Primary Stages ESPA Fall 2018 Writing, Acting, and Directing Classes

Fall 2018 Acting, Writing, and Directing classes at Primary Stages ESPA are now open for enrollment.

See our list of available classes below. For more information, download the complete course descriptions here.

To register, email us with your desired class at espa@primarystages.org, or call 212.840.9705 x215.

PLAYWRITING

Advanced Playwriting

By invitation only. This class offers a select group of returning ESPA writers an even more rigorous curriculum than our First Draft and Rewrite classes.

Returning Students: $560

Section A with Joshua Harmon (Writer, Significant Other on Broadway, Bad Jews at Roundabout Theater Company)

Thursdays from 6:30pm – 9:30pm

September 20, 27, October 4, 11, 18, 25, November 1, 8, 15, 29, December 6

*This class will be 10 sessions; one of the above dates will be cancelled, but please hold all 11 dates until the released date is confirmed by Joshua

Section B with  Winter Miller (Writer, In Darfur at The Public)

Wednesdays from 6:00pm – 9:00pm

September 26, October 3, 10, 17, 24, 30*, November 7, 14, 28, December 5

*Please note that October 30 is a Tuesday

Section C with Rogelio Martinez (Writer, Ping Pong at The Public, Blind Date at the Goodman Theatre)

Tuesdays from 6:30pm – 9:30pm

October 2, 9, 16, 23, November 6, 13, 20  27, December 4, 11

The First Draft

This class will guide you through the development of your first draft, providing concrete deadlines, constructive feedback, and a collaborative environment that will encourage you to get your ideas on the page.

Returning Students: $560 / New Students: $580

Section A with Eddie Sanchez (Writer, Barefoot Boy with Shoes On at Primary Stages)

Sundays from 11:00am – 2:00pm

September 16, 23, 30, October 14, 21, 28, November 4, 11, 18, December 2

Section B with Michael Walkup (Producing Artistic Director, Page 73)

Wednesdays from 6:30pm – 9:30pm

September 19, 26, October 3, 10, 17, November 14, 28, December 5, 18*, 19

*Please note that December 18 is a Tuesday

Section C with Suzanne Bradbeer (Writer, Confederates, Pulitzer-nominated The God Game)

Thursdays from 6:30pm – 9:30pm

September 20, 27, October 4, 18, 25, November 1, 15, 29, December 13, 20

Section D with Abe Koogler (Writer, Obie-Winning Fulfillment Center at MTC, Kill Floor at LCT3)

Mondays from 6:30pm – 9:30pm

September 24, October 1, 15, 22, 29, November 5, 12, 19, December 3, 10

Section E with Adam Kraar (Writer, New World Rhapsody at MTC, Wild Terrain at EST)

Tuesdays from 6:30pm – 9:30pm

September 25, October 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, November 13, 20, 27, December 4

Section F with Winter Miller (Writer, In Darfur at The Public)

Wednesdays from 10:30am – 1:30pm

September 26, October 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, November 7, 14, 28, December 5

Fundamentals of Playwriting

Instructor: Kara Lee Corthron (Writer, AliceGraceAnon at New Georges)

If you’re just stepping into the world of playwriting, welcome!

Thursdays from 6:30pm – 9:30pm

September 20, 27, October 4, 18, 25

Returning Students: $400 / New Students: $460

Rewriting Your Draft

Instructor: Crystal Skillman (Writer, Geek, Rain and Zoe Save the World)

Tackle the revision process and develop a stronger version of your play.

Mondays from 6:30pm – 9:30pm

October 22, 29, November 5, 12, 19, 26, December 3, 10, 17, 18*

*Please note that December 18 is a Tuesday

Returning Students: $560 / New Students: $580

The Second Draft

Instructor: Kara Lee Corthron (Writer, AliceGraceAnon at New Georges)

This class is for those with complete drafts who are ready to hear their play in full and embark on strategic rewrites.

