(JERSEY CITY, NJ) -- Art House Productions released their first audio play, Black Tom Island by Martin Casella on Monday, January 18. This free audio play will be available for download on the Art House website and YouTube page. Based on an actual incident that took place in Jersey City in 1916, Black Tom Island explores the first documented terrorist attack on American soil through the lens of a fictionalized Slovak immigrant and his wife who may or may not be involved in the attack.
Funded in part through the Hudson County Historical Partnership Grant, the original project was imagined to include in-person readings on location in Jersey City, however, to adapt the project to the current safety guidelines, Casella’s play has been adapted as a radio play directed by Darren Lee with sound design by Megumi Katayama. The cast includes Michael Stewart Allen, Damian Buzzerio, Mason Hensley, and Jenna Krasowski.
A free virtual panel discussion about the actual event featuring historians and the play’s creative team will take place on Sunday, February 7 at 3:00pm EST on Zoom.
lack Tom Island was originally commissioned and produced by Premiere Stages at Kean University in Union, NJ. The original production was presented at the Liberty Hall Museum, which received the 2018 Broadway World New Jersey Audience Award for Best New Play Produced.
“I grew up listening to old radio dramas, which our local Public Radio station (KCRW in Los Angeles) played on weekday afternoons. Shows like THE SHADOW and PAUL TEMPLE, where only the voices and sound effects told the story,” says playwright Martin Casella. “When Art House suggested doing a radio version of Black Tom Island, I jumped at the chance! What our brilliant actors, director, and sound designer have come up with is absolutely thrilling.”
“We hope this radio play will give our patrons a new way to experience the play and learn about this often overlooked important local historical event,” says Producing Director Courtney Little. “This is the first radio play Art House produced and it’s proven to be a rewarding challenge. We’ve translated theater’s spirit of collaboration, discovery, and creativity into this new format.”
The free historical panel on Sunday, February 7 at 3:00pm EST on Zoom will feature historians Janet Akhtarshenas of Liberty State Park and Timothy R. White of New Jersey City University, along with playwright Martin Casella and director Darren Lee. Moderated by Jim Peskin of Save Ellis Island. Additional panelists may be announced at a later date. Admission is free, advance registration is required to receive the Zoom link. To register, please visit www.arthouseproductions.org.
Michael Stewart Allen Most recently was seen playing, Juror 7 in 12 Angry Men at Indiana Repertory/Syracuse stage, Iago in Othello for The Acting Company in NYC and King Louis XIII in Ken Ludwig’s The Three Musketeers at The Shakespeare Theater of NJ. Theater: The first Broadway National and International tour of War Horse with The National Theater of Great Britain. Company member at the Old Globe: King Lear, Madness of King George, Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest, Amadeus, and Much Ado About Nothing. Company member at The Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey for the last 20 years and performed in The Acting Company, Arkansas Rep, Delaware Rep, The Folger Theater, Playmakers Rep, Florida Studio Theater, Shakerbridge Theater, and the PA and NC Shakespeare Festivals. Film/TV: The Blacklist, Billions, Admiral Rickover, Cold Mountain. Graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and proud member of Actor’s Equity and SAG/AFTRA.
Damian Buzzerio has recently appeared as Detective Lopez (FBI Season 2) Regionally he’s performed at: Premiere Stages, NJ: Father Prosco (BLACK TOM ISLAND), Phil Carter (BY THE WATER), Playhouse on Park, CT: Mushnik (LITTLE SHOP); Reb Saunders (THE CHOSEN); Robert (PROOF), Elm Shakespeare, CT: Cassius (JULIUS CAESAR), Antiochus (PERICLES); Florida Studio Theatre: Don Fermin (BOLEROS FOR THE DISENCHANTED), Shakespeare Theater of NJ: Claudius (ROSENCRANTZ & GUILDENSTERN), Des Moines Playhouse: File (RAINMAKER), Mill Mountain Theatre, Pap Finn (BIG RIVER), PA Shakespeare Festival: Lord Montague (ROMEO JULIET), Northern Stage, VT: Herr Schultz (CABARET), Weathervane Playhouse, OH: Fredrik (A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC), Human Race Theatre, OH: Alonso (TEMPEST).
Mason Hensley is incredibly grateful and excited to be a part of this immigrant’s story for your auditory enjoyment! NY/REGIONAL: Black Tom Island (Premiere Stages), Forever Plaid (Sunset Theatre), A Midsummer Nights Dream (NC Symphony), In Her Blood (24 Hour Plays), I Create & Auto Bon (Lincoln Center Education). FILM: Flounder, Cow-Boy, Permanent Press, MILF. VOICEOVER: Transformers: Rescue Bots Academy (Hasbro), Red Dead Redemption II (Rockstar), SELECTED READINGS/WORKSHOPS: Irish Repertory Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Theatre Barn. EDUCATIONAL: The Memorandum, The Drowsy Chaperone, Pericles, Seminar, Cymbeline, Guys and Dolls. TRAINING: UNCSA.
