MadShag is now THE FORGE!

For those of you who've wondered where and what the heck MadShag has been up to, today is an exciting day! Today several longtime MadShag collaborators are launching The Forge, a new arts production company based in New York.

Our brand spanking new site has more information if you're interested (please update your bookmarks!). Our first two projects -- SINNER TO WINNER (a one-night art party on September 10) and IMMORTAL: THE GILGAMESH VARIATIONS (opening in NYC January 2011) -- involve dozens of exciting artists. I hope you’ll plan to attend. I think you’ll enjoy both of these events, so stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks.

The Forge features some of the greatest artists I've ever worked with, and I'm incredibly excited about the group's future. If you'd like to keep up with our activities, I hope you'll:

Join The E-Forge List:

"Like" Us On Facebook:

Follow The ForgeBlog:

Follow Us On Twitter:

Coming Soon: Forge Photos on our Flickr Photostream
( and Videos on our You
Tube Channel (

And one other thing...please spread the word! Like any new endeavor, The Forge will only be as successful as those who know about it. Forward this to everyone you think might like to know about us! Thanks for your help (and more Forgery ahead!).

Casting For GILGAMESH VARIATIONS Coming Up Soon!

We're looking for the six most talented, most physical, most thoughtful performer-artists in New York City to join the company of THE GILGAMESH VARIATIONS. Rehearsals begin in September 2009 in preparation for our 2010 premiere. If you, or someone you know, fits the breakdown below, please send a resume/headshot to

4 male roles, 2 female roles, collectively playing 30+ speaking parts
Ages: 20-50
Actors and actresses of color, especially African or African-American, Latino/a, Native American, and actors of Middle Eastern heritage, encouraged to submit.
Physical movement and/or dance training a plus but not required


Not Her (And Other Exiles)...Coming To A Town Near You!

Thank you to everyone who packed the rafters of the beautiful new Dixon Place to see the world premiere of NOT HER (AND OTHER EXILES)! The waves of excellent feedback from audiences and the evening's stellar reception has us a bit giddy, and very appreciative for everyone out there who has become a part of the MadShag Nation. Superb performances by Roger Calderon, Cindy Kawasaki, Christopher Michael McLamb, Catherine Porter and Mary Ann Walsh made this "odd duck" theatre experience a joy, both to work on in rehearsal and to watch in performance. Thanks gang!

Due to the excellent response, MadShag has begun planning for a national tour of NOT HER (AND OTHER EXILES), so watch this space. Details to follow soon!


NOT HER Opens March 10th!

We're thrilled to formally invite all MadShaggers to NOT HER (AND OTHER EXILES), a new 50-minute evening of short plays we're producing at the beautiful, new multi-million dollar theatre complex at Dixon Place. The cast is extraordinary, the designers are on the top of their game, and the plays are stunning glimpses at what it means to be an outsider in America.

Reservations are easily made at for either of our two performances. Let us know you'll be attending, so we can make sure to find you there!

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The Gilgamesh Variations...A First Look!

After almost a year of planning, six months of intensive collaboration by our eleven playwrights, the first public experience of THE GILGAMESH VARIATIONS is upon us. Seating is limited, so if you'd like to see what all the hubbub has been about, email us and reserve your spot for February 7th!


Stage Fright: Open Reading


The Gilgamesh Variations: Creative Team Announced

We're happy to announce the playwrights and creative artists who will be working to adapt the Epic of Gilgamesh into MadShag's 2009 project, THE GILGAMESH VARIATIONS:

Charles Borkhuis, NYC
Erin Browne, NYC
Jane Ann Crum, NYC
Jeffrey James Keyes, NYC
Barb Lanciers, NYC
Leonard Madrid, Albuquerque
Gretchen Michelfeld,NYC
Kay Mitchell,NYC
Juanita Rockwell, Baltimore
Barry Rowell, NYC
Gabriel Shanks, NYC

Some of the names you may recognize from previous collaborations -- Ms. Michelfeld is the author of our upcoming production Not Her, while Mr. Keyes, Mr. Rowell and Ms. Rockwell had works in our 2006 reading series. The other creatives on board are:

Lead Dramaturge: Kay Mitchell
Director: Gabriel Shanks
Scenic Design: Allen Cutler, Hartford
Costume Design: Shannon Maddox, Baltimore
Lighting Design: Erik C. Bruce, Los Angeles

More details to follow soon!


