Coming at you, opening night, Cherry Lane Theatre, Off Broadway NYC.
WRITTEN AND PERFORMED BY ROBERT GALINSKY
FEATURING GALINSKY SOLO
FEATURING BARRY "SHABAKA" HENLEY & MONIQUE COLEMAN
Based on true stories and real people, The Bench, set in urban decay and rubble, explores the emotional heartbreak of five homeless characters and the catastrophic hysteria surrounding AIDS in the late 1980’s. It’s solo theater, where one actor plays five characters, written in dialogue form.
“If you enjoy the work of Anna Deavere Smith or 'Humans of New York" you're in for a treat. Galinsky transforms himself into a living ghost. His vital solo piece, is the most important kind of urban voyeurism. It puts a smile on your lips and moisture in your eyes.”
Theater Is Easy
“Director Jay O. Sanders has built a career on roles that are inseparable from the worlds that spawned them; that same sensibility is certain to be in evidence in the play The Bench.” DEADLINE Hollywood
“Galinsky is a theatre operative, impresario, and a bundle of energy and curly black hair.”
Wall Street Journal
"Galinsky’s street dwellers speak in their own voices, and their voices ring true.”
The New Haven Independent
"Manhattan 1980s and 1990s East Village comes to life onstage in Hollywood... 'The Bench' chronicles the time and passions that still resonate today."
Los Angles Blade
Purchase fine art prints from the graphic novel and scenic design by Daphne Arthur HERE
(Proceeds go to charities that provide resources for people experiencing homelessness.)
Visit our newest partner Actor Trade
“This lovingly rendered one-man production is a scrumptious basket of vivid details that sings out with clarion truth. These street walkers, bag men, and tramps are embodied with exacting detail in the kind of star turn that old school actors and worshippers of the craft dream about.” Broadway World
“With deft acting chops that evoke the transformative versatility of Robin Williams and Jim Carrey, Galinsky brings a heart-rending tale of love, fate & heroics.”
Beauty News NYC
“It is all there. Sadness, confusion, joy, rage. Galinsky steps into the characters and you feel the bizarre levels underneath. Galinsky does it. He embraces it. He accomplishes it.”
Jay O. Sanders
"The casting process is all about revealing the truth. The actors that we cast for THE BENCH, were able to connect with and deliver amazing characters and insightful choices for us. Extraordinary talent for an exceptional play is what makes casting so rewarding & meaningful! This play is not to be missed. It's that important."
Jeffrey Dreisbech, McCorkle Casting
To date The Bench shows have raised over $10,000, served more than 5000 meals, donated over 5000 pairs of socks, and over 100 solar lights to those in need. We don't stop. We have partnered with over 50 organizations including: MPOWERD Solar Lighting, Bombas Socks, Downtown Women’s Center, A Million Drops LearningCenter, Housing Works, and the Research Foundation to Cure AIDS in order to bring light, peace, and comfort to populations in need. We raise awareness and funds, as well as volunteer at these organizations as well. We don't stop.
Press interviews and reviews please contact Joe Trentacosta at 973.568.8236
Booking Inquiries please contact Adrianne Carlyle galinskynow@gmail.
Conyers Rockdale Council on the Arts, GA
Saint Anselm College, Manchester NH
Virtual Table Reading, Actor Trade on Facebook
Matrix Theater, Los Angeles CA
Hudson Theater, Los Angeles CA
Venice High School, Los Angeles CA
West Adams High School, Los Angeles CA
WordTheatre, Los Angeles CA
East Village Playhouse, New York NY
Rikers Island Jail, New York NY
Cherry Lane Theatre, New York NY
Dixon Place, New York NY
The Kitchen, New York NY
The Horse Trade Theater, New York NY
Performance Studies International Conf, Wales UK
Victoria Theatre, Portsmouth England
The Gas Station, New York NY
Collective Unconscious, New York NY
The Performance Studio, New Haven CT
Art In Heaven, New Haven CT
"Galinsky effortlessly assumes the bodies and voices of his characters, instantly transforming from one to the next from monologue to dialogue — it is really quite extraordinary. All that’s really called for is a bench. Other than that, Galinsky doesn’t need any help." Backstage Magazine
"'Galinsky's street dwellers speak in their own voices, and their voices ring true." The New Haven Independent
"Galinsky is manic, deadpan, and takes aim with psychotic precision.” High Times Magazine
"This brother is down with the corn!" Street News Newspaper
"Galinsky…downtown poet priest." New York Observer
“Not your normal kind of theatre… it keeps your head moving.” The New York Amsterdam News
"Galinsky herds multiple personalities into an evening of furious poetic justice." New York Press
"Galinsky’s performance itself was not unlike a well crafted Bach chorale or fugue where one musical motif seems to merge seamlessly into the other creating layers at times harmonious and other times resolving into an unexpected cluster of dissonance once again opening us up to yet another motif or character which all seem to be born of each other thru Galinsky himself." Wayne Lopes, Production Manager, The Kitchen
Writer/Performer, Robert Galinsky; Presenters: Barry "Shabaka" Henley and Monique Coleman; Director, Jay O. Sanders; Executive Producer, Terry Schnuck; Chief Creative Consultant; Mark Schoenfeld; General Manager, Jeff Chrczcon, Public Relations; Joe Trentacosta; Graphic Novelization, Daphne Arthur; Sound Designer, Melanie Wong.
