Saturday, October 23, 2010


Now here's my proud momma moment... I have known Nora for quite some time now. She was in the ORIGINAL cast of "GirlPower" at the Manhattan Theatre Source in 2008 (when Elizabeth and I first took it over, way before we were Project Girl Performance Collective). I remember her sweet 17-year-old self coming in for the audition and talking with us about high school, body image and feminism. I have had the privilege of working with her over the past few years on projects with Co-Op Theatre East and the Project Girl Performance Collective. Now, she's a freshman at Pace University, studying history. I am incredibly proud of all her accomplishments and to work with such a young, talented force of nature. She is destined for great things and I look forward to watching them unfold!

Who are you?
I am Nora Kennedy. I am an actor, singer, dancer, artist, history nerd, writer, Pisces, college freshman, and a very old soul. I am a stubborn girl who doesn’t like to do what everyone else does, and I’m always full of surprises.

What do you believe in?
I believe that there is no such thing as “normal”-being normal isn’t normal. I also think it is important for people to take one moment out of their day to breathe and notice their surroundings, find something they love about where they are and who they are. I believe that the only way to get out there and achieve one’s dreams is to just do it. It’s not as simple as it sounds, I know, but it’s more effective than staying at home, watching YouTube all day.

What kind of change do you want to see? Where do you see yourself fitting into your idea for change?
I want to see more people turning off whatever electronic devices they own (cell phone, computer, television, kindle, etc.), and get active in something. Be it theater, dance, school, music, art, activism, writing or just reading a book. People need to do less staring at screens (of any kind), and do more thinking. I see myself fitting into this because, like I said, I am an old soul, so I’m not a huge fan of technology (even though it does make life easier sometimes). However, I would much rather rely on my own mind rather than the Internet. That’s the kind of change I would like to see in the world.

If your life had a soundtrack what would be on it?
Oh boy, here we go! Okay, this in no particular order: The Beatles, Cab Calloway, Edith Piaf, Patti LuPone, Billie Holiday, Ray Charles, Jenny Lewis, Judy Garland, The Like, Tilly & The Wall, Those Darlins, Dr. Dog, Jefferson Airplane, Arcade Fire, Lady Gaga, The Rolling Stones, The Band, Ella Fitzgerald, Beirut, Blossom Dearie, Peggy Lee, The Pogues, Fleet Foxes, Dum Dum Girls, Okkervil River, The Dubliners, Animal Collective, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Mamas & the Papas, The Clancy Brothers, Florence and the Machine, Bob Dylan, Gillian Welch, Iron & Wine, Girls, The Tallest Man on Earth, Amy Winehouse, MGMT, Beirut, Department of Eagles, Chopin, Rufus Wainwright, Grizzly Bear, The Ink Spots, Cyndi Lauper, Aretha Franklin, Simon & Garfunkel, She & Him, George Gershwin, Pavarotti, Rossini, anything Sondheim and (again) THE BEATLES! I’m kind of a music buff, in case you can’t already tell.

If you could be doing anything with your life right now what would it be?
I would be breaking down a script, learning some music, and stretching out for dance. That would be ideal!

I Can't Live Without...
Books, music, laughter, love, theater, creativity. They are all essential to my being, and I’m sure that I would crash if I lost any one of them.

What are you craving right now?
Scones. I’m always craving scones. They are the absolute best!

Talk about a piece or art, performing arts, music or writing that changed your life...
It would definitely have to be, “Documentary: a Suicide Narrative.” Until I was part of that cast, I had really only been in shows at my high school, but this production was so New York—I thought, “Wow, this is what being an actor is really like… I will take it!” For me, being a part of that production refined what it means to be an actor—absolute dedication and effort no matter what.

What motivates you to do what you do?
The fact that I’m not like every other girl who aspires to be on stage. There is so much emphasis on the glamorous side of being an actor, yet very few end up pursuing the career because they want fame without having to do the work. Although fame sounds appealing, I would much rather do the work because it’s always interesting, and stretches one’s creativity. Being famous for the sake of being famous would be boring and unfulfilling.

If you were best friends with any historical figure who would it be and why?
Edgar Allen Poe. I’m a little bit in love with him. His works had such a great influence over me while I was growing up. I’d like to find out what his inspirations were, and why he married his fourteen year-old cousin… I’m not judging that relationship, I’m just curious.

If you were a character in your favorite fictional storyline (this could include a book, play, film, television series etc.) what would it be? How would your character be intertwined within the story line that already exists?
I just finished reading the published books out of the Mary Russell series by Laurie R. King, and am kind of obsessed with them. The first book, The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, starts off with Mary Russell walking through a field where she stumbles upon a retired Sherlock Holmes, and eventually becomes his apprentice. I would love to play Mary Russell—she’s an incredibly smart feminist in the early 20th century, plus she works with Sherlock Holmes! How much better could it get?

