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Get in the Ring with ALL GUTS AND SOME GLORY

April 25, 2017

In just under three weeks, you will have the opportunity to witness a competition like no other: The Velodrome Company’s “All Guts and Some Glory”! Presented at Theater for the New City, this pay-what-you-will event will be one to remember. On Monday, May 15th at 7pm, five playwrights from around the greater New York City area will gather together to compete for glory (and a respectable bar tab). They will be presenting original scenes to be judged by…

[drumroll please]

…YOU! You have the power to make or break these playwrights (or to just make them drunk). Either way, this night is sure to bring some fun surprises. We gave the playwrights full reign, and they gave us a whole lot of fun!

Without further ado, we introduce your competitors!

In one corner, we have one of our resident playwrights, W.M. Akers! Akers is a top competitor, coming off of the recent production of his play, Dead Man’s Dinner, a clear audience favorite.
Will he be able to serve up some delicious dialogue to win over the crowd again this time?

In the other corner, we have returning playwrights Emily Daly and Robert Zander Norman! Both playwrights were featured in the Velodrome kickoff event, “The Unconventional Convention,” in the fall of 2016.
Will either playwright have what it takes to leave the crowd wanting more?

And in yet another corner, we have returning favorites Jeff Johnson and William Kozy! Both Squeaky Bike favorites as actors, this will be their playwriting debut with us!
Will either one be able to withstand the competition in their new role, and finish victorious?

There’s only one way to find out the answers to all of these questions. Stay tuned for info on how to reserve your seat for a night that can’t be missed!


Members of the Velodrome Company

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Keep Us Weird and Wonderful

April 14, 2017

“Like I’d trust you to cook my brains, you’d only burn them!”
Jackie Gallagher in Dead Man’s Dinner

In just three weeks and 13 performances, Dead Man’s Dinner made a huge impression. Now that you’ve warmed up and gotten some (ethically acceptable) meals in you, we wanted to reach out to thank you for joining us on this weird and wonderful journey. We loved every moment of producing this daring play, and we’re grateful so many of you were there to share in it.

There’s just one more kind of success we’re hoping to achieve, and to do so we need your help! As a young theatre company, we rely on the generosity of our supporters to raise the funds necessary to produce delicious work, full of “wit and humor, beautifully delivered,” like Dead Man’s Dinner.

With only 6 days left in our Fundraising Campaign, we’re counting on you to help us reach our goal!
Click the link below to make a tax-deductible donation.

GIVE NOW

Every dollar makes a difference! If you weren’t able to make it to the show, you might consider donating the cost of a ticket: $18. If you’re feeling really bold, you could consider adding the cost of the dinner or drinks you might have had afterward, and round it up to $50! And of course, if you’re feeling a little hungry, you could make a gift of $200 and get a very secret recipe that will give you some insider info about how we created one of the yummier parts of the show.

We are forever grateful for your help and can’t wait to entertain you in the years to come.

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Secret Recipe

April 6, 2017

Audiences are raving about Dead Man’s Dinner—and if you haven’t caught it yet, there are only four more chances! Get your tickets to Dinner here before it gets cold!

BUY TICKETS

Dead Man’s Dinner is the result of the combined talents of dozens of artists and volunteers, but all of them together are just part of the recipe. The rest of it?

YOU!

So come see us sometime this weekend! And then for dessert, mosey on over to our delectable website to make a tax deductible contribution and get yourself a little something extra. Yeah, yeah, we know, you see lots of these fundraisers—but how many of them come with a special secret recipe??

GIVE NOW


Annalisa Loeffler*, Zohra Benzerga, and Kate Garfield* in Dead Man’s Dinner

See you at the show!

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It’s Week Two of Dead Man’s Dinner!

March 30, 2017

It’s Week Two of Dead Man’s Dinner!
Have you seen it yet? If not, be sure to buy your tickets before they’re gone.
BUY TICKETS

If you saw it and loved it, let the world know at nyitawards.com (after registering or logging in, choose “Dead Man’s Dinner” from the drop-down menu).

