Press Release: 3 Days/16 Companies = 1 Off-Broadway Prelude Weekend

In a New York-first, the CUNY Graduate Center will offer a three-day Prelude Weekend featuring work being produced by the city’s distinctive off-Broadway theater community. On October 2, 3, and 4 The Graduate Center’s Martin E. Segal Theatre Center will join with the Alliance of Resident Theatres (A.R.T.)/New York to present 16 A.R.T. member companies, providing a compacted preview of diverse plays being developed for the 2003-04 season and beyond, and a unique forum for showcasing the extraordinary off-Broadway theater scene. All programs will be held at The Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue (34th Street). Tickets are free but seating is limited and offered on a first come, first served basis.

Inspired by the Kennedy Center’s Journey from Page to Stage program, the Prelude Weekend will include readings of new plays, sample rehearsals and process workshops, as well as a series of panel discussions. Many of the presentations will be followed by talks with the audience. The public will get a rare look at plays in the early stages of development, and artistic directors will have the opportunity to discuss their creative process with audience and colleagues.

The complete schedule follows.

Thursday, October 2 7 PM
Opening Panel Discussion:
Illuminating 30 Years of Not-for-Profit Off-Broadway Theater

Join us for a fascinating panel discussion with seasoned non-profit professionals that have been producing theatre pieces for more that 30 years in New York City. These luminaries will reflect on their experiences and offer their insight about changes in the producing landscape over the past three decades from artistic choices to funding to theatre reviews. A guaranteed ticket for Illuminating 30 Years of Off-Broadway may be reserved for a $10.00 donation through the Graduate Center's Office of Continuing Education and Public Programs at 1- 212-817-8215, or  

Friday, October 3
Series A: Martin E. Segal Theatre
(60 seats )

12:00 - 1:30
National Asian American Theatre Company: Tales of Unrest: Joseph Conrad On Stage

NAATCO presents, in association with Fluid Motion Theater & Film, excerpts from two one-acts: Artsat and One Day More. After the performance, Fluid Motion’s Artistic Director and adapter and director of Arsat (based on Conrad’s One Day More), Christine Simpson, and NAATCO’s Producing/Artistic Director, Mia Katigbak, will discuss the project. A question and answer period will follow. Website:  

2:00 - 3:30:
Blue Heron Theatre: Bee-luther-hatchee: Three Directorial Approaches

Through its story of a literary “hoax”, Bee-luther-hatchee explores not only the issue of the “truth of the imagination” as the basis of the creative process but also the question of “authenticity” in today’s literature and by extension in today’s life. Who can speak for whom? Director Jim Pelegano will work with actors to create three different approaches to the same scene. Discussion with the audience will follow about the ways a director can influence the meaning of a text.

4:00- 5:30
The Play Company: The Play Company Gives You the Works

Scenes from plays from the US, France, the Ivory Coast, Northern Ireland – all from this innovative company presenting the best in new international theatre. Their ongoing public reading series of plays and literature has featured works by such writers as Rodney Ackland, Kia Corthon, Regina Taylor, Kenneth Tynan and John Updike. Come and be part of a worldwide audience.

6:00 - 7:30
MCC Theater: Brand New Works

MCC Theater will present first-time readings of two new short plays by members of the MCC Theater Playwrights’ Coalition. And members of the MCC Youth Theater Company will present their provocative and edgy self-generated performance piece identifying and challenging the stereotypes of urban youth. MCC Theatre is the producer of critically acclaimed plays such as Tim Blake Nelson’s The Grey Zone (4 Obie Awards), Margaret Edson’s Wit (1999 Pulitzer Prize, and Rebecca Gilman’s The Glory of Living (2002 Pulitzer Prize finalist). Website:  

Series B: Elebash Recital Hall (185 seats )

12:00 - 1:30
The Genesius Guild: (to be determined)

The Genesius Theatre Guild is a non-profit NYC based Theatre Company dedicated to the creation and development of new plays and musicals. The Genesius Theatre Guild will show a work representing the various activities of the company: the Revolutionary Writers Workshop, the Theatrical Networking Forum and the Gtg Script Development Group. Website:

2:00 - 3:30
Metropolitan Playhouse: Staging Plays from the Past for a Modern Audience

Metropolitan Playhouse will involve participants as actors, directors, and critics of a rehearsal of scenes from one of the American historical plays in its season. A chance to grapple with the art and the surprise challenges of staging plays from the past for a modern audience. Website:  

4:00- 5:30
Epic Repertory Theatre: Premiere One Acts

Epic Rep will present a selection of one act plays from their fall season with a brief talkback: New works by Romulus Linney, Frank Gagliano, Lee Blessing, Melody Cooper, Sasha Khan, Grame Gillis and J.T. Rogers. This is the inaugural season for this new Equity troupe, under artistic director Richard Kuranda.              

6:00 - 7:30
Strike Anywhere: Spin

A work in progress showing with discussion to follow of Spin, a multi-disciplinary performance installation which guides the audience’s attention onto corporate control of the media. The piece is improvised and guided by a sign language dubbed “Sound Painting.” Sound Painting is the system of conducting/composing developed by Walter Thompson, which allows a conductor to sculpt an improvisation while in motion. Spin features rotating conductors and original dance, text and live music.  

