Westbury native competes in theater festival
What do you do with the lessons you’ve learned along the journey to achieving your dream? For Rita Posillico, those lessons and the dream go hand in hand, taking centerstage through her play, Could Have Been, which takes over the Hudson Guild Theatre as part of the upcoming New York Theatre Summerfest.
Posillico, a Westbury native, first put her self-written and directed musical up at Hunter College in January. She was able to put the romantic-comedy together in less than a month, selling out the three performances of the show in just one day. The show—about a young girl who moves to New York City to pursue acting—pulls heavily from Posillico’s experiences and creative journey.
“I poured my heart into this show,” she said. “It’s about being empowered and not letting people hold you back and not taking no for an answer, but believing in yourself.”
She adds that the main character is “an essence” of herself, while other characters are based on people in her life. Having her writing based in reality adds a personal and emotional touch to the show, which also draws inspirations from Shakespeare and Posillico’s musical influences. In the style of the Bard of Avon, Could Have Been utilizes a chorus to tell the story and is a play within a play, with the characters putting on a production of Romeo and Juliet. A piano player since childhood, Posillico’s soundtrack for the show was influenced by the grand chords and melody lines of Beethoven, as well as the romantic style of Chopin and violent, distorted chords of Liszt.
The August off-off-Broadway show will feature some changes from her January show—songs, characters and storylines have been added while others have been cut. And she’s hoping the show stands out amongst the 120 other productions in the New York Theatre Summerfest, which awards prizes for the best six productions.
While Could Have Been marks Posillico’s directorial debut, she’s no stranger to the stage, having performed and studied theatre at Holy Trinity High School, the Stella Adler Studio of Acting and The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute. She notes that over the years, her family has been extremely supportive of her creative pursuits.
“My dad would every day tell me ‘you’re a champion.’ My family was constantly supportive,” she said. “Having that really gave me a good foundation to believe in myself and try for whatever life brings. This is a crazy occupation, but I like to give it a try and anytime I doubt myself, my family gets me back on track. I’m very thankful.”
Could Have Been will be performed at the Hudson Guild Theater Tuesday, Aug. 14, Saturday, Aug. 18 and Sunday, Aug. 19, at the Hudson Guild Theater, 441 W. 26th St. in Chelsea. Find out more and buy tickets at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3466881.