Queens, New York Producer, Director, Writer Bringing Theatre and Film To Jamaica, Queens, New York
PR Log - Dec 30, 2012 - Gregory L Hudson, founder/artistic director of Poor Penny Productions, Inc., ("PPP") is in the early planning stages of bringing original plays by new artists to Queens in 2013. "PPP is a Theatrical Production Company that is committed to advancing the exposure of African-American Theatre into our communities and into the mainstream, while providing an artistic outlet and employment to the enormous pool of talented African-American Artists". This also means new roles for new actors and other threatre employment opportunities. Submission guidelines and details will be posted on the company's website in the coming weeks. http://www.poorpennyproductions.com
"I find it so disappointing and depressing that as a Queens, New York resident ... that on any given day I cannot find a good stage play (comedy, drama, musical, or classical) to see. Living in the entertainment capital of the world and among the most talented people in the world ... there are simply no words to describe the level of my disappiontment. Rather than sit around and pout, wine, complain, or or beg people to do something about it, I'll move the needle myself --- even if this means raising the necessary funds or at the expense of investing my own money; nothwithstanding the time, effort, and other resources. In any event, qualilty theatre at an affordable price will come to Jamaica, Queens on a regular basis. About $250,000 should do the trick. My goal is to keep the ticket price between $10 and $25", says Hudson.
Something terrible with respect to live theatre in Southeast Queens has happened. It's as if a "plague" has all but wiped out theatre in Jamaica, New York and all of the people who have the money, power, and influence to cure this "artistic disease" has watched this "theatrical holocaust" unfold as if it was a play itself. The most disturbing aspect of it all is that ... "it doesn't seem to bother the powers that be or the Queens shakers and movers".
The Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning (JCAL) is struggling mighty and has lost nearly a half billion dollars from its budget. JCAL is located in southeast Queens, NY, and features classes in West African Dance for adults and Afro-Caribbean Dance for adults and kids. JCAL is only open for business three days during the week plus Saturdays programs just to keep the doors opened.
Black Spectrum Theatre Company was once considered the cornerstone of black theatre in Southeast, Queens; it too has seen its funding and status dwindle as the theatre Mecca for the community.
"To see these wonderful institutions struggle and the community suffer is truly alarming". My last public performance as an actor (1996) was at Black Spectrum. I wrote, produced, directed, and starred in 'Bronx House' there. I also recieved an award from then mayor of New York City, the Honorable David N. Dinkins for a production of my stage play drama, 'A Piece of My Dream'. Not only is it alarming to see these institutions teeter on the brink of extinction, but it is personal. So in taking the lead, my hope is that my efforts will also revitilize theatre for JCAL and Spectrum as well. I would also love to see a partnership with other theatre artists like the Atlanta Black Theatre Festival (Toni Simmons-Henson CEO) and similar festivals in Washington, DC, and Winston Salem, NC."
The struggles of these theaters are just a few of Hudson's concerns. He teaches and have taught theatre to thousands of students and wonders what will the future hold for them. Where will they perform? Where will they direct? Manage? Produce? Write ...
Hudson teaches drama at JHS 231 in Queens, New York, requires all of his students (as an exit project) to write a play, movie, book, or novel for their final grade. His specialized drama class just performed his latesd play (a musical called, "A Kiss for Christmas") to a standing ovation. The students (ages 13 & 14) ran the entire production from lights, sound, curtains, stage managing, set, props, ...
"What will happen to my students who want to pursue theatre as a career? I can trained them to the end of time, but if there are no opportunities for them .... what's the point? I have some of the most talented students on the planet ... and absolutely no opportunities beyond my training for them. Rarely are they accepted in any of the specialized performing arts schools, LaGuardia High Schools for the Performing Arts in New York City or Frank Sinatra School for the Performing Arts in Queens, New York; so once they leave my training .... that's pretty much it!"
One of the biggest misunderstanding about theatre is "who is really responsible for providing theatre to the public as a whole". The first thought by most is ... "Broadway -- the Great White Way" followed by "Off-Broadway" then "Reginal Theatre" and subsequently "Community Theatre". The problem with this senario is that we have essentially put the entire fate of theatre in the hands of a few; similar to what has happened to the movie industry whereby most artists and the public look to Hollywood to provide movies. The fact of the matter is that .... "The survival of the performing arts is the responsibility of everyone ... we all enjoy it and thus we all have a responsibility to ensure its longevitiy for future generations to come." We can all contribute in some way .... donations, participations, volunteering, or something. Politicians and local businesses ... they must be held to a higher standard and exectation in keeping community theatres open, alive, and vibrant. We must hold them accountable. Theatre managers and artistic directors shouldn't always have to approach them.
Broadway, like Hollywood ... like Black Spectrum ... like JCAL ... and other arts institutions has its share of problems too with box office flops, short runs, limited runs and so on. However, a good run on Broadway, especally a musical, can make all the difference in the world. Money comes in from the play being published, licensing, cd soundtracks, tours of the production, merchandising and more. So in a sense, a Broadway play is more or less "a flagship" or "promotional production" for the touring productions and theatre presenters.
"Maintaining and running a successful theatrical institution starts with the leader of the organization. Too often theatre directors are placed in those positions, not because of their qualifications, but because of who they know, political connections, and so on. Rarely are the most qualified artists hired. A good candidate to run a theatre should have, but not limited to, a strong back ground in theatre, a theatre or management degree, understanding of the non-profit sector, fund-raising, budgeting, planning and most importantly ... a passion for theatre. Without these or a combination of them .... it will be very difficult (not impossible) to run a successful theatre company or institution."
Like theater managers, "Indenpendent Film Makers" are having a very difficult time just getting their films screened; even after investing their life savings in getting their films made.
Eventually, I hope to have a venue to provide Independent Filmmakers, world-wide, with the opportunity to have their films screened. I'm currently in a new documentary produced by Carla B. Boone entitled, "Injustice for All" (Summary Misjudgment) which is now seeking distribution and festivals. As for my students, I train them hard, professionally, and hope to see them on Broadway, in films, on tv; especially in the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular."
Hudson graduate from Brooklyn College's famed "Theatre Management Program" with a MFA in performing arts management under Doctor Stephen J. Langley (considered by many as the father of theatre management in America) and has a BA in theatre.
"My passion for the arts inspired me to write books on the arts as well. My first book, "Monologues: Dramatic Monologues For Actors", "48 Poems: Reflections Of A Poet", "Showtime: Comedic Acting Scenes for Actors", and "Why I Sued Eddie Murphy" which was inspired over a copyright lawsuit over the hit movie, 'LIFE' by Eddie Murphy and my stage play comedy, 'No Harm, No Foul'. http://www.poorpennyproductions.com/index/mn40941/Hudson_...