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The Modern Stage


FIGMENT reading at Drama League Theater Center

The Drama League of New York presents


a free reading of a new comedy by Tom Sime
directed by Eric Michael Gillett

Monday, January 12, 2015   7:30 PM
The Drama League Theater Center
32 Avenue of the Americas, New York City

In Tom Sime's new comedy Figment, David and Judy, a stylish London couple, find themselves bedeviled by a ghost only one of them can see: Simon, a young American who tells David how attractive he is and announces he'll be haunting him. David, a contemporary art dealer, is soon encountering Simon everywhere he goes, while Judy is increasingly puzzled by her husband's behavior as he tries to conceal his predicament. Despite his loathing of Americans, David lets Judy persuade him to relocate to the U.S. with her for a fresh start and, he secretly hopes, escape from the ghost. But Simon follows and settles in with them in New York, where David is not at all won over by the culture, but at last begins to find other people who can see his ghost.

MAC Award-winning director and acclaimed performer Eric Michael Gillett directs a cast headed by Edward Baker-Duly ("Downton Abbey," "The Blacklist," Broadway's upcoming The King and I), and co-starring LaTanya Hall ("Blue Bloods"), Dathan B. Williams (Associate Artistic Director of Harlem Shakespeare Festival), Rin Allen (Associate Artist at New York Classical Theatre), and Daniel Marconi (Mary Poppins on Broadway), with Parker Scott as narrator.

The Drama League Theater Center is located on the ground floor of the AT&T Building, a beautiful Art Deco palace at 32 Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Avenue) between Walker and Lispenard Streets, just south of Canal Street in Tribeca. Take the A, C or E trains to Canal Street; the AT&T building is directly atop the downtown end of the station.

Many thanks to The Drama League of New York for hosting this event.

The reading is free, but space is limited. Please register here:

from left: Edward Baker-Duly, Rin Allen, Dathan B. Williams, LaTanya Hall, Daniel Marconi


The film version of “Catching Up”

From Tom Sime:

I’m happy to report that the first film adaptation of one of my plays, Catching Up, is in pre-production in New Mexico. This one-act, which premiered at the Gallery Players’ Black Box New Play Festival in Brooklyn earlier this year, is being adapted and directed by Deborah Voorhees of Billy Shakespeare fame. Deborah and I, former colleagues at The Dallas Morning News, collaborated on the screenplay. Catching Up is a dark comedy about Fred (Jeremiah Z. Woods), a paroled murderer, and the volunteer who comes to his remote house to visit with him, a self-absorbed socialite named Sally (Molly Wickwire-Sante). Please visit Indiegogo to learn more about the project, hear from Deborah and her actors, and see me give a selfie interview in the ugly reading glasses I forgot to take off. I had originally imagined this as an urban tale, but Deborah sets it in Nogal in southern New Mexico, an otherworldly landscape I’ve fallen in love with from a distance; you can see it in this video. At Gallery Players, there were two actors and a couch. Now we’ve got mountains, a whole bunch of people, a couple of cars, a prison, a dog-- even some chickens. The music is by the raw and edgy Secret Circus, created by twins Klas and Joel Ahman in Stockholm, Sweden and influenced by vintage '70s Hendrix and Pink Floyd; and the New Mexico-based trio Gleewood, purveyors of psychedelic acoustic rock band including Jhett Schiavone (guitar, vocals), Callie Sioux (bass, vocals) and Miles Erdman (drums). None of this comes free (well, except for me), so that’s why we’re on Indiegogo. Fundraising is already well under way, and if you can help with a donation of any size, to compensate and feed our cast and crew, that would be fantastic.

