Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Martin Casella wins 2015 FringeNYC Overall Excellence Award for Playwriting for The Report; Full List of 2015 FringeNYC Overall Excellence Award Winners

Martin Casella receives 2015 FringeNYC Overall Excellence Award for Playwriting for his compelling new drama The Report at Drom in New York on August 3o, 2015. Photo by Sarahbeth Grossman

Martin Casella receives 2015 FringeNYC Overall Excellence Award for Playwriting for his compelling new drama The Report at Drom in New York on August 3o, 2015. Photo by Sarahbeth Grossman

Congratulations to Martin Casella who received a 2015 FringeNYC Overall Excellence Award for Playwriting for his compelling new drama The Report, adapted from the novel by Jessica Francis Kane, and directed by Alan Muraoka, which had its world premiere at the Lynn Redgrave Theater @ Culture Project during the New York International Fringe Festival in August.

Broadway veteran Michael Countryman (Boardwalk Empire, The SopranosA Few Good MenLaughter on the 23rd FloorThe Common PursuitYou Can Count on Me) lead a marvelous ensemble of British, Welsh, Canadian and American actors including Philippa Dawson, Denny Desmarias, Natalie Frost, Jenny Green, Louis Lavoie, James Physick, Sophie Sorensen, Jonathan Stephens, Zoë Watkins, David Wells and Stuart Williams.

The Report's director Alan Muraoka, playwright Martin Casella, star Michael Countryman and author Jessica Francis Kane after a Q & A at the Sheen Center in New York on August 15, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

The Report’s director Alan Muraoka, playwright Martin Casella, star Michael Countryman and author Jessica Francis Kane after a Q & A at the Sheen Center in New York on August 15, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

The Report examines the true, unknown story of the British government’s cover-up of the largest civilian disaster of World War II. On March 3, 1943, 173 people died in London’s Bethnal Green tube station, which served as a bomb shelter during air raids. But not a single bomb was dropped that fateful night. The cause of this tragedy was kept secret for almost 30 years, until a young BBC journalist making a documentary began to uncover what actually took place. As the truth is revealed, we discover how trauma, fear and the paranoia of war impact our very humanity, and how the specter of a single public calamity resonates throughout multiple generations.

Michael Countryman (center) and the cast of The Report. Photo by Lia Chang

Michael Countryman (center) and the cast of The Report. Photo by Lia Chang

Playwright Martin Casella. Photo by Lia Chang

Playwright Martin Casella. Photo by Lia Chang

During his acceptance speech, Casella said, “May the memories of the 173 who died in the Bethnal Green tube station over 70 years ago always be a blessing. And may this beautiful and haunting play remind the world of the humanity required from everyone as we deal with overwhelming refugee populations in so many countries across the globe.”

Casella received the Outstanding Playwrighting Award in the 2005 FringeNYC for The Irish Curse, which has enjoyed successful Off-Broadway and worldwide productions. Other recent theater credits include the award-winning Directions for Restoring the Apparently Dead and Scituate. He is the screenwriter of Tom’s Dad starring Will Ferrell and directed by Lasse Hallstrom, and The Land of Sometimes, an animated British feature film.

Craig Zehms, Zoë S Watkins, Martin Casella, Sarahbeth Grossman, Barry Goralnick and Keith Gordon at the 2015 FringeNYC Awards at Drom in New York on August 30, 2015. Photo courtesy of Barry Goralnick

Craig Zehms, Zoë S Watkins, Martin Casella, Sarahbeth Grossman, Barry Goralnick and Keith Gordon at the 2015 FringeNYC Awards at Drom in New York on August 30, 2015. Photo courtesy of Barry Goralnick

The Report is being presented by Barry Goralnick, Sarahbeth Grossman, Craig Zehms in association with Cutting Hedge Productions.

The cast, creative team and producers of The Report after the opening performance of The Report at The Lynn Redgrave Theater at Culture Project in New York on August 15, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

The cast, creative team and producers of The Report after the opening performance of The Report at The Lynn Redgrave Theater at Culture Project in New York on August 15, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Winners of the 2015 FringeNYC Overall Excellence Awards were announced by festival Producing Artistic Director Elena K. Holy during a brief ceremony at Drom in New York on August 30, 2015. As selected by an independent panel of over 30 theater professionals, the winners are as follows:

Overall Play:
The Broken Record
Divine Intervention
Little One
Maybe Tomorrow
Night of the Living

Overall Musical:
The Crack in the Ceiling
Far From Canterbury
Popesical

Solo Performance:
butyou’reaman or: The Seven Men I Came Out to in India
An Inconvenient Poop
Tiananmen Annie

Ensemble:
The Curious Case of Phineas Gage
Running Interference
Stockholm Savings
Verano Place

Playwriting:
Martin Casella – The Report
Ashley J. Jacobson – The American Play
Lisa Lewis – Schooled
Jim Shankman – The Screenwriter Dies Of His Own Free Will

Directing:
Stephen Broteback – St. Francis
William Oldroyd – Fuente Ovejuna
Courtney Ulrich – Sousepaw: ‘A Baseball Story’

Costumes:
Jennifer Brawn-Gittings – She-Rantulas From Outer Space in 3-D!

