Fall 2020 Virtual Reading Series
Rob Urbinati, Director of New Play Development
By Anita Yellin Simons and Lojo Simon
Directed by Will Pomerantz
Premiering December 16, 2020 at 8:00 PM
Available until December 20, 2020
(* denotes member of Actors Equity)
Caroline Aaron * June Ballinger *
Technical Production and Video Editing: Jay Rogers
Anita Yellin Simons is a political activist and playwright who combines her love of history and activism in her many award-winning plays. Her first play, GOODBYE MEMORIES, about Anne Frank before going into hiding, was produced by the La Jolla JCC in 2011. HEARTLAND (co-written with Lojo Simon), about German POWs working on American farms and what happened to thousands of German-Americans sent to internment camps during WWII, was produced by MiraCosta College in 2008. Later plays include THIS WE’LL DEFEND, about female rape in the military, IN SANITY, about a family's struggle with teenage drug addiction, SILENCE IS NOT GOLDEN, about domestic abuse in the late 1960s, and a personal drama, FAMILY MYSTIQUE, set in 1963, which had a reading at Scripps Ranch Theater in 2018. Simons' most recent plays are PLAYIN' FOR JIM CROW, about the all-female jazz group International Sweethearts of Rhythm, and THE LEISURE SET, a comedy about life in a very active senior community.
Lojo Simon is a polycreative, playwright, dramaturg, Laguna Beach Literary Laureate Emerita and curator of Bare Bones new play reading series at Laguna Playhouse, where she is a teaching artist and former literary manager. She wrote the book and lyrics for Creede Repertory Theatre’s Young Audience Outreach Tours BEST FOOT FORWARD (2019), SEEDS OF CHANGE (2018), and ALBERT PORTER, BOY EXPLORER (2017). Her family-friendly works NICE & SLOW (Old Miner Playwriting Award, Noorda Center for Children and Youth), HERO ZERO, PLUM LUCK, GORILLA BALLERINA and HEARTLAND (w/Anita Simons, Dayton Playhouse FutureFest winner, KCACTF Finalist) all are published by YouthPLAYS. Other plays include RELIC, OR I WAS BUBBIE’S FAVORITE BY JOEL FEINMAN (Queens Theatre), ADORATION OF DORA (David Mark Cohen National Playwriting Award), ONE FOOT (Idiom Theatre, Minneapolis Fringe, Salt Lake Fringe), MI CORAZON (Anna Zornio Award finalist, Dramatic Publishing-forthcoming), J’OY VEY (w/Anita Simons, Queens Theatre), and MOSCOW (Sam French OOB Festival, City Theatre National New Play Award, KCACTF Ten Minute Play Award, Best of Tribal Humor Festival, Heideman Award finalist). Lojo is a member of the Dramatists Guild, Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, and the New Play Exchange. www.lojosimon.com
Director: Will Pomerantz
Will has directed and developed new plays and musicals with such theatres as The Guthrie, American Repertory Theatre, 2nd Stage, Playwrights Horizons, The Public Theatre, Hartford Stage, New York Theater Workshop, The Signature Theatre, The Kennedy Center, Soho Rep, Culture Project, The Williamstown Theatre Festival, The Studio Theatre, Epic Theatre Ensemble, The Mark Taper Forum and Ensemble Studio Theater.
He has directed world premieres by such playwrights as John Guare, David Auburn, Neil LaBute, Craig Lucas, Kia Corthron, David Lindsay-Abaire, Stephen Belber, Noah Haidle, Linda Cho, Kira Obolensky, and Russell Davis. In addition to his work on new plays, Will has also directed texts by Chekhov, Ibsen, Strindberg, Shakespeare, Shaw and Sophocles.
Will is currently Associate Artistic Director for Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor, NY, where he has directed The Last Night of Ballyhoo, My Witch, and his newly envisioned production of EVITA, which became the highest-grossing stage production in Bay Street Theater’s twenty-seven year history.