Indiegogo page: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/catching-up-a-dark-comedy

More from the playwright on the evolution of the play and screenplay: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9gSjYipbiY

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“Catching Up” at Black Box New Play Festival

The short play Catching Up was presented by the Gallery Players in Brooklyn, NY as part of the 17th Annual Black Box New Play Festival in June 2014. It was directed by Adrian Wattenmaker. Pictured: Shawn Parsons and Rachel Errington.  The 30-minute Catching Up is a dark two-character comedy in which Sally, a well-to-do widow and newly minted social-work volunteer, goes to visit Fred, a recently paroled murderer, as part of a program to reintegrate him into society. The vast gulf between their worlds is gradually narrowed as they talk, but Sally starts to acclimate to Fred's way of thinking considerably more than the other way around. Photo by Adrian Wattenmaker.

Director Deborah Voorhees is currently planning a film adaptation of the play, to be shot in New Mexico this fall.

Shawn Parsons and Rachel Errington in Catching Up at the Gallery Players, 2014.

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Write Out Front at Drama Book Shop

Tom Sime is one of the 125+ playwrights participating in WRITE OUT FRONT. During two-hour time slots from August 1-31, 2014, a writer or writer's team will write a new play in the storefront window of the Drama Book Shop in New York, with a screen shot of their computer visible to the street. See writers create new worlds, find inspiration and try to avoid Facebook (or not). Tom's slot is on Saturday, August 30, from 5 to 7 pm. The Drama Book Shop is at 250 West 40th St., between Broadway and 8th Avenue.

Below, a collage of the playwrights' portraits.

WRITE OUT FRONT was created to bring awareness to the time, space, resources and support that playwrights need to work and grow. It celebrates the tenacity that artists possess in the face of challenging economic times and endeavors to demystify the creative process in order to inspire the creative impulse that exists in us all.  For more information on the installation visit www.theaterspeak.org.


The 1st Dallas One-Minute Play Festival

Tom Sime will have two plays included in the First Dallas One-Minute Play Festival, to be held August 16-18, 2014, in Dallas, Texas, Tom's longtime home before relocating to the New York area in 2008. The plays, written especially for the festival, will be directed by Nico Martini. The festival will be held at Dallas' much-acclaimed Kitchen Dog Theater. Read more here. #1MPF

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“Starters” at StrangeDog Beer Battered Play Festival

The short romantic comedy Starters by Tom Sime has been chosen for StrangeDog Theatre Company's First Third Annual Beer Battered Play Festival, to be presented at Tierney's Tavern in lovely Montclair, NJ on March 21 & 22, 2014 (the full lineup of plays is presented starting at 8 pm each night).

In Starters, directed by Adrian Wattenmaker, Tad (Arthur Kriklivy) and Evy (Ana Bell), a young couple on their third date, realize they've fallen in love, and strive with tenderness and giddy candor to express their feelings to each other.

Also included in the fest are Dinks by Ben Diserens, San Diego by Lee Ann Hoover, Scrimmage by Phoebe Farber and Drinks, Dinner, and DNA by Seth Freeman. StrangeDog promises "more live music, more drunken judges awards, and more fun at Tierney's Tavern Upstairs than should be legal."

Tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets here http://bbpf2k14.brownpapertickets.com

More info here http://www.strangedogtheatre.com

and here https://www.facebook.com/events/408023735987296/

Ana Bell

Arthur Kriklivy

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New play FIGMENT has first reading in New York

Tom Sime's newest play is Figment, a comedy set in London and New York. The first public reading of the play, directed by Eric Michael Gillett and presented at EMG Studios/Singers Forum in Manhattan on November 10, 2013, was received with extremely encouraging gales of laughter. Tom has since made further refinements and improvements, and Figment will be presented again soon in a more fully staged reading, also directed by Mr. Gillett.

