50IN50

A monologue I wrote entitled, "Paradox" will part of this years 50IN50 and I am honored to share a space with these incredible women. The event takes place will take place at The Billie Holiday Theatre. 

 

About the Show:
 

Fifty writers (all women and girls) have had their say, writing a short monologue in response to the powerful statement shaped by curator Morriseau which partially reads, “As Black Women writers, we fulfill a unique and un-duplicated role in theatre. We are telling the stories that represent us with balance and complexity and illuminate our side of the human experience.” Join us for a groundbreaking event that places the diverse, rich and challenging perspectives of women and girls from all walks of life at the center. These stories will be read by an ensemble of women performers in an astounding 90-minute journey of truth, humor, and strength.

 

 

Cast: Celestine Rae (Crazy Famous, Boardwalk Empire), Mandi Masden (Law and Order, Blue Prints to Freedom), Marsha Stephanie Blake (Orange is the New Black, Girls), Pauletta Pearson Washington (Autumn, She's Gotta Have It), Phyliss Yvonne Stickney (How Stella Got Her Groove Back), Simone Missick (Luke Cage), with a live sound score by renowned pianist and vocalist Maritri Garrett.

THE 6-DAY FILMMAKING CHALLENGE: Grand Prize Winner

The Independent Film School created a 6-day film challenge that I participated in from February 1st-6th. The point of the exercise was to quit thinking about filmmaking and instead create. While I'm new to filmmaking, I'm excited to learn more jump in and "do." That tends to be the way I learn! The best part about this challenge was everyone (regardless of experience) had the same assignment. It was interesting to see diffrent takes on a singualr subject. 

 

Thank you, Ela Thier, for creating a safe space to create. 

Going Green at The Bushwick Starr

I spent the month of April (2017) working on Big Green Theater (BGT) an annual eco-playwriting program and green theater festival celebrating environmental education, sustainability in the arts, and community enrichment. It was by far one of the most enriching and insightful experiences I've had as an actor. Here's a little history about BGT:

 

Big Green Theater (BGT) is a program developed by The Bushwick Starr and Jeremy Pickard of Brooklyn-based eco-theater collective Superhero Clubhouse. Pickard leads fifth-grade students from Bushwick schools to explore environmental topics with guest experts, and then are guided in writing original eco-plays. Finished plays are fully realized and professionally produced at The Bushwick Starr Theater during Earth Week, featuring sustainable and efficient design.  

 

Alongside other talented actors, costume designers, lighting technicians, set designers, and the incredible plays- we carved out a beautiful world. Jeremy Pickard, our fearless leader & director created a wonderful space for us to work/experiment. I was so excited to work with the Superhero Clubhouse (SHC). SCH is a collective of theater artists and environmental advocates working at the intersection of science and performance. 

 

When art intersects with activism, I am truly inspired. I will be forever grateful to have worked on this project!

 

To learn how you can support BGT, please click here.  

Hall Pass

Writing has been a huge part of my artistic life since moving to New York. I always loved writing in college, but back then it was lengthy papers about art history & philosophy. Recently, a play I wrote called "You Can Sit With Us," was once again featured in HALL PASS. "You Can Sit With Us" is about four high school students who meet to work on a class presentation and discover that whatever the outside world has labeled them- it doesn’t define who or what they are.  

 

HALL PASS is an immersive musical set and performed inside a New York City high school, offering a glimpse of the world young people navigate every day. Brimming with moments any former teenager will recognize and relish—as well as those they might rather forget—audiences choose their adventure as they experience the trials and triumphs of the class of 2020. 

 

HALL PASS was presented by New York University's Program in Educational Theatre. Before heading to NYC, HALL PASS was produced at El Camino High School in California (2015) & at Rancho Buena Vista High School also in California (2016). 

 

This time around, I was not only a playwright but an assistant producer as well. The production featured new works by sixteen playwrights and composers whose combined work has been seen at Atlantic Theatre Company, The Public Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop, Playwrights Horizons, Ars Nova, HERE Arts Center, The Flea, Joe’s Pub, Soho Rep, and much more. It was a lot of work...but so much fun!

 

Hall Pass was directed by Blake McCarty & produced by Blindspot Collective in partnership with Playwrights Horizons Theater School & Grace Church School. It was a featured production in the 'Future of Storytelling' Festival. All performances of HALL PASS took place at Grace Church School, High School Division, located at 46 Cooper Square.

 

The cast: Featuring Kisha Peart, Tyler Sparacio, Gabriel Elizabeth Kadian and Brian Reiff

Presented by: Adventures in PennyLand

April 2016

Self-producing for me has been one of the greatest artistic endeavors I have experienced. My friend and sketch team member Alexis Robbins, asked me if I would be interested in doing MATT & BEN (written by Mindy Kaling and Brenda Withers). I thought sure, why not. I co-produced/co-wrote my web series and thought it would be a welcome challenge to flex both my acting and producing muscles. Fully aware that I was just stumbling through-I tend to jump in headfirst then wade in the unknown until I figure it out. What a ride it has been. Learning lines, booking rehearsal space, editing promo videos, postcards, and snacks...there always has to be snacks. So much work, but so much fun. 

