Tag Archives: ensemble studio theatre

Ensemble Studio Theatre’s 34th Annual Marathon.

6 Jun

Series A of Ensemble Studio Theatre’s annual marathon of short plays has come and gone, and I couldn’t be prouder of my little play Curmudgeons in Love. I hope the play goes on to having a larger life and I’m using some of its themes in a full-length I’m toying with. Here’s what some folks around town had to say about it:

Another highlight is Joshua Conkel’s “Curmudgeons in Love,” in which Ralph (a hilarious David Margulies), now in assisted living, is visited by his 40-ish granddaughter Robin (Nina Hellman), who’s clearly disappointed with her own life.

“Assisted living has a nice ring to it,” she sighs.

Widowed after a half-century of marriage, Ralph has found an unlikely new love in Jackie (Martin Shakar), a male octogenarian with a hunky grandson (Alex Manette) who offers Robin a chance at romance. With dialogue so profane it would make David Mamet blush, it’s an off-kilter, alter-kocker love story.

Joshua Conkel’s “Curmudgeons in Love” is the comic crowd pleaser of the evening. David Margulies and Martin Shakar play the explosive, foul-mouthed, retirement-home-resident stars in this latest addition to the inexhaustible grumpy-old-men genre. While the play is not exactly a font of subtlety, it is pure heaven to see these superannuated rascals cuss (and kiss!) up a storm.

Joshua Conkel’s “Curmudgeons In Love” is the crowd pleaser of the bunch. With a relatively larger cast, and with a ripped-from-the-headlines flavor, it has the greatest potential for spinning out of control. It doesn’t, thanks to Ralph Pena’s fastidious direction, and the actors’ skill in reigning in the play’s over the top possibilities. David Margulies is superb as an assisted living facility resident who is not quite ready to put his life on the shelf. 

The most fully realized work was the last, Curmudgeons in Love, by Joshua Conkel in which nurse Daniel(Veronica Cruz), granddaughter Robin (Nina Hellman) and grandson (Alex Manette) conspire to reunite grumpy old Ralph (David Margulies) and Jackie (Martin Shakar). The rabid nasty but loving quips may be shtick but they are so well-done that this is a perfect and perfectly enjoyable play wonderfully directed by Ralph Pena.

Cast: Veronica Cruz (Daniela), Nina Hellman (Robin), Alex Manette (Brant), David Margulies (Ralph), Martin Shakar (Jackie).

May in the Conkelverse.

2 May

May is a very big month in the land of Conkel. My full-length play, I Wanna Destroy You, is opening on May 17th at The Beckett Theatre at Theatre Row. This is a world premiere that has been years in the making and I’m really excited to share this funny, sweet play with the world. (Plus, there’s still time to donate.)


Speaking of funny and sweet, my short play Curmudgeons in Love will be in Series A of Ensemble Studio Theatre‘s annual marathon of short plays. This is a real honor. I have a tremendous cast, and I’m sharing a bill with some fancy schmancy playwrights (ever heard of John Patrick Shanley?) The Marathon starts on May 18th. 


Come see I Wanna Destroy You on May 17th and The Marathon Series A on May 18th and have an all gay week of Conkel!

Last but not least, I’ve been blogging up a storm over on tumblr. It’s not at all professional, but it sure is fun. Follow me!

Conkel in the Hamptons.

20 Jul


I’m thrilled that Ensemble Studio Theatre has chosen me to attend the Stony Brook Southampton Writers’ Conference this weekend to work on Sprawl, the enormously weird and weirdly enormous sci-fi play I wrote for the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab. 

The last time I was in the Hamptons a giant wave attempted to take me under and I was nearly concussed from its banging my head on the ocean floor. If I don’t come back, remember me fondly.