Synopsis: Figment follows the adventures of a fashionable London couple in their 30s, David and Judy, who find themselves haunted by a ghost only one of them can see: Simon, a young American who tells David how attractive he is and announces he’ll be haunting him. David, a contemporary art dealer, begins to encounter Simon everywhere he goes, and Judy is increasingly puzzled by David’s behavior as he tries to conceal his predicament. Despite his loathing of Americans, David lets Judy persuade him to relocate to the U.S. with her for a fresh start and, he secretly hopes, escape from the ghost. But Simon follows and settles in with them in New York, where David is not at all won over by the culture, but is reassured he’s not insane by the fact that Gordon, a randomly encountered homeless street preacher, is also able to see Simon. Only then does David confess to Judy what he’s been going through, prompting her to seek the help of a psychic, Felicia. Though Felicia is also unable to see or hear Simon, who ridicules her as a fraud, she proves her mettle in a climactic comic revelation of Simon’s true nature and motives, leading to a surprising and moving conclusion.

5 characters. Approximately 95 minutes.

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BLOODLETTERS readings at New Jersey Rep, Stage West

Bloodletters by Tom Sime will have two readings in March, as the show moves closer to opening Off-Broadway during the 2011-2012 season.
Stage West in Fort Worth hosts a reading of the play on Sunday, March 27 at 7 pm. The reading will be directed by co-producer Joe Black and features Cindee Mayfield and Rebekah Kennedy, who both performed in the play's first workshop production in Dallas in 2008, along with Dana Schultes, Trey Walpole and Bryan Pitts, with Shane Strawbridge as narrator.
Stage West is located at 821 West Vickery Boulevard in Fort Worth, Texas. Admission is free. RSVP to LoneStarStudios@yahoo.com for reserved seats, or take your chances at the door. A talk back will take place after the show.
New Jersey Repertory Company will present a reading of Bloodletters on Monday, March 28 at 7 pm. Joel Stone directs a cast featuring Gina Boland, Marc Geller, Dan Domingues, Deborah Baum and Kate Kenney, with Alice Connerton as narrator. The reading is free and first-come, first-served; no reservations are accepted. The performance will be followed by a talk-back with the company and playwright.
NJ Rep is located at 179 Broadway, Long Branch, New Jersey. For more information call 732-229-3166 or visit www.njrep.org.

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BLOODLETTERS reading in Dallas, October 26

The Modern Stage and Broadway producers Sandi and Joe Black present a reading of Bloodletters, a comedy-thriller by Tom Sime, for potential investors and other theatre lovers. The reading is Tuesday, Oct. 26 at 7:15 p.m. at Pocket Sandwich Theatre, 5400 E. Mockingbird Lane, #119, in Dallas. Admission is free; R.S.V.P. to LoneStarStudios@yahoo.com for reserved seats or take your chances at the door, which opens at 6:15 p.m. for dinner and light refreshments.

Elizabeth Van Winkle and Cindee Mayfield in Bloodletters, Dallas, 2008. Photo by George Wada.

Carnage and comedy meet in Bloodletters when friction leaps out a writer’s computer. Grace, a successful author of scary stories, uses her family as unwilling models for characters in her sexy, new work. Hubby's sexual frustration, daughter's neurosis and granddaughter's fascination with horror become amplified to deathly proportions, taking audiences on a roller-coaster of laughter, shock and suspense, as these worlds careen on parallel courses.

A stellar Dallas-Fort Worth cast features Cindee Mayfield Dobbs, Dennis Millegan, Elizabeth Van Winkle, Trista Wyly, Andrew Dillon and Shane Strawbridge. Cindee and Elizabeth reprise their roles from the wild, 2008 workshop. The actors each play two characters, in Grace's quiet suburban world, and in her story about a vampire playboy and his gay henchman. Mr. Black directs.

Bloodletters was developed for more than three years, including readings and workshop productions in Dallas and Theatres @ 45 Bleecker in New York City. It had a tune-up reading with Tony and Drama Desk Award-winner Karen Ziemba this June. The producers plan an Off Broadway run in beginning March, 2011.

Sime says, “The character of Grace was inspired by Joyce Carol Oates,” the bestselling novelist noted for disturbing violence in her fiction. The playwright idolized Oates and interviewed her while an arts writer at The Dallas Morning News. “I always wondered how such a meek-seeming, delicate person could imagine such mayhem. Did she tap into some alternate universe of Grand Guignol, or was the violence she dreamt up a grotesque metaphor for her own suppressed rage?” It was this question, rather than the life or works of Oates, that gave rise to the play.

