Breaking the Silence

Girl Be Heard and Human Rights Watch





February 19, 20, 21 at 8:00PM

AT THE SOHO PLAYHOUSE (15 Vandam Street)

New York, NY – For the first time, Girl Be Heard and Human Rights Watch, will bring together actors from across the globe (who are flying in for this show) to present BREAKING THE SILENCE WITH GIRL BE HEARD at the Soho Playhouse (15 Vandam Street). In an effort to break the cycle of silence around gender-based violence, this groundbreaking collaboration features selections from Breaking the Silence, written for Human Rights Watch, and Girl Be Heard’sTrafficked and disPLACEd. BREAKING THE SILENCE WITH GIRL BE HEARD runs for three performances onlyThursday, February 19, Friday, February 20, and Saturday, February 21 at 8:00PM. Tickets are $35 and are $20 for students and senior.  Tickets are available by visiting

BREAKING THE SILENCE WITH GIRL BE HEARD highlights a number of global issues faced by millions of women daily. Told through a series of monologues and songs from individual perspectives, the performance is based on fact and exposes the greater universal truths. Issues raised range from trafficking, child marriage to domestic violence, and rape as a war crime; while also addressing wider related issues of refugees, the right to a voice and the right to ownership and education. With a wonderful star cast from stage and cinema, the production is a spotlight on the work of Human Rights Watch, and the horrors that continues to flourish in darkness and silence today. The work is based on the reports and the research of Human Rights Watch as well as the true experiences of Girl Be Heard members, their international partners.

Breaking the Silence with Girl Be Heard, is evidence that theatre’s healing power transcends borders. This ground-breading collaboration, between Girl Be Heard and Human Rights Watch, is elevating the stories of survivors to the global stage, by harnessing the voices of actors, activists and advocates from around the world. Together, we are breaking the cycle of silence that perpetuates gender-based violence,” said Jessica Morris, CEO of Girl Be Heard.

BREAKING THE SILENCE WITH GIRL BE HEARD is an awareness raising play, written for the Women’s division of Human Rights Watch; and was successfully performed in Geneva 2013 and London 2014. It was selected for the closing ceremony for Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict hosted by William Hague and Angelina Jolie, and will be performed in The Hague April 2015. Premiering in New York Thursday the 19th to the 21st February 2015, to coincide with The World Day of Social Justice. The production also opens just two weeks after President Barack Obama announced his campaign “It’s On Us” to end violence against women and girls during the 2015 Grammy Awards.

BREAKING THE SILENCE WITH GIRL BE HEARD is a collaboration of selections from Trafficked and disPLACEd from Girl be Heard, and Breaking the Silence from Human Rights Watch. The cast and writers for selections from Trafficked and disPLACEd include: Aya Abdelaziz, Deanna Alexandra, Georgie Exniord, Noelia Mann, Betsy Perez, Tiff Roma, Melanie Thompson, Danielle Walker, and Sophie Walker. The cast and writers for selections from Breaking the Silence include: Gemma Aston, Susan Craig, Amelia Donker, Adam James, Fraser James, Charlotte Longfield, Katrina Syran, and guitarist Jad Azkoul.

Girl Be Heard is a non-profit theatre and educational program that provides a safe environment for girls to write, direct, and perform theatre productions under the guidance of professional directors, playwrights, actors, activists, and intellectuals. Girl Be Heard’s performances have received critical acclaim from The White House, The United Nations, the New Yorker, The New York Times, Huffington Post, Ebony Magazine, National Public Radio, and media outlets across the globe. Join the movement at

Human Rights Watch is a nonprofit, nongovernmental, human rights organization made up of roughly 400 staff members around the globe. Its staff consists of human rights professionals including country experts, lawyers, journalists, and academics of diverse backgrounds and nationalities. Established in 1978, Human Rights Watch is known for its accurate fact-finding, impartial reporting, effective use of media, and targeted advocacy, often in partnership with local human rights groups. Each year, Human Rights Watch publishes more than 100 reports and briefings on human rights conditions in some 90 countries, generating extensive coverage in local and international media. With the leverage this brings, Human Rights Watch meets with governments, the United Nations, regional groups like the African Union and the European Union, financial institutions, and corporations to press for changes in policy and practice that promote human rights and justice around the world.

