Introducing The Propulsion Lab
Mission to (dit)Mars, a theatre arts collective serving Queens artists, announces a new writers group serving emerging playwrights from the borough.
With the creation of the Launch Pad Reading Series and its mission of propelling plays forward, we have created a second key component to our mission, which is The Propulsion Lab!
The Propulsion Lab is a monthly writers group made up of Queens based playwrights. The writers group will be curated and facilitated by Mission to (dit)Mars co-founders Kari Bentley-Quinn and Don Nguyen.
Meet our current Propulsion Lab writers:
Kari Bentley-Quinn is a playwright based in New York City, born and raised in the little coast town of Stratford, CT. Her plays have been presented at or developed with Naked Angels, Pace University, Caps Lock Theater, Effable Arts, Packawallop Productions, the Access Theater, the New York International Fringe Festival, and the Play Development Collective.
Kari’s full length plays include THE PERMANENT NIGHT (2008 FringeNYC award winner), UNBLESSED, TUMBLING AFTER, PAPER CRANES (semifinalist for the Princess Grace Award), and THE UNLIKELY ASCENT OF SYBIL STEVENS. Her short plays include THE NEG (commissioned by Effable Arts), LE DANSEUR and HAIR OF THE DOG (both presented at Packawallop Productions’ The Lounge Series). Kari is a creator and writer of LUCY KNOWS LOVE, a web series starring Susan Louise O’Connor.
Kari received her BA in Theater Arts from Pace University, and has studied playwriting with Richard Caliban, Paul Zimmerman, and Mac Wellman. She is currently a proud member of The Pack, a developmental group in New York City comprised of actors, writers, and directors that create new work. Kari is a board member of Packawallop Productions and a member of the Dramatists Guild. Kari was a finalist for the 2011 Playwrights Realm Fellowship and for the 2012-2014 Public Theater Emerging Writers Group. Kari is also a founding member of Mission to ditMARS, a theater and arts collective based in Astoria, Queens.
Lisa’s work includes Egyptology (developed under the mentorship of Lee Blessing and a nominee for a National New Play Network award), Under the Rainbow (Regional Winner in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, Finalist for the John Cauble Short Play Award), Health Nuts (Semi-Finalist for the Little Fish Theatre Pick of the Vine Competition, produced by the Panic Room Playwrights), Life Play (Secret Theatre’s Act One: One Act Festival), Sub-Prime (KNOW Theatre Playwrights and Artists Festival), High and Uptight (Mile Square Theatre’s 7th Inning Stretch Festival) and Heart/Succor (La Petite Morgue’s inaugural Fresh Blood Series). She has participated in the One Minute Play Festival, Pussyfest, and Monologues and Madness. Under the Rainbow, High and Uptight, and Egyptology are available for purchase and download at The Monologues Database. A member of The Dramatists Guild, Drawing Board, The Panic Room Playwrights, Lisa is also an Artistic Associate for La Petite Morgue. She has attended playwriting workshops at Kennedy Center Playwriting Intensive and Chicago Dramatists. She received her BA in Theatre Performance from Bradley University and her MFA in Playwriting from Rutgers University, where she currently teaches freshman composition. Lisa was raised by vegetarians in Ohio and also maintains the food blog, Sometimes A Vegan.
Courtney currently resides in Astoria, NY. Some of her plays include Electric Church (Arthur Seelen Theater) Four Years Apart (The Bridge Theater, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, New York Stage and Film/Vassar College) And The Baby Makes Three, Co-Op The Musical (Ensemble Studio Theatre), The True Life Story of Tom Ritchford (The Brick), Take Me Away (The Kraine Theater),and Someday You’ll Find It (The American Theater for Actors). She has participated in The One Minute Play Festival 3 years running (The Brick, The HERE Theatre). Her one-act play On The Surface was a finalist in the Samuel French Short Play Festival for 2007. Courtney is an alumni member of Youngblood. (Ensemble Studio Theatre’s collective for emerging playwrights under the age of thirty)
New York Times Quote about Co-Op The Musical:
“By the end of this persuasively sincere one-act, you may well be charmed.”
