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Mrinalini Kamath

Mission to (dit)Mars is thrilled to continue the Launch Pad reading series with STUFF,  a new radio play by Mrinalini Kamath.  This free reading will be performed on Monday, February 5th at 7pm at The Broom Tree Theatre located at 23-35 Broadway in Astoria, NY.

Inspired by the NY Times article “The Lonely Death of George Bell,” STUFF tells the story of lives that intersect when a man dies alone in his cluttered apartment. A radio play about living alone in modern times.  STUFF is directed by Colette Robert and live foley provided by Tony Vo.

The evening is presented by Mission to (dit)Mars co-founders Kari Bentley-Quinn, Don Nguyen, Meredith Packer, and Laura Pestronk.  

In describing the play, co-founder Laura Pestronk said “In STUFF, Mrinalini gets us down and dirty into the sometimes darkly comic, sometimes deeply melancholy world of hoarders. From the outside we may simply scoff at the piles of ‘garbage’ kept forever inside certain houses, but STUFF never lets us off the hook so easily.”

Kari Bentley-Quinn adds “We are presenting a brand new experience for Mission to (dit)Mars and our audience. Mrinalini has created a beautiful piece about loneliness, death, and what our material possessions that we leave behind say or don’t say about our lives”

On the unique nature of the play format, Don Nguyen explains “We wanted to immerse the audience in the world of this play which is why we decided to bring in a live foley artist to add that extra dimension to the night’s performance. It’s a whole different set of challenges than what we’re used to, but we’re up for it.”

Meredith Packer says “STUFF explores the conditions of human baggage, both physical and emotional, and how it affects our lives and those around us even after we are gone.”

This free reading is made possible (in part) by the Queens Council on the Arts with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.   

To attend, please make a reservation on our website:


The Broom Tree Theater at Astoria First Presbyterian
23-35 Broadway,
Astoria, NY 11106

Directions: Take the N/Q to Broadway.

About the Launch Pad Reading Series

The Launch Pad is a free reading series of new plays by Queens playwrights.  The mission objective of The Launch Pad is to serve as a testing ground for Queens based playwrights who need to hear their plays out loud.  Because Mission to (dit)Mars was co-founded by playwrights and directors, we understand implicitly how to answer those needs.  Through this program, the utmost care is taken to foster a safe and productive environment in order to propel the play forward.

PRESS CONTACT: Don Nguyen, 718-839-0424, missiontoditmars@gmail.com

This reading is made possible (in part) by the Queens Council on the Arts with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

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A lot can happen in a year, especially in Queens.  Here’s a look back at what we accomplished in 2014:

March 2014


In March we featured a sold out Launch Pad reading of Mariah MacCarthy’s newest play THE HAZARDS OF LOVING WHILE BROKEN.

June 2014

Following up our successful ALL SYSTEMS GO! Launch Pad Reading of excerpts from our Propulsion Lab, we launched ALL SYSTEMS GO! Mission 2.

JULY 2014

We continued our popular mindful writing series (lead by Emily Herzlin) with POETRY IN STONE at the Noguchi museum in Astoria.

August 2014

After taking the summer to read script submissions, we announced the newest members of the Propulsion Lab, our largest to date!

September 2014

It wouldn’t be Mission to (dit)Mars without a mixer!  This year we held our fall mixer at Judy & Punch in Astoria!
A new year also means a new website!


November 2014

Photo Oct 26, 1 03 54 AM
We kicked off our 2014-2015 Launch Pad reading series with Lisa Huberman’s new play SEX AND CHARITABLE GIVING which she developed in our Propulsion Lab writers group.

December 2014

prop-lab-end-of-2014We closed out the year with the Propulsion Lab final meeting of 2014 and holiday party.

And last but certainly not least, we continue to feature new Queens artists on our website throughout the year!  You can read up on all of our featured artists here.

Mission to (dit)Mars was created by four people who love Queens and it has been sustained throughout the year by all of you.  Thank you so much for making 2014 such a productive and artistically rewarding year for us.  We couldn’t have done it without you!  We’ve managed to accomplish all of this with very little money.  If you’d like to support us, click here to find out the best way to do so!

Happy New Year and see you in 2015 in Queens!

The Mission to (dit)Mars Team

Kari Bentley-Quinn, Don Nguyen, Meredith Packer and Laura Pestronk



An Evening of Excerpts from the Propulsion Lab Plays

By Kari Bentley-Quinn, Jennifer Lane, Courtney Lauria, Mariah MacCarthy, Jane Miller, Don Nguyen, and August Schulenberg

Directed by Christopher Diercksen, Dev Bondarin and Don Nguyen

Featuring Samantha Rosentrater, Shaun Fauntleroy, Natalie Kim, Katrina Day, Samantha Walsh, Stuart Luth, Gus Schulenburg, Jason Liebman, Alexandra O’Daly, Sol Marina Crespo, Curry Whitmire and David Shih.