Jenna Krasowski is thrilled to be reprising her role as Ewa Babek in Black Tom Island. She also lends her voice to the audio dramas Craiglockhart, and Cryptids: A Sci Fi Mystery Podcast. Recent theatre credits include Proof (Hudson Stage Company) and Across the Park (Araca Project). Recent film includes: Empty Nesters (short), Emma on the Roof (short), The Resistance (short), Nesting Dolls (feature) and Landing Home (web series). Thank you to Marty, Darren, Courtney, and Art House for the opportunity to bring this play back to life!
Martin Casella is a graduate of, and taught playwriting at, the California Institute of the Arts. He also taught playwriting for eight years at the Harvey Milk High School in New York City’s East Village, which is a haven for LBGTQ students from around the country. Mr. Casella’s plays and musicals have played across the U.S. and the world. He’s a member of WGA, SAG/AFTRA, AEA and The Dramatists Guild. THEATER: (Plays) Black Tom Island (Premiere Stages, 2018); THE REPORT (2015 Fringe NYC; London, 2017); The Irish Curse (Off-Broadway, London, LA, Edinburgh, Prague, Chicago, and Rio) ; published by Samuel French); Directions for Restoring the Apparently Dead; Scituate; Mates; Paydirt; Desert Fire; Beautiful Dreamer; Grand Junction; George Bush Goes to Hell. (Musicals) Play It Cool (Off-Broadway); Paper Moon; Happy Holidays; Taking Care of Mrs. Carroll; Saint Heaven; DOO-DAH! LATEST THEATER PROJECTS: Miss Maude, about the 1950’s meeting between South Carolina midwife Maude Callen and Life Magazine photo-journalist Eugene Smith; and Club Dangerous, a jazz musical. FILM /TV: One Night Stand, directed by Talia Shire; Behind the Lens for CBS; Daddy’s Girl, HBO pilot; and staff writer on the daytime drama One Life to Live. Developed/wrote screenplays for Steven Spielberg, Kerry Washington, Anthony Edwards, Whoopi Goldberg, Disney, Universal, Warner Brothers, Paulist Productions, CBS and HBO. LATEST FILMS PROJECTS: Two British animated features: a musical The Land of Sometimes, with Ewan McGregor and Helena Bonham-Carter; and the murder mystery-thriller, A Christmas Twist. AWARDS: FringeNYC 2015 Overall Excellence Award for Playwriting, THE REPORT; New York Outer Critics Circle nomination, Best New Off-Broadway Musical, Play It Cool; GLAAD nominations for Outstanding New LA Play, The Irish Curse and Best New Off-Broadway Musical, Play It Cool; FringeNYC 2005 Overall Excellence for Playwriting Award, The Irish Curse; Dramalogue and LA WEEKLY Outstanding Play Awards for Mates.
Darren Lee’s Broadway acting credits include Chicago, Guys and Dolls, Allegiance, Shogun the Musical, Miss Saigon, Victor/Victoria, Kiss Me Kate, On the Town, Seussical the Musical, Pacific Overtures, and Thoroughly Modern Millie. Film: Hackers, Everyone Says I Love You, Sisters. National Tour and UK Tour: King and I (King of Siam). Director/Choreography credits include: Broadway: associate choreographer Pacific Overtures, other New York credits: Orchard Project, Asia Society, Fringe Festival, Wagner College, NYMF, Prospect Theatre. Regional: Ogunquit Playhouse, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Olney Theatre Center, MUNY, Paper Mill Playhouse, Music Theatre of Wichita, Glimmerglass Opera Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, McCarter Theatre, Williamstown Shakespeare Festival, Kennedy Center, Diamond Head Theatre, Little Theatre on the Square, Riverside Theatre, UNLV, Westchester Broadway, North Shore, Cincinnati Playhouse, Atlanta Alliance, Trinity University, Lyric Theatre, La Comedia, Casa Manana, Omaha Symphony, South Dakota Symphony, Holland America Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line. In development for The Remarkable Journey to Tianguo, Mr. Holland’s Opus.
Megumi Katayama is a Sound Designer, Sound Artist, and Composer based in NYC. Her recent design credits include Pass Over (Studio Theater), Pride and Prejudice (Long Wharf Theater), For Colored Girls… (The Public Theater), El Huracán (Yale Rep/The Sol Project, Connecticut Critics Circle Award Nomination), Sense & Sensibility (Virginia Stage Company), soft (Williamstown Theater Festival Fellowship). Her installation Spine Line Awake: Manuel Neri Redux (Yale Art Gallery) was selected for featured emerging artist exhibit at Prague Quadrennial 2019. Originally from Japan, Megumi holds a BFA from University of Central Oklahoma and an MFA from Yale School of Drama.
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Art House Productions is generously supported by The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, MACK-CALI Realty, SILVERMAN, Manhattan Building Company, CoolVines, Masterwork Arts, and Genova Burns.
Art House Productions is committed to accessibility and inclusivity in all public programming. Art House Productions produces work with a shrewd sense of social responsibility and challenges the idea of "universal" mind and "universal" body in each artistic endeavor.
Art House Productions is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to the development and presentation of the performing and visual arts in Jersey City, NJ. Art House Productions presents theater, performing and visual arts festivals, arts events, visual art exhibitions, and adult and youth art classes.