EPIC Players finished their 2018 season with two moving performances of The New Girl in Town, a devised play written and conceived by EPIC cast members about the challenges of inclusion in the arts. The New Girl (Cat Cristofano), an aspiring actor with disabilities comes to NYC to take acting, music and yoga classes hoping to go on auditions and fulfill her dream to become a professional actor. Every class Cat attends, rejects her for being different—until she discovers EPIC Players (and presumably lives happily ever after!)
True to EPIC’S theme of inclusion, all cast members were invited to participate in The New Girl in Town. Some actors read touching memoirs about their diagnosis, rejection and difficulty making friends. Others longed for greater independence.
My favorite part of the show was the finale, with EPIC’s touching rendition of the song If We Hold On, led by Ben Rosloff (who just finished performing in his first off-Broadway play, Bernie and Mikey Go to the Moon). Ben’s opportunity to audition for that show resulted from his strong performance as Ferdinand in EPIC’s production of The Tempest. Another EPIC actor, Bree Klauser, was cast in a television show. Slowly but surely, EPIC is fulfilling its goal of launching actors with disabilities as paid professionals. Yay!
2018 has been a break-out year for EPIC Players. The Little Prince received rave reviews, including praise from one of the co-authors who adapted the play from St. Exupery’s book. EPIC Players also sang on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Executive Director Aubrie Therrien and my daughter Samantha Elisofon rang the opening bell, and signed their names in a book containing the signatures of presidents. Could it get any more exciting? Well, yes, actually, Aubrie and my daughter also spoke at the United Nations about women in film for Autism Awareness Day, alongside Keep the Change director Rachel Israel. All year long, our family traveled to film festivals around the country and even to Israel for screenings of Keep the Change, the first full length feature to cast actors with autism in leading roles. If EPIC has its way, Samantha’s debut in KTC is just the beginning of disabled actors’ inclusion in the arts.
At the moment, EPIC is on target to meet or surpass our Giving Tuesday goal of $25,000. A big thank you to all of EPIC’s friends and family who contributed. Your support makes it possible for us to continue to grow our company and offer free classes that will help launch our actors’ careers. There are still 10 days left till the end of the year, so it’s not too late to donate: https://99pledges.com/fund/epicgiving/epic-players-team
With so much to celebrate, EPIC hosted it’s end of year cast party at Iggy’s and enjoyed karaoke, pizza, subs and birthday cakes for Andrew Kader (12/22) and Samantha Elisofon (12/26). All cast members, artists and staff were awarded individual Academy Awards for their contributions to a truly epic year at our theater company. A good time was had by all. Stay tuned for next year.