 

I'm not shy about why I write and self-produce. The truth is, there just aren't enough roles for me. Is it frustrating, sure? At the end of the day, I just want to work. I want to create and I want to collaborate with friends. We purchased the rights for MATT & BEN, secured a location at the PIT (People's Improv Theater), asked our friend John Anderson to direct and we did a thing! 

 

While the show is under my production company (that kind of isn't a real thing...yet...), I definitely did not do this alone. Alexis and John have been amazing and we look forward to doing this show all summer! 

 

SHOW INFO:

 

Matt & Ben by Mindy Kaling & Brenda Withers, depicts its Hollywood golden boys – before J-Lo, before Gwyneth, before Project Greenlight, before Oscar...before anyone actually gave a damn. When the screenplay for Good Will Hunting drops mysteriously from the heavens, the boys realize they're being tested by a Higher Power.

 

Featuring Penny Middleton as "Matt Damon" and Alexis Robbins as "Ben Affleck." Directed by John Anderson. Performances are at The PIT (123 E 24th Street). April 24th @ 9:30pm, April 26th @ 9:30pm & April 30th @ 11pm. Tickets are $5.

 

For your ticket purchasing consideration...
April 24th 9:30pm 
https://thepit-nyc.com/event/2016-04-24-matt-ben
April 26th 9:30pm
https://thepit-nyc.com/event/2016-04-26-matt-ben
April 30th 11:00pm
https://thepit-nyc.com/event/2016-04-30-matt-ben

 

 

 

And How She Tried

1/16/2016

It's a brand new year! That's exciting because with each New Year, comes new opportunities. I suppose one could argue that with each new day or each new hour comes new opportunities...but let's not kill the #newyear buzz. 

 

I started my year reading the lead role in a new feature film. It's called, And How She Tried written by Bat-Sheva Guez. This was the very first reading of AHST and my character was named Asha. This was also my very first reading as a lead!

 

Asha is the type of character that actors dream of playing- complex, vulnerable, enthused, living in the moment while looking towards an undetermined future. We have all been there! It is a beautiful story and I can't wait to see it come to life! 

The Ladies' Take Home the Grand Prize!

What a wonderful way to end the year! Caitlin, Tara and I are thrilled that A Ladies' Guide to Making Conversation More Interesting is the Grand Prize winner of Dallas Travers TAC Tiny Film Festival!

 

Thank you so much to the cast & crew who generously came together to create this series. This is a really, REALLY talented group of people. heart emoticon Anna Suzuki, Nelson Villarreal, David Valdez, Christina Morales, Lynne Marie Rosenberg, Austin Michael Young, Blair Baker, J.Stephen Brantley, Laura Hooper, Sue Kim-Molina, Sipiwe Moyo, Gemma Smith Shumaker, Syhaya A. Smith, and Christopher Tramantana. 

 

Cheers to creating work!

The Ladies' & The Tiny Film Festival

The Ladies' & I were thrilled to be accepted into The TAC Tiny Film Festival, presented by the effervescent Dallas Travers. We are even more thrilled to be one of the 9 finalists for this year's festival! The winners will be announced December 15th. Congratulations to all that entered and bravo for creating work!

The B.O.A.T.S

After taking a few classes at The PIT, I fell in love with my classmates. So naturally a sketch comedy troupe was born!B.O.A.T.S. is what happens when you mix 9 (former) strangers from different backgrounds & their contagious comedic sensibilities into a sketch comedy show!We had our first show on October 12th at the PIT Loft in NYC. I'm so excited to be working with such funny & talented people. Based on a True Story features Michelle Amodeo, John Anderson, Marc Allen Castro, Keith Manning, Molly McCluskey, Penny Middleton, Melody Mokhtarian, Taylor Sander & Alexis Robbins. Check out our Facebook Page to keep up with our upcoming shows: 
www.facebook.com/B.O.A.T.S.2015

Introducing the premiere of "A Ladies' Guide to Making Conversation More Interesting!"

Starting off this month by launching the web series I co-wrote & co-produced with the fiercely talented Tara Gadomski and Caitlin Johnston!This funny, female-driven production is entitled A Ladies' Guide to Making Conversation More Interesting. Inspired by 1950's etiquette videos for women, our series explores modern day concepts of conversation. The first three episodes are in the can! We shot them in April in NYC. We were fortunate to have an insanely hilarious director Anna Suzuki, a generous DP Nelson Villarreal, and a dozen talented actors. Our talented editor in Los Angeles, David Valdez was a dream to work with. Welcome to the very first episode of A Ladies' Guide to Making Conversation More Interesting!! Please click the link below to view!www.ladiesconversation.com

School's in for Summer...

As a self-proclaimed nerd, I don’t need much convincing to get back into the classroom! This is not a stagnant industry and I would be remiss if I didn't continue to learn & grow as a performer. I just completed my first two classes at The People's Improv Theater, or The PIT. They were Acting Technique for the Improviser with Kevin Laibson and Acting for Sketch & Scripted Comedy with Chris Aurilio. What I took away from my class with Chris was specificity- that’s where comedy thrives! In Kevin’s class our focus was on the physical. How do we move, why do we move, and more importantly are we aware of our movement while performing?I am also currently taking an on-camera class with Heidi Marshall, which I love! I’m looking forward to implementing all the skills I’m learning…let’s work! 

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© 2019 by Penny Middleton