BIG VISION EMPTY WALLET

LAUNCHED IN 2010 BY DANI FAITH LEONARD & ALEX CIRILLO, BIG VISION EMPTY WALLET IS A FILM AND MEDIA INCUBATOR THAT PRODUCES PROGRAMS THAT SUPPORT CREATORS AND GET PROJECTS MADE AND SEEN.  

Incubator programs include the Kickstart Diversity Program for feature films, the creators program for series and new media creators, and the Costa Rica development program.

AT OUR PRODUCTION COMPANY BIG VISION CREATIVE, WE’RE PRODUCING FEATURE FILMSDEVELOPING SERIES, AND NURSING OUR HANGOVERS.

CREATORS PROGRAM 2017 at Loft227

DOGFIGHT

5th Floor Theatre Company
Michael Sancilio and Nico Victorino

Presents:

DOGFIGHT

Written by: Peter Duchan
Music & Lyrics by: Benj Pasek & Justin Paul

Hudson Guild Theatre in Chelsea
441 West 26th Street
New York, New York 10001
(Between 9th and 10th Avenue)

Associate Producers
Art 22, Inc., Corey Chambliss, Erin Doyle, Meg and Chris Hardesty, Natalie  and Jeff Rohr

with:
Alison Alampi, Ally Bonino, Chance Carroll, Lynda DeFuria, Madeline Fansler, Jacqueline Ford, Edlyn Griffin, Tara Nicole Murphy, George Primavera, Joshua Ruppenkamp, Charlie Stoop, Jeff Sundheim, Esteban Suero, & Jordan Westfall

Director: Sharone Halevy
Musical Director: Michael Lapinsky
Choreographer: Robin Sokoloff
Assistant Director: Alex McKhann
Casting Director: Nikki Grillos

Costume Designer: Heather Barton
Lighting Designer: Christopher D’Angelo
Scenic Designer/TD: Mackenzie Whiting
Props Designer: Michaela Whiting

Stage Manager: Brittany Crowell
Assistant Stage Manager: Bree Doobay
Production Assistant: Karen Loewy

DOGFIGHT rehearsals sponsored by Sokoloff Arts at Loft227. 

DOGFIGHT rehearsals sponsored by Sokoloff Arts at Loft227

DOGFIGHT
is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI).  All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI.

4Hours 4Years

It's a simple commitment: 4 hours of service a week for the next 4 years. Come here to give time, share successes, support the work, and spread the word.

Grab your phone, your fighting spirit, and join the resistance at Loft227. From 2pm - 6pm we are open to the community. Come make calls to your Representatives. Send letters. Yell in a group holding hands, or into a pillow. Whatever it takes! If we do 4hours4years, we'll be the ones we're waiting for.

Organized by Greg Taubman at FORGE. Sponsored by Sokoloff Arts at Loft227.

This Pussy Grabs Back

Stand Up. Stand Proud. Make your voice be heard.

Ally Bo and Joanna Carpenter team up to produce a one-night-only benefit at Loft227 to raise funds for Planned Parenthood of New York and The Hetrick-Martin Institute, two institutions that serve as safe spaces and havens for healthcare for millions of Americans.

Sponsored by Sokoloff Arts.

In The Press

This Pussy Grabs Back at Loft227

APHRODISIAC by Rob Handel

It's 2001 in Washington, D.C. and Congressman Dan Ferris is being questioned about the disappearance of intern Ilona Waxman, whom he was sleeping with. This puts his children, Avery and Alma, in an even more awkward position than their father. These siblings intently search for the truth behind their father's affair and possible homicide by improvising a drama of loyalty, seduction, and betrayal.

An Equity Approved Showcase

Featuring:
Kelly Fairbrother
Logan Keeler
Alicia Giangrisostomi*

Directed by:
Andy Scott

Produced by:
Robin Sokoloff & Jeremy Ehlinger

Stage Manager:
Kristine Schlachter*

Scenic/Props Design:
Matthew Crane

Costume Design:
Johanna Pan

Lighting Design:
Paul Radassao

Sound Design:
Wes Shippee


*Actor and Stage Manager appear courtesy of Actors Equity Association.

