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Planet Connections Announces Its Directors Repertory for “DARK PLANET: Not Your Mother’s Valentine’s Day” presented by Planet Connections Theatre Festivity; performing Thursdays and Fridays, February 6 – 21 at the Theater at the 14th Street Y, 344 E 14th St, New York City.

 

A cavalcade of acclaimed Playwrights, Directors, Actors and Friends – all Planet Connections Award Winning and Nominated artists – will offer-up a plethora of playlets looking at the world through less-than rose-colored glasses. Some very funny, some brutal, PCTF continues its mission to entertain audiences thirsty for enlightenment.

The directors for this seasons are: Irina Abraham, Ilana Becker, Lucia Bellini, Katrin Hilbe, Glory Kadigan, Nicoletta Mandriotti, Francisco Solorzano, and Akia Squitieri.

Founding Artistic Director Glory Kadigan said, “I’m so honored to be collaborating with seven celebrated Planet Connections Award-Winning (and award-nominated) directors. All have been active in our community and continue to astound me with their visions, intelligence and generosity.”

 

Planet Connections Festivity is New York’s premiere social-conscious arts festival. The Festivity is designed to invoke the power of art in motivating philanthropy, community outreach and social change. Planet Connections’ artists use their work to shed light on the causes that matter, while inspiring audiences to get involved.

 

Three Men With Guns by Monica Bauer

Shadow Dance by Jake Brasch

Fievel Dridge, The Great Orator of Fishingstill by Erik Champney

The Second Coming by Gabrielle Fox

Wild Side by Glory Kadigan

Text Angel by Drew Larimore

A Day At The Beach by Quincy Long

Reconcile, Bitch by Desi Moreno-Penson

Playthings by Jan Rosenberg

Play With Me by Lenny Schwartz

 

This event will be running in rep with Lovesong (Imperfect), a new play written and directed by Planet Connections Playwrights For A Cause writer, José Rivera.

 

The repertory of directors chosen for this event include:

 

Irina Abraham (Director) is an award winning director and actress. In 2014 Irina co-founded Necessary I.T.E.M.S. Project theatre company. In 2017 Irina was awarded Outstanding Directing at The Planet Connections Festival. In 2018 Irina wrote a children’s play Mozart And Me that was produced by Scorpis Arts and Culture that went up at Baruch Center for The Performing Arts followed by a tour to China in the Summer 2019. Irina was hired as the tour director.  She played leading roles in several feature films for one of which she received a best actress award.

 

Ilana Becker (Director) is a Planet Connections nominated Outstanding Director for Ephemerama; she has directed and developed new work at Ars Nova, The Lark, The Flea, The Tank, Dixon Place, New York Theatre Workshop, National Black Theatre, The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, 54 Below, Disney/ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop, Columbia University’s MFA Playwriting Program, NYU’s MFA Dramatic Writing Program, Hunter College, Barnard College, Stevens Technical Institute, Pittsburgh Fringe (Best Ensemble), FringeNYC, Samuel French Festival, TinyRhino, NY Madness, Communal Spaces: garden plays, Theater for the New City with Piper Theatre, and FullStop Collective, among others.

 

Lucia Bellini (Director) aka “Lu”, is a director and actor for film and theatre originally from Viareggio, Italy. Member of Wednesday Repertory Company and NY Madness. Lu is proud to have won the award for “Outstanding Direction of a Staged Reading” for Who Mourns For Bob The Goon? at the 2015 Planet Connection Festivities, followed by a run of the show at the HERE Arts Center in the Summer of 2016. Her collaboration with the Festivities continued assisting Glory Kadigan for PFAC 2017 and 2018. Recent credits include direction of the 2018 Planet Connection Festivities Award Ceremony at the Abrons Arts Center’s Playhouse Theatre, direction of Naya James’ one act play Stuck for Wednesday Repertory Company and assistant director to Glory Kadigan for The Floor is Lava at La Mama Experimental Theatre (May 2019). Currently directing Abdication! by Naya James at TNC as part of the Dream Up Festival (opens September 2019).

