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Summer of Billy

The first half of the summer launched to an excellent start, as I got to join the Trinity Shakespeare Festival (www.trinityshakes.org) for their 7th repertory season, featuring King Lear and Love's Labours Lost. An astoundingly good company of artists all around made for two great shows and an amazing ensemble experience.

If you didn't get to make the shows, you can get a glimpse through some of the press: the Ft. Worth Star Telegram called Lear "first-rate"; the Dallas Morning News called Love's Labours Lost "exuberantly interactive" with a "supple cast" that highlighted how the play was "ahead of its time"; while TheaterJones rave for the festival as a whole focused on the "clarity," "accessib[ility]," and "passion" of both shows.

As badly as a miss those shows and the tight-knit ensemble of Trinity, I'm extraordinarily lucky to step into another process this month where I get to re-unite with an ensemble that deeply affected me as an artist and my approach both to the work of Shakespeare and to my place in an ensemble: Ben Crystal's Passion in Practice Shakespeare Ensemble. We'll be exploring Henry V in Original Pronunciation (more info on their website about just what, exactly, Original Pronunciation is) at Shakespeare's Globe in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse (a re-creation of Blackfriars) for the 600th Anniversary of Agincourt, before moving on for a very limited 3 night engagement in the Loft at Tanner Street. For more information, check out links on the side or visit the Passion in Practice website -- if you're in London, would love to see you there!

Shaking Up the Winter

I'm very happy to be involved in several projects of or derived from Shakespeare in the upcoming weeks.

First is as Hal in Henry IV part 2 with Shakespeare Dallas as a part of their Complete Works staged reading series. These are thrilling projects because they are more like workshop stagings than a traditional staged reading, and the plays are presented in their unabridged glory. I'm thrilled to be back for my forth in the series - I began with The Winter's Tale a couple of years back, then Two Gentlemen of Verona in November of 2014 and Henry IV part 1 just a few weeks ago. If you are in or near North Texas, come check it out: more information is available at shakespearedallas.com.

Next is Bloody Shakespeare's production of R3G, Neal Freeman's uproarious mashup of Ray Lewis (of the Baltimore Ravens) and Richard the III. The dissonance, and far more frequently, the similarities between contemporary NFL culture and War of the Roses treachery is gut-bustingly hilarious and often surprisingly enlightening. Check out a teaser produced by lupo blu below:

Throughout both of these, I've joined in workshops for latest phase of development on Elizabeth Gorman's Margaret, a beautiful piece that tracks the Henry VI plays and Richard III through the women's eyes. I've gotten to see the adaptation grow and evolve over several years, and it's never been more thrilling or clear than the current version.

Lastly - I was nominated by one of my absolute favorite people, Ed Dixon, to the American Shakespeare Apple Challenge in support of the redevelopment of the American Shakespeare Festival Theatre. Check it out below - but be forewarned, it's pretty ridiculous:

Rocket into the New Year

Starting 2014 off with a bang: Check out a great "Front & Center" article in American Theater Magazine about my current project, the new rock musical "On the Eve." We're about two weeks into rehearsals, with some breaks for the holidays, and the show is already even more fun, raucous, and powerful than I had imagined. The defiantly collaborative nature of the process and the raw talent and passion of everyone involved is inspiring and invigorating. 2013 was such an amazing year of taking leaps with artists both new and familiar, I can't think of a better way to round it out and start the next chapter.

You can view a video preview of the show in the sidebar to the right or over at the American Theater magazine link, and exclusively at the American Theater Magazine link you can listen to Home by Hovercraft's recordings of three songs from the show.

Thanks to everyone who inspired and challenged me in so many different ways in 2013, and looking forward to more this year!

A Cold Wind Blows

It's been an awesome and busy fall, starting with the short films "The Monkey's Paw" in Philadelphia and "ANIMALS" in NYC for the Tribeca Film Institute, then the crazy hilarious "Trouble With Women" (an indie comedy feature directed by Alan Ginsberg that's like Sex in the City but with dudes on Long Island), then another short "Aftermath" back in NYC where I play an English heroin addict at his late (geriatric) lover's wake who discovers another young man competing with him for the contents of the will. Then most recently, it's been on to "Oswald: The Actual Interrogation" at Casa Manana in Fort Worth, Texas, which closes this weekend and has been such a blast. A great director and wonderful company, one of those all-too-rare magical mixes of people that's remarkably rewarding in artistic, professional, and personal ways.

And as Thanksgiving nears, I'm looking forward to reading the title role in another play about a presidential assassin in a staged reading of Steven Walters awesome new play "Booth," then playing a coked out thug in a short film teaser for the feature film "Turncoat," and then heading to Martha's Vineyard for "Day 90", an unflinching, funny, and moving look at trying to break free from the drug cycle and, ultimately, grow up -- all before starting work on the brilliant new rock musical "On the Eve" directed by Jeffrey Schmidt, with music by Home by Hovercraft and book by Michael Federico, at Theatre Three. I've been obsessed with this show since I saw a reading of it about two years ago, so, yeah, I probably haven't been this giddy since I was 8 and saw the White Ranger in a McDonald's parking lot.

A Couple of Dreams

The Nightmare 'Dream' opens in the New York International Fringe Festival this Sunday. Check out the second in a series of behind the scenes videos, this one featuring the lovers (Jack Berenholtz, Melanie Hopkins, Minna Taylor, and me):


Also, Rajiv Joseph (badass playwright who wrote "Gruesome Playground Injuries," along with Pullitzer Prize Finalist "Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo," episodes of Nurse Jackie, the awesome new Peter Pan inspired musical "FLY," among others) recently had this to say about our production of "Gruesome" in an interview with TheaterJones.com

"This production in Dallas is one of the best I've ever seen. Great company, great actors, great direction and a really nice space for that play...You can be surprised on either end of the spectrum. I've seen some terrible productions and some inspiring productions. With this [Second Thought] production, I've seen some things I never saw before."

Just getting to play such an awesome role in such a great play is more than badass enough, but to please and surprise not only several sold-out audiences but the playwright himself is pretty overwhelming.

Current Projects

ANIMALS

writen and directed by Stefanos Tai
part of the Tribeca Film Institute's Film Fellows program

Next Screening, July 26, 2014 at 4:00pm in the Asian American International Film Festival.

Turncoat

writen and directed by Mav Block
www.turncoatfilm.com

Crime lord Grey Matthews and girlfriend Lauren Cobb blackmail a pill-mill running psychiatrist into helping rob a shipment of controlled substances from a pharmaceutical company. Meanwhile, as their relationship disintegrates, Lauren usurps power in Grey's organization.

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