The performance schedule for BREAKING THE SILENCE WITH GIRL BE HEARD is Thursday, February 19, Friday, February 20, Saturday, February 21 at 8:00PM. Tickets are $35 or $20 for students and seniors. For more information, visit

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Photo by Ashley Marinaccio.

Episode 5: Broadway, Downtown, and Live TV!

Patty & Emily saw a bunch of shows this week! No time to talk about theatre news because we talk about Disenchanted, My Favorite Year, War Lesbian, The Illusionists, Peter Pan Live, and Emily’s 9th time seeing Side Show!

Right click to download file.

The Birds and the Bees: Unabridged

When they were in grad school, Rachel Sullivan and Maggie Keenan-Bolger were working on a thesis together about women’s experiences in public spaces. At the end of the project, they realized sexuality was never directly discussed, though it clearly influenced the topic. Aside from already having an interest in sexuality, Maggie and Rachel have a theatre company, Honest Accomplice, which focuses on topics that aren’t openly discussed or seen as shameful. And so, The Birds and the Bees: Unabridged was born.

Patty talked to Maggie and Rachel, along with three of the actors, Liza Fischer, Holly Sansom, and (someone you might know) Emily Faye Oakley, about the experience of putting this show together. Maggie and Rachel didn’t sit down at a computer and write up a script. The Birds and the Bees: Unabridged is a devised theatre piece. It’s created by the actors working together and using real life experiences to create a piece about different aspects of sexuality. This isn’t the first production of the show. We saw the show last year, and when she saw they were doing it again, Emily wanted to be a part of it. She also wanted to be a part of telling a different kind of story. Holly, who was a part of conceiving the project the first time around, said what partly drew her to it was the varied types of people who were represented; people she didn’t normally see on stage. Liza had helped with props the first time around and comes from a more traditional theatre background. She was excited to be working on a show that was trying to say something and wasn’t focused on the commercial aspects.

So, what is it trying to say? After surveying over 2,000 people online, talking to friends, and working with the original and current casts, The Birds and the Bees: Unabridged is saying what Salt ‘n Pepa said way back in 1991: Let’s Talk About Sex. The previous production was more of a series of thematically connected scenes. While in this production, each character has a through line that you follow. Just like the rest of us, these characters are dealing with topics of body image, race and sexuality, hookup culture, gender, etc. And the hope is that you leave talking about these issues and maybe even opening up about your own experiences. The show isn’t meant to make anyone uncomfortable; it’s not gratuitously sexual or, at the other end, overly clinical. It’s a representation of many topics not often discussed; experiences people have, but don’t talk about. So, here it is. Maggie, Rachel, and their cast are having The Talk. The one about the birds and the bees.

The Birds and the Bees: Unabridged runs October 8th-12th. The show is double cast. The cast for October 8th & 10th is Samantha Cunha, Meggan Dodd, Liza Fischer, Cat Fisher, Lindsay Griffen, Austin Klich, E. Okobi, Julia Osen Averill, and Holly Sansom. The cast for October 9th, 11th, & 12th is Mike Burke, Ruth Cooper, Suzu Ledoux, Emily Faye Oakley, E. Okobi, Julia Osen Averill, Mary Parker, Holly Sansom, and Mary Sheridan. Get your tickets here.

Of course, even during this discussion of serious, important (and fun!) topics, we had to throw in our little nonsense survey for these ladies. Here it is!

PATTY & EMILY: Do you know Beth Leavel?


RACHEL SULLIVAN: Made a sad face because she doesn’t know who that is.


HOLLY SANSOM: I love her.

P&E: Which show do you most want revived?

MKB:  Side Show, but they’re doing it now!

RS:  I’ll just go with Side Show.

LF: I know they just did it, but I missed it. I want to see Angels in America.

HS: Can  we have another Ragtime that stays?

P&E: Have you ever fallen asleep on stage while pretending to be asleep or dead on stage?

MKB:  When I was five, I did The Sound of Music, and they had to cancel the rest of rehearsal because I fell asleep on the bed.

RS: I don’t know if I’ve ever had to pretend to be… I definitely haven’t ever had to be dead. I don’t think I ever had to be asleep.

LF: I did an outdoor Hamlet and was being eaten by mosquitoes when I was carried out dead. So, no.

HS: I feel like any time I ever had to be dead, I’ve been in really uncomfortable positions. So, not a factor.

P&E: What’s your favorite Broadway house?

MKB: Can I say my sister’s house?

