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UP CLOSE FESTIVAL, New Ohio Theater, Dec 20-31
Last Edit: Official_Press_Release 05:57 pm EST 12/10/18
Posted by: Official_Press_Release 05:24 pm EST 12/10/18

AN IMMERSIVE FESTIVAL ABOUT NEW YORK
FOR NEW YORKERS OF ALL AGES

NEW OHIO’S THEATRE’ THEATRE FOR YOUNG MINDS
presents
THE INAUGURAL (and first-ever-of-its-kind)
UP CLOSE FESTIVAL

Modeled after the community organizing legacy of Jane Jacobs
Directed by Peter Musante and Summer Shapiro


Featuring
TRUSTY SIDEKICK THEATER COMPANY
BATED BREATH THEATRE COMPANY
LAUREN SHARPE
JONO WALDMAN
MARISOL ROSA-SHAPIRO
CHRISTINA D. ESKRIDGE
PETER MUSANTE
and hosted by SUMMER SHAPIRO

December 20-31, 2018
New Ohio Theatre, 154 Christopher Street, NYC


ALL PERFORMANCES OPEN FOR REVIEW:
Program A: December 20-24
Thu, Dec 20, 7:00pm
Fri, Dec 21, 7:00pm
Sat, Dec 22, 3:00pm
Sun, Dec 23, 3:00pm
Mon, Dec 24, 3:00pm
Program B: December 27-31
Thu, Dec 27, 3:00pm
Fri, Dec 28, 3:00pm
Sat, Dec 29, 3:00 pm
Sun, Dec 30, 3:00 pm
Mon, Dec 31, 3:00 pm
(followed by the special New Year’s Eve Countdown Celebration)

Running time: 60 minutes, no intermission

Curator and producer Peter Musante (Andrew Schneider’s YOUARENOWHERE; Blue Man Group; Trusty Sidekick’s Up and Away, a groundbreaking show for kids with autism, called “immersive theater at its most thoughtful” by the New York Times) joins West Coast physical comedienne Summer Shapiro (“raises the craft of clowning to new levels”- NYTheatre.org) to conceive of a new immersive theater festival for the entire family, inspired by the community organizing principles of Jane Jacobs. With seven new works based on true events from Greenwich Village history, the festival brings together leading NYC experimental theatre artists, musicians, physical comedians and clowns for two programs, each consisting of an interactive pre-show and four short stories that bring the surrounding neighborhood to life. The event, recommended for ages 5 and up, is presented by New Ohio Theatre as part of its Theatre for Young Minds holiday series. The performances run from December 20 thru 31 at 154 Christopher Street, NYC. Tickets are $25 ($18 for groups of three or more with the code “family”) and can be purchased through OvationTix (https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/1001863) or by calling 866-811-4111.

The inaugural UP CLOSE Festival is the brainchild of curator/producer Peter Musante, who is teaming up with longtime collaborator Summer Shapiro, with whom he created and performed the 2009 award-winning physical theatre piece Legs and All. The duo was invited to stage the festival by New Ohio Theatre - an underground venue located in a historic building that once housed the National Archives Record Center, the granddaddy of all NYC Landmarks Conservancy projects. This location inspired the pair to focus their programming on immersive experiences that connect to the neighborhood’s rich past and follow Jane Jacobs’ principles for a healthy community: Mixed-Use Space, Short Blocks, High Population Density, and Use of Old Buildings. Two festival programs, each hosted by the whimsical archivist, Ms. Pea (played by Shapiro), feature community-focused 10-minute plays that actively engage all audiences in themes of immigration, marginalization (racial integration, LGBT rights), and urban life.

The featured artists are Trusty Sidekick Theater Company; Bated Breath Theatre Company; Lauren Sharpe; Marisol Rosa-Shapiro; Jono Waldman; Christina D. Eskridge; And Peter Musante & Summer Shapiro. The festival presentations are divided into two programs – Program A: December 20-24 and Program B: December 27-31.




Program A

Trusty Sidekick Theater Company:
Hope at The Bitter End

It’s a winter’s night in 1965 and as a blackout of unprecedented proportions blankets the city in darkness, a budding folk superstar croons songs of hope in NYC’s oldest rock club. Grab your transistor radio, your neighbor’s hand, and take shelter at The Bitter End for a night of music, moonlight, and wishes for a better future.
Conceived and performed by Emily Bruner (Park Avenue Armory), Joi Marchetti (Cirque de Soleil) and Leigh Poulos (Story Pirates.)

Lauren Sharpe
A Sidewalk Ballet: A Ribbon-Tying Ceremony, Jane Jacobs, and You

1958. Hudson Street near Washington Square, 5:36 pm. Welcome to your neighborhood sidewalk. By making our own moving picture, we’ll find out what kind of magic can we create, and tie up, together!

Jono Waldman:
Juan Rodriguez and the City of Immigrants

More than half the people living in New York City weren't born here. What's your story? Gather round for an interactive song cycle inspired by Manhattan’s first known immigrant (1613).

