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Original Creative Writing:  
Pride Films and Plays

2215 West Giddings 1

Chicago, IL 60625

Casts announced for Pride Films & Plays' Gay Play Weekend for

Gentle Passage
by Paul Elliott

Who Killed Joan Crawford?
by Michael Leeds

Chicago, IL - Pride Films and Plays' Gay Play Weekend is one of the most exciting events for LGBT theater lovers, as five great new scripts are brought to life in enhanced staged readings directed by Chicago's top directors.

The first three years of the contest had produced finalists and award winners like At The Flash by Sean Chandler and David Leeper, Under A Rainbow Flag by Leo Schwartz, Learn to Be Latina by Enrique Urueta, and Directions for Restoring the Apparently Dead by Martin Casella.

This year, four new plays and one new musical will be staged by Larry Baker, Eric Hoff, Katherine Siegal, and PFP Ensemble Members John Nasca and Derek Van Barham. The pieces readings' include some blocking, technical elements, suggested costuming, and - in the case of the musical The View UpStairs - a full band led by musical director Robert Ollis.

Casting for two of those shows can now be announced.

Director Larry Baker has announced the cast of Gentle Passage with PFP ensemble members Tom Chiola as Joseph and Carmen Molina as Anna.

John Nasca, Artistic Associate of PFP and Director of Who Killed Joan Crawford? is pleased to announce his cast with fellow Artistic Associate of PFP, Patrick Rybarczyk as Stewart Fry and PFP ensemble member David Besky as Leo Lawrence. Others in the cast include: Michael Hampton (Harvey Gold), Michael Barr (Gene Harlow) and Julian Hestor (David Hoch).

Tickets for each show are $10 and can be purchased at

The performance schedule for the weekend is:

Friday, May 9 at 7pm
The View UpStairs by Max Vernon

Directed by Eric Hoff.

The View UpStairs is an original musical inspired by the UpStairs Lounge Fire- a little known arson attack that occurred in 1973 in New Orleans. To this day it remains the worst massacre in US LGBT history.

Max Vernon is a composer/lyricist, playwright, and performer based out of NYC. His work has been praised in New York Magazine, The New Yorker, W, Out Magazine, among others. His musicals include Wired (Ars Nova, Eugene O'Neill Conference Finalist, NAMT finalist) The View UpStairs (NYU-Tisch, Two River Theater, Joe's Pub, Weston New Musical Award Nominee), and Sugarbaby (Joe's Pub). He is a 2013-2014 Dramatist Guild Theater Fellow.

Eric Hoff is an Artistic Associate with About Face Theatre, credits include Off-Broadway at Barrow Street Theatre and 59E59. Chicago credits include Steppenwolf Garage and Red Tape Theatre. He has developed new plays at Goodman, New York Theatre Workshop and NYU.

Saturday, May 10 at 2pm
Michelangelo and Tommaso by James Rosenfield

Directed by Katherine Siegel

Genius, passion, and the bloodthirsty Inquisition collide and explode in James Rosenfield's MICHELANGELO AND TOMMASO. The Catholic Church's whitewash of the lifelong affair of Michelangelo and the Roman nobleman Tommaso de Cavalieri included a fictional biography, the burning of private papers, and the threat of heresy, until Tommaso finally fought back, rebelling against and the murdering of Pope Paul IV.

James Rosenfield has been writing since 1980, and has published two plays and two novels; has had produced over 20 plays, five of them off off Broadway; and placed in 30 contests, among them the Shubert Playwright in Residence for the University of Colorado, the New York Screenwriting contest, and playwright in residence for Playwrites Rep, a New York based feminist group.

Katherine Siegel is a graduate of the University of Miami, has directed at Gorilla Tango, Three Brothers and Clockwise. Co-founder and co-Artistic Director at Lost Girls Theatre.

Saturday, May 10 at 7pm
Who Killed Joan Crawford? by Michael Leeds

Directed by John Nasca

On a dark stormy night, five men arrive at a cabin for a surprise birthday party. Each guest is dressed as the birthday boy's favorite actress, Joan Crawford in one of her signature roles. The "Joans" begin drinking and dishing until dark secrets emerge and soon there's one Joan less... and then another... and.. Who Killed Joan Crawford?

Michael Leeds wrote and directed Swinging On A Star, (Tony nomination Best Musical) . His many directing credits include Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah, (Drama Desk nomination Best Director/Best Choreographer) and the award-winning European Premiere of Arthur Miller's Playing For Time. In addition to writing for the theatre, Michael co-wrote the films, The Simian Line starring William Hurt, and The Last Film Festival starring Dennis Hopper. He is currently Associate Artistic Director of South Florida's Island City Stage.

