nytheatre mike Joins the Hawthornucopia

So, amongst all the many happenings around town these days, I’m in an upcoming show myself. I’ll be playing the lead in “Merry Mount,” Trav S.D.‘s adaptation of the Nathaniel Hawthorne short story, “The Maypole of Merry Mount,” which is being presented as part of Hawthornucopia, Metropolitan Playhouse’s festival of Hawthorne adaptations. Downtown indie theater legend Ian W. Hill directs a cast that also features Eric Bailey, Robert Pinnock, Patrick Cann, and Danny Bowes – all of whom have worked with Ian before. So far, I’m the only cast member who hasn’t previously worked with him, and I’m glad to finally be a member of the club. Having seen and liked several of his other shows over the past couple of years, this is a very exciting opportunity. We open on Friday, January 18th at 7pm, and perform three more times after that, concluding at 1pm on Sunday, January 27th. For full performance schedule and ticket info, click here.

“Merry Mount” is also exciting because I get to work on something written by my nytheatre.com colleague, Trav S.D. (also a downtown indie theater legend, I should mention). He’s a great writer and a very funny man, and I’m playing a really nice part: a straight-laced Puritan in 17th century Massachusetts who’s got a bee in his bonnet about shutting down an alleged Pagan settlement. Look out!

Hawthornucopia seems to be quite a little hotbed of activity for many others, as well. Two other nytheatre.com counterparts of mine, Tony Pennino and Chris Harcum, are participating in the festival: Tony is the author of “Misty Phantoms,” a new work that draws on four different stories of Hawthorne’s – “Rappacini’s Daughter”, “Main-Street”, “Young Goodman Brown”, and “The Duston Family”; and Chris is actually playing Hawthorne himself in “The Scarlet Whale,” Dan Evans’ one-act which imagines Thoreau, Herman Melville, and Hawthorne all meeting at Walden Pond. Nice. In addition, my pal Iracel Rivero is appearing in “The House of Celestial Experiments,” Jeremy X. Halpern and Irving Gregory’s “theatrical chamber concert of Hawthorne text.” Fun!

And if that weren’t enough, there will also be a special event reading of Alex Roe’s play, Salem, which is adapted from and inspired by Hawthorne’s story, “Young Goodman Brown.” Alex, in addition to being a talented artist (actor, writer, and director) and an all-around gentleman, is the artistic director of Metropolitan Playhouse. Salem was published in the NYTE anthology, Playing With Canons, and I had a chance to interview him about the play twice when the book came out.

I’m also really excited about working at Metropolitan Playhouse again. I directed a play in last January’s festival, Twainathon (dedicated to the works of Mark Twain), and had a blast. The theater itself is lovely – a cozy and intimate three-quarter thrust that poses delicious challenges to anyone who works in it. The staff there is wonderful and friendly, and the audiences are large and appreciative. Everyone at Metropolitan has done a great job building audience support and making sure the theater is a visible part of its community, and the overall atmosphere there is positive and very creative. A terrific place to be and I’m glad I get to go back.

(Incidentally, the Twainathon show I directed was “Extracts From Adam’s Diary,” a riff on Twain’s story “The Diary of Adam and Eve” adapted by none other than Mr. Tony Pennino. Ah, here we go again, Tony – see you there!)

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