About Frank Calo:
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, 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. 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. Productions include STATES OF OUR UNION by Three-time Emmy winner, Ed Valentine and author/director Rob Reese; BEYOND THE GRAVE … AND 50: Two Comedies by Award winning playwright Michael F. Bruck; WHITE RABBIT FAIRY TALES FOR ADULTS by Andrew Rothkin; DOORS OF PERCEPTION: ANGELS AND ART with Barbara Calvano; KEN SCUDDER: DREW & KIM & The Mistake; and A SIT DOWN WITH SPIRIT: Rita Gigante, daughter of notorious crime boss Vincent “the Chin” Gigante, head of all five New York crime families, 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.
FEATURED EVENTS in the FESTIVAL:
LONE STAR by James McClure
A LONELY NIGHT IN CONEY ISLAND by Mohammed Saad Ali
ELLEN & TROY … AND ELOISE BY WARREN PAUL GLOVER
BADBOYS: Johnny & Paula and a Twister by A.J. Ciccotelli
AMERICAN VOICES/FORGOTTEN STORIES: STOP + FRISK
A TOUCH OF CINEMA by Duncan Pflaster
THROUGH THE YEARS…LAUGHTER AND TEARS
Spotlight-On further celebrates its return and its alumni with:
THE SPOTLIGHT-ON OPENING NIGHT LAUNCH PARTY produced by festival founder, Frank Calo on Monday, April 17, 2017 at 7:00PM;
and STEVEN THORNBURG’S ALUMNI MÉLANGE: a multi-media journey through the New York art scene fostered by Spotlight-On. April 29 @ 4;30 pm and April 30 @ 3:00 pm.
Review Fix: What’s your process like? How do you choose works and the professionals that go with them?
Frank Calo: For this current festival I put the word out to former Spotlight On Festivals Alumni to submit. Some just submitted ideas. Since I’ve known many of these artists for years the process was easy. You want in? Of course, let’s figure this out! Newer artists also submitted and that process was a bit different. I would only let them in if there was room after the alumni had their spots. I read and picked what I thought were the best of the new entries and completed our line-up. Festival crew and other artists were chosen from my experience with them over the years. I helped with the founding of the MidTown International Theatre Festival, Co-founding producer of Planet Connections Festivity and co-producer of a Fresh Fruit Festival/Spotlight On Festival so I have a wealth of talented folks to choose from!
Review Fix: What makes this new incarnation of Spotlight-On different or special? How have things changed?
Calo: Many of the alumni in this new festival have been working in theatre for almost two decades. What makes this so different now is that they are seasoned professionals. When they first started with Spotlight On many were new to NY theatre and getting their first breaks. Many had never produced in the city at all and spotlight on gave them that break they needed.
Review Fix: What did you learn about yourself through your years as a producer?
Calo: I’ve learned that I am always learning! In the early days we were just about the only festival around so it was all a learning process. It felt like I was inventing the wheel. Now, things have changed [especially in the way we market shows] so it is like going back to school and taking brush up courses.
Review Fix: How does it feel to be a part of something like this again?
Calo: As we get older we get a bit jaded and lose sight of what we thought was important in our theatrical journey. Producing an Alumni festival like this is exciting and nostalgic and current all at once.
Review Fix: What are your ultimate goals for this new festival and for the future?
Calo: I would like spotlight on to move back into the category of ongoing festivals again. The future: a home for our festivals!
Review Fix: What do you think your audiences will enjoy the most?
Calo: I think it will be very evident that productions are not only well produced and written but incredibly professional. The kind of professional that comes from years of experience, talent and love. That is what our current line-up brings to the festival table.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Calo: One of my joys over the past several years has been hosting and producing variety show events. I raise money for organizations and have produced them all over the tri-state area. Although, none are planned presently I am looking forward to producing a couple in 2017. Perhaps another festival. Halloween possibly.
Patrick Hickey Jr.
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