Time Out Review about Co-Op The Musical:
The curtain opener and the best of the bunch, Co-Op is a cute minimusical set in a crunchy-granola community food shop in rural Oregon. Using a folk-pop score and shamelessly silly lyrics (there’s much rhyming with the state’s name: “door again,” “unsure again”), book writer Courtney Brooke Lauria and composer-lyricist Matt Schatz craft a portrait of sad-sack Bean (Julie Fitzpatrick), who aches to leave her dull town, and Ethan (Steve Boyer), a shy local who actually kinda likes it there. Grizzled store manager Ted (Thomas Lyons) provides witty romantic advice in the ditty “Don’t Date Your Double.”
Lawson’s plays have been produced at/by The Brick Theater, Dixon Place, IRT Theatre, the Secret Theatre, the Downtown Urban Theater Festival (at Manhattan Movement & Arts Center), The FRIGID New York Festival (at UNDER St. Marks), The Dream Up Festival (at Theater for the New City), Alchemical Theatre Laboratory, the Brooklyn LaunchPad and The Parkside Lounge. Lawson holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from Emerson College (MA) and studied at the O’Neill National Theater Institute (CT). Lawson is a proud member of The Dramatists Guild of America and the League of Independent Theatre of New York.
Plays include All About a Boy (Best of Week, FronteraFest 2013), Magic Trick (FringeNYC ’12, dev. at The Culture Project; published by Indie Theater Now), The Foreplay Play (Caps Lock Theatre; two NYIT nominations, published by Indie Theater Now), Lysistrata Rape Play (dev. at The Players Theater, Anthem Theater Company, and Filling the Well), Ampersand: A Romeo & Juliet Story (FringeNYC ’11, 20 Looking Glass Forum Awards and “Outstanding Performance” of the Fringe), The All-American Genderf*ck Cabaret (Rapscallion Theatre Collective, Purple Rep, Pride Films & Plays in Chicago, and Thinking Cap Theatre in Florida; published by Indie Theater Now), You’ll Thank Me Later (Jimmy’s No. 43, Theater for the New City), Detained (Left Hip), Bachelor/Bachelorette (Co-Op Theatre East, Ticket 2 Eternity Productions), Dismemberment (Player’s Theatre), A Man of His Word (San Diego Old Globe with Playwrights Project, winner of the California Young Playwrights Contest, reading with New Dramatists), site-specific productions of l’esprit de l’escalier (The Atlantic Terminal Plays) and Three Sisters New York (Chekhov on the Hudson), and several plays in the New York & New Jersey One-Minute Play Festivals. She was the first (and, thus far, only) playwright to receive The Lotos Foundation Prize in the Arts and Sciences. She is Producing Director of Caps Lock Theatre, a 2012 nytheatre.com “Person of the Year,” curator of Pussyfest, a San Diego native, a Skidmore Graduate, and a member of the Dramatists Guild.
Neighborhood: Long Island City (formerly Astoria)
Website: thenuge.com and sadplaywright.com
Don was born in Saigon, Vietnam, grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska, and currently lives in New York City. Don studied theatre at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and he served as the Artistic Director of the Shelterbelt Theatre in Omaha from 1999-2003. As a writer, Don’s full-length plays include Red Flamboyant (Ojai Playwrights Conference 2011, nomination – L. Arnold Weissberger Award 2011, finalist O’Neill National Playwrights Conference and Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Cherry Lane Mentors Project nomination, Woodward International Playwriting Prize), The Man From Saigon (Reading – Naked Angels, 2012 New York Stage and Film Founders Award, Nomination – L. Arnold Weissberger Award 2012), The Commencement of William Tan (NYSAF Residency, 2G Jumpstart Commission), Three To Beam Up (The Shelterbelt Theatre, Nebraska Arts Grant recipient). His one-act play The Harlequin Maneuvre was a finalist in the Riant Theatre’s Strawberry One-Act Festival (2004) and was published in The Best of The Strawberry One-Act Festival, Volume 1. It has subsequently been produced in New York and Canada.
Don is a member of the New York Public Theater’s 2008 Inaugural Emerging Writers Group, The Civilians R & D Group, Ma-Yi Writers Lab and volunteers at The 52nd Street Project.
Kristine M. Reyes
Kristine M. Reyes is a playwright raised and based in New York City. Her plays include the full-length Queen for a Day(Diverse City Theater Company’s First Draft Fellowship); one-acts Quarter Century Baby, Something Blue (both produced at Diverse City Theater Company) and Lola Luning’s First Steps (commissioned and produced by Women of Color Productions); and the ten-minute pieces Balikbayan Birthday (Leviathan Lab) and Ready, Aim…Fire! (ESPA at Primary Stages; published on Indie Theater Now). Kristine is a Playwright Associate at Diverse City Theater Company, and a founding member and former co-director of the Leviathan Lab Asian American Women Writers Workshop. She was a 2012 Mary Louise Rockwell Scholar at The Einhorn School of Performing Arts (ESPA) at Primary Stages, and has also studied at Ensemble Studio Theatre. She is a member of The Dramatists Guild.
Tyler Rivenbark was born and raised in Warsaw, North Carolina, and is now based out of Sunnyside, NY. He is a graduate of the Queens College, CUNY, MFA program in Creative Writing and Literary Translation with a focus in Playwriting. Select plays include Monosyllabic (Mellow Pages), (Silence) (Dixon Place and Artists’ Bloc), Inside the Rain (Dixon Place), Frogs; or How to Fail at Business (Left Hip), How they Played Games and Fell in Love (Abingdon Theatre) and Joe (Short Play Lab). In 2012 he received a commission from the Poetry Society of America to adapt Rita Dove’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book Thomas and Beulah for the stage. In 2011 he founded the Oh, Bernice! reading series in Queens. He was a 2009 writer-in-residency at the Louis Armstrong House Museum, a residency he now oversees. He is currently an English professor at Queens College, CUNY. He is also a member of the Dramatist Guild. And when not making theatre, he can be found around the city making music.
Neighborhood: Forest Hills
August’s plays include Carrin Beginning, Kidding Jane, Rue,Riding the Bull, Good Hope,Other Bodies, Honey Fist, Dark Matter, Jacob’s House, DEINDE, Dream Walker, Denny and Lila, Dark Matter, Jane the Plain and The Lesser Seductions of History. His plays have been produced and developed at the Lark Play Development Center, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Chelsea Playhouse, Theater for the New City, Portland Stage Company, Dayton Playhouse, Colonial Players, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Contemporary Stage Company, Abingdon Theater Company, Gideon Productions, New Amerikan Theatre, Penobscot Theatre, Impetuous Theater Group, Decades Out, Soundtrack Series, Reverie Productions, Wolf 359, Blue Box Productions, Piper McKenzie, Boomerang Theatre Company, Adaptive Arts, Hall High School, Nosedive Productions, MTWorks, Purple Repertory, Valley Repertory Company, The Brick Theater, CAPS LOCK Theatre, Chameleon Theatre Circle, Retro Productions, Elephant Run District, TheatreLAB and Flux Theatre Ensemble, where he is the Artistic Director. He is a member of the Propulsion Lab for Mission to (dit)Mars. His work has also been published in the New York Theater Review, Stage and Screen, Indie Theater Now, Midway Journal, NoPassport Press and in two issues of Carrier Pigeon. He also writes for film and television with MozzleStead Productions.
Jane Miller is a playwright and screenwriter whose work has been produced at The Looking Glass Theater, Squeaky Bicycle Productions, Aporia Theater, and The Network in New York City and the Lyric Theater in Los Angeles, amongst others. She has been a contributing playwright at the Last Frontier Theater Conference, the Sewanee Writers Conference, and the Southampton Playwriting Conference. She taught screenwriting at the School of Visual Arts in NYC.
JENNIFER LANE is an Astoria-based writer from Troy, Michigan. Her work includes Harlowe (developed under the mentorship of Sarah Ruhl, winner of the Alec Baldwin Fellowship at Singers Forum, and a finalist for the TS Eliot US/UK Exchange); Psychomachia (recipient of the Gatsby Grant); The Seer and the Witch (developed in the Groundbreakers Playwriting Group at terraNOVA); The Would-Be Room (performed in New York City, Chicago and Washington D.C.); Convergence (premiered as part of the soloNOVA Festival); The Burning Brand; and Does Anyone Know Sarah Paisner? Her ten minute pieces A Fever in the Feast and Uriel’s Garden were both workshopped with Anne Bogart. Fever…, as well as another short play, PIN, was performed at Ensemble Studio Theatre in early 2011. Jenny is the Administrative Director for the League of Professional Theatre Women and the Literary Manager for the Astoria Performing Arts Center. BA: Sarah Lawrence; MFA: Columbia University. For more information, visit jennifer-lane.net.