WorkShop Theater Presents Magical ‘A La Carte: A Feast of New Plays’

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Food is a prism to look into love and sex, conflict and life in the six short plays of “A la Carte: a Feast of New Plays,” to be presented by WorkShop Theater Company, 312 West 36th Street, from April 9 to May 2, 2015. Short works of various genres by Allan Knee, Dana Leslie Goldstein, Laurie Graff, Laura Hirschberg, Gary Giovanetti and Scott C. Sickles will be presented. Leslie Kincaid Burby directs the entire evening.

The evening’s setting gradually morphs from a magical dreamscape to a realistic kitchen in the course of this unified evening, which weaves plays of disparate subjects into a thematic flow. It begins with a haunting play by Allan Knee set in Port Authority and ends with a tender tale of generational love by Dana Leslie Goldstein that is set in a mother’s kitchen. The idea is to start in a place of hunger and then have courses (fish, eggs, popcorn, and finally dessert). Throughout the evening, food motifs are used to examine the daily struggles of life and the social and personal issues behind them.

ALPHABETICAL LIST OF PRODUCTIONS WITH ARTIST INFO

This information is correct as of February 25, 2015

“THE COOK AND THE SOLDIER” BY ALLAN KNEE

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LR: playwrights Gary Giovanetti, Allan Knee, Dana Leslie Goldstein, Leslie Kincaid Burby, Laurie Graff, Scott C. Sickles and Laura Hirschberg re-enact The Last Supper. Photo by Gerry Goodstein.

An encounter in New York City’s Port Authority Bus Terminal between Molly, a 16-year old high schooler and part-time belly dancer who yearns to be a cook for the rock group Pussy Riot, and Tom, an emotionally damaged soldier who has gone AWOL. As their relationship develops, both grow up and face the reality of their lives. With: Tess Frazer, Joe Boover, Tom Berdik and Lauren Riddle.

Allan Knee is the author of the play “The Man who was Peter Pan,” which was first produced by the WorkShop Theater Co. and was the basis for the Academy Award nominated film “Finding Neverland” and this year’s Broadway musical of the same name. He also wrote the book for the Broadway musical “Little Women” (starring Sutton Foster and Maureen McGovern). Other works include “Syncopation,” which won an American Theater Critic’s Award, and “The Jazz Age,” which has been optioned for a West End production and was first presented by the WorkShop Theater, directed by WorkShop Artistic Director, Thomas Cote. For TV he wrote the four-part adaptation of “The Scarlet Letter” for PBS. His films include “Esther’s Diary” and “Film Noir.” He is a graduate of the Yale Drama School.

“POPCORN” BY SCOTT C. SICKLES

Easygoing, late-teens Stan is flipping channels when studious, older Kip comes in with a bowl of popcorn. Kip needs to watch Nigella Lawson’s cooking show for a school project. Stan makes fun of Kip for being “a Food Network fairy.” This leads to fisticuffs, which is stopped by a sudden, great big kiss between the two. After the kiss is interrupted, the young men try to digest “what the hell just happened,” exploring the flexible nature of teen sexuality, isolation, and the need to connect. The play examines social mores of sexuality, language and family, revealing the difference between a joking nudge and a slur, what it means to be straight or not, and how people can rely on each other during a confusing time when words, emotions, and hormones ricochet like popcorn. With: Cody Keown, Joe Boover and Susan Izatt.

Scott C. Sickles has received multiple Emmy and WGA Award nominations as part of the writing teams of the daytime serials “One Life to Live” and “General Hospital.” His comedy “Intellectuals” is included in Smith & Kraus’ New Playwrights: Best Plays of 2007. He received the 1999 Beverly Hills Theater Guild/Julie Harris Playwriting Award for “Lightning from Heaven,” a play about Boris Pasternak. He was named Outstanding Playwright of the 1995 Pittsburgh New Works Festival for his one-act drama “The Harmonic Convergence.” Published short plays include “murmurs” (Samuel French Festival Plays #21), and “Beautiful Noises” (S&K’s 2009: Best 10-Minute Plays). Other plays include “Shepherd’s Bush,” about of E.M. Forster, and “Moonlight & Love Songs,” which was the inaugural production of GayFestNYC 2013. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild.

“EAT DESSERT FIRST” BY DANA LESLIE GOLDSTEIN

In this memory piece, an estranged mother and daughter find a way to communicate across time. As the daughter goes through her deceased mother’s kitchen, the recently-deceased mother passes on love through cookbooks, pots and pans in a way she could not do in life. With: Susan Izatt and Mary Ruth Baggott.

