The Riant Theatre (Van Dirk Fisher, Artistic Director) -- the AUDELCO Award-Winning nonprofit, which provides a nurturing environment for playwrights and theatre creatives of diverse cultural backgrounds to develop new plays, presents some of the Best Plays From The Strawberry One-Act Festival.
On the program is A Visit in the Afternoon by Fred Dennehy, a graduate of Yale Law School, who has had a practice for 40 years before taking up acting and playwriting. His recent credits include: HOMECOMING (Lucille Lortel Theatre) and he co-wrote with Lisa Black A Night at the Opera and Dead Reckoning. The cast includes: Dawn Lanoue(Jessie in ‘Night Mother), Russell Ortiz (George in Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf and Murray Burns in A Thousand Clowns by Herb Gardner, Westfield Community Players) and Allegra Mroz(Johanna in Sweeney Todd. Ophelia in Hamlet, and Cecily in The Importance Of Being Earnest). The play is directed by Ed Faver who has worked as an actor and director. Recent directing credits include: The Normal Heart and Children of a Lesser God. A Visit in the Afternoon is a delightful and charming play about a teenage girl named Mara, who reluctantly agrees to visit her bad-tempered grandfather, who her mother tells her wants to give her something before he dies. What she receives from him is completely unexpected.
Richard Lobel, when not practicing law, writes plays, short fiction and the occasional magazine article. He has previously performed stand-up in New York City at a host of comedy clubs including Carolines, Stand Up New York, Comic Strip Live and Gotham Comedy Club, sharing the stage with such talents as Chris Rock and Jim Gaffigan. Mr. Lobel made his playwriting debut at the Strawberry One Act Festival, where his play, A Two Hundred Dollar Rhinoceros,was a Best Play AwardNominee.
The play is about Adam, a privileged and idealistic college student living on the Upper West Side and Chance, a grizzled, weary homeless man who sells elaborate sculptures made from wire hangers on West 79th Street. Adam strikes up a conversation with Chance, starting with an offer to buy one of his sculptures. As they talk further, Adam is intrigued by Chance's story and interviews him for a journalism class. What begins as a lighthearted encounter evolves into something more as Adam learns about what drove Chance to the streets. The play celebrates engagement and a relationship between people who typically would never even meet. The cast includes: Lucas Max as Adam, Royston Scott as Chance and Rew Starr as Stella. Richard Charles Mueller, won the Best Director Award for this play.
Best Play Award Nominee Not That Illegal by Yusuf Yildiz tackles the Hot Topic: Immigration, in which Ali Can, a Turkish immigrant, is forced to end his 10-year long journey in the U.S. due to unfortunate events. He convinces his best friend to help him with a highly risky plan to trick his arch-nemesis USCIS. Find out how USCIS's nerve-racking interview turns into a hilarious journey. The cast includes: Dylan Combs(Don John in Much Ado About Nothing, Laertes in Hamlet), Joshua R. Pyne(Dr. Jared Katz in Hanging Cow's The Accidental Awakening and Sheriff Grace in Toady Hoad) and Yusuf Yildiz. Not That Illegal is directed by Ayse Eldek-Richardson (Emre Ozpirincci’s The New Yorkers and Ayse Eldek’s Bald Boy The Musical). Mr. Yildiz moved to the United States after spending 20 plus years filled with mathematics and science in Turkey. He secretly kept writing love poems while his classmates tried to prove the Riemann hypothesis. Everything in his life changed once he stepped on stage as a thespian.
Aaron Smallwood Jr., the recipient of the Best Actor Award for his role as the Old Man in Two Good Dogs by Anthony Roesch, is happy to reprise his role. His credits include, film: Suspicion (Austin Film Festival), In/Finite (Amazon Prime); Television: Elvis Lives Here (Ep 318), and Theatre: Hurt Village (The Acting Studio), Bros From the Bottom (The Acting Studio), and Lazarus (Hudson Guild Theater). Two Good Dogs is about two homeless people who sit by the Chicago River discussing life, racism, love, loss and two good dogs. The cast is rounded out by Valarie DonaldsonBest Actress Award Nominee as the Old Woman, and Amy Stapleton as The Young Woman. Adriana Alter, Best Director Award Nominee, has extensive directorial and dramaturgical experience including work with the Secret Theatre, Hip to Hip Theatre Company, Chelsea Rep/The Acting Studio, Nicu’s Spoon Theater Company, Identity Theater Company, Royal Family Productions, and Hartford Stage. Favorite recent projects include the world premiere of Bridges and Overpasses, also by Anthony Roesch! Mr. Roesch is also a fiction writer and has published stories appearing in Inkwell Journal and Tampa Review, and has been a Top-25 finalist in Glimmer Train’s Fiction Open and Very Short Story Competitions.
Mario Corry is an actor, singer, writer, playwright and award-winning director, Producer and CEO at M.A.C. Films. His film credits include: Bridge of Spies Dir: Steven Spielberg, The Irishman Dir: Martin Scorsese. Television credits include: Power, Law and Order CI, Madam Secretary, Blacklist, Bull, It’s Bruno, La Lupe, Blue Flame and Senorita. Mr. Corry received the Best Director Award for Reservations for Dinner by Sean O’Leary, which was a Best Play Nominee. Other plays that have appeared in NYC by Mr. O’Leary include: The Sample and The Return. Rounding out the cast are: Melissa Capista as Anna, her credits include in the award-winning films streaming on Amazon Prime and DirecTV, including A Box Came to Brooklyn and Blind Trust; and Tony White as Harry. Some of his favorite roles include: Falstaff in The Merry Wives Of Windsor, Pompey in Measure For Measure.
Reservations for Dinner is a hilarious comedy about husband and wife who suddenly become aware that they have different dreams and have been hiding from the truth for years as they prepare to celebrate the wife’s triumphed return to the performing arts.
Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theatre
Expected Run Time is 120 minutes