FREE Seats for My New Show at NYC’s Signature Theatre – Opening May 9th

SHOW TIMES
Wednesday, May 9th – 3PM
Friday, May 11th – 8PM
Saturday, May 12th – 3PM
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LOCATION
Pershing Square Signature Center
Ford Foundation Studio
480 West 42nd Street
New York, NY 10036
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FREE TICKETS
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I’m so excited to announce that my latest work, The Feather Doesn’t Fall Far from the Wing: A Play with Music opens next week on Wednesday May 9, 2018 at the prestigious Signature Theatre of New York as a part of Columbia University’s Playwrights’ Thesis Festival.
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Through the perfect elixir of poetry, song, and dance The Feather Doesn’t Fall Far from the Wing: A Play with Music — written, composed and directed by yours truly — reimagines the fall of Lucifer described in scripture. I bring into fantasy a sister who ultimately takes Lucifer’s place as heaven’s new minister of music and a jealous brother who cannot be trusted to keep her secrets. It is with great honor that I can say this new work is under the mentorship of Tony Award winning Broadway producer Ron Simons and the tutelage of Tony Award winning playwright David Henry Hwang and Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Lynn Nottage.
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God has blessed me with an amazing cast and team that has been an absolute joy to work with, and I know they are going to dazzle you in their performance. Reserve your FREE seats today for this family friendly show at the link above! Hint: This is a perfect way to get a jump start on celebrating Mother’s Day 🙂
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See you there!

Ayvaunn Penn

Follow @PennSpeaks on Facebook Twitter Instagram

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My Song for the #MeToo Movement – “We Will Not Be Silenced”

I wonder how many women there are who can’t identify with the #MeToo movement. It seems like there are WAY too many who can, and this is reflected in some of the characters I have written as a playwright. Characters inspired by women in scripture…women I have witnessed in my own life…women I want to give a voice through my work, because they cannot speak for themselves publicly without suffering backlash.

I wrote the song — “We Will Not Be Silenced,” featured in the music video above — last year for my play King David: The Original Musicless Musical. In this story adapted from the Bible story of King David, the characters Tamar and Bathsheba are both violated by men of power who were also men they thought they could trust — men they were forced to continue living with due to the social structure of that time. I originally wrote this ending for Tamar and Bathsheba, because I wanted them to at least have each other – to have a sisterhood – someone else they could identify with. Even if they couldn’t speak openly, they could confide in each other.

With the burst of the #MeToo movement, I found hope. Not only for myself, but for Tamar, Bathsheba, and all the women they represent past and present. I was inspired to record this updated remix of the song to reflect the new hope women who have been sexually assaulted or harassed now find in this current time.

May this song of hope bless your spirit and set women free to be fearless. Ladies, may it remind you that if you are violated by a man, you do not have to remain silent. Share this with someone who needs to hear it.

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Follow @PennSpeaks on Facebook Twitter / Instagram

Upcoming Event: My latest play The Feather Doesn’t Fall Far From the Wing, A Play with Music opens May 9, 2018 at the prestigious Signature Theatre. Enter your email address in the “Follow” section to receive updates on auditions and show times.

Auditions for Zarephath, A Gospel & Jazz Infused Musical

Registration opens May 21, 2017

Written and directed by Ayvaunn Penn under the tutelage of Pulitzer Prize Winner Lynn Nottage & Tony Award Winner David Henry Hwang. Produced by Paloma Estevez.

Non-Equity Actors Only / Ages 17+ / All Ethnicities: Seeking NYC actors with solid backgrounds in singing and dance. This a capella gospel and jazz infused musical requires that individuals have: a good ear, the ability to vocally improvise with a large group, and a strong sense of rhythm. Actors also need a large stage presence that can command attention in busy outdoor venues as well as the physical stamina to perform in summer weather. Non-paid but a great opportunity to work with members of Columbia University School of the Arts.

About the Show: “Zarephath” is a large dance-filled ensemble piece based on the Bible story of the widow woman who shared her last meal with the prophet Elijah. Thrilling to perform, enthralling to listen to, and exciting to watch, this ball of summer fun will be performed in various public outdoor spaces in NYC with one performance at Columbia University.

Audition Dates & Times – Appointment Only – 10 Min. Slots

  • June 5, 2017: 8:30AM – 3:40PM
  • June 6, 2017: 8:30AM – 3:40PM
  • June 7, 2017: 9:30AM – 3:00PM (Callbacks)

Auditions will take place at Columbia University. Exact location TBA

How to Register: Email Ayvaunn at PennSpeaks[at]gmail.com and put “Zarephath – [Role Desired]” in the subject line. Please state the time frame you are available during designated hours on the specified dates, and you will be assigned a time slot. Also, attach a copy of your headshot and resume. Only register to audition if you will be available for callbacks and the full production schedule listed below. Note: Auditions will be filmed and footage may be used for promotional purposes.

What to Prepare: One minute of a song highlighting your vocal range and skill (no musical accompaniment permitted). Thirty seconds to one minute of dance choreography showcasing your full range of ability and any special skills. Please wear movement clothes and shoes with a polished appearance. Script sides will be provided on site for cold reads.

Roles: 

  • The Widow – Female; Mature look and voice; Exceptional vocal ability; Soulful sound
  • The Widow’s Son – Male; Boyish look and voice; Jazz sound
  • Elijah – Male; The prophet of God; Mature look; Deep voice; Stoic
  • Ensemble Leader – Male or Female; Narrator engaging with the audience; Charismatic; Powerful voice
  • Ensemble – Everyone; Creating large visual images, vocal soundscape, and bodily percussion as a group

Note: This is truly a group storytelling piece comprised of 20-30 actors. EVERYONE will move fluidly between and/or share roles and be seen and heard at all times.