Video Design:
Lianne Arnold – The Mad Scientist’s Guide to Romance, Robots and Soul-Crushing Loneliness

Acting:
Lauren LaRocca – Coping
Lori Hammel – Hell Is For Real
Jesse Carrey – To Dance – The Musical
Rebecca Vigil & Evan Kaufman – Your Love, Our Musical
Xander Johnson – The Boys Are Angry
David Logan Rankin – Night with Guests

The critics raved about The Report:

Stuart Williams and Michael Countryman in The Report. Photo by Lia Chang

Stuart Williams and Michael Countryman in The Report. Photo by Lia Chang

“A more scrupulous approach to history is offered in The Report. The story itself is gripping, and the script hops ably between 1943 and 1973…the actors, among them the Broadway veteran Michael Countryman, are excellent.” – Alexis Soloski, New York Times

Stuart Williams, Sophie Sorensen and Michael Countryman in THE REPORT. Photo by Lia Chang

Stuart Williams, Sophie Sorensen and Michael Countryman in THE REPORT. Photo by Lia Chang

4 STARS! “Gripping. The outstanding (Michael) Countryman plays Dunne as both a young investigator brought in to speak to witnesses and an old man looking back on his legacy. The play’s powerful depiction of wartime panic, guilt and ethical confusion offers a fascinating look into a forgotten corner of England’s wartime experience.” —Dana Varinsky, Time Out

The cast of The Report. Photo by Lia Chang

The cast of The Report. Photo by Lia Chang

“The play is as challenging as it is worthwhile, sure to haunt you for days as you try to unfold the conflicting accounts and motives of the characters involved. Director Alan Muraoka marshals the 12-person ensemble through a barrage of overlapping scenes jumping across time and space. With the help of Darren Lee’s hyper-specific choreography and Lauren Halpern’s utilitarian set, Muraoka thrillingly succeeds in not only keeping everything straight, but adding the little details that one would expect from a particularly good mystery novel. Brian Hemesath’s handsome costumes give us a sense not only of the period, but the individual personalities at play. The Report tells the story of the messy relationship between truth and reconciliation, two concepts that don’t necessarily go hand in hand.” – Zachary Stewart, TheaterMania

Denny Desmarais, Philippa Dawson and James Physick in The Report. Photo by Lia Chang

Denny Desmarais, Philippa Dawson and James Physick in The Report. Photo by Lia Chang

“This is a show not to miss and a producers dream … a play that could win the Pulitzer Prize and possibly the Tony. Martin Casella’s script is heartbreaking and powerful. From the first moment we are drawn in. Michael Countryman performance is a layered well thought out masterpiece. Director Alan Muraoka, draws us in and keeps the suspense. The scenic design by Lauren Helpern, costume design by Brian Hemesath, lighting design by Michael O’Connor, sound design by Chris Sassano, specialty movement by Darren Lee and incidental music by Paul Rudolph are all first rate and add to the over all feeling. – Suzanna Bowling, Times Square Chronicles

Sophie Sorensen, Stuart Williams, Michael Countryman and the company of The Report. Photo by Lia Chang

Sophie Sorensen, Stuart Williams, Michael Countryman and the company of The Report. Photo by Lia Chang

NY Post Pick! “the rare Fringe show to sport a big-ish cast and an ambitious subject, as Martin Casella — switching genres after his comically endearing “The Irish Curse” — revisits a catastrophe that killed 173 people in the London tube during WWII.” – Elisabeth Vincentelli, New York Post

David Wells, Jonathan Stephens and James Physick in The Report. Photo by Lia Chang

David Wells, Jonathan Stephens and James Physick in The Report. Photo by Lia Chang

“…this play is all about shades of gray. The nuanced writing by Martin Casella, based on the novel by Jessica Francis Kane, is strong. Alan Muraoka provides smart and inventive direction and lead actor Michael Countryman is mesmerizing. It’s a serious, superb production that will likely go on to a commercial run. If you’d enjoy an exceptionally well done dramatic play, take a break from the cake and ice cream of most Fringe shows and partake of this steak dinner. – Hy on the Fringe

Denny Desmarais, Louis Lavoie and Natalie Frost in Martin Casella's The Report. Photo by Lia Chang