Sponsored By: 
Loft227

In The Press

Aphrodisiac Revival at Loft227

Musical Theatre Factory

MTF's Writer's Group Finds A Home At Loft227

Meeting every three weeks, MTF currently facilitates two different writers groups, each with six developing projects. The shows and artists selected for the writers groups receive priority access to other Assembly Line programs.

The Musical Theater Factory

MISSION: Musical Theatre Factory is a volunteer-driven nonprofit artist service organization dedicated to helping musical theatre makers develop and present new work in a collaborative environment free from the pressures of critical or commercial success.

 

In The Press

MTF at Loft227


Robin Sokoloff WB 7 Crop.jpeg

What's New....

Robin Sokoloff is proud to serve on the Board of The Musical Theater Factory

SPIKE HEELS

PERFORMANCES
Dec. 8, 9, & 10 @ 8PM

TICKETS
https://krgproductions.yapsody.com/event/index/55077/spike-heels

CAN'T MAKE IT? Please consider donating here:
https://www.gofundme.com/spikeheels

Pygmalion goes awry in this contemporary comedy of manners which explores sexual harassment, misplaced amour, and the possibility of a four sided love triangle. The combatants are a sexy, volatile young woman and three Back Bay types: a writer, a lawyer, and a fiancée in sensible shoes. The setting is Boston, the ending is happy, and laughter abounds.

"Stinging one liners. " - N.Y. Daily News.
"Places a superior wryly pleasing ... fashionable feminist spin on sexual shenanigans. Neatly written with smart funny lines." - N.Y. Post.
"Full of tart wit, feminist insight and quirky detours of plot." - Time

Run time is approx. 90 minutes.
Doors open at 7:30pm.

Tickets are $15 and include unlimited beer/wine!

Produced by Kira Geiger, Steven Kopp, and Loft227
Directed by Steven Kopp
Written by Theresa Rebeck

CAST:
Andrew: Joshua Popa
Georgie: Kira Geiger
Edward: Wil Bethmann
Lydia: Emma Coulter

The Cast Of SPIKE HEELS at Loft227.

The Cast Of SPIKE HEELS at Loft227.

QUEER COMPOSERS For Orlando

This tragedy will not define us, but will bring us together. Because we are one Orlando.
— Orlando Mayor, Buddy Dyer

Yael Silver, Will Van Moss, and Robin Sokoloff bring together New York City’s most loud and proud composers for an evening full of love, life, and healing.

Performances By

 Anastacia McClesky (The Book of Mormon, Violet, Hair, Tarzan), Billy Harrigan Tighe (Pippin, The Book of Mormon), Javier Ignacio (Side Show), Carla Stickler (Wicked), and Lilli Cooper (Spring Awakening, Wicked, SpongeBob),  Loren Allred (The Voice

In The Press

Check Us Out On BroadwayWorld.com!

Love Pings

For Immediate Release - June 5th, 2016

I AM Concepts Brings Hong Kong Hit "Love Pings" To New York City



Audition Date: June 8th, 2016(Wed) Time: 10:00am-6pm

Location: Loft227, 227 W 29th Street, 4F, New York, NY 10001

Map: https://goo.gl/maps/8g8FoyXj9nG2

Casting Team: Kate March, Shek Wai-Ting, Robin Sokoloff

Interested parties, please email your bio, C.V. and photos(full-body & head-shot) to
support@iam-dining.com before June 7th, 2016 (Tues).

________________________________

THE PLAY

Love Pings is an original play written by American director Kate March in collaboration with the Hong Kong based and globally expanding production company, I AM (www.iam-concepts.com).

Love Pings chronicles the story of Jane’s adventure with 7 simultaneous love interests as she tries to find meaningful connection through the ever-fuzzy world of text messaging, iMessage, Whatsapp, Facebook, email, Skype, FaceTime, the old fashioned phone call, and the occasional live meet. The rapid fire dialogue is purely composed of virtual messages, interspersed with moments of face-to-face interaction or phone calls between characters. Love Pings adopts a unique story-telling approach by marking the flavour of the technology-flooded 21st century through physical movement. Themes of connection, relationships, presence, absence, and love in a digital and globally connected world are explored with a plot that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats. Be prepared for some unexpected twists to this unconventional romance. Or maybe it isn’t radical at all, maybe it’s just love reconfigured for the digital age....Highlighting the endlessly fascinating connections that can be made through the virtual world, the question remains: are any of these digital “pings” signaling real love, or is it all an illusion?

