0

Retro Productions presents the World Premiere of Gina Femia play WE ARE A MASTERPIECE

Award-winning Retro Productions presents the World Premiere of
WE ARE A MASTERPIECE
April 7 – 21 at the 14th Street Y

“Riveting revival … The performances in this production are first rate and could not be bettered… Gines’ production is not only brilliantly cast but it also moves with the speed of an Acela train.” – And Miss Reardon Drinks A Little, TheatreScene

“This is one helluva revival.” – The Butter and Egg Man, A Seat on the Aisle

“Retro Productions, one of the Off-Off Broadway’s best kept secrets, has been wowing those in the know with one stellar production after another.” – Benefactors, NY Theatre Wire

“I’m off to one of my favorite theater companies: Retro Productions, which unearths plays from the distant past.” – The Desk Set, Theatre Mania

 

Retro Productions, who was recently awarded the prestigious Caffe Cino Fellowship Award at the New York Innovative Theatre Awards (NYIT), follows up their hit 2017 season with the World Premiere of Gina Femia’s play, We Are A Masterpiece. The production is directed by Retro company member, DeLisa M. White. We Are A Masterpiece runs April 7 – 21 at the 14th Street Y.

We Are a Masterpiece takes place at the dawn of the AIDS crisis, when the disease was still a mystery. In Kalamazoo, Michigan, Joan, a no-nonsense nurse, becomes a sort of fairy godmother to the town’s gay community when no one else will step up to care for them as they die one by one. She becomes their friend, their mother, their sister, as they navigate life and death with this new plague; caring for them, taking in John – an artist who becomes like a son to her, burying the dead on her property. Out of the ashes of their collective lives, lifelong bonds are forged and beauty is found even at the darkest of moments.

The play was inspired by activist and AIDS awareness advocate Ruth Coker Burks. Burks gave up her successful career in the 1980’s so she could help AIDS patients that had no one to care for them. Retro Productions Artistic Director, Heather E. Cunningham, stated, “Gina and I were both really inspired by an article that came out about a year and a half ago about a woman named Ruth Coker Burks. She wasn’t a nurse but she became a kind of hospice to the gay community where she was from, caring for and eventually burying over 40 men – many at her own expense – some using donations from the local gay community. She’s a fascinating woman – she was not afraid at a time when even medical workers were afraid of this disease – and she cared beautifully for many dying men even when their families abandoned them.”

The production stars Heather E. Cunningham (NYIT Award for Best Actress in An Appeal To The Woman Of The House/Retro), Pilar Gonzalez (The Lesson/Teatro LATEA), Sam Heldt (Hair/Burning Coal Theatre), Chad Miller (Criminal Minds/CBS), Ben Schnickel (The Butter and Egg Man/Retro), Ric Sechrest (An Appeal To The Woman Of The House/Retro), Sara Thigpen (NYIT Award for Outstanding Actress in a Featured Role in Burning the Old Man/Boomerang Theatre), and Matthew Trumbull (The Butter and Egg Man/Retro).

The creative team includes set design by Rebecca Cunningham (Author of the renowned costume design book, The Magic Garment), costume design by Viviane Galloway, sound design by Jacob Subotnick, lighting design by Asa Lipton, properties design by Sara Slagle, and stage management by Elizabeth Ramsey (2017 NYIT Award for Outstanding Stage Manager). Heather E. Cunningham (Producing Artistic Director) and Sara Slagle (Associate Producer) serve as producers on the production.

Performances take place at the 14th Street Y Theatre, 344 East 14th Street (between 1st and 2nd Avenues), New York, NY 10003. Subway: L train to 1st Avenue. Tickets are $25 (general admission) and $22 (students/seniors) and are available at https://14streety.secure.force.com/ticket#details_a0S36000004oLLtEAM

Performance Dates:

  • Saturday, April 7 @ 8:00 pm (Opening Night)
  • Sunday, April 8 @ 2:00 pm
  • Monday, April 9 @ 8:00 pm
  • Wednesday, April 11 @ 8:00 pm
  • Thursday, April 12 @ 8:00 pm
  • Friday, April 13 @ 8:00 pm
  • Saturday, April 14 @ 8:00 pm
  • Sunday, April 15 @ 2:00 pm
  • Wednesday, April 18 @ 8:00 pm
  • Thursday, April 19 @ 8:00 pm
  • Friday, April 20 @ 8:00 pm
  • Saturday, April 21 @ 8:00 pm

More info is available at www.retroproductions.org
Facebook: www.facebook.com/RetroProductionsTheater
Twitter: www.twitter.com/RetroProdsNYC

 