Support the Show!
Now until April 20th, we’re running a fundraising campaign to support this incredible show. Gifts to Squeaky Bicycle are always tax deductible, but for the next few weeks, you also get some rad perks for your contribution. You can read all about it here. (Just wanna skip to the perks? Here, we’ll make it easy for you)

Meet the Playwright
Playwright W.M. Akers sat down with the Adam Szymkowicz for his “I Interview Playwrights” series to share some details about the play (and himself) with the public (that’s you!). We love it, and not just because he has such lovely things to say about us. Check it out.

So Much to See
Already getting nostalgic for Dead Man’s Dinner? Or haven’t seen it yet and wondering what all the fuss is about? We’ve got even more photos for you, below.

Thanks for loving theater!

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Dead Man’s Dinner opens tonight!

March 23, 2017

The day is here!

Today is your first chance to see W.M. Akers’ delicious Dead Man’s Dinner. 

What’s on the bill of fare when you get to the theatre? Here’s what the artists behind it have to say:

People who know W.M. Akers’ work already know to expect a fun time. This play will deliver that and so very much more.

What’s amazing about the world the playwright has created is that there are no clear-cut villains and victims. They are all villains and victims at different times.

The women in this apartment are infinitely flawed, and infinitely badass. They’re ridiculous, ruthless, and still so very real.

You have not met these characters before elsewhere.

And what does our playwright, W.M. Akers, have to say? Find out here.

Get your tickets now!

BUY TICKETS

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An Interview with Dead Man’s Dinner Playwright W.M. Akers

March 22, 2017

Dead Man’s Dinner opens tomorrow, and we are really, really excited about it! This is our third mainstage production with resident playwright W.M. Akers, whose work, as you’ll see at Theater for the New City over the next three weekends, is always a delight. Here’s a taste of how the play came about, and why it’s a story that needs to be told.

What was your inspiration for this play?

I wanted to find a way to explore what would happen if people in New York City, or anywhere in America, were confronted with war, famine and starvation. They’re problems that seem so far away, and are so hard to really imagine while you’re just reading the newspaper, so my goal here was to make the as immediate and terrifying as they really should be.

Do you feel that humans would turn to cannibalism in time of crisis?

I think that if someone is hungry enough, yes, they will always turn to cannibalism in the end. It’s a pretty well-documented phenomenon, although not one that people like to talk about.

How do you feel about this production?

Watching this play gives me chills. The team that Kathryn and Brandi have put together are all so exquisitely talented—they scare the hell out of me, and by the end of the show, I find myself freezing cold and very hungry. It’s an intense thing.

What do you hope the audience takes from their viewing experience?

I hope people leave this play hungry! I hope they walk down First Avenue and see all the restaurants and delis and grocery stores, and remember how lucky they are to always have food at hand.

 

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An Interview With Dead Man’s Dinner’s Zohra Benzerga

March 15, 2017

We’re back with another interview with a member of the Dead Man’s Dinner team – this time, it’s Zohra Benzerga, who plays Petra Oates. Get your tickets to see her and the rest of the cast starting next Thursday!

 

How would you best describe your feelings about the about the play?

Dead Man’s Dinner so easily walks the line between tenderness and straight-up cannibalism. It’s dizzying! But also, total and complete political upheaval is not absolutely unforeseeable. So I could also describe my feelings as… fear!

What is your favorite part of the play and why?

The people in this world wrestle between the very true desires of the heart and the even truer demands of the body. Olympia, Jackie and Petra try to navigate around this super wacky (but not so wacky) reality. Their struggles to maintain their relationships are pretty fascinating.

Which character in Dead Man’s Dinner do you most relate to and why?

David Christmas, he just wants to be cozy. But also, Petra’s attempts at loving the people around her are very relatable. The poor girl can’t seem to do it right—also relatable.

Who is your least favorite character and why?

Petra is also a manipulative little monster but her intentions are always good.

What made you want to work on this play?

Lovely humans and a strong story.

What’s your favorite thing about the character you play? 

Petra is a little princess. Despite being a total badass rat-hunting-lady-warrior, she throws tantrums when she doesn’t get what she wants. It’s a lot of fun.

