Remember the feeling of being in a high school show? Whether you are in the ensemble or receive a main part, everyone gets into the show.
After high school, this idea of being in a show for the experience and just for fun is hard to find. Especially in NYC, where theater is a huge part of the city’s culture, there are minimal opportunities to be a part of theater recreationally. Evan Greenberg, Artistic Director of the AfterWork Theater Project, created a company where non-actors – i.e. teachers, lawyers, college students – for a small fee, can enjoy the fun of theater that many of us remember fondly from our high school years. AfterWork Theater Project’s first show, the musical, HAIR is premiering at the theater at the 14th street Y and Evan has offered to tell us a little bit more about the company and the show to come!
So tell us a little bit more about the AfterWork Theater Project, How did it begin?
A year ago, I discovered a void in life after graduating high school drama. I realized there are few theater opportunities in the city that offer that sense of community. After sharing this thought with peers, I learned I was not alone in this realization. There is really no opportunity in NY to be in a cast just for the fun!
Once I decided to start my own recreational theater company, I created a youtube video to spread the word and it really got the ball rolling on this new idea. I began receiving emails and hearing from many people who had an interest in helping me with the company. At the time, I called my company the “Untitled Theatre Project.” Below is a link to the youtube video that started it all, but please be aware that the name is now changed to “AfterWork Theater Project.”
Getting ready to begin your premiere show as AfterWork Theater Project, how would you describe the company now and what it stands for?
Afterwork Theater Project creates theater to foster community and as recreational activity. It is a recreational theater company committed to providing everyday professionals opportunities to be in performances in NYC. Participants pay a tuition and are a part of the production. Parts are decided on what we call, “Launch Day”, a day in which the cast shares skills in order to see where individual’s strengths are. We ask for non-professional actors only and we see the program as simply for fun and make no claims to further the acting careers of our cast members.
The AfterWork Theater Project’s Mission is to foster fun, community, and creative self-expression.
Tell us a little bit more about your premiere show, Hair.
We chose Hair because we definitely wanted to choose an ensemble show and it was number 2 on our list. After focus groups and roundtable discussion, we decided on this play and got down to work. The cast consists of 35 members ranging from age 18 to 65, and consists of everything from a high school graduate to a senior level attorney. We have many teachers involved, lawyers, and college students. We try to keep it at a reasonable time commitment to work with the diversity of our cast’s schedules.
As for the production itself, the quality has far exceeded my expectations. I expected community theater but with the help of director/choreographer, Alex Perez, who has many credits directing off and off-off Broadway, and Musical Director, Julian Reeve, who has worked as a music director in London’s West End, we were able to set a really high standard for professionalism in our work.
We’ve been rehearsing this production for 2 and a half months. The cast has bonded together in a beautiful way and the whole process is sort of taking people back to their youth, not to mention helping release the stresses of their working lives. The spirit of hair is all about breaking down walls and freeing the human spirit and that’s what the project is all about.
Why did you decide to bring it to the Theater at the 14th street Y?
It is easily the most beautiful theatre I visited. It was also important to me that the production was in downtown Manhattan. The facilities are absolutely beautiful and Becky Skoff’s been awesome.
I even could see in the future a partnership with Afterwork Theater and the Y because I feel our mission is so inline with theirs.
How can we learn more?
Visit the website at: http://afterworktheater.com/
Also, we are currently open for enrollment for our next show RENT which you can learn about here.
For tickets to Hair, click here or call 1-800-838-3006