The Specials

Creating original, live theater in New Haven.
David Pilot
New Haven, Connecticut
United States
2 Team Members

**note from Jackdaw Pike playwright STEVE BELLWOOD...



Our premier production of The Specials concluded a few weeks ago, and our fund-raising juice seems to have got up and gone. A plea to raise expenses that have already been expended lacks a certain current of sizzle and spark. Various pre-production curve-balls - including a necessary re-casting and the sudden loss mid-rehearsal of our stage-manager, plus the initial lack of a promotional person, meant our campaign kicked off at the same time our show did. We need to cherish it as a learning-process. However, the production itself was a su bstantial success, well-received (by an audience of 400 plus, well-reviewed and outstandingly ensembled. And it did inspire the JP core to begin planninfg future production (incl. a revival of The Specials) in the Spring. Also in planning are ongoing workshops, presentations and dialogues. Possibly under the non-profit rubric of Rainbow recycling, my own company, whose original mission statement was "to promote sustainability and environmental awareness through inspiring, entertaining and educational arts programs. We look forward to activating such a mission in the very near future. And we vouchsafe any past or future donations will be used to this purpose. Meanwhile we'd like to sincerely thank all who contributed to us, with money, time, talent or encouragement, and we trust in your future support which we will continue to strive to earn.

we may always be contacted at

or you can always friend us on Facebook, Steve Bellwood or David Pilot.





We're a new source of live theater and brand new plays in Connecticut

New Haven, Conn. has long been a not-so-secret place for great theater at reasonable prices. Many plays born here have gone on to become national favorites while new collaborations and loyal theater-goers continue to make New Haven a vibrant theater town.

“The Specials,” a new drama by playwright Steve Bellwood, has emerged from just such a collaboration.

This contemporary American story was created by a new partnership between Bellwood, Director James Leaf and Producer David Pilot under the auspices of nine-year-old underground theater company Jackdaw-Pike.  It is the first in a series of theater events being planned by the company.  

The world premiere of "The Specials" is September 14, at the Whitney Arts Center in New Haven, CT. There will be five performances, from Sept. 14 to 22. (See full dates and times below) A dozen inspired professionals have worked for months to bring it to the stage and it has paid off with a play that is tightly written and a cast we are very proud of. 

We have worked hard to arrange the best possible terms to keep costs low and have received generous help from the community: Long Wharf Theater and The New Haven Theater Company have helped with some of the props, costumes and lighting; rehearsal space was generously donated by Bob and Susan Frew of Frew Management in New Haven and Never Ending Books has provided unending encouragement.The Whitney Arts Center in New Haven has offered generous terms for a 99-seat theater, agreeing to split the door with us 50-50.

And most important, we are committed to making theater accessible to everybody by setting the price of admission at FREE,  with a suggested donation of $15 per ticket for those who can.

Our fundraising goal of $8,500 will pay talented actors and cover the remaining costs for props, costumes, lighting, transportation, insurance required by both Equity and the venue, publicity, sets and crew.  It's what our out-of-pocket costs will be by the end of September.

If you’re reading about our campaign you’re likely already a member of the choir. But if you’ve wandered off in recent years, maybe you’re here because you remembered that  good live theater is like food and without it we are culturally starved. Welcome back and thanks for your support!

  “The Specials” is about the accidental meeting of two very different couples set in a contemporary American landscape.

Tom and Diane, two bickering academics on a cross-country road trip, experience car trouble in an unfamiliar suburb far from home. They are rescued by Ivan, an elite military veteran, and Ruth, his young, ex-stripper wife. So begins an uncomfortable encounter that becomes ever more unpredictable as boundaries are broken and new identities emerge. 

“It’s a passionate story about the splitting of the American soul,” Producer David Pilot says.  “It’s about a ritual of healing and confrontation.”  

