Ali Viterbi's IN EVERY GENERATION Wins 2019 National Jewish Playwriting Contest
The Jewish Plays Project (David Winitsky, Artistic Director) is proud to announce that In Every Generation by Ali Viterbi has won the 2019 Jewish Playwriting Contest.
"I am so honored!" enthused Ms. Viterbi. "I wrote IN EVERY GENERATION about and for the American Jewish community that I love, and bringing this play to both American and Jewish communities across the country has been an extraordinarily meaningful experience."
In Every Generation tells the story of the Italian-Jewish Levi-Katz family as they celebrate the Passover Seder - over four millennia. Over matzah ball soup and (vegan) brisket, questions of race and religion force us to ask: must we define ourselves through trauma? Will we ever be free? And why is this night REALLY different from all other nights?
The JPP chose Ms. Viterbi's play through its signature community-centered process, which combined the efforts of over 1,000 people in 7 cities - artists in New York, clergy and Jewish lay leaders, and theater-savvy audiences - a unique effort that provides one-of-kind feedback to playwrights and invaluable audience response to prospective producers.
"This was our closest Contest yet - three plays were tied for the lead, and Ali just edged out a 1-point victory," said Mr. Winitsky. "But Ali is a writer to watch, and tons of people already love this play. You should get out to see our reading before it gets its world premiere."
The play will receive the JPP's featured workshop reading at the Theater at the 14th Street Y, 344 East 14th Street, on Wednesday, September 5th at 7:30 pm. Audiences can reserve tickets at www.jewishplaysproject.org or jewishplaysproject.eventbrite.com. Howard Shalwitz, the noted new play expert and founder of Washington D.C.'s Woolly Mammoth Theater, will direct, with casting by Judy Bowman Casting, CSA. Full casting will be announced in August.
"Ali's play takes a highly original approach to celebrate the continuity of Jewish tradition in the face of persecution and anti-Semitism", said Mr. Shalwitz. "Looking both backward and forward in time, Ms. Viterbi presents not only a very human family saga, but also a timely warning about the choices that American Jews face in the present moment."
Mr. Shalwitz will also direct the play at the Kennedy Center/National New Play Network's MFA Playwright's Showcase on August 9.
In addition, the JPP will present readings of Finalist Megan Pope's Dox Modern Middle, in which a queer Modern Orthodox girl's disapproving paremnts out her and send her to Israel to heal,. There she meets a group of Israeli and Arab drag queens who show her another way. Those readings are Thursday & Friday September 5th and 6th, and are directed by Outer Circle Critics Nominee Aaron Simon Gross.
Over 150 playwrights from 27 states and 6 countries submitted plays to the Contest. The winning plays tackle some of the critical questions in the Jewish world today: immigration, LGBTQ inclusion, interfaith relations, as well complex perspectives on Israel from American and Israeli writers.
"At a moment when so many are contemplating Jewish identity and thinking deeply about global citizenship and what it takes to be a community - we are thrilled to highlight this slate of highly original, theatrically vibrant plays" said Artistic Director David Winitsky. "These writers are giving us work that is nourishing, vital and real in ways that are meaningful to not just Jews, but all Americans."
The other finalists were Rae Binstock (Land of No Mercy), Adi Eshman (King Lesbian), Cary Gitter (The Sabbath Girl), Lawrence Goodman (Heresy), Megan Pope (Dox Modern Middle), and Zohar Tirosh-Polk (The Zionists).
Full information about all the plays - including playwright and agent contact information - can be found at the JPP's website, www.jewishplaysproject.org. Interested producers, agents and literary managers can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
"The JPC offers something more powerful than exposure: it offers Jewish playwrights a spiritual community, where they can share work and exchange ideas," said Adi Eshman, Top 7 playwright and writer's assistant for HBO's Mosaic.
Ali Viterbi is a playwright, television writer, and educator from San Diego. Her plays have been developed, produced, or commissioned by The Kennedy Center/National New Play Network, Round House Theatre, San Diego Repertory Theatre, HERE Arts Center, The Drama League, Jewish Plays Project, Last Frontier Theatre Conference, The Barrow Group, Owl and Cat Theatre in Australia, North Coast Repertory Theatre, Horizon Theater Company, Vermont Studio Center, Wildacres Residency, Yale College, and The Centropa Institute. Her play Period Sisters was a Finalist for the 2018 O'Neill National Playwrights Conference. Ali is the associate producer of the annual Lipinsky San Diego Jewish Arts Festival, and she teaches undergraduate playwriting at UC San Diego. She graduated from Yale, receiving their top playwriting prize, and is currently a third-year MFA candidate at UC San Diego, where she studies with Naomi Iizuka.