Sound and Song: Overdone & Over-Sung as part of Scranton Fringe presented by C4 Studios

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Sound and Song: Overdone & Over-Sung is directed by Rebekah Conrad, with the musical direction of Marcie Herman Riebe, the show features “The Broadway songs we love to hate and hate to love, but always sing along to.” This show is a part of the 2018 Scranton Fringe Festival. The Festival has given a new environment for many locals to have their shows performed for an audience and that is the case for sixteen-year-old Rebekah Conrad of Scranton and the new theatre company C4Studios with their debut show at this year’s festival.

C4studios was founded by George, Jacob, Kayla, and Rebekah Conrad who are all siblings. For the past 10 Years the Conrad siblings have been involved in various types of community theatres, making many different local productions a true family affair. Earlier this year, they created a new theatre company with the purpose of giving every person the chance to participate and show their talents within a diverse theatre group. C4Studios is now fulfilling their purpose with a cast that has an age range from 6 to 50!

Rebekah has directed before, in fact, this is the third installment in the Sound and Song Series which began in June of last year with Sound and Song: Then and Now, and again in December of last year Sound and Song: Holiday Edition. C4studios and Rebekah are glad to have the opportunity to continue bringing the joy of musical theatre to the local community. Knowing that the shows before having made a great impact on many in the local community and will continue to do so for many years to come!

The show promises to have you dancing and singing along to with all your favorite Broadway songs. It will leave you begging for more when the curtain closes!

For more information about Sound and Song:  Overdone & Over-Sung, please read below:

Dates and Times:  Thursday, September 27th at 8 p.m.
Saturday, September 29th at 3 p.m.
Sunday, September 30th at 3:30 p.m.
Location:
Artworks Gallery & Studio
503 Lackawanna Ave
Scranton, PA 18503
Rating:  PG
Ticket info:  $8-12:  tickets can be purchased at the door or online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sound-and-song-overdone-over-sung-tickets-48149301858?aff=ebdssbdestsearch
More info about C4 studios: www.facebook.com/C4studios

Grrrls Night: An interview with host, Jess Meoni

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Times-Tribune article (2018), which revisited the  Grrrls Night

In a brief statement, what is Grrrls Night about?

Grrrls Night is about celebrating local women in variety of performance arts such as music, poetry, spoken word, comedy, and theater. The name is taken from the phrase riot grrrl.

What is your main goal/message for Grrrls Night?

My main goal for Grrrls Night is to provide women with a platform for their creativity and expression. I want the performers to find comfort and relativity in the support and community of this event, but most of all, I want these women to showcase their talents at regular open mic nights to demonstrate they can perform anywhere.

How long have you been hosting Grrrls Night and how has it evolved over time?

Grrrls Night started in 2015 at Ale Mary’s as a sporadic yearly event feature. Sometimes we did it consecutively, sometimes not. I wanted to keep people on their toes and not make it super predictable. I always enjoyed and encouraged new performers, although we still have a substantial veteran base to the event. Grrrls Night started as a response to a personal puzzle in my mind as to why men always outnumbered women at regular open mic nights. I couldn’t figure out why there were not more women out there playing bass, singing, writing jokes, or reciting poetry. I knew they were out there, I just did not understand why they weren’t on the stage. The format of the event has essentially remained the same, with only slight variation in the timing. Sometimes, this was the first space where a girl performed and she was encouraged to move onto other events. Some nights I had up to 20 girls perform, other times only 10 or so, but every time was a cathartic experience.

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Grrrls Night, Photo credit:  Daring Damsel (2016)

How do you think Grrrls Night has provided a safe space for local NEPA female performers, such as writers and musicians?

Although I do believe Grrrls Night creates a space where women feel liberated with their thoughts and musings, I never intended to establish a space where women are patronized or coddled. I wanted Grrrl Night to be a base that women can build from, take that confidence, and showcase their talents anywhere possible. I think these women have proven they are bold with their words and actions, and they impress me every single time. So many come back time and time again and you can see their craft grow before your eyes.

Are there any future plans for Grrrls Night?

I have wanted to make a more comprehensive mixed CD or Spotify playlist of their work to promote.

For this Grrrls Night, the featured performers will be the following:

Mandalyn Rose
Monica Noelle
Angelia Petrillo
Kenna Carey
Amanda Rogan
Ali Pica
Lucy Katherine
Alex Kijek
Isabel Anderson
Stephanie Marie Santore
Algid Leah
Jami Kali

This Grrrls Night will take place this Friday, September 21, 2018 at Bart and Urby’s located at 119 S Main St, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 18701 from 8:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.

For more info, check out the Grrrls Night Facebook event:  https://www.facebook.com/events/236032480382130/

“One August Morning”: A Horror Story by Marnie Azzarelli

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Photography by Ali Pica

Today’s featured story is called “One August Morning” written by TTW’s own Marnie Azzarelli. 

