June Is The First Fall


Chun Cho and Alton Alburo in JUNE IS THE FIRST FALL. Photo by Maria Baranova.

Written by Yilong Liu
Directed by Michael Leibenluft
Produced by Yangtze Repertory Theatre

March 31–April 20, 2019
New Ohio Theatre

The award-winning contemporary play by Yilong Liu exploring the themes of identity, sexuality, and immigration. Directed by the 2016 OBIE winner Michael Leibenluft, the play tells a story of a gay Chinese man who comes back home to Hawaii and begins a journey of reconciliation between his chosen identity and the heritage he left behind. The production features dramaturgy by Gaven D. Trinidad, set design by Jean Kim, costume design by An-Lin Dauber, lighting design by Cha See, and sound designby Michael Costagliola. Casting by Wayne Chang. The performers are Alton Alburo*, Chun Cho, Stefani Kuo, Fenton Li*, and Karsten Otto.

*Equity Member appearing with the permission of Actors’ Equity Association without the benefit of an Equity contract in this Off-Off-Broadway production.

Yilong Liu interview by Adam Szymkowicz (I Interview Playwrights)

Michael Leibenluft and Yilong Liu in conversation with Culturebot’s Ned Moore

“We can’t ignore the magnitude of the gift a piece like June Is the First Fall delivers: bridging the cultural divide with a reminder that it’s our familiar stories that connect us.” – Elyse Orecchio, Theatre’s Leiter Side

“In the relatively small New Ohio Theatre, the creative team has done an excellent job… Well directed by Michael Leibenluft, this story is smoothly paced to unravel this family’s secrets and hopes and learnings.” – Joe Lombardi, BroadwayWorld

“While many plays deal with issues of race, culture, and sexuality, few weave them all together – and leave the same potent emotional impact – that this play manages to do. Without a doubt, it’s already a strong contender for the best play I’ve seen so far in 2019.” – Anthony Piccione, Onstage Blog

“Compelling… a wonderful slice of life.”– Tami ShaloumRound The World Stage

“Well acted and finely presented… In addition to steering sensitive performances, director Michael Leibenluft’s staging is technically accomplished with scenes fluidly flowing to various locations and time periods with clarity.” – Darryl Reilly, Theatrescene.net

“Written with sensitivity toward all its players, the piece offers a compassionate window into the intersection of Chinese culture, queerness, and gender roles… June is the First Fall is a tight, compact evening of drama.” – Caroline Cao, Exeunt Magazine

“A worthy play that addresses immigrant, LGBTQ and cultural issues.” –  Debbie Gray Bloom, Motherhood Later.com

“Ambitious drama…Yangtze Rep should be commended for making a much-needed space for a uniquely queer Asian story.” – David Kennerley, Gay City News



The Moving Memory Project


Christine Bonansea in A, MY NAME IS… Photo by Gaia Squarci

Wednesday, January 23, 2019
Aaron Davis Hall at The City College of New York

The Moving Memory Project is a new festival devoted to memory and forgetting, co-curated by choreographer Stefanie Nelson of Stefanie Nelson Dancegroup and bestselling author David Shenk (The Forgetting). The inaugural event featured Stefanie Nelson’s A, MY NAME IS…, a dance piece inspired by a family experience with dementia, along with the selection of short films from David Shenk’s Living With Alzheimer’s Film Project. Nelson and Shenk’s vision for this festival is to bring together artists, caregivers, and seniors, to create a community of care surrounding issues connected to memory loss, and to destigmatize the diagnosis of dementia with the ultimate goal of increasing awareness to increase funding until a cure is found.

A, MY NAME IS… was performed by Christine Bonansea, Becca Loevy, Cameron McKinney, and Emily Tellier, with additional ensemble dancers. Additionally, Nelson brings together a team of international collaborators: the work features a stop-motion video with photos by Elisa D’Amico (Italy), original music by composers Sahand Rahbar (Iran/Canada) and Jonah Kreitner (US), with light design by Kevin Scott (US).