What part of the play did you struggle with the most?

Petra’s attitude towards love is puzzling. She is at once hopeful and absolutely hopeless. She lives with this challenging duality that, at times dips one way just to swing back to the other.

Any possible themes that stood out to you?

I think that the question of what fills us up is super present. Is it love? Is it warmth? Is it food?

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Some Tasty Dead Man’s Dinner Morsels

March 13, 2017

Believe it or not, opening night of Dead Man’s Dinner is next week! Check out below for some fun behind-the-scenes treats, and then go buy your tickets! The $15 Early Bird ticket price is only available until Thursday—use code EARLYB for your discount.

BUY TICKETS

Did You Hear?!
We just released a playlist for Dead Man’s Dinner on Spotify! It features a little something for everyone—from Kesha’s “Cannibal” to Paramore’s “Ain’t It Fun”, and some classic G ’n’ R (“Welcome to the Jungle”). Listen for a taste of what this play is all about!

Interviews!!!
Get to know the Dead Man’s Dinner team a little better. We’re interviewing the artists behind the show, and they have all kinds of interesting info (plus maybe just a few dinner puns). Here’s one with Annalisa Loeffler, who plays Olympia Oates. Keep an eye on our blog for more!

Photo Shoot
Check us out at our photo shoot! You can find all the photos here. If you ask us, we look pretty good for 10 years of siege!


Pictured: Annalisa Loeffler*


Pictured: Zohra Benzerga and Kate Garfield*


Pictured: Marquis Wood*

Hope to see you at the show!

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An Interview with Dead Man’s Dinner Director Kathryn McConnell

March 7, 2017

The next installment in our Dead Man’s Dinner interview series comes from director Kathryn McConnell. In it she discusses the importance and awesomeness of our show, and raises the question: just how many uses of the word “badass” is too many?

How would you best describe your feelings about the about the play?

Dead Man’s Dinner both delights and terrifies me. It’s a little silly, beautifully human, and…a little too easy to imagine happening in our future. I love it so much.

What is your favorite part of the play and why?

W.M. Akers has a real talent for writing a kind of characters that make you love them while you’re laughing at them. With this play, he’s taken it even further: the women in this apartment are infinitely flawed, and infinitely badass. They’re ridiculous, ruthless, and still so very real.

Which character in Dead Man’s Dinner do you most relate to and why?

Oh boy…I guess I’d say Jackie. Her strength and independence coexist with what I think is a really sweet desire to love and be loved; and then she masks it all with a layer of sarcasm. I’m certainly not exactly like her, but I sure do identify with her in that way!

Who is your least favorite character and why?

All the characters have very real flaws that make me hate them sometimes. The thing is, though, that’s actually part of what makes me love them so much. The closest thing to a least favorite character that I can come up with is the aggressors responsible for the siege. They’re unnamed, because it doesn’t matter who they are – what matters is that they’ve managed, far too easily, to reduce the beautiful, vibrant city of New York into a place of fear and desolation.

What made you want to work on this play?

As a director, it doesn’t take much to convince me to work on a W.M. Akers play. Really, it just takes a script. This play especially spoke to me because of the depth he brought to the characters. Dead Man’s Dinner hits such a lovely range of emotion and pathos. People who know his work already know to expect a fun time – this play will deliver that, and so very much more.

What made you want to produce this play?

Well, for starters, everything I’ve said so far. The first thing we consider when choosing to produce anything is the story, and this is a really great one. Beyond that, though, I personally also love the way he’s represented humanity at its most basic level. There’s no room in this world for the old familiar prejudices. All three women are badasses, and that’s never called into question. Petra and Jackie are girlfriends, and the fact that they’re both women is never discussed. In fact, none of the labels we use to classify each other – gender, race, religion, sexuality, etc – are mentioned. The characters have much more important things to worry about…you know, like starvation and in-laws.

What part of the play did you struggle with the most?