 

Katrin Hilbe (Director) is a director of Liechtenstein-Kansas origin, working in the US and in Europe. Her production of R. Strauss’ Salome for New Orleans Opera won “Best Opera Production”, and her production of Julia Pascal’s St Joan won the Hilton Edwards Award for best direction and adaptation at the Dublin International Gay Theatre Festival. Proud Planet Connections contribution: Searching For A New Sun by Robin Rice, for which she received an Outstanding Direction Nomination (June 2012). Other select theatre credits: Shooter, Identität Europa, In Bed With Roy Cohn, Breaking The Silence, Fägfüür, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Select opera credits: Die Zauberflöte, Falstaff, Pelléas Et Mélisande, Die Schumann Sonate.Katrin is a regular contributor to “EUROPEAN STAGES”, a publication of the Martin E. Segal Center. She is the Executive Vice President of LPTW, a member of SDC, TRU, DG and the Playwright Directors Unit of The Actors Studio. For more info, visit Katrinhilbe.com and ManyTracks.org

 

Glory Kadigan (Director) founded Planet Connections Theatre Festivity and served as The Producing Artistic Director for six seasons.  She is a member of the Actors Studio Directing Unit, Alum of the La Mama Umbria Playwriting Symposium and Director Symposium, Alum of Labyrinth Theater Company Master Class and Lincoln Center Directors Lab. She recently directed Vivian’s Music 1969 (Helen Hayes Nominated Essential Theater Company, Off-Broadway 59 E 59, Sold out 5-star reviews at Edinburgh Fringe), The Weak and The Strong by Erik Ehn (Sheen Center), The Floor Is Lava by Alex Riad (La Mama), Clover by Erik Ehn (La MaMa), Bank by Lucy Thurber (PFAC), Mean Girls by Lyle Kessler (PFAC), and Biting The Bullet by Regina Taylor (PFAC). She has directed over 100 productions and received numerable awards including Kennedy Center’s ACTF for direction. Graduate of Pomona College.

 

Nicoletta Mandriotti (Director) is a Peruvian-Italian director, playwright, writer and producer. Full production directing credits include Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen, El que espera en el Balcón by Gregor Díaz, 1st Sin 2nd Class 3rd World by Wendy Arimah (which she also choreographed), Fall by Franceluce Benson, The Dark Creature byRossely A. Harman and her original play Girl Inside the Mirror, which received seven Planet Nominations and two Planet Awards including Outstanding Director of a One-Act or Solo Production and Outstanding Overall Production of a One-Act by Planet Connections Theatre Festivity 2018. She is completing a certification at Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies. MFA in Theater, Sarah Lawrence College.

 

Francisco Solorzano (Director) is an award-winning Latino filmmaker, actor and director who starred in the critically acclaimed, first ever stage adaptation of Dog Day Afternoon (Theatre Row Theatres, also writer/director). He’s also known for his leading role in the two-act drama, Sins Of The Mother (developed w/ Ethan Hawke, Chris Cooper, Bobby Cannavale, and Michael Stuhlbarg). Recent productions include Mateo And The Whale in Chongqing, China and at Planet Connections with Raft Of The Medusa (Outstanding Supporting Actor, Revival and Ensemble Award).  Founder & Producing Artistic Director Of Barefoot Theatre Company since its inception in 1999 as well as sister co., Barefoot Studio Pictures (recipient of several film awards) with Christopher Whalen.  BFA in Acting: CUNY; recipient of the Department of Theater Alumnus of the Year Award. Proud member of The Actors Studio’s Playwrights / Directors Unit, AEA and SAG-AFTRA. Francisco currently splits his time between Brooklyn, NY and Hollywood, CA.  FranciscoSolorzano.com

Akia Squitieri (Director) is a Stage Director, Curator, Producer, Arts Administrator & Teaching Artist based out of New York City. She is an active member of the NYC theatre communities having produced, directed, and performed both regionally and nationally. Akia is the Founding Artistic Director of Rising Sun Performance Company and Company Manager & Producer for the New York Innovative Theatre Awards. She has received critical praise for her direction of both new and published works and is a recipient of the New York Innovative Theatre Awards “Founders Award” for her contributions to the organization and Off-Off-Broadway Community and Two Time “Congeniality” Award Winner from the Planet Connections Theatre Festival for her community involvement. She was awarded Outstanding Directing award two years in a row for her productions of The Glory of Living & Elephant. She is also the founder of Creating Safe Spaces, an anti-harassment training program for theatrical environments. www.risingsunnyc.com and www.akiasquitieri.com

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