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TRU Announces TRU Voices New Plays Reading Series 6/7, 6/14, 6/21

Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) announces the winning selections of the 2010 TRU Voices New Plays Reading Series. In a series that is unique because it develops new producers as well as new plays, three works were chosen from submissions by emerging or established producers, as well as from writers who hoped to be matched with a producer. Unusual this year is that all three plays selected are written and produced by women.

"It is all too familiar these days to hear how women playwrights are under-represented in commercial theater. We didn't set out to correct this situation, but after the finalist stack of blind-submitted scripts were selected and the dust settled, we realized we had not only moved three women writers into the series, but also three women producers. I think that's a wonderful - and meaningful - coincidence," said TRU executive director Bob Ost. "I guess this is the year for TRU Women's Voices to be heard," he added.

The selected plays will be read on Mondays, June 7, 14, and 21 at 7pm at The Players Theatre, 115 MacDougal Street (below W. 3rd Street), NYC. Admission is FREE but reservations are required at or by phone at 212-475-1449. Each reading will be followed by a reception and a "Dollars and Sense" panel on producing.

The plays chosen for the TRU Voices New Play Reading Series are: Angels and Ministers of Grace Defend Us, a drama about grief, family, and forgiveness by Elaine Smith, produced by Wild Bird Productions' Meredith Lucio; Leni, about Leni Riefenstahl, Hitler's notorious film director, by Pam Tate, produced by Sherry Eaker in association with Gina DeMayo; and Cheese, a dark comic farce about secrets and family - and how to survive them both, by Laurel Ollstein, produced by Pat Flicker Addiss.

June 7, 2010 at 7pm
Angels and Ministers of Grace Defend Us by Elaine Smith
Following a tragic accident, two sisters realize they must rely on each other for the family to heal. The play has previously been read at the New Jersey Repertory starring Linda Hamilton (The Terminator), as well as in a recent presentation at the Berkshire Theatre Festival in Stockbridge MA, and an early reading at the Abingdon Theatre Company in New York in 2004.

Elaine Smith (Writer) was a 2008-2009 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize nominee, 2nd prize winner in the Barter Theatre Appalachian Festival of Plays & Playwights and a 2007 Finalist in the Eudora Welty New Play Series. Elaine is a self-producing artist in TRU's Producer Mentorship Program.

Meredith Lucio (Producer) is currently a Co-Producer of The 39 Steps at New World Stages. She was an Associate Producer of Rooms a Rock Romance and is a writer for Previous TRU readings have included the musicals Opa!, which went on to win 5 awards in the Midtown InterNational Theatre Festival, and So Happy I Could Scream! featuring Ann Harada, Barbara McCulloh, Allyson Tucker and Melanie Kann. Meredith is a member of TRU's Producer Mentorship Program.

Kim Weild (Director) is associate director to Michael Blakemore having worked with him most recently on the Broadway revival of Blithe Spirit starring Angela Lansbury and previously on Terrence McNally's Deuce (Lansbury/Seldes) and Mark Twain/David Ives' Is He Dead? Directing credits include Uncle Vanya (official selection Prague Quadrennial), Kaddish by Allen Ginsberg (NY International Fringe Festival), The Good Woman of Setzuan (w/2 Star Symphony), Charles Mee's Fêtes de la Nuit (Riverside Theater), Safe Home (CAP 21-World Premiere), Andrea Lepcio's A Peddler's Tale: Buttons, Guts and Bluetooth (The Women's Project),and So Happy I Could Scream for the TRU Voices Musicals Reading Series in 2008.

June 14, 2010 at 7pm
Leni by Pam Tate
The time is 1947, the place is Germany. Leni Riefenstahl, Hitler's notorious film director of Triumph of the Will, is held against her will in a mental sanitarium. It is only through her growing knowledge of the nurse, who reveals bits of her own secretive past, that Leni sees the devastating results of the choices she made a decade before.