Mondays from 6:00pm – 10:00pm

September 17, 24, October 1, 15, 22, 29, November 5, 12, 19, 26

Returning Students: $580 / New Students: $600

Workshop: Rage Structure and Tradition

Instructor: Robert Askins (Hand to God on Broadway, EST, and MCC; Permission at MCC)

If you’re angry, disappointed, almost livid, let’s talk about how you can yell at the world through the megaphone of the stage.

Saturday, September 22 and Sunday, September 23

12:00pm – 3:00pm both days

Returning & New Students: $240

Workshop: Writing Poetic, Political Plays

Instructor: Stefanie Zadravec (Writer, The Electric Baby at Two River Theatre Company)

Does your play say what you think it’s saying? Spend this 2-day workshop breaking open your play and tuning your sense of how a play “lands” on its ear.

Saturday, November 10 and Sunday, November 11

11:00am – 3:00pm both days

Returning & New Students: $240

Workshop: Getting to the Rewrite

Instructor: Melissa Ross (Writer, Of Good Stock at MTC, Nice Girl at Labyrinth)

In this 2-day writing workshop, you will dig into your play, ask it new questions, and emerge with a clear vision for rewrites.

Saturday, December 1 and Sunday, December 2

1:00pm – 6:00pm both days

Returning & New Students: $280

 

DIRECTING

Directing from Page to Stage

Instructor: Suzanne Agins (Director, Radiance at LAByrinth, Jailbait at Cherry Lane)

This 8-week class is for directors of all levels to dive into the process of getting a play into rehearsal and on its feet, culminating in a showing at the Cherry Lane Theatre, the Off-Broadway home of Primary Stages.

Sundays from 1:00pm – 4:00pm

September 16, 30, October 14, 21, November 4, 18, December 2, 9

The performance at the Cherry Lane will be December 9 at 7:30pm

Returning Students: $420 / New Students: $480

Workshop: Reviving Problematic Material in our Current Climate

Instructor: Kimberly Senior (Director, Disgraced on Broadway, Discord… at Primary Stages)

Reviving older works with problematic or out-dated material, like My Fair Lady or Carousel in the #MeToo Era, presents a problem for the modern, socially-conscious director. This workshop with director Kimberly Senior will help you face those challenges in a thoughtful and thought-provoking manner.

Saturday, December 8 and Sunday, December 9

12:00pm – 4:00pm both days

Returning & New Students: $280

Workshop: Seeing Between the Lines: Final Follies

Instructor: Ken Cerniglia (Dramaturg and Literary Manager, Disney Theatrical Group)

The dramaturg’s job is to read between the lines and enhance a script with specificity and accuracy. This workshop will teach you to watch a play from the perspective of a dramaturg and see what you’ve been missing, using Final Follies, the first show of the Primary Stages Season

Date to be announced!

Returning & New Students: $40

ACTING

The Callback

Instructor: Lisa Donadio (Associate Casting Director, Playwrights Horizons)

With an emphasis on callbacks, learn how to prepare material ahead of time but still remain flexible enough to take direction in the room.

Wednesdays from 6:30pm – 9:30pm

October 10, 17, 24, November 7, 14

Returning Students: $400 / New Students: $460

Being On-Camera

Instructors: Amelia Campbell (Tony-nominated Actor, Our Country’s Good, A Streetcar Named Desire on Broadway, Netflix’s “Mindhunter”, Leaves of Grass) and Anthony Arkin (Actor and Filmmaker, I’m Not Rappaport on Broadway, “The Americans”)

Be freed from the pressure to perform so you can focus your attention on learning and refining on-camera skills in a supportive and exciting environment.

Mondays from 6:30pm – 9:30pm

September 17, 24, October 1, 15, 22

Returning Students: $400 / New Students: $460

On-Camera Auditioning

Instructors: Amelia Campbell (Tony-nominated Actor, Our Country’s Good, A Streetcar Named Desire on Broadway, Netflix’s “Mindhunter”, Leaves of Grass) and Anthony Arkin (Actor and Filmmaker, I’m Not Rappaport on Broadway, “The Americans”)

This brand new class with Anthony Arkin and Amelia Campbell is an intimate and intensive dive into the preparation and experience of the on-camera audition.

