cat on a hot tin roof mud lab

Mississippi Mud will share six Cat open lab performances:

August 24, 25, 27, 29 & 31 @ 8pm
Sunday August 26, @ 3pm

The Alexander Technique Center for Performance and Development
330 West 38th Street, Room 805, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

Mud friends on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr are welcome.


Free admission - RESERVATIONS REQUIRED!! Please email date, name and number of tickets to lisa@mississippimudproductions.com. Anyone without reservations will be put on a standby list and seated pending available seats.

Cast:

Margaret -- Jen Danby*
Brick -- Jamie Colquhoun 
Big Mama -- GInger Grace*
Sookey/Lacey -- voices Charles Black*
Big Daddy -- R. David Robinson*
Reverend Tooker -- Charles Black*
Doctor Baugh -- John L. Payne*

Jen Danby JEN DANBY (Maggie) is thrilled to be playing Maggie the Cat under Austin's direction once again for this Mud Lab and with a lovely cast and team. She's the founder and director of Mississippi Mud Productions. Select stage credits: Maggie in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Mud Lab; Vivien Leigh in the solo piece Vivien Leigh: The Last Press Conference, by Marcy Lafferty, directed by Austin Pendleton, NYC which toured to Blue Heaven in Key West last year; Vivien Leigh in Austin Pendleton's Orson's Shadow off-Broadway with Mississippi Mud; Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named Desire with Mississippi Mud, co-directed by Brian Lady and Austin Pendleton; born from work at HB with Toshiji Takeshima and other fine actors; Belle in Stupid and Terrible, and with HB Ensemble the roles of Hedda Gabler, Delfina Treadwell in Valparaiso, and Helena in Fornes's Lust. She has performed in three experimental vlogisodes with The Wooster Group, including Paula in Paula and Bad Pictures opposite Jim Fletcher (GATZ). Film/TV: Melinda in Hollywood Sitters, Ann in Run #3, and a fashion stylist opposite Susan Lucci on the daytime soap All My Children. Representation: Ken Park Talent 212.566.8672 – kenparkmgmt@aol.com. AEA, SAG-AFTRA.

WORKING ON WILLIAMS: Maggie is driven and loving and ambitious and yearning, feminine with fire, it's capturing and allowing it all. Tennessee demands you dive into the ocean and swim deep blue sea and stormy black and radiant blue sky. Alive, alive, alive. Maggie's challenge is to stay on the hot tin roof and that is the challenge to the actress too, avanti..!

FUN FACT: I once rode a horse named Devil.

JAMIE COLQUHOUN (Brick) New York roles include Steve Hubbell in A Streetcar Named Desire with Mississippi Mud, Seven Flights Up, Closer, and The Woolgatherer. He has produced two shows at the Producers club. Jamie has studied with various teachers at HB Studio, including Austin Pendleton.

FUN FACT: James is originally from Scotland, He came here at the age of 15. He fell in love with the theater when he did a production of Taming of the Shrew.

WORKING ON WILLIAMS: Jamie is honored to be working with Mississippi Mud on this Tennessee Williams' play. He's a Jets fan and he loves the challenge of playing Brick, who, like Jamie, also loves football.
 
B ALEXANDRA BRODSKY (Dixie) New York began acting at the age of four. She has appeared in many commercials, print ads and Nickelodeon shows. Her last, most memorable experience was playing on stage next to Wyclef Jean and Colbie Calliat at the Nick Mega Music Fest. Her voice is featured as one of the Explorer Girls Dolls (Alana). Alex attends the Long Island High School for the Arts. Performances have included: Philia in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Rosalind Hay in Moon Over Buffalo, Veruca Salt in Willy Wonka, Sharpay in High School Musical.

FUN FACT: I love acting and I love music, it's life, but what is really fun is that my singer/songwriter name is not Alex but Allie Starr and I feel like acting when I pick up my guitar or the microphone because I am once again playing a role.

WORKING ON WILLIAMS: Alex has come to see many of Mississippi Mud Productions shows and is more that excited to be making her debut on a Williams Production. She is honored to be working with such a professional cast.
 
Maureen Mooney MAUREEN MOONEY (Mae) Maureen celebrates over 30 years in show business. Theatre credits include: Mod Donna (Public Theatre), L'Ete (Cherry Lane Theatre), The Possibilities (American Theatre of Actors) and touring with The Borstal Boy and The Prime of Jean Brodie. Television audiences remember Maureen originating the role of "Ann Jeffers" on the Guiding Light, "Stacey Coles" on All My Children," Diane Flannery"on Another World and the “Nanny” on One Life to Live. Film credits include The French Connection, Midnight Cowboy, Hell High and BL Stryker. Maureen has sold from soup to nuts, singing and dancing in over 100 network TV commercials. Her training includes work with Austin Pendleton, Lee Strasberg, William Esper, Kristin Linklater, and Judith Liebowitz . AEA, SAG-AFTRA.

WORKING ON WILLIAMS: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof seems to touch on a universal theme even in today's society. “ ‘Family dysfunction’... it's everywhere I go and I am part of it.”

Fun Fact: I like working with my hands renovating old buildings and bringing them back to their original splendor. I live a bit in the past.
 
Sean Walsh DANIEL CAPALBO Jr. (Gooper) has been working in the theatre world in some capacity for the past 25 years. In that time he has done everything from directing, writing and acting to designing and building sets and working on running crews. He worked as a professor teaching in the theatre department at L.I.U. - C.W Post for 12 years and has also taught independently. He has been a Broadway critic but still proudly ushers plays for Off Broadway and Off-Off Broadway houses. If asked he will tell you that he strongly recommends experiencing as many of the different aspects and jobs that co-exist in the mounting of a play as possible. It all enhances your understanding of the world you are trying to create as an actor and makes you a stronger artist. Daniel is very happy to be working with Mississippi Mud and grateful for their love and encouragement.

WORKING ON WILLIAMS: The challenge and fun in working on any of Williams' plays is speaking the poetic language his characters often use.

Fun Fact: Dan grew up living at his aunt's house during the summer, weekends and school breaks. His Aunt had 15 children of her own so he would happily get lost in the mix and be her 16th child.
 
Jo Anne Sellers GINGER GRACE (Big Mama) Her recent work includes The First Ladies Coalition, written and performed by Ms. Grace under the direction of Austin Pendleton, and The Belle of Amherst, which she has been performing around the country since 2002. She toured nationally opposite Rich Little in The Presidents, playing all the First Ladies from Jackie Kennedy to Hillary Clinton, and played Martha in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (Penobscot Theatre, Maine). Off-Broadway credits include Kristen in Miss Julie (The Pearl Theatre); and four years with Classic Stage Company/CSC Rep playing such roles as Elektra in The Oresteia, Gretchen in Faust, and Anitra in Peer Gynt. She performed leading roles with Chain Lightning Theatre in their productions of Craig's Wife, Mourning Becomes Electra, and To Moscow. Regionally she also performed at Utah Shakespearean Festival, Greenwoods Theatre, Woodstock Shakespeare Festival, Queen City Stage, East Lynne Company and Byrdcliff Theatre. Independent films include Greenyork, Wish You Were Here, and It's All Relative.

WORKING ON WILLIAMS: The biggest challenge of Tennessee Williams is “riding out the storm” so that you not only survive it, but end up in a “kingdom” by the end . . . this is also what I love about CAT too – all those “fascinating tornados” within each character - - flying around at Big Daddy’s birthday celebration!!

FUN FACT: My husband has the Actor’s Nightmare for me.
 
R David Robinson R. DAVID ROBINSON (Big Daddy) New York: Arthur Holtzman, The Slavery Project: BIRMINGHAM REUNION (LaGuardia PAC); Leo Szilard, URANIUM+ORANGES (Staged Reading, Princeton Theatre Experiment); Fat Man, UGLY COUPLES IN LOS ANGELES, Ilana Becker, director (Samuel French Festival); MOUNTAIN HOTEL (American Premiere, Havel Festival); Keith, UNRESOLVED (Open Gate Theatre); Vanek, HAVEL'S VANEK PLAYS and Arthur Miller's UNTITLED (American Premiere, i-589 Theatre); Peter Doyle, MISS LONELYHEARTS, Matt Mitler, director (29th Street Rep); DADA SHOW (West Bank Café); BOX PLAYS (INTAR & Public Theater). Member, HB Ensemble. Contact: rdavid@mindspring.com

WORKING ON WILLIAMS: What I love about Williams and the role of Big Daddy: TW's seemingly boundless affection for Big Daddy's run-on sentences. Most challenging: memorizing those run-on sentences.

Fun Fact: In a previous life, R. David was a featured physical comedian with The Magic of David Copperfield, winning praise from Gene Kelly.
 
Charles Black CHARLES BLACK (Reverend Tooker) Charles is proud to be working with the words of Williams with the Mud People again. His love and respect of this work has been a lifelong passion. Much thanks to teachers, Anne Jackson, Mary Anthony and Austin Pendleton. AEA, SAG-AFTRA.

WORKING ON WILLIAMS: The challenge of working on Williams for me is finding and living in the musical score of the language.  Ever since I first read "Glass Menagerie" in school I remember feeling a distinct familiarity in the way the characters speak to each other and how they choose their words.  I marveled at how this writer seemed to have eased dropped on some of my family's conversations.  Many times I'd hear my aunt Hazel use a $50 dollar word where a $3.50 dollar word would do.  Amanda Wingfield and Tom Wingfield speak  that way.  The more characters I read of Williams, the more I felt 'I know these people.'  When Big Daddy speaks of 'mendacity' or Big Mama talks about 'being needled out of this world', I knew this way of coloring language to get your point across.  So for me the challenge of acting Williams is getting it right. When you learn the lines and speak the poetry it's easy. The joy is amazing when it just feels like this is how it goes.  Being a part of Mud allows me to be these people and speak their words.  How special to breathe life into characters who are crying out on the page to be heard.  Williams has done the hard job, he's cried the tears and bled the blood that lets them say exactly what they mean, our privilege is the chance to be the vessel where they come to life.  When it goes well our body is inhabited by their spirit.  We almost channel them.  It begins with the language and the poetry.  It ends with very happy and blessed actors.  Working on "Cat"as Rev. Tooker for me is a chance to bring every baptist preacher I grew up listening to, or marveling at his dramatic way of expressing himself, to life in each performance in scenes that echo my earliest memories of family conversations. Their dignity challenges me, for often we laugh at them, there is humor there, but most importantly they have that very special thing unique to the American south, a reverence for the art of communication. I love the magic this creates between the page and the audience when as actors we allow ourselves to get out of the way and let our instruments simply play the music as written. I love acting Williams. It just feels right.

FUN FACT: As a young person in school in Ky, I read Tennessee's "Memoirs" and was so moved I wrote him a letter. He came to my home town and my father came into my room and said "That writer you like is in town visiting Faulkner, you should call him." I called his hotel and asked for him.  They put me through as if I knew him no questions asked and he was so very gracious ,he actually remembered my letter and the play I'd sent him.  His voice was deep and I remember he said he'd been suffering with the vicistitudes of the body, a phrase I felt so grown up hearing since it was to me, his poetry being directed at me, I felt  a kid in school in Lexington, Ky who somehow felt so sympathico with someone whose art I had yet to recognize as perhaps the greatest American playwright of them all.  It was neat but it was years before I realized the specialness of this encounter. Later that summer we took a family trip to New York, our last night we saw "Dreamgirls".He was in the audience and I ran up to him, with the coaxing of my parents and actually met him. He said " When you're back in the city we must get together to discuss your play and see some theater."  I was elated. I planned a trip the next spring mid March. He died that February.
 
John L. Payne JOHN L. PAYNE (Doc Baugh) has been a student of Austin Pendleton for the last few years at HB Studios, where he originated the role of Rickhardt last spring. He has just finished playing in Midsummer Night's Dream in Riverbank State Park with Pulse Ensemble Theatre , after a very busy year of film work. He is thrilled to be working with the "muddies" for the first time.

WORKING ON WILLIAMS: The challenging part of working on this part is to deliver such life-changing news about someone's health...

FUN FACT: I once rode a freight car from Los Angeles to San Luis Obispo California: a trip that took about 8 hours
 
Walter Free WALTER FREE (Mud Lab Assistant) was born and still resides in New Jersey. He's an actor & singer who aspires to have a long successful career in musical theatre. Previous credits include: Passion Play the Musical (Gobesh), Spring Awakening (Hänschen), Rent (Tom Collins), The Rocky Horror Show (Brad Majors), Nadine (Young Charlie), directed by Jen Danby, from Maria Irene Fornes' What of the Night? at HB Studio, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Dan Dad), Psycho Beach Party (Yo Yo). Walter studied on camera acting with Liz Keifer in Mud's educational wing, as well as studying at HB Studio, T. Schreiber and other awesome places. Walter served as the Mud Lab assistant for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, directed by Austin Pendleton in summer 2011 and is returning for that summer gig in the Cat lab reprise 2012. Walter was the Production Assistant for Mississippi Mud's A Streetcar Named Desire at The Cherry Pit.

WORKING ON WILLIAMS: The best part of working on Williams to me is analyzing his text. I find that the simplest sentences in his text end up having such a wealth of information regarding the plot or characters. He always keeps you thinking.

FUN FACT: I avoid watching horror movies at all costs, although sometimes it's hard to resist, because I scare really easily & do NOT enjoy being scared.

 
Charles Black REANNA ARMELLINO (Mud Lab Assistant) has been performing on stage since she was 6 years old. Growing up in New York has given her the opportunity to study under some of the finest talent the industry has to offer. Since graduating from Manhattan's professional Performing Arts School she has continue fine tuning her craft. She's studied at the T. Schrieber Studio, worked with commercial actor and teacher John Howard Swain as well as Voice Over coach Joan Baker, and studied Standard American English at the Sam Chwat Speech Center. Currently, Reanna is excited to be studying under Jen Danby, founder of Mississippi Mud in Mud's educational wing. She continues to work extensively with singing coach Jane Seaman, performing musical showcases, with accompanist Eddie Rabin, throughout the city. Composing original pop music in her spare time she has 12 copy-written songs to date. In the past year she was involved with both the New York Fringe Festival as well as the Long Island Fringe Festival, performing as well as working behind the scenes .Reanna is a current member of SAG-AFTRA and is training in the dance styles Tap & Theatre Jazz. Reanna loves every aspect of the theatre and lives for the magic created in every show. www.ReannaArmellino.com

WORKING ON WILLIAMS: Working in the world of Tennessee Williams has been an adventure for me. He writes the way we live and breathe, not an imitation of it - he forces one to be real.

FUN FACT: I am terrified of the ocean, and most water in general.
   
AUSTIN PENDLETON (Cat Lab Teacher/Director) Mr. Pendleton's numerous acting roles in theatre, film, and television include Mother Courage with Meryl Streep and My Cousin Vinny. This fall, Mr. Pendleton will direct Detroit on Broadway, which he directed with Steppenwolf in Chicago. He also directed The Little Foxes on Broadway, starring Elizabeth Taylor, and Three Sisters at Classic Stage Company, among his many credits. In April 2011, Lincoln Center Theater presented the New York premiere of A Minister's Wife, Mr. Pendleton's musical adaptation (with Josh Schmidt and Jan Tranen) of Shaw's Candida. He coached and co-directed (with Brian Lady) Mississippi Mud Productions' A Streetcar Named Desire, with Jen Danby as Blanche DuBois and Toshiji Takeshima as Stanley at the Cherry Pit of NYC's Cherry Lane Theatre in summer 2010, and Vivien Leigh: The Last Press Conference with Mud. He teaches at HB Studio and studied with Herbert Berghof and Bobby Lewis. Austin is thrilled to be able to work with this Cat tribe on one of his favorite plays.
J. DAVID BRIMMER (Violence Consultant) (Fight Master, SAFD) has choreographed some stuff (Broadway: Born Yesterday, A life in the Theatre, Speed the Plow, Spring Awakening, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Come Back, Little Sheba, NY premieres: Blasted, The Whipping Man, Ages of the Moon, The American Pilot, Blackbird, Bug, Killer Joe, as well as The Red Bull Theatre's productions of The Revenger's Tragedy, and The Duchess of Malfi, and the Druid Theatre Company's The Cripple of Inishmaan), worked at some wonderful venues (NY Public Theater, Metropolitan Opera, Atlantic Theater, MTC, TFNA, North Shore Music Theatre, Dallas Theater Center, Hartford Center Stage, Baltimore Center Stage, The Guthrie), taught a few places (NYU/TSOA, RADA-{Guest Instructor}, Strasberg Institute, Yale), and collaborated with some great folks- writers (David Mamet, Sam Shepard, Ethan Coen, Martin McDonough, Tracy Letts), directors (Joe Chaikin, JoAnne Akalaitis, Ethan McSweeney, Sarah Benson, Wilson Milam, Joe Mantello, Neil Pepe, Michael Mayer, Kathleen Turner, Lynne Meadow, Garry Hines, Ken Russell, Franco Zeffirelli), and performers (William H. Macy, Raul Esparza, Elizabeth Moss, F. Murray Abraham, Keith Carradine, Kathleen Chalfant, Sarah Paulson, Reed Birney, Michael Shannon, Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Johnston, Lily Rabe, Zoe Kazan, S. Epatha Merkerson, Nina Arianda, Robert Sean Leonard, Kerry Condon, Alison Pill, Jeff Daniels, and Sir Patrick Stewart). "Walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in everyone." G. Fox
CATHERINE SIRACUSA (Costume Consultant) is an actor, director and costume designer. With Mississippi Mud Productions, Catherine designed A Streetcar Named Desire, Vivien Leigh:The Last Press Conference, and will design the looks for Mud's upcoming Orson's Shadow off-Broadway in the fall. Catherine has costumed many shows at HB Playwrights, HB Studio, LaMama, The Kraine, often working with her husband, Sid Levitt.

About the Mud Lab: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof was our pilot Mud Lab, and we at Mississippi Mud Productions are excited to once again be able to work on this beautiful play by Tennessee Williams. The Mud Lab is a developmental space for actors to work on craft as ensemble with key plays and as a company. For four weeks this summer, Mud will be in residence at the Alexander Technique Center for Performance and Development in midtown Manhattan to explore Suddenly Last Summer and a reprise of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof under the guiding eye of Broadway director and master teacher and actor Austin Pendleton, working with a fine and curious tribe of actors. This is a continued journey that included a Suddenly Last Summer and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof class with Austin through Mud's educational wing as part of this unfolding. The work is in essence a gym space for actors' muscles and for ensemble, and so we want to open our process up to artistic friends, associates, and family for performances as the final part of our exploration. Acting is storytelling, after all. Our sharing of the work will be followed by a talk back with the cast and team. Our desire is in the fluxus of process to dive deeply and freely.

We will share Cat lab runs at the Alexander Technique Center for Performance and Development at 330 West 38th Street, Room 805, between 8th and 9th Avenues. Mud followers on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr are welcome.

For more information please contact lisa@mississippimudproductions.com.