‘Before, After and Always’ premieres at STAGEfest at the Loew’s

Before, After and Always” was a success! 68 Productions’ world premiere of my original play made its world premiere at STAGEfest at the Loew’s, an excellent weekend of theater at Jersey City’s historic movie palace, the Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre.

From "Be Longing (Always)" in "Before, After and Always." Photo by Kirsten Elizabeth Johnson

I had an amazing time seeing various acts. Some of my favorites were “The Racketeers” by Berkeley Light Opera, “Woman with Pocketbook” by Art House Productions, “The Office of Dead Letters” by Little y Productions, National Scandal, “Penny the Proletariat” by Kyle Marshall, “Hurricane Alana” by Alana Jackler, “Indigent Package” by Brian Lawlor, “Sit on my Lap” by Sally Deering, “Dessert Follies” by Parlour Productions, “Day One Read Through” by Box Colony Theater–and wait, I’m basically just naming everyone I saw, haha. I was happy overdosing on great music, dance and theater all weekend and am honored to have presented alongside such talented people. (See a recap of the event by my editor at the Jersey City Independent.)

Here’s the official word from JCI on my show:

Summer Dawn Hortillosa offered a one act play in three parts entitled Before, After and Always about that challenging practicality of love. The piece highlighted the navigation of relationships in the age of text-messaging. Hortillosa and actor Sergio Caetano captured awkwardness, passion, humor and a timeless longing for connection through their well-timed gestures and the brilliantly written dialogue.

My costar, Sergio Caetano, was amazing and everyone was raving about his performance. The play is written in a way that really lets the male actor shine and it’s a highly difficult role, in my opinion. The male lead in BAA must play a sexpot, a boring man, a drunk gay hipster (“It’s hard to be drunk and gay,” Serg said once during a rehearsal. “I think in that run just now I was just gay”), and of course, a charming but awkward, corny but clever romantic lead. He stepped into the role after 68P went through a small army of possible actors and really owned it. He’s actually pretty green, but has great instincts and is eager to work and very directable–which is half the battle!

And of course, we wouldn’t have been able to do it without our amazing crew. Assistant Director Liliane Wolf really helped us make this the best show it could possibly be and really invested in helping this show succeed. She’s a talented actress herself and I wouldn’t mind maybe directing her in a future production of this. (Ahem, ahem.)

Special thanks to the Friends of the Loew’s and the STAGEfest Committee, Art House Productions, Narciso Espiritu Jr. and everyone else who made this possible. Thanks also to our photographer Kirsten Elizabeth Johnson and videographers Tyler Greenfield and Doug Bauman.

And of course, thanks to everyone who came out and made this a memorable experience! We had packed houses with people standing and sitting on the floor at all three of our shows (according to my journalist crowd-size-guesstimating skills, I’d say we had at least 160, maybe even 200, people see our show over the course of the weekend). What really made this moment memorable for me was seeing all my loved ones, friends and acquaintances in the crowd and getting to hug and chat with them after the show.

Check out photos by Kirsten from Sunday’s performance:

Thanks also to Jennifer Weiss and Reena Rose Sibayan for sharing these snaps with us!

Also, check out the press coverage we got!

BroadwayWorld.com: One-Act, Two-Person Show BEFORE, AFTER AND ALWAYS to Play Jersey Theatre
The Jersey City Independent: Loew’s Landmark Theatre presents STAGEfest
The Jersey Journal (photos): STAGEfest 2013 technical practice on Mar. 19, 2013
The Riverview Observer: Curtain Up: The Play’s the Thing at STAGEfest 2013, the Loew’s Jersey Theatre’s First Play Festival (March 20 to April 5, 2013).
The Asian Journal: Fil-Am Writer’s ‘Before, After and Always’ Featured on STAGEfest at the Loew’s Theatre
The Jersey Journal: STAGEfest 2013 bringing live theater back to the Landmark Loew’s in Jersey City
The Star-Ledger: STAGEfest brings drama to Jersey City
The Jersey City Independent (Review): STAGEfest 2013 Delights Audiences

For more information on “Before, After and Always” or to leave comments, questions or your own “review,” click here.

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About Summer Dawn Hortillosa

Summer Dawn Hortillosa is a journalist specializing in arts and entertainment. Among other things, she is also an award-winning playwright, director, singer-songwriter and actress. Her work has been seen in The Jersey City Independent, The Jersey Journal and other publications.
This entry was posted in Plays, Theater and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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