Theater

1. The Triangle Factory Fire Project by Christopher Piehler
Stage Manager
Auburn High School 2006

Saturday, March 25, 1911. 4:45 P.M. In the Triangle Waist Factory off downtown Manhattan’s Washington Square—where 500 immigrant workers from Poland, Russia and Italy toil fourteen-hour days making lady’s dresses—a cigarette is tossed into a bin of fabric scraps. Despite desperate efforts, flames sweep through the eighth, ninth and tenth floors. Panic-stricken workers run in all directions. On the ninth floor, some make it to the fire escape, only to have it collapse beneath their weight. Others run to the exit door but find it locked—many, including the soon-to-be-married Margaret Schwartz, die with their hands on the doorknob. Dozens leap from the windows to their deaths, shocking the crowd of onlookers gathered below. And some through bravery or sheer luck make it out alive. In the space of twenty-eight minutes, the fire is under control, but 146 people, mainly young immigrant girls, have died. THE TRIANGLE FACTORY FIRE PROJECT uses eyewitness accounts, court transcripts and other archival material to create a dramatic moment-by-moment account of this historic fire and the social upheaval that followed. It culminates in the manslaughter trial of the owners, Isaac Harris and Max Blanck, whose shocking acquittal inspires new outrage across New York and the entire country, the repercussions of which shaped social, political and economic policies for decades to come. By using real words spoken by real people, from Ukrainian seamstresses to millionaire Fifth Avenue socialites, THE TRIANGLE FACTORY FIRE PROJECT paints a heartbreakingly clear picture of a disastrous day in American history and explores the human toll such a tragedy takes on us all.

2. All in the Timing (Sure Thing, The Universal Language, The Philadelphia, and English Made Simple) by David Ives
Stage Manager
Auburn High School 2007

SURE THING is a classic of contemporary comedy: Two people meet in a cafe and find their way through a conversational minefield as an offstage bell interrupts their false starts, gaffes, and faux pas on the way to falling in love.

THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE brings together Dawn, a young woman with a stutter, and Don, the creator and teacher of Unamunda, a wild comic language. Their lesson sends them off into a dazzling display of hysterical verbal pyrotechnics—and, of course, true love.

THE PHILADELPHIA presents a young man in a restaurant who has fallen into “a Philadelphia,” a Twilight Zone-like state in which he cannot get anything he asks for. His only way out of the dilemma? To ask for the opposite of what he wants.

ENGLISH MADE SIMPLE A young man and woman meet at a party and their immediate romantic attraction is translated into comically un-romantic grammar lessons as they struggle to free themselves from the banal constrictions of party talk

3. Common Ground by Brendon Votipka
Stage Manager
Auburn High School 2007

Several singular young people attempt to communicate and evaluate each other as they converse in a coffee shop. The kaleidoscopic scenes range from poignant and nostalgic to heartbreaking and hopeful — and most often funny.

4. An Enemy of the People adapted by Arthur Miller
Stage Manager
Auburn High School 2008

A small Norwegian town has just begun to win fame and wealth through its medicinal spring waters. Dr. Stockmann, resident physician in charge, discovers that the waters are poisoned. On receiving proof of this, he immediately reports to his associates, but is shocked to find that instead of being thanked, he is looked upon as a dangerous crank, motivated by a desire to prove that his fellow townsmen are wrong, and to bring ruin upon them. As the people who run the local paper do their utmost to urge secrecy and compromise, the determined doctor realizes that the honesty and idealism he has counted upon to make the truth prevail, simply does not exist in the face of selfish “practical” interests. The press will not report his findings; the officials refuse to give him a hearing; he loses his position and the townspeople boycott him; and every weapon of blackmail, slander, and eviction are brought against his family. At the end, the townspeople, gathered around the doctor’s home, throw stones through the windows. Stockmann addresses his family: “But remember now, everybody, you are fighting for the truth and that is why you’re alone. And that makes you strong.”

5. The Seussification of Romeo and Juliet by Peter Bloedel
Stage Manager
Auburn High School 2008

A whimsical reinvention of Shakespeare’s tragic love story, complete with rhymed couplets, creative wordplay, and fantastical machines — similar to something Dr. Seuss might have come up with if he ever had his way with the script…

6. Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge by Christopher Durang
Stage Manager
Keuka College 2008

In this departure from Dickens, young Scrooge’s exclamations of “Bah, humbug!” are an undiagnosed “kind of seasonal Tourette’s Syndrome,” and The Ghost of Christmas Past is played by a sassy African-American woman with enough attitude to portray all three spirits (which she does). She tries to show Scrooge his past, present and future in order to change him, but her magic keeps malfunctioning in Durang’s version of the beloved holiday classic, and they consistently find themselves transported to the wrong time and place. She tries to take Scrooge back to see his old employers, the Fezziwigs—”always an audience favorite”—but instead she and Scrooge keep appearing in the present at the Cratchit’s pathetic home. Mrs. Bob Cratchit, a minor character in the Dickens, takes center stage here. No longer loving and long suffering, Mrs. Bob is in a rage: She’s sick of Tiny Tim (the goody-goody crippled child), she hates her twenty other children (most of them confined to the root cellar), including oversized Little Nell, and she wants to get drunk and jump off London Bridge. As the Ghost loses more control, the plot morphs into parodies of Oliver Twist, “The Gift of the Magi” and It’s a Wonderful Life. And to make matters worse, Scrooge and Mrs. Bob seem to be kindred souls falling in love. With a dénouement that is two parts Touched by an Angel and one part The Queen of Mean, Scrooge’s tale of redemption and gentle grace is placed squarely on its head.

7. Miss Witherspoon by Christopher Durang
Stage Manager
Keuka College 2009
I received a certificate of merit from The Kennedy Center for Excellence in Stage Managing. The production was invited and brought to KCACTF Region 2 #42.

Veronica, already scarred by too many failed relationships, finds the world a frightening place. Skylab, an American space station that came crashing down to earth, in particular, haunts and enrages her. So she has committed suicide, and is now in what she expected to be heaven but is instead something called the Bardo (the netherworld in Tibetan Buddhism), and the forces there keep trying to make her reincarnate. So far she’s thwarted these return visits to earth with a sort of “spiritual otherworldly emergency brake system” she seems to have. She doesn’t like being alive, and post-9/11 finds the world even scarier than when she was there. A lovely if strong-willed Indian spirit guide named Maryamma, however, is intent on getting Veronica back to earth so she can learn the lessons her soul is supposed to learn. Veronica—nicknamed “Miss Witherspoon” by Maryamma—didn’t expect there to be any afterlife, but if there has to be one, she demands St. Peter and the pearly gates. Or even the Jewish afterlife, described by Maryamma as being like “prolonged general anesthesia,” would be nice. But seemingly Veronica is stuck with Maryamma and reincarnation, and also later on with Gandalf and Jesus (who on a playful whim appears in the form of a black woman in a big “going to church” hat). Several times in the play Miss W’s brake system fails, and she’s forced to return to earth, but each time she keeps killing herself (even as an infant at two weeks, which especially irks Maryamma). By the end of the play, however, Maryamma, Gandalf and Jesus convince Miss W that the world is in such a mess that souls “must move through their spiritual evolution faster than they’ve been doing…they cannot go live through eighty and ninety years and only learn tiny, tiny lessons. We need things to move faster!” In the end, Miss W finds her own personal way to make sense of that entreaty, and she finally agrees to return to earth to help…well, save the planet basically.

8. Kimberly Akimbo by David Lindsay-Abaire
Stage Manager
Keuka College 2009

Set in the wilds of suburban New Jersey, KIMBERLY AKIMBO is a hilarious and heartrending play about a teenager with a rare condition causing her body to age faster than it should. When she and her family flee Secaucus under dubious circumstances, Kimberly is forced to reevaluate her life while contending with a hypochondriac mother, a rarely sober father, a scam-artist aunt, her own mortality and, most terrifying of all, the possibility of first love.

9. Book of Days by Lanford Wilson (stage reading)
Stage Manager and LouAnn Bates
Keuka College 2010

When murder roars through a small Missouri town, Ruth Hoch begins her own quest to find truth and honesty amid small town jealousies, religion, greed and lies. This tornado of a play propels you through its events like a page-turning mystery.

10. Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Joan Holden (stage reading)
Stage Manager and Gail/Manager/Marge/Rich Lady
Keuka College 2010

Can a middle-aged, middle-class woman survive, when she suddenly has to make beds all day in a hotel and live on $7 an hour? Maybe. But one $7-an-hour job won’t pay the rent: she’ll have to do back-to-back shifts, as a chambermaid and a waitress. This isn’t the first surprise for acclaimed author Barbara Ehrenreich, who set out to research low-wage life firsthand, confident she was prepared for the worst. Ehrenreich’s best-seller about her odyssey is vivid and witty, yet always deeply sobering. Joan Holden’s stage adaptation is a focused comic epic shadowed with tragedy. Barbara is prepared for hard work but not, at age 55, for double shifts and nonstop aches and pains; for having to share tiny rooms, live on fast food because she has no place to cook, beg from food pantries, gulp handfuls of Ibuprofen because she can’t afford a doctor; for failing, after all that, to make ends meet; or for constantly having to swallow humiliation. The worst, she learns, is not what happens to the back or the knees: it’s the damage to the heart. The bright glimpses of Barbara’s co-workers that enliven the book become indelible portraits: Gail, the star waitress pushing 50 who can no longer outrun her troubles; Carlie, the hotel maid whose rage has burned down to disgust; Pete, the nursing home cook who retreats into fantasy; Holly, terrified her pregnancy will end her job as Team Leader at Magic Maids, and with it her $0.50 raise. These characters endure their life struggles with a gallantry that humbles Barbara, and the audience. The play shows us the life one-third of working Americans now lead, and makes us angry that anyone should have to live it.

11. Rabbit Hole by David-Lindsay Abaire
Stage Manager
Keuka College 2010

Becca and Howie Corbett have everything a family could want, until a life-shattering accident turns their world upside down and leaves the couple drifting perilously apart. RABBIT HOLE charts their bittersweet search for comfort in the darkest of places and for a path that will lead them back into the light of day.

12. Much Ado About Nothing (abridged stage reading)
Stage Manager and Narrator and Watch #1
Keuka College 2010

13. Thoroughly Modern Millie, Jr.
Stage Manager

Baldwinsville Theatre Guild 2010

Thoroughly Modern Millie JR., based on the zany new musical that has taken Broadway by storm, is the high-spirited musical romp that has all of New York dancing the Charleston! In New York City in 1922, young Millie Dillmount has just moved to the big city in search of a new life for herself. It’s a New York full of intrigue and jazz – in a time when women were entering the workforce and the rules of love and social behavior were changing forever. Filled with fun flappers, dashing leading men and a dragon-lady of a villainess audiences will love to hate, Thoroughly Modern Millie JR. is a perfectly-constructed evening of madcap merriment. Based on the popular movie, the stage version of includes a full score of new songs and bright dance numbers. With the role of Millie Dillmount, musical theatre has found a new heroine for the ages in Thoroughly Modern Millie JR.!

14. Born Yesterday by Garson Kanin
Stage Manager
Keuka College 2010

The vulgar, egotistic junkman Harry Brock has come to a swanky hotel in Washington to make crooked deals with government big-wigs. He has brought with him the charming but dumb ex-chorus girl Billie, whose lack of social graces embarrasses even Harry. Billie must be taught some of the amenities, and a few basic bits of information. The young, idealistic magazine reporter Paul Verrall, who has been investigating political skullduggery and is interested in Brock’s activities, agrees for a salary, to educate Billie. He finds Billie has a natural honesty and a frank streak in her, and she begins to learn about history, politics, and what Harry really is and what he wants. At a dramatic moment she rebels against being merely a tool in Harry’s crooked schemes and refuses to sign the documents which she has come to learn are part of an ambitious effort to defraud the public. This precipitates a crisis, as Billie readies to leave Harry for a new life of her own. Harry’s reaction takes the only form he knows: physical violence. Billie now knows that she can no longer have anything to do with Brock, and realizes she and Paul have fallen genuinely in love. Just before she leaves Harry, she helps Paul get hold of incriminating documents of Harry’s which will result in scandal and disaster. At the end, Paul and his promising pupil turn their backs on the anti-social and anti-democratic Brock and strike out on their own.

15. Gutenberg! The Musical! by Scott Brown and Anthony King
Stage Manager
Keuka College 2010

In this two-man musical spoof, a pair of aspiring playwrights perform a backers’ audition for their new project – a big, splashy musical about printing press inventor Johann Gutenberg. With an unending supply of enthusiasm, Bud and Doug sing all the songs and play all the parts in their crass historical epic, with the hope that one of the producers in attendance will give them a Broadway contract – fulfilling their ill-advised dreams.

16. Rabbit by Nina Raine
Stage Manager
Keuka College 2011

It’s Bella’s twenty-ninth birthday. Friends and former lovers meet for a drink to celebrate. But as the Bloody Marys flow, the bar becomes a battlefield. In the uncivil war between the sexes, what happens when the females have the real fire-power—stockpiles of testosterone, lethal wit and explosive attitude? And what happens when patriarchy gets personal, when it’s your own father who is tragic and terminal? When the only man you really love is dying?

