Axial Theater is a twenty-three year old ensemble based not-for-profit institution dedicated to supporting the professional development of playwrights and actors mainly based in the Westchester area. We focus on presenting theatrical experiences with a social impact or work that allows our artists to expand in their craft.
Co-founded by Board President Howard Meyer in 1998, Axial Theatre is an ensemble of theatre actors, writers and directors dedicated to the development and production of relevant new plays.
Axial Theater takes pride in the development of original plays through fostering a safe and supportive atmosphere for playwrights to take risks, try out concepts, get feedback and criticism, and then see the written word come to life through informal readings, workshops, one acts plays and full productions. Audiences have been given the rare opportunity to participate in the development of these new works by responding to works in progress through extensive after-show discussions.
Under Mr. Meyer’s twenty-year leadership as Artistic Director, Axial produced over 60 plays as staged readings, workshops or full productions. Premieres, staged readings and workshops of new plays include works by playwrights Jake Jeppson, Brian Quirk, Megan Mostyn-Brown, Linda Giuliano, Tony Howarth, Jessica Dickey, Matt Hoverman, Brian O’Neill, Ryan Mallon, Adam Rapp, Mr. Meyer, Gina Gionfriddo, and many others.
Plays developed by Axial playwrights have been produced or given promoted readings in New York City at the New York Fringe Festival, HERE Theatre, Dixon Place’s FUSE Festival, The Cherry Lane Theater, The Barrow Group, The Lark, Arts Westchester, Half Moon Theatre, Naked Angels and The Samuel French One-Act Festival : in Los Angeles at LA Pacific Resident Theatre; and in San Francisco at the New Conservatory Theatre.
In addition, one of Axial’s developed plays was selected as a finalist in the Princess Grace Playwriting Competition and Brian Quirk, an Axial produced playwright, was twice invited to the prestigious McDowell Writers Colony on the basis of plays developed at Axial Theatre. Two of Meyer's plays have been options for feature films.
Other major advances for plays include a staged reading of Maybe Never Fell by Howard Meyer at the historic Cherry Lane Theater. His play Radiance was a two-time semi-finalist (2011, 2012) at the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference and was produced at Axial featuring Obie award winner Chris McCann. And WELCOME, This is a Neighborhood Watch Community enjoyed an Axial run directed by Drama Desk award winner Josh Hecht starring Emmy© nominated actor Jon Lindstrom and LAByrinth Theater co-founder David Deblinger.
Axial Theater has garnered rave reviews, from the Journal News (Westchester’s premiere newspaper) for The Love of Money, Cherry and Jerry, Two Hearts and AngelBeast and Broadway World for Back to the Garden (in co-production with GoJoClan Productions) and consistent supportive attention and reviews from the New York Times.
"NEVER THE SINNER" (2022)
"PAINT MADE FLESH" (2018)
"THE SEAGULL" (2014)
From 2018 through Feb 2019, Axial was courteously helmed by co-Artistic Directors Catherine Banks (also an actor and director) and Linda Guiliano (also a playwright, producer, and Axial ensemble member for over fourteen years) with Betsy Klampert as Managing Director.
Ms. Banks drove the vision from December 2019 through August of 2021. Many original works were developed in this time, including thirteen original new plays and monologues presented at the 2021's March Madness. Other productions included a co-production (with GoJo Clan Productions) of Back to the Garden by Albi Corn, directed by Robin Joseph, Tracy Lett's August Osage County and Christopher Durang's classic comedy Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.
"Directed with a firm grasp and theatrical smarts by Axial co-artistic director and stage veteran Catherine Banks, the pace stays reliably on track, moving mostly at breakneck speed."
On "August: Osage County" - Bruce Apar for Broadway World
WINNER BEST PERFORMER IN A PLAY - Anna Fawcett for Vanya, Sonia, Masha and Spike
WINNER BEST PERFORMER IN A STREAMING PLAY - Catherine Banks for March Madness
WINNER BEST PLAY - Vanya, Sonia, Masha, and Spike
WINNER BEST EDITING OF A STREAM - Jim Simonson for March Madness
WINNER BEST SOUND DESIGN OF A PLAY OR MUSICAL - Jim Simonson for Vanya, Sonia, Masha, and Spike
At Axial we are proud to honor and support the forward movement of the writer's journey.
Howard Meyer’s most recent original work, Paint Made Flesh, (directed by Cady McClain) completed an invite-only Equity run at The Cell in Manhattan, earning rave reviews from venerable audience members. Mrs. McClain is a three-time Emmy© Award-Winning actress and a two-time Emmy© Award Nominated Director who is proud to bring her eye for work that creates a strong impact to Axial Theatre.
Director Cady McClain takes us by the hand and leads us step by step into a strange, labyrinthine world of art and artists. The journey is both physical and psychological. The actors performances are perfectly orchestrated without a misstep in her surefooted, masterful direction!
- Bob McAndrew
Former talent director at 20th Century Fox and Paramount Studios.
"To say I was blown away by the June 14th performance of "Paint Made Flesh" would be an understatement. The courage and focused ferocity of the actors lifted the total experience to levels I haven't felt in theater in quite awhile."
-Arlé Sklar Weinstein, Audience Member
"Genius. Cathartic. Every character made me ask questions that I am still wrestling with, and will probably be wrestling with for quite some time."
-Julia Boyes, Actor
McClain is proud to have created two "new" programs based on past programs that have been enjoyed by Westchester audiences and beyond: Cactus Flowers - a monthly reading of four new short plays in development and Axial Playwrights - One Act or Full length play development readings driven forward my company members.
Never the Sinner by John Logan was McClain's first full production as Artistic Director, and she was thrilled to have also directed this show. Houses were packed to capacity for the eight show run at Bethany Arts Community in Ossining, NY and the audience members raved about the production. Thanks to ongoing relationships at Bethany Arts Community, the production was able to present a special show for the AP English Class at Ossining High School as well as to be able to offer free tickets to members of Sing Sing Family Collective and Hudson Link.
“The story was powerful, the acting superb, and the direction choreographed with precision. Don’t miss it!“ - Joan Gilbert
“...a thought provoking and emotionally riveting production of an extraordinary play! The cast was authentic and compelling; the direction and design immersed the audience in the experience; and the technical work was seamless” - Sean Kennedy Cribari
"Cady McClain has created a production that rivets your attention at every moment. Tom Ryan (Leopold) and Michael Alva (Loeb) give vivid performances as the delusional but human teen-agers who think their status as Nietzschean superman requires them to commit a horrible murder." - Deloss Brown