Multi-Mediums Writer Gary Goldstein Comments on His Teaching, His Chairing & His Latest Writing APRIL, MAY & JUNE

Playwright Gary Goldstein will be world premiering his latest APRIL, MAY & JUNE at Theatre 40 March 16, 2017. Gary managed to make some time in between his writing, chairing and rehearsing for Better Lemons and myself to address his writing, chairing and rehearsing of APRIL, MAY & JUNE.
Thank you for agreeing to this interview. You write for three entertainment mediums: stage, film and television. What would your three-line pitch of your latest play APRIL, MAY & JUNE be?
 April, May and June - three very different, 40ish sisters, each born a year apart - convene to finish cleaning out their late mother's Long Island house (the house they all grew up in decades ago).  But when they discover a major surprise about their mother tucked away among her remaining things, it makes them rethink their lifelong feelings about the mom they thought they knew--as well as their feelings about each other. 
What sparked the creation of APRIL, MAY & JUNE?
Honestly?  The title.  It just kind of came to me, had a nice ring to it, and I thought, “I need to write something with that title.”  Then I thought, “What great names for three sisters!” and decided they belonged in a play.  I figured out a meaningful story for the sisters from there.
Would  some of your friends and family members who attend a performance of APRIL, MAY & JUNE, see themselves in some of your characters?
I think most people will see one side or another of themselves - or someone they know - in these women. They're a pretty relatable trio in, I hope, a very relatable situation.
How long has the gestation period of APRIL, MAY & JUNE been?
I finished the first draft about two-and-a-half years ago, worked on it more over time, then submitted it to Theatre 40 via my director, Terri Hanauer, last April.  The theatre picked it up for their 2016-17 season shortly after. More recently, once we were cast, we refined the script during read-throughs and rehearsals.
As the playwright, how involved were you in the casting and behind the scenes personnel of this Theatre 40 world premiere production?
Fully involved on the auditions, along with Terri and the play's producer David Hunt Stafford, Theatre 40's Artistic/Managing Director. Theatre 40 handled all behind-the-scenes personnel. 
Aside from the obvious advantages of multiple locations available to use in film and TV vs. stage, describe the challenges writing for theatre vs. writing for film or television.
Screenwriting relies a lot on “showing, not telling,” whereas writing plays is often more about “telling” because of the limits of how much you can actually “show.”  Given that, it's important to avoid overusing exposition on stage to fill in the “visual gaps” and to find inventive, natural ways of relaying information.
Still, there's a kind of freedom writing plays over screenplays, as play structure is not always as strictly defined as screen structure. Plays also offer more opportunity for verbal segues and tangents that can take the characters to some interesting places. You can also tell what might be considered a more intimate, personal story on stage than in many screenplays, which can make for a deeper, more emotionally rewarding writing experience.
Do you teach both writing for film and television in your screenwriting classes?
I primarily taught screenplay writing when I did my classes at Writers Boot Camp, which is a while ago now. But since then, I've done one-on-one consulting with writers working on structuring and writing everything from TV and film scripts to books and plays. There are similar kinds of character and storytelling threads that unite all the mediums.
In what situations do you think going for the laughs is more appropriate, is more effective, than going for the jugular? And what situations would you deem inappropriate?
Sometimes you can go for a laugh and go for the jugular at the same time. A laugh can often sell or temper a more aggressive, yet pertinent speech. It can leaven what might otherwise become an overly serious or melodramatic moment. 
I try to aim for humor that's organic, that comes from an inherently funny or quirky or flawed character trait, rather than just a joke or one-liner for joke's sake.  That said, there are definitely moments that demand humor and others in which humor has no place.  Sometimes less is more.
Do you find you need to be more PC in your subject matters now than when you first began writing in the 1990s?
Interesting question. By and large no, though I think it's fair to say some words and concepts have become a bit more loaded over time, so I like to be thoughtful about my choices. Mostly, though, I try to just stay true to the moment.
You are the chair of the WGA's LGBT Writers Committee. What attitude change towards LGBT content have you noticed since your writing beginnings?
It used to feel nichey, less mainstream, even “edgier” to include LGBT characters in a script, much less write one with LGBT leads or with an LGBT theme. Now?  LGBT characters are everywhere in everything and they're often just there as “people,” not strictly because of their sexuality.  There's also been a significant increase lately in the inclusion of trans characters, which is great.
Would you agree that plays with any LGBT characters in the 1980s and 1990s mainly dealt with AIDS or included the perquisite deaths of these characters?
Not sure I'd say mainly. AIDS definitely factored into many plays back then, but so did coming out and just “being” or adjusting to being LGBT. I had two plays on in LA in the 1990s, JUST MEN (1996) and PARENTAL DISCRETION (1999), neither of which dealt with AIDS. The latter play, in fact, involved two gay men considering starting a family, which was a bit ahead of the curve back then.
So, in this day and age, LGBT characters don't all have to die or be villains, right?
Far from it, thankfully.
Which do you find more rewarding, making your audience laugh or making your audience cry?  
As a writer, it's really gratifying to connect with an audience through laughter.  It's like magic, in a way.  And funnily enough, you don't always know where the big laughs are going to come from, which can be a great and thrilling surprise. Making people cry, evoking some kind of deep and relatable emotion, can be a trickier, even less predictable response, but an equally powerful, rewarding one. In APRIL, MAY & JUNE, I think we accomplish both.  We'll see if audiences agree!
Any particular message you'd like the Theatre 40 audiences to leave with?
First and foremost, I want audiences to be moved, amused and entertained by the play. Beyond that, I hope viewers are inspired to go home and ask a parent or grandparent, aunt or uncle, whoever, any of the “big questions” they've always wanted to know before it's too late.  Once a loved one is gone, certain answers go with them and sometimes all we're left with is conjecture.  I've learned that the hard way. 
Thanks again, Gary! I look forward to meeting your three sisters!
For further info on APRIL, MAY & JUNE, ticket availability and schedule through April 16, 2017; log onto www.theatre40.org


