From Robots to Cagney…Ahh, To Be Back Enjoying Theatre

So after over a month away and seeing nothing in the city, this past week I got my fill and am very excited to say I attended two truly wonderful performance events and I just wanted to share. The two performances I saw were Universal Robots by the incredibly talented Mac Rogers (be sure to check out the New York Times profile) and a traditional Players Pipe Night for Cagney the Musical.

UniversalRobots

When I first became very active in the theatre here in NYC I worked a lot with a great group of people who ran Manhattan Theatre Source on MacDougal St. in the Village, where the incredible Estrogenius Festival was created. I became a part of an amazing playwrights group, then called The Writers Forum, and met some of the most talented writers. To this day I continue to work and collaborate with many of them.

Anyhow, this is where I first saw the original production of Universal Robots in 2007. Its not often a playwright focuses on sci-fi (which I oh so love!), but Mac Rogers does it and does it right. To this day that play resonates in my mind. I remember laughing then being in tears, then getting angry. The play evokes an incredible amount of emotion and the desire to stand up and take a stand for what’s right.

When I saw that the play was being produced again, it was the one play I knew I had to see as soon as I was back on my feet…I literally made it to the last weekend and I am so glad I did. It is wonderful to see Mac getting the attention he deserves for such a topical and relevant piece of theatre. Gideon Productions is known for putting up great theatre and yet again they succeeded. I was so absolutely thrilled to see that the poignant Jason Howard was reprising the role of Radius. I must say he was and is a huge reason for why this play spoke to me. His understated and moving portrayal of an AI is spot on. The rest of the cast followed right along. The wonderful Tandy Cronyn gave life to a snarky, eccentric scientist and the talented Greg Oliver Bodine adds to every cast. All of them were wonderful (Nikki Andrews-Ojo, Hanna Cheek, Jorge Cordova, Neimah Djourabchi, , Tarantino Smith, Sara Thigpen, and Brittany N. Williams).

I wish I could tell you to go see it, but sadly the production is over…the shitty part about off-off Broadway, it doesn’t last! However I highly suggest following Gideon Productions and Mac Rogers to see what they do next. I guarantee you won’t be sorry!

CagneyPipeNight

This past Monday I attended The Players first Pipe Night in seasons for Cagney The Musical. What a blast!  This is one of those events that makes it truly special to be a Player (what we warm-heartedly call our members). This event is one that only our members and their guests can attend, making it very special to us. However, I will point out that ANYONE can go see this show and should!

Robert Creighton, the creator and star of Cangey is a member of the Players. It was a joy to honor him for the work he has done and the success he has had. Not only is he incredibly talented, he is most certainly a lovely human. Which is quite important since the original and actual James Cagney was a beloved member of our club, making this event doubly rewarding.

Robert and members of the Cagney cast (Jeremy Benton, Danette Holden, Bruce Sabath,
Josh Walden, Ellen Zolezzi) entertained and shared with us both personal experiences and creative aspects of the show. It was a night of celebration and camaraderie and a reminder of why I serve as Vice President of the Board and have put so much heart and time into helping to preserve the legacy of the Players.

There is a magic to the theatre and the people who create it. It is a place to share stories and life moments. A place where real people create worlds right there in front of us and take us on a journey. These lovely and talented creators are not simply entertaining, but bringing joy to those they share their work with. The Players was the perfect to celebrate that!

This is a wonderfully fun and poignant play. Go see it! Tickets are available through September 24th. Click here for tickets. Its a show not to be missed.

Namastè
Nichole Donjè

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Author: The Gift of Being: On Art, Life & the Process of it All

Nichole Donje is a multi-disciplinary artist, activist and leader. A philosopher and self-exploration addict, Nichole is currently working on two books of art and poetry FINDING TRUE NORTH and LIFE POEMS. She is a visual artist and photographer. Nichole founded the highly regarded New York City based independent theatre company TAPT/The Artist’s Playground Theatre, in 2006. Serving as TAPT’s Artistic Director, Nichole works diligently to support new and forgotten works that help shape the way we view the world around us. A recognized leader, Nichole serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors for The Players. The Players is the oldest theatrical club in the country founded by such luminaries as Edwin Booth and Mark Twain "for the promotion of social intercourse between the representative members of the dramatic profession and the kindred professions of literature, painting, sculpture and music, and the patrons of the arts". A key influencer of the Players current revitalization she has become an advocate for the art and livelihood of a social club. The Players not only honors yesterday’s and today’s luminaries of the performing arts, but also brings back the forgotten art of face to face relationships. Nichole is a member of SAG-AFTRA, LPTW/League of Professional Theatre Women and The Players.

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