Following its successful launch in OCT 2015 in Hong Kong to the 3 full-house performances, Love Pings is now invited to be restaged in New York City in a theatre located in the heart of Time Square.

Total duration of the play is about 1 hour and 50 minutes.


PRODUCTION SCHEDULE

June 8, 2017: Audition & Confirm Cast.

July 17th -25th: Director from Hong Kong will fly in to NYC to have 7 days intensive rehearsals with the NYC Assistant Director and cast.

August(TBC): Rehearsals with NYC Assistant Director.

Late-September: Director from Hong Kong will fly in to NYC to rehearse with the cast until the play moves into theatre.

Mid-October TBC: Move in to theatre (Potentially, the week of Oct 10th).

Possible Tour to Various Northeast Colleges TBC

________________________________

AUDITION (NON-UNION)

The audition will take approximately an hour with 2 parts involved (individual and group auditions). We highly recommend actor to arrive at the audition studio 15-30 mins in advance for administrative registration and preparation. Selected pages of script will be giving out during the audition. The audition will also be documented by video for only internal uses.

Part I - Individual Audition

Actor is required to prepare a monologue script.

Part II - Group Audition

6-8 actors will be collaborating in the selected scene from the script.
The group will have 10mins of preparation time.

________________________________

CAST BREAKDOWN

*Note that G, T, and M were cast as females playing male roles. Gender Fluidity is used quite significantly.

JANE FORD: an American woman in her late twenties who is living in Hong Kong. She’s creative, bright, restless, and magnetic. She’s looking for connection (love?) and for an adventure….She wasn’t looking for a new career in espionage, but it found her....in the midst of a whirlwind romance. She’s talking to 7 men over various messaging applications but one in particular strikes her fancy. Little did she know the real reason for their seemingly fated meet.

Z: a North African/French businessman and scientist in his early to mid forties. He travels internationally every week, potentially every day occasionally  stopping at his Hong Kong apartment. He’s very genuine, sweet, extremely intelligent, and a bit of a nerd. His messages are a bit bizarre and ambiguous but come across as endearing and funny. He is hiding a secret which comes as a major surprise for the audience. He may or may not be a… spy.

T: a young Chinese businessman whose father is very involved with Chinese government and politics. He’s very composed, presentable, and exudes lavish lifestyle of luxury. His English is spotty at best. Obviously has an ego and excited to be involved with a foreign woman probably purely based on how it appears for outward appearances.

J: an Australian telecom man in his late thirties. He’s friends and colleagues with Z. He’s friendly, extroverted, and life of the party personality. Though underneath it all he is vulnerable and doesn’t always reveal the full story unless he’s a bit boozed up. Stops through Hong Kong periodically; very communicative to the point of being awkward sometimes.

G: a young British pilot. He’s incredibly sweet and stable perhaps to the point of naiveté and therefore, his personality comes off as dull, predictable, and needy. Always very calculated and composed in his interactions with Jane.

C: an American entrepreneur who has come to Hong Kong to start building a property empire. Self-made millionaire who’s not afraid to boast about it. He’s attractive, charming, outspoken, a bit sleazy, mid forties, and cunning. He’s married with 2 children.

M: an Italian fashion designer who lives in Shanghai but visits HK from time to time.  He’s suave, stylish, attractive, funny, and charming. He’s also a total nymphomaniac with an insatiable appetite for sex. His character lightens the mood with his drunk booty call texts.

Q: a french night club owner/ restauranteur in his early 30s who was brought up in a wealthy socialite lifestyle. He's attractive, smart, nice and charismatic. He can come across as a little desperate at times, like he can’t handle being alone, even though he is supposedly in a relationship.

________________________________

ABOUT I AM CONCEPTS

I AM is a CREATIVE FORCE.

I AM does not fit into a neat category. I AM creates wildly imaginative concepts.

I AM transports people to a world of imagination and infinite creative possibility.

Join the I AM movement.