“I’m writing to let you know that I have killed myself.” Mr. Carlson’s already buggy eyes bulged out even more from his dark face. Of all the things to expect in your mailbox on a clear Monday morning, a suicide note wasn’t one of them. Down the street of his picturesque suburban block, Mr. Carlson heard sprinklers going off, a man saying goodbye to his wife as he walked in his business suit to his compact vehicle (the minivan left in the garage when the wife took the kids to school), and in the distance he heard a large dog bark so people would know for a fact that she existed and that where she was barking was indeed her property.

From the cacophony of an early Summer morning, Mr. Carlson walked outside to pick up his usual stack of bills, junk mail, and magazines he forgot to unsubscribe from, when he saw the postcard. The postcard itself was strange as it showed a picture of a winter cottage getting ready for Christmas. It was probably a print of a Thomas Kincaid painting, or one of his many copy cats, that were usually re-posted multiple times by little old ladies on Facebook, covered in inane glitter stickers and calls for “PRAYERS DURING THIS CHRISTMAS SEASON.”  A postcard like that wouldn’t usually make Mr. Carlson pause, but the fact that it was the middle of August when he received it did. Not only that but a return address was nowhere to be found.

Before he even began to read the card, he was already dumbfounded by the whole experience. But when he found the words, written in rounded feminine letters, his stomach that only contained a sip of his favorite morning brew, dropped to his clean porch.

“I’m writing to let you know that I have killed myself,” was the only thing written on the postcard, and the only words that would roll around Mr. Carlson’s head for the rest of the day. He would later call the police and would later let them handle the situation. But as he walked into his home, with the pink siding and white trim, all he could dwell on was the fact that his perfect morning was ruined by someone who wanted to die.

 

Do you want to be featured in our column, The Obsequious Pen? Fill out the form below with your writing or e-mail adawnpica.ttw@gmail.com. Check out the submission page for more details.

 

 

Crime of the Hour: A Scranton Fringe Performance Hosted by Abby Deely

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Crime of the Hour
Scranton Fringe Festival
Scranton Cultural Center, Craftsman Hall
420 N Washington Ave, Scranton PA

I had the pleasure of speaking with Abby Deely, the creator of and host of the true crime improv comedy show, Crime of the Hour, as a part of this year’s Scranton Fringe. Deely began workshopping Crime of the Hour in Denver, Colorado in March of this year and brought it to the New Jersey Fringe Fest with great reception. Deely stated she tries to cover crimes that have roots in the areas of which she is performing. For Scranton’s Fringe Fest, she will be covering Ted Bundy on Friday, September 29th and The Lobster Boy Murders on Saturday, September 30th. What makes Crime of the Hour special is not only that it is an improv show about serial killers, but in the way Deely runs each performance. Abby said she creates an outline, which she presents the bizarre facts related to the case in a stand-up comedic style, and then the cast creates their own dramatizations of the events based on these facts. Therefore, every show is entertaining and unique.

Abby’s experience with comedy is nothing new. She has been performing stand-up comedy for years, now based in NYC. She has traveled with Crime of the Hour from some of the cast she performed with in 2017 as a part of the Edinburgh Fringe Fest in the show, Escaping Trump’s America. She also performed in Escaping Trump’s America in London and in Ireland as well.

Deely also discussed with me her roots and inspiration for Crime of the Hour. She said she has always been fascinated with serial killers even as a child. As an adult, she listens to the Last Podcast on the Left, a podcast about horror and serial killers, real and imagined. Specifically, Deely was inspired from the results of her thesis. She investigated the effect comedy has with healing for sexual violence survivors, particularly when the perpetrators are the butt of the joke, such of that as Amy Schumer’s skit, “Football Town Nights.” Consequently, she found that this type of comedy was only healing if the individual survivor found it as such. However, she was curious as to how people would receive comedy pertaining to horrible events that were more communal, such as murder. Overall, Deely hopes that comedy can aid in coping with these type of events, making something tragic into something funny.

For more information on Crime of the Hour:
Dates: Friday, September 28th at 9:30pm -Ted Bundy
Saturday, September 29th at 6:30pm – The Lobster Boy Murders
Location:  Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple Craftsman Hall
420 North Washington Avenue Scranton, PA 18503
Tickets: $8-$12 https://www.eventbrite.com/e/crime-of-the-hour-tickets-48141422290?aff=ebapi
Website:  https://www.crimeofthehour.com/

HEDY! The Life & Inventions of Hedy Lamarr: Scranton Fringe performance by Heather Massie

HEDY! The Life & Inventions of Hedy Lamarr
Scranton Fringe Festival
Scranton Cultural Center, Jr. Ballroom
420 N Washington Ave, Scranton, PA

I had the privilege of interviewing, Heather Massie, the astronomical actress, who wrote, produced, and plays Hedy, along with up to thirty-three other characters, including Jimmy Stewart, in her play, HEDY! The Life & Inventions of Hedy Lamarr. If you are not familiar with Hedy Larmarr, she was a glamorous Hollywood actress and inventor during WWII. She established, along with composer, George Antheil, the technology of frequency hopping intended for use in torpedoes during WWII. Additionally, this technology was later to be implemented in today’s inventions of Bluetooth, WiFi, and GPS. However, Hedy’s recognition for her invention took many years to manifest. Sadly, the public saw her simply for her beauty, unaware of, as Heather put it, “a secret genius.”

