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EstroGenius to host Watch Parties with the Artists of the Festival’s 2020 Short Play Selections

May 28, 2020 @ 7:30 PM - June 25, 2020 @ 8:30 PM

EstroGenius has been hosting Estro|Reads, streaming first reads and re-creations for Zoom of the 2020 Festival’s Short Plays, and is now excited to be hosting a series of watch parties with the artists of select EstroGenius 2020 Short Plays. Each play will premiere as a watch party on EstroGenius’s virtual festival site, ExtrofromEstro.org, on Thursdays at 7:30pm. Tickets are $5 or $10 on a sliding scale and can be purchased online at www.extrofromestro.org/events. All proceeds go to the artists.

EstroGenius has been sharing and celebrating the voices of womxn for twenty years. Now, on a virtual stage, with the continued digital support of Frigid New York, EstroGenius celebrates its 20th anniversary with a riotous collection of performances by women, gender non-conforming, non-binary, and trans dance-makers, playwrights, experimental performers, teens, musicians, burlesque performers, noise artists, filmmakers, dj’s and anyone else looking to break molds and crack gender codes. This “extro” online content from Estro brings you the art and the artists, the inspirations and the tools over these quarantined weeks across the country.

EstroGenius was founded in 2000 at Manhattan Theatre Source by Fiona Jones as a short-play fest to support dynamic female characters while celebrating inclusivity and pushing gender parity in theatre.

Heading into the 20th year, at the helm of the festival are Melissa Riker and Maura Nguyen Donohue. The curation and producing teams include Jenny Green, Vincent Marano and John C. Robinson.

Visitors to ExtrofromEstro.org can enjoy short, insightful interviews of over 15 actors, playwrights and directors by Jenny Green, lending her past BBC interviewing skills to EstroGenius.

Thursday, May 28, 2020
The Beach
Written and Directed by Laura Hirschberg
Performed by Emily MaRee and Justin Walker

The Beach: Earth’s population has reached its limit and human beings have taken to the stars.  Meanwhile, in Virtual Reality Labs, like the ones on Space Station Orion, architects develop Environments-endeavoring to recreate pieces of the home planet that many humans have never even visited.  In Lab 47B, architect Luna Foster and her test pilot, Hugo Dunbar, collaborate on one of the most ambitious Environments ever attempted.  As the project enters its final tests, some unforeseen complications arise.

Laura Hirschberg (The Beach | Playwright, Director) is a NYC-based playwright/director/stage manager. Her plays, including VERONA WALLS, FIRE THIEF, and HEART OF OAK, have been developed, workshopped, and produced by Harvard University, The WorkShop Theater, The Looking Glass Theatre, 3V Theatre, Caps Lock Theater, the Frigid Festival, Everyday Inferno, Rising Sun Performance Company, and the 9BC Performance Series. Monologues from Laura’s plays have been published by Smith & Kraus and Applause Theatre & Cinema Books.  THE BEACH will be published in 2021 by Applause.

Laura’s plays to date have featured titans, Shakespearean characters, cowboys, superheroes, lady pirates, and the occasional talking whale. They also explore family, friendship, loyalty, love. And in one case, Big Foot. Visit New Play Exchange (newplayexchange.org) to explore more of Laura’s work.

For more information about Laura’s latest projects, please visitwww.laurahirschberg.com.

Emily MaRee (The Beach | Luna Foster) is an American actress with South Korean roots who spent the majority of her adult life in Barcelona. Realizing how unfulfilled she was in life, she threw away her career in tech and dove headfirst into acting. She’s had a successful commercial career in Spain, but uprooted herself to head to New York City to do the real thing.
Justin Walker (The Beach | Hugo Dunbar) is from Atlanta, Georgia, and in his third year of acting. Singing was his introduction to the arts, then drawing and visual arts and eventually dancing. Michael Jackson made Justin want to dance, looking like an alien the way he moved his body. Justin did productions of musicals in the two-year theatre program at middle school, where “you kind of delivered the lines, looked pretty and danced.”
After “miraculously” finding the Academy of Dramatic Arts in his senior year, Justin moved to train at the New York campus, from where he recently graduated from the school’s third year Company. Productions there included: Patrice in ‘Ring Round the Moon,’ Hal, in ‘Picnic,’  Monsieur Loyal and the Officer in ‘Tartuffe,’ Baby Boo in ‘Frontieres Sans Frontieres,’ and Kevin and Alber in ‘Clybourne Park.’ The Beach is his first professional gig.

Thursday, June 4, 2020
A Project
Written by Tawny Sorensen
Directed by Laura Hirschberg
Performed by Sarah Grace and Kate Russo

A Project was written in response to depression in this ever plugged-in world. Can we reconnect by disconnecting when the world gets too loud?

Tawny Sorensen (A Project | Playwright) holds her MFA from the Actors Studio/New School for Drama and BA from Fordham University. Her short films The Cat’s Cradle, Covered,and As One have screened at festivals across the country, receiving many accolades along the way. Her stage plays have been produced by Manhattan Repertory Theatre and Spare Change Theatre. As an actress, she has most recently appeared in Orange is the New Black, The Sleeping Life of Sofia,andRussian Doll.She is currently writing a new short film All the Little Pieces for production sometime after the current end of the world.

Sarah Grace (A Project |  Penny) Founder of Badass Lady Productions, Sarah has written, starred in, and produced female-centered works since 2013: Mental Nudity (PIT Underground), More (The Secret Theater), Implied Consent (Access Theater), and The Regime is Female (The Tank). Her ten-minute play Crush was featured in the Alternative Theater’s #MeToo Play series last December. Favorite other recent acting credits include The Rover (Torn Out Theater) and A Clockwork Orange (Hubris Theater Co). BFA: NYU Tisch. Proud SAG-AFTRA member. Feminism is for everyone. Check her out on Instagram at @sarahelizgrace andsarahelizabethgrace.com

Kate Russo (A Project |  Mia) is an actress, producer, and director located in Queens. Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Kate Studied theater at Clarion University of Pennsylvania but has been acting locally in NYC and the NY metro area for the past 10 years. You may have seen Kate in various festivals and readings around NYC, including previous estrogenius festivals. Special thanks to her husband Kevin for always supporting her and for his many cameos in this production. Follow Kate at @ItsKateRusso on Instagram for updates and photos of her adorable puppies.

Thursday, June 11, 2020
Hair Ye, Hair Ye…
Written by Baindu Kalokoh
Directed by Julie Ann Lucas
Performed by Ash Mayers and Asha John

In Hair Ye, Hair Ye… a charismatic woman comedically reflects upon the (mis)perceptions of her afro-textured hair. The versatility of her hairstyles parallel her diverse, and sometimes awkward, encounters. Her narration begins with childhood memories and progresses into adulthood. Whether her experiences occur on the playground or in the workplace, bewilderment ensues.

Baindu D. Kalokoh (Hair Ye, Hair Ye…  | Playwright) is an award-winning actor and writer who hails from Brooklyn, NY. Her credits include: Revolution’s Smite(Women’s Work Short Play Lab);  Don’t  (50in50: What Place Do We Have In This Movement?); Platform Griot (Midtown International Theatre Festival); Tenneh(Princess Grace Playwriting Fellowship – Finalist, National Black Theatre Festival); and The Second Wedding (Short+Sweet Dubai). She is a math and theater educator, and founder of Theatrematics LLC, a STEAM-centered educational services company.

Asha John  (Hair Ye, Hair Ye… | Gigi) was born on the islands of Trinidad & Tobago. She moved with her family to New York at a very young age. Post her Baccalaureate career, Asha pursued a career on Wall Street as an actuarial analyst. In 2010, she pursued a career change and decided to focus on her acting and dancing career as one of her passions. She soon realized another passion: teaching and working with children. In 2011, she began working as a teaching artist bringing her love of step, theater, dance, and math to the students of New York City. Combining her passion for theater, arts, and education, Asha is currently enrolled in NYU Steinhardt where she received her Master of Arts in Educational Theater for Colleges and Communities. Since 2009, Asha has been determined and relentless in pursuit of her dream and has been cast in numerous productions for stage and film. Her current credits encompass original work as well as classics like Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. In the near future, Asha hopes to be cast in a major motion picture as well as a Tony Award-winning production on Broadway.

Ash Mayers (Hair Ye, Hair Ye…  | Various):  Ash is very thrilled to be making her debut with the EstroGenius Festival. She enjoys working on contemporary theatrical pieces and has performed in new works at the Public Theater, JACK, and the Black Lady Theatre. She thanks you from the bottom of your heart for your support. Special thanks to Julie Ann Lucas, Baindu Kalokoh, and Asha John for being the best Zoom rehearsal team. BFA, Brooklyn College. More atwww.ashmayers.com.

Julie Ann Lucas (Hair Ye, Hair Ye…  | Director) Leo, mother to 2 dog & 4 cat’s, Director, Filmmaker,Producer, Photographer & actor from Los Angeles.

About the Festival

Manhattan Theatre Source’s EstroGenius Festival, an annual celebration of female-identifying, gnc, non-binary & trans voices, is one of New York City’s largest womxn’s arts festivals.

Founded by Fiona Jones in 2000, the festival debuted with a program of 10 short plays and music. Since then, it has grown into a multi-week event including short plays, solo shows, teen performances, visual art, and dance. In past years, we’ve also had stand-up comedy, live music, fundraisers for African girls’ education, and full-day networking events with panels and workshops.

Almost completely volunteer run, the EstroGenius Festival has provided thousands of artists the chance to shine; showcased award-winning playwrights Sheila Callaghan, Quiara Alegria Hudes, T.D. Mitchell and Melissa Maxwell; presented Bessie Award-winning choreographers Marta Renzi and Jennifer Nugent; and provided scholarships for girls to attend school in Niger, ranked the poorest country in the world by the United Nations.

We are committed to providing opportunities to marginalized artists – in a variety of disciplines – ranging from the emerging to the seasoned professional.

The New York Times raves that EstroGenius “lives up to its billing as a celebration of women’s work.”

EstroGenius is grateful for our continued partnership with Erez Ziv and his Frigid New York team, both on physical stages, and virtual ones. EstroGenius 2020 is made possible in part with public funds from Creative Engagement and our generous Kickstarter 2020 Donors. Manhattan Theatre Source & EstroGenius would like to thank Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature for their support.

For more information, visit estrogenius.org.


May 28, 2020 @ 7:30 PM
June 25, 2020 @ 8:30 PM