ROBERT GALINSKY (playwright/performer) is a multifaceted director, actor & playwright. Galinsky has directed & co-written over 50 TEDx Talks, he debuted Off Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theater in his critically acclaimed solo show “The Bench, A Homeless Love Story” directed by Jay O. Sanders, presented by Barry “Shabaka” Henley, & he is a recipient of a NY State Council on the Arts Grant for his musical “Endurance.” He most recently presented at Oxford University on “Literacy & Teenagers in Prison” & was selected to perform his iconic poem “Five Fights” at the 2022 Whitney Biennial (where it remains in their permanent collection.) He has directed and/or coached: Stephen McKinley Henderson (“She’s Gone”), 50 Cent (“Righteous Kill”), Noah Emmerich (Edward Albee’s “The Happy Couple”), Laura San Giacomo (reading of “The Bench”) & Chelsea Clinton (TEDxTeen) among others.
JAY O. SANDERS (director) Jay O. Sanders most recently appeared at the Public Theater in a trilogy of new plays written and directed by Richard Nelson called The Gabriels; Election Year in the Life of One Family, with a company including his wife, Maryann Plunkett. The productions then toured the world, were filmed by WNET, and live streamed on BroadwayHD. Before that, they also appeared together in Nelson’s four-play series, The Apple Family which was filmed and shown as well on WNET before touring Europe. A a passionate Shakespearian, Sanders has also been seen in King Lear, Titus Andronicus, Twelfth Night, Hamlet, Midsummer Night’s Dream, among others, as well as portraying George W. Bush in David Hare’s Stuff Happens at the Public and Alfred Doolittle in Pygmalion at the Roundabout on Broadway. In 2015, his own play, Unexplored interior, had its world premiere as the inaugural production of Washington D.C.’s Mosaic Theater. His long list of film credits includes JFK, The Day After Tomorrow, Glory, Tumbleweeds, Half Nelson, Edge of Darkness, and Revolutionary Road. Recent Television includes Sneaky Pete, True Detective, Blindspot, The Good Wife, American Odyssey, and Person of Interest. His voice can be frequently heard narrating a long list of PBS documentaries, from WGBH’s NOVA to WNET’s Secrets of the Dead.
BARRY "SHABAKA" HENLEY (presenter) Equally riveting on the big screen, small screen or on stage, veteran actor Barry Shabaka Henley draws from a rich history of acting in many high profile films, television shows and theatre productions. Over the past 25 years, Henley has amassed an impressive amount of film and television credits. He has starred in the big budget hits including "The Terminal", "Rush Hour", "Patch Adams", "How Stella Got her Grove Back" "Bulworth" and “Carrie”. Henley has been honored to have director/producer Michael Mann cast him in several projects such as including his films "Ali", "Collateral" and "Miami Vice". He recently co-starred in Jim Jarmusch's "Paterson" which was in Official Competition at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. He next appears in “A Star Is Born” with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. Henley’s numerous television credits include starring roles on “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Crossing Jordan,” “Providence,” “ER,” “Body of Proof,” “Veep,” and “Shameless” well as a recurring role on the series’ “Close to Home,” “NYPD Blue,” and “Flashforward.” He was a series regular on Showtime’s “Barbershop” and worked with Michael Mann as a series regular on “Robbery Homicide Division” and was featured in a recurring role on Mann’s HBO series “Luck” starring Dustin Hoffman. Recent appearances include "Better Call Saul", "NCIS: New Orleans", "Black-ish" and a recurring role on “Bosch”. Henley has toured extensively with the theatre production of “Jitney” and was a featured player in “Richard II,” “Waiting for Godot” and “As You Like It.” He won a NAACP Image Award for his work in “Rabbit Foot.” Most recently, he was the writer and star of "Mingus Remixed" which premiered at the Lorraine Hansberry Theater in San Francisco and the production of "Satchmo at The Waldorf" at the Court Theater in Chicago and Palm Beach Dramaworks. Born in New Orleans, Henley currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife and son.
