The Gentlemen Gangster by Stacey Weingarten

What was the inspiration for this play?

Inspiration for this play struck while walking through a neighborhood I’ve known and loved for over a decade: Hell’s Kitchen.  I’ve often lamented to friends that the area has changed immensely in recent history—but with every year that passes, for as much as Hell’s Kitchen is becoming a tourist-friendly hotspot, it somehow still defies being reclassified as ‘Clinton’, the more welcoming name real-estate agents often push for it. When a friend mentioned that a bar I frequented was once a meeting place for the Westies, a violent Irish gang, it reignited my fascination with the history hidden in plain sight and I began reading up on the Irish mob in Hell’s Kitchen. So while I was walking to my favorite local coffee shop one fateful day (Hey, Kahve!), taking in the pride flags in almost every bar window, I wondered… what if a former resident of Hell’s Kitchen (an Irish gangster) were to possess one of its newer residents (an out-and-proud gay man)? Has the neighborhood really changed as much as it seems?

What do you love about NYC?

It’s hard to quantify but New York just feels like home. it’s a cliché, but my heart beats to the rhythm here. There are so many things to adore– from the melting pot of cultures in NYC (so many foods!) to the entertainment (so many shows!) to even the subway  (so many lines, when it’s actually running)– NYC is alive 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. I’m constantly amazed by the rich history hidden in plain sight all around our city, the old in constant dialogue with the new… if only we would stop and notice.

What was your greatest challenge about writing your play?

In terms of the characters, I struggled with striking the right balance between being emotionally grounded yet still heightened. I’m a big believer in the whole “truth in comedy” thing, so while I wanted the play to contain an event that’s unreal, I wanted to ground the high emotional stakes all the characters. When writing comedy you also don’t always know how things are going to land until there’s some kind of audience present. This discovery is something I look forward with every rehearsal as well as the production itself. Wordplay that seems funny on the page doesn’t always translate and physical comedy needs to be physicalized. But an audience will tell you if it’s working, and so I’m grateful to get a chance to share the piece June 8th to 11th at SPF!


sw and rue in hk - 1                                                                            Larry Hamilton/Blue Photography

One of Us by Shelby Smith


Shelby Smith graduated from Christopher Newport University with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre. There she performed in Mary Stuart, Humble Boy, Ah, Wilderness!, The Odd Couple, and Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. She can be seen in the upcoming web series Going Dark. This is Shelby’s first performed written piece and she is so pleased to be participating in the Short Play Festival!

Alpha Betty by Bear Kosik

bearBear Kosik has had three novels, an analysis of the state of democracy in the USA, and many essays, short fiction pieces, poems, and plays published since beginning his third-act career as a writer in 2014. Bear is a resident playwright with the Manhattan Repertory Theatre. He resides in East Greenbush NY, 130 miles north of the Theater District.

The Brother by Lawrence Kessenich



Lawrence Kessenich is a playwright, poet, and former actor. He has had a dozen 10-minute plays produced at festivals. Ronnie’s Charger won the People’s Choice Award in a national competition in Durango, Colorado in 2011, was produced in Boston in 2012 and at the Manhattan Repertory Theatre in New York City in January 2013. His full-length play Anne Frank Lives! was shortlisted for the Ashland New Play Festival. Kessenich studied theatre at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and acted in productions in Wisconsin and Massachusetts, including the roles of Tessman in Hedda Gabler and Chulkaturin in The Journey of the Fifth Horse.



The Brother - Queens ImageWhat was the inspiration for this play? I taught writing in a prison, and heard more than once that inmates felt they needed to escape the influence of their neighborhoods and criminal friends in order to change. Then, I imagined a man who had escaped into a good job and wondered how he would relate to his family and his old neighborhood, and the story grew out of that—with an ending that surprised me. What do you love about NYC? The diversity is what I love most. I just read recently that Queens is the most ethnically diverse neighborhood in the entire world. I think that’s pretty cool. What was your greatest challenge about writing your play? Trying to portray people from a background very different from my own. Having interacted with men in prison for many years helped—for one thing, I learned that most of them are just regular people who have been shaped by unusually challenging circumstances. I hope I’ve represented my characters fairly.

Winston Mugford – Director for One of Us by Shelby Smith

Winston Mugford graduated from Christopher Newport University with a B.A. in Political Science, also majoring in Theatre with an acting concentration, and minoring in Psychology, and Philosophy and Religious Studies. He was previously a part of The Players Theatre February Short Play Festival, starring in the piece Him/Her. He can be seen recently in the Elite Daily web series Gen whY.Winston Mugford Headshot 1 -- 8x10

UNREPRESENTABLE by Linda Ravenswood.

It was first workshopped at The Women’s Centre for Creative Work, Los Angeles, and presented as a reading in The Future Is Female International Playwright’s and Experimental Theatre Festival.  It was first shown at The Eclectic Theatre as part of Feminasty, in April 2017.  This will be its first NYC production.

UNREPRESENTABLELinda Ravenswood is a Performance artist and Poet from Los Angeles.  Her work has appeared at The Broad, The Hammer Museum, LAMAG, UCLA Royce Hall, The Fowler Museum, Highways, The Bootleg Theatre, USC Visions and Voices, Enigma (London), and Casa Del Tunel (Mexico). She was on the short list for Poet Laureate of Los Angeles, 2017.

The Cotter-Uniman writing team: Kevin M. Cotter- composer and Diane Uniman – book & lyrics.