Interview with Stefanie Nelson on Sandi Klein Show

A, My Name Is… is centered around loss. However, the end reminds us that with a change of perspective, something lost is also something else gained…We must value our everyday, because life is too short to not do so. If anything else, as a gift to the rest of the world, we should live fully and openly. Because even if we don’t remember what we do, somebody else will.” – Jimmy Barr, Bodies Never Lie

“Nelson and her fine collaborators, committed to the poetics of their ravaging subject matter, engage our imagination and inspire understanding and empathy…many of the attendees, caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s, were moved to tears.” – Christine Jowers, DancEnthusiast






Up Close Festival 2018, New Ohio Theatre


An Immersive Festival About New York For New Yorkers Of All Ages.

New Ohio Theatre’s Theatre for Young Minds presents the inaugural (and first-ever-of-its-kind) UP CLOSE Festival an immersive theater festival for the entire family, inspired by the community organizing legacy of Jane Jacobs. The event – held at the venue’s underground theatre, located in a landmark building that once housed the National Archives Record Center –  brings together leading NYC experimental theatre artists, musicians, physical comedians and clowns for two programs, each consisting of an interactive pre-show and four short stories that bring Greenwich Village history to life.  Recommended for ages 5 and up.

Curated and co-directed by Peter Musante and Summer Shapiro, the festival features Trusty Sidekick Theater Company; Bated Breath Theatre Company; Lauren Sharpe; Marisol Rosa-Shapiro; Jono Waldman; Christina D. Eskridge; Peter Musante, and is hosted by Summer Shapiro.

December 20 –31, 2018
New Ohio Theatre, 154 Christopher Street, NYC

The Best Immersive NYC Theater pick, Time Out New York

The Best ThingsTo Do In NYC This Week pick, Gothamist

Interview with curator Peter Musante, No Proscenium

David Sauvage’s EMPATH at Theaterlab



David Sauvage and an audience member in Empath. Photo by Mark Abramson.


In EMPATH, writer/performer David Sauvage chronicles his own spiritual coming-out as the titular empath – a person hypersensitive to the emotions of others to the point of experiencing them as his own. Part story of personal discovery and healing, part performance art piece featuring live readings with audience members, the show follows the past decade of its creator’s life. Tracing his transformation from skeptical empiricist into purposeful performer-healer, Sauvage’s work is about bringing people back to the truth of who they really are.
Theaterlab | 357 West 36th Street, 3rd floor | New York NY 10018
Nov 29 – Dec 9, 2018

“Thoughtful and insightful… It will keep you curious and interested. Sauvage is quite a person. He has an excellent sense of humor, is beautifully sensitive and has a winning inquisitiveness and honestly seeks truth.” – Isa Freeling, Medium.com

“Profound yet understated, Empath highlights human emotion through personal experience… Belief systems notwithstanding, the show’s message is universal: while our feelings may seem difficult, oppressive, or inexplicable, we have the right to each one of them and to choose how we approach them. In a tense and disconnected world, this acknowledgement is profound, as much a reassurance as an affirmation of our power.” – Emily Cordes, Theatre Is Easy (BEST BET)

“Sauvage is a charismatic man and he definitely has a gift for writing, speaking and healing… The direction by Catie Davis was well done as well as the fabulous lighting and sound design is by Broadway’s Jake DeGroot.” – Suzanna Bowling, Times Square Chronicle

“Empath’s success doesn’t rest solely on the believability of the titular psychic…Skeptics likely won’t leave the theatre believing in divination, but for those with an interest in the supernatural, [it] is a must‑see.” (****) – James Bartholomew, All About Solo

“Sauvage has a charm and likeability that puts viewers in the stark, white, intimate space, readily at ease…If personal growth is your hot button, we can all take a piece of that with us and have a higher consciousness of both our inner emotions and how we emote.” – Robin Gorman Newman, MotherhoodLater.com


Christine Bonansea’s OnlyHuman




Mei Yamanaka in Christine Bonansea’s OnlyHuman at Danspace Project. Photo by Gaia Squarci.

