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If you've never caught theAtrainplays you don't know what you're missing... Genuinely great theatre with an insanely talented group of up-and-comers.
Produced by Atrainproductions in association with the Neighborhood Playhouse, theAtrainplays are a series of popular, consistently sold-out theatrical events that celebrate New York. Under the guidance of producer Larry Feeney and headwriters Craig Pospisil and David Riedy, each show is created by six teams in the time it takes to travel the entire route of the A train from 207th Street & Broadway to Far Rockaway in Brooklyn. I've ridden/written with them twice and am proud to call myself part of this theatrical family.
"The entertainment content and energy level in the room are both substantially higher than at any random Broadway show...the product is astonishingly excellent and proves to be a zestfully stimulating, one-of-a-kind theatre experience. I'll be there, and you should be too."
Martin Denton, nytheatre.com
“The audience enjoyed itself to no end. Lots of fun.”
Clyde Haberman, New York Times
The Producing Office (Rent, Avenue Q)
"Get in on this!"
Liz Smith, New York Post
“A fascinating venture... You must take the A train.”
Michael Portantiere, theatermania.com
“Artistic limits stricter and stranger than any Danish film collective could have dreamed up.”
Randy Kennedy, New York Times
a subversive act by Shawn Nacol
written & produced in Atrainplays XXII, June 2007 at New World Stages
An international adverterrorist on the run from the FCC dismantles the screens in Times Square leaving NYers with nothing to look at but... each other. An enthusiastic couch potato with a deep-rooted phobia of Connie Chung's nosehair helps to change the channel and change the World.
This Atrainplay was originally written for actors Lisa Barnes, Melanie Vaughan, and Eric Michael Gillett and directed by the reDONKulous David Hilder.
a dismemb-o luau
by Shawn Nacol
music & lyrics by Lanny Meyers
written & produced in Atrainplays XIV, September 2004 and sold out in its initial run
revived in Atrain(re)plays at Playwrights Horizons, March 2005
Redonculous! A Frankie-n-Annette beach musical that seems so wrong but feels so boss. The kooky saga of a gang of surfbums hanging ten on the MTA. What's worse than teen angst? Try shooting the curl underground without losin' a Limb-o... Dude! We double-dog-dare you.
Martin Denton of NYTheatre.com called it the "cheerfully tasteless" but "darkly comic" standout in an evening of "astonishing excellence " and "sheer joyous fun."
This Atrainmusical was originally written for actors Erica Ash, David Hilder, Cynthia Pierce and Jay Rogers and directed by the incomparable Edie Cowan.
a train of thought by Shawn Nacol
written & produced in Atrainplays XII, February 2004
Miserably married Manhattanites find their lives hijacked in the wee hours by two crazed Russian sisters with a gun, terrible timing, and a strange effect on time... Suicide attempts, felonies, and imaginary adultery propel them through a few pasts, a few futures, and the probability of improbability.
This Atrainplay was originally written for actors Jane Petrov, Rob Sheridan, Amy Territo, and Alexandra Wijkman and directed by the charming Gary Kingston.
Atrain(re)plays : 42nd Street of March 2005!
theAtrain(re)plays revisited the greatest rides at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater at Playwrights Horizons on 42nd Street, March 1-13, 2005. Though it's long past, you can still download the spiffy postcard with all the info here:
What the hey's an Atrainplay?
I usually compare it to jumping out of a plane and sewing your parachute on the way down... but in concrete terms, it goes something like this:
All of the shows are set on the A train and created on the A train. The evening before the first performance, three librettists meet the producers at 207th Street. Picking a number between 3 and 5 to determine the number of characters, the librettists cast their show by choosing that number of headshots in a blind draw. Cast in hand, the writers hop on the A train and begin writing the books for three 15-minute musicals.
When the librettists reach the Far Rockaway stop, they randomly select, through another blind draw, their collaborative lyricists, composers and choreographers, who have been awaiting their arrival at a nearby McDonalds! Now teamed, the collaborators board the train to head back uptown.
Also at Far Rockaway, 3 playwrights join the train for the journey back to 207th Street while creating their own one-act plays, also set on the A train.
At 207th Street, six directors meet the creators and are assigned to a show, again by blind draw. Everyone heads down to Columbus Circle where they meet the pre-selected actors, decipher their scribbles, copy the scripts and head to the theatre for a readthrough to set the shows' order.
Each team only has until show time THE NEXT DAY at 8:00 p.m. to weave these newly-minted theatrical experiences into as show to be shared, fully produced and off book, with the audience at the Neighborhood Playhouse, 24 hours later. Nuff said.