MONIQUE COLEMAN (presenter) is an American actress, singer, dancer and entrepreneur. She is best known for playing the role of Taylor McKessie in Disney's High School Musical movies as well as for appearing as Mary Margaret in the series ‘The Suite Life of Zack & Cody’. Coleman, who once competed in ABC's ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ was very deeply involved in her school and community, performing in plays and volunteering with abused children. Monique received the title of the first UN Youth Champion for the International Year of Youth. In addition to her career in the entertainment field, she is also an entrepreneur who has achieved considerable success in her business ventures. She launched her online talk show called ‘Gimme Mo', a show dedicated to today's youth, in September 2010. “The Bench is a powerful piece that shines a light on the complexity and humanity of people experiencing homelessness. As a performer, I am passionate about supporting projects that exist at the intersection of art and activism, which is why I am honored to present The Bench.”
TERRY SCHNUCK (executive producer) Terry Schnuck is the Managing Member of Linden Park Productions LLC. He is a five-time Tony Award winning Broadway and Off-Broadway producer whose numerous Broadway credits include: Bandstand; Sunset Boulevard; Fun Home (Tony); Beautiful: The Carole King Musical; Matilda the Musical; Clybourne Park (Tony); The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess (Tony); Hair (Tony); Spring Awakening (Tony); You Can't Take It With You; Bonnie & Clyde; High; Race; Superior Donuts; Burn The Floor; Blithe Spirit; The Homecoming; Martin Short: Fame Becomes M; The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial; 'night, Mother; Enchanted April. Off-Broadway: Shear Madness; Falling; Silence! The Musical.Terry is also a principal of The Manhattan Monologue Slam. Currently on the board and former chairman of The MUNY in St. Louis (America’s oldest and largest outdoor musical theatre, he has is formerly chair of Shakespeare Festival St. Louis.
DAPHNE ARTHUR (set design, graphic novelization) received an MFA from Yale in 2009 and a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2007. Solo exhibitions include: RARE gallery in NY and the University of Massachusetts Boston and group exhibitions nationally and internationally at the Honfleur Gallery in DC, City College of NY, The Nathan Cummings Foundation, Laviolabank Gallery, Marvelli Gallery, Rush Arts Gallery, Arena 1 in Santa Monica, California African American Museum in LA, Land of Tomorrow in Louisville, Mexic-Arte Museum, 59 Rivoli gallery in Paris and Florence Biennale VIII in Italy.
JOE TRENTACOSTA (public relations) Joe Trentacosta (President) began his career in public relations over 15 years ago as an assistant at Springer/Chicoine PR. He was a PR assistant on the Tony Award winning show Side Man and NAT’s Judgment at Nuremberg. In a short time, he rose in the ranks and eventually became Vice-President of Springer Associates PR, overseeing all live theatrical and special events including running the pr campaigns for campaigns for the Earth, Wind and Fire musical Hot Feet and the multi-cultural Broadway productions of Tennessee William’s A Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with James Earl Jones and Terrence Howard and A Streetcar Named Desire with Blair Underwood to name a few. Off-Broadway companies included The Actor’s Company, Theatre For a New Audience, The Women’s Project, Tada Youth Theatre, Amas Musical Theatre as well as the Off-Broadway hit the Gazillion Bubble Show (which has been feature on many national television shows including: “Oprah Winfrey Show,” “Today Show,” “Good Morning America,” “Regis and Kelly” and many more), Throughout his career he worked with a number of celebrities such as Tom Cruise, Will Smith, John Travolta, Al Pacino, Debbie Allen, Steve Buscemi, Anika Noni Rose, Phylicia Rashaad and many more.
JEFF CHRZCZON (general manager) has 25 years of experience as Producer and General Manager of live entertainment. His Broadway credits include: The Temptations & Four Tops on Broadway, Billy Crystal 700 Sundays, Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth, The Lyons, Kathy Griffin Wants a Tony, Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles, Saturday Night Fever, Jekyll & Hyde, Sandra Bernhard’s “I’m Still Here Damn it!”, Patti Labelle on Broadway, The Kentucky Cycle, and Solitary Confinement. Off-Broadway: Shear Madness, Bikeman: A 9/11 Play, Lady Day, Falling and more. National tours: Man of La Mancha, Damn Yankees, Spider-Man Live! stunt spectacular, Saturday Night Fever, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Evita, Selena the Musical, Man of La Mancha, West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, A Chorus Line, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Jesus Christ Superstar, She Loves Me, Hair, and more.