Producer Face

producer face

This is my serious producer face.

Recently, I was accepted into the Commercial Theater Institute’s 14-week program, “Advanced Topics for Commercial Producers and Managers.”  Headed by CTI’s Executive Director, Tom Viertel, it is an intensive course comprised of fourteen Monday evening classes, during which some of the most successful Broadway producers, theater owners, advertising agency/p.r. executives, and Tony Award winning creative teams present and facilitate in-depth discussions on the commercial producing process.

My producing experience thus far has been as a co-producer of “Gutz” a one-man show written and performed by Todd Wall (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0908493/ and http://wall2wallreels.weebly.com/), for which I also functioned as dramaturg.  A couple of year prior, I was co-general manager of an evening of short plays called “7-11,” one of which I wrote and starred in (“11 Minutes In Macy’s”).  I am also the author of  the play “Mine,” which I hope to further develop some day.

In previous years, I took CTI’s Three Day Intensive (held at the Helen Hayes Theatre — soon to be renamed following its purchase by Second Stage) and “Producing Workshops, Readings & Showcases.”  The impetus for applying for the 14-week program was my experience as the lead  in ‘What’s In A Name’ by Timothy Nolan and directed by Greg Cicchino at The Chain Theatre in Long Island City.

“What’s In A Name” is the story of Susan Price, a Catholic School student who becomes involved in the fight for racial justice in the early 70s, tragically finding herself embroiled in a bank robbery gone wrong.  She goes into hiding for thirty years, raising a child and living under an assumed name. The play opens on her as a middle-aged adult, emotionally unraveling as her son leaves home for the first time and the ghosts of her former life return to view.  I really enjoyed playing the role — the play’s intense combination of painful emotion, political idealism, and its exploration of a fascinating period during U.S. history were very compelling artistically and intellectually.

And I love the small and artful “Chain Theatre.” Please check them out.  They present a variety of new and original work, and also curate film festivals, new play readings and visual art in their lobby gallery.  http://www.chain-theatre.org/

But I did want to see this play find a larger audience.  And let’s be honest — I wanted more people to see me in a part I felt I played well.

Tim and I discussed producing his play in Manhattan, but having had some unfortunate experiences, he had doubts about our ability to do it ourselves.  “We need a real producer,” he said.  I had doubts too – mainly because the part is 183 pages long and takes my character through a nervous breakdown, which is a lot to combine with a producer’s responsibilities — but I have always have my mother’s refrain in mind: “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

However, since Tim was not fully confident, the project was set aside.  And I decided to educate myself on all that a producer does.  I applied to CTI.

Further disclosure:  I am also the legal and compliance associate of a private equity firm (and a corporate mergers and acquisitions paralegal for several years prior), and have learned a tremendous amount about law and finance.  Since I am looking toward developing a more fluid relationship between my creative life and my business experience, I hope to channel my creative sensibility toward investments and projects to which I feel artistically and emotionally connected.

Cut to: first class where producer Kevin McCollum (“Rent,” “Avenue Q, “The Drowsy Chaperone,” “In The Heights,” “The Last Ship” and many more) proclaims that there’s no way to learn how to produce and even he doesn’t understand it fully.

Stay tuned…

producer face Bono Producer face howl

 

 

Irish American Writers And Artists Honors Legendary New York Writer Pete Hamill

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I am very happy to share that I have been elected to the Board of Irish American Writers and Artists. As stated on our website, “IAW&A is a non-profit organization dedicated to the celebration of Irish American writers, actors, musicians, filmmakers and artists both past and present. We are an INDEPENDENT and PROGRESSIVE collective dedicated to the principle that by promoting and appreciating creative expression, we can enhance the human condition. Our goal is to highlight the RICH TRADITION of Irish Americans in all manner of artistic endeavor in the United States, from the 19th Century to the present day.”

Word.

Please check us out at http://i-am-wa.org 1378630_10151938449968948_360275526_n

On October 20th, we honored legendary New York writer Pete Hamill with the Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award. During his exceptional career as a newspaper reporter and columnist, Pete was the only person to serve as editor of both the New York Daily News and the New York Post (though not at the same time — can you imagine!). An award-winning novelist and a best-selling author, he has written several non-fiction books on subjects ranging from Mexican painter Diego Rivera to Frank Sinatra to his beloved Brooklyn. His memoir, “A Drinking Life” remains one of my favorites, as does “North River” a novel set in the West Village during the Great Depression. Loaded with factual details and vivid images only a journalist could summon, the novel practically whips the cold wind up from the North River — as the Hudson was known back then.

