Interns Insight

With summer right around the corner, it’s time to start making plans – and there’s no better way to spend your summer than interning in theater. With so many places to choose from, it can be hard to decide where to send your resume to. The current interns at Primary Stages want to help make the decision easier for you. If you’re considering an administrative theater internship, check out what our current interns have to say about their time at Primary Stages.

Why did you choose to Intern at Primary Stages?

  • Austin Kreitler (Marketing Intern): As someone who has a passion for theater and marketing, I wanted to learn more about marketing in the non-profit theater world. I also value the mission and vision that Primary Stages puts out with their work and company and felt that I could learn more about the Off-Broadway Theater Industry here.
  • Debra Mantua (Development Intern): I was looking for a program that was more hands on and would let me grow as a professional, not just do mundane clerical work. Also, as an individual who is interested in non-profits, this was the perfect opportunity for me to get a hands on look at what it’s like to run one.

What has been your favorite experience so far while interning at Primary Stages?

  • Isabel Edwards (Artistic Intern): The readings! I have been able to not only sit in on, but actually participate in readings with established playwrights and working artists. This internship has literally allowed me to be in the room where the work is happening, watching it develop in real time.
  • Anthony Anello (Artistic Intern): My favorite experience interning at Primary thus far was having the chance to sit in on the tech rehearsals of Off-Broadway shows. Being surrounded by so much talent has been both equally inspiring and educational as a budding professional.
  • Debra Mantua (Development Intern): The seminars with our department heads. You get to hear their stories and experiences within the business and ask questions in a “safe space”. The staff here overall are just so kind and want you to succeed and it’s a really lovely environment to be a part of.

Have you had other internships? If so, how has Primary Stages been different from working with other companies?

  • Maddie Osborn (Development Intern): I interned at a few other companies before starting at Primary. While at any internship you are bound to learn a great deal just by being in the room, my supervisors at Primary have consistently gone out of their way to give me valuable learning opportunities. The staff listens to the interns and actively works to make the internship applicable to their intern’s career goals. This is an educational program that is designed to equip interns with the skills and network necessary to succeed upon completion of their internship.

What is the most valuable thing you have learned so far from your internship?

  • Anthony Anello (Artistic Intern): Confidence in myself as a professional.
  • Debra Mantua (Development Intern): Learning to trust in my capabilities and to take advantage of every opportunity we are offered here.
  • Maya Banitt (Company Management Intern): It’s always ok to ask questions about things you are unsure of. There are no bad questions!

What would be your advice to someone applying for the summer internship at Primary Stages?

  • Austin Kreitler (Marketing Intern): Do it! I highly encourage it. I think one big thing that stands out when applying is having enthusiasm and the willingness to learn/take on any task.
  • Anthony Anello (Artistic Intern): Apply! My time here has been so extraordinarily valuable. I am genuinely excited to come in to the office each day because of the incredible people here who have shown me nothing but kindness and mentorship.
  • Maya Banitt (Company Management Intern): Go for it! I am so grateful for all of the valuable experiences this internship has given me. When applying try not to be too nervous, just be open, curious, and let them know why you’d like to be a part of the Primary Stages family!
  • Maddie Osborn (Development Intern): Apply apply apply! Be kind and more importantly be yourself!

 


Primary Stages internships are based in the tradition of theater apprenticeships. Interns form a core of support in all areas of the company’s operations, gaining experience in their chosen department while receiving a weekly stipend of $50, free tickets to all of Primary Stages’ productions, mentorship seminars with senior staff, and free or reduced priced registration for Primary Stages ESPA classes. Our internship program offers the opportunity to develop practical skills while creating relationships with artists and administrators at one of New York City’s preeminent Off-Broadway theaters.

To learn more and apply visit: https://primarystages.org/about/internships

 

GOD SAID THIS Student Matinee

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Students from Forest Hill High School are all smiles after the February 8 student matinee performance of God Said This.

Written by Maddie Osborn, Primary Stages Development Intern 2019.