Caroline Aaron is a professional actress who is known to theatre, film and television audiences as well as a published author and playwright. Caroline made her Broadway debut in Robert Altman’s “Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean,Jimmy Dean” and later appeared in the film. The following Broadway season, she starred in the Jose Quintero/Jason Robards’ revival of “The Iceman Cometh”. She next starred in Mike Nichols’s Broadway smash comedy “Social Security”. Mr. Nichols first directed her on film in “Heartburn”. She re-teamed with Mr. Nichols for “Working Girl”, “Primary Colors”,and “What Planet Are You From?” She returned to Broadway starring in “I Hate Hamlet.” She headlined the west coast premiere of Wendy Wasserstein’s “The Sisters Rosensweig” and was acknowledged with both a Helen Hayes and Dramalogue Award. Most recently she starred on Broadway in Woody Allen’s comedy “Honeymoon Hotel”. She recently starred In Lincoln Center’s award winning play “A Kid Like Jake.”
On film Caroline is a frequent collaborator with great directors including Mike Nichols, Nora Ephron, Robert Altman, Paul Mazursky and Woody Allen. She has appeared in over a hundred films. They include Crimes and Misdemeanors, Heartburn, Sleepless in Seattle, as well as 21 & 22 Jump Street, The Rewrite, Just Like Heaven”, “Nancy Drew”, “Surveillance”, “Love Comes Lately”, “Edward Scissorhands, “Anywhere But Here”, The Big Night”, and “Bounce” among others.
Television audiences are also familiar with her work. A partial list of her television appearances include Secrets and Lies, The Millers, “Madam Secretary, The Good Fight”, “Private Practice”, all the “CSI’s” all the “Law & Orders”, Two Broke Girls,, “Sex and The City”, “Curb Your Enthusiasm among others. She has been a recurring character on Episodes, Transparent, and currently stars in the Amazon hit series The Marvelous Mrs Maisel.
Caroline began writing several years ago and several of her essays on parenting have been published. Her first play, “Such A Pretty Face” has been optioned and will open Off- Broadway in the fall of 2020.
June Ballinger has performed on Broadway, off-Broadway and in numerous regional theatres across the country. Television: NBC’s The Blacklist; Amazon’s Hunters; NBC’s Law&Order. Film: Most recently she played Louella Henry in the recently released Sundance selected film All Rise (Monster). June is a member of NYC’s Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Actors Center and The National Alliance of Acting Teachers. She wrote, performs and tours Remembrance Day inspired by the life of her mother, a British WWII Bletchley Park code-breaker. June is Artistic Director Emeritus of Passage Theatre in New Jersey. She continues to produce, write and perform and is also an acting teacher and coach. She serves on the board of New Federal Theatre in NYC. www.JuneBallinger.com www.RemembranceDayPlay.com
We wish to express our gratitude to the Performers’ Unions:
ACTORS’ EQUITY ASSOCIATION
AMERICAN GUILD OF MUSICAL ARTISTS
AMERICAN GUILD OF VARIETY ARTISTS
through Theatre Authority, Inc. for their cooperation in permitting the Artists to appear on this program.
Queens Theatre at Home is proud to continue to serve our community through online programming.
It's not possible without our generous partners.
Howard Gilman Foundation
Jerome Robbins Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts - Cares
NYC Department of Cultural Affairs
New York State Council on the Arts
The Shubert Foundation
Taryn Sacramone, Executive Director
Connie Baker, Rentals and Events Manager
Victor Catano, Production Manager
Dominic D'Andrea, Director of Community Engagement
Richard Hinojosa, Director of Education
Alexis Lubin, Finance Manager
Willy Mosquera, Front of House Manager
Gregg Mozgala, Director of Inclusion
Bernadette Ott, Development Manager
Jay Rogers, General Manager
Rob Urbinati, Director of New Play Development
Sheila Xia-Ryan, Social Media Manager
Board of Directors
Gary Kesner, President
Tracy Capune, Vice President
Bruce Levine, Treasurer
Mark Misk, Secretary
Susan B. Lipsky
Frances A. Resheske, Board President Emeritus
Bill DeBlasio, New York City Mayor
Gonzalo Casals, Commissioner, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs
Sharon Lee, Interim Queens Borough President
Michael Dockett, Queens Borough Commissioner, NYC Department of Parks & Recreation