17. Book of Days by Lanford Wilson
LouAnn Bates
Keuka College 2011
A scene from the production was invited and brought to KCACTF Region 2 #44.

When murder roars through a small Missouri town, Ruth Hoch begins her own quest to find truth and honesty amid small town jealousies, religion, greed and lies. This tornado of a play propels you through its events like a page-turning mystery.

18. The Heidi Chronicles by Wendy Wasserstein
Stage Manager
Keuka College 2012

Comprised of a series of interrelated scenes, the play traces the coming of age of Heidi Holland, a successful art historian, as she tries to find her bearings in a rapidly changing world. Gradually distancing herself from her friends, she watches them move from the idealism and political radicalism of their college years through militant feminism and, eventually, back to the materialism that they had sought to reject in the first place. Heidi’s own path to maturity involves an affair with the glib, arrogant Scoop Rosenbaum, a womanizing lawyer/publisher who eventually marries for money and position; a deeper but even more troubling relationship with a charming, witty young pediatrician, Peter Patrone, who turns out to be gay; and increasingly disturbing contacts with the other women, now much changed, who were a part of her childhood and college years. Eventually Heidi comes to accept the fact that liberation can be achieved only if one is true to oneself, with goals that come out of need rather than circumstance. As the play ends she is still “alone,” but having adopted an orphaned baby, it is clear that she has begun to find a sense of fulfillment and continuity that may well continue to elude the others of her anxious, self-centered generation.

19. The Women by Clare Boothe Luce
Maid/Nurse/Dowager
Auburn Players Community Theatre 2013

The author carries us through a number of varied scenes and shows us not only a somewhat unflattering picture of womanhood, but digging under the surface, reveals a human understanding for and sympathy with some of its outstanding figures. The plot involves the efforts of a group of women to play their respective roles in an artificial society that consists of vain show, comedy, tragedy, hope and disappointment.

20. Oscar and Felix by Neil Simon
Stage Manager
Keuka College 2013

America’s comic mastermind has updated his classic comedy The Odd Couple, bringing the trials and tribulations of Felix Unger and Oscar Madison to the present day. Those who love the original version will laugh all over again at the classic characters in an all-new setting.

21. The Vagina Monologues
Performed “Because He Liked to Look at It,” “Happy Fact,” “Not-So-Happy Fact,” “Reclaiming Cunt,” and “My Angry Vagina”
Keuka College 2014, 2015, and 2016

An Obie Award-winning whirlwind tour of a forbidden zone, THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES introduces a wildly divergent gathering of female voices, including a six-year-old girl, a septuagenarian New Yorker, a vagina workshop participant, a woman who witnesses the birth of her granddaughter, a Bosnian survivor of rape, and a feminist happy to have found a man who “liked to look at it.”

22. The School for Lies by David Ives
Celimene
Keuka College 2015
A scene from the production was invited and brought to KCACTF Region 2 #48.

It’s 1666 and the brightest, wittiest salon in Paris is that of Celimene, a beautiful young widow so known for her satiric tongue she’s being sued for it. Surrounded by shallow suitors, whom she lives off of without surrendering to, Celimene has managed to evade love since her beloved husband died—until today, when Frank appears. A traveler from England known for his own coruscating wit and acidic misanthropy, Frank turns Celimene’s world upside-down, taking on her suitors, matching her barb for barb, and teaching her how to live again. (Never mind that their love affair has been engineered by a couple of well-placed lies.) This wild farce of furious tempo and stunning verbal display, all in very contemporary couplets, runs variations on Molière’s The Misanthrope, which inspired it. Another incomparable romp from the brilliant author of All in the Timing.

23. All My Sons by Arthur Miller
Ann Deever
Keuka College 2016

During the war, Joe Keller and Steve Deever ran a machine shop which made airplane parts. Deever was sent to prison because the firm turned out defective parts, causing the deaths of many men. Keller went free and made a lot of money. The twin shadows of this catastrophe and the fact that the young Keller son was reported missing during the war dominate the action. The love affair of Chris Keller and Ann Deever, the bitterness of George Deever returned from the war to find his father in prison and his father’s partner free, are all set in a structure of almost unbearable power. The climax showing the reaction of a son to his guilty father is fitting conclusion to a play electrifying in its intensity.

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