RS: BAM. The Harvey Theater.

LF: I like the one that they did Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf in. The Booth. And I also have to shout-out the A.R.T. was my childhood theatre.

HS: I just went to the Winter Garden for the very first time, and I love the mezzanine. It made me feel welcome as a poor person.

P&E: Dreamcast us in a show

MKB: Side Show!

RS: Side Show?

LF: Yes.

HS: Definitely.

P&E: Do you have a monologue?

MKB: That you want me to do right now?!

RS: I probably would need a few hours.

LF: I totally do.

HS: I don’t audition any more. No.

P&E: What is the show you’ve seen the most times?

MKB: Rent

RS: I’ve seen the video…the original The Sound of Music with Julie Andrews. I know that’s not live, but that shit was my favorite.

LF: Probably The Seagull.

HS: I was weirdly obsessed with Dirty Rotten Scoundrels in college.

P&E: Who would you fangirl(boy) over?

MKB: Does it have to be a Broadway person? Zoe Palmer.

RS: One of the coolest things I ever saw was this nine-hour play directed by Robert Lepage. And I think anyone that can get me to sit in a theatre for nine hours? That’s pretty cool. Or maybe Cate Blanchett.

LF: I met Frances McDormand. She came into my coffee shop. And I was like, “Are you Frances McDormand?” And she said yes. And I said, “I think you’re amazing. I’m and actress.” I was right out of college. And she said, “Oh, that’s great! There should be more actors.” And she tipped me 50 cents.

HS: Sara Ramirez.

P&E: On a scale of 1-10, how awful is the Broadway World message board?

MKB: Laughs.

RS: Not applicable?

LF: 20.

HS: I think All That Chat is worse though.

P&E: Comps and a Time Machine.

MKB: Into the Woods

RS: I feel like I’d like to go back to a really different time period, like Sarah Bernhardt. And see how the audiences dressed and how the acting styles were so different.

LF: Yeah, the original Seagull.

HS: I mean, Ragtime. The original cast.

Again, The Birds and the Bees: Unabridged runs October 8th-12th. And you can get tickets here.

Patty & Emily at Revolution in the Elbow of Ragnar Agnarsson Furniture Painter

Yes, that is the full title. This dystopian musical takes place in the elbow of a man, Ragnar Agnarsson. Throughout his body, there are cities and colonies, as if the Magic School Bus took a field trip there and never left. We went into this pretty blind, which was fun, so we don’t want to tell you too much. But based on the ideas of one resident, Peter (Marrick Smith, giving us Jonathan Groff realness), the residents of Elbowville find themselves in a financial crisis mirroring that of 2008.

Egging Peter along and profiting off her residents’ ignorance is the delightful Cady Huffman, as the Mayor of Elbowville. Her elaborate plans are matched only by her elaborate costumes. The main industry in Elbowville is fishing lobsters, which end up being a running theme in her amazing costumes. Peter also wants to help his brother Stein (Brad Nacht) and Stein’s wife Asrun (Kate Shindle — who also has her own costume moment in an amazing latex outfit), so pulls them unknowingly into the financial spiral. (There’s another brother played by Graydon Long, who leaves Elbowville as part of an unnecessary love triangle.) When the bubble bursts, Kate Shindle gets pissed off and confronts Cady Huffman in an amazing, but WAY too short belt off.

Without giving anything away, the ending is pretty satisfying. It’s not quite Urinetown in its clever and bleak truth, but it does point out interesting things about society. There were a few strings left untied; it seemed as if Kate Shindle was going to have a bigger role in the end. But Revolution in the Elbow… was a fun, strange, thought-provoking musical.

Revolution in the Elbow… runs through September 20th, so go see it! Get your tickets here.

Patty & Emily at A Little Night Music in the Berkshires

Connecticut. DC. And now Massachusetts. These are the places we’ve gone to see Kate Baldwin in shows. The most recent was our trip to Pittsfield, MA to see A Little Night Music in the Berkshires. We brought along our friends Robbie and Alex and had a musical theatre sing-along all the way (some CD selections: Side ShowLegally BlondeAndrea McArdle: On Broadway). We chose to make the trip in one day. It’s a beautiful and pretty easy drive through the Hudson Valley from New York to Pittsfield. If you have a chance, you should definitely head out there and maybe make a weekend of it! Pittsfield is a cute little town with old buildings, coffee shops, and a lot of theatres.

