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Friday, 13 July 2012 11:52

The Second Annual Araca Project Presents Six Original Shows


The second annual Araca Project will present six original shows August 1-September 29 at the American Theater of Actors (314 West 54th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues). The Araca Group is a Broadway producing and merchandising organization led by Matthew Rego, Michael Rego and Hank Unger. The Araca Project launched in 2011 as a collaboration between The Araca Group and Syracuse University.  In its second incarnation, the project has welcomed the University of Michigan as a partner in The Araca Group's commitment to early career development.  

After pitching their projects, selected artists participate in a Producing Intensive, which consists of a series of workshops and panels with industry professionals, before producing their work in one or two week runs at The American Theatre of Actors. By giving artists the opportunity to take on the full artistic and fiscal responsibilities of producing their work Off-Broadway, The Araca Project endeavors to embolden these artists to recognize the power of the entrepreneurial spirit in shaping one’s artistic destiny.

This year’s six shows are all original works.  The lineup includes three plays (Cake, The Black Book, The Man With America Skin); a multi-composer musical (Hot Mess in Manhattan); an improvised musical performing an original show every evening (One Night Only); and a musical/comedy variety hour (The Rescignos).  All are produced by young professionals who graduated between 2002 and 2012.

All performances will be held at The American Theatre of Actors located at 314 W. 54th Street in New York City.  Ticket prices and show times vary by project; visit for full schedule and ticketing details.


August 1 - August 5

produced by Shawn Nabors and Jasmine Thomas
written by Shawn Nabors
directed by Rod Gailes OBC

Cake is a 90-minute dramedy about Messiah & Ari, two young African-American men who meet online for a casual encounter, but wind up invested in and connected to each other in ways neither of them expected. This play takes a heartbreakingly honest look at the unique way grief manifests itself in each of us and, more importantly, how we handle it when it does.

The Black Book

August 8 - August 12

produced by Phil Blechman, Marcelo Pereira and Danny Bateman
written and directed by Phil Blechman  

The Black Book is a new 99-minute suspense thriller about a troubled college student who leaves a suicidal poem on his poetry professor’s desk. The apprehensive professor is compelled to delve into his student’s past to decipher the true meaning of his poem, understand the guilt he feels for the loss of the girl he loved, and ultimately save him from taking his own life. The Black Book is a haunting exploration of a mind on the verge of collapse and the struggles inherent with accepting the past. It’s 11:11. Make a wish.

The Man With America Skin
August 16 - August 25

produced by Alex Bisker, Stephanie Shechter, Seth Moore, Justin Lang, Nathan Lehmann and Leigh Adel-Arnold
written by Seth Moore
directed by Alex Bisker

Somewhere in the midst of a wasted Americana, a paranoid artist has spent a year (or was it nine?) alone, trying to pull himself together after leaving his family. The arrival of a soldier, back covered in shrapnel scars, shakes up his world and begins to pull him from the depths. Together, they convert the boarded up house into a camera obscura, watching the world through a bullet hole, and healing each other.

Hot Mess in Manhattan

August 30 - September 8

produced by Cait Doyle, Meggie Doyle, David Ruttura, Justin Nichols and Greg Schaffert
book by Cait Doyle and Meggie Doyle
music and lyrics by Adam Gwon, Ryan Scott Oliver, Julianne Wick Davis, Kait Kerrigan & Brian Lowdermilk, Gaby Alter, Nick Blaemire, Sam Carner & Derek Gregor, Ryan Cunningham & Joshua Salzman, Drew Gasparini, Michael Mahler and Keith Varney
Hot Mess in Manhattan is a high-heeled, low-brow musical comedy following one 20-something woman trying to conquer the big city the only way she knows how: the way of Carrie Bradshaw.  Armed with a score featuring a dozen of musical theater's hottest new composers and one worn-out pair of Blahniks, she is met with her greatest fear:  if 'Sex and the City' LIED, then what's to become of a “Hot Mess in Manhattan?"

One Night Only

September 11 - September 15

produced by Michael Girts
directed by TJ Shanoff
music direction by Mike Descoteaux

The great Stephen Sondheim composed eight musicals in 31 years. Slacker. At One Night Only, the cast creates a brand new musical each night, complete with singing, dancing, rhyming, rapping and free play. These veteran Chicago improvisers use audience suggestions to create a 60-minute joyride that’s never been seen before – and will never be seen again.

The Rescignos

September 19 - September 29

produced by Paul Rescigno, Robbie Rescigno and Mike Hadge
written by Paul Rescigno, Robbie Rescigno and Mike Hadge
directed by Lisa Anne Porter and Nicole Ricciardi

Donning sweater vests and each armed with a razor-sharp wit, Paul and Robbie Rescigno are like Cain and Abel, but with more singing and less fratricide. In The Rescignos, the titular twin brothers are joined by a talented ensemble of actors for a musical comedy show that hearkens back to an old-school television variety series, with contemporary material and brand-spanking new music. If "old-school" feels redundant, we only need to remind you: they're twins. Redundancy is what they do best.

Matthew Rego (a graduate of the University of Michigan), Michael Rego and Hank Unger (both Syracuse University alumni) launched The Araca Group in 1997 with a simple mission: to produce the work of emerging playwrights off- and off-off-Broadway.  The group soon established a reputation as a leading theatrical production company; its inaugural Broadway undertaking, the critically acclaimed Urinetown: The Musical, received numerous major awards, including three Tonys. Other Araca productions included Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, the blockbuster musical Wicked, Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge, Lend Me a Tenor and Rock of Ages.  In addition, Araca is now the largest screen printing and merchandising company on Broadway and strives to transform the live entertainment experience with innovative apparel, souvenirs and licensed products. Learn more at

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