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Occupation

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Joe Jung
April 29, 2013

What is your job on this show?
Director/Co-Producer.

What is your show about?
China buys Florida: An American story.

What do you do when you’re not working on a play?
I play banjo in a jug band called the Salt Cracker Crazies, build cigar box instruments and narrate a book series of erotic thrillers. No joke. I also help to produce a monthly acting/writing series called OUR BAR.

What are some of your previous theater credits? (Be specific! Name shows, etc.)
I had the pleasure of acting in Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson at the Public and was a swing on Broadway. Last fall I was in the Stephen King/John Mellencamp/T Bone Burnett musical Ghost Brothers of Darkland County at the Alliance. I've directed Spring Awakening at the Connecticut Rep as well as a number of plays with my company, Project: Theater including Shel's Shorts (Shel Silverstein), J.B. (Archibald MacLeish, My Custom Van (Michael Ian Black), The Secretaries (The 5 Lesbian Brothers) and MANGELLA (Ken Ferrigni). I'm thrilled to be collaborating with Ken once again on OCCUPATION.

Is there a particular moment in this show that you really love or look forward to? Without giving away surprises, what happens in that moment and why does it jazz you?
There is a monologue spoken by one of the characters in the last act of the play that breaks my heart. There's a woman in a room talking to a corpse. At the first reading, Jennifer Logue, the actress in the role, devastated the room, and she was just sitting at a table. I can't wait to unleash that scene on an audience.

Which cartoon character would you identify your show with: Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Mickey Mouse, Marge Simpson?
I'm going to have to say Yosemite Sam.

How important is diversity to you in the theater you see/make?
Diversity is extremely important to me. It's an integral part of American culture. I came from a very caucasian neighborhood in Michigan and I now live in Queens, which is the most ethnically diverse area in US. Having grown up with relatively little ethnic diversity in my immediate circles and am constantly amazed at the rich cultural heritage of New York. The best actors I know are women. I'm thrilled that so many wonderful female directors and playwrights are at the forefront of American theater. Anne Kauffman, KJ Sanchez, Pam MacKinnon, Naomi Iizuka, Lisa D'Amour - these women are at the forefront of the American theater community. They are making theater history. I want to produce and see more plays that reflect the diversity of my country and my community. I know that Ken had diversity in mind when he wrote OCCUPATION, which is another reason I'm so jazzed to work on it.