SINGLE VERSION and the Nerdist Collection Contest

I did a crazy thing.

Casey sent me a link to a contest co-sponsored by Nerdist and Inkshares:

“Beginning August 15, writers can submit their pitches and/or sample chapters to Inkshares for consideration. Inkshares will then publish the top five science fiction and fantasy projects with the most unique reader pre-orders by 12:00 p.m. PST, September 30th. Lastly, we get to choose our favorite book from those five to include in our new Nerdist Collection on Inkshares.”

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So, the crazy thing…I entered my sci-fi horror novel SINGLE VERSION into the contest. Inkshares is like Kickstarter, you can back a project by pre-ordering the book, but you won’t be charged unless I meet my goal, which is *gulp* 750 pre-orders. But as far as the Nerdist contest goes, I made it to #6 on the leaderboard in just a few hours, thanks to the immediate support of a few generous friends. I want to crack the top 5! You can help me do that!

If you’d like to back SINGLE VERSION by pre-ordering a copy of the book, please follow this link:

https://www.inkshares.com/projects/single-version

There, you can read a little more about the story, a synopsis, and the first chapter.

Thanks so much for your support!


2015: The Summer of Change

As I’m writing this, I’m sitting on my friend Josh’s couch, and my family is three states away.

Josh lives about half a mile from where Casey and I lived until last week. We packed up a UHaul (well, our movers did) and Casey and I headed back to Pittsburgh, the environs from which we both sprang. After only about 24 hours of getting settled in the Burgh, I had to hop on a train to come back to Chicago. Now, I’m finishing up my last few weeks of business here while my family awaits there.

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Here.

The Allegheny River and the Monongahela River join to form the Ohio River at The Point Park shown in this aerial of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh Pennsylvania United States Golden Triangle.

There.

This is not easy. Since my daughter was born, I’ve only ever been away from her for a few days at a stretch. Now, I’m going to be without her, and Casey, for about 2 weeks. Luckily, there’s FaceTime.

It’s the summer of change. New city. New home. New job (theoretically, still looking). New theatre scene. New people. New places. Much of this is very exciting, especially the whole being near family again after a decade away part.

BREWED-Panoramic

Back in June, I had my first show in Pittsburgh in 6 years. BREWED, with No Name Players. The production was lovely, with great performances all around, supported by an awesome company (take note, friends: No Name Players is legit). Casey and I went into Pittsburgh for a few days so I could pop in on the final preview and be there for opening. The production was well attended, and the press response was good. As a hometown boy, it definitely felt special to have the show written up twice in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The writer from the PPG called it Shirley Jackson-esque, which was pretty cool. The whole weekend felt like a big, warm “welcome back.”

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BREWED at No Name Players

We’ve been moving in stages. Casey’s family has been periodically making trips to Chicago over the past few months, not just to visit, but to start taking stuff back. The BREWED weekend was a nice chance to meet some people before the move. The move felt very permanent for Casey, but not for me since I had to come right back to Illinois. I’ll be back in a couple weeks, and then it will feel like our life in Pittsburgh is really beginning.

Of course, returning to Pittsburgh doesn’t feel like returning. It feels like starting again in a new city. I’ve never lived there as an adult, just come in to visit, so there’s a lot to learn. It’s familiar and yet completely not. Every article I read about what’s happening in the city is exciting and inspiring.

Meanwhile, back in Chicago, I haven’t had a moment’s rest. Over the last few months, I’ve been working on two commissions. I wrapped up my year with the Goodman Theatre Playwrights Unit and had a stellar reading of my play ENTRY (or, you think you know me), which teamed me up again with Devon de Mayo, who I absolutely love working with. Our cast of Emjoy Gavino, Jeff Trainor, Mary Williamson, Colm O’Reilly, Kelly O’Sullivan, and Erin Barlow crushed it. At the end of an unbelievable year of development at the Goodman, it was a beautiful finale.

Now, I’m working on a new play for Concordia University called OTHER FAMILIARS. It will be directed by Jason Narvy, first in a reading with professional actors at Chicago Dramatists next Saturday, August 8, at 2pm; and then in a full production with his students at Concordia in October. I have Jayme McGhan and Stephanie Stroud to thank for setting that up.