“Triangle 146 the musical is the newest collaboration between the multi-award-winning writing team of Cotter-Uniman. The inspiration for this project came from Diane’s husband, Howard, who had been asking her to write a musical about the Triangle Factory fire for years, but she feared it would take her and her audience to a “dark place.”  As she  began to read the history, she became excited about an uplifting and inspiring approach that she wanted to tell.  Luckily, when she presented this angle to Cotter he was on board. Thus, through fictional characters, Uniman created a perspective that reveals people who were  passionate about life and love, people who laughed more than they cried, and the push and pull of social issues going through enlightenment and transformation. Ultimately, as Uniman coincidentally wrote while writing this show and becoming a recent breast cancer survivor, Triangle 146 is about the all-important quality of resilience that is available to us all, even in the most challenging times.”

Players Theatre Short Play & Musical Line-up Announced

Only In New York

We are pleased to announce the selected
plays & musicals for the 2017
Short Play & Musical Festival – NYC
June 8 – 25, 2017
Thur / Fri / Sat at 7p and Sun at 3p


WEEK 1: June 8-11, 2017

Ms Liberty and Her Chastity Belt by Garin Cycholl
Always With Me by Walter Thinnes
The Gentleman Gangster by Stacey Weingarten
Unrepresentable by Linda Ravenswood
Triangle 146 – excerpt from musical by Kevin M. Cotter (music) and Diane Uniman (book & lyrics)

WEEK 2: June 15-18, 2017

Men vs Women by Steve Gold
The Most Lamentable Tragedy of The Bull of Queens by Brian Scanlan
Alpha Betty by Bear Kosik
One of Us by Shelby Smith
James and the Big Apple 2: Unrequited, a Love Story by Eric Fletcher

WEEK 3: June 22-25, 2017

My Fair Bourgie by Stephen Bracco
The Brother by Lawrence Kessenich
The Manhattan Medium by Anne V. Grob
Ladies in Waiting by Miranda Jackel
Football Game by Mark William Butler


June 8 – 25, 2017
The Steve & Marie Sgouros Theatre at The Players Theatre (3rd floor*)
115 MacDougal Street, New York, NY  10012

3 weeks, 4 performances weekly (Thursday through Sunday)
5 plays and musicals featured each week.

THEME:   NYC – Only in New York

New York City is like no other place in the world!  Experience plays and musicals that get to the heart of the Big Apple and explore what makes this town tick.  Unique New York – it’s more than a tongue twister – it is a way of life! 

The Steve & Marie Sgouros Theatre
115 MacDougal Street, 3rd Floor of the Players Theatre

Week Three Winner of SPF – SEX!

Congratulations to Phillip Gerson – Playwright
of The Big No

Week Three Winner of
SEX! 2017

Phillip Gerson

Phillip Gerson Week 3 Winner

The BIg No was directed by Jill Rousseau. The talented cast starred: Jim Anderson and Courtney Stallings

About the Play:
In this play, a husband must overcome fears of erotic jargon to fulfill his wife’s fantasy.

About the Cast and Creative Team:

Phillip Gerson (playwright) Phillip is a writer, sound designer, and teaching artist living in Brooklyn. Some recent happenings… His piece THE LAST TWO BOXES was produced in a Phoenix short play festival, his sound design was featured in Target Margin Theater’s UNSEEN O’NEILL PLAYS series, and his adapted one-act IN TIME FOR THE POSTMAN was commissioned by the National Endowment for the Humanities. In NYC, his work has been presented at Abrons Art Center, Playwrights Horizons, Theatre Row, Anthology Film Archives, and many more. After earning his MFA in Playwriting at The New School for Drama, he began teaching the craft at Project FIND and producing Brooklyn Public Media.

Jill Rousseau (director) Jill is an emerging multi-disciplinary artist living in Brooklyn, whose movement-based work is funny, feminist, and unpredictable.  Her solo The Best Time I Broke My Arm, created soon after she really did break her arm, was called one of the highlights of the 2014 Performance Mix Festival at HERE Arts Center by the NY Theatre Wire. Jill’s artistic home is the Tank, where as the dance curator she created the unique series xyz nyc, presents evening-length work by a wide range of emerging artists, performs her own choreography, directed the world premiere of Phillip Gerson’s play Changing the Sheets, and is a member of the Board of Directors. Jill has danced, choreographed, and/or created costumes for many independent artists and productions in NYC, including Emmy-award winner Moira Demos, Reverend Billy, Jody Sperling/Time Lapse Dance, Leyya Tawil/Dance Elixer, The Whitest Kids U’Know, Bond St Theatre, Deb Silver, and The Move Shop. Jill is a member of the New Dance Alliance Board of Directors and the 2014 Artist Advisory Panel. She earned a BA in Theater and Dance from Trinity College and attended the Trinity/La MaMa program.

Courtney Stallings ( WOMAN): Courtney Renee Stallings is an actor, writer, and filmmaker in NYC. Latest work includes her short film “Cocked” (actor/co-writer/director). B.F.A., USF/Performing Arts and Social Justice. M.F.A., New School for Drama/Acting.

Jim Anderson ( MAN): Jim Anderson graduated from the New School for Drama in 2013 and is a founding member of New Dance Theatre and Hazard Rep. Jim will appear in Asylum by New Dance Theatre this July. Other credits include Henry in Mud,  Friar Laurence in R&J: The Web-Series, Pericles in Pericles, Claudius in Hamlet and Tupolski in The Pillowman.