Archive for the ‘ playwrighting ’ Category

Sister Mercedes and the Temple of Doom FREE June 6, 7 & 8



My ebook, “Sister Mercedes and the Temple of Doom” will be FREE on Amazon on Friday, June 6th, Saturday, June 7th and Sunday, June 8th!

“Sister Mercedes and the Temple of Doom” is a collection of blog posts from this very blog!  From the depiction of the author’s upbringing as a fat, shy Catholic school boy to the vagaries of family life to trying to live hand-to-mouth while on disability, “Sister Mercedes” is a sometimes hysterically funny, sometimes tragic and always human glimpse behind the veil of parenthood, marriage, pop culture and the world in general.

If you’ve enjoyed reading this blog, please spread the word to anyone you think would be interested.  It’s FREE!





Patty Duke Sipped Here


I have a story to tell my friends.

It’s a show-biz story. A story of perseverance, fortitude and a never-say-die attitude. A story of pluck, determination, ambition! It’s about going out there a simple chorus girl and coming back a star!

Except the star is an end table.

Allow me to explain. Those of you who know me may have received one of the 10,000 or so emails and Facebook posts regarding my play “Echoes of Ireland.” We’ve been on a bit of a Spring tour, performing the show in Newburgh this March, Catskill in May, and coming up in June—Goshen! Get your tickets! While supplies last! Act now! JUST THROW MONEY AT THE PRETTY COLORS!!!

Sorry, I got a little carried away. Anyway, the reason why we’ve been able to pack up the show so easily and visit these fine villages is that we have practically NO set. It’s literally four chairs, or stools, or boxes, or whatever the theater has handy for us to put our butts on. We have costumes—I mean, we’re not completely without theatrical sensibility. And props! We have…well, we have a couple. More than one. The lights get dim and then bright again. OK, it’s a good show, don’t judge a book by its lack of incidental music. Oh, and there’s one table. Little dark cherry deal, ’bout yea tall.

The table belongs to Dana, one of our cast members. She brought it in two days before we opened in Newburgh, and we were very grateful to have it. Not too big that it blocked the audience, nor to small to rest a cup of tea upon (or some grammatically correct version of that notion.) Through the course of the show laundry is folded on it, and a fake cigarette and ashtray rest atop it. Good, hard-working table that keeps its nose clean, does its job and doesn’t kill you to the rest of the cast as soon as your back is turned. A mensch.

We liked it so much that we brought it with us when we went up to Catskill. We could have used other tables, but this one had proven its worth and deserved more consideration than the rest. Again it took its place among the stools and turned in yet another useful, utilitarian, hard-working performance. The show in Catskill was glorious. A wonderful, receptive crowd in a beautiful, brand new theater space. We received–along with our table—a standing ovation. I mention that fact only to adequately set the scene, not because of any prideful vanity about the show and my cast…(it was one of the best days of my LIFE!) There was a pleasant post-show buzz, as the theater owners supplied free shots of Bushmills and some very nice Irish music. We all packed our costumes up and returned home with the pleasurable warmth of a job well done. And some Bushmills.

And without our table.

The theater owners informed us of the missing cast member and we arranged to pick it up the next week when my wife had a doctor appointment in Albany.  However, that was when fate intervened and decided it was the long suffering table’s turn to enjoy the spotlight.  At the last moment, the owners (a charming couple named Steven and John) made arrangements to bring PATTY DUKE to the tiny, insignificant village of Catskill for a “one night only” performance.  Her only demand?  A small table! Where to find one…hey, what about the one left here by those idiot “Echoes” people?

Thus, the table will soon have an IMDb credit.  With Patty Duke. What a world.

I agreed to this on Dana’s behalf, which you may consider forward of me. But I took for granted that she wouldn’t want to deny her table this once-in-a-lifetime experience to star alongside the original Hellen Keller. However, I took pains to insist I was not responsible for any water rings left by Ms. Duke.

The fact of the matter is that the table will soon have a more impressive resume than I do. My closest brush with stardom was when I almost sold furniture to Dianne Wiest. She didn’t buy. Dana’s fear is that when the table finally returns to her it will be so inflated with its own ego that it will refuse to hold her jar of Q-tips anymore. And this, apparently, would be my fault.