Express yourself.

www.iam-concepts.com

Founded in Hong Kong, and expanding rapidly and globally, the brilliant cohort (of performers, dancers, choreographers, actresses, directors, singers, writers, filmmakers, hostesses, and artists) engages and inspires global audiences with a range of creative services. I AM assists brands, restaurants, hotels, and individuals in expressing their unique identity through original creative content. From fusing dining with live performance to providing innovative entertainment for special events to writing and producing original theatre productions to training hospitality staff to be more charismatic, I AM ensures our creative direction and journey with every client is rooted in artistic integrity.

I AM is not just a creative agency, I AM is a movement.

________________________________

ABOUT KATE MARCH
(FOUNDER/CREATIVE DIRECTOR, I AM Concepts)

Kate March is an American performance artist, director, writer, choreographer, speaker, and producer based in Hong Kong. She received her BA in Performance/Choreography from Connecticut College (Summa Cum Laude) and her MA in Choreography from Middlesex University in London (Highest Honours). Often described as experiential, interactive, provocative, and immersive movement theatre, her work has been produced in London, Berlin, Bangkok, Shanghai, Hong Kong, New York City, and Connecticut, among other places.

One of her most acclaimed pieces is An Evening of Meat premiered in London in 2010 and went on to also achieve stellar reviews in Berlin, again in London in 2011, and in Hong Kong in 2013. From there she continued to hone her interest and expertise in creating conceptual dining experiences, seamlessly fusing live performance and dining to reinvent ‘dinner theatre’. Upon moving to Hong Kong in 2011, she produced several performance concepts which integrated theatre and dance in contexts outside of the conventional theatre space.

Most recently, Ms. March has written, produced, and directed 2 evening length theatre pieces which premiered to great acclaim: Love Pings (HK Premiere October 2015) and Encounters with Ladies ( HK premiere May 2015). A distinct channel for her continued artistic and entrepreneurial development is her involvement with the HK based creative agency, I AM, of which she is the founder and creative director (www.iam‐concepts.com) . Through I AM, she continues to travel and share her voice with audiences across the entire Asia Pacific region. In 2016, I AM will be premiering several new original productions in NYC and will be touring some of their repertoire outside of Asia.

Through her visionary leadership, I AM develops artistically driven event concepts and original productions inspiring audiences through immersive live performance. Beyond its growing commercial successes, Ms. March ensures that I AM acts as a springboard for encouraging creative collaboration and perpetual self‐exploration for audiences and artists alike.

In addition to her work with I AM, she was a part‐time lecturer of movement improvisation to undergraduates at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts where she still acts as a guest lecturer for both the BA and MFA programmes. In 2015, Ms. March delivered a TEDx speech in Hong Kong which has launched a series of inspirational speaking engagements. Her most recent speech was about pleasure and was delivered for an audience of 700 people at the 2016 Hong Kong ORGASMO event. Finally, in the same year, she was nominated for the Revolution Award as part of the annual local theatre “HKELD” awards.

www.iam-concepts.com | www.katemarch.com

BUN IN THE OVEN

BUN IN THE OVEN is the third in a series of twisted, subversive & delightfully disgusting short comedies. The first film in the series, ”Bloody Mary”, has been accepted into more than 20 festivals all over  the world, winning “Best NYC Film” at the NYC Downtown International Short Film Festival; “Best Screenplay” (shorts category) at the Macabre Faire Film Festival in Long Island, NY; “Single Funniest Moment” at the Austin Comedy Short Film Festival; and runner-up for “Best Comedy” at the Rugged Phoenix Underground Film Festival. Super Twisted Short’s follow-up film ”Sucklepump” is just starting the festival rounds and has been accepted into 6 festivals. Cast members have included Lauren Anne Miller (For a Good Time Call), Trace Lysette (Transparent and Blunt Talk), Joel Marsh Garland (Orange Is The New Black), and Pat Squire (Orange is the New Black).