Production Schedule*

  • Rehearsals
    • June 12, 2017 – August 11, 2017
    • 6PM-9PM on weekdays 10AM-2PM on weekends
    • 2 times a week in June then increase to 4 times a week
    • On or near Columbia University campus
  • Performances**
    • Saturday, August 12th, 19th, and 26th

*Subject to change **Times and locations TBA

Auditions for KING DAVID, the Poetry “Musical”

Seeking versatile performers with a passion for poetry, musicality, movement and ensemble work. Performers with backgrounds in poetry, dance, gymnastics, and stage combat are strongly encouraged to audition. Details about roles, important dates, and audition steps are below in the casting notice.

KING DAVID, lauded by theatre legends Anne Bogart and David Henry Hwang, has taken on exciting transformations in form and content since the original October 2016 production at Columbia University. Imagine a dance-filled “musical” where people are the instruments, poetry is the music, and the human body serves as the building blocks of the set. That is what writer/director Ayvaunn Penn has created with this piece. It is visually stunning and an absolute ball to perform.

This play explores the tragedy that befalls King David’s family in a way he never expects when his son, Amnon, rapes his beloved young daughter, Tamar. Will David have the strength to tell his daughter that his past actions are the cause of her pain? Through contemporary free verse poetry and dance we dive into David’s mind revisiting the mental battle fields of his past where the fate of his daughter is determined.

 CASTING NOTICE:

  • SEEKING NON-UNION ACTORS / OPEN ETHNICITY / AGES 18+
  • AUDITIONS:
    • Friday, December 9, 2016
    • Tuesday, December 13, 2016
    • Thursday, December 15, 2016 (Callbacks)
    • 8:30AM — 3:40PM each day at
    • Riverside Church 490 Riverside Dr., New York, NY 10027, Room 12T
    • Auditions will be scheduled in 10 minute slots
  • TO BOOK AN AUDITION SLOT:
    • Email Director Ayvaunn Penn at:
      • PennSpeaks [at] gmail [dot] com
    • In the subject line write: “Audition, King David”
    • Specify which ROLE you are auditioning for
    • Specify which audition DAY(s) and TIME(s) you are available for
    • Attach PDF of your Headshot
    • Attach PDF of your Resume
    • NOTE: Auditions will be filmed
  • CHARACTER BREAKDOWN: All roles include ensemble work
    • King David – Male. 18-50. King of Israel; Wrestles, often, with his divided conscience — literally; Stage combat skills a plus
    • David’s Good Conscience — Male. 18-50. The physical manifestation of King David’s good inner voice; Always at odds with the bad half of King David’s conscience; Stage combat experience a plus
    • David’s Bad Conscience — Male. 18-50. King David’s naughty inner voice; Always at odds with the good side of King David’s conscience; Stage combat experience a plus
    • Bathsheba – Female. 18-35. The married woman King David falls for and ultimately rapes; Stage combat experience and moderate singing ability a plus
    • Ziba – Female. 40-50. Head of the palace staff; Full of wisdom; The only person brave enough to challenge King David’s choices and tell him when he’s wrong
    • Jezreel – Male. 18-50. Faithful servant to King David — maybe too faithful
    • Tamar – Female. 18-20. Daughter of King David; Full blood sister of Absalom; Raped by her half-brother, Amnon; Experience in stage combat a plus
    • Amnon – Male. 18-30. King David’s son; Half-brother of Tamar and Absalom; Rapes Tamar; Experience in stage combat a plus
    • Absalom – Male. 18-30. Son of King David; Full blood brother of Tamar and half-brother of Amnon; Wants to keep Tamar’s rape a secret
    • Nathan – Male. 30-50. The prophet who foretells King David’s punishment for his actions
    • Ensemble – Males & Females. 18-50. Always actively functioning as equal parts narrator, musical underscore (with poetry & bodily percussion), dance, scenic elements, and soundscape. Requires basic rhythm and the ability to follow simple choreography and carry a tune (if you can hum “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” you’re good).
      • Individuals interested in auditioning for ENSEMBLE ONLY should be athletic and able to maintain high energy and rhythm. Above average vocal, dance, and gymnastics skills are a plus.
  • AUDITION PREP / WHAT TO EXPECT
    • Arrive 10 min. early for your audition time to
      1. Fill out paper work
        • Have a list of any conflicts you may have during January 3 – March 12, 2017. If you are cast, any conflicts you fail to disclose in advance will not be excused.
      2. Turn in a printed copy of your headshot/resume
      3. Receive an audition number and sides
    • Do not prepare a monologue
    • This is a cold read audition
    • Come prepared to experiment and play
  •  REHEARSALS:
    • Start the week of January 1, 2017 (post-holiday)
    • End March 6, 2017 (opening night)
    • Rehearsals will take place 4 times a week
      • 3 weekdays 6-9PM
      • 1 weekend day 10AM-2PM.
      • For dates prior to January 17, 2017, weekday rehearsals will take place before 5PM
    • All rehearsals will be held in the area around Columbia University.
    • Dates and times may change due to creative team schedules and/or rehearsal space availability.
  • PUBLIC PERFORMANCE SHOWS:
    • March 6-12, 2017
    • Show times TBA
    • Columbia University Schapiro Studio