MadShag Announces Two New Projects!

We are very excited to announce two new projects currently in development at MadShag, both of which will be making their premieres in the months to come. One is an adaptation, one an inspiration...and both firmly rooted in the collaborative ethos of MPG.

Having just experienced the extraordinary presidential campaign of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, playwright Gretchen Michelfeld uses the lens of Samuel Beckett to explore the struggles of her candidacy, defeat, and the implications for women who rail daily against the barriers of gender. This solo performance is currently in development, and will be staged in 2009...when the electoral frenzy will have given way to some serious contemplation.

Twelve playwrights from around the country will join forces to adapt the earliest masterpiece of creative fiction -- The Epic of Gilgamesh, the legendary series of Sumerian and Babylonian poems about the magnificent hero-king, who may have been an actual ruler in the 27th century BC. THE SLEEPING AND THE DEAD is a massive collaboration project shared among two dozen amazing artists in total, who together will explore the themes of gender, friendship, ritual and power – and the humanity that persists when ambition exceeds its grasp. This piece is being developed and workshopped for an early 2009 production, conceived and directed by Gabriel Shanks with lead dramaturg Kay Mitchell.

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Present Tense at The Brick!

We're thrilled to finally share with the MadShaggers the new premiere that Gabriel has been directing this month -- Charles Borkhuis' PRESENT TENSE, May 23rd and 24th at The Brick Theater. It's a clever and mind-stretching new play; we'd love to get your feedback and thoughts on this multiple-dimension, wormhole-stretching new work about actors, audiences, and the infinite space between the two. It's part of the Tiny Theatre Festival, co-produced by the Ontological-Hysteric and The Brick; there are six short plays in total, 90 nonstop minutes. Come enjoy!

In PRESENT TENSE, two characters find themselves slipping in and out of parallel lives through "wormholes" in the space-time of the play. One believes he has dozed off at home with a book on his lap and the play is a curiously lucid dream. The other is convinced that their performances in front of a live audience are desperately real. Panic starts to set in as the play's complications and reversals become increasingly fascinating and frightening. C'mon, admit're intrigued, aren't you?

by Charles Borkhuis
directed by Gabriel Shanks
featuring Frank Blocker & Ben Trawick-Smith
Stage Manager: Jeni Shanks
Design: Allen Cutler
May 24 and 25 | 8pm | $15
at The Brick Theater, 575 Metropolitan Ave, Williamsburg
(L Train, 1/2 block from Lorimer Stop)
RESERVATIONS: 866-811-4111 or Theatermania

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Free MadShag MP3 Download!

The premiere of Dennis Blackwell and Jason Hart: In Concert is less than a week away at The Metropolitan Room, and we couldn't be more excited that so many of you are coming to see it! As a special treat, Dennis and Jason recently went into the studio and recorded one of the songs, the unforgettable Lerner/Lane classic "Come Back To Me", just for the blog listeners! You can now hear and download the track for FREE for a limited time.

And if you haven't made your reservations yet, call (212) 206-0440 right away (no credit card necessary). Seats are going very rapidly for both performances. I can't wait to see you there!

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Donate now!


  • Gabriel Shanks
  • Artistic Director

  • Erik C. Bruce
  • Allen Cutler
  • Shannon Maddox
  • Kay Mitchell
  • Jeni Shanks
  • Artistic Associates

  • Charles Borkhuis
  • Erin Browne
  • Oscar Castillo
  • Jane Ann Crum
  • Robbie Heacock
  • Shannon Hunt
  • Jeffrey James Keyes
  • Barbara Lanciers
  • Leonard Madrid
  • Gretchen Michelfeld
  • Christopher Mirto
  • Catherine Porter
  • Juanita Rockwell
  • Barry Rowell
  • Jeni Shanks
  • Nomi Tichman
  • Mary Ann Walsh

  • Zipcar: wheels when you want them. Learn more.


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