Talk about a defining moment of your life. What happened? What did you take away from it?
The first time I was onstage was the defining moment in my life. My mother had enrolled me in a local ballet school at the age of two because I was constantly dancing to “The Nutcracker,” or “The Sound of Music” in our living room. We had our recital later that spring. I was three years old by that time. Before the recital even began, I snuck out onstage and began dancing in front of everyone. My ballet teacher attempted to get me off of the stage two times, but I kept climbing back on because I loved being in front of the audience so much. In the end, my mother had to pull me off, and I was told to sit with her until my class had to perform. I learned then and there that the stage was where I was meant to be, as clichĂ© as that might sound. But I just love seeing and hearing the audience’s reaction, and I think that is a vital relationship a stage actor has to work with.

Talk about the best day ever.
Going to ballet, swimming, taking a walk with my mom and dad, visiting my acting coach, and eating ice cream and watching all seven seasons of, “House,” while snuggling with my dogs, Clarence and Percival.

Who is/are your heroes?
Patti LuPone, The Beatles (all four of them), Sherlock Holmes, Betty Boop, Bette Davis, Greta Garbo, Marilyn Monroe, Meryl Streep, Alfred Hitchcock, Cary Grant (he’s also my husband), Grace Kelly, Vivien Leigh, my sister, my acting coach and mentor, Peter Flint, and of course my incredible parents.

Create a required reading list for the world:
Night-Eli Wiesel
The Book Thief-Markus Zusak
The Beekeeper's Apprentice-Laurie R. King
The Hound of the Baskervilles-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Woods-David Mamet
Persepolis-Marjane Satrapi
Ishmael-Daniel Quinn
Gone With the Wind-Margaret Mitchell
The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains-Nicholas Carr
A World Lit Only by Fire-William Manchester

For more pictures of Nora, click here:

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Folks, meet Alison. A fun loving, energetic, theatre geek (aren't we all). I met Alison in undergrad at Pace. She graduated with a BFA in Acting a few years after I did. I directed her in "Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens" and we were cast mates in "The Trojan Women" at Pace University. We had a blast exploring Lincoln Center and catching up on life after a few years. I definitely would love to work with her again in the future.

1. Who Are You?
I’m a funny, smart, sarcastic, animated, theater loving, hopeless romantic living in New York City. I also happen to be an aspiring actress! YAY!

2. What do you believe in?
I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason. I also believe in karma, honesty, good friendships, family, love, theater, and when I turn 24 great things will start happening in my life.

3. What kind of change do you want to see? Where do you see yourself fitting into your idea for change?
I want to see original musicals on Broadway that’s not based on a movie or anything like that. And a better economy would be nice. Also for Hollywood to STOP making remakes of certain movies. If they EVER make a remake of The Sound of Music…heads will roll!!!!

4. If your life had a soundtrack what would be on it?
This question brings me back to junior year of high school where we had to fill this question in our Soul Journal. We had to pick about 5 songs on one page…I filled out about 10 pages. Now to answer the question… Coldplay is a MUST! Also, Maroon 5, The Spring Standards, Keane, show tunes, The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Michael BublĂ©, classic rock, Disney music, 80’s music, big band music, Britney Spears, Madonna, Kyle Minogue and the greats: Barbara Streisand and Julie Andrews.

5. If you could be doing anything with your life right now what would it be?
Working in theater acting and/or directing. Yes, Broadway is a dream but I would just love to be a working actor and getting chances to direct.

6. I Can't Live Without...
Family, friends, theater, movies, television and music.

7. What are you craving right now?
To perform, sing and direct…I just want to do something creative. And chocolate.

8. Talk about a piece of art, performing arts, music or writing that changed your life...
The Light in the Piazza, The History Boys and Next Fall are the three pieces of theater that I’ve seen that has had such an affect on me. The Light in the Piazza is my favorite musical. It has a beautiful score, story and makes me wish that one day when I travel to Italy and I will meet a beautiful Italian man named Fabrizio. And seeing Liev Schreiber in Talk Radio. There was a moment in the play, unfortunately I can’t remember which part, where I stopped and said to myself, “Wow. So that’s what acting is.”

9. What motivates you to do what you do?
My theater, my family, my friends, different things I read (quotes, memoirs, etc.).

