Thank you to everyone who auditioned for NewFest: Three Romances for the Unwell and Otherwise, NewFest New Play Workshop: RAGE, NewFest Short Works (NFSW), and Into the Woods. We are pleased to share the cast lists as well as notes from the directors for these productions:
NewFest New Play Workshop: RAGE
A note from Rebecca Miller Kratzer, director, and Greg Nanni, Playwright, RAGE:
Thank you to all who auditioned and so boldly offered their talents in the shaping of this daring new play. Creating a first workshop production of a new script requires a leap of faith and a great deal of imaginative trust. We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to watch so many thoughtful, honest auditions. We were blown away by the amount of energy we could feel radiating not only through the audition self-tapes but Zoom callbacks. Audition processes are nerve-wracking in the best of times but auditioning into what seems like the void is a nearly insurmountable task—and each one of you rose to the occasion with such nerve and might.
As we assembled this cast, we thought about why Emerson Stage chose this play in the first place. This play asks us to question our assumptions of class structures, underdogs, cancel culture, and our own ability to affect change.
Building a company for this particular piece, which requires actors to play multiple roles, navigate script changes, work as an ensemble, and engage with internet-speak was not easy, if only because you are all so incredibly talented. Hearing Greg’s thrilling text interpreted in so many exciting ways was an absolute joy and opened up so many new possibilities for the evolution of the characters and stories we could tell beyond what currently exists on the page. We are so grateful to everyone who took the time to prepare and brought their most playful selves to callbacks.
A huge thank you to fantastic stage manager, Carleigh Allen and her team (ASM Blake Bergen and PA’s—and wonderful readers—Fiby Dicter and Kate Stephan) for making this process run so smoothly, as well as the support and input of amazing assistant director, Madison Goldberg. Pivoting to online callbacks is sadly not a new phenomenon, but still takes a village to facilitate.
We hope everyone does something nice for themselves and someone they love today. We look forward to working with this cast and honoring their unique talents and voices while sharing a collective howl of RAGE in this unjust world. We are honored to helm this production and work with everyone at Emerson Stage. We thank you for being an integral and important part of the evolution of RAGE.
TYSM for sharing this space.
Rebecca and Greg
DEREK (RAGE-AGAINST-42)—Jon Luke Lassa
JAZ (FRANKLY-I-DONT-GIVE-A)—Kate Riley
MOANA-EATS/WITCH II—Abigail Anderson
ASSY-MCGEE/WITCH III/CUSTOMER 1—Amanda Meyers
BALLZINDORF/WITCH I/CUSTOMER 2—Sean Myers
Tristan Webster (covering DEREK (RAGE-AGAINST-42))
Sophia Inez (covering JAZ (FRANKLY-I-DONT-GIVE-A))
Conall Sahler—Conflagration Ensemble (covering LEVELER)
Kwezi Shongwe (covering MOANA-EATS/WITCH II)
Abby Griffith—Conflagration Ensemble (covering ASSY-MCGEE/WITCH III/CUSTOMER 1)
Joseph Nalieth—Conflagration Ensemble (covering BALLZINDORF/WITCH I/CUSTOMER 2)
Annajean Gionta (covering SEE-NO-EVIL)
NewFest Rod Parker Playwriting Fellowship Award Winner:
THREE ROMANCES FOR THE UNWELL AND OTHERWISE
A note from Joe Antoun, director of Three Romances for the Unwell and Otherwise
As we kick off the production and rehearsal process for Three Romances for the Unwell and Otherwise, I’d like to thank everyone who has so far contributed to the development of this remarkable and brave new play. Directing NewFest is one of my greatest creative joys as well as one of my greatest creative challenges. Thank you to Elena Frank who has crafted this wonderfully engaging play. I am grateful to have the opportunity to steer the initial production of it and to work with the talented and dedicated team that Emerson Stage always provides.
I want to thank everyone who auditioned for this play. I was overwhelmed by the abundance of talent, creativity, and bravery that you showed in the self-tapes and at the callbacks. Casting a new play can sometimes seem ominous. There is no footprint for the characters and the script will change before and after the production. Casting decisions need to reflect this as if walking the fine line between an “informed” choice and a “what would happen with the” choice. It is especially important for me to enter auditions with an open mind and heart. After viewing the audition tapes, my mind and heart were full of possibilities. I was heartened by the talent and scared by the large number of actors who could bring so much to this show. Directing is about making choices. The decisions I made for this production were all positively influenced by everyone who auditioned. I see this as A production of the play, not THE production. Thank you again.
A loud shout out to the magnificent and dedicated design team who are creating the very first design for this show. Your excitement and creativity are inspiring. Every time we meet and leave happy and excited about the magic we will put on stage for this ever-evolving script.
None of this could have happened without the incredible stage management team. Thank you, Olivia Tighe, Michael Mentor, and Grace DiNatale for providing the organization I lack and the flexibility I require.
