Theater for the New City is the site for the New York premiere of the new play, Still at Risk by Tim Pinckney. Carl Andress is set to direct. Performances begin Thursday, March 7, 2019 for a limited engagement through Sunday, March 31, 2019 in the Community Space Theater at Theater for the New City (155 First Avenue, between 9th & 10th Streets). In preparation for this exciting event, Tim Pinckney recently returned from San Francisco where this play premiered. Pinckney graciously agreed to an interview with New York Splash Magazine, which follows.
1. You were a working actor for 10 years. How did you find your way to working as an actor?
After I graduated from college, I was hired to do summer stock in Upstate New York (Actually in my hometown of Auburn, NY). Almost everyone in the company was from New York City except me. When the season was over, I was scheduled to start teaching high school English. Friends in the company said, “Why don’t you move to New York?” So I did. No job, no place to live and $500. I waited on a lot of tables and did all sorts of temp jobs but I also worked as an actor pretty regularly. I studied with Uta Hagen, did a national tour of GREASE, off-Broadway, regional and stock. The business was pretty kind to me.
When my best friend David was diagnosed with AIDS, everything changed. This was during a time when there was no effective treatment and no hope. I didn’t want to go out of town anymore, I wanted to spend as much time with him as I could so I stopped auditioning and took a full-time job at Gay Men’s Health Crisis in Client Services.
2. Your first play, Message to Michael opened December 15, 1996. In intervening years your many plays have opened in very different locations. Still at Risk had its premiere at the New Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. Do you have a preference regarding where your plays begin their journey?
I think most playwrights want their plays in New York City. It gives the play cachet and regional theatres seem to be most interested in plays that start in New York. And being a New Yorker, I want my plays produced here so I’m thrilled to have Still at Risk opening at the historic Theater for the New City. Having said that, I had the most amazing experience with Still at Risk at The New Conservatory Theatre Center in San Francisco. There is a fantastic community of artists in San Francisco and Ed Decker, who runs NCTC, has created a wonderful, safe space to create and nurture a new play. I would go back there in a heartbeat.
3. I understand that you are working for the Actor’s Fund setting up housing and care for HIV/AIDS patients and you are now the programming coordinator. How did you begin this work? What changes have you seen?
My first job at The Actors Fund was as a Case Manager in their Friedman residence. I had a caseload made up of People with AIDS. Seniors and artists. I eventually moved over to Advancement and started writing and producing benefit concerts to raise money in support of the programs and Services of The Actor Fund, a national human services organization that serves the needs of the entire entertainment community with a unique understanding of the challenges involved in a life in the arts. I have been fortunate to work with some of the best names in our business – fantastic creative teams and extraordinary performers – all who donate their time and talent to help raise money for The Fund. Just a few of the concerts I’ve produced include Bombshell in Concert with Debra Messing, Megan Hilty and Katherine McPhee, Dreamgirls with Audra McDonald, Lillias White, Heather Headley and Billy Porter,Chess with Josh Groban, a Frank Loesser tribute that featured Paul McCartney and the recent Thoroughly Modern Millie concert starring Sutton Foster.
4. What are your thoughts about and wishes for Still at Risk opening in New York at the THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY?
I’m very excited for people to see the play. The cast is fantastic and they are telling the story so beautifully. I want to pack the theatre every night and I hope that this production leads to more productions. I want to share this story and I want it to reach beyond New York City.
5. Are there any other aspects of the work you do that you would like to share with Splash Magazine Worldwide readers?
Still at Risk is about the not too distant past. It’s about a community coming together to bring about change. It’s important for this part of history to be discussed and it’s important that it’s not forgotten. This is a part of the history of this country and certainly a significant time in LGBTQ history. But the story reaches beyond all of that. We had an audience in San Francisco of LGBTQ students who stayed after the performance to talk with me. I was curious if the story about a former AIDS activist would resonate with them. This was shortly after the Parkland massacre. They told me, “We are living in a time where our friends are being killed and the government is sitting back and doing nothing. We understand the story of this play very well.” The parallels are chilling. Still at Risk is one story about the changes that a movement inspired. With the insanity that is currently sitting in our White House, it’s imperative that we use our voices and speak out, march, write, talk to our colleagues and neighbors. We have the power to bring about great change. We have done it before, many times. And we will do it again, very soon.
Still at Risk will play the following performance schedule: Tuesday – Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday at 3:00 p.m.
NOW ON SALE, tickets for Still at Risk are priced at $25 and may be purchased online at smarttix
For additional information, please visit the Theater for the New City website