American Stage Theatre Co. Announces New Emerging Playreading Series for 2013-14 Season
THE EMERGING MASTERS PLAYREADING SERIES will focus on works by established American Playwrights in mid-career, whose plays have been honored and widely produced, but whose name may not yet be a household word. Each year, five works by one such American playwright will be highlighted in five public staged readings performed by professional actors. One of the five plays will be considered for full production in a future American Stage season. THE EMERGING MASTERS PLAYREADING SERIES is produced by American Stage and is sponsored by Court and Kitti Hamilton.
For its inaugural year, American Stage will focus on the works of St. Petersburg native, Bill Leavengood. Bill Leavengood is a two-time O'Neill playwright and alumus of Circle Repertory in New York. His Off-Broadway credits include SPECIAL on Theatre Row; LITTLE MARY at the Sanford Meisner Theatre; THE HEAD at the Chelsea Playhouse; THE PRESERVATION SOCIETY, at Primary Stages; and FLORIDA CRACKERS, which premiered as part of Circle Repertory's 20th Anniversary Season.
In the Tampa Bay area, he is best known as the writer/director of WEBB'S CITY: THE MUSICAL, CROSSING THE BAY and LOURDES OF THE FLIES. He has been working professionally as a writer, teacher and director for more than twenty-five years.
PLAYREADING SERIES (Five Plays):
Monday, Oct. 7, 7:00 PM: THE PRESERVATION SOCIETY
Tensions simmer just under the surface as an affluent Charleston family holds a summer reunion at their mountain lake house in North Carolina in hopes of healing old wounds and planning their daughter's wedding to the girl-next-door. THE PRESERVATION SOCIETY was selected for the National Playwrights Conference where it received the first Edith Oliver Fellowship Award and was subsequently produced Off-Broadway at Primary Stages.
Monday, Nov. 4, 7:00 PM - WHAT IS ART?
Art is a lovable Casanova with no other talent than the ability to lie and pass himself off as someone else to the beautiful women he falls for. But he bites off more than he can chew when he impersonates a controversial abstract artist in order to woo a French art devotee. For the artist (hence, Art) has been marked for death by the leader of a fanatic Eastern religious sect offended by his perverse, though abstract, image in the artist's work. Complications mount as a scheming art manager, a ruthless dictator, an uptight sister, a shy super, a manic-depressive sculptor, a fanatic assassin, an NEA official, and Art's dotty, fun-loving mother are thrown into the mix. Will Art find his true calling and love, or become a martyr for his cause? WHAT IS ART? premiered as part of the Reflections Festival of New Plays at the GeVa Theater in Rochester, NY and the at the Court Theater in Los Angeles starring Beverly Hills 91210 star, Ian Ziering.
Monday, January 27, 7:00 PM: SPECIAL
Based on the life stories of two native Floridians, SPECIAL is about the powers and mysteries of the other-abled. In the first act, a Special Ed teacher finds her calling when despite every obstacle, she directs her Special Ed students in a triumphant production of The Wizard of Oz. In the 2nd act, a painter explores what makes a Good Mother, when the kid in question (her own) is profoundly autistic. Act I of SPECIAL first premiered at American Stage in 2002. The full-length version premiered Off-Broadway on Theater Row in 2011 starring Elissa Middleton who will reprise her tour de force roles at American Stage.
Monday, Feb. 10, 7:00 PM - THE DARWINS
THE DARWINS is about the tumultuous life and relationship of the famed father of evolution, Charles Darwin, and his devout Christian wife and first cousin, Emma Wedgewood. The play is rich with the history and science of Darwin's life and discoveries, but also focuses on the struggle and triumph of two people who, despite being divided by an ideology that guided their entire existence, held their marriage together through compassion and compromise. Although it has had staged readings at the Dramatist's Guild in NYC and at the Blank Theatre in Hollywood, it has not yet had a full production.