We go to the theater to witness stories being brought to life. It’s an opportunity to reflect and relate with one another about the human experience. Over time, however, whether we work in theater or are loyal patrons, we develop a critical eye and forget why we originally came to the theatre. Our palates become refined and we take our seats at the next show with a myopic lens, holding on to expectations of how we want the characters to make us feel. Rather than taking in the story that is being created before us, we become distracted by the details of the craft. When I attended a student matinee production of God Said This, I was stripped of my expectations and given a magical experience.

On a rainy Friday afternoon, groups of students waited outside the theater to get their tickets. Some kids were discussing their weekend plans, others their current school work, and another group spoke with excitement to our Director of Education & Engagement, Amy Harris, about their plans for college. It was easy to identify which students were more excited than others about the opportunity to see live theater. However, once they were settled into their seats in the Cherry Lane Theatre, the house lights dimmed, and Jay Patterson entered the stage, there was a unified energy of awe. As the play continued, you could feel them embrace the world of the play as they followed every twist and turn of the story. Audible reactions echoed across the theatre as the characters navigated loss, embarrassment, stress, and love. Students physically reacted by either holding a friend’s hand, looking away from a moment they almost couldn’t bear to witness, slapping their legs as they laughed with delight, or leaning in to feel a little closer to the moment. By the second or third scene I couldn’t help but relax into their approach to the show. I had already seen the play once before, but I found my preconceived notions of the show gently stripped away as I connected with the energy around me. By the end of the show, the audience seemed to be having visceral communal reactions. All at once we were being punched in the stomach but also helped to stand by the person next to us.

At the end of the play we hosted a talkback with the cast and playwright Leah Nanako Winkler. While the talkback was an opportunity for the students to learn more about the process of creating and producing a play, it was a lesson for the rest of us on how to open our hearts to the story. During the talkback, students asked genuine questions—it was evident that rather than searching for the production’s flaws, they accepted the play as a cathartic experience. A common theme that continually popped up was the expression of love. Based on the character’s explanation of “the language of love”, Amy Harris posed the question, “Is it easier to say ‘I love you’ or show someone you love them?” This sparked a passionate discussion where one person’s idea bounced off another’s, with students often citing personal anecdotes as examples. The conversation ended with the students agreeing that “showing someone you love them is generally more challenging because words are easy, but at times the raw emotion behind love makes saying it much harder.” As they commiserated over the family’s story with peers next to them and related the characters’ experiences to their own, one thing was clear: the students felt a deep connection to the play. Because the students accepted the story on its own terms they were able to relate to the characters on a personal level, which in turn validated their own emotions.


To support Primary Stages Student Matinee Program visit https://primarystages.org/explore/student-matinees.

Stepping Downstairs

As we’ve grown our family of artists over the past 34 years, it is always especially fulfilling to bring back a playwright we consider one of our most supportive and dedicated family members. In 2014, we were fortunate to produce Theresa Rebeck’s wonderfully fierce and hilarious Poor Behavior during our tenure at The Duke on 42nd Street. Two years later, Theresa contributed a fantastic short work to Morning in America, our special evening of one-act plays and sketches written in response to the 2016 election. Theresa has also been kind enough to lend her home in Vermont for writers’ retreats we’ve held over the years for our writers groups and Einhorn School of Performing Arts (ESPA). She is a beloved member of this family and one of the reasons Primary Stages feels like ‘home’ to so many artists.

At its core, Theresa’s newest play, Downstairs, is about family and home. Fittingly, Theresa wrote the play specifically for real-life siblings Tim Daly and Tyne Daly, and we couldn’t be happier to welcome them, as well as co-star John Procaccino and director Adrienne Campbell-Holt, into the fold. They comprise a unique artistic family well-suited to tackle the intricate dynamics found within this suspenseful tale. While the play deals with the complexities of power and fear on a domestic level, it also echoes much of what is happening in the world today on a global scale. Secrets are held tight… the perfect life is not what we think it to be… aggression becomes manifested in a way that leads people to feel both out of control and under tight grips.

