Charles Messina

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Charles Messina (born October 21, 1971 in New York City) is an American playwright, screenwriter and director.

Messina was born in Greenwich Village and is of Italian-American descent. He attended Xavier High School and then later, New York University.

Career[edit]

Known for his deconstructive take on biographical subjects, Messina's most notable stage work is the critically acclaimed Off-Broadway play Mercury: The Afterlife and Times of a Rock God, a monodrama written and directed by Messina about Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, which starred Khalid Gonçalves and later, Amir Darvish.[1][2]

Among Messina’s other biographical works, there is Cirque Jacqueline, about the life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, which was written by and starred Andrea Reese, and The Accidental Pervert, an autobiographical one man show written and performed by Andrew Goffman and directed by Messina.

In 1999, Actor Found Dead, a one-act play written and directed by Messina about actor James Hayden (who Messina, as a child, had seen in American Buffalo), debuted at the John Houseman Studio Theatre in New York City. The play starred Khalid Gonçalves as Hayden, with Andrew I. Mones and David B. Martin.[3] A screenplay based on Hayden's life was optioned in late 2007.

In the fall of 2006, the Messina-penned film They're Just My Friends was released, starring Lord Jamar, Malik Yoba, and Bruce Altman.

In August 2007, Messina directed Two-Mur Humor, which was an official entry in the 2007 Fringe Festival in NYC.[4]

In 2007, Messina also directed the big budget musical Be My Love: The Mario Lanza Story, written by Richard Vetere, about the life of singer Mario Lanza, which was produced by Sonny Grosso and Phil Ramone. It premiered at The Tilles Center for the Performing Arts in Greenvale, NY.[5]

Also in 2007, Messina's play Merging starring Jason Cerbone, Gina Ferranti and Ernest Mingione won Best Play in The Players' Theater's Shortened Attention Span Theater Festival in Greenwich Village. A film version of the play Merging was released in 2009.[6]

Messina has directed the off-Broadway shows Rockaway Boulevard by Richard Vetere, The Accidental Pervert by Andrew Goffman, and Art Metrano's Accidental Comedy, as well as a staged reading of his own script Younger, starring Joe Piscopo.

Messina's play, Homeland, which premiered in 2008, starred Sopranos actors Dan Grimaldi, Jason Cerbone, Joe Lisi, as well as Gina Ferranti and Amir Darvish.

Messina co-wrote the book My Father, My Don, about the life of Genovese Capo James "Jimmy Nap" Napoli and his son Tony Napoli, in collaboration with Tony Napoli. It was released by The Beckham Publications Group in fall 2008 and is currently available in Barnes & Noble and other major retail bookstores.

In May 2010, Messina directed and co-wrote (along with Vincent Gogliormella) the script Twas The Night Before a Brooklyn Christmas, starring Mario Cantone, Michael Rispoli and Robert Cuccioli, also at 45 Bleecker Street.[7]

In 2011, the film Spy was released, starring Vincent Pastore, Frank Vincent, and Ben Curtis. Messina was co-author of the film's screenplay.

On March 29, 2012 - April 1, 2012, three of Messina's plays - Merging, Fugazy, and Sick Bastids - under the title The Tenement Plays, were performed at the 13th St Repertory Theater. Fugazy was directed by Gina Ferranti.[8]

Twilight Theatre Productions performed three of Messina's plays - Thompson Street, Lilac, and Fugazy - from June 21 through August 2, 2013 at Kenlake State Resort Park in Hardin, KY.[9]

On September 22, 2013, The Abingdon Theatre hosted a special reading of three of Messina's plays: Fairies, Thompson Street, and Sinkhole, as part of a fundraiser for the theater. The cast included (in alphabetical order): Michael Barbieri, Anthony DeSando, Alfredo Diaz, Gina Ferranti, Nick Fondulis, Khalid Gonçalves, Steven LaChioma, Tom Alan Robbins, Scott Seidman, and Johnny Tammaro.[10]

According to BroadwayWorld.com, Fairies was "so beloved by audiences" that The Abingdon Theatre decided to produce the show again, on December 17th, 2013. The entire original cast returned. [11]

Upcoming and announced projects[edit]

A Room of My Own[edit]

On September 20, 2010, a staged reading of Messina's semi-autobiographical play A Room of My Own, about an Italian-American family living in Greenwich Village in the late 1970s, was performed at The Theatre at 45 Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village with Ralph Macchio, Cantone, Lynne Koplitz, Gina Ferranti, Johnny Tammaro, John Barbieri, and Kendra Jain.[12]

On November 13, 2012, a second reading of the play was done at 45 Bleecker Street, starring Cantone, Rachel Dratch, Zach Galligan, and Mike Barbieri, as well as Ferranti, Tammaro, and Jain.[13]

A Room of My Own is currently being developed for Broadway.