John Nasca is a PFP Artistic Associate and co-founder and Artistic Director of Glitterati Productions. Credits include Mr. Shaw Goes to Hollywood, Beautiful Thing and Gypsy.

Sunday, May 11 at 11am
The Book of Andy by Michael J. Mejia

Directed by Derek Van Barham

After Andy responds I don't know to a marriage proposal, he visits his exes to find what went wrong with them. When he finds they're thriving without him, Andy lies and tells them he's dying.

Michael J. Mejia is a known and produced playwright from Kern County, California. After receiving BA's in English and Theatre from Cal-State Bakersfield, he received his MFA in Dramatic Writing from Tisch School of the Arts, Asia, in Singapore. His plays explore Mexican/American, Gay and Christian themes.

Derek Van Barham is a PFP Artistic Associate and Literary Manager for Ruckus Theatre. He directed Songs from an Unmade Bed for PFP. Other credits include, National Pastime Theatre, BoHo Theatre, Red Tape Theatre and The Island Theatre.

Sunday, May 11 at 3pm
Gentle Passage by Paul Elliott

Directed by Larry Baker

Paul Elliott's Gentle Passage was written to expose the actual childhood his husband, Ed, survived. While the premise of the play is fiction and names have been changed,the story is entirely true.

As a published playwright with over 700 productions to date, Paul Elliott's new comedy, Exit Laughing, the 2013 AACT PlayFest winner premiered at the historic Landers Theater and will be opening in New York this spring. His first novel, The Riverton Project, is represented by WME. Gentle Passage was written as a birthday present for his husband.

Larry Baker is making his directorial debut and has worked behind the scenes in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Europe and the high seas. He did the national tours of Jersey Boys and Elaine Stritch at Liberty and the European tour of 42nd Street.

Pride Films and Plays

Utilizing stories with gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender characters or themes, Pride Films and Plays develops powerful theatrics that speak for the community and are essential viewing for all audiences.

Pride Films and Plays fosters excellence in writing for the stage and screen by connecting our Writers Network with our Artistic Ensemble and accelerating the process of moving important scripts from development to full production. When ready, these excellent works are then offered to theaters across the country.

Their season consists of three full productions - a world premiere, a Chicago premiere, and a reinvigorated classic - along with three weekend festivals of new 'enhanced staged readings.'

Writers are invited to join our Writers Network when they are named a finalist in our contests - the Great Gay Play Contest, Women's Work (for plays and screenplays with lesbian characters or themes, written by women), and the Great Gay Screenplay Contest.

The finalists earn cash prizes, and their plays performed as "enhanced staged readings" which include movement, blocking, and technical elements in the 150 Hoover-Leppen Theater in Center on Halsted.

The 2011 Great Gay Play Contest winner, Learn To Be Latina by Enrique Urueta, has had multiple regional productions, and the 2012 winner At The Flash by Sean Chandler and David Leeper was Jeff-recommended in Chicago, a hit in LA, and will be seen in Dublin next spring.

Under A Rainbow Flag by Leo Schwartz, a finalist in last year's contest, had its world premiere in Chicago this spring and won the Jeff Award for Best New Work and Best Musical Production. And the 2013 contest winner Directions for Restoring the Apparently Dead by Martin Casella had a successful run in the 150 seat thrust stage at Stage 773.

In addition to our forward thinking play development, we feel strongly that we without knowledge of our past, we cannot truly know our way. Thus we have produced 20th Anniversary productions of The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me by David Drake and Beautiful Thing by Jonathan Harvey and Lillian Hellman's great drama The Children's Hour.

For more information on contests or productions, visit

L to R - Julian Hester, David Besky, Michael Hampton, Michael Barr and Patrick Rybarczyk in Who Killed Joan Crawford?



Original Creative Writing:  
Presented by international award winning performer Krendl
At the Published Arthouse 11 Cannon Street Adelaide
27, 28 February and 6,7 March at 8pm
Accessible venue

Who doesn't enjoy a well presented magic show?

It is one of the most ancient forms of entertainment we have. From Harry Houdini through to David Copperfield a great magician is always a good show-person, even without glitz or theatrical elements like flash pots or orchestras going off at the end of every trick; I don't mean they have to shout a lot and look flashy either.

Krendl magic, magic, adelaide fringe
Picture by DP Jobling 2015

For my tastes, a great magician needs to exhibit traits of fearlessness, boldness without setting themselves up as being flawless at what they do. I love the process of watching something confounding being set up and then seeing the pay off.

Television magicians have camera angles, sound technicians, lighting to enhance everything they do, this guy Krendl has none of that yet he delivers a flawless, emotionally satisfying show.

