I've got two top-secret projects cooking this week. Can't wait to share them with you. I also am working on a new play. Hijinks to ensue.
Thrilled to bits that my play I LOVED, I LOST, I MADE SPAGHETTI, based on the memoir by Giulia Melucci is currently rehearsing at two theatres for two brand new productions! The show will be mounted by the Half Moon Theatre at the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park. I'm particularly excited because the director will be Michael Schiralli, who has directed several of the comedy shows I have co-written for drag superstar Varla Jean Merman. The Half Moon Production will feature Drama Desk Award-winner Denise Summerford. She's a young mother, so I imagine juggling the demands of this one-woman show and a busy daughter will keep her hopping for the next two months.
Speaking of demanding, the Florida Repertory Theatre production is also rehearsing at the moment, in Fort Myers, Florida. The reason the show will be demanding is that the wonderful actress playing Giulia, Michelle Damato, is working for two Italian foodies (Director Michael Marrotta and Artistic Director Robert Cacioppo). No pressure there. Apparently, Michelle, who is a repertory cast member of the company, is already cranking out the dough and I'm sure will knock it out of the park.
The real Giulia and I will be traveling to Fort Meyers to attend previews and the October 9th opening. The next morning, we get on a plane to LaGuardia and drive to Hyde Park to attend the October 10th opening for Half Moon Theatre. If you haven't seen the show yet, I hope you catch it in one of the two locations!
In other SPAGHETTI news, our original (stage) Giulia, Antoinette LaVecchia is starring in the world premiere of Ken Ludwig's A COMEDY OF TENORS in Cleveland before it moves onto the McCarter Theatre. The show is a sequel to Ludwig's classic LEND ME A TENOR, which I had a chance to see as a 12-year-old usher at the American Stage Festival in Milford, NH, when it premiered under the title OPERA BUFFA. Antoinette is one of the most honest, funny actors I have seen onstage, so be sure to check out her work. So proud of her!
It seems lately I have been the advance team for Pope Francis' inaugural visit to the United States. I am on the train to NYC right now, the day that he arrives. Apparently much of the city is going to be chaos as a result of his appearance. Last weekend, I was in Washington, D.C. with my father, and you could see Pope hysteria building. The weekend before, I was in Philadelphia for the Philly Fringe Festival where, although the last stop on his tour, Pope-mania was already in full swing. I need his publicist.
The Philly Fringe was a great experience as we were workshopping my new play, BORN FAT - BASED ON THE LIFE, FAT & TRIUMPH OF ELIZABETH PETRUCCIONE. My dear friend Gina Giusto made her directorial debut with a streamlined production, and the real Elizabeth was on hand to superintend the proceedings with her BFF Sharon. April Woodall appeared in my first full-length play, GRAY MATTERS at the Midtown International Theatre Festival. She won Best Actress for the Festival for that show and was brilliant in this new play. I'm so delighted to work with her again, particularly as this show moves forward toward its January production premiere at Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury, under the direction of Steven Raider-Ginsburg.
BORN FAT received a terrific notice in Philadelphia Magazine, showing here. The critic even left the gallery where the show was playing, went out to the sidewalk, and Facebook posted that it was great. Social media is the best. Particularly gratifying was his comparison of Elizabeth to the characters found in O'Neill as the NY Times review for my play I LOVED, I LOST, I MADE SPAGHETTI started with a the line, "Well, it isn't LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT," before going on to giving a begrudgingly decent review for the show. We did get a stinker review for BORN FAT from a blogger. From what I understand, she and her friend plunked themselves down IN THE FRONT ROW, wrote notes during the entire performance and looked like they would rather have bamboo shoots driven under their nails than sit through my play. Nice for the actor. Oddly and coincidentally, the reviewer singles out the same line ("I hid food like it was Ann Frank's family") as terrible that the Philly Mag reviewer pulled in his good review. Just goes to show one woman's trash is another man's treasure. She is certainly entitled to her opinion and I'm particularly proud that on a scale of 1 to 10, my play rated an "8" on making her uncomfortable. Now she knows how it feels to be an actor with a critic in the front row taking notes throughout and looking like someone is shitting in her lap. Hopefully she will go see the Pope's performance and find it more to her liking.