This production of A Little Night Music is presented by The Berkshire Theatre Group. We saw the most recent Broadway revival (both casts). Emily barely remembered it, and Patty remembered it being slow and long. This production, however, was much lighter and moved quickly. Kate (serving Mother-in-Ragtime Realness) was both hilarious and heartbreaking as Charlotte. A feat made more impressive given she had to play against her talented husband Graham Rowat, here playing the awful rogue Count. The rest of the cast was fantastic, especially Matt Dengler as Henrick and the great Penny Fuller as Madam Armfeldt. Her last scene was beautiful and highlighted the great direction of Ethan Heard. Night Music may not be our favorite Steven Sondhiem show, but it has a beautiful score, and we would travel pretty much anywhere to hear Kate Baldwin sing it.

A Little Night Music only runs through July 19th, so get your tickets now! It’s a great reason to get out of the city, breathe in some mountain air, and watch some fantastic musical theatre. If you can’t make it out, check out all the other shows The Berkshire Theatre Group is producing, including a children’s production of Suessical. We just may have another mountain road trip in our future. For tickets and information, visit

Patty & Emily at Here Lies Love

Audience participation. Standing for 90 minutes. Historical subject matter. Even the most seasoned theatregoer might give pause at seeing this show. But when you add innovative direction, amazing disco music, and a super talented cast, suddenly everyone is talking about Here Lies Love. In fact, the show was so talked about after its successful run last summer, it has returned to The Public Theater. No one is happier than Patty, since Emily saw the show during its last run. And even now, we would both see it again.

Here Lies Love tells the story of how Imelda Marcos, First Lady of the Philippines, became an infamous world figure. But, it’s how this story is told that makes the show special. Everyone is ushered into an open space with platforms and stages all around. Some people are up in the balconies, but those on the floor are really part of the show. We’re all at a disco, and the DJ tells you at the beginning Filipinos invented karaoke, so we’re all expected to participate and have fun. Alex Timbers’ direction has us all moving around and looking everywhere, while Fatboy Slim and David Byrne’s music has us dancing and sometimes crying. Everything helping to create the atmosphere of the performance.

The cast really helps pull this off. They make the audience feel comfortable and also excited about their involvement. The ensemble is full of amazing performers, giving their all, especially Sara Ramirez look-alike Maria-Christina Oliveras. At the performance we saw, an understudy, Jaygee Macapugay, was on as Imelda. She was great, and Emily said some of her choices really made her performance stand on its own. And Jose Llana and Conrad Ricamora played off each other and Jaygee so well, it was fun to see their relationships change. Here Lies Love ends with the cast, fittingly, leading the audience in a sing-along, everyone participating in the show we created together (though we guess most of the work was done by the cast and creative team).

Get tickets to Here Lies Love here.

Patty & Emily at The Anthem

Have you ever heard about a show, and thought to yourself, “How did a show like that even get made, and how I wish I could have seen it!”? Then do yourself a favor and go see The Anthem. Based on an Ayn Rand novella about a dystopian society, it’s hard to tell which parts are scripted to be funny and which parts ended up being funny unintentionally. As a dystopian musical, you already have to work extra hard because you’re not Urinetown, not to mention when there’s a giant disco ball hanging from your ’80s-inspired set. Of course, we’re not complaining. We enjoyed (mostly) every confusing, crazy, exhilarating moment.

The main reason we enjoyed anything? The cast. They were working to sell every overblown emotion and unnecessary special skill they were asked to showcase. Like one of Stefan’s nightclubs, this show had EVERYTHING. Rollerskating, ice skating jumps on rollerblades, silks and rope work, a pansexual orgy, a lot of ’80s synthesizer…we could go on. And the ensemble performed everything with a wink. Whether intentional or not, we got it and were winking back at them. One of the big standouts (and our personal choice for Peter in NBC’s Peter Pan Live!) for us was Em Grosland. Em effortlessly switched between playing a hyper, robotic drone of The State and an animalistic, sadistic warrior of The Resistance.

One thing this show didn’t have enough of was Jenna Leigh Green. She had two songs, neither of which were worthy of her, but god knows she sang the shit out of them. And every scene she was in, she commanded the stage in her killer silver boots. The fact that her character is old enough to be the mother of another character seems to be another ridiculous plot point, but it turns out Jenna Leigh Green has a touch of KerryButlerAgelessBeauty. And when you have all that to work with, you use it. But every time she exited the scene, it just felt like we needed more of her.