10. If you were best friends with any historical figure who would it be and why?
William Shakespeare. I honestly don’t know where my love from him stemmed from but I’ve always loved him. I did a presentation on him freshmen year of high school where I dress up like him. I think he’s just an interesting person. He wrote all of these plays and some people don’t think he did because of his education level. Also, he came up with many words we use today and there were a few “last years” where people don’t know what he was doing! So yeah, I would say William Shakespeare. On a side note, I would also want to be BFF’s with Conan O’Brien, Kathy Griffin, Joan Rivers, and Laura Linney. Just sayin’…

11. If you were a character in your favorite fictional storyline (this could include a book, play, film, television series etc.) what would it be? How would your character be intertwined within the story line that already exists?
Catherine in Proof. Proof in my favorite play and Catherine is my dream role. I know this character inside and out. She’s complex, emotional and feels alone. I want to play that part so badly! So yeah, I wouldn’t be another character in that play. Haha. I would also love to be on The Office. I could be Jo Bennett’s (Kathy Bates) niece and come to Dunder Mifflin Scranton with her to so I can learn the business and become a love interest for maybe Andy. It would be brilliant.

12. Talk about a defining moment of your life. What happened? What did you take away from it?
I don’t know if there is just one moment that’s happened to me where I’ve stopped and said, “this is the most defining moment of my life” because I’m still experiencing things and learning about myself. I’ve already had moments of realizations but I believe there are more to come.

13. Talk about the best day ever.
Walking about the piazza in Italy with my man Fabrizio….WAIT! That’s my Light in the Piazza fantasy talking! It’s really a beautiful day in the city without having to worry about something that I have to do. I would walk around, see a show or a movie, maybe spend time with a friend or go to the Met.

14. Who is/are your hero(es)?
My family, my friends, and Laura Linney (an acting G-ddess.)

See more of Alison here:

Saturday, October 2, 2010


Joanie is the complete embodiment of activist and theatre practitioner. As a member of The Living Theatre ( for over 20 years and downtown resident, she has seen both the artistic and architectural landscape of the area change drastically. I met Joanie a few years ago with Theatres Against War ( and had the pleasure of working with her on COTE's production of Decadent Acts last season, where she played Mindy White (a character with polar opposite views from her own). I still have a poem about Mindy that she wrote while doing character work hanging up on my wall. Check out Joanie's insightful interview below and then RUN to the library to check out the books she recommends...

Who are you?
A continuously forming living creature that, to a great extent knows her place and function in the universe. A woman who has lived and continues to. A daughter, a sister, a lover, a friend, an artist, an anarchist, a sack of water and an eternal soul. A wild woman, a wise woman and a perennial innocent.

What do you believe in?
I believe in alpha and omega, here and now, evolution, the BNVAR, the music of the spheres, the multiverse, reincarnation, the limitless light, forgiveness, compassion, unconditional love. I believe in everything until proven otherwise. I believe in the snake that swallows her own tail AKA eternity, reincarnation and time travel, life in the universes. I believe there is only one race, the human race, and I believe in its integral goodness. If pushed to the wall, I call all these things combined “God.”

What kind of change do you want to see? Where do you see yourself fitting into your idea for change?
I want to see an end to certain things, big-time. Things like racism, greed, avarice, ridiculous accumulation of wealth, poverty, hunger, slavery, homelessness. I guess that with the exception of the first thing (racism), it all comes down to money. Even then, money is a n operant force. An end to the money system. Then we could get down to the real works—science, art, poetry, music, philosophy, free education for all. Utopia? Sure, why not?! I try to fit into this idea for change through discipline and practice. If I disagree with someone’s opinion or action, I look first to myself for the breakdown in achieving understanding. Simone Weil said that the best way to teach was through demonstration. Rather than come across as some smart-ass blowhard arrogant know-it-all (although I’m sure I have played that role more than once in my life), I want to practice every day, to communicate when I hear something that is to me intolerable, to encourage dialogue, to, when possible, witness and testify whenever there’s injustice, either through action or writing.

If your life had a soundtrack what would be on it?

Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Shostakovich, Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, John Coltrane, T Monk, Sun Ra, The Beatles, Youssef N’dour,, Fela, Baaba Maal, King Sunny Ade, Idir, Abdullah Ibrahim, Mali Divas, Taj Mahal, R&B—ah hell, anything that tickles my ears. And bird song, and the wind in the desert, and thunder (if I’m indoors). Heartbeats. And the sounds of love.

If you could be doing anything with your life right now what would it be? Having sex. Failing that, traveling. Failing that, acting. Failing that, writing. Failing that, sleeping.

I Can't Live Without...

What are you craving right now?
My nightly glass of milk.

Talk about a piece of art, performing arts, music or writing that changed your life...
Dada changed my life. Listening to the Pittsburgh Symphony in the orchestra pit sitting next to my Dad in the violin section, when I was a small child. Listening to my Mom play Chopin on the piano as I lay on the floor underneath the piano, also as a small child. And then I read Samuel Beckett. Then I read Artaud. Then I read Julian Beck, which led to Alexander Berkman, Petr Kropotkin, Errico Malatesta, Herbert Read, Peter Lanborn Wilson, William Godwin, Bakunin, Proudhon, Tolstoy, Chomsky….etc. Because art and anarchy go hand in hand, and both of them lead to freedom.