Denny Desmarais, Louis Lavoie and Natalie Frost in Martin Casella’s The Report. Photo by Lia Chang

One of the Festivals hottest shows.  Not to be missed! – Playbill

Soldout house for The Report at the Lynn Redgrave Theater at Culture Project in New York on August 15, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Soldout house for The Report at the Lynn Redgrave Theater at Culture Project in New York on August 15, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

“One of the shows leading the pack in ticket sales. Saw The Report w/ Michael Countryman at Fringe Saturday. It is a moving and complex play that succeeds both as melodrama and thoughtful serious play. Excellent production by any standard. Should sell out quickly. – Talkinbroadway.com/All That Chat

Curtain Call of the opening performance of The Report at The Lynn Redgrave Theater at Culture Project in New York on August 15, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Curtain Call of the opening performance of The Report at The Lynn Redgrave Theater at Culture Project in New York on August 15, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

For more information about THE REPORT, please visit www.TheReportThePlay.com.

AsAmNews.com: Sesame Street’s Alan Muraoka Directs New Off Broadway Drama THE REPORT
Theaterscene.com: The Report
Times Square Chronicles: Fringe Festival: Calling All Producers The Report is the Play to See
nytheaternow.com:THE REPORT
StageBuddy.com: FringeNYC Review: The Report

FringeNYC is a production of The Present Company, under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Elena K. Holy. In 1997, New York City became the seventh US city to host a fringe festival, joining Seattle, Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Houston, Orlando and San Francisco. FringeNYC has presented over 3000 performing groups representing every continent, prompting Switzerland’s national daily, Neue Zuercher Zeitung, to declare FringeNYC as “the premiere meeting ground for alternative artists.” FringeNYC has also been the launching pad for numerous Off-Broadway and Broadway transfers, long-running downtown hits, and regional theater productions including Urinetown, Matt & Ben, Never Swim Alone, Jammer, Debbie Does Dallas, Dog Sees God, Brandon Teena, Dixie’s Tupperware Party, 21 Dog Years, Bash’d, The Irish Curse, Jurassic Parq, The Fartiste, Silence! The Musical and 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche; movies including WTC View and Armless; and even a TV show (‘da Kink in My Hair). FringeNYC alumni include Bradley Cooper, Melissa Rauch (Big Bang Theory), Morgan Spurlock (Supersize Me, CNN’s Inside Man),Mindy Kaling, Tony Award winner Diane Paulus (Pippin), Alex Timbers (Rocky), Leigh Silverman (Violet), W. Kamau Bell (Totally Biased), Michael Urie (Ugly Betty), Naomi Grossman (American Horror Story), Chris Lowell (Enlisted), David Anders (iZombie) and Kristen Schall (Last Man on Earth), among countless other success stories.

The 20th Annual New York International Fringe Festival will run in August 12 – 28, 2016 and will once again feature nearly 200 of the worlds best emerging theater and dance artists. Applications for the 2015 festival will be available online in November; completed applications are due February 14, 2016. For more information visit www.FringeNYC.org

Lia Chang

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and FebOne1960.com Blog.

Other Articles
Photos: Creating an Asian American presence on Wikipedia, one ‪#‎WikiAPA‬ Edit-a-thon at a time
AsAmNews.com: Actor Tzi Ma Rides ‘Hell On Wheels’ to New Heights
AsAmNews.com: The King and I’s Jose Llana, Ruthie Ann Miles and Betsy Morgan Perform Concert in the Park
Broadwayworld.com: Photo Flash: First Look at THE REPORT as Part of FringeNYC
Broadwayworld.com: Photo Flash: Phylicia Rashad, Andre De Shields & More Original Cast Members from THE WIZ Reunite in Central Park!
AsAmNews.com: China: Through the Looking Glass Extended by The Met until Labor Day
AsAmNews.com: Arthur Dong’s Forbidden City, USA: Chinese American Nightclubs, 1936-1970 wins American Book Award
AsAmNews.com: Future Looks Bright for Asian American Cinema
AsAmNews.com: Asian American Tweeters Get Special Shout-out in Playbill
Playbill.com: Retweet! BroadwayGirlNYC’s Picks For Most Useful Theatre Women on Social Media
AsAmNews.com:Playing Hide And Seek With Actress Lia Chang
BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA Cast Reunion featured in BLACK BELT MAGAZINE August/September 2015
Drumhead Magazine: Living Colour Drummer Will Calhoun, Photos by Lia Chang 
AsAmNews.com: A Chat with Broadway’s New King of Siam, Jose Llana
AsAmNews.com: Lunch with Tony Winner Lea Salonga and George Takei, Stars of ALLEGIANCE
AsAmNews.com: AAPI Heritage Month: My Grandmother’s Detention on Angel Island 

Click here  for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.
All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2015 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s