Ultimately, the play speaks to what it takes to be a good person standing out amongst the bad. Luckily at Primary Stages, we are surrounded by truly good people. Our artists, our staff, and patrons like you make up this wonderful, close-knit group of theater lovers dedicated to inspiring, supporting, and sharing the art of playwriting season after season.

Thank you for making Primary Stages your Off-Broadway home,

The Primary Stages Family

 

The Primary Stages production of Downstairs by Theresa Rebeck runs through December 22, 2018 at the Cherry Lane Theatre. Click here for ticket information and more!

Primary Stages Profile: Andrew Diaz, Props Supervisor

The Props Supervisor of Theresa Rebeck’s Downstairs, Andrew Diaz, has done remarkable work adding the final touches to Irene’s dingy basement. This interview features his background, working on this show, and how it came to be what audiences are seeing now.

"Downstairs" at Primary Stages

Tim Daly and Tyne Daly in Theresa Rebeck’s “Downstairs” currently at Primary Stages.

When and how did you start your career in theatre?

I began, I assume like most, in high school drama club. I acted, built, and painted sets. I went to the University of Arizona, where I graduated with a BFA in Set Design and moved to New York City in 2009.

How did you work with the set designer/director to create the look of the show? Did you have any initial images in your head of how you wanted to dress the set?

Our set designer, Narelle Sissons, is actually an out-of-town designer so I never actually met her until we were loaded into the theater and beginning tech [rehearsals]. We chatted on the phone and had been emailing each other back and forth during rehearsals. Narelle had done a ton of research and kept sending images of what she wanted the space to be. We wanted to create a very naturalistic set so she would send me images almost daily.

"Downstairs" at Primary Stages

John Procaccino in Theresa Rebeck’s “Downstairs” currently at Primary Stages.

In order to make it “Gerry and Irene’s basement,” did you have to do character research? How did you go about finding the nuances of the characters to personalize the space?

Working with a group of actors like these, I didn’t really need to do any character research… they’re that good. They had previously done this play and already knew way more than I would, so I just listened to them. I tried to make myself as available as possible during rehearsals (which is difficult when you’re balancing many other projects). I would bring items into rehearsal for the cast to respond to. Whether a pipe wrench, a plastic spoon, or pillow, we always had options to choose from and work with until each item was right for the character, actor, and play. Their attention to detail is insane so and I wanted to make them as comfortable and supported as possible.

Upstage Left in the laundry area we made the “Irene corner”.  It’s the only part of the stage that seems to have any kind of organization. It’s her space so everything has its own place and put away neatly. The colors and textures are a little brighter and softer making it less hazardous than the rest of the stage.

How did you go about distressing the props to look old and dirty?

Thankfully I’m in the midst of cleaning out and remodeling my own basement at home. My husband and I were about to call a junk removal service when I was offered this play. So instead of trashing all of the things we had dug up, I repurposed them for this set. What’s on stage is straight from one old basement to another. I try to recycle and reuse props as much as possible, so the timing was perfect. Most of the distressing work was already done for us, naturally. I love to distress but this is such a natural and realistic environment I couldn’t do much faux treatment–that would make it a little fake and cartoony. To take it to the next level, however, I used a hot glue gun attached to an air compressor and blew cobwebs all over the set. When you’re onstage and look around you can see what looks like years of neglect.

How long does your design process typically take?

It all depends on the project. I love doing heavily set dressed/immersive shows (What’s It All About? Bacharach Reimagined; The View Upstairs). When I get shows like those, the more time the better. In theater we literally have days to make environments look like they’ve been lived in for years; it’s a challenge. There are times when I’m hired onto a show a couple of days before rehearsals begin and sometimes I’m given more time. Once rehearsals start, it’s me in a van for three weeks hitting every junk yard, flea market, or craigslist sale I can.

"Downstairs" at Primary Stages

Tim Daly in Theresa Rebeck’s “Downstairs” currently at Primary Stages.

What was your favorite part of designing Downstairs?