Picture by DP Jobling 2015

Maybe he calls the show Arrested, Under-developed and under-medicated in order to prepare the audience for a level handed delivery rather than an explosive one, I don't recall him mentioning why it is titled that way. The easiest thing to say is: the whole show was impressive. The difficult thing is to communicate why a bare bones act like this makes such a great and lasting impression.

In Australia over the past decade we have seen Cosentino the locally born magician win a talent contest and go on to international and national tours creating some impressive television specials along the way. I suspect the essential difference between Krendl and Cosentino is resources and budget. If Krendl had producers with big money behind him he could be just as big and showy as Cosentino is because he has the obvious skills.

Krendl presents wearing a basic black suit with a fedora reminiscent of Frank Sinatra and the swinging fifties. Wearing a head mic he is mobile among the audience in the room with his simple set on a raised platform. The room is cavernous, air conditioned, there's minimal but adequate lighting. From the moment you enter the auditorium at one corner of the stage hangs a locked box containing a cylinder with a sheet of paper in it. Although our host brings this locked and hanging box to our attention at the start of the show we don't return to it until much later for a magician's pay-off that truly impresses.

Picture by DP Jobling 2015

Cosentino and Krendl share similar elements of spirit in their approach; no way are they identical or even particularly similar as entertainers, but they do exhibit humility as a natural part of their personality. Krendl mentions he has worked the cruise ships in his introduction. The mention of cruise ships, cruises and the associated relaxed feelings that go along with such activity seeps through the room. This comment lets everyone off the hook as far as needing certain bells and whistles as well.

If we were to encounter him on the street I doubt this act would play nearly so well as in this nice big airy and dimly lit venue, his bare bones act is quietly triumphant. We could easily have been on a cruise ship. The neutrality of his language, even though he sounds, looks and is American, has an inoffensive quality, perfect for being on a ship a long way from shore.

Krendl magic, magic, adelaide fringe
Picture by DP Jobling 2015

His physicality is attractive; dresses to evoke a Frank Sinatra mid-fifties lanky style. Think Guys and Dolls Sinatra, before Old Blue Eyes matured into Pulp Detective Sinatra without the Lanky Yank brashness which works well; Krendl draws his audience in with simple qualities of isolated humility, he doesn't so much seek to impress as create the impression that everything he is doing is natural to him.

That's indication of a gifted rapport with the audience, talking with them the whole time but never getting into tacky territory or setting the audience up to get laughs. That approach wouldn't fit with Krendl's personable style. A great deal of interaction with the audience created an impression that the show wasn't running to any kind of schedule although it was.

There was an interval and a second act.

Picture by DP Jobling 2015

During Fringe some performers spend the best part of their show plugging what merchandise they are selling after the show; you can end up feeling like you bought a ticket to an infomercial when people over do it. Krendl has a DVD which he mentioned at the end of act one, again at the very end. Nice. He, like most other performers was happy to come take photographs with the audience after the show.

Picture by DP Jobling 2015

The Published Arthouse is an accessible venue which is always fantastic. The stage platform is not accessible, a couple of the acts would be too challenging to do with a person in a wheelchair; but I have no doubt Krendl would find a way to involve his whole audience whomever they were.
The Published Arthouse's atmosphere is welcoming, reminded me of the old Lion Theatre Foyer in Fringes gone by, it has a range of other shows programmed for the Fringe. As for Krendl, he is waiting for you to join him and I can't think of any reason why you shouldn't.


IDPwD 2014

December 28th 2014 02:12
Original Creative Writing:  
This year I was very busy with the International Day of People with a Disability ~ there was a considerable amount of action taking place in 2014 around the United Nations' Day for Disability awareness; for me it included working on a couple of short films and a public awareness campaign.

The short films were then shown in Rundle Mall, Adelaide and inside the City Library in Adelaide

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Original Creative Writing:

George Harrison: Living in the Material World
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Original Creative Writing:  
Which are the Top Walks in NSW?
Do you have a favourite?

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August 15th 2014 02:16
Original Creative Writing:

Original Creative Writing:  
The Commonwealth Games Federation has rescued the dreams of a group of athletes from Kenya, Jamaica, Uganda, Trinidad and Tobago, Tanzania, Australia, Ghana, and the Bahamas by approving their late entry to take part in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow starting this Wednesday (July 23).

A well-advertised deadline for entries closed on June 11, but due to a number of oversights by their own administrators the athletes were not entered and faced missing their events

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The Bold and the Musical

June 19th 2014 04:47
Original Creative Writing:  

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June 19th 2014 04:35
Original Creative Writing:  


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Original Creative Writing:  
SALVADOR, BRAZIL - JUNE 13: Castrol brand during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group B match between Spain and Netherlands at Arena Fonte Nova on June 13, 2014 in Salvador, Brazil.

2014 FIFA World Cup

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