Dana Leslie Goldstein has won the New England New Play Competition, Harold and Mimi Steinberg Playwriting Prize, Different Voices New Play Award, ACTF New Play Award, the Henry Hoyns Poetry Fellowship, AWP Intro Award and an Academy of American Poets Prize, as well as numerous development grants. Her plays and musicals have been seen at The Cherry Lane, Culture Project, Julia Miles Theater, The York Theatre Company, New Dramatists, The Barrow Group, Acorn Theatre, Lark Theater and WorkShop Theater Company, among others. Her musical “Liberty” was produced Off-Broadway this fall, as was her last WorkShop Theater production, “Daughters of the Sexual Revolution.”

“FISH FOOD” BY LAURA HIRSCHBERG

A man wakes up to find himself inside a whale with a strange woman, and he wants to get out. This gently absurdist play focuses on a moment of crisis and considers what it takes to overcome doubt and common sense and to live to fight another day. With: CK Allen and Lauren Riddle.

Laura Hirschberg is author of “Call Me…” (WorkShop Theater, 2009), “Fire Thief” (Looking Glass Theatre, 2011), “Truth and the Mountain Man” (Ugly Rhino, 2013), “Verona Walls” (9BC Performance Series, 2012; WorkShop Theater, 2014), “Echoes” (3V Theatre, 2014), “Combat Ready” (Caps Lock Theater, 2014) and “Heart of Oak” (Frigid Festival/Everyday Inferno, 2015).

“THE INCREDIBLE EGG” BY LAURIE GRAFF

Adam and Eden have been trying, unsuccessfully, to get pregnant. Tonight she surprises her husband when she tells him they are using egg whites as a lubricant that will help the egg get to the sperm. It opens a discussion that unscrambles their views from how they deal with food in today’s world to how they really feel about having a baby. This realistic urban comedy has banter that turns farcical, and in part, to pathos, as it reveals how we’re all on a treadmill of trends where some of the most basic parts of life, like eating a meal and having a baby, have unraveled by epic proportions-or is it portions? With: Rob McIntosh and Desiree Matthews.

Laurie Graff’s WorkShop Theater productions include “All My Problems” (Smith & Kraus), “Telephone Call for Francine Stein,” “Love in the Time of Recession” and “Charlie & Flo.” Her novels include The “You Have to Kiss a Lot of Frogs,” “Looking for Mr. Goodfrog” and “The Shiksa Syndrome.” As an actor, her major credits include “Grease” (Broadway and National Tour), “Laughter on the 23rd Floor,” (National Tour), “Nunsense” (Boston Company) and “The Last Night of Ballyhoo” (The Rep). She plays herself in the documentary “Mr. Right.” (lauriegraff.com)

“PALATE CLEANSER” BY GARY GIOVANETTI

This brief comedy is set now and in the past on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus confronts Brad, an inn owner, about some negative Yelp reviews that Brad has posted about the miracle of the loaves and fishes. The play teaches that people, no matter who they are, can learn from each other. With: CK Allen and Bob Manus.

Gary Giovanetti is author of “Tarragona,” “American Thighs,” “Soundtrack To Cezanne” and “Down The Shaw,” all presented by the WorkShop. Other plays include “The Tale Of Saint Jude And The Donut Queen” (published in the anthology Plays & Playwrights 2001) and “The Canonization of Bill Buckner.”

The Workshop Theater’s mission is the rigorous development and production of new American plays and musicals that transport, challenge and surprise both artists and audiences. Development is usually limited to individual plays. One-act programs like these are unusual in its programming, but Thomas Cote, the company’s Artistic Director since the fall, wished to experiment with the short form by mounting a composite evening with new one-acts plays by a selection of the Company’s most popular playwrights. Interestingly, the works in this evening are, by and large, not sketches but complete and well-formed plays.

Director Leslie Kincaid Burby staged WorkShop Theater’s “The Navigator” by Eddie Antar in 2012. The production received two Drama Desk nominations and eight NYIT Award nominations, was a NY Times Critics’ pick and earned Burby the NYIT Outstanding Director Award. Her other WorkShop productions include “Full Frontal” by Eddie Antar and “The Chekhov Dreams” by John McKinney. Most recently, she directed “Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Romeo & Juliet” for Dephi Theatre, NYC.

Set Design is by Duane Pagano. Lighting Design is by Diana Duecker. Costume Design is by Catherine Siracusa. Sound Design is by Joe Marquet.

WorkShop Theater Company will present “A La Carte: A Feast of New Plays” from April 9 to May 2, 2015 at WorkShop Theater, 312 West 36th Street, 4 fl. East, NYC. Performances are Thursdays at 7:00 PM, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 PM and Sundays at 3:00 PM. Added shows are Monday, April 20 and Wednesday, April 29 at 7:00 PM. Tickets are $18 general admission and $15 students and seniors. Tickets can be purchased online at www.workshoptheater.org or by calling 866.811.4111 (Ovation Tickets). The running time of the evening is 1:30 (including intermission).

Jonathan Slaff is a New York publicist in the specialty of international cultural events. Jonathan and his writers keep us ahead of the curve in the world of the arts and culture.