MARIAH SAGE*, "Diane," is a member of Actors’ Equity Association, and has performed in theaters across the country and in Europe including: The Public Theater, The Cleveland Playhouse, The Trinity Rep, Imago, and The Apollo in Dusseldorf, Germany. Mariah earned her BFA in drama from NYU/Tisch School of the Arts and her MFA in acting from Brown University/Trinity Rep. She is Co-Founding Artistic Director of New Haven's Theatre 4. Mariah has taught acting and coached actors at Brown University, NYU/Tisch School of the Arts, Fairfield University and Quinnipiac University. Through her company Present & Perform she coaches actors who are preparing for college admission auditions as well as presentation skills for business people.

JAMES LEAF, Director, “Tom” has directed Samuel Beckett’s “Catastrophe” for The Young Mechanics, and Clifford Odet’s “The Big Knife” for Eastbound Theatre.  He has acted in productions at Square One Theatre, New Haven Theater Company, and Long Wharf Theatre.  At the American Repertory Theatre’s Loeb Drama Center, he directed productions of “Danton’s Death,” “Marat/Sade,” “Lysistrata,” and “Cloud 9.”  He holds a BA in Theatre Studies from Harvard College, and has taught theater at University of Michigan, Amherst Summer, Harvard Comenius Project, Elm Shakespeare and Barnard College.  

IRINA KAPLAN, "Ruth," is delighted to be part of “The Specials.” She is currently in her third year of training at The Actors Studio Drama School, where she will graduate in the Spring with her MFA in acting. Recent New York credits include “Eat the Chicken” at Manhattan Repertory Theatre, and “Black Milk” at Classic Stage Company. Before moving to New York, Irina was a kindergarten teacher in Austin, Texas (a job that taught her a lot about patience and a lot about puppets). In 2010, Irina graduated with her BA in American Culture from Vassar College.

DANIEL J. WHITE, "Ivan," is excited to be performing in “The Specials.” White has acted and directed in more than 20 productions at the Downtown Cabaret Theater and the Polka Dot Playhouse in Bridgeport, the Westport Community Theatre, and elsewhere.  He studied acting at the Strasberg Institute in New York. He thanks Lance Corporal Michael Nachin, USMC, for his insights on being a marine.

STEVE BELLWOOD, Playwright, Co-Producer,  is renowned for his poetry, plays and improvised musical monologues he calls ‘stand-up storytelling.’ He is a veteran of the London Fringe and NYC Off-Off Broadway. He is devoted to the New Haven Fringe and is an active member of Theatre Artists Workshop in Norwalk.  Recently, he performed solo shows at theater festivals in London, Boston, California and northern UK.  Nine years ago he founded underground theater group Jackdaw-Pike.

DAVID PILOT, Producer and Assistant Director, is a writer, director and filmmaker whose plays have appeared at the Collective Unconscious, New York International Fringe Festival, Ontological-Hysteric Theater, the Williamstown Theater Festival, the Women’s Project, The Religious Society of Friends and elsewhere.

He has written more than a dozen plays, including "Hans: A Case Study,” last staged at New York’s West End Theatre;  “Rebecca Bonnie Bob,” at New York’s Theater For The New City, “American Slave Code,” at the New York International Fringe Festival; and “Malleus Maleficarum” at Ontological Hysteric Theater.

He is currently screening two films: “Saving Manhattan,” a feature series (w/ Amy Poehler) & “Skin In The Game,” a documentary about the rise of internet adult star, Raven Riley.

ANNIA BU, Co-Producer, received her BFA in Acting from the Instituto Superior de Arte, Havana, Cuba. She held leading roles in major Cuban films,“Los Dioses Rotos,” “El cuerno de la abundancia,” & “Larga distancia.” She received Best Actress awards in important international film festivals, GIFF, USA; Ceará, Brazil and Premio Llauradó, Havana, Cuba. She is a graduate of the Escuela Internacional de San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba, where she studied the Meisner Technique and collaborated on several films.  In theater, she acted in “Fedra,” at Teatro El Público (La Habana, 2009) and in “Una Caja de Zapatos Vacía” at the University of Miami. On IMDB

MARGARET CARL, Co-Producer, is pleased to be working again with Steve Bellwood after a long hiatus. She was a founding member and production stage manager of Algonkuin Players Theater Company in Hamden, Connecticut. She has stage managed for Yale Baroque Opera Project Cheshire Youth Theater, Cornerstone Productions, the Arts and Ideas festival in New Haven, the Shoreline Alliance for the Arts, Elm Shakespeare Co., Projects for a New Millennium, Jackdaw Pike, Puppetsweat Theater, and many other theater and dance companies and special events over the last 25 years.