One of my favorite things about working on this play is the challenges that come with it. Technical challenges, like how to light an apartment with no fuel for fire and no source of natural light, as well as those that come from diving into a truly multi-dimensional script rich with conflict and the highest possible stakes. Akers pulled no punches with this one, and I’m so lucky to have an incredible team of artists on board to help me bring it to life.

Are there any specific themes that stood out to you?

If I had to boil it down to one word, I’d say this play is about hunger. Not just hunger for food, although that’s definitely a key theme. It’s also about hunger for human connection, for purpose, and for security; and about which, when all of those needs are in play at once, will win out in the end.

 

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An Interview with Dead Man’s Dinner’s Annalisa Loeffler

March 5, 2017

Enjoying your relaxing Sunday night? Well we’re about to make it even better: check out this interview with Dead Man’s Dinner actor Annalisa Loeffler. She’s here to tell you all the delicious details about our show!*

(*Pun intended)

Annalisa Loeffler plays Olympia Oates in DEAD MAN’S DINNER

How would you best describe your feelings about the about the play?

I love it.

What is your favorite part of the play and why?

My favorite part of the play is the relationship between Olympia and Jackie.  Despite their vast differences, under different circumstances I think they would very much have appreciated each other, if not actually enjoyed each other’s company.  And this is very present in the writing: even though they are in an almost constant battle for ascendancy, there is a (grudging?) respect and appreciation that these women have for each other underneath the conflict.

Which character in Dead Man’s Dinner do you most relate to and why?

I most relate to the Dead Man’s Dinner character I’m playing: Olympia (and that’s probably for the best, right?).  She is a mother and an actress living in NYC, and so am I.  She’s not particularly fond of the friend her daughter has chosen – I’ve definitely had some less than positive feelings about a couple of my son’s friends (although thankfully I haven’t had to try to kill any of them off).  You can tell by the way she’s written that she LOVES language, as I do.  Reading a well-turned phrase is delightful; getting to say one is DELICIOUS.

Who is your least favorite character and why?

I love all the characters.  I’d be thrilled to play ANY of them.  What’s so amazing about the world the playwright has created is that there are no clear-cut villains and victims – they are all villains and victims at different times.  These people are completely three-dimensional: there are moments where you love and hate each one – moments where they can make you laugh out loud or weep a little.  I don’t have a least favorite (and even if I did, I wouldn’t tell!).

What made you want to work on this play?

Three things:

It’s a REAL PLAY, by which I mean it takes place in one setting, within a reasonable timeframe and with a manageable number of characters.  So many contemporary plays really seem more suited to be screenplays that someone has put on stage: 20 scenes, 14 characters, a timeline of years (or decades!).  Working on a new “real play” is a real luxury these days – there just aren’t that many out there.

The LANGUAGE is amazing – I love that I get to say the things I say in the manner in which they’re written.

Strong, wonderful WOMEN CHARACTERS – off the charts on the Bechdel–Wallace test.  And in addition, these are not cookie-cutter women!  The ingénue is definitely not a standard ingénue, the mother is not a standard mother, and the love interest is not a standard love interest.  You have not met these characters before elsewhere.

What’s your favorite thing about the character you play?

The dichotomies in Olympia’s character make her a delicious challenge.  She has an inherent grace and dignity, which she has for the most part maintained through horrific conditions, but when the circumstances demand it she can genuinely and believably descend to a very base level.  She is a devoted mother, but not cut in the traditional, selfless mode – she is very flawed and quite frequently selfish.

What part of the play did you struggle with the most?

At one point I said to the director, “In this play, even the subtext has subtext!”  And it’s really true.  There’s so much going on with these characters.  They’re saying one thing, meaning something completely different, but often with an intention that provides a third layer of meaning.  And they’re all important to the storytelling, and they all need to be clear.  That is definitely the biggest struggle for me: living up to the challenge of the complexity of the writing.  I just hope I can do it justice!

Any possible themes that stood out to you?

The theme that most resonates with me is “What’s more important: love or life?”  I think it’s fairly safe to say most (if not all) humans want both.  And we all know we can live without love, although we might not choose to.  But sometimes love requires the sacrifice of life – whether it’s your own or someone else’s.