To view sneak peaks of both films and learn more about the team behind it, visit
www.supertwistedshorts.com

To submit your headshot and reel, submit below or email
sokoloffcasting@gmail.com

Writer, Director & Producer: Jono Freedrix
Associate Producer: Hustle Creative
Associate Producer and Casting: Robin Sokoloff
Audition Date: May 28th – accepting submissions via Actors Access and email
Shoot Dates: 6/25-6/26
Location: New York City
Pay Rate: $50 stipend + meals + credit + footage upon request
Media Contact: Magan Wiles/Hustle Creative/magan@thehustle.nyc

I AM : The Easy Hour

I AM is an all female creative powerhouse based in Hong Kong and currently infiltrating NYC with their innovative and immersive concepts. Their signature and most acclaimed concepts seamlessly combine live performance with the dining or drinking experience. In March of this year, I AM partnered with Chelsea Hospitality Group to premiere a private pop up performance dining concept at PIER A, The First Supper. Following rave reviews from attendees, this time around I AM is opening their world to the public, offering up a hot new concept to surprise and delight the NYC crowd.  

I AM is titled by media in Asia as Asia’s Leading Creative Force. Carrying on from the success of immersive dining performances in Asia Pacific and South East Asia, this creative force is thrilled to introduce their style to New York City presenting a next level cocktail hour experience designed especially for the big apple. The Easy Hour is a 60-minute performance experience- incorporating a beautiful blend of theatrics, live performance elements, and drinks to whet even the most sophisticated whistles. Guests can decide on two before or after dinner showtimes for convenience - Choose from Aperitif (7PM) or Nightcap (10PM) — all happening on Friday June 10th, 2016. Start the weekend by taking it easy!!

In collaboration with mid-town’s sexiest event space Loft227, The Easy Hour transforms the cocktail hour into a place of escape- transporting patrons back in time to a nostalgic aesthetic of the 1950s golden era while reimagining the clandestine feel of the Prohibition speak easy for the 21st century. The Easy Hour encourages guests to break free from their 9-5 personas, shed their inhibitions, unwind, come undone —- and, just let go. The Easy Hour is NYC’s very own pop-up Prohibition-era Speakeasy resurfacing vibes from the past, made for the present and expected to be the wave of the future. Come join the I AM women on June 10th — these bold, creative, and brave women aren’t afraid to speak easy, drink easy, and dance easy…Come experience a space where art and entertainment collide.

For inquiries email:

support@iam-dining.com

 

About Loft227:

https://loft227.com/

The School Inspection

With
Hamilton Clancy*
Devin Haqq*
Karla Hendrick*
Antoinette LaVecchia*
Jeremy Lawrence*
Aly Talley
Vickie Tanner*



Written and Directed by Jason Jacobs
Produced by Robin Sokoloff
Stage Manager Heather Olmstead
Graphic by Chris Kalb

*These actors are appearing courtesy of Actor's Equity Association.

 

THE GIANTS - From The Producer

THE GIANTS PARTS ONE & TWO | Robin Sokoloff | Executive Producer

Dear Friends + Collaborators, 

Two months ago, I was invited by Director Isaac Klein to a reading of a beautiful new play: THE GIANTS, PARTS ONE & TWO, by Matthew Jellison. This outstanding new work was part of Fresh Ground Pepper's PlayGround Reading Festival at Cloud City in Brooklyn. It took but a few lines for me to fall madly love with Jellison’s work, and I quickly began talks with Matthew and Isaac to produce THE GIANTS, PARTS ONE & TWO.

I'm writing you today to invite you to come see the show, which I am proud to be the first to produce at our intimate Chelsea venue, Loft227. Our extraordinary team has worked day and night to breathe THE GIANTS to life, bringing it more near and dear to my heart as we approach opening night.

I hope you will join me in experiencing this lovely work of art!

THE GIANTS will be performed on:

Friday 2/26

Sunday 2/28

Wednesday 3/2

Friday 3/4

Sunday 3/6

Wednesday 3/9

All performances are at 8PM at Loft227  (227 W. 29th Street, 4th Floor)

For tickets, please visit: https://thegiants.splashthat.com.

In Matthew's words, the giants is about "A skyscraper to the stars, the lovers who live there, and the giant who shows up one day to knock it down.” Isn't that how it always feels? This delicate work holds up a mirror to the lives we live, how we love the people we love, and opens our mind’s eye to the forces we cannot see or explain.

Matthew’s play is a very special work, and we’re presenting PARTS ONE & TWO of THE GIANTS for this run. While the two parts come together to form a full and cohesive evening, Matthew plans to continue writing more parts, so these two will ultimately be the first two parts of a larger series.

Matthew will also be performing in the show as part of our stellar cast, alongside Ava Eisenson, Ashley Austin Morris, and Allan K. Washington. Our behind-the-scenes dream team includes Steven Royal, David Litman, Brad Peterson, Derek Knoderer, Heather McDevitt Barton, Joe Isenberg, Corinne Brenner, and Anna Rooney.

Giving life to a show of this magnitude is at the core of our mission here at Loft227, where we are ever-evolving our new model for the theater. THE GIANTS has transformed the very face of our space from the inside out, and I am so excited to share it with you.

All the best,

Robin

Director Isaac Klein, with Ava Eisenson*, Matthew Jellison, Allan K. Washington*, and Ashley Morris. 

Director Isaac Klein, with Ava Eisenson*, Matthew Jellison, Allan K. Washington*, and Ashley Morris. 

This is an Equity Approved Showcase.
*These Actors are appearing courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association.

JESSTALK - It's Funny Now

JESSTALK | Jess Milevicz | Magan Wiles | Hustle Creative | Robin Sokoloff

DID WE JUST BECOME BEST FRIENDS?

Cocktails. Life lessons. A slideshow. My heart on a platter.  

All for you, my loved one.  

JESSTALK | Jess Milevicz | Hustle Creative | Magan Wiles | Robin Sokoloff
JESSTALK | Jess Milewicz | Magan Wiles | Hustle Creative | Robin Sokoloff

JESSTALK: It's Funny Now played to a packed house at Loft227 in January. Back by popular demand, Jess Milewicz was invited for an encore performance for the ONE DAY LOVE AFFAIR Festival benefitting the Crime Victims Treatment Center in February, produced by Anna Rooney. 

Hustle Creative | Magan Wiles
Jess Milewicz | Magan Wiles


NYC BALLET ARTIST SERIES: Marcel Dzama Dance Installation

Marcel Dzama | Robin Sokoloff | Dancer


For his 10th ballet for NYCB, Justin Peck tackles his most ambitious work to date –The Most Incredible Thing. Featuring a cast of more than 50, Peck collaborates with composer Bryce Dessner (The National) and contemporary artist Marcel Dzama to bring Hans Christian Andersen’s dark 1870 fairy tale of the same name to the stage.

Robin Sokoloff | Vanessa Walters Choreographer

To celebrate the launch of the new ballet in collaberation with Marcel Dzama, we created a multi media installation to be displayed larger-than-life in Lincoln Center. Working under Choreographer Vanessa Walters, we collaborated for a 2 day shoot with Marcel Dzama, starring Amy Sedaris, at Brooklyn Fireproof Stages.

Robin Sokoloff | Anna Rooney
Robin Sokoloff | Vanessa Walters Choreographer

 

The video installation premiered to a packed house for Marcel Dzama's opening at The David Zwirner Gallery in February. 

Choreographer Vanessa Walters and Company

Choreographer Vanessa Walters and Company




THE GIANTS, PARTS ONE & TWO

THE GIANTS PARTS ONE & TWO
BY MATTHEW JELLISON
DIRECTED BY ISAAC KLEIN

OPENING FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 26TH. 8PM

Artwork by David Litman

Artwork by David Litman

A skyscraper to the stars, the lovers who live there, and the giant who shows up one day to knock it down.


starring:
Ava Eisenson*, Matthew Jellison, Ashley Morris*, and Allan K. Washington*

set and lighting design by Steven Royal
illustrations and graphics by David Litman
projection design by Brad Peterson
sound design by Derek Knoderer
costume design by Heather McDevitt Barton
fight direction by Joe Isenberg
stage managed by Corinne Brenner
produced by Anna Rooney

executive producer: Robin Sokoloff

This is an Equity Approved Showcase. 
*These Actors are appearing courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association.

RIPENING - Dance Installation

ABOUT RIPENING

A mind-bending 3 part exploration of our psychological relationship with  time through dance performance, film, and art installation. RIPENING is a vehicle for navigating and observing the cyclical nature of all living things, blossoming, maturing, and transforming, moving from youth to old age to one’s imminent death.  Conceived and created by Vanessa Walters in collaboration with Brian Gonzalez, RIPENING seeks to understand society’s resistance to aging.

