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THIS Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood is far darker

This Will Rogers doesn’t do rope tricks!


William Roger’s play, “Dangerous to Dance With,” directed by Gerald vanHeerden, is a featured event of DREAM UP FESTIVAL 2019, presented by Theater For The New City, Crystal Field, Artistic Director. Performing at the theater’s Johnson Space at 155 First Avenue (between 9th and 10th Streets), NYC, for five showings: 8/30 Friday, 9pm; 09/01 Saturday, 8pm; 09/02 Sunday, 6:30pm; 09/04 Wednesday, 9pm; and 09/05 Thursday, 6:30pm is a dark comedy in the tradition of Pretty Little Lies begs the question, What’s funnier than a play about SEX, GREED, AND SELF-DECEPTION?

In Rogers’ tome we meet a paranoid playwright, a broken acrobat, a porn star, a neurotic farmer, and a plumber (who may be a hitman). The play premiered as part of the 2014 Kansas City Fringe Festival at the Off Center Theater in Kansas City’s Crown Center. This is its New York premiere. Learn more at https://rogersbill.com/plays/dangerous-to-dance-with

Bill Rogers is a writer and educator who has won several awards as a playwright and for teaching history and English in colleges in the United States and Australia. He has written four full-length plays, the book and lyrics for a full-length musical, two sixty-minute plays, and four ten-minute plays and is currently writing his first novel.
“I’ve written a couple of dark comedies. I enjoy this genre because it offers the opportunity to explore the sinister side of the human experience without becoming overly depressed,” he said, “as Randle P. McMurphy says in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, “You gotta laugh…especially when things aren’t funny.”

What is your creative process and where do you get your ideas?

Inspiration comes from diverse sources: snippets of conversations overheard in coffee shops; a news report or a piece of music. I usually have only a general idea of the subject and setting of a play when I begin writing. Distinct characters emerge fairly quickly with their own unique physical attributes, accents, histories, and personalities. As the characters develop, their interactions direct plots and define the ideas and issues the plays explore.  So, I suppose it’s fair to say that character development inspires my story telling more than anything else. Unfortunately, once they start talking, it’s hard to get them to shut up. They often blurt out their best lines at three in the morning. They have no respect for a playwright’s need for sleep.

What do you hope the audience takes away from this piece?

Dangerous to Dance With is a brutally honest examination of colorful people undergoing identity crises. I tried to give my characters very human strengths, vulnerabilities, and contradictions as they endeavor to move on with their lives. If the play entertains, amuses, and causes audience members to reflect upon the choices they’re making in own lives, I will have accomplished my goals.

What’s next?

I hope to publish my first novel before the end of this year.

What do you think of the NY Festival Circuit?

It’s always a great thrill to do theater in New York City. If you count a staged reading of my play, Caldwell’s Bomb, at the Midtown International Theatre Festival, this is the third time I’ve had a play appear in a New York Festival. A fully staged production of Caldwell’s Bomb was nominated in the “Best Play” category at the Venus/Adonis Festival in 2016. This production also garnered a Best Director nomination for Gerald vanHeerden and two Best Actor nominations. On the whole, I’ve had very positive experiences with the festivals. They’ve given me the chance to develop relationships with talented actors and creative associates like our director, Gerald vanHeerden and stage manager, Roumel Reaux. 

What was the inspiration for this project?

In his poem, London, William Blake refers to “mind forg’d manacles” that impose restraints upon the human spirit. Dangerous to Dance With offered me the chance to explore these self-imposed manacles by examining an array of concerns that inhibit its characters from living fully authentic lives. The play also allows me to suggest strategies for escaping these restraints. 

He concluded the interview with the hope that as many people as possible see this work. Sounds good.





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