I told her every time the table starts talking about “that time I performed opposite Patty Duke,” just start flipping through an IKEA catalog.  Actors need to know just how replaceable they are.


Echoes of Ireland at Ritz in Newburgh, NY March 21-23


Hi Everyone,

My play Echoes of Ireland will be shown the weekend of March 21-23 at the historic Ritz theater in Newburgh, NY.  For my local readers, the show will feature Ron Morehead, Cat Barney and Dana Lockhart.  All the necessary information is below.  If you’re in the neighborhood, please stop in and say hi.



A Family Saga Resonates Through Generations

in Brian C. Petti’s

Echoes of Ireland

March 21-23 at the Lobby at the Ritz Theater107 Broadway Newburgh

Fresh from it’s production in County Cork, Ireland!

The sweep of the Irish experience from County Cork to New York City is on display in Echoes of Ireland, a drama about family ties, the immigrant life and the Irish-American experience. Written and directed by Ellenville, NY resident Brian C. Petti,Echoes will hold performances on Friday, March 21 at 7:30, Saturday, March 22 at 7:30pm and Sunday, March 23 at 2pm at the Lobby at the Ritz Theater107 Broadway Newburgh. Echoes of Ireland was recently produced in County Cork by the Skibbereen Theatre Society where it garnered rave reviews such as:

“Powerful …every emotion came to the fore during this story of pride and determination in the face of adversity.” Cllr Karen Coakley, Mayor of Skibbereen, County Cork, Ireland.

Tickets are $15, and may be purchased at There is limited seating, so reservations are strongly suggested. The play is being presented by Safe Harbors of the Hudson and Hatmaker’s Attic Productions, through an agreement with Eldridge Plays & Musicals.

Echoes of Ireland is a series of inter-related monologues that follows the saga of a single Irish family from County Cork in 1860 to 2001 New York City. Beginning five years after the end of the potato famine in Ireland, Echoes follows the Cunyngham clan through their journey across the ocean to the ports of Manhattan, through the lowly existence of immigrant life in the States, to the assimilation and rebirth of their family as American citizens who never forget from whence they came. The journey is part tragedy, part comedy, part history lesson and all undeniably human. 

Show times are:

Friday, March 21 at 7:30

Saturday, March 22 at 7:30pm

Sunday, March 23 at 2pm

Echoes of Ireland features notable local actors Ron Morehead (Cairo, NY), Cat Barney (Kingston, NY) and Dana Lockhart (Middletown, NY). Additional information can be found at: and

Brian C. Petti has had his plays produced Off-Off Broadway (Masquerade, The Love Song of Sidney J. Stein, Banshee) and regionally (Next Year in Jerusalem, The Measure of a Man, On the Expectation of White Christmases,) by such companies as Ten Grand Productions, The American Theater of Actors, Inc. and The Fresh Fruit Festival. Masquerade was staged at Cherry Lane Theater in NYC and Next Year in Jerusalem was the winner of the Humboldt State University National Play Contest in California, where it received a student production. Published plays include The Measure of a Man by JAC Publishing and Promotions, Banshee by Next Stage Press and Echoes of Ireland by Eldridge Plays & Musicals.

Safe Harbors of the Hudson is a nonprofit organization committed to transforming lives and building communities through housing and the arts in the city of Newburgh, New York. The Cornerstone Residence is a unique facility that offers support services and jobs training on-site provided by Independent Living, an advocacy and service organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for persons with disabilities. The Cornerstone Residence consists of apartments and artist lofts, with a mixed tenancy of single adults, including the formerly homeless, veterans, those living with a mental health diagnosis, artists and other adults in need of affordable housing. The building offers many amenities and programs including a fitness center, library, computer lab, classes and a GED program. Many of these amenities and programs are available to the public. The Cornerstone also houses several multi-use spaces that may be rented for special events of all kinds.

Future projects include the renovation of three commercial spaces and the restoration of the historic Ritz Theater. As the only remaining historic theater in the City of Newburgh, the Ritz will provide a venue for live performances, educational programs for our youth, employment opportunities for our community, and create an active cultural and tourist destination.

Founded by brothers Edward and William Gibbons-Brown, Hatmaker’s Attic Productions is putting the “community” back in community theatre. They’re working to build a positive and safe creative environment where all are welcome.

The play will be produced in cooperation with Eldridge Plays & Musicals. Eldridge, a leading play publisher since 1906, offers hundreds of full-length plays, one-acts, melodramas, holiday and religious plays, children’s theatre plays and musicals of all kinds.

The Love Song of Sidney J. Stein in Newburgh, NY

My play will be re-staged in Newburgh for a one-night showing.  If you’re anywhere near Newburgh, stop by and see us this Friday.



After completing a successful and acclaimed run at The Fresh Fruit Festival in NYC, Hudson Valley playwright Brian C. Petti’s original play will come to Newburgh for one night only with an all-local cast. THE LOVE SONG OF SIDNEY J. STEIN, which concerns a former male prostitute attempting to guide a troubled young streetwalker, is a powerful and touching comedy/drama about trust, honesty, and second chances. The play will be staged at The Ritz for one night only, at 7:30PM on Friday, August 23rd.
The original piece is being revived in Newburgh as part of the historic Ritz Theater’s centennial year, in collaboration with Hatmaker’s Attic Productions, Inc., a local nonprofit theater company partnering with Safe Harbors of the Hudson on several projects throughout 2013 and beyond. This production is an exciting addition to the Ritz calendar this year, and a powerful glimpse into subjects such as street life, prostitution, and trust, and struggles of homosexuality. Reviews of the NYC production said: “…Petti has delivered these actors a complicated and multilayered script… a touching and sometimes terrifying glimpse into places loneliness abides just waiting for the dayspring of dawn of renewal and hope.” Additional information:

Safe Harbors of the Hudson, which owns and operates The Ritz Theater, The Cornerstone Residence, and the Ann Street Gallery, is a nonprofit committed to transforming lives and building communities through housing and the arts. The Ritz Theater’s mission is to create a vibrant professional performing arts venue in the city of Newburgh that revitalizes the local economy, enriches the education of youth, and enhances community pride. For more information please

Hatmaker’s Attic Productions is honored to be a part of Safe Harbors of the Hudson Ritz Theater’s ongoing efforts to restore The Ritz. Founded last year by brothers Edward and William Gibbons-Brown, Hatmaker’s Attic is committed to creating positive environments where anybody can find a home in Art. This joint production will be the sixth project for Hatmaker’s Attic, and the third of five scheduled this year at The Ritz. Please visit for more information on upcoming events.

With humor and pathos, THE LOVE SONG OF SIDNEY J. STEIN explores the struggle to truly connect with another human being. Audiences will not want to miss this very special evening at The Ritz.

The Love Song of Sidney J. Stein will play at The Ritz Theater (107 Broadway, Newburgh, NY).

ONE NIGHT ONLY: Friday, August 23rd — 7:30PM

Tickets are $15.00 ($10/students) and can be pre-ordered online

What NOT to Do While Attending a Stage Show


I was a fat boy. A big ‘ole fat fat fatty. I am, from long being among their number, quite sensitive to the plight of the overweight, and I denounce those who denigrate people based solely on their waistlines.

Except for this fat, disgusting slob who was at my show this past Sunday.

I know, I know, the fact that he was fat had very little to do with his being a disgusting slob. But it’s very difficult to parse subtleties when you want to wring someone’s jowly neck.

My show was playing in New York for a brief, three night stay, and this was the last showing. Productions in New York are rare for a playwright, unless you have a lot of money and don’t mind losing it all in one glorious shot. They need to be cherished. Like newborn babies, or a really good Jewish deli.

So there I am in the back of the theater, soaking it all in. I always wait in the lighting booth until everyone is seated, then slip out into the last row. I do this for two reasons. First, I frequently have guests in the audience who know me and I would like to avoid that, “Hey, there he is, there you are, you’re about to see my play, yes I am, isn’t this freakin’ awkward?” moment. Second, if nobody likes it they don’t know where to aim the rotten fruit. You have to think these things through.

The play starts and I am right there with my cast of two, living the lines the three of us rehearsed in my livingroom for the past five weeks. They’re starting off strong, right from the first scene. I am completely invested, until…

There’s the rustling of a plastic bag. Then there’s more rustling, as if somebody is stuck inside the bag, trying to get out. I look for the source. It’s coming from about three rows in front of me, to the left. There is a woman to the left, trying to watch intently. There’s a man to the right, trying to hear the dialogue.

And there’s a fat slob in the middle, EATING HIS DINNER! He reaches into a tin plate, grabs some dripping, meat-like substance WITH HIS FINGERS and shoves it down his obese, repugnant gullet. I looked up synonyms for “disgusting” to help write this blog: odious, repellent, vile, distasteful, foul, repulsive, revolting, nauseating. None of those words do justice to what I was watching in (thank God!) the dim light thrown from the stage. He looked like this guy from “Miller’s Crossing”, except with hair:


For those keeping score at home, this is the second blog in a row with a “Miller’s Crossing” reference. If I was making up a syllabus, “Miller’s Crossing” would most certainly be on it, along with every single Bugs Bunny cartoon. Its 7.9 IMDB score is about 2 full points too low. And my comparison with the disgusting fat guy in the theater is nothing against fine character actor Jon Polito, whose work as Johnny Caspar in the aforementioned film is the stuff of film legend. And Jon would most certainly NOT inhale mysterious meats during the first scene of my play in New York.

I forgot to mention the smell. How to describe it? Pervasive is a word that comes to mind. All-encompassing. The type of redolence usually associated with a county fair falafel stand. Which is not a bad aroma…if you happen to be AT THE FREAKIN’ COUNTY FAIR!

I didn’t know what to do. I heard that Laurence Fishburne once stopped dead in the middle of “Othello” when a cell phone rang, then stood at the edge of the stage with his arms crossed and stared at the offender until the phone was safely turned off and tucked away. Should I run to the front of the theater, stop the actors mid-dialogue and demand that Fatty McFatneck stop stuffing his cheeks? Was this a Morpheus moment?

Of course not. First of all, I’m approximately 1/1000th as cool as Laurence Fishburne. Second of all, I wanted to be invited back to this particular festival, and a good way to make that not happen would be to publicly excoriate a paying customer for his slovenly ways. But boy did I want to excoriate! I wanted to excoriate all over the guy! I’m not by nature a violent person, but I gladly would have throttled him within an inch of his life, if I could get my hands around his enormous neck.

Instead I sat there and stewed—no pun intended.

In the end, my actors won the gastronomical battle, or the guy finished eating—whichever. Despite the myriad of distractions, both audience and cast managed to hear enough of each other to create a good show. The fact that the fat guy was fat had nothing to do with his mistaking my show for dinner theater, I’m sure. His despicable habit of eating from tin plates in inappropriate places was his true character flaw, not his poundage.

But if I see him at one of my shows again, I may need to go all Matrix on his fat ass.

Desperation is NOT Pretty


Last night (and I mean ALL night) I emailed every LGBT organization within a 50 mile radius of my upcoming NYC play, The Love Song of Sidney J. Stein. There are a LOT. Besides the usual community centers, there’s a gay cycling club, a gay wrestling group, a few gay synagogues, a gay chorus, gay country-western line dancing… Out there living the glorious, childless life I could have had if God in his wisdom hadn’t made me so damn straight! There is even a group for bear lovers where you have to press a big hairy belly-button to get into the website. Who knew gays loved wildlife so much?

My show opens a week from this Friday and I am slowly reaching a level of panic usually induced by looking in my rear view mirror and realizing those shiny red and blue lights aren’t a UFO. You know, that moment of sheer terror when you make a quick mental checklist of whether you actually have the car registered, inspected and insured all at the same time and search frantically for your license so you don’t have to spend the rest of the night trying to arrange a ride back home from the police station? No? Maybe this example only applies to my wife and me.

Needless to say, I am freaking. Except for the livingroom where we rehearse, my house is a disaster area. There’s a new tire next to my piece of crap car waiting for it to stop raining so it can be restored to its rightful place. My fantasy baseball team is crumbling into disrepair. The kids have resorted to (gulp) getting food and drink for themselves! Because of my strange, three-hours-at-a-time sleep schedule, the cats pounce on me 12 to 15 times a day to be fed, probably thinking each time that it’s morning again. I’m a downward spiral, wrapped inside a hurricane, surrounded by an inferno of lava. And that’s just my stomach.

Every week the good people from All Out Arts who run the theater festival send me an email with our ticket sales to date. For the last three weeks it’s been the same—four total tickets sold for three shows. Four! Now of course more than four people will see the show. Rationally I know that festival audiences are usually spur-of-the-moment and rarely lock themselves into tickets beforehand. But irrational, sleep-deprived, obsessive Brian reacts like Oskar Schindler at the end of Schindler’s List: if I sold these cufflinks, I could have had three more audience members…this ring, I could have melted it down and gotten four more tickets sold…this car…why did I need the car?…it could have been 20 tickets…

See, if I was thinking rationally I would know that our car would be lucky to fetch the price of one ticket, and only if you sold it for parts.

My problem is I’m a playwright, not a producer. Oh, I’ve learned how to do the things I need to do to promote my show, and I write a helluva press release. But there’s that…glaze-eyed, single-minded, slightly manic INTENSITY good producers have and I lack. I’m not willing to call and call and call until I get what I want. Although some of my Facebook friends might disagree, I am not comfortable with the all-out, Super Bowl marketing blitzkrieg necessary to sell tickets. I’m not above asking friends to come support my work, but I’m no good with the follow up phone call where I ask, “So what day are you coming? Are you bringing friends? How many? Get more, I’ll arrange a bus.” Naked ambition and the ability to use people I like without a conscience aren’t in my DNA. Which is why I will never succeed as a producer.

I’m more of a soft sell guy. The kind who would write a passive-aggressive blog about how freaked out he is over ticket sales with the hope that everyone who reads it and can travel to New York “gets it” and instantly goes to the website at and buys tickets to make my stomach stop hurting. See why I suck at this?


You want to know how I view the art of selling tickets? You ever see Miller’s Crossing? If you haven’t, go out and buy it RIGHT NOW. We’ll wait. OK, you remember the scene where John Turturro is being taken out into the woods to be shot by Gabriel Byrne and he’s begging, begging, begging for his life to be spared? “I can’t die… out here in the woods, like a dumb animal! In the woods, LIKE A DUMB ANIMAL!” Sniveling, pride-less John Turturro, pissing himself and crying, on his knees in the woods. “I’m praying to you! Look in your heart! I’m praying to you! Look in your heart! I’m praying to you! Look in your heart! I’m praying to you! Look in your heart… ” Producing, ladies and gentlemen!


I want the world to see my new show. It’s my latest child, and he’s just learning to walk. I want to show you the video and the endless pictures of his first step. But…I know there’s a limit to how much you’re going to listen to me go on about my miraculous kid. At some point you’re going to smile, nod your head knowingly, say something like “aren’t children great” and try to get away from me as quickly as possible without being rude. Oh, how I wish I could be one of those blissfully unaware people who think whatever is important to them is equally, if not more, important to the rest of the world! If only I lacked all empathetic ability, and cared not a whit about what the other guy was thinking as I’m saying, “So, you gonna come to my show? It’s going to be fabulous. Ten tickets or an even dozen?”


I need to send more emails and lie down for no more than three hours, if my stomach stops churning. Feel sorry for me? Good, here’s the flyer: 



Sister Mercedes and the Temple of Doom–FREE 6/10-14


My ebook Sister Mercedes and the Temple of Doom will be offered for FREE on Amazon from 6/10 to 6/14!  Here is the description:

“Sister Mercedes and the Temple of Doom” is a collection of blog posts from playwright and author Brian C. Petti. From the depiction of the author’s upbringing as a fat, shy Catholic school boy to the vagaries of family life to trying to live hand-to-mouth while on disability, “Sister Mercedes” is a sometimes hysterically funny, sometimes tragic and always human glimpse behind the veil of parenthood, marriage, pop culture and the world in general.

Funny, inspirational and moving. ”Edward Hayes  |  6 reviewers made a similar statement