2012 Araca Project of New Work Continues With Phil Blechman's Black Book Aug. 8-12 in NYC

By Michael Gioia
August 8, 2012

The second annual Araca Project, featuring six original shows, continues with The Black Book, a new play written and directed by Phil BlechmanAug. 8-12 at the American Theater of Actors. 



Blechman also produces the new work alongside Danny Bateman and Marcelo Pereira.

The cast includes TJ Clark, Michael Finn, Alexandra Milne, Kristen Olds, Anto Periera, JD Scalzo, Amos Vanderpoel and Brittany Taylor Visser.

The Black Book, according to the Araca Group, "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 oneself."

The creative team includes Jen Medina-Gray (set/prop design), Mike Escalante (lighting design), Liz Gleason (costume design), Leanna Barlow (paint), Kate McCombs (production stage manager) and Christopher DeLuise (technical direction).

Visit TheBlackBookNYC.com.

The 2012 lineup also includes the multi-composer musical Hot Mess in Manhattan, featuring music and lyrics by up-and-coming composers Ryan Scott Oliver, Kait Kerrigan & Brian Lowdermilk and Nick Blaemire; one additional play (The Man With America Skin); an improvised musical (One Night Only); and a musical/comedy variety hour (The Rescignos). Shawn Nabors' Cake was the first in the 2012 lineup.

All productions are produced by young professionals who graduated between 2002 and 2012.

Here's a glance at the remaining productions:

The Man With America Skin

Aug. 16-25
Produced by Alex Bisker, Stephanie Shechter, Seth Moore, Justin Lang, Nathan Lehmann and Leigh Adel-Arnold
Written by Moore
Directed by 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." Visit TheManWithAmericaSkin.com.

Hot Mess in Manhattan
Aug. 30-Sept. 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?'" Visit HotMessInManhattan.com.

One Night Only
Sept. 11-15
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." Visit OneNightOnlyNYC.com.

The Rescignos
Sept. 19-29
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." Visit TheRescignos.com.

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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.

The American Theatre of Actors is located at 314 W. 54th Street. For more information and tickets, visit AracaProject.com.