LA Drama Critics Circle Announces 2016 Nominations

This year the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award ceremony will take place on March 20, 2017, at the Colony Theatre at Burbank Town Center, 555 N. Third Street, Burbank. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for a reception with a cash bar, and the show will begin at 7:30 p.m. There is ample, free, on-site parking.
Tickets are $40.00 and can be purchased at  2017criticsawards.brownpapertickets.com (a small service fee applies), or, depending on availability, at the door.
Following is a list of special awards and nominees:
The Margaret Harford Award for sustained excellence in theatre: Antaeus Theatre Company.
The Polly Warfield Award for an excellent season in a small to mid-size theatre, sponsored by the Nederlander Organization: Rogue Machine Theatre.
The Ted Schmitt Award for the world premiere of an outstanding new play: Aliza Goldstein for A Singular They, originally produced by the Blank Theatre.
The Kinetic Lighting Award for outstanding achievement in theatrical design, sponsored by Kinetic Lighting: lighting designer Jared A. Sayeg.
The Joel Hirschhorn Award for outstanding achievement in musical theatre: Cabrillo Music Theatre.
 The Milton Katselas Award for career or special achievement in direction, sponsored by the Beverly Hills Playhouse: Maria Gobetti.
The LADCC's newest award, the Gordon Davidson Award for distinguished contribution to the Los Angeles theatrical community: I Love 99.
 
 ANNUAL AWARD CATEGORIES 
Production

  • A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre.
  • Cloud 9, Antaeus Theatre Company.
  • Disgraced, Center Theatre Group, Mark Taper Forum.
  • Fly, The Pasadena Playhouse.
  • The Boy from Oz, Celebration Theatre.
  • Urinetown the Musical, Coeurage Theatre Company.

McCulloh Award for Revival (plays written between 1920 and 1991)

  • Cloud 9, Antaeus Theatre Company.
  • Endgame, Center Theatre Group, Kirk Douglas Theatre.
  • Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Center Theatre Group, Mark Taper Forum.
  • West Side Story, Musical Theatre West, Carpenter Performing Arts Center.

Lead Performance

  • Hugo Armstrong in All the Way, South Coast Repertory.
  • Andrew Bongiorno in The Boy from Oz, Celebration Theatre.
  • Ginna Carter in The Eccentricities of a Nightingale, Pacific Resident Theatre.
  • Kate Morgan Chadwick in Bed, The Echo Theater Company.
  • Darren Criss in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Hollywood Pantages Theatre.
  • Hari Dhillon in Disgraced, Center Theatre Group, Mark Taper Forum.
  • Rebecca Gray in One of the Nice Ones, The Echo Theater Company.
  • Connor Kelly-Eiding in Dry Land, The Echo Theater Company.
  • Matt Orduña in Bars and Measures, The Theatre @ Boston Court.
  • Gedde Watanabe in La Cage aux Folles, East West Players.
  • Jacqueline Wright in Blueberry Toast, The Echo Theater Company.