Bloodletters was first presented by WingSpan Theatre Company in a staged reading directed by Robin Armstrong in 2007. Response from audiences and critics was intense and enthusiastic. Ms. Armstrong then directed the first workshop at Teatro Dallas, whipping the play into producible form.

Glenn Arbery of People Newspapers called the play "…A domestic comedy routed through Anne Rice and Stephen King…. Audiences might be surprised at what lurks in Tom Sime’s imagination. Let’s just say it could make Quentin Tarantino wince.”

Alexandra Bonifield wrote on Lakewood-Now.net, “Two threads of action, full of striking twists and turns and peopled with intriguing characters unfold in a riveting and sexually-charged plot that finally ties all loose ends together in a totally chilling, satisfying and unexpected manner. Hold on to your seats—it’s a breathless ride from the moment the lights come up.”

This play contains scandalous, irreverent language and is gory, with gay undertones, perfect for Off Broadway. No one under 18 will be admitted. Running time with intermission is about two hours. If you would like to view a Bloodletters prospectus, please contact the producers.

For more information: Sandi and Joe Black (972) 407-1437 cell (707) 758-8883,
Tom Sime (214) 883-8621 (212) 260-8250;
Taylor-Made Press, Lisa Taylor (214) 943-1099

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next BLOODLETTERS reading July 26

Joe & Sandi Black & The Modern Stage offer BLOODLETTERS, a very wicked comedy by Tom Sime, for producers, angels and other theatre lovers. Proposed for Off Broadway, the script was workshopped in Dallas in 2008 and showcased in NY in ’09. The performance is Monday evening, July 26, 2010, 7:30 P.M. in the Green Room, downstairs at Theatres at 45 Bleecker, 45 Bleecker St. at Lafayette in the East Village/NoHo area. Admission is free. Email BloodlettersNY@gmail.com for reservations. Subway: take the 6 train to Bleecker, or the B, D, F or M to Broadway/Lafayette.

Bloodletters is clever comedy for adults and mature teens. It reveals a nifty grandma writing a vampire script with characters based on her family, and her story, roiling with lust. The actors transfer seamlessly into different roles in both worlds. Grandpa resents his lowly portrayal, trying to determine what his wife really thinks of him. A precocious grandchild reads the forbidden thriller and figures out who's who; and her protective mom’s unusual conflict interweaves with the bloody saga, laced with humor.

The reading will be directed by the playwright. Sime, a critic who migrated to the creative side, says Bloodletters is homage to Joyce Carol Oates. Tom's Modern Stage develops plays (including the recent Miracle Day) at 45 Bleecker, where Joe is a partner and Tom is Wriiter in Residence. The Blacks produced Bonnie Parker Off Broadway and elsewhere, videos that help kids read, and are creating musicals. They suggest Bloodletters will also make a popular film and Broadway tuner.

The cast for July 26 includes Renée Petrofes, David Millstone, Nicole Taylor, Daniel Braver and Jenny Nissel. Adam Smith will read stage directions and the cameo role of Sweetie Pie.

"When is horror a delight? When it appears in a stage play called Bloodletters.... Two threads of action, full of striking twists and turns, peopled with intriguing characters, unfold in a riveting and sexually-charged plot that finally ties all loose ends together in a totally chilling, satisfying and unexpected manner. Hold on to your seats-- it's a breathless ride from the moment the lights come up." Critic Alexandra Bonifield, Dallas

Please call Joe with questions or requests: TX (972) 407-1437; CA (707) 758-8883. See www.TheModernStage.com for other information. [Capitalization for Bloodletters LLC is $500,000: Offering is made only by the Prospectus.]

Renée Petrofes, David Millstone, Nicole Taylor, Daniel Braver, Jenny Nissel, Adam Smith

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