As a former Science teacher, I take personal interest in Hedy Lamarr’s story. Upon discussing Heather’s inspiration for writing the play, we both agreed that girls need more female role models, who are engineers, astrophysicists, inventors, and the like. When Heather was in third grade, she aspired to be “an astronaut, work with animals, or be an inventor.” Later, Heather began her studies in astrophysics at the University of Virginia, to eventually major in Theatre Arts at the Virginia Tech School of Performing Arts. Heather stated her inspiration to write the play was drawn from “a part of myself that I had put away…that I wanted to focus on … my interest in science.”

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Heather Massie, writer/producer/performer

Heather said what is fascinating about this play is that it presents itself in an “exciting and engaging way.” She, as Hedy, speaks directly with the audience about her life leading up to her invention of frequency hopping. In this play, you will become engaged in Hedy’s life story through immersing yourself through Hedy’s dialogue with the many fascinating characters in her life. This play as Heather stated includes “funny, interesting, and ironic parts of her life,” as well.

Overall, Heather believes this story “translates across cultures and generations.” She states the play has relatable themes and messages that resonate with people today. And for audiences around the world, Heather states: “regardless of any expectation of what scientists should look like, individuals don’t need to think in terms of appearance or gender, but in terms of ability. So, that all people can feel empowered to contribute to society through their ideas, innovation, and invention.”
Consequently, Heather believes that Hedy’s life story is not only interesting, but inspiring. With her play, Heather aims to “empower women and to inspire audiences to find ways to make the world a better place…to have the courage to do the things they want to do regardless of the world’s expectations.”

Heather has been touring with HEDY! The Life & Inventions of Hedy Lamarr in numerous festivals, universities, and theaters across the United States and the world. She began touring on November 9, 2016, which would have been Hedy’s 102nd birthday. Her play received 12 awards and critical acclaim.

Heather’s future plans involve creating a trilogy of plays that highlight the accomplishments of women in science, including Sally Ride, as her next project.

I am excited to see Heather’s work and what is in store for the future!

For more information, please peruse the information and links below:

WHAT: HEDY! The Life & Inventions of Hedy Lamarr as a part of Scranton Fringe Festival
WHO: Written & Performed by Heather Massie
WHEN: Fri Sept 28 @ 6:00 PM, Sat Sept 29 @ 8:30 PM, & Sun Sept 30 @ 5:00 PM
WHERE: Scranton Cultural Center,  Jr Ballroom – 420 N Washington Ave, Scranton, PA
AGE GUIDANCE: 12+
TICKETS: $8-$12 https://www.eventbrite.com/e/hedy-the-life-inventions-of-hedy-lamarr-tickets-48139832535?aff=ebapi and www.scrantonfringe.org/tickets/
FESTIVAL SITE: www.scrantonfringe.org
SHOW SITE: www.HeatherMassie.com/HEDY

The Secrets of a Mocking Bird: A solo Fringe Festival performance by Prudence Wright Holmes

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Prudence Wright Holmes, actor and writer

The Secrets of A Mockingbird, a solo show written and performed by Prudence Wright Holmes based on the life of Harper Lee, author of To Kill A Mockingbird. This show will be featured in this year’s Scranton Fringe Festival. It will be presented September 27 at 6 p.m., September 29 at 4:30 p.m., and September 30 at 5 p.m. at The Space at The Olive, 541 Wyoming Ave, #2, Scranton, PA 18503. 

To order tickets, please click here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/harper-lee-the-secrets-of-a-mockingbird-tickets-48732824189.

In the show, audiences will learn the secrets of this beloved but reclusive author who had close relationships with her father, lawyer A.C. Lee and her childhood friend, Truman Capote. They both broke her heart. She never wrote another book. Until she did.

Ms. Wright Holmes is an accomplished actor who is best known for her co-starring role in the popular movies, Sister Act I and II with Whoopi Goldberg. She also recently completed the new Coen Brothers movie, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs with James Franco and Liam Neeson. She has appeared in four Broadway shows, including Happy End with Meryl Streep, Inherit the Wind with George C. Scott, Lettice and Lovage with Maggie Smith and The Light in the Piazza. She has written and performed four solo shows-Bexley, OH!, which received rave reviews off Broadway, The Secrets of A Mockingbird, Willa Cather, Her Life and Loves; and Agatha is Missing, which recently played to sold out houses at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland.

Ms. Wright Holmes has ties to the Scranton area. She owned a home in the Poconos for several years and spent many happy hours in Scranton visiting her in-laws, George and Marge Rohulich, who lived in Clark Summit. She is very happy to be returning to this area again.

To learn more about the actor/playwright, please click here:  www.prudencewrightholmes.com