Featured Performance

  • JD Cullum in Cloud 9, Antaeus Theatre Company.
  • Bo Foxworth in Cloud 9, Antaeus Theatre Company.
  • Lena Hall in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Hollywood Pantages Theatre.
  • Steve Hofvendahl in The Engine of Our Ruin, The Victory Theatre.
  • Bess Motta in The Boy from Oz, Celebration Theatre.
  • Jessica Pennington in The Boy from Oz, Celebration Theatre.
  • Victoria Ortiz in The Super Variety Match Bonus Round!, Rogue Machine Theatre.

Ensemble Performance                                    

  • Ameryka, Critical Mass Performance Group, The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles.
  • Casa Valentina, The Pasadena Playhouse.
  • Cloud 9, Antaeus Theatre Company.
  • Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Center Theatre Group, Mark Taper Forum.
  • The Boy from Oz, Celebration Theatre.

 Solo Performance

  • Deborah Puette, Captain of the Bible Quiz Team, Rogue Machine Theatre.

Direction

  • Tim Dang, La Cage aux Folles, East West Players.
  • Kari Hayter, Urinetown the Musical, Coeurage Theatre Company.
  • Ricardo Khan, Fly, The Pasadena Playhouse.
  • Michael A. Shepperd, The Boy from Oz, Celebration Theatre.
  • Casey Stangl, Cloud 9, Antaeus Theatre Company.
  • Darko Tresnjak, A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre.

Writing

  • Ayad Akhtar, Disgraced, Center Theatre Group, Mark Taper Forum.
  • Idris Goodwin, Bars and Measures, The Theatre @ Boston Court.
  • Erik Patterson, One of the Nice Ones, The Echo Theater Company.
  • Jason Wells, The Engine of Our Ruin, The Victory Theatre.

Musical Score

  • Noah Agruss, Bars and Measures, The Theatre @ Boston Court.
  • Steven Lutvak and Robert L. Freedman, A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre.
  • Jason Robert Brown, The Bridges of Madison County, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre.

Music Direction

  • Bryan Blaskie, The Boy from Oz, Celebration Theatre.
  • Paul Litteral, Louis & Keely: ‘Live' at the Sahara, Geffen Playhouse.
  • Marc Macalintal, La Cage aux Folles, East West Players.
  • Gregory Nabours, Urinetown the Musical, Coeurage Theatre Company.

Choreography

  • Hope Clarke, Fly, The Pasadena Playhouse.
  • Reggie Lee, La Cage aux Folles, East West Players.
  • Janet Roston, The Boy from Oz, Celebration Theatre.
  • Leslie Stevens, The Full Monty, 3-D Theatricals.

Set Design

  • Tom Buderwitz, Casa Valentina, The Pasadena Playhouse.
  • Alexander Dodge, A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre.
  • David Gallo, Empire the Musical, La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts.
  • Michael Navarro, My Mañana Comes, The Fountain Theatre.

Lighting Design

  • Brandon Baruch, Urinetown the Musical, Coeurage Theatre Company.
  • Ken Billington, Dreamgirls, La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts.
  • Rui Rita and Jake DeGroot, Fly, The Pasadena Playhouse.XXX
  • Tim Swiss, Dream Boy, Celebration Theatre.

 Costume Design

  • Kate Bergh, Casa Valentina, Pasadena Playhouse.
  • Amy Clark and Mark Koss, The Little Mermaid, La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts.
  • A. Jeffrey Schoenberg, Cloud 9, Antaeus Theatre Company.
  • Anthony Tran, La Cage aux Folles, East West Players.

Sound Design

  • John Farmanesh-Bocca and Adam Phalen, Tempest Redux, Odyssey Theatre Ensemble and New American Theatre.
  • John Gromada, Fly, The Pasadena Playhouse.
  • Rebecca Kessin, Dream Boy, Celebration Theatre.
  • Eric Snodgrass, The Boy from Oz, Celebration Theatre.

Specialty: Fight Choreography

  • Jen Albert, Punch and Judy, The School of Night, Ruby Theater at the Complex.

Specialty: Wigs, Hair and Makeup

  • Rick Geyer, Casa Valentina, The Pasadena Playhouse.
  • Jessica Mills, Cloud 9, Antaeus Theatre Company.