BEATRIX ROELLER, Stage Manager, grew up in East Germany where she gained a respect and love for the arts as a form self-expression and freedom.  Over the past 10 years, she has used her background in engineering and passion for the arts to benefit various community productions. From creating elaborate props and scenes, helping countless children get their cues on time, to production fundraising and marketing, Beatrix has proven to be an asset to New Haven’s art scene. Beatrix is a professional photographer for Yale University. For the past two years she has served as president of Art Centered Education at Educational Center for the Arts (ECA) in New Haven

Saturday, September 14th @ 8:00 pm
Sunday, September 15th @ 3:00 pm
Friday, September 20th, @ 8:00 pm
Saturday, September 21st @ 8:00 pm
Sunday, September 22nd @ 3:00 pm

The Whitney Arts Center
591 Whitney Ave (near Cold Spring Street)
New Haven, CT 06511

$15 suggested donation (it’s a steal!)
To reserve seats, call 203-676-9685

Directed by:
J A M E S  L E A F

M A R I A H  S A G E  *
J A M E S  L E A F
I R I N A  K A P L A N
D A N I E L  W H I T E

Produced & Assistant Directed by:
D A V I D  P I L O T

Co-Produced by:
A N N I A  B U
M A R G A R E T  C A R L
S T E V E  B E L L W O O D
J A M E S  L E A F

Stage Manager:
B E A T R I X  R O E L L E R
*Appearing Courtesy of Actors Equity Association

                   Join us

                   on Saturday, October 5, from 7-10 pm

        for a FREE evening of FILM, LIVE MUSIC, POETRY  & 


      at Luck & Levity Brew Shop, 118 Court Street, New Haven, CT. 

                                 Crazy prizes and a theater quiz accompany the

               culmination of our Indiegogo Campaign!  

T h a n k s   f o r   s p r e a d i n g   t h e   w o r d

Find  “The Specials” and Jackdaw-Pike on the web here: webpage

And on Facebook here: Facebook

Email us at:




Find This Campaign On
raised in 1 month
8% funded
No time left
$8,500 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on October 25, 2013
Select a Perk
  • $25USD
    You're a "Special"

    1. Two tickets to the play. 2. Your name will be added to the roll of theater supporters on our website.

    0 claimed
  • $50USD
    You're a Very Special Friend

    1. Two tickets to the play. 2. A copy of the program signed by the cast. 3. Your name will be added to the roll of theater supporters on our website.

    1 claimed
  • $100USD
    You're an Angel

    1. A color print on Archival paper of the poster for "The Specials" 2. Two tickets to the play. 3. A copy of the program signed by the cast. 4. Your name will be added to the roll of theater supporters on our website.

    0 out of 50 claimed
  • $500USD
    You're a Co-Producer!

    1. An invitation to our cast party. 2. A color print on Archival paper of the poster for "The Specials" 3. Two tickets to the play. 4. A copy of the program signed by the cast. 5. Your name will be added to the roll of theater supporters on our website.

    0 out of 10 claimed
  • $1,000USD
    You're the Star!

    Your goodies are: 1. We'll write a role for you in our next production. 2. An original draft of the play, annotated by the author. 3. An invitation to our cast party. 4. A color print on Archival paper of the poster for "The Specials" 5. Two tickets to the play. 6. A copy of the program signed by the cast. 7. Your name will be added to the roll of theater supporters on our website.

    0 out of 5 claimed
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