I had previously done Daniel’s Husband and The Tribute Artist for Primary Stages, both of which had such beautifully decorated and designed sets. I loved that Downstairs was the complete opposite of those two. With those previous shows I had to be very precise, elegant, and chic. This was a chance to relax, let my hair down, and just make a mess.

Can you tell us about your favorite prop in the show?

In the piles of dressing I dug up from my basement, there’s a Joe Namath popcorn maker from 1971 in its original box. I don’t know where it came from or why I love it so much, but I do.

The cake that Irene bakes and gives to Teddy is also good. It’s a great example of the relationship between actors and the props. Doing food onstage is always difficult but after numerous versions of this prop, we’re all happy.

Is there anything special audiences should keep an eye out for?

There are a couple of hidden gems. If you’ve worked with me before, you know I like to hide certain things on sets I work on. I can’t give too much detail what those things are, but they’re there. They’re always there.

 

The Primary Stages production of Downstairs runs until December 22nd at the Cherry Lane Theatre. For tickets and more information, click here.

Meet the Cast of DOWNSTAIRS

Tim Daly headshot TIM DALY (Teddy). Broadway and Off-Broadway: Coastal Disturbances (Theatre World Award); The Caine Mutiny Court Martial; Oliver, Oliver (MTC); Fables for Friends (Playwrights Horizons); Henry Flamethrowa (Studio Dante). Regional: Six Degrees of Separation, Cabaret & Main, A Study in Scarlet, A Knife in the Heart (Williamstown); Colorado Catechism (Dramalogue Award, Coast Playhouse); The Lion in Winter (Windham Rep.); Mass Appeal, Fifth of July, Bus Stop, Of Mice and Men, Buried Child (Trinity Square Repertory); Paris Bound (Berkshire Theatre Festival); Red, The Scene, Downstairs (Dorset). Film: Low Down, Against the Ropes, Bereft (also director and producer), The Object of My Affection, The Associate, Love or Money, Diner. TV: “Madam Secretary,” “Private Practice,” “The Sopranos” (Emmy Award nomination), “Edge of America” (Producer, Peabody and Humanitas Awards), “Execution of Justice” (Executive Producer, GLAAD Award), “Poliwood” (Executive Producer), “The Nine,” “Eyes,” “The Fugitive,” “Wings,” “Almost Grown.”

Tyne Daly HeadshotTYNE DALY (Irene) made her professional debut at the Cherry Lane Theatre in George S. Kaufman’s The Butter and Egg Man in 1966. She is delighted to have been invited to play here again.

 

 

 

 

 

John Procaccino headshot

JOHN PROCACCINO (Gerry). Broadway: Our Mother’s Brief Affair, A Time to Kill, An Enemy of the People, An American Daughter, A Thousand Clowns, Conversations with My Father, Art. Off-Broadway: Love and Information (NYTW); Blood and Gifts, Nikolai and the Others (Lincoln Center); The Qualms (Playwrights Horizons); Incident at Vichy (Signature Theatre). National tour: The Light in the Piazza. Regional: The Normal Heart (Arena); Art, Good Boys and True (Steppenwolf); Death of a Salesman (Old Globe); A Prayer for My Enemy, Curse of the Starving Class, A Moon for the Misbegotten (Long Wharf); All the Kings Men, Arms and the Man (Intiman); Tartuffe, Caucasian Chalk Circle, Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Seattle Repertory); Dinner with Friends, Side Man, The Crucible (ACT-Theater). Film and TV: A Most Violent Year, Little Men, The Runner Stumbles, Three Fugitives, Born to Be Wild, “Law & Order,” “NYPD Blue,” “Northern Exposure,” “Smash,” “The Good Wife,” “Elementary,” “Madam Secretary,” “The Americans.”

 

The Primary Stages production of Downstairs by Theresa Rebeck runs through December 22, 2018 at the Cherry Lane Theatre. Click here for ticket information and more!

