Theater for the New City presents:

Zen A.M.

By Natalie Menna
Directed by Andrew Block
May 31 – June 16
Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 8PM, Sunday at 3PM

Crystal Field, Executive Artistic Director, Presents:

Zen A.M.

In the wake of 9/11, Bruno abandons his lucrative Wall Street career to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a painter. After years of struggling, he finally books a once in a lifetime project, only to develop major misgivings about participating and completing his painting. As his vacillations increase, hysteria and hilarity ensue. Can a marriage-minded girlfriend, greedy guru, financial folly, and one bitchy boss change Bruno’s mind?

A ten-minute excerpt of the play was performed in Theater for the New City’s Lower East Side Festival of the Arts last season.

The actors are Brad Fryman as Bruno, Dai Ishiguro as Kim, Alexandra Bonesho as Denise, John Gazzale as Chang, Sean Phillips as Hal and Elizabeth Inghram as Rachel.

Light design is by Alexander Bartenieff. Set design is by Mark Marcante. Props design is by Lytza Colon. Costume design is by Niiamar Felder. Sound design is by Jacob Subonick. Stage Manager is Emely Selina Zepeda.

Natalie Menna ( is the author of “Occasionally Nothing,” which was presented by Theater for the New City’s 2018 Dream Up Festival, and “Committed,” which was performed in 2017 at the 14th Street Y. She is a resident playwright of August Strindberg Rep, for which she adapted “Journey in Light and Shadow” by Stig Dalager for a 2017 production at Gene Frankel Theatre. Last season, August Strindberg Rep presented her “#MeThree,” an evening of three original short one-acts, at Gene Frankel Theatre. Her play “Roberta!” was presented twice at the United Solo Festival. Her plays “Roberta!,” “I-POD” and “Zen A.M.” have been published by She is also an actor.

“Occasionally Nothing” was nominated for Outstanding Overall Production of a Revival/Adaptation/Sequel for her full-length play in the 2017 Planet Connections Theatre Festivity (PCTF) and Menna was awarded Outstanding Playwriting of a One-Act and Outstanding Overall Production of a One-Act for the play at PCTF in 2016. “Committed” received Outstanding Overall Production of a Reading and Best Actor at PCTF in 2015. Menna was nominated for Outstanding Writer for “Zen A.M.” at PCTF in 2014. Select previous awards to include the Nettie Award for Best Solo Show for “I-POD” in the Network One-Act Festival and Best Actress for “I-POD” in MITF. Her short play “Hiroshi-Me, Me, Me” was a finalist in the Strawberry Festival and The Network One-Act Festival, with two nominations for Best Actress and Winner for Best Supporting Actress.

This production of “Zen A.M.” is produced, presented and funded by Theater for the New City. In 2020, Menna’s play, “Committed,” directed by Austin Pendleton, will be produced, presented and funded by TNC. Ms. Menna writes, “Crystal Field’s support of playwrights is a dazzling example to the theater world of a devoted artistic director. Her insight, wisdom, and discernment are matched only by her generosity. Under her leadership, TNC has maintained its position as a premier presenter of daring theater. My gratitude to Crystal has no bounds!”

Director Andrew Block received the Ovation and L.A.Drama Critics Circle awards for Best Director and Production for the world premiere of “Small Engine Repair” by John Pollono. His selected credits include: “This Stretch of Montpelier” by Kelly Nicole Girod (The Fire This Time), “The Other Day” by Mark Jason Williams (Theater at 14th Street Y), “Lost and Found” (FringeNYC Encore, Lortel), “Straight Faced Lies” (FringeNYC), “Why Bother?” (Best Director, Planet Connections Festivity), “Downward Facing Debbie” by David Caudle (World premiere, Planet Connections), “Bingo With the Indians” by Adam Rapp (GLAAD award nomination for Outstanding Theatre, West-coast premiere), “Illuminati” (Best Director, Network OAF), “Bedroom Farce” (FAPC), “Reach” (Ivy Theatre Company), “Company” (Gallery Players), “Avenue Q” (Manhattan College), “Inherit the Wind” (Manhattan College), “Rumors” (AADA), “The Shape of Things” (Adelphi University) and “Recovery” (FringeNYC). A native of New Orleans now living in New York, he also serves as representative for the Off and Off-Off Broadway community for TDF.

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