What motivates you to do what you do?

Myself, I would hope; and after that, my conspirators.

If you were best friends with any historical figure who would it be and why?
I’m tempted to say Anais Nin, because she inspired me at such an early age to keep a journal, which I began to do when I was 13, and have done until today, except for 10 years of my life, from 1995 to 2005. I love who Anais Nin was, those with whom she cavorted, and the lyricism of her writing, even when it sucked, which it sometimes did. I loved her diaries, her tales of her relationships with Artaud and Rousseau and Henry Miller. She wrote about incest, had affairs with women, swam in the surreal, and was the epitome of elegance. I would also liked to have known Jesus of Nazareth.

If you were a character in your favorite fictional storyline (this could include a book, play, film, television series etc.) what would it be? How would your character be intertwined within the story line that already exists?
Mother Courage. The character is intertwined with my voice, my stance, persistence, will, and my undying desire to survive. Yet I’m crude to a degree, simple, crafty and sometimes downright practical.

Talk about a defining moment of your life. What happened? What did you take away from it?
I had a near-death experience in 1978 in Los Angeles. It was THE defining moment of my life and coincided with the end of the most intense love affair of my life. My heart stopped, my lungs filled up with fluid and I woke up many hours later with the producer of my play holding my hand. All I could think of was being there for the opening. And my lost love. Soon reality set in, and my life changed for the better or the worse, depending on which aspect of my life was being considered. Within six months I moved to New York City and have lived here ever since.

Talk about the best day ever.
When peace has been declared.

Who is/are your hero(es)?
I don’t believe there is such a thing as a hero, per se. I think everyone has the potential to be a hero. But I do believe in angels.

Create a mandatory reading list for the world.
I’d like to amend this to a suggested reading list. I don’t want to mandate anything for the world—it could come back to bite me in the ass, and anyway I object to in on principle. LOL, as they say. So:
Collected Works of Antonin Artaud
Giovanni’s Room, If Beale Street Could Talk-James Baldwin
Nightwood-Djuna Barnes
Life of the Theatre-Julian Beck
Endgame, Krapp’s Last Tape, Rockabye, Waiting for Godot-Samuel Beckett
Hold Everything Dear, Ways of Seeing-John Berger
Good Woman of Szechuan, Mahagonny, Mother Courage-Bertolt Brecht
Nadja-Andre Breton
The Good Earth-Pearl Buck
The Plague-Albert Camus
Presence of the Actor-Joseph Chaikin
The Idiot-Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Four Quartets-T.S. Eliot
The Invisible Man-Ralph Ellison
Love in the Time of Cholera-Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Yellow Wallpaper-Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Howl-Allen Ginsberg
Lord of the Flies-William Golding
Autobiography-Emma Goldman
Beneath the Wheel, Steppenwolf-Hermann Hesse
Brave New World, Doors of Perception, Island-Aldous Huxley
Ubu Roi-Alfred Jarry
The Other-Ryszard Kapuscinski
The Poisonwood Bible-Barbara Kingsolver
Mutual Aid-Petr Kropotkin
Immortality, The Joke-Milan Kundera
The Canopus in Argos Series-Doris Lessing
The Cancer Journals-Audre Lorde
The Prince-Machiavelli
Anarchy-Errico Malatesta
The Diaries of Judith Malina
Going to Iran, Sita-Kate Millett
The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea-Yukio Mishima
Invitation to a Beheading, Lolita-Vladimir Nabakov
Reading Lolita in Tehran-Azar Nafisi
Cantos-Pablo Neruda
Silences-Tillie Olsen
Collected Works of Kenneth Patchen
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance-Robert Pirsig
The Symposium-Plato
All Quiet on the Western Front-Erich Maria Remarque
Diving Into the Wreck-Adrienne Rich
The God of Small Things-Arundhati Roy
The Satanic Verses-Salman Rushdie
Existentialism and Human Emotion-Jean-Paul Sartre
The Country Without a Post Office-Ali Agha Shahid
Complete Works of Shakespeare
Frankenstein-Mary Shelley
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn-Betty Smith
The Grapes of Wrath-John Steinbeck
The Tibetan Book of the Dead
Seven Dada Manifestos-Tristan Tzara
Slaughterhouse Five, Timequake-Kurt Vonnegut
Marriage-A Sentence—Anne Waldman
Leaves of Grass-Walt Whitman
The Bridge of San Luis Rey-Thornton Wilder
Art and Lies, Lighthousekeeping, The Stone Gods-Jeanette Winterson
A Room of One’s Own, Orlando-Virginia Woolf

For more pictures of Joanie, visit: