Here’s the official press release for our big opening tomorrow!  We’re wicked psyched for opening night!

Performances begin July 1st for I’LL BE DAMNED, a new musical by Rob Broadhurst and Brent Black, for a limited engagement through July 18th at the Dimson Theatre at The Vineyard, 108 East 15th Street (between Union Square East & Irving Place). I’LL BE DAMNED is directed by April Nickell, with choreography by Luis Salgado and musical direction by Jason Sherbundy.

Mary Testa and Kenita Miller head the cast of I’LL BE DAMNED. Also featured in the company are Kurt Robbins, Jacob Hoffman, Gregory Treco, Emily Borromeo, Nick Gelona, Alison Luff, Anthony Martinez, Tiffany Topol, Daryl Ray Carliles, Stephanie Martinez, and Valerie Salgado.

I’LL BE DAMNED is the story of a friendless, comic-book-loving homeschooler named Louis who receives a seemingly irresistible offer from Satan. Louis’ mother is a little late in coming to terms with her son growing up, God seems lost in his vision of a perfect world, and Louis is discovering himself as he attempts to find just one true friend. This fresh new musical comedy asks the universal question: Is there a way to make people like you without having to sell your soul to the devil?

Mary Testa has appeared on Broadway in 42nd Street (Tony nomination), …Forum, Xanadu, The Rink, Guys and Dolls, On the Town (Tony nomination),Barnum, Marie Christine, Marilyn, and Chicago. Kenita Miller appeared in the original Broadway companies of The Color Purple and Xanadu, and Off-Broadway in Langston in Harlem (2010 Drama Desk nomination) and Dessa Rose.

The book for I’LL BE DAMNED is by Rob Broadhurst and Brent Black, with music by Mr. Broadhurst and lyrics by Mr. Black. They are recent graduates of NYU, where they created the musical at the Tisch Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program.

Director April Nickell helmed Jaradoa Theater’s acclaimed productions of Serenade by Rachel Sheinkin and Nils Olaf Dolven, The Small of Her Back and Anika Larsen’s Shafrika, The White Girl. Choreographer Luis Salgado is in the cast of Broadway’s In the Heights, where he also serves as assistant to the choreographer. Luis also assisted the choreographers on the films Enchanted and Step Up 2 the Streets, and he choreographed the Off-Broadway productions of Shafrika, The White Girl and Serenade (HOLA Award).

Scenic design for I’LL BE DAMNED is by Sean Tribble, with costume design by Andrea Varga, lighting design by Herrick Goldman, and sound design by Kyle Irwin.

JARADOA (Just A Roomful of Artists Doing Outreach And) THEATER is proudly kicking off its fourth season with I’LL BE DAMNED. Jaradoa is a member-based group of theater artists – actors, directors, writers, and designers – who have come together to promote mercy, beauty and truth through performance and service. Play On!, Jaradoa’s innovative acting and playwriting program that uses theater to improve literacy skills, has been run in public schools, community centers, an alternative-to-incarceration program for teenage felons, and a shelter for runaway and homeless teens.

The playing schedule for the limited engagement of I’LL BE DAMNED will be Tuesday at 7pm, Wednesday through Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 2 & 8pm, and Sunday at 3pm. Tickets are $18 and are available through or by calling (212) 868-4444. For more information, visit


By April Nickell

I listen to a lot of podcasts and every now and then tears spring to my eyes on the subway. I am always surprised by this and try to figure out what has moved me. It is often because of human connection. I just listened to a Bill Moyers about activism where he interviews Howard Zinn. He tells about Janora Dalinger, a 23 yr. old woman who, while at a sit-in strike against unfair working conditions of the 1930’s, got on a loud speaker and rallied the crowed against the violent police. The men tried to stop her from getting involved but she pushed them away. Her speech made women walk into the chaos of the protest in order to help the powers that be see the violence of their acts. Men don’t like to hurt women. What is it that allows an individual to walk into violence in order to bring about change? It is connectedness. You may get hurt or die but you are part of something bigger than you. There is power when we realize we belong to each other.

This woman’s voice caused action and then the retelling of the story affected me. Encouraging people to tell their stories and listen to others stories is what Jaradoa is all about. I keep thinking about what Jaradoa has done on the very limited budgets we have and thinking that none of it is possible if we didn’t feel like we belonged together. (if any of you Lost fans are feeling like Rose in the final season thinking – “if you say ‘live together, die alone’ one more time, I’m going to hurt you!” rest assured – I leave that line to the high drama of Lost!)