8 PM Panel: Fringe and Mainstream: Closer Than You Think?

Saturday, October 4
Series C: Martin E. Segal Theatre ( 60 seats )

12:00 - 1:30
Hamm & Clov Stage Company: The Anam Project

Hamm and Clov Stage will demonstrate the creative process of the The Anam Project (“Anam” means soul in Gaelic), initiated two years ago in response to the terror attacks of 9/11. Members of the Irish immigrant community of New York joined with professional artists to reexamine the joys and sorrows of their lives. Heartfelt personal stories of their lives in America and Ireland were written and performed by members of the immigrant community, some of whom had never set foot on stage before. Members of the Irish immigrant community who participated in the Project will speak about it and perform selections of their own writing.                          

2:00 - 3:30
The Lark Theatre: Barebones

Award-winning playwrights from The Lark’s Barebones Series of new plays will read excerpts from their most recent works and discuss the play development process at The Lark. Many recipients of The Lark’s support are moving forward to other venues, including Day of Kings by Daphne Greaves, Fuente by Cusi Cram, Mary by David Simpatico, Panama by Michael Folie, and 13 Hallucinations of Julio Rivera by Stephen Culp. Website:  

4:00- 5:30
Black Moon Theatre Company: Form as the Concentration of Truth

Artistic Director Rene Migliaccio will hold a workshop demonstrating his internationally acclaimed signature style coined “Expressionistic Realism”. “Expressionistic realism” builds on the techniques of realistic acting, then combines that reality with heightened emotion and physicality past naturalism into an expressionistic style. Thoughts and emotions are exposed in a specific way by articulation of different body parts and by working intensely on the expressions of the face and the intensity of the eyes. Audience is encouraged to actively participate with trained company members…Come wearing comfortable clothes!!!.

6:00 - 7:30
Bravo Productions: Mamet Madness

Readings of scenes from David Mamet Plays, which are currently under consideration for full AEA Showcase Production. Audience discussion and critique will follow the reading.

Elebash Recital Hall ( 185 seats )

12:00 - 1:30
Jean Cocteau Repertory: Excerpts from Three Penny Opera

The company will perform songs and scenes from their 2003-2004 season production of Bertolt Brecht/Kurt Weill musical, The Three Penny Opera. Producing Artistic Director David Fuller will be on hand to discuss the other productions of the season in more detail, as well. Website:  

2:00 - 3:30 Clubbed Thumb
Clubbed Thumb: Producing New Works by People You Never Heard of…

This Obie award-winning theater company explains how they select and develop their funny, strange and provocative new plays, and discuss the thrills and agonies-artistic and practical—of producing new work by people you’ve never heard of. Playwrights, directors and actors will be on hand to illustrate with fresh chunks of works-in-progress. Website:  

4:00- 5:30
Salt & Pepper Mime Company: Demystifying Mime

The Salt and Pepper Mime company fuses mime with African American folklore, providing people of color with the opportunity to create work devoid of typecasting and incorporate diversity within the variety arts. The company will present an introduction to mime and explore concepts of exposition, adaptation, introspection, fusion, and reflection.

6:00 - 7:30
The Spartan Theatre: Williamsburg and Greenpoint Brooklyn playwrights

As a season preview, Greenpoint’s The Spartan Theatre will perform staged readings of two one act comedies: Freedom’s Bird ( by Williamsburg, Brooklyn native and author of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith) and Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Chaz (by Greenpoint playwright, Robert Grady). A 15 minute Q & A session will follow. The Spartan will offer three of Smith’s one-acts in mid-November at the Williamsburg Art & Historical Center.

8 PM Panel
A Dialogue between Off and Off-Off Broadway artistic directors and a group of emerging theater artists.

The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center (MESTC) is a non-profit center for theater, dance and film that is part of the City University of New York Graduate Center and is affiliated with its Ph.D. Program in Theatre. Originally founded in 1979 as the Center for Advanced Studies in Theatre Arts (CASTA), it was renamed in March of 1999 in recognition of one of New York City’s outstanding leaders of the arts—Martin E. Segal. Strategically positioned on Fifth Avenue and 34th Street near the heart of Manhattan's theater district, MESTC functions as a catalyst for artistic collaboration. The Center's primary focus is to bridge the gap between the academic and professional performing arts communities by providing an open environment for the development of educational, community-driven, and professional projects in the performing arts.

A.R.T./New York The Alliance of Resident Theatres, founded 30 years ago, is the service organization for Off Broadway, the nation's largest, most artistically influential, and most culturally diverse theater community. Founded in 1972, A.R.T./ New York currently serves close to 400 not-for-profit theaters and related organizations. A.R.T./New York is serving over 6 million theatergoers annually, constituting the single largest source of new work entering the American repertory, having produced 15 winners of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

The Graduate Center is the doctorate-granting institution of The City University of New York. The only consortium of its kind in the nation, The Graduate Center draws its faculty of more than 1,600 members mainly from the CUNY senior colleges and cultural and scientific institutions throughout New York City. According to the most recent National Research Council report, more than a third of The Graduate Center's rated Ph.D. programs rank among the nation's top 20 at public and private institutions.

Submitted on: SEP 1, 2003

Category: Events | Press Room