Pete has also published essays and articles in Esquire, The New Yorker, Playboy, Rolling Stone and many other publications. As a journalist, he covered wars in Vietnam, Lebanon, Nicaragua, and Northern Ireland, as well as race riots in the U.S and numerous political campaigns.

He also dated Shirley MacClaine and Jackie Kennedy Onassis.

Shirley MacLaine and Pete Hamill Arriving at a Party

Shirley MacLaine and Pete Hamill Arriving at a Party

I mean, don’t you want to hang with this guy?
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The ceremony was at Rosie O’Grady’s, just blocks away from the famed playwright’s birthplace in Times Square. Alas, these days you can buy a pumpkin spice latte on site.43 St Starbucks

To introduce the evening, our new President, Larry Kirwan commented on the role of the seanachie and the plight of the 21st century artist in a marketplace of poachers and corporate greed (Kindly think about where “free” music comes from and who benefits from it…).

President Larry Kirwan of Black 47 fame

President Larry Kirwan of Black 47 fame

Vice President Mary Pat Kelly celebrated the contributions of some of the organization’s female contingent.

Mary Pat Kelly

Mary Pat Kelly

Jimmy Breslin, Gay Talese, Judy Collins, Brian Dennehy, William Kennedy, Steve Schirripa, Ruben Blades and Pete’s brothers, Denis and Brian Hamill, were all on hand to celebrate.

New York Times Columnist and Pulitzer Prize winner Dan Barry

New York Times Columnist and Pulitzer Prize winner Dan Barry

Dan Barry told a hilarious story about his search for “worthy” scones for Pete and his wife, Fukiko Aoki. Unsurprisingly, Starbucks scones proved sub par.

Shh, don’t tell Eugene O’Neill.

Barry’s “Scones For Pete Hamill” was hilarious and heartfelt, and can be read here:
http://irishamerica.com/2014/10/scones-for-pete-hamill/

Brian Dennehy

Brian Dennehy

I was particularly happy when Brian Dennehy showed up. I’d been on the phone with him several times, hoping to work around his shooting schedule (he’s in the new Ed Burns pilot) so that he could read from Pete’s work. The evening’s MC, IAW&A’s Secretary John Kearns, had selected an excerpt from a beautiful piece written by Pete in 1980 for New York Magazine, “Spaldeen Summers.” With his colossal presence, Brian read powerfully — and with an Irish accent. (The story is about growing up in Brooklyn.) I suspect his dialect choice was influenced by too many “in character” moments of ribbing Malachy McCourt.

Malachy McCourt

Malachy McCourt

Speaking of Malachy — or should I say “singing” — after paying tribute to his long friendship with Pete, he led the entire crowd in all five verses of “Will Ye Go Lassie Go.” So sweet, so Irish.

Governor Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo

And then Governor Andrew Cuomo appeared out of nowhere. A surprise guest, he headed to the podium to describe meeting Pete in his dad’s kitchen as a young man. Good company indeed! By the way, he has very soft cheeks. (someone got a kiss from the Governor…)

Mike Lupica  "Malachy Stole My Song"

Mike Lupica
“Malachy Stole My Song”

Finally, Mike Lupica presented the award itself. He had told me during cocktail hour that he wouldn’t be saying much — he expected to congratulate Pete and hand him the award. Wouldn’t you know it (after griping that Malachy had stolen his opening number) he gave an elegant tribute: “So this is a good night to tell the truth about Pete Hamill, about his talent and his heart and his generosity and immense gift for friendship; about his love for his city; about his honor; and most of all about his toughness.

“I’ll say something about Pete tonight I once said about our dear mutual friend, the late Elmore Leonard:

“The only thing better than having read Pete Hamill is having known him.”

Pete
A grand night was had by all!

Gay Talese and Judy Collins

Gay Talese and Judy Collins

Sarah Fearon and me.

Sarah Fearon and me.

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Steve Schirripa with Mike Sheehan

Steve Schirripa with Mike Sheehan

With Sheila Walsh

With Sheila Walsh

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All photos courtesy of James Higgins.