Here we are heading into load in this week with very limited staff and funding but what happens is volunteers, members and friends show up to help make it happen. Some of my favorite memories are looking around the theater in the middle of load in and seeing, writers, actors, directors, designers, friends, my neighbors and even my parents working on something. I think this even playing field of everyone diving in and doing what they can for the production is what makes our play time like the Kicknick or ‘family’ potluck so much fun. I am not saying painting a set is the same as this woman’s rallying speech, but I am saying what makes either of them work is the same thing – knowing we belong to each other.

There is no outside, no other, only all. Jaradoa is a family now and hope everyone we encounter can become part of that family and remember this whole city, country and planet are part of that family. We belong to each other. We are on the same team. So we love. That is the team we are on. The loving body of the universe!

(Click here for a link to the Bill Moyers Thee Journal that made me cry! He interviews Howard Zinn around 28:00 minutes)

Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Daryl Ray Carliles, most people call me Daryl, but if you’re one of my students, you call me Mr. Daryl. I am an actor who has been living in New York for the past three years and I was happy to have the opportunity to become a member of Jaradoa Theater last year.

Now every story has a beginning and I want to enlighten you a little bit about mine. Upon my first year of college, I was given two opportunities at the same time. Based on my performance at local theaters in North Carolina, I was given the chance to teach music and drama at a charter school, which allowed me to not only to teach, but also be in charge of directing and producing two plays for the students to perform each year. I found this to be one of the most rewarding experiences up to that point in my life. I was also offered an acting scholarship to a two-year college for a Musical Theater degree. Now this created a moment of truly difficult decision because I felt as though my path as an actor would never fully fulfill me on the same level as being a teacher, yet it was still very much a passion that I had to pursue. I chose to become an actor.

So upon that decision, I moved away and began my acting career, which eventually led me to New York City where I became a professional actor, all the while holding on to the thoughts that hopefully one day I would be able to teach again and also inspire the same passion for performing that I felt.

Since becoming a member if Jaradoa Theater, I have also been involved in our Play On! Literacy Program which involves us as teaching artists going into schools lacking funding for the arts. The Play On! Literacy Program, consists of two teachers over a six week period helping the students to write their own plays by developing characters, finding conflict and working towards a resolution. The end result of the program is the opportunity to perform their own plays in front of their peers, teachers, and family.

On a personal level, since being a part of this program I have continued to grow as an artist simultaneously with these students, which has been incredibly fulfilling.

July starts our Off-Broadway production of I’ll Be Damned which allows me the opportunity to perform and fulfill the dream that I was driven to choose. In July we will also be having our Summer Jam Event, where one of my recent students will be able to perform a play he wrote in front of hundreds of people, which means a lot to me.

This means a lot to me because during the first week of class we allowed the students to share personal stories in helping to develop their characters. I was really touched by his personal story. He was encouraged by our Artistic Director April Nickell to use his feelings to help develop his play. So through out the process he was very brave in sharing with the class, and upon informing him of the decision to put his play in our show, his excitement and pride created the full realization that I had once again been a part of something bigger than me: inspiring a young artist to truly believe in himself.

I also find it a little serendipitous that two worlds I thought would have to remain separate have come together at the same time in my life, and have and proven once and for all that you really can have the best of both worlds.

We are thrilled to announce that casting is now complete for Jaradoa Theater’s production of the new musical I’ll Be Damned!

We already announced that Jaradoa’s fourth production, starring Mary Testa, Kenita Miller and Kurt Robbins, will play a limited Off-Broadway engagement this July. Newly added to the cast of the tuner about a lonely high school student who makes a pact with the devil are Emily Borromeo, Nick Gelona, Jacob Hoffman, Anthony Martinez, Dana Steingold, Gregory Treco, and Jaradoa Members Daryl Ray Carliles and Stephanie Martinez.

Rob Broadhurst and Brent Black co-authored the musical that will be directed by Jaradoa Managing Artistic Director April Nickell. I’ll Be Damned will run July 1-18 at the Vineyard Theatre. Jaradoa Theater produces.

I’ll Be Damned is the story of a friendless, comic-book-loving homeschooler named Louis who receives a seemingly irresistible offer from Satan. Louis’ mother is a little late in coming to terms with her son growing up, God seems lost in his vision of a perfect world, and Louis is discovering himself as he attempts to find just one true friend. This fresh new musical comedy begs the universal question: ‘Is there a way to make people like you without having to sell your soul to the devil?’

Check out the great press I’ll Be Damned has received!
Broadway World

I’ll Be Damned will have choreography by In the Heights cast member Luis Salgado and musical direction by Jason Sherbundy. The design team will include Sean Tribble (scenic design), Andrea Varga (costume design), Herrick Goldman (lighting design) and Mike Farfalla (sound design).

For tickets, phone (212) 868-4444 or visit

by Amanda Holland

Last week Jaradoa held its first annual Kicknic (kickball game + picnic), and it was more fun than anyone even anticipated.  Jaradoa ally Amanda Holland (a.k.a. Clogs) was moved to blog about the silly-fun, belly-stuffing good time!

On a gorgeous and somewhat sunny Monday, several members of Jaradoa (Jaradoans) gathered for a day of fierce competition, to play the most grueling sport in the whole US of A… kickball.  Several children came to use the field, but once we kicked them off (and by “kicked off”, I mean let them use it while we had a feast) it was time to play!  First game pit the hometown heroes “UnbelievaBalls” against their long time nemesis “Shake Your Beauty”.  Both teams struggled with their defense but in the last few innings “UnbelievaBalls” came out on top.

The players rehydrated, ate a bunch more, then gathered themselves and it was on to the final game… “Wonderballs” vs. “Rock Out with Your Balls Out”. “Wonderballs” swept the other team in a stunning victory that can only be called legendary.  Both winning teams were lead by Athletic Director and long time kickball lover, Chris Harbur.  But on a serious note, it was amazing!  A real taste of summer in May!  Most people at the event only knew one or two people, but by the end of the day we all knew we would be close facebook friends.  And the food!  So much!  Thankfully a lot of liquid as well.

I hope the Kicknic becomes a monthly or bi-monthly thing because that was just WAY too fun to be annual!  Jaradoans really know how to have a good time!

By Eric Emch

As the Marketing Director of Jaradoa Theater, I have a lot of unique responsibilities. I adopt the “voice” of Jaradoa and create facebook status updates; I take photos from Play On! and meticulously cut out the students from the background; I have a weekly meeting with April that usually ends in beer drinking/life evaluation. But never before have I had the responsibility of being on stage.

When Anika asked me to participate in last Saturday’s Radio Play, my first reaction was “absolutely not.” I’m not an actor — I don’t want to be an actor. However, I hadn’t seen Anika in a while, nor had I ever seen a Radio Play, so I nervously agreed. I received the script and was assigned a role (Announcer 2 – holla!), and even practiced out loud in my apartment which loud/zany accent I would use (Radio Plays sound better with bold vocal choices, apparently).

The day of the Radio Play, everyone showed up at Bishop Mugavero Nursing Home in Brooklyn and my fears immediately faded. Everyone was so excited to be there and eager to entertain that I quickly jumped on the fun-times bandwagon. Not to mention our audience (the elderly folk of the nursing home) was lively and completely ready for our performance. And the performance was a hoot and a half! I read my lines with the only accent I’m confident in (a Palin-esque Midwestern accent — I’m from Ohio, what can I say?) and mostly shouted my lines. Everyone else was HI-larious and our singing talent was out-of-control good. When I wasn’t laughing hysterically my jaw was dropped hearing Anika sing her face off or watching Telly epitomize a “triple threat.”

While the actual play was such fun to be a part of, the hands down best part of the day was the post-show sing along with the residents and the conversations that followed. The two women I sang by for the sing along were not shy by any means, and performed (mostly to themselves) a stirring rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Mary and Gladys had both sung for their church choirs — and both women were full of stories and anecdotes that were yearning to be told. And I couldn’t get enough! Looking around the room at all the story-swapping, I felt such pride to be a part of Jaradoa and such honor that this fascinating and important community was so willing and eager to share their lives with us.

I think I’m still on a high from the hilarity and good times that ensued at Saturday’s Radio Play. If any of you ever get a chance to participate (whether you’re an actor or not), do it! If all else fails, you can just yell the lines using your best Sarah Palin accent.

This February, we came down with a mean case of the Jarabowlaz… especially our Athletic Director, Chris Harbur. Collected here for your enjoyment are excerpts from the emails Chris sent out in advance of our weekly bowling matches. By the end of the season, the Jarabowlaz were on pins and needles waiting to see what he’d say next. (Did you catch that, with the pins? It’s a bowling reference! Ok, Chris is better at bringin’ the funny than we are, so keep reading.)


Your very own Jarabowlaz (Jaradoa + bowling + the letter “z”… see what we did there?) will be hittin’ the lanes for the very first time!

We are all super excited to be in the Broadway Bowling League and just wanted to extend an invitation to all of you Jaradoa supporting people. It’s $15 to bowl two games, and you also can just come, support, have a drink and say hi to your fellow Broadway people, cheer us on and dance to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s bowling playlist! This is your captain, Chris “Thunder Strike” Harbur signing off…..


I think everyone who showed up last week will be in a general state of agreeance (yes that term was more popularly used circa 1919) that Thursday’s bowling was one of the most fun things done in a long while! With that in mind, this Thursday will be for points! No pressure–as we found out last week, you can literally bowl worse than a Northern Canadian field mouse and still win because you get to add as many as 200 points to your score!

Bowl boldly, my friends.


Oh, biscuits, we’re in 4th…

That said, I can pretty much guarantee that if you make your way on down to Port Authority Bus Terminal this Thursday night at 11pm you will do the following:

1) Laugh at least 6 times

2) Dance to a song from every decade

3) Do the “strike” dance (you’ll just have to see it for yourself)

4) MOONWALK (it’s sooooo much easier with bowling shoes on)


Ridiculous…. We are a bunch of goofy laughing hyenas at the bowling alley and have managed to be the best closing team in the Broadway Show League. Last week everyone had to bowl a good last frame to win their match up and DID! I feel like a proud stage mom….

Tonight we will return, in third place, bearing the metaphoric bronze medal and waving our Jarabowland country flag high, singing our famous song: “Jarabowland! Jarabowland! Hear our cries and fear our bowlin…d….!”

I love you all.


Last week, the 15+ Jarabowlaz supporters witnessed a tiny slice of history as we beat the best team in the league 14-9. They are the unruly but hugely dominating “Balls Deep” team. These guys are scary. Not in the physical, vocal or snappy-dressing kinda way, but in a theatrical, eccentric, bowl-your-face-hole-off way. How did we do this, you may ask? Was it our will to bowl? Our desire to spread mercy, beauty, truth and bowling ball cheer to everyone? Or is it the fact that we get excited after EVERY BALL THROWN no matter where it ends up or who throws it?… Technically, none of these things, but MAN were we impressive!


Look gang, let’s get straight to it. We are .5 points out of FIRST. (1/2 a point!!) Amazing.

The bowling debut of our newest Jaradoa Member, Shelley “Spicy Vanilla Heat” Thomas, re-energized an already potent Jarabowlaz line up and propelled us to new heights. This is the closest we have ever been to first place. This week is a position week so we will be bowling that 1st place “Balls Deep” team from South Pacific….. grrrr. Our fearless co-captain, “Balls Wellington” (Brandon Giles), will be steering the Good Ship Jara-pop. I will miss you all this week.


Somebody’s in fiiiiirst…. And that somebody is U-S! Wooo! We rock.

Under the fearless tutelage of our co-captain, “Balls Wellington III,” the “A Team” from South Pacific fell like Humpty-Dumpty after a long night of partying. Come if you want a little taste of what being a national bowling champ feels like.


Tomorrow night is our wing party at Shorty’s…. and the Championship Game.

I felt a legitimate goose bump form on my right forearm as I wrote that subject line just now. I am pretty excited that we will playing for the Championship against a team that actually practices on Monday nights in Queens. We are 2.5 points behind so we gotta win, and we gotta win by 3 points to take home the coveted “Golden Tap Shoe.” Actually, I have no idea what award is given if you win the Broadway Bowling League, but I can imagine it will be something like that.

If you are indifferent about bowling, come hang out and watch the most improbable sporting outcome happen since that hockey team beat that other hockey team in that movie that came out a little while ago.

THIS IS THE BIG ONE! Also the last one. Who’s with me?!?!


So we finished the year in 2nd place…. I feel pretty darn good about that. I think that anyone who ever came to bowl with us would agree that it was something truly exciting to look forward to each week. There aren’t many people on this planet that put more good vibes into an atmosphere than the good people of Jaradoa Theater. 🙂 Well my friends, it’s time for Chris “Thunder Strike/ I Have a 127 Pin Bowling Average” Harbur to sign off for this season with the Jarabowlaz chant that got us all the way to #2: “Mercy, Beauty, Truth, BALLS!”

