Queens Theatre and Museum Arts Culture Access Consortium will present EMILY DRIVER’S GREAT RACE THROUGH TIME AND SPACE! reading July 29 to benefit Theatre For All
(Photo by Jamie Scott Lytle. The 504 Sit-In Protest scene from the La Jolla Playhouse POP Tour! production of Emily Driver’s Great Race Through Time and Space!)
Queens, NY – Queens Theatre (QT) and The Museum, Arts & Culture Access Consortium (MAC) announced today that A.A. Brenner and Gregg Mozgala’s EMILY DRIVER’S GREAT RACE THROUGH TIME AND SPACE! will receive a virtual play reading on July 29 at 2:00 PM ET. Directed by Evan T. Cummings, the cast includes Thomas Ellenson, Anthony Lopez, Nora Brigid Monahan, Alejandra Ospina, and Jessy Yates.
The play follows the story of a young girl who has to travel through the space-time continuum to fight the forces of ableism and save disability history!
The reading, to be presented live on Zoom and simulcast on Queens Theatre’s website, is presented as a fundraiser to benefit QT’s Theatre For All (TFA) initiative and will be the culminating event of MAC’s four-part ADA30 celebration. Viewers are encouraged to make donations via the Queens Theatre website at www.queenstheatre.org.
The play was originally commissioned and produced by La Jolla Playhouse and presented with National Disability Theatre in 2019-2020 for La Jolla Playhouse’s 2020 POP Tour. This month, it was selected for the Kilroys 2020 list honoring cancelled or postponed plays due to the Covid-19 Pandemic written by Women, Trans and Non-Binary writers in the American Theatre.
“I was originally inspired by a social media post about Bobbie Lea Bennett, a disabled transgender woman who drove from San Diego to Washington, D.C., in 1978 to demand that Medicaid pay for their gender affirmation surgery,” said Gregg Mozgala, co-author and Queens Theatre Director of Inclusion. “Immediately, I knew I wanted A.A. (Brenner who co-wrote the piece), to help me tell this story. While developing the piece we realized Bobbie’s story was happening concurrently with watershed events to secure rights and equality for the larger Disabled Community. Emily Driver highlights stories like Bennett’s, and other events in the Disability Rights Movement that led up to the signing of the ADA in 1990, including the 504 sit-ins and the Denver ADAPT bus protests.”
“Theatre For All” (TFA) is an initiative that aims to increase and improve the representation and engagement of the Disabled community in the performing arts. Launched by Queens Theatre in 2017, Theatre For All has produced works by and with disabled writers and performers, provided intensive workshops for early career disabled theatre professionals, hosted national conferences and convenings, and expanded accessibility services at Queens Theatre. Co-author Gregg Mozgala leads the TFA program in his role of Director of Inclusion at Queens Theatre. MAC is thrilled to be supporting this important initiative to advance the pipeline of Disabled artists and theatre professionals into creative careers.
The reading will feature on-screen captions and American Sign Language interpretation. Audio Description will be incorporated into the script. The stream will remain available for viewing until August 1, 2020. More information about the reading and registration links can be found here.
About Queens Theatre
Queens Theatre is the premier performing arts venue in Queens. Queens Theatre’s mission is to provide quality and diverse performing arts activities that are economically and geographically accessible to the 2.2 million residents of Queens, the most ethnically diverse county in the nation, and the surrounding metropolitan region. To foster greater cultural awareness and appreciation, the Theatre presents and produces programs that reflect this diversity and features international, national and local artists. Queens Theatre’s facilities, located in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, have been closed since early March due to COVID-19. During the closure, the Theatre has launched Queens Theatre At Home, a digital programming initiative providing cultural, community, and educational activities, including moderated discussion groups, workshops and seminars for students, live performances and play readings.
MAC is an organization striving toward increasing access to NYC’s cultural institutions for the disability community through connection, education, and advocacy. Following the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, the Museum, Arts and Culture Access Consortium (MAC) was formed by a small group of museum and disability professionals that started meeting informally to discuss topics related to accessibility at their New York-based institutions. Today, MAC is an association that regularly hosts professional development workshops and offers a network of mutual support to help practitioners engage with disability advocates and people who have disabilities to learn about, implement, and strengthen best practices for access and inclusion in cultural facilities of all types throughout the New York metro area and beyond.
A.A. Brenner is a playwright, dramaturg, and New Yorker. Their writing blends naturalistic dialogue with heightened realism to explore queer, Jewish, and disability themes, challenging both societal power structures and theatrical form. A.A.’s plays have been produced or commissioned by La Jolla Playhouse, National Disability Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Company (Fellows Consortium), Three Muses Theatre Company, Young Playwrights Inc., The Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts, Columbia University, and The Hangar Theatre Lab Company, among others, and they were featured on the Kilroys’ 2020 List. Currently, A.A. resides in Manhattan with their cockapoo Cody, and is a third-year MFA candidate at Columbia University School of the Arts. Website: www.aabrenner.com
Gregg Mozgala is an award winning actor and playwright. His plays have been presented Off Broadway with Theatre Breaking Through Barriers, Ensemble Studio Theater and regionally at the Kennedy Center and La Jolla Playhouse. As founder and artistic director of The Apothetae; a company dedicated to producing works that explore and illuminate the “Disabled Experience,” he helped to launch The Apothetae/Lark Playwriting Fellowship; the first-ever national fellowship for disabled playwrights, which is currently in its second round. Gregg is a former member of Youngblood; Ensemble Studio Theatre’s OBIE-winning collective of emerging, professional playwrights under the age of thirty. In 2017, he was named a Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellow. He has served as a mentor for the Kennedy Center’s Playwright Discovery Program; an annual, national competition that invites middle and high school students to examine how disability affects their lives, the lives of others and to express their views through the art of script writing. Mr. Mozgala is currently the Director of Inclusion at Queens Theatre.
Evan T. Cummings
Evan T. Cummings is a NYC-based director and playwright. He has directed productions and staged readings with Queens Theatre, The Lark, New York Theatre Workshop, The Culture Project, Luna Stage, Fault Line Theatre, Geva Theatre Center, The Walnut Street Theatre, and The Private Theatre. He has directed readings of Andrew Rosendorf’s Paper Cut (an O’Neill National Conference finalist) at New York Theatre Workshop and for Queens Theatre’s New American Voices Reading Series. Also with Queens Theatre, Evan was the dramaturg for Leaving Brooklyn, is an advisor for the “Theatre for All” Actor Training Program, and a director for Park Plays, the Queens College New Play Showcase and the TFA Plays Reading Series.
Evan was a Directing Fellow at Geva Theatre Center, and an SDCF Observership Fellow. He is an SDC Associate member, an Advisory Board member for Queens Theatre’s TFA program, a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, and a graduate of the drama school at Carnegie Mellon University.