__________________________

rip·en   [rahy-puhn]  verb

1. to make or become ripe.

2. to bring or come to maturity, the proper condition, etc.; mature.

Ripening

1. Coming to full development; becoming mature.

2. Acquiring desirable qualities by being left undisturbed for some time.

Unless interrupted, all living creatures move from youth to old age, and then transition into decay. Ripening celebrates that journey and seeks to understand society’s resistance to aging naturally.

Arriving, becoming, blossoming, maturing, rotting, dying, transforming; the Ripening journey is an experience of many incarnations.

We understand the effects of aging and yet the arrival of those changes is inevitably a surprise. Is it merely the body that ages and not the essence itself? Do both ripen? Can we reconcile the inner with the outer? Are we the same being at 80 that we are when we are 5, or are we rather just in a constant stream of becoming? Can we truly become wise and still retain innocence?

___________________________




THE LOST - From The Producer

My Friend -

It is with great pride I write this note to you. I’ve successfully produced my first full-length show at SCENE, in Midtown Manhattan. It’s called THE LOST, by Keelay Gipson. Serendipitously, we opened to a packed house on the very day Marriage Equality for all became the law of the land! I’m not too shy to report just how hard we partied on that magical Friday night, and some of us are still walking off the festivities of that fabulous rainbow-coated sugar high! Tickets for this July 2nd, 3rd, 9th + 10th are going fast! 

But in all seriousness, up until that very moment when SCOTUS declared #LoveIsLove, our daring little play tackling sexual orientation, gender, and racial identity in America seemed an uphill battle. An impossible feat. A Revolutionary Act!

Before you lift that skeptical cyber brow, know that I’m no writer. But I want to convey to you how important THE LOST is to see for yourself, now more than ever. 

Until THE LOST had rented Loft227 to celebrate their first festival run in 2014, I was in pretty confused about the limited makeup of arts organizations who rented my venues. Nearly every theater and music group had within my doors was mostly white, and drew a mostly white audience. Not that I'm complaining about the business, but it's not the sort of business I wanted to run. You know me well enough to know how bizarre this phenomenon in the heart of NYC must have seemed to me. And you know me well enough to know I wasn’t going to let that stand for long. 

And then in walked creative team for THE LOST, reminding me why I built these arts spaces in the first place: To contribute to my city and change the face of this business for everyone. To build a better community, where we all had a seat at the table and a voice on the stage. 

And then Michael Brown was shot in Ferguson, Missouri. 

And while peacefully marching, hands raised above their heads to show that #blacklivesmatter, so many of my friends were unlawfully arrested or detained, just one block from Loft227. 

Arrested in 2015, for their skin?

And I witnessed the morning after, just what that had done to them. 

I went dark. I went silent. It seemed history was just playing on loop, no matter what strides we make. I made a promise to you and me that this had to stop. That I had to stop it. That we can no longer afford to wait for “one day” on any front.  That starting today I would change this world you and I share for the better, in any way I could. 

Plays go up in New York City everyday, but there's a special reason I'm producing this new work by Keelay Gipson: 

For all the times I walked arm in arm with my brown- skinned friend, while someone spat at my feet. 

For all the times my black boyfriend was pulled over and arrested, while I was left to walk home alone scot-free. 

For all the times onlookers squirmed at the site of me kissing my girlfriend.

For the collective sigh of relief felt family-wide, when I married a man that looks white just like me.

This is for every time I was called a Dyke

A Jew

A Bitch

And even a Pussy-Ass White Rich Blonde Bitch as of late… (because a color still means so much?)

I'm producing, for all the times someone said, “I need to speak to your Boss”, and I had to remind them not once, but TWICE from my tops of my overalls and the bottoms of my combat boots: “I AM the Boss”. 

My Friend - From the moment I got my first “NO” at 16 for being gay, for being female, for being anything other than what a person in power wanted me to be, or behave like, for their pleasure alone - I've forever had something to prove. 

And maybe you do to. 

I'm producing Keelay’s work because I want to live in a world where a group of young artists, can self sustain a game-changing work without being born with a silver spoon, or the heavy yolk of fundraising, donating, the begging and pleading, the comprises, without greasing the right palms, kissing the right behinds, or more than anything - having the right shade of skin. That borne of our collective sacrifices and struggles, this issue of race, could finally be squashed. 

