Sunday, June 24, 2012

Why I'm Getting "Lost In Staten Island" on June 28th

Loving someone with a severe mental illness is challenging.  But losing that person to suicide is one of the hardest things a family can ever go through.  Surviving such a loss takes patience, courage, hope, and even humor.  Fortunately, New York playwright Richard Sheinmel has brought all of these elements together in his groundbreaking new play, "Lost In Staten Island," now playing through July 1st at La Mama in Manhattan, 74E E.4th Street in the East Village, for only $18.  

Based on true events that took place in Sheinmel's family, "Lost In Staten Island" offers the audience a glimpse of how a family absorbs the shock and horror of losing a son and a brother in such a tragic way.  After the death of his brother, the character of Mitch (Sheinmel) must return home to accompany his mother on a day full of difficult but necessary tasks.  Alternately humorous and heartfelt, the drive takes them to unexpected places, where nerves are bared, secrets revealed, and confessions made. Although he grew up in “the forgotten borough,” he finds the familiar roads hard to navigate when landmarks change.

I am proud to be hosting a discussion panel following the performance on Thursday, June 28th, that will address the themes brought up in the play, and will help the audience learn practical and effective ways to survive such devastation.  I am thrilled to be joined on stage by following panel:
Richard Sheinmel (Playwright, Performer) was born on Coney Island, and is a graduate of both LaGuardia HS for Music and the Performing Arts and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.  His produced plays include Downtown Dysfunctionals (librettist; Zipper Theater, 2001) where he met his longtime collaborator composer and lyricist Clay Zambo, Jitter (Arclight Theatre, 2006), and the Modern Living series which began in 2006,  in the club at La MaMa ETC and is currently now playing, of which the Post Modern Living edition was published in “Plays and Playwrights 2011” and is available for download at    For more information or to contact Richard go to

Deniece Chi (Family Coordinator at National Alliance On Mentally Ill) turned to NAMI for help in January 2005, two weeks after her daughter Lucy was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. A single mom at the time, Deniece decided to educate herself about her daughter’s condition, particularly since she was finding that the existence of mental illness was often denied in her Caribbean culture. Her commitment to the program led to her hire in January 2010 as NAMI-NYC Metro’s Family and Basics Coordinator and State Trainer. Since then, Deniece has taught over 50 classes and has graduated over 500 parents and professionals. Deniece has been instrumental in NAMI-NYC Metro’s use of NAMI Basics to train workers in the child welfare system and parent advocates in the mental health and child welfare systems. She is honored to be able to help family members find the support, respect and services that they deserve.

Kathy McGuire (Volunteer with American Foundation For Suicide Prevention) provides support, aid, and comfort to those who have lost someone to suicide after losing her own father to suicide in 1971.   Her day job is a Sales Assistant with a Wall Street  brokerage firm.    Kathy was born and raised in New York City in the exact middle of the baby boom and remained a lifetime resident.   Her favorite things in the world:  swimming, kayaking, birdwatching, book clubs, and the Russian Bath-House.  Ongoing reminder to herself:  To get to LaMama ET more often. 

So please consider joining me for a night of entertainment, education, and healing.  Even if you can't come on June 28th, the show is definitely worth seeing.  Tickets are only $18 and available for purchase here.

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