Mondays from 6:30pm – 9:30pm

October 29, November 5, 12, 19

Returning Students: $400 / New Students: $460

Acting Comedy: Finding Your Funny

Instructor: Jen Wineman (Director, Sweeney Todd at Playmaker’s Rep with Broadway’s Annie Golden; Co-founder, Studio 42)

Learn how to access your own sense of comedy and trust your comedic impulses in both the rehearsal and audition room.

Tuesdays from 7:00pm – 10:00pm

September 11, 18, 25, October 2, 9

Returning Students: $260 / New Students: $320

Scene Study: Exploring the Primary Stages Season

Instructors: Casey Childs (Founder, Primary Stages), Andrew Leynse (Artistic Director, Primary Stages), and Erin Daley (Associate Artistic Director, Primary Stages)

You will work on scenes by the 2018/19 Primary Stages Season playwrights (A.R. Gurney, Theresa Rebeck, and Leah Nanako Winkler) led by the Primary Stages Artistic Team, who will share their insight that comes from an intimate connection with these playwrights.

Thursdays from 6:30pm – 9:30pm

September 20, 27, October 4, 11, November 1, 8, 15, 29, December 6, 13

Returning Students: $500 / New Students: $560

Scene Study (now offered in a 5-week format!)

Instructor: Quentin Earl Darrington (Actor, Once on this Island and Ragtime on Broadway)

In this 5-week accelerated scene study class, you will fearlessly dive headfirst into scene work, with no time for hesitation.

Tuesdays from 11:00am – 2:00pm

October 23, 30, November 6, 13, 20

Returning Students: $360 / New Students: $400

The Contemporary Monologue

Instructor: Richard Topol (Actor, Broadway’s Indecent (as Lemml), Fish in the Dark, The Normal Heart)

Having the right monologue is key to showcasing your abilities as an actor and ultimately getting hired. This class seeks to match actors with audition material that makes them shine.

Tuesdays from 10:00am – 1:00pm

September 18, 25, October 2, 9, 16

Returning Students: $260 / New Students: $320

Shakespeare at the Table

Instructor: Geoffrey Owens (Actor, Broadway’s Romeo and Juliet (with Orlando Bloom); HBO’s “Divorce”)

Discover how Shakespearean language works by using renowned classical actor and teacher Geoffrey Owens’ non-intimidating approach to dissecting text.

Wednesdays from 6:20pm – 9:20pm

September 19, 26, October 3, 10, 17

Returning Students: $260 / New Students: $320

Shakespeare on Your Feet

Instructor: Geoffrey Owens (Actor, Broadway’s Romeo and Juliet (with Orlando Bloom); HBO’s “Divorce”)

Once you’ve conquered the text on the page, it’s time to get up and explore Shakespeare’s text as he intended it: performed.

Wednesdays from 6:20pm – 9:20pm

October 24, 31, November 7, 14, 28

Returning Students: $260 / New Students: $320

Solo Performance

Instructor: Judy Gold (Actor/Co-Writer, The Judy Show at DR2 Theatre; Actor, The Taming of the Shrew at The Public)

Like other brave solo performers who have come before you, this class will guide you through the process of telling your personal story on stage.

Thursdays from 10:00am – 1:00pm

September 20, 27, October 4, 11, 18, 25, November 1, 8

Returning Students: $480 / New Students: $500

Alexander Technique for Auditions

Instructor: Karen Braga (Acting Faculty, NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts)

Imagine being able to walk into any audition feeling grounded, confident, and centered. The Alexander Technique teaches performers how to release habitual tension for an experience of more freedom, poise, and presence.

