Today, 8/7/12, I took off from work to participate in the New York International Fringe Festival's annual press release. It's such an exciting thing to be invited as there are close to 200 shows in FringeNYC and we have an extremely tight marketing budget. Only about 8 shows get to participate in this event to give several media outlets an idea of what will be served up at the various downtown Manhattan venues during its Aug. 10th-Aug. 26th run.
This particular version of "Linda Means to Wait" will debut in this year's Fringe, so we were likely (as in, definitely) invited because of my director's familiar face. Geoffrey Owens is recognizable from his role as Elvin in "The Cosby Show." My younger self might have been insulted, thinking, "Hey, but it's MY show!" But, the truth is theatrical events need recognizable names sometimes to get butts in the seats. People need SOMETHING to go by. I mean, most of the shows you'll not have heard of.
So, my mature self said, "Thank goodness, Geoff can make it!" And the truth is, he's played a large role in the development of this piece....probably a greater role than he realizes. Back in the 90s when I started writing "Linda Means to Wait," I wasn't exactly sure what it was going to be. Two friends of mine, Nadine Mozon and Tonye Patano were meeting occasionally to bounce ideas off of each other, calling ourselves the Dead Dad's Club.
Long story short, nothing concrete was written until I struck out on my own on the writing front, after seeing John Leguizamo's "Freak" on Broadway. I was inspired by how Leguizamo married painful memories with humorous perspectives. Writing then began in earnest. When I was done I had written a play that was way too much telling and not enough showing and Geoff help extract the story from all the verbiage along with staging it so that the stories could be followed.
Today, Geoff introduced "Linda Means to Wait" to the press and I thought it couldn't have been more fitting. The show has had lots of help along to way from various directors (including Andrew Grasso, Shona Tucker and Imani Douglas) and I've done a lot of living to discover what stories I wanted to tell with it. And, call me biased, but Geoffrey Owens is such an excellent director and I'm excited for you to see our work in this!
God only knows how it'll do at the box office, but from the reaction of today's audience (not to mention, yesterday's), I'm thrilled and grateful that the show has matured to where it is now. My hope is that the takeaway for the folks that see it will be a lasting impression that inspires great changes; in individuals and then the world.
FYI, we open on 8/11/12, 8:45pm at Steve & Marie Sgouros Theatre at 115 MacDougal, 3rd Floor. If you want to get tickets without paying a convenience fee, you can buy them in person at FringeCentral, 1 E. 8th Street (12pm-8pm, daily); otherwise you can purchase tickets online at http://www.fringenyc.org/basic_page.php?ltr=L , or call (866) 468-7619.
I aint yo' mama so I'm not going to tell you what to do; but if you miss it, it'll be your own doing and there won't be anything that can be done about that. This is live theatre folks! When it's gone, it's gone!