Where ENTRY is Horror, OTHER FAMILIARS is a dark fantasy with a lot of literary touches; both center on a subject that’s been heavy on my mind (and many peoples’ minds) this year: Grief. My friend Dana pointed out to me a few months back that a lot of my plays deal with grief. I never thought about it in those terms, but she’s right. I guess it makes sense, given that grief can take you to some places that are right out of a horror story.

Having these projects to work on has been healthy for me, keeping me focused on some things that are in my control with so many things that are out of my control approaching at full tilt. The end of our time in Chicago. The final day at my job, which I’ve been mostly happy at for the last 5 years. And now, at the end of September: Baby #2. (WE’RE HAVING ANOTHER BABY. WHAAAAT??) I’m glad I’ve knocked two plays out in the last year, because I have a feeling it’ll be some time before I can crank out another. Several months at least. Many sleepless nights ahead…

It’s all worth it though. Change is good. Family is great. And adventures keep life interesting.


BREWED in Pittsburgh this summer

UPDATE: BREWED has since opened and closed after having a great run (thanks Pittsburgh!), and it’s just been that long since I’ve been able to do a substantial update here. I’ll share more soon, about this production and what’s next…it’s been a crazy summer…

It’s been announced elsewhere and I’m late to the party, but I’m thrilled to announce that BREWED will be produced in Pittsburgh this summer with No Name Players. My friend and fellow Steeler fan Steven Wilson will direct.

Brewed Poster Image

The cast will feature Sol Crespo as Paulette, Tressa Glover as Babette, Siovhan Christensen as Juliette, Kelly Trumbull as Roxette, Cindy Jackson as Nannette, Alex Manalo as Collette, and Moira Quigley as Lee.

I’m so excited to be playing in my hometown again. And running just before we move, too; it feels like a welcoming.

Check out No Name’s website for info and tickets.


Erin Myers

I don’t normally post here about personal matters, but I feel compelled to tonight, because someone very dear to me will soon be moving on to whatever plane awaits beyond this one we all know and cherish.

Erin Myers is bravery. She is beauty. She is vitality and wisdom. One of the most generous, complicated, devoted, courageous, and smart-smart-smart people I’ve ever had the privilege to know and share my artistic life with. Casey and I will be moving to Pittsburgh in a few months, and when I look back on the decade I spent here, Erin will be among the most impactful and important people who touched my life in Chicago.

For anyone who doesn’t know her, you can read her breathtaking, heartbreaking, inspiring writings on her battle with cancer at her blog THE VIEW FROM THE 21st FLOOR.

Everyone should read it start to finish. Erin’s voice is a gift. Her honesty: essential and jaw-dropping.

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Erin learning fights for BREWED, summer of 2012

I knew Erin through the theatre scene for a few years before I actually got to know her. Then, in 2011, we worked on back-to-back shows together as actors, one with WildClaw, and one with The Mammals, and have been friends since. In 2013, Erin originated the role of Paulette in my play BREWED, a role she elevated with grit, passion, and precision. I made major changes to that play and that character during the process, and the credit goes to Erin. Her choices, insight, and limitless curiosity gave me a better understanding of who the character was, and who she could be. Her strength, her resolve, her outer rage and inner pain. Erin once said she viewed Paulette as a poet, though a severely frustrated one. I have thought of the character that way since.

During the course of these experiences, though I never told her (or anyone really), I came to think of Erin as an artistic sister-figure. I admired her the way I admire my older brothers. I always learned from her. I always felt small near her, but comfortably small. She was someone I trusted fully with my opinions and ideas, the rare person I actually found myself opening up to at times. I held her in the highest esteem and I always will.

Late last year I finished my first novel. The first person to read it was Casey. The second person to read it was Erin Myers. If it is ever published, it will be dedicated to her.

I’m heartbroken for her husband, her family, and all of her many friends (who I am lucky to count myself among). She’s a warrior. A special breed of bad-ass. And I will think of her every time I hear the word: “Motherfucker.”

[Erin Myers passed away on May 2. A superior woman, artist, troublemaker, and ally. She will be deeply missed.]

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WildClaw Theatre’s MOTEL 666

Been a while since I updated… There’s been a lot going on. New kid on the way, new city on the horizon, new job(s), new theatres to explore, new everything. Even though we’re moving to Pittsburgh (which is where we both grew up) it’ll feel like a completely new town because neither of us has lived there as an adult. It’ll be a crazy fall.

