The Founder of the New York Theater Festival Teturns with RISE OF THE PHOENIX: The 2017 Spotlight-On Festival

Running April 17 – 30 at The Wild Project, 195 East 3rd Street, NYC. Email www.spotlightonfest@msn.com for more information.

“Working in New York can be a very difficult and artists need not feel as if they are alone in the process” says Frank Calo, founder of Spotlight-On Festivals, the first organized theater festival in New York City, pre-dating the New York Fringe Festival by one year.

Spotlight-On Festivals was a leader in presenting new and exciting works, rarely seen plays, and even classical presentations during the late 1990s and early part of the 21st Century. Its high production values and locations in areas such as Times Square made Spotlight-On a popular facet in the NY theater scene. Moving to New Jersey and working as a Production Company has kept Spotlight-On out of the spotlight for the better part of the last decade.

But now, in this pivotal time in New York’s arts scene, Spotlight-On returns with a series of works from some of its prominent alumni. RISE OF THE PHOENIX features works from previous participants who have gone on to great things and who are thrilled to return to where it all began.

This festival contains participants from many Spotlight-On Festivals as well as from collaborations with Sage Theatre Co. in 1996, Planet Connections Festivity in 2009, and the Fresh Fruit Festival collaboration in 2012.

The Spotlight-On Alumni Festival features some prominent names associated with independent theater and film:

STAGE PLAYS:

LONE STAR by James McClure
NINE Theatricals in association with Genesis Repertory [their 20th anniversary production] present a revival of this comedy about a macho-man trying to regain his life after serving in Vietnam. This revival of LONE STAR will move off-Broadway in May.

STATES OF OUR UNION by Ed Valentine and Rob Reese
Three-time Emmy winner, Ed Valentine, along with author/director Rob Reese, bring an evening of short plays exploring the current state of our post-2016-election nation with vibrant words, stunning visuals… and occasional crocodile faces.

ELLEN & TROY … and ELOISE by Warren Paul Glover
Dalrymple Award-winning director, Laurie Rae Waugh directs the revival of this MITF Award nominated play about an ex-fiance, his former mother-in-law, and her daughter … in that order. Ms. Waugh directed the original production as well.

BAD BOYS: Johnny & Paula and a Twister by A.J. Ciccotelli
Two one acts dealing in the lighter … and darker sides of ne’er-do-wells by acclaimed playwright, A.J. Ciccotelli

BEYOND THE GRAVE … AND 50: Two Comedies by Michael F. Bruck
Award winning playwright, Michael F. Bruck shows us out-of-this-world visit by a skeptical young man’s to a psychic medium; and what happens when Ava Turns 50 – now that’s really scary.

WHITE RABBIT FAIRY TALES FOR ADULTS by Andrew Rothkin
Andrew Rothkin brings us our favorite fairy tales … all grown up. Not sure if they live happily ever after … let’s find out.

A LONELY NIGHT IN CONEY ISLAND by Mohammed Saad Ali
Omar, Fred, and Sam are hangin’, smoking some weed. But in Trump’s America, only one of them is a criminal. With the specter of prior offenses over his head, Arab-born Omar needs to be very careful. “Lonely Night…” examines the new reality for Middle Eastern individuals today.

ONE-PERSON PRESENTATIONS:

A SIT DOWN WITH SPIRIT: Rita Gigante
She’s a spiritual healer, she’s an author, she’s a performer, she’s the daughter of notorious crime boss Vincent “the Chin” Gigante, head of all five New York crime families. Rita Gigante’s story is amazing and the manner in which she tells it … astonishing. Using the backdrop of her book, The Godfather’s Daughter an Unlikely Story of Love, Healing and Redemption, Ms. Gigante supplies the audience with one of the most enthralling nights in the theater.

DOORS OF PERCEPTION: ANGELS AND ART with Barbara Calvano
Actress Barbara Kidd Calvano displays her “other” talents in this one-woman presentation dealing with psychic abilities.

KEN SCUDDER: DREW & KIM
The acclaimed comedy troupe, The Mistake, featured the talents of Andrew Martin and Kim Chaskel, who have both passed away. Scudder tells their story in this hilarious and heart-warming presentation.

MULTI-MEDIA: FILM, THEATRE…:

AMERICAN VOICES/FORGOTTEN STORIES
An evening of social justice as seen through the word of the playwright and lens of the camera with STOP AND FRISK: Matthew Widman’s play about the consequences of one of our nation’s most contentious policing tactics. IN MEMORIAM: Filmmaker Cynthia Granville’s examination of war’s collateral damage, seen through the eyes of a 13-year-old girl. IS ANYBODY LISTENING?: Paula Caplan’s powerful documentary about a woman’s journey connecting with the plight of veterans.

A TOUCH OF CINEMA by Duncan Pflaster
Playwright Duncan Pflaster and director Aliza Shane blur the lines of life and art in this play about a dinner party turned dark when the guests must hear a screenplay about the abduction and torture of a young filmmaker who made “seditious” movies.

Spotlight-On further celebrates its return and its alumni with:

THE SPOTLIGHT-ON OPENING NIGHT LAUNCH PARTY produced by festival founder, Frank Calo;

STEVEN THORNBURG’S ALUMNI MÉLANGE: a multi-media journey through the New York art scene fostered by Spotlight-On; and

THROUGH THE YEARS…LAUGHTER AND TEARS. Spotlight-On produced innumerable cabaret presentations over its history and chanteuse Teresa Fischer hosts a retrospective performance featuring some audience favorites, special requests, some new gems, and a special appearance … or two. Through The Years is directed by Kent Cozad with musical direction by the best one-man band in cabaret, Paul Chamlin.

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