Marisol Rosa-Shapiro:
Velveeta Underground: A Pizza Rat's Quest To Save Cheesy Beet Poetry (Part 1)

Wax poetic with an audience generated "beet poem", and a new kind of scavenger hunt, as Pizza Rat recounts a brief history of Greenwich Village gastronomy, garbage, and chewed gum from the vantage point of a ground-dweller, looking towards the stars.

Program B

Peter Musante & Summer Shapiro:
Legs and All

Who runs this place? The Archive building on Christopher Street in 2018 is home to many fancy apartments, but hang around and you'll discover the fantastic secrets of those who call this beautiful building their workplace. Follow along as a key-collecting janitor discovers his muse in a portal to an upside-down world.

Jamie Roach and Mara Lieberman / Bated Breath Theatre Company:
The Pride of Christopher Street

It’s winter of 1978 on Christopher Street and through the windows of an unassuming apartment, the glow of light fills room after room as activists gather to plan their most extraordinary event yet. It is the meeting that transforms the Gay Liberation March into the Pride Parade forevermore. Learn the secret knock to enter into this special gathering, where people of all ages join together to find their voice, speak against injustice, and celebrate their pride.

Christina D. Eskridge:
A Night at Sheridan Square

It's 1939, and everyone is welcome in Cafe Society, NYC's first integrated club. We all dress to impress at this historic club (where we might spot Billie Holiday), so let's pick out our favorite clothes and have ourselves a time.

Marisol Rosa-Shapiro:
Velveeta Underground: A Pizza Rat's Quest To Save Cheesy Beet Poetry (Part 2)

See description in Program A above.


ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Peter Musante (Curator, Producer, Co-director, Performer) works at the nexus of immersive theater, dance, music, and technology to invent unique performance-based experiences that transform space and create community. His original works have toured internationally and are created collaboratively with a diverse group of artists – Andrew Schneider (YOUARENOWHERE – OBIE Award, international tour), and Trusty Sidekick Theater Company (Lincoln Center, Park Ave Armory, Abrons Art Center) where he is a Resident Artist. Also in NYC: Martha Clarke’s Angel Reapers; a canary torsi’s The People To Come; a cast member of Blue Man Group (Astor Place Theater). As a lead artist in the creation of original work, Musante’s projects have been presented by Incubator Arts Project (St. Mark’s Church), BLDG92/Brooklyn Navy Yard, and The Brick. He studied at UCLA and Brooklyn College's PIMA (Performance & Interactive Media Arts) program. As a theatre creator and educator, Peter was the 1-on-1 Experience Director for the Lincoln Center Education commission, Up and Away; he has also led a large-scale immersive Brooklyn Navy Yard tour, Private(i). He’s also a proud Clinical Skill Trainer for Medical programs across NYC and has the greatest dog in the universe, Palo. Peter was born and raised in San Mateo, California. petermusante.com

Summer Shapiro (Co-director, Host, Performer) is a theatre artist based in San Francisco. She writes and performs comedy-centered physical pieces, using what life is teaching her in the moment to guide the work she creates. Her work, which “raises the craft of clowning to new levels" (NYTheatre.com) has also been praised as “masterful” by Arts Journal and LA Entertainment Today. She has performed and taught workshops throughout the US, Ireland, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Canada, and Europe. Awards include 2013 Pick-Of-The-Fringe (Vancouver International Fringe Festival) for the solo In The Boudoir (with Cirque du Soleil veteran John Gilkey); Best in Show at the 2010 FRIGID New York Festival, Best of The Best in SF Bay Times’ 2009 Bay Area Theatre; 2009 Ticket Holder Award for Best Special Event/Performance – Los Angeles Entertainment Today for Legs And All (with Peter Musante), and many others. She served as creative consultant and performer for the BRAVE music video by Sara Bareilles and Rashida Jones and for The Key by Jeff Desom, music by Hauschka. Teaching and workshops include a Teaching Artist position with The New Victory Theater of the New 42nd Street, among many others. Shapiro holds a B.A. from UCLA's School of Theater, completed training at the Samuel Beckett School of Theater at Trinity College, Dublin and completed her “postgraduate” work at the Clown Conservatory in San Francisco.

Trusty Sidekick Theater Company, based in New York City, creates bold, original productions for young people and their families. Rooted firmly in the belief that kids deserve theater that ignites their imaginations and makes them think about the world in a new way, the company creates work that is multidisciplinary, and its ensemble of collaborators includes artists trained in physical theater, puppetry, music, dance, animation, and video projection. Hailed by The New York Times for “blur[ring] the boundaries between the imagined and the real,” Trusty Sidekick often creates performances in unconventional spaces, including a settlement house in the Lower East Side, an island in New York Harbor, and a Revolutionary War-era battleground. Experimenting with new and exciting ways for audiences of all ages to interact with live performance, Trusty Sidekick redefines the theatrical experience for a new generation. http://www.trustysidekick.org

