The Sandman” is a thrilling play set in New York’s Hells Kitchen in 1979 that is scheduled to return to New York's The American Theatre of Actors on August 9, 2017. The show chronicles two police officers who are moonlighting as construction workers while getting caught up in a battle between a pub owner and the Irish mob.

The gripping tale of suspense was authored by playwright Lynn Navarra who is very excited and pleased to see it brought to the stage again after winning Jean Dalrymple Award for Best New Play in 2016. Lynn was directly inspired to write the story based on the experiences of her police officer father who took a second job working construction to support his family.

Yet the play is a work of fiction from the imagination of Lynn, a graduate of Fordham University, who is also a short story writer and a poet.

In a recent interview, Lynn discussed her experiences working on “The Sandman” and her hopes for the future.

Plays, theater, and writing

Meagan Meehan (MM): What prompted you to enter the field of theater and how did you get into playwriting?

Lynn Navarra (LN): I have always had a strong interest in the theater. It started at a young age, listening to my mother’s extensive musical theater record collection. My dad would take her to a Broadway show, and as sure as footlights are hot, she’d come home with the album tucked under her arm. What I remember most is her sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee, recollecting the entire plot and characters of whatever show she had just seen.

She’d describe in great detail the costumes and gesticulations as well as providing direct quotes. In my youth, I studied acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse and later at HB Studios. Somewhere along the line, I started reading plays, and this is what prompted me to try my hand at writing them. I joined several playwriting workshops, which were invaluable.

It's imperative for a playwright to hear his or her plays being read – to be able to access if the characters are on the mark with what they are saying and doing to overall move the play forward.

MM: How many plays have you written thus far and which ones are your favorites?

LN: I have written half a dozen full-length plays and several one-acts.

I have a few favorites, but it always seems to be that my latest play is the favorite.

MM: You are also a short story writer and a poet, so what genres and styles do you focus on most?

LN: I have engaged in various genres of writing, such as poetry, essays, and short stories. I have also written book reviews for online publications. However, I feel most comfortable with the process of playwriting. Writing, in any form, is always challenging especially, I find, when writing dialogue. It forces one to have to get to know who the characters are and what they want before they ever begin to utter a word. Once they do, everything should reflect who they are, deep inside.

Forthcoming creative projects

MM: What are your favorite things about “The Sandman”?

LN: I think the characters in “The Sandman” are all very strong. Part of their strength is having problems to deal with and obstacles to overcome. “The Sandman” also has several story lines going on at once. I also like the overall feel of the play being set in NYC, 1979.

MM: What was it like to get your play staged once again in NYC?

LN: It’s thrilling. It’s also very fortunate that most of the original cast is able to return and take up their respective roles again. It’s an amazingly talented and creative cast, and I couldn’t be happier.

MM: Creativity, what is coming up next for you?

LN: There are a handful of exciting projects waiting in the wings, so to speak.

One of which is moving forward with a new play of mine about Maria Callas. I find her to be a fascinating subject, with regards to both her being an extraordinary opera star and as a woman who, at times, just wanted to settle down, be loved and live an ordinary life.