The Wanderer[edit]

Messina is currently collaborating with Dion DiMucci on a musical about the singer's life called The Wanderer - the Life and Music of Dion, with Ted Kurdyla as executive producer. The first reading of the play was performed at the Triad Theater in New York City on October 13, 2011.[14]

In a December 9, 2011 interview with The New York Times, Messina explained why he chose Dion's story as a subject: “The conflict was irresistible to me as a dramatist,” he said. “But what’s interesting about Dion is that he lived. In my other plays, you don’t have that ending where the guy overcame. Dion overcame.”[15]

Representation[edit]

Messina is represented by Ron Gwiazda/Abrams Artists Agency (playwriting, screenwriting, directing).[16]

Summary of Works[edit]

Plays[edit]

  • Roman Candles (1995) - writer, director
  • Mercury: The Afterlife and Times of a Rock God (1997) - writer, director
  • Actor Found Dead (1999) - writer, director
  • Rockaway Boulevard (2004) - director
  • Cirque Jacqueline (2004–2008) - director
  • The Accidental Pervert (2005–present) - director
  • Younger (2006) - writer, director
  • Two-Mur Humor (2007) - writer, director
  • Be My Love: The Mario Lanza Story (2007) - director
  • Accidental Comedy (2009) - director
  • A Room of My Own (2009) - writer, director
  • The Fatman Cometh (2011) - director
  • The Wanderer - the Life and Music of Dion (2011) - writer, director
  • Sick Bastids (2012) - writer
  • Thompson Street (2013) - writer
  • Lilac (2013) - writer
  • Fugazy (2013) - writer
  • An Honest Woman (2013) - writer, director
  • Fairies (2013) - writer, director
  • Thompson Street (2013) - writer, director
  • Sinkhole (2013) - writer, director

Published plays[edit]

  • Mercury: The Afterlife and Times of a Rock God - (2009) by Original Works Publishing.
  • Three Plays by Charles Messina (Fugazy, Klepto and Merging) - (2011) by The Beckham Publications Group

Films[edit]

  • They're Just My Friends (2006) - co-writer
  • Merging (2009) - screenwriter, director
  • Spy (2011) - co-writer
  • Choose (2011) - associate producer

Books[edit]

  • My Father, My Don (2008) - co-author (published by The Beckham Publications Group) - Tony Nap Napoli

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lefkowitz, David (24 Nov 1997). "Freddie Mercury To Rise Again, Off-B'way, Nov. 24". Playbill.com. 
  2. ^ Simonson, Robert (11 Jan 2004). "Bohemian Rhapsody: Freddy Mercury Play Begins Performances Off Broadway, Jan. 11". Playbill.com. 
  3. ^ McBride, Murdoch (18 Oct 1999). "Life Imitates Art in Actor Found Dead, Oct. 28 at John Houseman". Playbill.com. 
  4. ^ "'Two-mur Humor' to Premiere at FringeNYC in August". BroadwayWorld.com. 
  5. ^ "Richard Vetere Collection". Stony Brook University Special Collections & University Archives. 
  6. ^ "Merging (2009)". imdb.com. Retrieved 19 December 2011. 
  7. ^ Lenzi, Linda (May 12, 2010). "Photo Coverage: 'Twas the Night Before a Brooklyn Christmas' Industry Reading". BroadwayWorld.com. 
  8. ^ "Charles Messina's THE TENEMENT PLAYS Opens March 29". broadwayworld.com. March 13, 2012. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  9. ^ Black, Laurel (July 25, 2013). "Unconventional theater winds down season". The Paducah Sun. pp. 1C–2C. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  10. ^ BWW News Desk (August 15, 2013). "A LITTLE BIT OF THIS AND THAT Workshop to Benefit Abingdon Theatre, 9/22". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved 17 August 2013. 
  11. ^ BWW News Desk (October 29, 2013). "Abingdon to Stage Special Holiday Benefit Presentation of FAIRIES, 12/17". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved 30 October 2013. 
  12. ^ Lenzi, Linda (September 21, 2010). "Photo Coverage: Cantone, Macchio et al. in A ROOM OF MY OWN". BroadwayWorld.com. 
  13. ^ Gans, Andrew (November 8, 2012). "Mario Cantone, Rachel Dratch, Zach Galligan Set for Reading of A Room of My Own". Playbill.com. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  14. ^ Bowling, Suzanna (October 19, 2011). "The New Musical About The Life of Dion "The Wanderer" Wows Producers". The Times Square Chronicle. 
  15. ^ Gonzalez, David. "A Wanderer, the Singer Dion Returns to the Bronx". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 December 2011. 
  16. ^ "Charles Messina (II)". IMDb.com. Retrieved 19 December 2011. 

External links[edit]