Our seven members of the Propulsion lab writers group have been hard at work on their new plays and they’re excited to share some excerpts with you.

June 24, 2013 @7pm

The Chain Theatre
21-28 45th Rd, Long Island City
E, M, G to Court Sq.
7 to Court Sq.
N, Q to Queensboro Plaza

The event is free.

A reception will be held in the lobby of the Chain Theatre immediately following the reading.  Please join us for complimentary wine.  Beer and snacks can also be purchased.

View photos from All Systems Go!


By Courtney Lauria

Directed by Tamara Fisch

Featuring Emily Simoness, Samantha Rosentrater, and Eric Clem



April 1, 2013 @7pm

The Chain Theatre
21-28 45th Rd, Long Island City, NY

Click here for reservations

In a brick house in Astoria, Queens, shadowed by the RFK bridge, a young woman is sorting her emotions. In jars. Literally. Claire’s phobias have gotten the best of her for long enough, and the way she is living doesn’t feel like living at all.  Bridges and Boundaries charts Claire’s quest to overcome her road blocks, and create a future she actually wants to feel.  This crafted tale explores love, trust, and issues that aren’t just water under the bridge.

Introducing The Propulsion Lab

Mission to (dit)Mars, a theatre arts collective serving Queens artists, announces a new writers group serving emerging playwrights from the borough.

With the creation of the Launch Pad Reading Series and its mission of propelling plays forward, we have created a second key component to our mission, which is The Propulsion Lab!

The Propulsion Lab is a monthly writers group made up of Queens based playwrights.  The writers group will be curated and facilitated by Mission to (dit)Mars co-founders Kari Bentley-Quinn and Don Nguyen.

Don Nguyen explains “When we asked the vibrant theatre arts community in Queens what we could do to best serve their needs, the most popular response was a writers group.  Because Kari and I are both playwrights and have been or belong to many writers groups, it made sense to launch one.”
Regarding the inaugural members of the Propulsion Lab, Kari Bentley-Quinn adds “In my experience as a theater artist, I find that amazing work is generated when you get talented, smart and generous people in a room together. I do not think we could have put together a much better group of talented, smart and generous writers. I am excited beyond measure to see what will come out of this lab and what it will bring to the larger Queens artistic community.”

The inaugural members of the  Propulsion Lab are: Kari Bentley-Quinn (Astoria/Woodside), Jenny Lane (Astoria), Courtney Lauria (Astoria), Mariah MacCarthy (Astoria), Jane Miller (Sunnyside), Don Nguyen (Long Island City), and August Schulenburg (Astoria).

(clockwise: Courtney Lauria, Jenny Lane, Mariah MacCarthy, August Schulenburg, Kari Bentely-Quinn, Don Nguyen, and Jane Miller))
(clockwise: Courtney Lauria, Jenny Lane, Mariah MacCarthy, August Schulenburg, Kari Bentely-Quinn, Don Nguyen, and Jane Miller))

Click here to read the writers’ bios

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Holiday-CocktailsJoin us for our second mixer – and this one is just in time for the holidays! We have some exciting announcements lined up and can’t wait to share them with you! We also just thought it would be cool to hang out, so let’s do that! This is an opportunity for you to come meet some of your fellow artists, have a few beers, and tell us all your plans for 2013.

Monday 12/17/12 at 6pm

Alewife NYC
5-14 51st Ave. – upstairs lounge
Long Island City, NY (7 Train to Vernon Jackson)
Happy Hour specials till 8 pm, snacks provided (can you say “Garlic fries”?)
There is also a Facebook invite – please go and “like” our page for all the latest updates! And please share our page so we get some more “likes”!

As with all our gatherings, keep these things in mind (we have a Suggestion Box at every event):

  • Forming a “connective tissue” of Queens based artists; a living, breathing collective for idea sharing and inspiration
  • Space sharing and space donation for people to work (theaters, church basements, apartments, etc.)
  • Ideas for meetings and groups (do you want a writers group? A monthly meeting of dancers? An improv group?)
  • Ideas for other forms of art other than theater (including dance, music, and visual art)
  • Site-specific theatrical events
  • Ideas for fun “teambuilding” events (i.e. Art-based pub crawls, more mixers, etc.)
  • Anything you want!

We hope the end of 2012 is treating you well. We can’t wait to celebrate the holidays with you!


Mission to ditMARS
Kari Bentley-Quinn
Don Nguyen
Meredith Packer
Laura Pestronk


One of the most commonly suggested ideas at our inaguaral mixer was “start a reading series of new plays”. From our subsequent meetings and discussions, The Launchpad was born. The Launchpad is going to be a series of new play readings by writers currently residing in Queens. We are really excited to be bringing new plays to the Queens community. We are doing one reading in 2012 and are still reviewing submissions for the 2013 series. Yeah! Here is the info – please SAVE THE DATE!

Mission to (dit)Mars presents…
Readings of New Plays by Queens Playwrights


A play by Jennifer Lane
Directed by Robin PatersonMonday, October 15th at 7 pmWith Ginger Grace, Jaime Lincoln, Brandon Nagle, Kendall Rileigh, Jennifer Laine Williams, and Monica WycheThe Grey family home rests on burning land, filling its rooms with poisonous gas and its gardens with rising steam. When Lumen returns to the house to convince the rest of her family to move out, she begins to unearth an array of startling family secrets that threaten to pull her back in to a life she struggled to leave behind.

The Chain Theatre

21-28 45th Rd, Long Island City
E, M, G to Court Sq.
7 to Court Sq.
N, Q to Queensboro PlazaThe event is free, but please RSVP to missiontoditmars@gmail.com.  Space is limited! And don’t worry, we’re going out drinking after.

Post-Launch Party Details:
9pm-ish (or how quickly your legs can take you)
The Creek and The Cave
10-93 Jackson Ave
Long Island City, NY 11101

The Chain Theatre, established in 2012, is a black box events venue in Long Island City, NY. The Chain believes in providing a space for artists to produce work and hone their craft. With fully equipped performance spaces, rehearsal rooms, and reading areas, the Chain serves as a home for multi-disciplinary work.  For information on renting and/or producing at The Chain, please contact us a: rentals@chaintheatre.org.

Jennifer is an Astoria-based writer from Troy, Michigan. Her work has been presented at or developed by the terraNOVA Collective, Sightline Theatre Company, Artistic New Directions, IRT, The Bridge Theatre Company, the New Ohio Theatre, 3LD Art & Technology Center, the Gene Frankel Theatre, Theatre 54, Manhattan Shakespeare Theatre, The Washington Rogues, Gorilla Tango Theatre and Columbia Stages.

Her work includes Harlowe (developed under the mentorship of Sarah Ruhl, winner of the Alec Baldwin Fellowship at Singers Forum, and a finalist for the TS Eliot US/UK Exchange); Psychomachia (recipient of the Gatsby Grant); The Seer and the Witch (developed in the Groundbreakers Playwriting Group at terraNOVA); The Would-Be Room (performed in New York City, Chicago and Washington D.C.);Convergence (premiered as part of the soloNOVA Festival); The Burning Brand; and Does Anyone Know Sarah Paisner? Her ten minute pieces A Fever in the Feast and Uriel’s Garden were both workshopped with Anne Bogart. Fever…, as well as another short play, PIN, was workshopped at Ensemble Studio Theatre in early 2011.

Currently, Jennifer is the Administrative Director for the League of Professional Theatre Women and the Literary Manager for the Astoria Performing Arts Center. MFA: Columbia University; BA: Sarah Lawrence College. For more information, please visit jennifer-lane.net.

Robin’s international career spans more than 150 productions. Active in the creation of new plays as a director, designer and producer, he has collaborated on more than 50 premieres. Based in New York, Robin’s work has also been featured in Berlin, Cairo, San Francisco, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. New York directing credits include the premiere of TWO-MAN KIDNAPPING RULE by Joseph Gallo (New Ohio Theatre); the premiere of PSYCHOMACHIA by Jenny Lane (Artistic New Directions); the premiere of STRESS POSITIONS by Daniel Sweren-Becker (SoHo Playhouse); the premiere of STAR SONG by Joseph Gallo (Artistic New Directions); the premiere of FALLOUT by Michael Blumberg (Manhattan Repertory); the premiere of WARNING: ADULT CONTENT by Joseph Gallo (Shetler Studios TDG); the American premiere of HUMANS ANONYMOUS by Kate Hewlett (Bridge Theatre Company); the premiere of ZARATHUSTRA SAID SOME THINGS, NO? by Trevor Ferguson (Infinitheatre); the premiere of MAKING MARILYN by Ken Cameron (Bridge Theatre Company); and a revival of PLUNGE by Christopher Kyle (Bridge Theatre Company). Robin is a frequent guest director at the Dramatic Writing Dept. at New York University, and is an active member of the Actors Studio Playwright-Director Workshop. Since September 2006,Robin has been the Managing Artistic Director of SHETLER STUDIOS & THEATRES. For more information please visit www.robin-a-paterson.com

Please make sure to visit our website – www.missiontoditmars.com – there are plenty of pictures from the mixer up, and we’ve also started to populate our Artist Directory. If you want to be included, please fill out this form and email us your headshot. Wooo! Also, don’t forget to like our Facebook page – we need some more “likes”. Please feel free to use our Facebook wall for shameless self promotion of all shapes and sizes (as long as the event/artist is based in Queens!).