Now That We’re Men

Now That We're Men – 2015 image

Written & directed by Katie Cappiello

Jordan Eliot, Caleb Grandiot, Fred Hechinger, Alphonso Jones, Rayshawn Richardson

Technical Director, Daniel Melnick

Stage Manager and Lighting Designer, Lauren Bremen

Presented by The Arts Effect



In my nine years as the founding artistic director of The Arts Effect, and the writer and director of six plays exploring the challenges facing girls and young women locally, nationally and globally, Now That We’re Men is my first intensive creative (yes, feminist!) collaboration with teen boys.

Since the debut of SLUT: The Play, Meg, the girls and I have had the opportunity to engage in open and honest conversation with young men in cities throughout the US– and no matter where we travel, it’s clear boys, too, are battling daily with rape culture, and struggling to live up to impossible standards of masculinity– all as they’re dealing the confusion of growing-up and coming into their sexual selves!

Developing this play felt necessary; it was logical next step in challenging the status quo– because if we want to most effectively address issues like slut shaming, revenge porn, trolling, sexual harassment, sexual assault and homophobia, violence, binge drinking, group aggression… we have to take a close look at what it is to be young and male today.

What does it mean that the words “pussy”, “gay” and “fag” are thrown around constantly in middle and high school hallways? What does it mean that one of the most popular video games on the market today awards points when players (mostly young and male statistically) rape and kill women? What does it mean when the average age a boy first sees porn is between 8-11 years old?  What does it mean when some of the biggest names in the music industry tell Rolling Stone magazine the best thing they’ve ever done in their lives is pimp women? What does it mean when professional athletes beat women and still have women lining-up to date them– and still have promotional contracts with some of the biggest brands out there? What does it mean female classmates are sent to the school office for dress code violations and the student body is reminded that the bare midriffs, knees, shoulders of girls are offensive, distracting, inappropriate and, yes, slutty?

We have to open the door to communication with young men. We have to open-mindedly ask these questions and more. Then we have to ask “why?”, and then dig deeper and ask “why?” again.  

When I approached Caleb, Fred, Jordan, Rayshawn and Alphonso about being a part of this project, I could barely finish my sentence before they said yes. One of the boys said, “Oh I’ve been waiting for this! Ever since I saw SLUT I’ve really wanted to talk about this stuff because guys going through it too, you know? So I’m definitely in– are we starting today?”

They were excited. I was grateful, yet nervous. These guys had been training with me for a while in my advanced acting class, so there was a comfortability and a trust there, but would they really open up? They’re 15-18 high school boys and I’m 35…and a woman…and their teacher. Would they feel safe and free to be completely honest?

I’m happy to say they did. In fact, once we got the conversation going, it was a challenge to wrap things up session to session– there was so much to say. Then, after 12 hours a week for 3 months with this talented ensemble, I was able to start writing the script.

The language will be offensive to some. The incidents depicted will be offensive to some. We don’t apologize for that, but we greatly appreciate it. Everything in this play was inspired by real experiences of boys (and girls) I’ve met across the country, and our goal is to tell the truth. There’s no point in pulling punches or sugarcoating. And I must say, even as the writer, these characters often deeply upset me, but I care about them, just like I care about the complex, brilliant boys who helped me create them. We can’t move forward, if we can’t be honest about where we are (they are) right now.

Following our first open dress rehearsal, a friend of mine asked the boys, “Are you worried about putting all of this out there? Are you comfortable saying all of this?” There was a silence, the boys looked at each other, then Alphonso said, “Yes, I’m worried and no, I’m not totally comfortable– because this is uncomfortable stuff, I’m just glad I’m one of the guys saying it.” And Jordan followed, “This conversation isn’t happening anywhere but in here. And I know I’ve been changed from this experience, I think the audience will be changed, too.”

So, thanks for being here and jumping into this dialogue with us. Thank you to Meg and Charlotte for their support. Thank you to the girls of SLUT for going there first and supporting these guys. And thank you to this thoughtful, brave, funny cast and their awesome families.


Katie Cappiello



fd4d0d1a-f296-4007-81f2-4145bfa9f95aJORDAN ELIOT (Andrew) is a 16-year-old junior at Eleanor Roosevelt High School. He has been studying acting and training with The Arts Effect for most of his life. Some of his favorite performance roles include Paul in Stephen Adley Guirgis’s Den of Thieves, Elder Thomas in Samuel D. Hunter’s The Whale, and Doug in Rajiv Joseph’s Gruesome Playground Injuries. Jordan also teaches acting classes to elementary/middle school students  with The Arts Effect and loves growing up in the diverse Manhattan environment. He  is excited to work with this talented cast and be a part of this groundbreaking play.

CALEB GRANDOIT (Marcus) is 17 years old and took his first acting class 10th grade where he learned improvised theater and script analysis. Caleb has performed in Opening Act productions at Classic Stage and the Cobble Hill School for American Studies, participated in an artists showcase at HBO, and has trained with The Arts Effect. Caleb is proud to be a part of NOW THAT WE’RE MEN because he strongly believes arts has the power to make a difference and spark conversation.


0bafc6af-1313-4a2c-89dc-2b140b5ac58cFRED HECHINGER (Nick) 16, is a sophomore at Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn. Since 2013, he’s been acting, writing, and teaching with The Arts Effect. He can be seen in the upcoming film, TRAMPS, directed by Adam Leon. He is a student journalist: in addition to writing for his school newspaper, he was the founding editor of his middle school newspaper and a Scholastic News kid reporter. He also writes fiction and poetry, and has read his poems at the Poetry Center and at Poem in Your Pocket Day in Bryant Park. He is also an improvisor and storyteller – and a recipient of the National Youth Storytelling Showcase Torchbearer Award. He rarely speaks about himself in the third person.

c9e39877-9b98-4165-9e69-cccb6c4afde9ALPHONSO JONES (Evan) is a 17-year-old high school junior from New Jersey. From 2009-2011, Alphonso played Young Simba in The Lion King on Broadway. He has voiced many commercials, both television and radio. Alphonso acts, sings, dances and plays several instruments making him a quadruple threat.  He is an exceptional drummer and also dabbles in music production.  In addition to his acting career, he’d like to work with the big names in the music production industry. Alphonso has been training with The Arts Effect for 3 years and is very excited to be a part of NOW THAT WE’RE MEN. With persistence and perseverance, dreams can be a reality. “I always feel like it’s two key ingredients when it comes to following your dreams, making something happen that the average person deems difficult. If you truly believe it, that’s step one. Step two is, you know, the hard work that goes along with it.”  J. Cole

5332RAYSHAWN RICHARDSON (Derek) is a 15 year old sophomore attending Information Technology High School. He started taking classes with The Arts Effect last year, and he’s learning how to take theatre to another level. Rayshawn appears in many commercials and many voiceovers. He is glad to be apart of the NOW THAT WE’RE MEN team and believes that it can send the world a message.



Katie HeadshotKATIE CAPPIELLO (Writer, Director) is the Founding Artist Director of The Arts Effect, and the writer and director of SLUT: THE PLAY. She is also the writer/director of the original plays KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN, FACEBOOK ME, and A DAY IN THE LIFE. Her works have reached audiences across the country and are currently being produced in Mexico, Indonesia, Canada and Australia. Katie also developed Project Impact and Generation FREE, anti-trafficking arts and advocacy programming for teen survivors and NYC high school students. This year, Katie published her first book, SLUT: A Play and Guidebook for Combatting Sexism and Sexual Violence. Her latest plays HER STORY, UNCUT and NOW THAT WE’RE MEN will debut this winter in NYC and DC, and examine female genital mutilation (FGM) and the impact of rape culture on young men, respectively. Katie has been honored by The National Women’s Hall of Fame for her work with young people. Katie is one of New York’s New Abolitionists.

DANIEL MELNICK (Technical Director) is a director, composer, and media designer. Recent composing and design credits include the score to the upcoming film When the Night Falls, Singles in Agriculture (The Brick), Blogologues (The Cow Theatre and The PIT), F*It Club’s Spring Fling 2015 (IRT), and Uncool: The Party (Musical Theatre Factory). Recent directing credits include Halfway, Nebraska (Winner Best New Play, NYC International Fringe Festival), Sunset (The Secret Theatre), With Apologies for Formating (|the claque|), Shida (Ars Nova, assisting director Andy Sandberg), and Women the War Within (Baryshnikov Arts Center, assisting director Paul Warner). He is the associate director of the upcoming musical Damascus Square. Daniel is also a proud member of the producing team behind Running Interference, winner of Fringe NYC’s Overall Excellence Award for 2015.

LAUREN BREMEN (Stage Manager/Lighting Designer) Stage Management/Lighting Design: Halfway Nebraska (FringeNYC), The Whaleship Essex, Pagliacci (Amore Opera),  Lighting Design: Rime of the Ancient Mariner (VA Arts Festival), Uncool: the party, Madama Butterfly (Amore Opera), Faust (Amore Opera), The Drowsy Chaperone (Blue Hill Troupe), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Blue Hill Troupe)

logo_arts-effectTHE ARTS EFFECT (Presenter), founded in 2007 by Katie Cappiello & Meg McInerney, is an award-winning youth arts and activism program based in NYC that utilizes theater to ignite conversations and motivate change around the challenges facing girls and young women globally such as body image, cyberbullying, slut shaming, rape, child marriage, FGM, human trafficking and more. Arts Effect programming has reached thousands worldwide and has been hailed by Gloria Steinem, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Monica Lewinsky, Beau Willimon (Creator of HOUSE OF CARDS), Eve Ensler, Emily Mortimer and Amy Poehler.



Ellie Covan, Katy Einerson, Matthew Dicken, Benjamin Soencksen, Rob Lariviere, Aurora Duiguo, Mike Griffiths, and the team at Dixon Place, Rich Bart and AJ Bart, Inc. Printing, The Barry Family, The Bonjean-Alpart Family, Michele Farinet and the PS 41 community, Rachel Foster, Kim and Sammy Konigsberg, Kim Soule, The Stefania Family, Jennifer Baumgardner and the Feminist Press, Taryn Mann, Joe Kunka, Justin Duplantis, Evenstar Films Nikki and Josh Donen, Cathryn Collins, Scott Yoselow, Sue Smalley, Kevin Wall, Karen Stoker, Jim and Mariko Cappiello, Beau Willimon, Jamison Tilsner, Jason Kunka, The McInerney Family, The Kunka Family, The Cappiello Family, The Tilsner Family, the staff at 440 Studios, Dan Fortune, and Bill Coyle.

The NOW THAT WE’RE MEN cast members and families: The Eliot Family, The Grandoit Family, The Rozen-Hechinger, The Jones Family and The Richardson Family. 

The Indiegogo Contributors: Aimee Beyda, James Casebere, The Cogan Family, Vanessa Dine, Laura Draper, Nelson Farber, Deirdre Fitzgerald Fabbro, Vincent Fremont, Judith Garson, Lisa Goldfarb MD, Rachel Goldstein, Kimberly Konigsberg, Michael Konigsberg, Mary, Matt and Carol Kunka, Caroline Marshall, Jennifer Murray, Mary Myers, Caroline Petersen, Jack Ramsey, Sarah Rozen, Sara Selldorf, Shirin Shabdin, Ed and Kathi Siegel, Lorna Simpson, Jerry Singer, Richard Steinmetz, Laura Sweet, Dana Villarreal, Joe Willsen, and Beth Zucker.


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The award-winning Arts Effect offers a wide variety of acting training for young people ages 7-20. Students engage in technique strengthening, improvisation, scene and character study as they prepare original and scripted material over the course of 8-15 week sessions. Learn

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