News from the world of No You Tell It

Alum Fun Update: Jeanine T. Abraham’s “Community Organized!”

This is the era to take a stand, but generations of African American Women have been standing up for our entire lifetimes.

Community Organized!  is a collection of five short plays written by friend and alum Jeanine T. Abraham, centering the unique experience of American Black Women and Girls who reside on the front lines of activism in our communities while leading the dominant culture with our style, resilience, humor and beauty while (the majority of us) are invisibly visible in America. Hope to see you on the 19th!

Click here for more info and tickets

Writer, Producer, Actor – Jeanine T. Abraham was inspired to write and produce these plays during the 2016 election cycle and after the election results.

Five plays are:

  • Kiel’s Lotion – Takes place at Equinox Gym Brooklyn HeightsLadies dressing room right before the Women’s March 2017
  • And Then They Came For… – Takes place in the near future in front of the Donut Plant on Bergen & Flatbush Ave in Brooklyn
  • Lacefront – Takes place in 2015 at the NYC Traffic Violations Bureau in Brooklyn
  • Natural – Takes place in 2018 on line at the World of Curls Natural hair Festival in Prospect Park Brooklyn
  • Community Organized! – Takes place in 2022 in the Community room of First Baptist United Church in Bed Stuy Brooklyn

Written by Jeanine T. Abraham

Directed by Shannon Patterson

Co-Produced by VisAbleblackwoman Productions & GroundShift

Alum Fun Update: Timmy Waldron’s “Stories for People Who Watch TV”

Our own Kelly Jean is thrilled to be back at Fairleigh Dickinson’s summer writing residency working with faculty, students, and alums of FDU’s MFA in Creative Writing program. No, YOU Tell It! “Schooled” is this Sunday, August 5th, featuring “switched-up” storytellers: Andrew Condouris, Eliot Schrefer, and Tiffany L. Berryman.

SPECIAL SHOUT OUT to FDU and NYTI alum & friend, Timmy Waldron, who has a new short-story collection. Learn more about Stories for People Who Watch TV at and click here to grab a copy!

In Stories for People Who Watch TV, from start to finish, Timmy Waldron deals deftly with the characters of his generation:  the mischief they get up to, their jobs, their coworkers, their new suits, the bars, their parents, their husbands and wives, their dependence on technology and the credit-card grifters, the physical and spiritual fights with one another and themselves.  Waldron’s fictional portrait – as befits a master craftsman – is so impeccable one begins to fear that it is real, and maybe it is – regardless, the reader will continue breathlessly turning pages.  Stories for People Who Watch TV is not to be missed.  Waldron is a writer who delivers!

-Thomas E. Kennedy, author of the Copenhagen Quartet (

Want to HEAR some of Timmy’s work today? Click here listen to him switch up his story in Episode 2 of our podcast.



From Page to Stage: Sarah Lawrence Writing Institute Workshop


Excited to share that Mike Dressel and Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons are teaching a five-week workshop in collaborative creative nonfiction at the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence this fall: ‘

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 until Tuesday, October 23, 2018 from 10-12 PM.

Click here for registration details.  & Help us spread the news!

From Page to Stage: Writing Creative Nonfiction for Performance with Mike Dressel and Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons

Nothing informs your story like hearing someone else perform your story!

Compose a creative nonfiction story using the collaborative process created by the producers of the nonfiction reading series, No, YOU Tell It!

Whether developing a true-life tale for a venue like The Moth or RISK! or working to sharpen it for publication, our “page to stage” process allows writers to gain a new perspective on the story they want to tell by hearing their words read out loud by someone else, while also improving their own stage presence.

This five-week session takes you from brainstorming, through drafting, to a finished piece of creative nonfiction.

  • Session one features generative exercises such as “I Remember” and “Sensory Blitz” to brainstorm memorable moments and sharpen sensory details.
  • Sessions two and three feature group exercises with targeted feedback for each writer. We’ll also explore revision strategies to find shape and structure, develop your “I-character,” and raise the stakes.
  • Sessions four and five address pacing in performance, strengthening story beats, and rehearsing basic stage techniques to help embody your partner’s story and give it a little oomph in the final reading.

By the end of this workshop, participants take an idea from a thematic suggestion all the way through to a polished draft, engage in useful feedback and revision techniques, and consider the importance of audience and delivery.

Click here for registration details! 

No, YOU Tell It! is a “switched-up” storytelling series dedicated to performing true-life tales with a twist: Each participant develops their own story on the page and then flip scripts with a partner to present each other’s story on stage. We’ve found that this shared storytelling format creates a sense of trust and ownership, and blends the collaborative process of creative writing workshops with the intimacy and immediacy of theatrical performance.

Mike Dressel is a writer and educator. His work has appeared in publications such as Litbreak, The James Franco ReviewChelsea Station, and Vol. 1 Brooklyn, among others, as well as in the anthologies Best Gay Stories 2016 and Best Gay Stories 2017. He has been a judge for The Prose Bowl, a flash fiction reading series, and a panelist on the comedy news show Fight the Feed.

Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons is a writer, teacher, and storyteller. Her recent work has appeared in Hippocampus MagazineMarie ClaireBlack Fox Literary MagazineNewtown Literary, and she is a 2017 Pushcart Prize Nominee. After earning her MFA in creative nonfiction from Fairleigh Dickinson University, she created No, YOU Tell It!, a switched-up storytelling series with a twist: Each NYTI participant develops their own story on the page and then flips scripts with a partner to present each other’s story on stage.

“Mayday” Glory

What a glorious night of story swapping at The Astoria Bookshop. Thank you to everyone who came out on May 10th for our “Mayday” show!

pictured left to right: M Skye Holly, Angela Cobb, Ryan Holmes, and Allison Escoto

Podcast episodes featuring the live show available soon here and on iTunes. SUBSCRIBE today!

Talking Literary Citizenship with Newtown Literary

Our “Mayday” show is tonight, 6:30 at The Astoria Bookshop! While you wait, give a LISTEN to our own Kelly Jean on Episode 2 of Newtown Literary’s Queens Writes Podcast.

Newtown Literary Alliance Executive Director, Tim Fredrick, and Newtown Literary Editor, Jackie Sherbow, speak with four local Queens writers, Nancy Agabian, Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons, Catherine LaSota, and Joseph Salvatore about literary citizenship—including how to get involved with your literary community and how to write book reviews and author interviews.

Come Sip-N-Scribe!

We’re super excited for our first “Mayday” story meeting tomorrow! Save the date for the show – May 10th – at The Astoria Bookshop. More info on the switched-up storytellers soon.

Want to get in on the writing? Come Sip-N-Scribe at QED in Astoria the THIRD TUESDAY every month at 8 pm with our own Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons and alum Jenn Wehrung.

Sip-N-Scribe is a fun evening of creative writing prompts, idea swapping, and drink-sipping. The goal is to experiment with something new on the page in an informal, relaxed way, all while enjoying an evening out with your friends while making new ones.

Hope to see you!!

April 10, 2018 Post Comment News

Alum Fun Update: Nelson Lugo’s “Cheating Death: Magic, Memoirs & Mortality”

Nelson Lugo’s one-man shows feature slight-of-hand and are full of heart as he interweaves magic with storytelling. We were honored to have him develop a deeply personal story with us for our “Wild Card” show. Click here to give a listen to his true-life tale “Crazy Sad” about magic, mental institutions, and the miracle of a well-made cookie in Episode 16.

Coming up on April 7th! Grab a ticket see Nelson’s newest show – Cheating Death: Magic, Memoirs & Mortality – a personal examination of one magician’s life – or more specifically – his many brushes with death.

The raw vulnerability in the stories is heightened by the wonder, intimacy, and sometimes danger of the classically performed parlour magic. The result is a joyful celebration of life and all of its varied deaths.

Click here for more info and to buy tickets.

Alum Fun Update: Jenn Wehrung’s “Takin U Back”

Along with being the co-host of Laugh It Up, Astoria, Jenn Wehrung from our “Three Strikes” show also has one of the funniest and most entertaining podcasts around.

Give a listen to Takin U Back, where Robb & Jenn dissect a given year in terms of pop culture, history, and more! Three episodes – 1977, 2003, 1968 – available on iTunes or Soundcloud with more soon.


See you on May 10th for our No, YOU Tell It! “Mayday” show at The Astoria Bookshop.  Check back for info on the storytellers!

Alum Fun Update: Alex Gray’s “Photo Play”

Alex Gray first switched-up her true-life tale in our Urban Dwellers show. Later, she took part in an impromptu on-the-spot story swap with our own Mike Dressel. Click here to give a listen.

Coming up on March 21st – ONE NIGHT ONLY performance at Dixon Place – is Alex’s original piece Photo Play about personal snapshots: how they connect us, shape our identities, and dictate the stories and memories that remain after we’re gone. Alex workshopped portions of the script our NYTI alumnae sessions, which she stated were –

“Invaluable in helping me clarify the characters and hone the overall intention of the piece. As rehearsals roll on, I’ve been thinking a lot about those early sessions, and how having the opportunity to hear the text read aloud and (gently) teased apart with helpful questions was a crucial part of the development process. I am so grateful to have had the attention and input of NYTI’s talented crew.”

Did we mention Photo Play is one night only? Click here for more info OR here to buy tickets.

With original music by Ben & Kris Stoker, and a cast that includes Coco Conroy, Ivanna Cullinan*, Jane Kahler*, Renita Lewis, and Margaret O’Sullivan. Original portraiture by Steve Baird.

We are so proud of Alex and excited to see how what we read in those early sessions comes to life on stage. Hope you can join us on March 21st!

Don’t forget to SAVE THE DATE for our next show! No, YOU Tell It! “Mayday” at The Astoria Bookshop on May 10th.

Back at it! News, Alum updates, and Upcoming Reading with our own KJ

Good news! The NYTI creative team has emerged from hibernation and is busy planning a NEW SHOW this spring at The Astoria Bookshop. Save the date, May 10th! Check back for more info and updates about all the wonders our NYTI alum storytellers have been up to since switching up their true-life tale.

First up, our own Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons is a featured reader this Sunday, March 4th, as part of the Literary Sundays reading series at Maple Grove Cemetery. She will be reading her personal essay, “Easter Eggs,” recently published in the anthology From Pantyhose to Spandex: Writers on Job Redux, which is available on Amazon.

Hope to see you there. The event is FREE, plus light refreshments!



February 27, 2018 Post Comment News
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