Tuesdays from 6:30pm – 9:30pm

November 6, 13, 20, 27, December 4, 11

Returning Students: $260 / New Students: $320

Workshop: The Voiceover with Sharon Washington

Instructor: Sharon Washington (Feeding the Dragon at Primary Stages, The Scottsboro Boys on Broadway)

Recording voiceover work from your own home is one of those unique side-hustles that is lucrative, flexible, and even artistically fulfilling! Learn the skills necessary to successfully record voiceover for commercial and audiobook work.

Tuesday, August 14 and Wednesday, August 15

6:30pm – 9:30pm both days

Returning & New Students: $160

 

Primary Stages ESPA provides students easy and convenient payment plans to break up tuition. 

For more information, download the complete course descriptions hereTo register, email us with your desired class at espa@primarystages.org, or call 212.840.9705 x215. 

Advertisements

PBS Masterpiece Little Women Episode 3 Recap

Welcome back! Here is Daria Buvanova’s recap of Little Women Episode 3. (Missed our earlier recaps? Catch up on Episode 1 and Episode 2.)

A year has passed. Meg is pregnant and she is HUGE. Seriously. There is some concern but she gives birth to two healthy babies, a boy and a girl. John says he has everything he might ever need. Tear.

j.jpg

Amy continues to spend time with Aunt March and she eventually is invited to travel Europe to keep her cousin Flo company. Naturally, Jo is pissed. It has always been her dream to travel but it’s her own fault really. If she had been nicer to mean old Aunt March, she could’ve gone to Europe herself. But nevertheless, Amy departs for Europe leaving Jo and the March family behind.

Now, Jo and Beth are the only sisters left in the house. Beth is sad and Jo decides that is because she is in love with Laurie. Seems far-fetched, doesn’t it? It’s like she hasn’t been paying attention like we all have. Meanwhile, Laurie professes his love for Jo. He even cries. It’s a bit uncomfortable and Jo’s not a fan so she resolves that she can no longer stay in her small hometown and heads to New York as a governess.

k.jpg

There she meets Professor Bhaer (Mark Stanley) who is raising his nephews on his own. It seems like the two of them can be happy together; as if Professor Bhaer understands Jo better than anyone else. Jo saves money to take Beth to the beach. She promises Professor Bhaer that she’ll be back to New York eventually but once with Beth, Jo learns that Beth is dying. You’ll shed a tear or five or an entire rainforest when you realize that Beth has accepted death and that Jo will stay to take care of Beth until the end. Have a box of tissues ready, you’ll need it.

Meanwhile, Amy is still in Europe where she meets with… Laurie!! Surprise, surprise! The two of them begin to spend time together and he keeps her company when Beth dies.

Jo doesn’t return to New York after all. She mourns her sister and takes care of her parents. Then, she learns that Amy and Laurie are engaged. (TBH, they seem like a better fit.) They return from Europe not engaged, but already married. Jo seems sincerely happy for them. She and Laurie have a moment as they say goodbye to their past. He says he loves her like a sister and he loves Amy like he used to love her. A little creepy. He wants to be friends like they were before but Jo says that they can’t since they are no longer kids. Things change. I guess it truly is a coming-of-age story.

l.jpg

Aunt March has a stroke and Jo goes to visit her. For the first time ever, the two of them seem to get along. On her way home, Jo runs into Professor Bhaer. He confesses his love for her and Jo invites him inside. Everyone likes him. Then the show fast forwards a few years. Aunt March has died and left her house to Jo. She and Professor Bhaer use it as a school for boys. (Really, Jo… only boys?) Amy and Laurie have a daughter of their own. Everyone looks very happy and at peace.

m.jpg

And that wraps up Little Women from PBS Masterpiece. Watching has been more fun than eating pickled lemons, that’s for sure! And now we’ll just have to wait to see Kate Hamill’s take on this classic story in the spring here at Primary Stages. Click here for info on subscriptions to guarantee those tickets.

n

 

PBS Masterpiece Little Women Episode 2 Recap

We’re back again for Episode 2 of Little Women with a recap by Daria Buvanova. (Missed the recap of Episode 1? Catch up here.)

image

Well, we’re back for Part 2. The sisters are adjusting to their new lives while both of their parents are away. But they have a personal cook, so don’t you worry.