Back on earth, my next project goes into rehearsals soon. WildClaw Theatre’s MOTEL 666, a new horror anthology featuring plays by Christopher Hainsworth, Ele Matelan, Brett Neveu, Michaela Petro, Christopher Walsh, Joseph Zettelmaier, and myself. My play, “Hanger-On,” concerns a woman named Gemma, whose sister Clea has had her body invaded. Gemma’s resolved to get Clea across the border to an expert in the morning, but first they’ll have to survive a night at Motel 666.

Scott Cummins directs this massive project, which will open in June at the DCASE Storefront Theater.

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MOTEL 666

A World Premiere

Written by Scott T. Barsotti, Christopher Hainsworth, Ele Matelan, Brett Neveu,
Michaela Petro, Christopher M. Walsh & Joseph Zettelmaier

Directed by Scott Cummins

Conceived by Aly Renee Amidei & Brian Amidei

On the forgotten highways of the American Midwest, there is a vacancy waiting for you at Motel 666. Run by a clerk of questionable morals and kept clean-ish by a trickster maid, Motel 666 is the finest establishment on the road to nowhere. Be you lonely or loved, guilty or relatively innocent, charmed or just plain down on your luck, you can rest your weary soul at Motel 666. (Note: Management cannot be held responsible for souls lost or misplaced.)

Previews: June 3-4, 2015
Opening: June 5, 2015
Closing: June 28, 2015

Performances** will be held at the DCASE Storefront Theatre, 66 E. Randolph Street, with shows ThursdaySaturday at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2:00pm.

TICKETS ON SALE SOON!


TODAY WE ESCAPE – plays inspired by OK Computer

THE REVENANTS is closed, and my next project, already in rehearsal, is a piece in Tympanic Theatre’s upcoming production Today We Escape.

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My contribution is a short play called WAVELENGTH, inspired by the song “Climbing Up the Walls.” WAVELENGTH is directed by Rebecca Willingham and stars Chris Acevedo and Libby Conkle.

A companion piece to Tympanic’s critically-acclaimed 2012 play festival, Deliver Us From Nowhere — itself drawn from Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska — Today We Escape pairs twelve Chicago playwrights with thirteen directors to create an evening of theatre inspired by Radiohead’s experimental album, OK Computer. Each writer used a song on the record as the springboard for a short play before an ensemble of musicians composes original music based on the plays themselves. Like Deliver Us.Today We Escape is a meditation on how art reflects art; a live album in the most unique sense of the word, and a celebration of music that is at times detached, yet strangely comforting

TODAY WE ESCAPE: Plays Inspired by OK COMPUTER

March 13th through April 4th

Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.

and Sundays at 3 p.m.

Special industry performance on Wednesday, March 25, at 7:30 p.m.

The Den Theatre (1333 N. Milwaukee Ave.)

Tickets $20 general and you can get them HERE!


Last weekend for THE REVENANTS

WildClaw’s production of THE REVENANTS comes to a close this weekend, just four shows remaining!

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“Playwright Scott T. Barsotti and director Brad Akin have crafted a darkly comic but also genuinely engrossing study in claustrophobic horror, aided by a fine cast and a first-rate design team.” ~ The Chicago Reader

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It’s been a thrill to revisit this show with WildClaw, and it’s made me even more excited for WildClaw’s next project, Motel 666, coming this summer.

Check out THE REVENANTS before it shambles away for good on February 22!

The Revenants

By Scott T. Barsotti*

Directed by Brad Akin

Closes February 22nd

The Atheneaum Theatre

2936 N. SOUTHPORT AVENUE

BOX OFFICE: 773-935-6875

Tickets on Sale Now!

During an uprising of the undead, two couples take refuge in an abandoned basement. Gary and Karen must decide what to do next as their spouses have already been infected and are starting to turn. As they complete their transformation, the question of whether or not they are still themselves becomes impossible to answer. As Gary and Karen come face to face with the true meaning of commitment, they must ask of each other:

When does love die?

Featuring:

Elizabeth Birnkrant as Karen

Josh Zagoren* as Gary

Krista D’Agostino as Molly

Drew Johnson as Joe

http://www.wildclawtheatre.com

(photos by Kyle Hamman)


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