ONLYHUMAN is a dance theater piece by a French-born, NYC-based artist Christine Bonansea. Inspired by Friedrich Nietzsche’s aphoristic volume Human, All Too Human, the work investigates the stark contradiction between our race’s capacity for beauty against its most destructive tendencies. ONLYHUMAN also deals with the various perception of a body, from human to post-human. Developed in a close collaboration with a stellar group of international artists, the show is wrapped into a ultra-modern, Matrix-like, futuristic layer of striking multimedia visuals, featuring the lighting design by Solomon Weisband (who recently worked on a major operatic production with Robert Wilson), with visuals by acclaimed photographer Robert Flynt, video and multimedia by Yoann Trellu, and music by Nicole Carroll. The dance and features virtuosic, gravity-defying solo part performed by the Japanese dancer Mei Yamanaka; other  performers include Alvaro Estado, Maya Orchin, Becca Loevy, Amelia Heintzelman, Ichi Go, Cameron Mckinney, Charles Gowin, Kristopher K.Q. Pourzal, and Malcolm Betts.
OnlyHuman was presented as part of Danspace Project’s Community ACCESS.


Danspace Project at St. Mark’s Church
Nov 15-17, 2018

Interview with Christine Bonansea in Dance Enthusiast

7 Questions with Christine Bonansea in DanceUS


“An arresting, existential look at human identity… Careening through fog-machine haze, and accented by Nicole Carroll’s droning soundscapes, Robert Flynt and Yoann Trellu’s pixelated projections, and Solomon Weisbard’s searing lighting, Yamanaka resembles an overworked machine, driven to combustion but unable to stop herself…  Yamanaka and the ensemble show [that] this struggle can also be beautiful, producing stimulating tension and uncanny feats of strength and skill.” – Emily Cordes, Theatre Is Easy

OnlyHuman is odd, but that’s praise more than quibble…it’s refreshing to see dance with raw energy and almost no unison… Enhancing the oddness are live sound design by Nicole Carroll and lighting design by Solomon Weisbard. Both are sparse but really innovative, never predictable but never obtrusive. – Quinn Batson, Offoffoff.com  

277 Dance Project’s Cardboard Stage at Triskelion Arts


Photo by Satoshi Tsuchiyama

277 Dance Project’s newest work, Cardboard Stage, a cross-media work featuring dance, video, live music, and spoken word, is a culmination of a two-year collaborative experiment in urban immersion. Having spent an extensive period of time in the Bronx, exposed to a vibrant and gritty urban landscape, the choreographer Nicole Philippidis and her performers were compelled to delve into social inequities still plaguing the American metropoles. The resulting work is a story about power and powerlessness, told in six chapters, focusing on different facets of urban life in the shadows of what lies in the glamourous spotlight of the mainstream media. The piece features immersive video  by Jennifer Klein. Original music and sound score for Cardboard Stage, created and performed live by Nicole’s brother John Philippidis (of the award-winning indie folk band Burlap to Cashmere,) captures the stark industrial mood of the inner city.

Triskelion Arts, Oct 18-20, 2018

“Out of the Box” feature by The Brooklyn Paper

“8 Questions with choreographer Nicole Philippidis of 277 Dance Project” by DanceUS




Freemove Dance’s …it’s time… at 14th Street Y



Photo by Maria Baranova.

In Freemove Dance’s debut evening-long work …it’s time… everyone is literally “on the clock.” The piece, choreographed by Jenn Freeman, is conceived as a meditation on each individual’s intricate relationship to time. The work features five dancers whose performances are both constrained and propelled by the presence of a large digital timer, inexorably counting down towards zero. The evocative live drum score, composed by Dani Markham (Childish Gambino), serves as the soundtrack to the dance conceived as a metaphor of a lifetime – one long, cinematic take in which performers transition through changing ambiances, styles, and energies.


Interview with Jenn Freeman by Dance Enthusiast

BroadwayWorld’s Barnett Serchuck in conversation with Jenn Freeman