Meg goes to a ball. Her friends dress her up and she loves it. Jo disapproves. Jo and Laurie even get into a fight about it. Jo wants nothing to do with any romantic notions. Meanwhile, Laurie is head over heels in love with her. Awkward.

It’s summer now and the girls go out boating on the lake with Laurie, John, and their friends. Meg and John have a moment. It seems like John likes Meg! Who would’ve thought! John tells Meg that since he has no family and no one to miss him, he will enlist in the army once Laurie leaves for college. Meg says that “we” care and would miss him. Maybe Meg likes John, too…?

little-women-e1-icon-3200x1800-1920x1080

Overall, everyone continues with their everyday routine. Amy brings pickled lemons to school (ew). Apparently, pickled lemons are popular to eat but are also banned so Amy gets into a lot of trouble and her teacher uses good old-fashioned corporal punishment. Oh, how far we’ve come in the last century and a half! After this fiasco, Jo goes to the school and announces that Amy will not be returning.

Beth continues to care for poor families. She brings them food and tries to help them out as much as she can. Unfortunately, as a result, Beth herself gets sick with scarlet fever. The girls decide to deal with it on their own and let Marmee take care of their father. Seems like a pretty terrible idea. Amy gets sent away to live with Aunt March where Laurie visits her daily. Amy and Laurie seem to get along quite well.

Meanwhile, Beth is getting worse. Jo finally wants to telegraph Marmee but learns that Laurie has already done so. While waiting for Marmee to return, Laurie kisses Jo, but Jo asks him to be her “comfortable friend.” Ouch. Marmee arrives home and it seems like Beth is going to get better. Maybe this story will have a happy ending after all.

h

As it turns out, John got close to Marmee and Mr. March while Mr. March was recovering. John told them that he has feelings for Meg. Talking to the parents first? What a move, John, what a move. Jo isupset at the idea that their perfect family will be split up if Meg gets married. Oh well, Jo: grow up and get over it. In the meantime, Aunt March requests Amy be her new companion since she wants someone with manners (unlike Jo).

Things take a turn for the better around Christmas time. Beth is feeling stronger, although she still stays inside and never leaves the house. Laurie’s grandfather brings a piano for Beth to play at home. Jo gets a story published for the first time ever. And Mr. March returns home!

John enlists in the army because “he is a man of his word.” But before he leaves, he declares his love for Meg who realizes she loves him back after Aunt March insults him. Awww. So cute. So, John goes off to war. Laurie goes off to school. And it seems like everything is going well. John gets injured, sure, but not to worry, he’ll be okay.

The episode ends with a beautiful wedding. Meg and John seem very happy. Laurie tries to declare his love for Jo, who has basically decided she is going to die an old maid. Beth is still weak from scarlet fever. And that is that.

Little Women_EP2_2 1.jpg

The story continues! Read our recap of the third and final episode of Little Women.

PBS Masterpiece Little Women Episode 1 Recap

a (1)

Did you miss PBS’s 3-episode adaptation of Little Women? Well, don’t you worry. Here is a short recap of each episode by Daria Buvanova. However, Daria recommends you watch the series anyway. Just saying. Also, here is a giant SPOILER ALERT! If you don’t want to know what happens (in delightfully sarcastic detail) during the series, don’t read any further.

Little Women Episode 1 Recap

No one can expect anything but perfection from a PBS series. From the costumes and set design to the tears and laughter, everything in Little Women is destined to be great. The March sisters — Meg (Willa Fitzgerald), Jo (Maya Hawke), Beth (Annes Elwy), and Amy (Kathryn Newton) — live in their New England home with their mother “Marmee” (Emily Watson) while their father (Dylan Baker) serves as a Union chaplain in the Civil War.

b

The first episode opens at Christmas. The girls aren’t getting any presents this year because they don’t have much money. But Marmee manages to sneak a little something under their pillows anyway. So sweet! Christmas morning, Marmee and the sisters head to town to bring food to a poor family. That poor family is literally in rags. Marmee is big on charity, and so are some of the girls.

Theodore Laurence, “Laurie” (Jonah Hauer-King), moves in across the street from the March family to live with his grandfather (Michael Gambon). Both of his parents are dead. But hey, he’s got money. Laurie has his own tutor, John Brooke (Julian Morris). They’re basically friends since John is only a few years older than Laurie.

c

So, let’s talk about the girls some more. Meg is a governess in town for a rich family. She’s everything one would expect a 19th-century, well-behaved girl to be. Jo is loud, un-ladylike, and loves to write. In fact, she’s writing a novel! She is a companion for their rich, lonely, and extremely judgemental Aunt March (Angela Lansbury). She disapproves of many, many things. (Any Nanny McPhee fans out there? This character is oddly familiar to Aunt Adelaide portrayed by the one and only Angela Lansbury. What a small world.) Anyway… Beth doesn’t attend school so she just stays home with Marmee. She is painfully quiet and shy. And Amy, well…Amy is definitely still a kid. She goes to school, has an attitude, and likes all things pretty. Moving on.  

Laurie (and John) invite Jo and Meg to the theater. Amy gets mad because Jo said she can’t go with them. But she wasn’t invited so… Come on Amy, grow up a little. It’s clear that Laurie has a thing for Jo. He even asks her and Meg to switch seats to sit closer to Jo. While at the theater, Amy burns the novel Jo was writing in the fire. Jo brings home sweets from the theater for Amy and Meg informs Amy there are tickets available for the theater for next week. All is well… for a few seconds, until Jo learns what Amy did. It turns into a quite the fight; definitely worth watching. Jo says she can’t forgive Amy and that’s that.

d

As the story continues, Jo spends a lot of her free time with Laurie. It’s clear that he likes her but they’re not even flirting. Well, Laurie tries to flirt with Jo but it doesn’t quite seem to work. Which is a shame, because Laurie is hot. Anyway, they decide to go ice-skating. Laurie warns Jo about crackling noises and thin ice. Basically, he tells her to be careful. He cares! It’s so sweet! Then Amy joins them. Jo is still pissed. But wouldn’t you be if all of your hard work was destroyed by your brat of a sister? Amy steps on the ice and falls in. Ooops, I guess no one warned her to be careful. For a few minutes there, it’s pretty scary. It seems like Amy might either drown or freeze to death. (It’s like a Shonda Rhimes series here!) But Jo and Laurie pull her out and Amy doesn’t even catch a cold! Phew! And of course, Jo and Amy’s relationship is back to normal.

With all this commotion, you almost forget that there is a war going on until Marmee gets a telegram: Mr. March is ill. She plans to go see him. Jo sells her hair — her “one beauty” according to pretty much everyone in this show — in order to get the money for Marmee to afford to travel. Meanwhile, Aunt March gives money to Marmee for her to trip. Turns out she has a heart after all. John Brooke accompanies Marmee. The March sisters are left at home, scared of what is to come.

e

Want more? Read the recaps of Episode 2 and Episode 3!

 

The 2017/18 Primary Stages Season in Review

It seems like just yesterday that we were kicking off our 2017/18 season. Alas, our season is now officially over, so before we dive into our new and exciting 2018/19 season, here is our year in review:

Our first show of the season was The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens and Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord. A few of history’s most famous men, all of whom wrote their own version of the gospels, debated everything from religion to literature to marriage. Whose ideas did you agree with most?

Thom Sesma, Michael Laurence and Duane Boutte in Primary Stages' production of DISCORD - photo by Jeremy Daniel.jpg

Thom Sesma, Michael Laurence and Duane Boutté in DISCORD. (photo by Jeremy Daniel)

Next, you’ll fondly recall our second show of the season, Kate Hamill’s Pride and Prejudice. This adaption had many of us laughing for two straight hours. (And if you haven’t yet heard, Kate Hamill is returning next season to Primary Stages with her adaptation of Little Women next May! Make sure you don’t miss it!)

