Top Shelf 2015 selections have been made!

    News and Information November 19th, 2014 By Amy Saidman
    Top Shelf 2015 selections have been made!

    We are beyond excited to announce another batch of stand-out stories for SpeakeasyDC’s 5th annual Top Shelf, a showcase of the best stories of year. We will be at our largest venue ever -- the historic Lincoln Theater which seats 1200!  Congratulations to these fantastic storytellers! So happy to have you on the SpeakeasyDC stage. (In parantheses is the show title at which they first performed their winning story.) Special shout-out to Amy Couchoud for producing the show for another year. 

    Top Row L to R: Cara Foran (Sucker for Love); Chris Obermeyer (After-School Special); Mike Baireuther (Unprecedented); Martha Whitty (The Phoenix)

    Bottom Row L to R: Phill Branch (Born This Way); Amanda Sapir (Happy Accidents); Andre Francisco (Full House); and 3rd time Top Shelfer, John Tong (Cat's Out of the Bag).

    We've already sold over 300 tickets, so don't wait. Last year, we did two back-to-back shows at the 9:30 Club and sold out 1300 seats well before showtime. So many people showed up at the door bummed they hadn't bought tickets in advance, so don't let that be you. Save a bunch of money on fees if you show up at the Lincoln of 9:30 Club box office in person. If you do that, it's just $1 a ticket instead of up to $8 or more when you do it online or by phone. MORE INFO | DIRECT TICKET LINK  

    How did these stories get picked?

    For those of you new to this show, SEDC faculty members screen and score all the stories that have been told on the SpeakeasyDC stage over the last 12 months (Nov 2013 thru Oct 2014) — that’s over 125 stories. We narrow the list down to 16 nominees which are then screened and scored by a panel of independent judges who determine the final eight.

    Our illustrious panel of judges this year included these fabulous artists, thinkers, and taste-makers (See photos):

    Toni Rae Salmi has been involved in the DC theater community since 1999, mainly as an actor, but she's been known to direct and sing too. Most of her recent adventures have been with Pinky Swear Productions, a company dedicated to creating productions with strong, engaging roles for women. She truly believes everyone has a great story to tell.

    Mark Chalfant is the artistic & executive director of Washington Improv Theater, where he has been playing gleefully since helping re-found the company in 1997. Mark has performed and directed over 20 ensemble projects with WIT and is a founding cast-member of WIT company ensemble iMusical. Mark brings a storytelling sensibility to improv and teaches an elective in improvised narrative & storytelling in WIT's classes program.

    Andres Marquez-Lara is the Founder & Passion Catalyst at Promethean Community LLC, a global consulting company that uses performing arts to create social change in public health. He is inspired by the power of stories to connect people all around the world.

    Neda Ulaby reports on arts, entertainment, and cultural trends for NPR's Arts Desk. Scouring the various and often overlapping worlds of art, music, television, film, new media and literature, Ulaby's radio and online stories reflect political and economic realities, cultural issues, obsessions and transitions, as well as artistic adventurousness— and awesomeness

    Joel Daly is the host and lead organizer of the Washington, D.C. chapter of CreativeMornings, a global monthly event series designed to gather and inspire the creative community through engaging talks from great, creative thinkers. Joel is a partner at Artemis Ward, a strategic branding and digital marketing agency, where he leads the experience design practice.

    How were the stories scored??

    Story Crafting – 10 points (50%)
    • Is it a story (vs. anecdote, stand-up routine, lecture, etc.)?
    • Does it have the elements of a good story (conflict, action, characters, insight meaning, change)?
    • Is the story visual? Can you picture the scenes described?
    • Is the story suspenseful? Does it have high stakes?
    Performance – 5 points (25%)
    • Is the teller authentic?
    • Does the teller have vulnerable or revealing moments?
    • Is the performance entertaining or moving?
    Originality – 5 points (25%)
    • Is the story memorable?
    • Is the story surprising?
    • Is the story crafted or structured in an interesting or unusual way?



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