Relieving the theater drought

Hoboken's Mile Square Theatre presents 'The Playbill Gallery (a love story)'

Joseph Gallo in The Playbill Gallery (a love story) will be available on the Mile Square Theatre's website starting on March 5.
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Joseph Gallo in The Playbill Gallery (a love story) will be available on the Mile Square Theatre's website starting on March 5.

On March 5, Mile Square Theatre with support from the New Jersey Theatre Alliance’s Stages Festiva will present the new audio play “The Playbill Gallery (a love story),” written and performed by MST playwright-in-residence Joseph Gallo.

The play will debut as a podcast for an open-ended run as part of the alliance’s Stages Festival, the state’s largest annual theater festival, providing free and discounted events for all ages throughout March, April, and May.

Last February, Gallo’s compilation of more than 250 Playbills, made-up entirely of shows he had seen on Broadway and Off-Broadway, opened as part of an art exhibit held at the Benjamin J. Dineen, II and Dennis C. Hull Gallery in Jersey City.

An accompanying solo play used the Playbills to collectively tell the story of a life in the theatre and to highlight the unique journey that each live theatre experience brings.

The Playbills, and additional performances by Gallo, were slated to be on display at MST this year, but because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, “The Playbill Gallery (a love story)” has been reworked as a Podcast, featuring a score by MST’s resident designer Michael Blaskewicz, with the help of 16 additional voices.

‘A bittersweet homage’

“Joseph Gallo’s piece ‘The Playbill Gallery (a love story)’ couldn’t come at a more critical time,” said MST’s Artistic Director Chris O’Connor. “This bittersweet homage to a lifetime of theatre-going taps into the current longing that every theatre-goer and every theatre-maker is experiencing, as our theatrical spaces are shuttered. It is filled with passion and love, and I think it will help us all bridge this pandemic-induced theatre drought. Realizing it as an audio play will allow this tale to live solidly in our imaginations. The Playbill Gallery (a love story) will truly be a gift to our audience.”

As a solo writer and performer, Gallo appeared in the original production of “My Italy Story” at Penguin Rep, which later had its debut Off-Broadway at the 47th Street Theatre in New York City.

As writer and performer Gallo also worked on “Long Gone Daddy” at Mile Square Theatre, “Whizzy,” and “The Jealousy Piece” in the American Living Room Festival at HERE, and the National Tour of the Complete History of the Seabees.

A frequent participant at The Moth in New York City, he is a two-time StorySLAM champion.

To receive a free link to “The Playbill Gallery (a love story)” podcast, visit www.milesquarethetre.org starting on March 5.

The New Jersey Theatre Alliance 2021 Stages Festival is made possible by support from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts; Bank of America; The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey; OceanFirst Foundation; the George A. Ohl, Jr. Trust; New Jersey Historical Commission; and Fund for the New Jersey Blind.

A full calendar of the alliance’s stage festival events is available at www.njtheatrealliance.org/stages.

For updates on this and other stories check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Marilyn Baer can be reached at Marilynb@hudsonreporter.com.