I first encountered Pipeline Theatre in the fall of 2015, when Ari Schrier emailed me out of the blue, saying she was a fan and asking me if I had any unproduced plays.
When I sent her Beardo, I didn’t really think anything would come of it….the show was an obscure and weird exploration of the fall of Romanov Russia that playwright Jason Craig and I had done in Berkeley CA back in 2011; for years we had been dying to bring the piece to NYC somehow, but the show had significant producing challenges written into it, including a virtuoso string quartet, a 20-minute through-composed ballet, a 30-person choir, and a ukulele song about Rasputin’s dick. But I hadn’t met Ari and Natalie yet, had not yet been stunned and tickled by the magnitude and depth of their talent, dedication, and commitment.
Over the next couple years, I was dazzled again and again by their vision and chutzpah, as they found ways to say yes to everything, assembling an incredible team and finding an absolutely perfect space, a beautifully worn church in Greenpoint, to put on a fantastic production that honored and elevated the piece Jason and I wrote.
As a writer/composer you always hope that the people putting on your work will approach it honestly, on its own terms, understand it and love it rather than wrestle it into something it isn’t; but it’s a rare and special thing when a production both does that and teaches you new things, unearths things buried in the show you didn’t know were there.
Pipeline’s Beardo did all that and more; it was a darkly rich and viscerally luscious production, that punched me in the gut and electrocuted my ears and had me shaking and howling in my seat.
And on top of all that, it has been such a joy to get to know Pipeline, not just as a company that puts on awesome plays, but as a community, a family of artists that supports, celebrates, and loves each other, lifting each other up while making beautiful and heart-wrenching art. I’m proud and honored to be a part, and hope you can give a little bit to keep this essential company thriving, making ever more and more amazing things.
Top Photo by Michael De Angelis.
Bottom Photo by Suzi Sadler from Beardo (2017), featuring Shaye Troha, Damon Daunno, and Rolls Andre.