BIOGRAPHIES
Gina Femia (Playwright) plays have been produced/developed at Ensemble Studio Theatre, Pipeline Theatre, New Georges, Theatre of Note, Pride Films & Plays, and the Great Plains Theatre Conference, amongst others. She was a 2018 Finalist for P73’s Playwriting Fellowship and is an Alum of EST Youngblood, Pipeline Theatre’s PlayLab and New Georges’ Audrey Residency. She’s a current member of Joust Theatre’s Writer’s Round Table, Lather, Rinse, Repeat, a New Georges Affiliated Artist and has received residencies with P73’s Summer Residency, NTI at the O’Neill, SPACE on Ryder Farm, Fresh Ground Pepper and Grin City Collective. She’s been nominated for the Doric Wilson Award and the Cherry Lane Theatre Mentor Project. MFA, Sarah Lawrence College (Lipkin Prize in Playwriting). www.femiagina.com

DeLisa M. White (Director) has worked on several Retro productions including directing An Appeal to the Woman of the House, (which received three New York Innovative Theatre Award nominations), and Good Boys and True. She received the 2014 New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Director for Light’s Narrow by Vincent Marano. Other directing works (including Poe Times Two, Generic Magic Realism, Things at the Doorstep) have resulted in a total of thirteen nominations and three wins at the NYIT awards.

About Retro Productions:
Retro Productions (Heather E. Cunningham, Artistic Director) was founded in 2005 with the mission to present works of retro theatre. Retro is defined as “involving, relating to, or reminiscent of things past (American Heritage Dictionary).” Retro Productions strives to tell good theatrical stories which have an historical perspective – with an emphasis on the 20th century – in order to broaden our own understanding of the world we live in. Over the past 13 years, Retro has produced 20 plays including the 2015 critically acclaimed production of The Butter and Egg Man and The Runner Stumbles which was moved to an off-Broadway run by The Bleecker Company in 2011.

Retro Productions has received 26 New York Innovative Theatre Awards nominations since 2008 – including 2 wins for Outstanding Actress in a Lead, for Kristen Vaughan (Benefactors by Michael Frayn in 2011), and Heather E.  Cunningham (An Appeal to the Woman of the House by Christie Perfetti Williams in 2014). In addition, last year Retro was awarded the prestigious Caffe Cino Fellowship Award. NYIT Nominations include Outstanding Production of a Revival for The Butter and Egg Man in 2015, Outstanding Production of a Play for An Appeal to the Woman of the House in 2014, Benefactors in 2011 and The Desk Set in 2010, Outstanding Original Full-length script for An Appeal to the Woman of the House in 2014, Outstanding Ensemble for Benefactors in 2011, as well as acting and design award nominations. www.retroproductions.org

About the Theater at the 14th Street Y
The Theater at the 14th Street Y focuses on social awareness and change through big picture narrative. Inspired by works that welcome artists of all backgrounds, we place artists at the heart of our community and seek to create an inclusive and open cultural experience for all. Art is incubated here. www.14streety.org

 

Praise for Retro’s Previous Productions

“The production values for this modest production are unusually high. Set, lighting, costumes, and sound are unobtrusive but right on. I hadn’t known this little gem of a play before I saw it this evening, but I’m so glad I discovered it.” – And Miss Reardon Drinks A Little, Hi! Drama

“Riveting revival … The performances in this production are first rate and could not be bettered… Gines’ production is not only brilliantly cast but it also moves with the speed of an Acela train.” – And Miss Reardon Drinks A Little, TheatreScene

“Retro Productions – an exceptionally good company as evidenced by their previous successes – did a truly first rate job in direction, set design and, most tellingly, in the entire cast’s performances in this production as well.” – Alan Miller, A Seat on the Aisle

“Retro Productions excels yet again with this play…This is a beautiful story, eerily brought to life by director DeLisa White.” – An Appeal To The Woman Of The House, NY Theater Now

“This is one helluva revival.” – The Butter and Egg Man, A Seat on the Aisle

“An enjoyably wacky evening in the company of likeable crazies.”
–The Butter and Egg Man, Theatre Scene

“Retro Productions, one of the Off-Off Broadway’s best kept secrets, has been wowing those in the know with one stellar production after another.” – Benefactors, NY Theatre Wire

“I’m off to one of my favorite theater companies: Retro Productions, which unearths plays from the distant past.” – The Desk Set, Theatre Mania

“Whenever I hear that Retro Productions is doing a show, I immediately make a reservation. I love this ambitious company that brings back forgotten plays.” – The Runner Stumbles, Filichia on Friday

“It’s a delicate mix and balance of design, direction and acting that Retro Theatre Productions excels at…Modern theatre is often about The Now or even about The Next, but Retro Productions understands the importance of remembering our recent history. The significance of reflection is always poignantly observed in their revivals.” – The Baltimore Waltz, New York Theatre Review

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *