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Celebrating the members of the League of Professional Theatre Women

Archive for the tag “Primary Stages”

Cindy Cooper (Cynthia L. Cooper)

Cindy Cooper, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenDramatist, Producer
New York, New York USA

I managed to get myself to The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe on Broadway more than once. After first being dazzled by Lily Tomlin’s character portrayals, I paid closer attention to Jane Wagner’s script — especially an amazing moment at the end that still comes to me when I question why I ever bothered with theater.

Trudy, a central character, reports her space alien chums’ curiosity about the “goose bump experience.” It turns out that the phenomenon is critical to their earthly explorations, and Trudy hits upon the idea of sending them to the theater. The sensation occurs as they stand in the back: the space chums discover ecstasy and art – but not in the expected place. “It wasn’t the play gave ‘em goose bumps, it was the audience,” says Trudy. “Yeah, to see a group of strangers sitting together in the dark, laughing and crying about the same things … that just knocked ‘em out.”

The audiences:  that, for me, is the essence and the allure of theater. When I touch audiences – with an insight by a woman in sports, the strength of a victim who finds reconciliation, the unknown story of a fighter for rights – I experience elation, too. I see the possibilities of growth, exchange, and, sometimes, maybe sometimes, transformation.

Where ideas generated by television and newsprint and blogs can readily fade, the arts have eloquence and power. Pundits could not match the visceral embrace of An American Rendition, a dance-theater piece by Jane Comfort and Joan La Barbara that draws audiences into the interplay of government torture and “reality” television. The live performance is riveting.

As foolish as it may seem, I hold out the hope that stories and words and bodies in motion can give us nourishment, inner guidance, fortitude — that theatre can make a difference in the drive for universal human rights and equality. The theater, after all, is about humanity, and all of us have it. And the theater, it seems, can even cause goose bumps. Perhaps it is all an allusion, but — isn’t it worth trying?

Cindy Cooper is an award-winning playwright, journalist and author. How She Played the Game was produced at the Women’s Project, Primary Stages, 80 more. Words of Choice traveled to 20 states; other plays in Chicago, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, L.A., Israel. A two-time Jerome Fellow, her plays are in 15 books. www.cyncooperwriter.net

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Romy Nordlinger

Romy Nordlinger, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenActor / Playwright / Theatre Teaching Artist
New York, New York USA

I look for inspiration in people who dare to be honest about who they are and live on their own terms. I am always inspired by kindness and empathy, particularly on an overcrowded subway!  I will forever be inspired by the kids I teach theatre with in special education who amaze me with their creativity and love and lack of self- consciousness.  Though some of their bodies are bound to wheelchairs, their spirits are boundless.  It sounds corny but I am so jazzed by smiling and by receiving a smile – the kind that comes from the inside.

My favorite plays are The Zoo Story and this line “WITH GOD WHO IS A COLORED QUEEN WHO WEARS A KIMONO AND PLUCKS HIS EYEBROWS, WHO IS A WOMAN WHO CRIES WITH DETERMINATION BEHIND HER CLOSED DOOR…” And T. Williams’ Orpheus Descending – “What else can you do on this earth but catch at whatever comes near you with both your hands until your fingers are broken.”

My favorite authors are Dostoyevsky, Zola, Orwell and so many others it’d be too many to list – and choose from. If I had more time I’d read and read!  I’m pretty obsessed with the New York Times. The first place I’d go to if I had a chance is Egypt or the duck pond on 112th in Central Park. I love the Sex Pistols, Joni Mitchell, David Bowie, Woody Allen, Virginia Woolf, Mozart, Camus, Shakespeare, calamari, and my husband Adam Burns (but perhaps not in that order). I’m not so crazy about math or sardines. I love people who are passionate and aren’t afraid to say they are. I am most frustrated by people who don’t appreciate enough – though I can’t say I always appreciate enough.

I love red, I love to dance (though I can’t take choreography and my college fencing teacher said I have no eye/hand coordination) and I feel most myself when I’m acting, writing or teaching. I feel most myself when I’m sharing an emotion, be it happy or sad, as long as it’s alive.

Romy Nordlinger Theatre/film: Resonance Ensemble Member, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Kirk Theatre, NY Fringe Festival, Primary Stages, Circle Repertory, Fleetwood Stage, Wilma Theatre. Law & Order CI, One Life To Live, All My Children. Playwright : Lipshtick @ NY Fringe, Sex & Sealing Wax @ Midtown Festival, Feeling Part @Theatre For the New City, Broadville @ The Source. www.romynordlinger.com/

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