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to Jun 26

Bloodworks 2013

Youngblood's annual reading series, featuring 23 new full-length plays from the members of Youngblood

Readings are FREE | No reservations necessary

SPECIAL THANKS to our friends at Ma-Yi Theater Company for hosting BLOODWORKS 2013!

At the MA-YI STUDIO - 260 West 35th Street, Suite #203 (between 8th and 7th Avenues)

Wed 5/15
7pm - Leah Nanako Winkler
9pm - Lucy Gillespie

Tue 5/21
7pm - Rachel Bonds

Wed 5/22
7pm - Tony Meneses
9pm - Will Snider

Wed 5/29
7pm - Krista Knight
9pm - Cory Finley

Mon 6/3
7pm - Willie Orbison
9pm - Dylan Dawson

Wed 6/5
7pm - Christopher Sullivan
9pm - Alex Borinsky

Mon 6/10
7pm - Mary Hamilton
9pm - Lucy Teitler

Wed 6/12
7pm - Lydia Blaisdell
9pm - Patrick Link and Eric March

Mon 6/17
7pm - Emily Chadick Weiss
9pm - Zhu Yi

Wed 6/19
7pm - Chiara Atik
9pm - Brendan Hill

Mon 6/24
7pm - Jen Silverman
9pm - Clare Barron

Wed 6/26
7pm - OliviaDufault
9pm - Darcy Fowler

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to May 5


Ensemble Studio Theatre presents

by Joe Gilford*

Directed by Giovanna Sardelli*
Choreography by Greg Graham

March 28 - May 5, 2013

When the moment came to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) some artists chose to name names, others chose to risk their careers rather than betray their friends. Finks is the real life story of young entertainers on the brink of success, who find themselves playing roles they never dreamed they’d have to play.

Do you know who your friends are?

Featuring Michael Cullen*, Ned Eisenberg*, Leo Ash Evens, Kenney M. Green, Jason Liebman*,Thomas Lyons*, Aaron Serotsky & Miriam Silverman 

Production Stage Manager - Jillian Anderson
Scenic Designer - Jason Simms
Lighting Designer - Gina Scherr
Sound Designer - Jill BC duBoff
Costume Designer - Sydney Maresca
Props Master - Kate Lundell
Technical Director - Derek Dickinson

*EST Member | All actors AEA Members



"A bracing play about McCarthyism by Joe Gilford. Aaron Serotsky is terrific. Miriam Silverman is giving an attention-getting turn in the kind of role actresses live for." - The New York Times

"Forget blue jokes; the humor in Finks, Joe Gilford’s farsighted yet tender tribute to his blacklisted parents, is distinctly red. But it’s part of what makes this play, directed with vitality by Giovanna Sardelli, a nifty bit of theater. The eight-person ensemble is uniformly strong and as Gilford tries to understand why some of the accused betrayed friends to keep their livelihoods, he demonstrates a pluck similar to that of his parents." - Time Out New York

"Joe Gilford's impassioned, autobiographical FINKS directed with concomitant fervor by Giovanna Sardelli and dressed with period accuracy by Sydney Maresca, is a testament to the parents who managed to maintain their indomitable spirit throughout the ordeal." - Huffington Post



Do you know who your friends are?

N.Y. Premiere
Based on the True Experiences of
Jack Gilford and Madeline Lee Gilford and the Blacklist of the 1950s


A Play of Show Biz and Subversion

By Joe Gilford
Directed by Giovanna Sardelli
Choreohraphy by Greg Graham

Previews Wednesday, March 28; Opens Saturday, April 6

NEW YORK -- Finks is playwright Joe Gilford's fictionalized account of his parents, Jack Gilford andMadeline Lee Gilford, and their real life experience of the blacklist.  It is a tale of a scoundrel time, a time of paranoia, loyalty and betrayal, show business and show trials, told from the life of two young entertainers who, at the birth of their careers, had to confront the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC).  This play is about names, the naming of names, career-determining choices and finks.

            He was the gentle man with the kind face we knew from the Cracker Jack commercials, but in the early 1950s, when on the verge of stardom and his own TV series, somebody spoke his name.  She was a TV and radio actress until somebody spoke her name.  Both played roles they never thought they'd play in one the darkest times in American history when they were given top billing by finks.

            Directed Giovanna Sardelli, Finks featuring Michael Cullen, Ned Eisenberg, Leo Ash Evans, Kenney M. Green, Jason Liebman, Thomas Lyons, Aaron Serotsky and Miriam Silverman begins previews at the Ensemble Studio Theatre, 549 West 52nd Street, Wednesday, March 28, at 7:00pm for an opening Saturday, April 6, at 7:00pm. 

            "Joe Gilford has done a great job of capturing the fast paced spirit and humor of those times by writing a play that takes place at Cafe Society, the integrated Greenwich Village nightclub, and the HUAC hearings," said the Ensemble Studio Theatre's Artistic Director William Carden.  "The result is a well-crafted and compelling play about choices that resonate powerfully today."

Two backlisted actors, Zero Mostel and Jack Gilford, in the film A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966).  Jack originated his role in the 1962 Broadway musical for which he was nominated for a Tony.

            Jack Gilford is most famous for bringing his inimitable pantomime to the 1960s TV ads for Cracker Jacks. Born in Brooklyn, NY, he began as a club comic and went on to the stage. He was a starring actor in dozens of TV shows, films and Broadway, earning two Tony nominations and an Oscar nomination.  Madeline Lee Gilford was born in the Bronx.  She was a child actress, a teenage activist and a radio and stage performer. She later became a theater producer and continued acting throughout her life. The Gilfords had three children, Lisa, Joe and Sam.

            Playwright Joe Gilford remembers the paranoia of the blacklist years as a small child. "We were always told not to discuss something called 'communism'. We didn't really know what that meant, but understood to keep our mouths shut."  Finks has been developing for many years, he adds.  "I always thought that my parents' refusal to name names was heroic.  But they always explained that they had no choice.  They could never hurt their friends."

            Jack and Madeline remained activists for their whole lives. Mr. Gilford hopes that "my play will recreate the hardships that actors experienced having to make choices that artists should never be asked to make."

Jack Gilford in one of many Cracker Jack commercials:

            Joe Gilford's plays have been produced or presented at Naked Angels, Roundabout, Circle Rep, New York Stage & Film, the Westbank Downstairs Theater, and Todd Mountain Theater Project.  His plays include KnockdownNot Tunisia, In Aisle 4The End of Our RopeThe Love Museum,No Fault and Danny's Brian, for which he received an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation grant for this play about the neuro-science of brain injuries in football.  Finks was originally presented by New York Stage and Film Company and The Powerhouse Theater at Vassar on July 23, 2008He most recently was on the writing team of Gold Fever, a four-part mini-series on the 1849 Gold Rush for Discovery Channel.  Mr. Gilford has written the documentaries The Great American Songbook, a history of American popular song hosted by Michael Feinstein for PBS’s Great Performances now on Time Warner Home Video. Also for PBS: Beyond Wiseguys: Italian Americans and the Movies hosted by John Turturro and featuring Paul Sorvino, Marisa Tomei, and many others.  He has a New York Emmy Award for his work on WNET-NY’s (PBS) documentary City Arts series.  He has also been a writer and producer at Showtime, Bravo, Court TV, F/X, and New York's MSG MetroGuide channel.  Since 1999 he has taught screenwriting at NYU’s Undergraduate Film & TV Dept., Tisch School of the Arts. He is also currently a Visiting Professional teaching screenwriting at Montclair State University’s Dept. of Film in New Jersey.

            Jason Simms is designing scenery; Gina Scherr, lighting; Sydney Maresca, costumes; and Jill duBoff, sound.  Greg Graham is choreographing. The production stage manager is Jillian Anderson.   

            Finks performs Wednesday through Sundays evenings at 7:00pm with matinees Saturday at 2:00pm and an early curtain Sundays at 5:00pm.  SPECIAL PICK YOUR PRICE PREVIEWS, depending upon seat availability, are March 28 through April 1.  ALL MATINEES FOR THE ENTIRE RUN ARE PICK YOUR OWN PRICE.  Regular tickets are $30, $20 for student/seniors. To order tickets call 866.811.4111 or click


            The Ensemble Studio Theatre (EST) was founded in the belief that extraordinary support yields extraordinary work. We are a dynamic and expanding company of artists committed to the discovery and nurturing of new voices and the continued support and growth of artists throughout their creative lives. Through our unique collaborative process we develop and produce original, provocative, and authentic new plays that engage and challenge our audience and audiences across the country.

Press Inquiries: The Bruce Cohen Group


After the Sunday, April 14 @ 5pm performance of FINKS we will host Children of the Blacklist: a converation with children of blacklisted entertainers.

Panelists include:
Kate Lardner, daughter of screenwriter Ring Lardner Jr.
Julie Garfield, daughter of actor John Garfield
Lee Grant, blacklisted actress
Joshua Mostel, son of actor Zero Mostel
Deborah Offner, daughter of writer Mortimer Offner
Joe Gilford, son of actors Jack & Madeline Gilford

The discussion will be moderated by Tony Kahn, NPR radio host and son of blacklisted screenwriter Gordan Kahn.

Please join us for a post-show conversation with playwright Joe Gilford, director Giovanna Sardelli, and the cast of FINKS following the Sunday, April 7 @ 5pm performance of FINKS.

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7:00 PM19:00

Neptune Kelly by Ben Rosenthal

A special work-in-progress presentation of this unique, remarkable and outrageous play with an all-member cast of fifteen EST actors. It’s a chance to get a first glimpse as we work to bring an extraordinary piece to life.

Directed by William Carden and featuring Robert Askins, Brad Bellamy, Denny Bess, Molly Carden, Geneva Carr, Chris Ceraso, Cindy Cheung, Lucy DeVito, Jack Gilpin, David Margulies, Jonny Orsini, Lance Rubin, Chet Siegel and Scott Sowers.

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to Jun 16

Memberfest 2012/2013

The spirit of work in progress is what EST is all about. Memberfest is the heartbeat of our process. Our membership of over 500 artists come together to present projects in development. This is a unique opportunity to come into EST’s famous creative gymnasium, to experience our members’ work – new and raw and always surprising – and to share in the spirit of The Ensemble Studio Theatre.

All events are free.

Faye Drummond
by Tom Rowan*

directed by Rob Urbinati

Friday, June 14 - Sunday, June 16

Faye Drummond, the trophy wife of the fifth-richest man in America, lives in luxury in a penthouse overlooking Central Park. She's the woman who has everything, but she wants the one thing she can't have: her handsome stepson, Paul Letos. With apologies to Euripides and Racine, Faye Drummond updates the Greek myth of Phaedra and Hippolytus to contemporary New York, with uproarious results. With Tom Bozell, Jordan Coffey, Stephanie Dodd, LeeLee Heavenly, Maria Helan, Chesley Polk & Jim Thalman. Costume Consultant: Sharon Sobel

a comedy by Temi Brodkey Rose*

directed by Jason Daniel Siegel

Tuesday, May 21 @ 7pm 2013

A re-interpretation of Brecht's 'Mother Courage' with a decidedly modern feel, 'Courage' is a play about the sometimes staggering chasm between the intellect and the emotions, and one woman's quirky attempt to bridge it. With Rin Allen, Matt Decoster, Charles Hinshaw, Matthew L. Imparato, Peter Klein, Lorinne Lampert, Lucy McMichael, Nona Niedert, Jerry Rodgers, Andrew Rothkin & Joan Shepard

Stage Directions: Jason Daniel Siegel
Sign Man: Big Mike Logan
Music by Somers and Steel / Melodie Somers*

by Gabe McKinley 

directed by Mark Armstrong*

Tuesday, April 16 @ 7pm 2013

It's a big night atKarin's Comedy Club. With the chance at their own television show hanging in the balance, five stand-up comedians wrangle with their emotions and one another. This dark comedy exposes the hilarious and harrowing world of the most fearless performer around: the stand up comedian -- begging the ultimate question: what is FUNNY? With Andrew Garman*, Steven Boyer*, Danielle Slavick, Scott Sowers*, Helen Coxe*, Sean Geraghty & William Oliver Watkins

V-Day EST 2013 presents a Benefit Production of

I Dream Before I Take The Stand
by Arlene Hutton+*

directed by Margot Avery*
with Carla Cantrelle* & Mike Smith Rivera*+

The Vagina Monologues
by Eve Ensler 

with Shyko Amos+, Margot Avery+*, Stephanie Berry+*,Kelly Anne Burns+*, Molly Carden+*, Lucy DeVito+*, Abigail Gampel+*, Kelli Lynn Harrison+ &Susan Willerman+*

Tuesday, March 5 @ 8pm 2013 

Join us as we raise funds and awareness to end violence against women and girls.
All ticket sales go to V-Day Campaigns and Safe Horizon
V-Day ( is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls that raises funds and awareness through benefit productions of Playwright/Founder Eve Ensler's award-winning play The Vagina Monologues and other artistic works.  
I Dream Before I Take The Stand has been translated into multiple languages and presented at universities, high schools, and women's centers around the US for over fifteen years as a way to initiate dialogue on sexual violence.
Safe Horizon ( moves victims of violence from crisis to confidence.

The Last Showgirl
book and lyrics by Melodie Somers*; music by Rich Campbell

directed by Hal Corley

Sunday & Monday, March 3rd & 4th 2013

Follow one Woman’s Quirky Quest for Answers to some of Life’s Little, Big Questions with plenty of Wine, Chocolate, Sex and Music to guide her. 
“How do you start over when it’s almost done and the Book of Rules
You followed is now being sold on for $.17 plus shipping?”
With Melodie Somers*, Gary Nebiol* & Martha Braunfield. Rich Campbell on Piano.

Between Pretty Places
by Susan Merson*, music and lyrics by Shellen Lubin

directed by Shellen Lubin
musical direction by Matthew Gandolfo 

Tuesday, February 26th 2013

Fighting the ghosts of the land and their own daughter, an aging ranch couple must decide if rescuing their abandoned grand child will heal or destroy them. A musical play about the desperation, danger and drought of love in the harsh landscape of Central California. Based on a true story. With Tuck Milligan, Joyce Cohen, Heather Lupton, Lara Miller & Taysha Gonzalez

A Good Smoke
by Don Cummings 

directed by Austin Pendleton*

Tuesday, February 19th 2013

Joyce, the mother of three grown children, isn’t the center of attention any longer. Will she stop at nothing to regain that position?  Joyce drops her meds – cold-turkey – the day her daughter gives birth, resulting in severe drug withdrawal. As her daughter is wheeled into delivery, Joyce is hauled off to the psych ward.  Her husband and their two sons, David and Joe, are trying desperately to cope, but this family is functioning at its worst when it needs to be at its best, with generational repercussions that will not waft away. The painful comedy of life burns into this dark drama to make - A GOOD SMOKE. With Leslie Ayvazian*, Jared McGuire*, Peter McRobbie, Lance Rubin*, Diana Ruppe* & Barbara Marks.

Tonight at Noon
by Jeff Tabnick 

directed by Eric Nightengale

Tuesday, February 12th 2013

Tim and Emily can’t justify having children, given how little hope they have for the future. That night they are each overcome by a dream:  Tim must save a co-worker from a man in a black mask, and Emily dreams that she will save the world by convincing humanity to stop procreating. They wake up convinced that their dreams are reality. As they journey down the NJ Turnpike to pursue their new found goals, they find that all of America has succumbed to nighttime visions. Reality rends, government agents intervene, the future is foretold, lust is sated, and ideals are lost-- and somewhere in the rubble, Tim finally understands why he might want to start a family.  But in a world where everyone is consumed by his or her own delusions, is reuniting with his wife evenpossible? With Emily Hagburg, Jennifer O'Donnell, Jonathan Todd Ross, Scott Sowers*, Matty Stuart, with stage directions read by Margaret Fitzpatrick.

Beautiful Boy
by Eric Conger*

directed by Andrew Grosso*

Tuesday, February 5th 2013

A fifty-year old adoptee from Missouri drives to Connecticut to search for his parents. What he finds surprises and shocks him. But is he disappointed? A funny and poignant look at the plight of grown children lost in the closed system. With Tim Cain*, Zach Grenier*, Kristin Griffith*, Lois Smith* & Megan Tusing*.

by Saviana Stanescu*

directed by Daniel Winerman

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

USELESS, a darkly humored new drama, investigates the relationship between a married couple of Eastern European immigrants involved in organ trafficking - Kora, formerly sex-trafficked and pimped by her now husband Chris - and a disabled boy from a poor country, brought to the U.S. for his kidney. The silent boy affects Chris and Kora in a profound way, triggering unexpected outbursts and changes. He becomes a sort of mirror for their unfulfilled dreams, hidden fears and desires, and ultimately makes them connect on a deeper level. Or so we hope. (Warning: Heightened Realism & Dark humor) With Ana Grosse, Jared McGuire* & Steven Rishard.

