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Performance Network Theatre Announces Fireside Festival of New Works, 6/24-27

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While many theatres close for the summer months, Performance Network is full steam ahead, offering audiences an array of entertainment options, including the upcoming Fireside Festival of New Works. As part of the theatre's continued dedication to support and provide a voice for playwrights, the series will be held June 24 - 27, 2012. This festival of staged readings will feature new works by four playwrights, including Network regulars Joseph Zettelmaier and Kim Carney.

Each reading will be followed by a post-show discussion with the playwright and director, during which audience members are encouraged to share their thoughts on the pieces that they have seen.

The schedule is as follows:

Sunday, June 24, 7:30pm

"The Queen of Spades," by Joel Gross: From the author of "Marie Antoinette: the Color of Flesh" comes an adaptation of Pushkin's famous short story. Directed by Angie Ferrante.

Monday, June 25, 7:00pm

"Hungry," by Lia Romeo: A teenage girl struggling with her weight and the pressures of adolescence adopts a hungry Minotaur as her playmate. Directed by Edward Weingart. Featuring Phil Powers ("God of Carnage," "The Drowsy Chaperone") as the Minotaur.

Tuesday, June 26, 7:00pm

"The Renaissance Man," by Joseph Zettelmaier: From the author of "It Came From Mars" and "Dead Man's Shoes" comes a modern-day retelling of Shakespeare's "Macbeth," set in a Renaissance Faire. Directed by Joseph Albright. Featuring Aral Gribble ("Dead Man's Shoes"), Alysia Kolascz ("It Came From Mars"), and Leslie Hull ("In the Next Room or the vibrator play").

Wednesday, June 27, 7:00pm

"Catbird," by Kim Carney: A disgruntled playwright holds a theatre critic captive after he gives her play a bad review. From the playwright who brought audiences "The War Since Eve," and "Moonglow." Directed by Lynn Lammers.

Tickets are pay-what-you-can (suggested donation $10) and can be ordered at the Performance Network Box Office at 734-663-0681, online at www.performancenetwork.org or by coming to the Performance Network Theatre (120 East Huron St., Ann Arbor, 48104) Monday-Saturday 11-6 or one hour before a performance..

Joel Gross - An early version of "Marie Antoinette: The Color of Flesh," produced by PNT in 2011, was produced by the New Jersey Repertory Company in 2003. The play was produced in New York in April 2007 by Earl Productions. Other plays by Joel have been presented in workshop at the Williamstown Theater Festival, The Old Globe in San Diego, and The Actors Studio in New York. Joel has worked on features for Universal, Fox, HBO, and Sony. His film about the legend of Sir Galahad was directed by Laurence Dunmore and produced by Gale Anne Hurd and Peter Hoffman. Joel's novels, including "The Books of Rachel," have been selected by the Book of the Month Club and the Literary Guild. He is a member of P.E.N., the Dramatists Guild, the Writers Guild, the Authors Guild, and the Playwrights Unit of The Actors Studio.

Lia Romeo earned her B.A. in comparative literature from Princeton University and her M.F.A. in playwriting from Rutgers. Her play "Green Whales" was read or developed at the Kennedy Center, HotCity Theatre, Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey, and New Jersey Repertory Theatre, and received its world premiere from Kansas City's Unicorn Theatre in March 2010. Her play "Right Place, Right Time" was a finalist for the O'Neill National Playwrights' Conference, the HotCity Theatre New Play Festival, and the Centre Stage New Play Festival. It received its world premiere from the Renegade Theatre Experiment in January 2010, and was produced by Stillwater Theatre in September 2010. Her one act play "Baby Boom" has been produced by Collaborative Arts, the Looking Glass Theatre, and the New Orleans Theatre Experiment. Her one act play "Mrs. Henderson's Cat" was produced at the Hangar Theatre. Her short play "Yog Sothoth" was a finalist for the Heideman Award. This and other short plays have been produced in thirteen different states and internationally. Lia was the National New Play Network's Emerging Playwright-in-Residence at Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey in 2008-2009. She is also a humor book author and novelist; she and her brother Nick are co-authors of "11,002 Things to Be Miserable About." The book was published by Abrams Image in 2009, and garnered favorable reviews in the Boston Globe and other national publications.

Joseph Zettelmaier is a Michigan-based playwright and three-time nominee for the Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association Award for best new play, first in 2006 for "All Childish Things," then in 2007 for "Language Lessons" and in 2010 for "It Came From Mars." Other plays include "And The Creek Don't Rise," "The All Childish Things Trilogy," "Dr. Seward's Dracula," "Snow Angels," "Blackwater Ballad," "Night Blooming," "Point of Origin," and "The Stillness Between Breaths." "Point of Origin" won Best Locally Created Script 2002 from the Ann Arbor News, and "The Stillness Between Breaths" also won Best New Play 2005 from the Oakland Press. "The Stillness Between Breaths" and "It Came From Mars" were selected to appear in the National New Play Network's Festival of New Plays. He also co-authored "Flyover, USA: Voices From Men of the Midwest" at the Williamston Theatre (Winner of the 2009 Thespie Award for Best New Script). He also adapted "Christmas Carol'd" for the Performance Network. "It Came From Mars" was a recipient of 2009's Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award, and won Best New Script 2010 from the Lansing State Journal. His newest play "Dead Man's Shoes" won The Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award in 2011, and was recently performed at both Performance Network and Williamston Theatre. He is an Associate Artist at Performance Network, and an adjunct lecturer at Eastern Michigan University, where he teaches Dramatic Composition.

Kim Carney is no stranger to Performance Network where she has seen multiple plays produced including "Geoffrey & Jeffrey", "Moonglow" (which won 'Best New Play' awards from both the Ann Arbor News and the Lansing State Journal before being optioned by Broadway producers) "The Home Team" (American Theatre Critics Award nominee) and "Maggie Rose." Other plays include "Labor Day," "Only Me and You" and "Nooner" at the Purple Rose Theatre in Chelsea, "Photographic Memories" and "Bombshells" at the BoarsHead Theatre in Lansing, "Women in Bars" at the University of Detroit's Theatre Company, and "Lib" at the Planet Ant in Hamtramck and the Writers and Artists Theatre of Los Angeles (where it won six Drama-Logue awards). Carney is a graduate of Wayne State University and a recipient of its Arts Achievement Award, as well as a member of the Dramatists Guild.

Performance Network Theatre is a member of The National New Play Network, is an alliance of not-for-profit professional theatres that champions the development, production and continued life of new plays for the American theatre. PNT has been a member since 2001 and is the only Michigan constituent.

Founded in 1981, Performance Network Theatre has grown from a fledgling company to Ann Arbor's only resident, professional theatre. The Network reaches 40,000 theatre patrons and children each year through the year-round Professional Series and the Children's Theatre Network. Performance Network also presents the Fireside Festival of New Works and a series of classes on theatre-related topics. The Network provides uncompromising artistic leadership in the region and produces works that engage, challenge and inspire audiences and artists.

Photo courtesy of Performance Network, featuring (L to R) Phil Powers, Sarah Leahy, David Wolber, and David Wells.

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