sorting through their own CONT’D AT PHILLY.COM>>

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