But for the Grace… written
by David Eliet 

performed by Bob Jaffe*

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

But for the Grace... dispels many of the false ideas the general public often has about the people who rely on food pantries to put food on their tables. Bob Jaffe, who portrays eleven different characters ranging from a 7 year old boy to an 75 year old Russian immigrant woman, was acclaimed for his fully realized and highly nuanced performance. But for the Grace... has been touring ever since its premiere in 2007, changing people’s perceptions about hunger in the United States.

Donations will be collected for Hunger Relief and will go to Share Our Strength, which strives to eliminate childhood hunger.

“Jaffe’s earnest dignity and subdued rage are engaging. Jaffe’s skill makes this a worthwhile, even inspiring, guilt trip.”

- Time Out NY

Margaret & Kit
by Shirley Lauro*

directed by Mary Fassino

Sunday & Monday, December 16th & 17th, 2012

A unique love story that only now can be told.  In the tumultuous sixties,  a world famous novelist and her student are drawn inexplicably together as they transcend age, time, place and heritage. With Diana LaMar* & Lucy DeVito* & voiceovers by Dennis Paton & Nelson Avidon.

The Angel In the Trees
by Dan O’Brien 

directed by Mark Armstrong*

Monday, December 10th, 2012

Not long after moving to Lowden, a small town below the Mason-Dixon line, native New Yorker Madeline Singer encounters an unexplained phenomenon while walking through the woods. The Angel in the Trees is an evocative one-woman show about ghosts, God, and the American South. With Jessica Dickey.

The Portable Dorothy Parker
by Annie Lux 

directed by Lee Costello*

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Dorothy Parker reminisces about her life, loves, work—and the Algonquin Round Table—while selecting stories and poems for her 1944collection, The Portable Dorothy Parker. Featuring Margot Avery*.

Grant and Twain
by Elizabeth Diggs* 

directed by Faith Catlin

Tuesday, November 13th 2012

In 1884, Ulysses Grant was the idolized four-star Union Commander who won the Civil War. Mark Twain was the most famous writer in America. The two men were superstars. They were also, improbably, good friends. Twain had just broken a seven-year writer’s block to finish Huckleberry Finn. Grant had just been swindled out of all his money in a Ponzi scheme. Grant’s only chance to save his honor and provide for his family was to write his memoirs. Twain persuaded Grant to entrust the publication of his book to his own new publishing house. Halfway through the book, Grant was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and threatened with betrayal close to home. Twain went into serious debt and put his own career on hold for a year in his determination to save Grant’s reputation before he died. Grant’s Personal Memoirs and Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn became masterpieces of American writing. Featuring Cecilia DeWolf*, Clayton Fox, Dion Graham, Zach Grenier*, John Griesemer, Celeste Makoff & Scott Sowers*

Fish Display
by Robert Askins* 

directed by 

Tuesday, October 23rd 2012

The world of New York fine dinning is madness. Egos flare, stars flame out, allegiances change and fortunes are made all before the pre-theatre rush is over.  In a Midtown Greek whole fish house a young man from Texas learns to serve, sell and eat the competition under the tutelage of 6 pound white snapper that doesn’t know he’s dead yet. Find out what can go wrong when you play with your food. Featuring Dennis Boutsikaris*Geneva Carr*Curran Connor*Frank Harts*Bobby Moreno*.


Filming O’Keefe
by Eric Lane 

directed by Martha Banta

Tuesday, October 16th 2012

This contemporary story is inspired by the time Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz spent at his family home on Lake George. In Lane’semotional, lyrical and funny play, the echoes of these two legendary artists are alive in a modern artistic family residing on the former Stieglitz property. This new play was commissioned by the Adirondack Theatre Festival and will premiere at A.T.F. in 2013. Featuring Anne-Marie Cusson, Eli Gelb, Megan Hill* & Bob Jaffe*, with stage directions read by Ean Kessler


Tonight at Noon
written & directed by Jeff Tabnick

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

A comedy featuring Emily Hagburg, Jennifer O’Donnell, Jonathan Todd Ross, Scott Sowers* and Matty Stuart, with Brian Edelman reading stage directions.

*denotes EST Member

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