2014 William Inge Theatre Festival Kicks Off Today

2014 William Inge Theatre Festival Kicks Off Today

Tickets are now on sale. The 33rd Annual William Inge Theatre Festival, the Official Theatre Festival of the State of Kansas, celebrates comedy, drama and music in four whirlwind days.

Arthur Lee Kopit one of America's most respected playwrights is the focus of the 33rd annual William Inge Theatre Festival. He is a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist (Indians and Wings) and a three-time Tony Award nominee: Best Play, Indians, 1970; Best Play, Wings, 1979; and Best Book of a Musical, for Nine, 1982. He won a Drama Desk Award in 1962 for his play Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad and was nominated for another Drama Desk Award in 1979 for his play Wings.

Tickets are now on sale for this celebration which takes place today, March 26 - 29 in Independence, Kansas, at Independence Community College. As always, the Festival will be filled with theatre luminaries, professional artists and scholars from across the country.

Tickets for all events are available at www.ingecenter.org/tickets or by calling (620) 332-5491, between 1pm and 5pm, Monday through Friday.

Kopit attended Lawrence High School in Lawrence, Nassau County, New York. Kopit attended Harvard University. His first plays were staged while still an undergraduate at Harvard University. Later, Kopit taught at Wesleyan University, Yale University, and the City College of New York. In 2005, Kopit donated his papers to the Fales Library at NYU.

The Inge Festival kick-off is a staged reading of BecauseHeCan, which may be Kopit's most timely and topical play. It's set in a dangerous new world, and tells of Joseph and Joanne Elliot, a high-powered New York City couple who awake one day to discover that their private lives are no longer private, thanks to a teenage computer hacker with a warped sense of fun.

In a phone conversation, the New York-born and raised Kopit describes the work as "part Internet thriller and part psychological mystery." He says he wrote for no other reason than that the subject matter just "hit me." Its theme, the invasion of privacy and the issue of what we know about anything or anyone, he says, is of great concern to him.

BecauseHeCan, Directed by Jane Unger, founder and former Artistic Director of Profile Theatre in Portland, OR plays at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 26, at the William Inge Theatre. $20 each (Premium Seating) $12 each (General Seating)

Thursday March 27th features the exciting presentation of the annual Otis Guernsey New Voices Award, named for the respected theater scholar and editor Otis Guernsey. This year's winner is Mat Smart. A concert reading of his newest work The Great Barrier directed by Ron OJ Parson, a Resident Artist at the Court Theatre in Chicago.

The Great Barrier plays at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 27th, at the Performing Arts Center, Independence High School. $20 each (Premium Seating) $12 each (General Seating)

The Inge Festival turns to the Independence Civic Center Friday, March 28th, as professional guest artists entertain with music at the Gala Dinner. This musical theater songfest features a full-service gourmet dinner and a chance for citizens to share a meal with our special guest performers and out-of-town visitors.

The Gala Dinner, kicks off with a cocktail party at 6pm and tickets are $45 per person. Book early! LIMITED SEATING! (Tickets Must Be Reserved by March 5)

The Inge Festival concludes Saturday, March 29th, at 7:30 p.m., with 33rd Annual Festival Tribute - Arthur Kopit: What is the meaning of this? A salute to the works and legacy of Arthur Kopit. This multi-media presentation featuring live performances, video, and guest performers in honor of the author's career. Award winning documentarian Mike Wood is creator/writer/director, with live scenes and staging director, Karen Carpenter.

There will be plenty more going on during the daylight hours, too. Thursday-Saturday, March 27 - 29, Inge Festival patrons have the rare opportunity to learn from working professionals during public workshops and panels. The guest artists address the full range of performing arts, including production, performances, and current trends. Celebrity guest artists and veterans of Stage & Screen will be announced in the coming weeks.

The Director's Package ($195 each): Includes Premium Seats for Thurs./Fri./Sat. Daytime Workshops, BecauseHeCan, The Great Barrier, Gala Dinner, Picnic at Riverside Park, Inge-About-Town, 33rd Annual Festival Tribute, Afterglow and Souvenir Program Book. Scenes at the Inge House and Tour of Inge's Independence sold separately. (Director's Package must be reserved by March 5 in order to include the Gala Dinner event.)

Night-Owl Package ($105 each): Includes Premium Seats for all evening events. Wed.: BecauseHeCan, Thurs.: The Great Barrier, Fri.: Gala Dinner, Sat.: 33rd Annual Festival Tribute and Souvenir Program Book. (Night-Owl Package must be reserved by March 5 in order to include the Gala Dinner event.)

The 3-Day Pass ($80 each): Includes all daytime workshops and readings, and Inge-About-Town. Meals, Scenes at the Inge House, Tour of Inge's Independence, evening events and Souvenir Program Book sold separately.

The 1-Day Pass (20-$35 each): Includes all daytime workshops and readings. Saturday's pass has Inge-About-Town as an option for an additional fee. Meals, Scenes at the Inge House, Tour of Inge's Independence, evening events and Souvenir Program Book sold separately.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.ingecenter.org, or by phone at (800) 842-6063 ext. 5491 weekdays 1-5 p.m. In person, tickets are available at the Inge Center office at the Fine Arts Building, Room 123, at Independence Community College, 1057 W. College Ave., 1-5 p.m. weekdays. The box office mailing address is The William Inge Center for the Arts, PO Box 708, Independence, Kansas, 67301.

The Inge Festival is named for the late William Inge, an Independence native who won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama ("Picnic") and Oscar for Best Screenplay ("Splendor in the Grass.")

Independence, Kansas, is located 90 miles north of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and 140 miles south of Kansas City, Missouri, and 110 miles east of Wichita, KS.

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