Led by writer/director Mara Lieberman, the award-winning Bated Breath Theatre Company specializes in creating interactive theatre in order to envelop audiences in multi-sensory, theatrical experiences that shed new light on current and past cultural touchstones. Through a combination of rigorous research and daring theatricality, Bated Breath creates one-of-kind theatrical experiences for museums, Off-Broadway theatres, and other site-specific venues. Productions and events include: the interactive art auction play, Beneath the Gavel, Off-Broadway at 59E59 Theaters and at Broadway's Supper Club, Feinstein's/54 Below. Beneath the Gavel returns to Feinstein's/54 Below in April 2019. Bated Breath performed their physical theatre response to Nick Cave’s “The Let Go” at the Park Avenue Armory. The work at The Armory is part of Bated Breath’s museum series “Viewpoints &” which brings the unique way Bated Breath makes theatre into gallery spaces to respond to installations. Freedom: In 3 Acts (New Haven Festival of Arts and Ideas and as the keynote for the New England Museum Association Conference 2017), The Un-Making of Toulouse-Lautrec, Wild Things: The Life and Work of Maurice Sendak. In development: Bordeaux: The Wine Spectacle, Bated Breath’s interactive wine tasting play. Bated Breath also runs the Physical Theatre Training Center in Bushwick which trains the next generation of theatre artists to respond to the changing landscape of American theatre. https://www.batedbreaththeatre.org

Lauren Sharpe (Performer) is an art-maker and teaching artist based in Brooklyn. A classically trained ballet dancer, she specializes in movement-based physical theater. Lauren is an alumna of The New York Neo-Futurists, writing, directing, and performing in their long-running hit show, Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind. She also co-created and performed in the company's The Complete and Condensed Stage Directions of Eugene O'Neill, Vol. 1, The New York Times called “an impish illustration of how lively entertainment can be created from theatrical spare parts”, and other productions such as Roustabout: The Great Circus Train Wreck!, Picked Up, and Fake Lake, a site-specific piece performed in Chicago Park District pool. Lauren collaborated with Laurel Nakadate and James Franco in the creation of the Performa 11 piece Three Performances in Search of Tennessee. Film/TV credits include Boardwalk Empire, Bored to Death, and Law & Order SVU. Sharpe teaches with The New Victory Theater, New York City Ballet, and Spellbound Theatre and is a pediatric hospital clown with Red Nose Docs. http://laurensharpe.com/

Marisol Rosa-Shapiro (Performer) is a New York and Seattle-based performer, director, educator, and creator of original works of theater and a member of Clowns Without Borders, an international humanitarian organization of clowns that performs for free for children affected by war. She is a graduate of Princeton University and of Giovanni Fusetti’s Lecoq-based Helikos School of Theatre Creation in Florence, Italy. Her specialties include mask theater, mime, clown, commedia dell’arte, improvisation, physical comedy, movement and ensemble-based creation, and more. She is currently a Teaching Artist at the New Victory Theater and the Producing Artistic Director of the NYC-based Soledad Ensemble, the company that creates vital, physical, visually arresting theater for audiences of all ages.

Jono Waldman (Performer) is a Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter and a frontman of his band The 5000 Jazz Assassins, which performs the blues and old-timey jazz. As a composer and performer, he collaborated with such theatre companies as Spellbound Theatre and many others. He is also a Teaching Artist with Brooklyn Academy of Music, The New Victory Theater at the New 42nd Street, and Wingspan Arts Conservatory. His work has been featured in productions presented across the country at such venues as The New Victory (NYC), The Chicago Children’s Theater, Denver Performing Arts Center, and many more. www.5000jazzassassins.com

Christina D. Eskridge (Performer) is a New York City performing artist originally from Oakland, California. A proud graduate of the Cap 21 professional Musical Theatre Training Program, Christina has performed across the country in the Mamma Mia! North American tour and around New York City in a variety of shows, including Trusty Sidekick’s Up and Away at Lincoln Center. Christina is thrilled to be a part of the Up Close Festival and is always looking for exciting and innovative ways to use the arts to inspire, provoke and educate audiences of all ages. www.christinadeskridge.com

New Ohio Theatre is a two-time OBIE Award-winning theatre under the leadership of Robert Lyons, Artistic Director, and Marc Stuart Weitz, Producing Director. New Ohio serves New York’s most adventurous theatre audiences by developing and presenting bold work from today’s vast independent theatre community. They believe the best of this community, the small artist-driven ensembles and the daring producing companies who operate without a permanent theatrical home, are actively expanding the boundaries of where American theatre is right now and where it’s going. From their home in the West Village’s historic Archive Building, New Ohio Theatre provides a high-profile platform for downtown’s most mature, ridiculous, engaged, irreverent, gut-wrenching, frivolous, sophisticated, foolish and profound theatrical endeavors. The theatre is accessible from the #1 train to Christopher St. or A, B, C, D, E, F or M train to West 4th St. For info, visit NewOhioTheatre.org.

http://www.newohiotheatre.org/upclose2018.htm
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