The Soul of the American Actor

INTERVIEWS with ARTISTS

BEN VEREEN

JEANINE TESORI

PSALMAYENE 24

SYLVIA MCNAIR

MICHAEL McELROY

DEIDRE KINAHAN

BOB ARI

PAUL TAZEWELL

PATRICIA ROZARIO

NANCY RHODES

MAIA DANZIGER

EARL “PEANUTT” MONTGOMERY

WILLIE RUFF

DENNIS D’AMICO

GRACE CACHOCHA

KAREN SAILLANT

JENNIFER HORNE

JEANIE THOMPSON

ROBERT PERRY

WAYNE SIDES

JAMIE LEE McMAHAN

“Many people are alive but don't touch the miracle of being alive.”
- Thich Nhat Hanh


Articles

Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company

Black Theatre United

Mabou Mines

Theater J

Pangea World Theater

Round House Theatre

Bucks County Playhouse

Charleston Stage

Maryland Ensemble Theatre

Chesapeake Shakespeare Company

PURE Theatre Company

Ronald Rand’s “CREATE! How Extraordinary People Live to Create and Create to Live”

Virginia Stage Company

Constellation Theatre Company

League of Professional Theatre Women

Maryland Hall

BlackRock Center for the Arts

Great American Songbook Foundation & Academy

Kennedy Center REACH

Inter Act Art Theatre

“Grand Ball in the Belle Epoch” – Edwardian Period Style Salon

 

 

“To grasp the full significance of life is the actor's duty, to interpret it is his problem, and to express it his dedication.”  
– Marlon Brando

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.”
– Helen Keller

“The theatre should be treated with respect. The theatre is a wonderful place, a house of strange enchantment, a temple of illusion.”
– Noel Coward

“Cultivate an ever continuous power of observation...see the sunlight and everything that is to be seen.”
– John Singer Sargent

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”
– T.S. Eliot

"Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world."
– Harriet Tubman

“Life shrinks or expands according to one’s courage.” 
- Anais Nin

Constellation Theatre

Constellation Theatre Company, located on Washington, D.C.’s bustling 14th Street, is a theatre interested in transporting it’s audiences to dramatic worlds where the action is larger than life. Founding Artistic Director Allison Arkell Stockman wants to spark audiences’ imagination with plays from all over the world with large acting ensembles that feature original music and dynamic movement. Their 2019-2020 season had featured “Little Shop of Horrors” and “The 39 Steps.” Their third production has been cancelled due to the pandemic.

(L to R) Christopher Walker, Patricia Hurley, Drew Kopas, Gwen Grastorf in “The 39 Steps” (Cameron Whitman Photography)

In addition to their productions, the Constellation Theatre Company also has a program, “Epic Exchanges,” and a year ago, invited Dr. Peter Rollberg Director of Russian Literature at George Washington University, to come and speak about Mikhail Bulgakov and his work connected with “The Master and the Margarita.” Linnea Hegarty, coordinator of the D.C. Public Library’s Uncensored Banned Book Week programs, came and led a discussion on censorship in relation with “The Master and the Margarita.” The play remained underground for nearly twenty years after Bulgakov’s death until a monthly magazine published it, heavily censored, in two parts between 1966 and 1967. It became an overnight literary phenomenon, signaling artistic freedom for Russians everywhere.

Anna Lynch, Scott Ward Abernethy, Louis E. Davis, Dallas Tolentino in “The Master and Margarita” (photo: DJ Corey Photography)

The creation of the Constellation Theatre Company is a story in itself. Founding Artistic Director Ms. Stockman is a 1996 graduate of Princeton University, and a 2001 graduate of Carnegie Mellon School of Drama. She was a freelance director in D.C. and New York City, and in 2007 started the Constellation Theater Company.

When we talked with Ms. Stockman, she told us, “I had initially worked for the “In Series” opera company, and did shows at The Source Theatre Company, which was going bankrupt. Luckily, a movement began called “Save our Source.” That’s when I began talking to the D.C. government and a non-profit called “Cultural D.C.” which bought the building.” Constellation Theatre Company now shares their performance space with two other performing companies, “In Series” and “Washington Improv Theatre.”
Ms. Stockman continued, telling us: “Constellation has the space for over twenty weeks during the year, so rehearsals are held off-site at their scene shop in Silver Spring, Maryland. Initially, I had known for a long time that I wanted to lead a theatre company. I called my theatre company, Constellation, because throughout time people have looked up at the stars and pulled stories and myths that inspired them, and I wanted my audiences to feel inspired, excited and entertained.”

Shayla S. Simmons as Aida in “Aida” (photo: DJ Corey Photography)

Ms. Stockman also told us: “Aida” was sold-out, but unfortunately if a show is a hit, it cannot be extended because of the shared space arrangement with the two other companies. And Constellation Theatre tries to take risks. The “The Ramayana,” a Hindu story from India that Constellation produced four years ago, became a huge hit. The theatre has had over eight thousand patrons attend its’ performances, and eventually we’d like to have our own building with programming year-round, to take more artistic risks and bring in theatre from other parts of the world.”

“The White Snake” (photo: DJ Corey Photography)

Constellation Theatre Company won the Helen Hayes Awards’ John Aniello Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre in 2009, and the 2013 American Theatre Wing Award for “articulating a distinctive mission, cultivated an audience, and nurtured a community of artists in ways that strengthen the quality, diversity, and dynamism of American theatre.” For more info: 202-204-7741, 1835 14th Street NW, Washington D.C. 20009, www.constellationtheatre.org

L-R: Mary Myers, Billie Krishawn, Lilian Oben, and Christian Montgomery in “Melancholy Play: A Contemporary Farce.” (photo: DJ Corey Photography


"It is a law of life that man cannot live for himself alone. Extreme individualism is insanity. The world's problems are also our personal problems. Health is achieved through maintaining our personal truth in a balanced relation of love to the rest of the world. No expression is more emblematic of this relation than the creative act which we call art. No art by its very constitution typifies the social nature of that creative act more than the theatre. The theatre, to be fully understood and appreciated, must be seen as a manifestation of this process of interchange between society and the individual. It must be judged as a continuous development of groups of individuals within society, a development which becomes richer, acquires greater force and value as it grows with the society in which it originates. Only in this way can the theatre nourish us.  - Harold Clurman

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