No stranger to the Hampton theatre scene, Long Island playwright Cindi Sansone-Braff has been creating plays since she majored in playwrighting, receiving a BFA in 1975 from the University of Connecticut. Her theater reviews and theater columns are read all over the Hamptons and Long Island in both print and websites via the various “Messenger Papers.” Yet, as she attended the staged World Premiere of her play, “The Menu,” produced by the Kingdom Theatre in NYC on Friday, November 3, she said, “I didn’t know what to expect, but it was spectacular. C.Kelly Wright and her actors brought my words to life, with action and terrific movement.”
The Kingdom Theatre’s mission is to empower, encourage, and uplift people through the visual and performing arts. “The Menu” was part of the Playwrights Weekend Celebration produced by Kingdom Theatre’s talented Artistic Director, Nickolas III.
Unlike Sansone-Braff’s other produced full-length plays, “The Menu” is an attention-grabbing ten-minute play. The main character, Chris, receives an Evite to a Come-As-You-Are Party at “The Final Exit Bar and Grill.” When Chris is handed a menu, the whole event takes on a tragic twist. This play is based on a dream the playwright had, which centered on “selecting your method of death.” Although this does not seem to be a comical topic, Sansone-Braff’s brilliant writing, augmented by great actors and the brilliant direction of C.Kelly Wright, took “The Menu” to a place where there is much-needed comedic relief as the characters rattle through this serious topic as if it were a menu at a diner.
Playwright Cindi Sansone-Braff was ecstatic about the participation of Director C. Kelly Wright, a New York City native actor, singer, and dancer whose greatest love is developing new works. Wright has given voice to the development of Broadway shows, from the Tony-award-winning musical “Memphis” to Katori Hall’s “The Mountaintop.”
The audience truly enjoyed the talent of the two actors. Their facial expressions, movements, and gravitas captivated the audience. Taifa “Harmony” Bartz portrayed the part of Chris. Bartz, born into a musical family, is the daughter of two-time Grammy winner Gary Bartz. She has been singing, acting, and dancing since she was two years old and followed her passion by studying music, theatre, and dance in college. She now leads her own jazz/funk/neo-soul band and has starred in and directed many stage, film, and TV productions.
Meanwhile, the role of Pat was powerfully portrayed by Nubia. While aptly demonstrating her talent as an actor, Nubia is also a poet and a classical hip-hop artist from the Bronx. Nubia’s album, “THE UPTOWN QUEEN,” is available on all digital distribution platforms. Many predict one day, she will be a Grammy-winning songwriter and perhaps an Oscar-winning actress.
Sansone-Braff is a member of the Dramatists Guild and is an award-winning playwright. She is also the author of three books available on Amazon; “Grant Me a Higher Love,” “Why Good People Can’t Leave Bad Relationships,” and “Confessions of a Reluctant Long Island Psychic.” Her dramatic play, “A Whole, Empty House,” was a finalist in the Robert A. Forest Playwriting Competition. Her full-length, romantic comedy, “Angel’s Mice and Men,” was a finalist in Lodi’s National New Play contest and Theatre Festival and was produced in 2019 at the Summerfest Theater Festival at the Hudson Guild Theatre in NYC and was published in 2021 by Next Stage Press. Her full-length, dramatic play, “Phantom Pain,” was a finalist in Minneapolis’s Playwrights Center’s Playlab program. Her full-length music drama “Beethoven’s Promethean Concerto in C Minor WoO,” was produced at the BACCA Center on Long Island in August 2017 and is published by Next Stage Press.