From Robots to Cagney…Ahh, To Be Back Enjoying Theatre

So after over a month away and seeing nothing in the city, this past week I got my fill and am very excited to say I attended two truly wonderful performance events and I just wanted to share. The two performances I saw were Universal Robots by the incredibly talented Mac Rogers (be sure to check out the New York Times profile) and a traditional Players Pipe Night for Cagney the Musical.


When I first became very active in the theatre here in NYC I worked a lot with a great group of people who ran Manhattan Theatre Source on MacDougal St. in the Village, where the incredible Estrogenius Festival was created. I became a part of an amazing playwrights group, then called The Writers Forum, and met some of the most talented writers. To this day I continue to work and collaborate with many of them.

Anyhow, this is where I first saw the original production of Universal Robots in 2007. Its not often a playwright focuses on sci-fi (which I oh so love!), but Mac Rogers does it and does it right. To this day that play resonates in my mind. I remember laughing then being in tears, then getting angry. The play evokes an incredible amount of emotion and the desire to stand up and take a stand for what’s right.

When I saw that the play was being produced again, it was the one play I knew I had to see as soon as I was back on my feet…I literally made it to the last weekend and I am so glad I did. It is wonderful to see Mac getting the attention he deserves for such a topical and relevant piece of theatre. Gideon Productions is known for putting up great theatre and yet again they succeeded. I was so absolutely thrilled to see that the poignant Jason Howard was reprising the role of Radius. I must say he was and is a huge reason for why this play spoke to me. His understated and moving portrayal of an AI is spot on. The rest of the cast followed right along. The wonderful Tandy Cronyn gave life to a snarky, eccentric scientist and the talented Greg Oliver Bodine adds to every cast. All of them were wonderful (Nikki Andrews-Ojo, Hanna Cheek, Jorge Cordova, Neimah Djourabchi, , Tarantino Smith, Sara Thigpen, and Brittany N. Williams).

I wish I could tell you to go see it, but sadly the production is over…the shitty part about off-off Broadway, it doesn’t last! However I highly suggest following Gideon Productions and Mac Rogers to see what they do next. I guarantee you won’t be sorry!


This past Monday I attended The Players first Pipe Night in seasons for Cagney The Musical. What a blast!  This is one of those events that makes it truly special to be a Player (what we warm-heartedly call our members). This event is one that only our members and their guests can attend, making it very special to us. However, I will point out that ANYONE can go see this show and should!

Robert Creighton, the creator and star of Cangey is a member of the Players. It was a joy to honor him for the work he has done and the success he has had. Not only is he incredibly talented, he is most certainly a lovely human. Which is quite important since the original and actual James Cagney was a beloved member of our club, making this event doubly rewarding.

Robert and members of the Cagney cast (Jeremy Benton, Danette Holden, Bruce Sabath,
Josh Walden, Ellen Zolezzi) entertained and shared with us both personal experiences and creative aspects of the show. It was a night of celebration and camaraderie and a reminder of why I serve as Vice President of the Board and have put so much heart and time into helping to preserve the legacy of the Players.

There is a magic to the theatre and the people who create it. It is a place to share stories and life moments. A place where real people create worlds right there in front of us and take us on a journey. These lovely and talented creators are not simply entertaining, but bringing joy to those they share their work with. The Players was the perfect to celebrate that!

This is a wonderfully fun and poignant play. Go see it! Tickets are available through September 24th. Click here for tickets. Its a show not to be missed.

Nichole Donjè

Author: Personal Coach and Artist

Certified Meditation Coach & Facilitator, Acting Coach (The Grounded Actor), Expressive Arts Coach, Theatre Director & Vice President of the Board of The Players (a historic theatrical club on Gramercy Park in NYC)

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