Roseanne and Me

Becky

Recently, I was cast in a new series called “Momsters – When Moms Go Bad” which is being executive produced and hosted by Roseanne Barr for the Investigation Discovery channel.  You remember her badass self: Roseanne BarrI play real life gambling addict, bank robber and Oregon PTA mom Gwen Sherbondy, who got into a bit of trouble for applying bakesale proceeds to her personal deficit spending (a/k/a poker habit).  So she robbed a bank.  Or three.  You’ll have to tune in to see me in various unattractive mom capri bank-robbing outfits, but here is a lovely preview.  The ladies who played my daughters, Katie (the younger one) and Jacqueline (the PERFECT ONE) were really sweet and I enjoyed spending time with them.  We shot everything in two long days on location in New Jersey and Queens.  Those guys at ID really know how to move through set-ups!

When Mom Jeans Go Bad

When Mom Jeans Go Bad

My story ends at the savings and loan where I adopt a clever disguise.  I mean, I am COMPLETELY unrecognizable.  Want to rob a bank?  Don a cap!  The show will air some time after the fall.  Apparently, Roseanne will be doing standup in between segments of the story.  I can’t wait to hear what she has to say about me…er, my character.  By the way,  it appears I have found my casting niche — coocoobananas mothers who force perfectionism onto their teenage daughters.  Take it from me, this can only end badly, mamas!  AS BAD AS THOSE MOM JEANS…

Bank Robber

Give Me All Your Bake Sale Money

Mom and Jacqueline

Bad to the Bone Structure

Aimy In A Cage

Jackie Moss In April I had the sublime experience of playing one nasty mama — Jackie Moss — in Hooroo Jackson’s new film, “Aimy In A Cage.” This fairytale thriller stars Crispin Glover, Paz De La Huerta, Academy Award nominee Terry Moore and the wonderful Disney star Allisyn Ashley Arm in the title role. Decked out in faux white fur, white sequin mod dress and sporting the de rigueur dog accessory — the Alaskan Husky — I had a fine time with talented cast and crew. the-dog-and-me Helmed by Hooroo and his partner, the sweet and patient Leann Leake, the seriously creative design team built the most inventive set I’ve ever seen. Chloe Barcelou acted as set designer, costume designer, dresser, builder, and backstage dresser.  Think Tim Burton meets Wes Anderson.rsz_img_1678

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Crispin Glover as Claude

I enjoyed scenes with all of these wonderful actors, but I was thrilled by my experience on set with Terry, whose previous friends, lovers and husbands include Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and Howard Hughes.  Acting with Hollywood history (who also happens to be a consummate pro) was a real privilege!   I also became wonderful friends with actress-comedian Gabby Tary who comes by way of Santa Monica — by way of Hungary — “running from Stalin.” Love this pull-no-punches lady.  Her dreds here are fake, but don’t think for a moment the real ones aren’t underneath.

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Terry Moore and Me

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With Gabby Tary as Grandma Moss

I loved meeting Charlie Tacker – who plays Kenneth Moss, my much maligned and maligning son.  Such a cutie pie – we all enjoyed being around him. And watch out for the lovely and wicked Sarah Murphy, as my daughter Kelly Moss.

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Charlie Tacker is Kenneth Moss!

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Mama and Daughter Moss

“Aimy In a Cage” is the first feature to be fully funded by bitcoin.  Bravo to Hooroo!   Check out this interesting article from the Wall Street Journal online:  http://thecoinfront.com/bitcoin-funds-feature-film-with-crispin-glover/

AND COME SEE US!10341608_835602309802882_2843792128340987444_n

Irish American Writers and Artists Honor John Patrick Shanley

Last October, Irish American Writers and Artists honored one of its great writers, John Patrick Shanley, with a Lifetime Achievement Award.  Since he is my all-time favorite playwright, I was thrilled to help put the evening together.  Olympia Dukakis gave a marvelous speech (originally her assistant told me she would agree to “roast” John, and I thought Oh My God, but then went with it. ) and Debra Messing read a scene from “The Big Funk” with fellow actor and partner, Will Chase. I chose this particular play for them to read because it has such a deep heart — and by coincidence the director Doug Hughes spoke of its its original production in his presentation speech to John.  It was a perfectly literary and emotionally Irish celebration!1382834_10151924589698948_532693801_n 1378395_10151984114264808_1223152877_n-1 Debra, Will and meJohn and me

Well hello there…

Thanks for visiting! I hope to be witty, informative and charming. In short nothing short of transformational… Let’s just hope I can figure out the technological aspects of this.

Looking forward to connecting with you!

xom.