Nancy Diamond and Carole Schweid
In 2003, two theatre pros in Westport, Connecticut, got together and cooked up a fresh idea. Nancy Diamond, marketing wizard and off-Broadway producer of Funny Feet; and Carole Schweid, Broadway performer whose credits include Pippin (for Bob Fosse), Minnie’s Boys, and the original cast of A Chorus Line, started out on a creative adventure. The idea was to combine two of their favorite things: theatre and food.
Their first season consisted of four staged readings of one-act plays in Westport, preceded by a buffet lunch and followed by discussion with the actors. Today, having added to their producing team the considerable skills and talents of Inge Maki, Managing Director, and Diana Muller, Producer, Play With Your Food is still going strong, playing in Westport, Fairfield, Greenwich, and as of October, 2016, Rye, NY, giving some twenty-five performances per season, and continuing to grow in scope and popularity.
With 16 successful seasons, JIB Productions has developed a rare expertise in selecting and presenting staged readings of short plays, which have been wildly successful with their smart suburban audience.
What is the secret ingredient to Play With Your Food's success? There are many, but here's a hint: a staged reading is a hybrid. It’s not a finished performance by any means, but it’s not a rehearsal either. It’s “opening night with script in hand.” It should have all the vitality and commitment of a performance, with the spontaneity and exploration of a great rehearsal. There might even be a sense of danger in the air, because nobody knows exactly what’s going to happen.
That shared excitement and endless artistic curiosity is what has sustained JIB Productions, and their audiences. May the curiosity continue for many years to come.