I dreamt of clearing the runway from where I stood then to every point beyond, so that our homes, streets, and stages could finally be ours - all of ours. That we’d no longer have to ask for permission live, love freely, say and do what's right. 

So I began with me. Never once did I ask permission. Never once did I ask anyone to back me or my work, for fear it would come with the usual bureaucratic strings. I never signed away my talent to some anonymous dotted line. My friend, I never sought fame, and I never asked you for a dime. No donations, no need. I forged myself a far stranger path: To prove that through any group artists armed with a full head of steam, amazing work can be achieved.

You’ve taken that ride with me most days and nights. Fifteen years of four jobs at a time, of endless gigs that began just as everyone else was headed home. The rejection, the waiting, the successes, and all the near misses. I've worked for the brilliant, and worked for the insane. I’ve walked off jobs with bosses who spent our pay like monopoly money. I’ve walked off jobs with bosses who cried, “More skin, please!” So very many bosses who locked the door with me inside, thinking I'd do anything for a free ride. 

Would anyone believe what we’ve seen?

So I fired all my bosses, and went out on a limb. 

We know Art is this thing worth fighting for, but can hardly begin to define. We get up everyday, and fight in our own way for our Art to be seen; knowing nothing in this world has more power to open hearts and change minds than our music, our dances, and our rhymes. 

No matter how rough the road we’ve travelled together, we always said as the dawn broke along the city’s ever-constant skyline: “One day, it will be Our Time”.

I am writing to you now because SCENE is that home, and THE LOST - By Keelay Gipson is that work. 

This is Keelay's time, too.  

THE LOST is an answer, to the many questions that still plague our minds. Gipson’s play is Chicken Soup for you and me, and all the barriers we’ve suffered between us. Barriers that limit our love for one another as people. We are One people, One community, and One World - and that is Gipson’s message.

What a message... from a man who has surely experienced otherwise. 

In THE LOST, we follow young Bobby, a poet and a foster kid, as he struggles to break box of his past, in order to write himself a new future.  On his dreamlike journey for self-discovery from Harlem, to the East 70’s, and then down to Christopher Street - Bobby’s path parallels our own. We may have grown up here in NYC like Bobby, or we may have moved here just to live the life we imagine Bobby lives. What we discover along the way, is that so many of those we deal with day to day, have yet to awaken to who they really are - and see that it’s okay to just be themselves. 

To Just Be. 

Although I have faced many struggles in my life, the one nightmare from which I still can't wake, is that we have still not legalized being Black in America. This is a reality you and I walk in day after day. A reality I walk in, but will never completely comprehend or fully internalize, for the simple fact that I am not black. That in 2015, being black makes it exponentially harder to "Just Be", then it is to be someone who looks more like me. 

I can rage against a fate so unequal for my brothers and sisters, and fight for their rights along side. I can even build a space like SCENE for their work to be enjoyed just like mine. But I will never know their exact pain and daily struggle in a world that continues to define and confine them by their very own skin.

What I can do, is make sure this ground-breaking work is seen. 

Nothing frames this war for selfhood and liberty more than my friend Keelay’s words on Marriage Equality today:

You see, it is his time. It’s his turn now. 

I humbly invite you to experience Keelay's beautiful work, THE LOST, a story powered by Rap + Spoken Word. THE LOST gathers together once more this Thursday to discuss and celebrate the ever changing face of America, 'till there’s no particular face it can hide behind.

We've developed an new multimedia experience about discovering your true identity in our day. With words and music by Britton Smith, choreography by Yours Truly, and Director Rebeca Rad, we bring both actor and audience together in a space where we can finally and openly speak our Zeitgeist, in poetry and rhyme.

An artistic community with no barriers begins with you and me, side by side. I’ve been dreaming of a world where our color and how we love one another will forever be a source of pride. If you’ve been dreaming the same dream as I have, then join me. Join Keelay. THE LOST is so much more than a play.

Join us with pride, to change the face of theater, one Black and Beautiful work at a time. For tickets, click here

 

One Love,

Robin

Executive Producer