The Cast of Primary Stages' 2017 Production of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE - photo by James Leynse

The Cast of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. (photo by James Leynse)

Our Annual Gala (this was number 33!) honored Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, the tony-winning songwriting team behind Ragtime, Once On this Island, and Anastasia; Broadway producers Janet B. and Marvin Rosen of In Transit; and corporate honorees Jose Mendez and Katie Graziano.

Primary Stages Annual Gala 2017

Terrence McNally presents awards to Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens

This season, we also had the pleasure of enjoying live music in A Walk With Mr. Heifetz. Mariella Haubs skillfully played the violin as the story in pre-Israel Palestine unfolded before our eyes. (And some of you may have even stayed for our special post-show concert series, Saturday Night Strings.)

A Walk With Mr. Heifetz by James Inverne and directed by Andrew Leynse playing at Primary Stages in New York.

Yuval Boim, Mariella Haubs, and Adam Green in A WALK WITH MR. HEIFETZ (photo by James Inverne

Our last show of the season was Feeding the Dragon. Written and performed by Sharon Washington, it was a true story of Sharon’s experience growing up inside the St. Agnes branch of the New York City Public Library. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, we’ve had quite the literary season this year.

"Feeding the Dragon" at Primary Stages in New York

Sharon Washington in FEEDING THE DRAGON (photo by James Leynse)

In addition, we honored the 10th Anniversary of Primary Stages ESPA, our multidisciplinary theater training school for artists in all stages of their development. As part of the celebration, we brought back some of our favorite throwback classes and faculty from the past decade, and enjoyed many special events.

Sarah Matteucci, Miranda Wilson and Amy Harris

Team Primary Stages ESPA: Sarah Matteucci, Miranda Wilson, and Amy Harris

And we finished off our season with the Spring Fling, where we presented the Einhorn Mentorship Award to Kimberly Senior. Kimberly is a beloved teacher at Primary Stages ESPA as well as the director of the season opener,  …Discord.

IMG_0444

Kimberly Senior receiving the 2018 Einhorn Mentorship Award.

Overall, it has been a truly wonderful season. Thank you for being a part of it and we hope you are looking forward to our coming 2018/2019 Season as much as we are!

Primary Profile: Einhorn Mentorship Award Recipient Kimberly Senior

This year at Spring Fling, we are presenting the Einhorn Mentorship Award to Kimberly Senior! You might remember Kimberly from earlier this season at Primary Stages as the director of Gospel According to… Discord or as the director of Disgraced on Broadway! You might also know her as one of our beloved teachers at Primary Stages ESPA. Check out the interview below to learn more about Kimberly and why we think she’s so deserving of this special honor:

Did you always want to be a director? How did you end up becoming one?
It’s an ever evolving process. I have always known I am a Maker and a Doer. Maybe I could have been an urban planner. Or a chef. Storytelling called to me at an early age, mainly as an audience member. The transformative power of stories, of histories unfolding, of futures being discovered has always had a profound effect. I am deeply curious as to how a disparate audience unites under this transformative magic and it has been a lifelong quest to understand this challenge and ultimately expand the relationship between the story and the audience it reaches. Being a director is the best fit for this hunger!

artist-senior-kimberly2

What advice would you give to young directors?
Don’t rush! I have been doing this professionally for over twenty years and still am not even halfway through my career. Take time to be a HUMAN BEING. Fall in love. Take walks. Read books. Talk to your grandparents. All of this will inform your work as you go, too! Also, be kind. Always.

And there’s this Annie Dillard quote, which is about writing, but I think words to live by:

One of the things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now. The impulse to save something good for a better place later is the signal to spend it now. Something more will arise for later, something better. These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water. Similarly, the impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.