I love you all and will see you at the Kicknick on May 17th!



(Kicknic = kickball game + picnic!)

On Monday, May 17th
from 2:00-5:30 in Central Park
(If you read in our last email that it was on May 24th, you were misinformed by someone who is an enthusiastic Director of Community but apparently a poor proofreader. The 24th is our rain date.)

We’re playing kickball, y’all! And eating foodstuffs!
We even got us a permit to play on Heckscher Field #3 (click here for a map), so we’re legit!
Come play, or watch, or chow down, or just enjoy the blossoming of spring.
Friends, family, babies, pets – all are welcome at The Kicknic, so spread the word!

The Kicknic is a potluck, so please let us know that you’re coming and what you’d like to bring!
Hit Anika, Community Director and faulty proofreader, back at, so we can know how many we’re expecting, what food we’ve got, and where to fill in the holes.

We’re wicked psyched, folks!
We’ve already started a strenuous regimen of kick workouts

You’ve waited with baited breath… you’ve hoped and you’ve prayed for answers… and now it’s finally time!

We are so thrilled to announce that our spring/summer production will be the hilarious new musical I’LL BE DAMNED!

I’LL BE DAMNED is the story of a friendless, comic-book-loving homeschooler named Louis who receives a seemingly irresistible offer from Satan. Louis’ mother is a little late in coming to terms with her son growing up, God seems lost in his vision of a perfect world, and Louis is discovering himself as he attempts to find just one true friend.

We are also thrilled to announce that Mary Testa (GUYS AND DOLLS), Kenita R. Miller (THE COLOR PURPLE) and Kurt Robbins (Nat’l Tour of THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE) have already been cast in this fresh new musical comedy. Jaradoa Artistic Director April Nickell will direct I’LL BE DAMNED, which is written by Rob Broadhurst and Brent Black.

The show will be performed (as was SHAFRIKA, THE WHITE GIRL) at The Dimson Theatre at The Vineyard, and will run from July 1-18th (schedule varies).

The best part is, tickets are now on sale! Be the first of your friends to grab tickets to what will undoubtedly be the most devilish musical you’ve ever seen! For more information, visit!

Since we’re in pre-production for our next show, we started to reminisce about our past productions! The result? A charming photo flashback for all to enjoy – including commentary from those who lived it! And stay posted for announcements about our upcoming show!

The cast of Shafrika, The White Girl, our musical about Anika Larsen’s childhood growing up with 9 brothers and sisters adopted from all over the world.

Rehearsal for our Gypsy of the Year skit featuring the casts of Shafrika, The White Girl and Avenue Q.

“What a wicked crazy stupid fun rehearsal that was, with all these wildly talented people coming to play with us in a ridiculous hip-hop number choreographed by Luis.  It was one of those times when you don’t want to be in the thing because you want to watch and see how funny and fierce everyone is.  And when you don’t mind being upstaged, cuz you’re being upstaged by a puppet.”
–Anika Larson

Eileen Rivera and Jeremy O’Grady in The Small of Her Back, our first straight play.

“I’ll always treasure working on this piece. It was a thriller, so April, Jeremy and I worked really hard to tell the story so the audience wasn’t ahead of us yet took everyone on a ride. That gun was heavy. (Guns are heavy, people.) Poor Jeremy’s wrist chafed from the handcuffs, and I had to put my ego aside and wear absolutely no makeup. I will also always hold in such high esteem Brandon’s amazing scenic design. He’d put some inside jokes on post-its on the walls, like all Jaradoa members’ names near the lamp, and even at one spot by the front door, the entire condensed plot of the play! Good thing no one noticed.”
–Eileen Rivera

Nicole Lewis, Kelly McCreary and Eileen Rivera singing in the musical Serenade, our first production.

Post-Serenade powwow with the In the Heights creative team:  Heights choreographer Andy Blankenbeuhler, Serenade actor Anika Larsen and director April Nickell, Heights writer/actor Lin-Manuel Miranda, Serenade/Heights actor Joshua Henry, Serenade/Heights choreographer/performer Luis Salgado, and Heights director Tommy Kail.

“This was exciting for me because I had seen In The Heights a few times and loved it, so I was thrilled when “the hot dancer with the hair” became my dear collaborator and the creative team saw my company’s first show!”
–April Nickell

What have we been posting?

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