Three Romances for the Unwell and Otherwise has 5 Assistant Directors who have provided insight into all aspects of this production. Your passion for theatre, new plays, and this production are all more valuable than you know. I am looking forward to the rest of the collaborative journey with Anthony Allocca, Gabriella Gonzalez, Eli Lauze-Yesayian, Emma Palette, and Jake Tolentino.
Finally, a huge nod of gratitude to all of Emerson Stage which, year after year, provides a unique, professional, and positive experience while supporting new plays. Three Romances of the Unwell and Otherwise is at the beginning of a developmental process that may continue well after our curtain comes down. Thank you for launching this script with love and care.
THREE ROMANCE FOR THE UNWELL AND OTHERWISE CAST—
CLARA Understudy—Stefanie Richardson
SETH Understudy—Ealon Boudreaux
JOEY Understudy—Alex Serino
EMILIE Understudy—Katie Kendrick
INTO THE WOODS
A Note from Into the Woods director Scott LaFeber:
Thank you to all those who auditioned for Into the Woods. I greatly appreciated your interest in the project and your diligence in curating the audition tapes to share your talent and work with us.
Casting, of course, is always a difficult process, fraught with a myriad of agendas. It is also an inspirational process and with each show I feel privileged to participate in the work and community of the theatre. I believe we should always be aware of the empathy needed to both honor the process and participate in its realities. Additionally, I have learned as an actor to maintain a very short memory when I’m in the midst of auditioning. And as a director, I’ve learned to maintain a very long memory to remember all the terrific work that was shared.
In our educational setting, a balance should always be considered within the bounds of fairness and opportunity, and, because we are a Department that is fully BFA, a calculation toward pre-professional training. Of course, there are particulars within any production, especially a musical, that frequently narrows the focus of what is required of an actor. All of this must be accountable down the line as service to the text. Sondheim’s text is challenging, complex, humorous and relevant. You all rose to those tests wonderfully in your auditions. I reiterate my deepest appreciation and gratitude to those of you who shared your work and life within that work during the auditions. I also thank those “at the table” offering invaluable counsel and support during the journey.
I have taken notes on each of your initial “open call” auditions and would be delighted to chat with you about them if you wish. And because of the video nature of the audition, if there is time, we can also perhaps “break down the film” and share our takes on the work. If you’d like to, simply email me with your availability and I can get back to you to set up a meeting.
Thank you again.
Associate Professor of Performing Arts
Director, INTO THE WOODS. Emerson Stage
INTO THE WOODS CAST—
CINDERELLA’S PRINCE/WOLF—Anthony Lafornara
RAPUNZEL’S PRINCE—Cedrick Ekra
NARRATOR/MYSTERIOUS MAN—Anania Williams
CINDERELLA’S FATHER/ENSEMBLE/BAKER US—Emerson Hart
LITTLE RED—Amanda Vazquez
BAKER’S WIFE—Bea Steuer
CINDERELLA’S GRANDMOTHER/GRANDMOTHER/WITCH US—Hawa Kamara
CINDERELLA’S STEPMOTHER—Isabel Ginsberg
STEPSISTER LUCINDA—Morgan McMillin
STEPSISTER FLORINDA—Naja Brown
JACK’S MOTHER—Roberta Alaman
SNOW WHITE/ENSEMBLE/BAKER’S WIFE US—Karley Krickmier
SLEEPING BEAUTY/ENSEMBLE/CINDERELLA, JACK’S MOTHER (SWING)—Zehava Younger
GIANT VO/CINDERELLA’S MOTHER, GRANDMOTHER, CINDERELLA’S STEPMOTHER (SWING)—Elliana Karris
RAPUNZEL, LITTLE RED—Emily Kilbourne
LUCINDA, FLORINDA—Isabelle Wisdom
RAPUNZEL PRINCE, CINDERELLA PRINCE/WOLD—Jonah Barricklo
NARRATOR/MYSTERIOUS MAN—Lucas Babcock
JACK, CINDERELLA’S FATHER, STEWARD—Marco Giacona
NewFest Short Works (NFSW) CASTS—
Till Death Do Us Part
By Jake Tolentino
Directed by Jessica Apatow
FATHER—Robert Mateo Bailey
By Mary Bailey
Directed by Evy Burch
Real Men Cry At The End of Home Alone…
By Preslee Krout
Directed by Jesse Fulton
By Bella Tasha
Directed by Madison Golberg
By Mary Egan
Directed by Elena Freck
By Miller Koppang
Directed by Lee Forrest
ENSEMBLE—Jordana Meltzer, Jackson Query, and Greta Morgan
Where The Fireworks Come From
By Michael Pisaturo
Directed by Jack Miller
By Ivy Indictor
Directed by Preslee Krout
The next opportunity to audition for Emerson Stage will be in April 2022 for Emerson Stage’s Fall 2022 productions.