THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY’S DREAM UP FESTIVAL PRESENTS
“THE ONES UPSTAIRS” BY JILLIAN STEVENS
A whimsically comedic New York tale highlighting the struggles of
love, loss and the power of laughter in the midst of darkness
WHERE AND WHEN:
NEW YORK, July 22 – Do you believe in ghosts? In “The Ones Upstairs,” a new comedy by Jillian Stevens, lost loved ones are not as far away as you might think—perhaps just up a flight of stairs. This heartwarming tale features the playful and wistful relationship between the living and the dead and teaches a difficult but important lesson about letting go. Theater for the New City’s Dream Up Festival will present the world premiere of “The Ones Upstairs” August 28 to September 2.
Neil is a 27-year-old who has terrible luck in love. Unbeknownst to Neil, much of his disastrous bad fortune is due to his dead, overbearing, quick-tempered mother, Elaine, who likes to meddle in his love life. Also unbeknownst to Neil is Elaine’s posthumous relationship with Neil’s endearingly nosy upstairs neighbor Millie, who can talk to the dead. Drama unfolds as Neil seeks to break his unlucky dating streak, while simultaneously helping his father, Bill, who hasn’t gotten over the death of his wife, find love again. Elaine, Millie and Fonzie (Millie’s smooth-talking late husband) make up a quirky cast of characters who can’t resist interfering in Neil and Bill’s romantic escapades, resulting in sitcom-esque chaos and high jinks. In the end, Elaine makes a sobering discovery about herself and her relationship with her living loved ones, and seeks to set things right from beyond the grave. “The Ones Upstairs” is a touching story that reminds us that letting go is not the same as forgetting, and that grief is sometimes best handled with a laugh.
Jillian Stevens (author), from the venue of her very heart, believes the true experience exists deep within the eyes of a most cherished family member or dear friend. In a world where a credit read may be a credit soon forgotten, she instead wishes to thank those who have supported and inspired her path. To look upon them is to know something of where she has been.
Toni Salisbury (director) is an actor, writer, director and the Co-Founding Artistic Director of Fish In Water Productions. Recent New York directing work includes Fish In Water's debut production of “Sunday On The Rocks” by Theresa Rebeck (Access Theater), “Two Girls” by Allie Costa, “I M = 2 U” by Jonathon Ward, “A Little Thing” by Jordan Henry Davis (#metoo Plays festival), and “A Playwright’s Dream” by Jonathon Ward (Manhattan Repertory Theatre). Most recent acting credits include ANNA in “The What-If Cliff” by Jonathon Ward (The Secret Theater) and HER in “Life Passing By” also by Jonathon Ward (Manhattan Repertory Theatre). She graduated from The William Esper Studio in New York City, where she studied acting exclusively under Terry Knickerbocker. She’s been honing her theatre administration and production skills for the past five years at the Award-Winning Vineyard Theatre, Culture Project's Lynn Redgrave Theatre, and currently Syracuse University's Tepper Semester—a theatre intensive satellite program in New York City.
The actors are Chance Gabriel, Amanda Freeman, Caren
Skibell, Gary Kozak, Jaquelyn Claire De Villiers, Meagan Stevenson,
Bill Meoni and Gamal ElSawah. Stage management is by Kaitria Resetar
and costume design is by Alexandra Fokine.
The festival does not seek out traditional scripts that are presented in a traditional way. It selects works that push new ideas to the forefront, challenge audience expectations and make us question our understanding of how art illuminates the world around us.
In addition to traditional plays, a unique and varied
selection of productions will again be offered, drawing upon a variety
of performance genres including musicals, puppetry and movement theater.
The Festival's founders, Crystal Field and Michael Scott-Price, feel
this is especially needed in our present time of declining donations
to the arts, grants not being awarded due to market conditions, and
arts funding cuts on almost every level across the country and abroad.
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Captioned, high-resolution photos of shows in this festival are available for download at: https://photos.app.goo.gl/e1pxCX4oeTwshVwn7
The festival's website is www.dreamupfestival.org.