In the Kitchen with “Downstairs”

The Primary Stages production of Downstairs is officially underway and we would like you to be a part of the experience. In Theresa Rebeck’s gripping drama, siblings Irene and Teddy (played by real-life siblings Tyne and Tim Daly) bond over the foods they ate as children and the recipes Irene has mastered over the years. Here are some recipes from moments in the show to try for yourself! Bon appétit!

Ziti and Cheese and Sausage – The perfect comfort food for hanging out on the couch.

German Chocolate Cake with Pecans and Coconut Frosting – Just like Teddy and Irene’s mom used to make!

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies with Cranberries – Great to send to a family member or to save for yourself.

Hungry for more? The Primary Stages production of Downstairs by Theresa Rebeck runs through December 22 at the Cherry Lane Theatre. Click here for ticket information.

A Look Back at the Primary Stages 2018 Gala

This October, Primary Stages hosted its annual Gala to honor Tony Nominees Danny Burstein and Rebecca Luker; Board Member Eleanor Holtzman, and Corporate Advisory Board Member Jose M. Toro. The evening took place at Tribeca 360° with views overlooking downtown and the Hudson River. Here is a recap of the evening’s events filled with performances, tributes, and so much more.

The Gala kicked off with words from our Artistic Director Andrew Leynse and our Executive Director Shane Hudson. 

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Tim Daly, from our current production of Theresa Rebeck’s Downstairs, introduced Laura Osnes for a lovely performance of “Honey Bun” from South Pacific.

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Primary Stages Founder Casey Childs presented the first award of the night to Eleanor Holtzman. Eleanor is a member of Primary Stages Board of Directors and a trailblazing marketing executive. We are grateful for her dedicated guidance and support as we continue to engage new audiences for the future of the company.

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Playwright Leah Nanako Winkler and director Morgan Gould of the upcoming Primary Stages production of God Said This, introduced Quentin Earl Darrington for a beautiful performance of “Some Enchanted Evening”, also from South Pacific.

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Sharon Washington, performer and playwright of last season’s Feeding the Dragon, and our current Tow Foundation Playwright-in-Residence, introduced a video presentation of the Primary Stages Student Matinee Program.

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Emmy-winning writer, comedian and Primary Stages Einhorn School of Performing Arts instructor Judy Gold took charge as the auctioneer for the Paddle Raise! Thank you to everyone who contributed to our Student Matinee Program! (Our highest ever!)

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Board President Jose Mendez presented an award to Jose M. Toro. We are thankful to have him as a founding member of the Primary Stages Corporate Advisory board.

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Sarna Lapine, director of our upcoming production of Little Women, took the stage to introduce Kate Baldwin with a performance of one of honoree Rebecca Luker’s favorite songs, “When I’m Dead.”

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Tony Nominee Rebecca Luker was unfortunately unable to be there in person, but she joined us via video to receive her award. Rebecca is known for her Broadway roles in Mary Poppins and The Music Man, among others. She joined us at Primary Stages for A.R. Gurney’s Indian Blood in 2006.

Kecia Lewis-Evans performed a special mash-up from The Drowsy Chaperone and Cinderella and reminisced about her long friendship with Danny Burstein, which goes all the way back to high school.

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At last, Joel Grey presented the final award of the evening to Tony Nominee Danny Burstein. Danny was most recently on Broadway as Tevye in the revival of Fiddler on Roof, and has an extensive resume of outstanding performances.

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Primary Stages favorite Charles Busch (The Tribute Artist) and Board member Janet Rosen teamed up to announce the launch of our 35th Anniversary Campaign for the Future of Primary Stages. The campaign was established to stimulate strategic growth and fully support our artistic, educational, and outreach efforts, as well as organizational infrastructure for an artistically adventurous and prosperous future.

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All good things must come to an end. Shane Hudson and Andrew Leynse returned to close the evening, but there was one last special surprise! Delicious pumpkin bread for breakfast the next morning from our pals at  The Good Batch.

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Thank you to all who came to this year’s Gala and participated in our Paddle Raise and Silent Auction. If you want to learn more about supporting Primary Stages, visit our website.