Yet after the curtain call, we were left smiling, laughing, and shaking our heads. And we looked at each other and said, “We just saw that.” And when we tell generations of musical theatre lovers about it years from now, they’ll wish they could have been there. So don’t miss out! Go see The Anthem, and be a part of something weird and special.

The cast of The Anthem is Ashley Kate Adams, Patch David, Jamyl Dobson, Brian Ferree, Shiloh Goodin, Jason Gotay, Jenna Leigh Green, Emily S. Grosland, Katie Lee Hill, Crista Marie Jackson, Randy Jones, Damian Thompson, and Remy Zaken. You can get tickets here.

Patty & Emily Review Heathers

Laurence O’Keefe is at it again with Heathers the Musical, which he wrote with Kevin Murphy. Heathers stars Barrett Wilbert Weed, Ryan McCartan, Jessica Keenan Wynn, Elle McLemore, and Alice Lee, with Katie Ladner, Jon Eidson, Evan Todd, Anthony Crivello, Dan Cooney, and Michelle Duffy. The ensemble includes Dan Domenech, Cait Fairbanks, Rachel Flynn, Molly Hager, Charissa Hogeland, AJ Meijer, Matthew Schatz and Dustin Sullivan.

Patty & Emily at Under My Skin

The body swap comedy has long been an important dramatic tradition. And new play Under My Skin by Robert Sternin and Prudence Fraser does this tradition proud. Taking a new twist on familiar territory, Under My Skin finds the actors, Kerry Butler (Melody Dent) and Matt Walton (Harrision Badish III), switching costumes instead of mannerisms. So instead of a Freaky Friday situation where Jamie Lee Curtis (or Barbara Harris if you’re old school) acts like a teenager, you have Kerry Butler dressed as a man, dealing with her new found “equipment” and Harrison’s randy financè. Or Matt Walton in a breezy hospital gown, dealing with the uncomfortable reality of a visit to the gynecologist.

The play tackles some bigger issues too, as the laughs come. Predictably, the differences between men and women, and how we all should be a little more understanding of each other. But also the very hot button issue of healthcare, as Harrison is the CEO of a large insurance provider and Melody his employee. Many aspects are touched on, from preventative care to benefits for part time employees. If only we could all swap bodies in real life, maybe we’d be able to figure it out too.

Kerry Butler and Matt Walton both did great jobs retaining their characters, while juggling the task of also acting as the other. The cast is rounded out by a fantastic ensemble, and they all deserve a mention: Dierdre Friel, Edward James Hyland, Kate Loprest, Andrew Polk, Megan Sikora, Allison Strong. The understudies are Justin Adams, Kate Fahrner, and John Michalski.

Make sure you get over to the Little Shubert and see this show! And before the show, stop by KTCHN, just down 42nd street. They have a great $25 Pre-Theatre Prefixe menu. We had a little taste, and if the quinoa bites are any indication, you won’t be disappointed. In the food or the show after.


Patty & Emily at 50 Shades! The Musical

Yes, we went to see 50 Shades! The Musical. Yes, neither of us have read the books. Even Patty, who read all of the Twilight books in a misguided attempt to understand a pop cultural phenomena. All this being said, we still really enjoyed 50 Shades. While some things may have been funnier had we read the books, the jokes about how poorly written they are will be funny to everyone.

The success of the show has everything to do with the fantastic cast and creative team (a bunch of awesome people from Second City and Baby Wants Candy). With our (now distant) improv backgrounds, it was interesting to understand the mechanics of how the show came together. Both of our audiences (we had to see it on separate days) were full of women chomping at the bit to see hunky Christian Grey. Let’s just say there was a definite play on expectations, and it was extremely fulfilling. When Emily saw the show, the rowdy women got a little more personal, with one chiming in a reflective moment and the fantastic Amber Petty (Anastasia Steele) sassing her back to Jersey (probably).

Over all, if you want a fun, fast-paced night with some great belting, lots of (different kinds of) BODY, and laughs, go see 50 Shades! The Musical. Bonus points for the use of a mid-title exclamation point and handcuffs in place of the E. We also happen to have a discount code for you here. The best part is that you don’t have to read the books.

Twitter: @Musical50Shades