Has teaching changed you as a person and/or director?
100%. I don’t even know how to begin to answer this question. When teaching I have to articulate what it is that I do often so unconsciously. And in this process of reiteration, I always discover something new. Teaching reminds me that not all of our brains are the same- what works for one student doesn’t always work for another. I love the challenge of finding the best way to communicate, which absolutely translates into my directing work and my life. Most importantly, teaching expands me. It is an innately generous place to be, and when I am teaching, I feel more ready to receive as a result. My students challenge and inspire me. You can’t skip any steps in a classroom. Any laboratory bound by the laws of curiosity is destined to advance and expand one’s thinking and one’s heart.

What has been your favorite class to teach at Primary Stages ESPA?
All of them! One of the great delights of teaching at ESPA is how genuinely game the staff and students are to try something new! It’s a constant collaboration. It’s another wonderful thing about teaching- the classroom is a safe place to explore and risk. I have had this approach with my classes. Dreaming big and digging deep is what ESPA is all about for me.

Interested in taking a class with Kimberly? You’re in luck! She is teaching two courses this summer at Primary Stages ESPA: an Acting Intensive and a Directing Workshop!

Is there anything in your career you still haven’t done but really want to do?
Everything.
Really.
There are so many stories to tell, so many places to tell them, so many people to make them with, so many more people with which to share them.
And I’m ready for a musical. 🙂


If you’d like to join us this year for Spring Fling, get your tickets here!

This year’s Spring Fling is a tasting party, featuring many different dishes and drinks from several restaurants in the West Village. Mark your calendars for Thursday, May 10th because proceeds from this event help us offer performances and talkbacks to over 1,600 NYC Public School students.

 

Behind the Stacks: The St. Agnes Library

Sharon Washington grew up in the St. Agnes branch of the New York Public Library, but Feeding the Dragon covers just a tiny sliver of this century-old building. We decided to investigate the storied history of this literary establishment.

The Beginning

St. Agnes Theater

Photo from NYPL by Elizabeth Felicella

In 1893, the St. Agnes Chapel created a parish library now known as the St. Agnes Library.  Originally located on West 91st Street, the library contained a small collection of literature for the blind, in addition to the standard books of the time. The following year, the library was extended to accommodate the Upper West Side’s growing population. It changed its locations a few more times until it found its present home at 444 Amsterdam Avenue in 1906, as part of the New York Public Library system. The St. Agnes library is one of the original sixty-plus libraries funded by Andrew Carnegie, who allocated $5.2 million specifically for the construction of libraries in the city. Overall, Mr. Carnegie helped create 1,600 libraries in the United States, all built near schools, community centers, and other social organizations, as they were meant to become a central part of society.

Renovations
In October of 2007, a little over a hundred years after its opening, the St. Agnes branch closed for renovations for over two years. In February of 2010, it reopened, keeping many of its historical features with upgraded technological improvements. Originally designed by Babb, Cook, and Willard, the library has a Renaissance Revival facade and a beautiful staircase, both repaired to keep the original look. An accessible elevator was added in a way that maintained the beauty and age of the building. The basement (where Carnegie libraries housed their massive coal furnaces, including the one Sharon Washington’s father was employed to stoke) is now where you’ll find the library’s ongoing book sale. 

The St. Agnes Chapel

St. Agnes 2

Image from the Museum of the City of New York

If you know the Upper West Side, you might be asking yourself, where is this St. Agnes Chapel? Well, that is an interesting story all on its own. In June of 1892, the St. Agnes Chapel opened on West 92nd Street, between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues. It was built by the Parish of the Trinity Church to welcome those who were unable to make it to their main church downtown, with space to seat approximately 1,500 people.

St. Agnes 1

Image from the Museum of the City of New York

Its gorgeous design included mosaic decorations created by the Tiffany Glass Company, a beautiful organ, and a 185-foot high tower with one of the largest swinging bell peals in North America. By 1943, the Upper West Side neighborhood demographic had changed and there was no longer a need for the chapel, so it was closed and sold to Trinity School. The next year, Trinity School demolished the chapel and created an athletic field. Most New Yorkers don’t know that this Chapel even existed, but by carrying its name, the memory of the St. Agnes chapel lives on through the historic St. Agnes branch of the New York Public Library.