By Janine Bowen
Having a play open in Manhattan is a dream come true for any aspiring playwright. For one Armonk teen that dream has become a reality sooner than expected.
Alexander Baron, a junior at Byram Hills High School, will see his work, “Love Behind Bars,” premiered at the Manhattan Repertory Theater Tuesday night as part of the Fall One Act Play Competition.
“He’s been writing, directing, producing and acting in plays in the house for as long as I can remember,” remarked Alexander’s father, Scott Baron. “We’re very proud of him.”
The play, which Alexander wrote while studying for his final exams last year, takes place 44 years in the future. The story revolves around a female cook, Jennifer, who falls in love with one of the three inmates at the United Communists State Penitentiary. The idea is one that Baron had in mind for a while before finally bringing it to life, although it’s not the first play he has written.
“I always tried to put on shows, but I never really followed through with it. This time I applied, got in and ran with it,” said Baron of writing and submitting his work.
In addition to writing the play, Baron is also the producer and assembled a creative team of several Byram Hills students and alumni. Key members of the crew, including director Augustus Jacobson, lead actress Jeannine Scarpino, assistant director Michael Melkonian and production assistant Jacob Stuckelman, all came out of the Armonk school. In addition, Evan Trainor, who designed the logo for the play, is a current Byram Hills senior.
“I was so proud to comprise the creative team and some of the cast from Byram Hills alum and existing students,” Baron said. “I’ve learned so much from the [Byram Hills] theater program that it was an honor to go back and select people to be part of this production.”
In addition to giving Baron the opportunity to showcase his work and honor his school, the experience of developing a production from scratch has helped inspire what will be his future college course of study. Writing the play and working on its promotion and advertisement has led Baron to explore a degree in theater and business.
“I’ve always been in the cast [of plays] and it’s awesome to look from the other side of the spectrum,” Baron said.
“He was able to put [business and theater] together and feel like he was creating a business,” added his father.
The play will run this week through Saturday night as part of the Fall One Act Play semifinals. Each performance gets underway at 9 p.m. at The Manhattan Repertory Theater, located at 303 W. 42 St. (at 8th Avenue) Tickets are $20 each and can be obtained by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
After the play’s initial five-day run, audience voting will determine if Baron advances to the next round and gets closer to the $1,000 prize. Regardless of the outcome, seeing his production come to life is what he is most enthusiastic about.
“I’m really just excited for people to see my work and going into the theater, and having the honor of having my show in New York City has always been a huge dream of mine,” he said. “It’s a really awesome feeling to watch my work being performed.”