Hey #ShiningStarrs! How goes it this week? I pray that you are looking and feeling amazing, simply because you deserve to be.
I am reaching out about my latest project and want to share how this is the ultimate full circle moment for me.
Ok now friends, picture it... The year is 1991 and Brooklyn is the OLD Brooklyn. You can't walk too far without seeing a crack vile on the ground or a boom box on a shoulder. I know, these days it's the opioid crisis and wireless speakers...but I digress. So in the middle of BK there is a place called the Ark, it's right next to Sears and while there is not a Noah, this place is the hip-hop version of the ballroom days you see on FX's POSE. Tons of talented dance groups and they all competed to win the Allstar Talent show. I was in a group at that time called Cuties In Affect or C.I.A. and we competed there ALL THE TIME. And usually, we won! We even landed on the cover of the Daily News once or twice!
Fast forward to 2019 and I get a call to direct another play by the indefatigable, Marilynn Barner Anselmi. This one is again, bold and timely and amazing and I can immediately see most of the cast I want when I read it. Marilynn won the Castillo Theatre's Mario Fratti-Fred Newman Political Play Award and she asked me to direct the staged reading that the theatre presents for the winners. She then introduced me to the Director of the theatre, Madelyn Chapman. Lovely woman, and as we start talking, she tells me that the theatre also has a division called the AllStars. I. Lose. My. Mind!
I cannot believe this is the SAME Allstars from nearly thirty years before. I was a baby then, just trying to get myself out there. Today, they are entrusting me with such an awesome story and task. And she tells me she still has our picture on her wall from the Daily News cover. CRAZY!!!
Now, about the play...lol
Mitigating Damages is about Julie who works as a court-appointed lawyer for pregnant girls under 18 who want to obtain an abortion without parental consent. Julie and her paralegal Rhonda take on the cases of Enaya—a Palestinian-American concealing her condition from her strict Muslim family--and Taneesha--an African-American who lives with her equally strict grandmother. While shepherding the two girls through their trial and appeals process, Julie undergoes painful fertility treatments and Rhonda fights to conceal her own past traumas. Mitigating Damages follows these four women and how they form an unconventional web of support through some of the most difficult times of their lives.
The reading will star Adiagha Faizah, Katilin Kemp, Kirrin Tubo, Robin Kurian, Abuzar Farrukh and will be narrated by Glenda "Toni Steelz" Martinez. It will be on Monday, August 5th at the Castillo Theatre, located at 543 West 42nd Street (btw 10th and 11th Avenues). Tickets are only $10.00 and you can purchase them HERE.
I'm super excited about this piece and hope to see my NYC and Tri-State Starrs in the house.