Pam Tate (Writer) is also a musician and performer. Her play, Leni, won the Famous Door National Women's Playwriting Award. Pam is currently adapting the novel Ship of Fools, by Katherine Anne Porter, for the musical stage.

Sherry Eaker (Producer) is the former Editor in Chief of Back Stage (1977 to 2006), and has been the producer of the Back Stage Bistro Awards, now in its 25th year. She also produces and moderates industry panel discussions, including TRU's monthly industry panels as well as being on TRU's Advisory Board. Leni is her first theatrical producing venture. Sherry is a member of TRU's Producer Mentorship Program.

Gina DeMayo (Associate Producer) has produced several plays, including Stage 13's world premiere, Exposed! The Curious Case of Shiloh and Zahara, the Midtown InterNational Theatre Festival winner for Best Play, Best Ensemble, and Best Set Design.

June 21, 2010 at 7pm
Cheese by Laurel Ollstein
A dark comic farce about secrets and family - and how to survive them both.

Laurel Ollstein (Writer) has worked in new play development as a playwright, actress, director and teacher for over twenty years. Her play Cheese was a 2009 finalist in the New Works of Merit Competition and will be published this year by Original Works Publishing. Laurel co-wrote the book for the musical Opa! which was a finalist in the TRU Voices New Musicals Reading Series in 2007.

Pat Flicker Addiss (Producer) is currently represented on Broadway with Promises, Promises and off-Broadway with The 39 Steps, The Fantasticks at the Snapple Theatre Center and The Housewives of Mannheim at 59e59 Theatres. She has been a producer on Spring Awakening, Passing Strange and Little Women, to name a few, as well as having produced two works for the TRU Voices Series: the play Spark in 2006 and the musical At the Back of the North Wind in 2007.

The TRU Voices New Play Reading Series encouragessubmissions from emerging and established producers who are interested in testing the waters with a new work, and offers an opportunity for them to forge relationships with writers. TRU also accepts submissions from writers and tries to match them with a sponsoring producer for the series. The TRU Voices track record is impressive. Shows that started in the series include Pied-à-Terre, which played off-Broadway at The Kirk, Theatre Row; The Great American Trailer Park Musical by Betsy Kelso and David Nehls, which enjoyed an off-Broadway run and is currently touring; Normal by Yvonne Adrian, Cheryl Stern and Tom Kochan, which played a limited run in fall '06 at the Connelly Theater in the East Village starring Barbara Walsh and tours throughout the country; Saint Heaven by Martin Casella and Keith Gordon has had successful runs at the Stamford Center for the Performing Arts and the Village Theatre in Issaquah WA. A finalist in the 2006 series, Missives by Garret Jon Groenvald, had a production at 59E59 Street Theatres directed by Elysabeth Kleinhans, and was well received and well reviewed; TRU was a proud co-producer with Animated Theatreworks and PlayGround.

TRU was founded in 1992 to promote a spirit of cooperation and support within the general theater community by providing information and a variety of entertainment-related services and resources that strengthen the business capability of producing organizations, individual producers, self-Producing Artists and other theater professionals. The company holds monthly seminars on a wide range of subjects important to theatrical producers and artistic directors conducted by panels of experts from both the commercial and not-for-profit segments of Broadway, Off-Broadway and the motion picture industry. These educational forums have been a core program of TRU since its inception, and in recent years executive director Ost has partnered with Ms. Eaker to generate topics of interest to both TRU membership and Back Stage readers. "Through TRU, Back Stage is able to reach beyond its actor base to a wider theater community," said Ost, "and we get more visibility through the Back Stage connection."

TRU also publishes a monthly email community newsletter of services, goods and productions. In addition, TRU served as the umbrella organization for a co-production by several of its member companies as a part of the first annual New York Fringe Festival. From that experience, the organization has expanded its production efforts by creating the TRU VOICES Annual New Play Reading Series and the TRU VOICES Annual New Musicals Reading Series in which TRU underwrites developmental readings of new works for theater. In 2001, TRU began giving annual scholarships to The Commercial Theater Institute, to encourage the development of aspiring producers, and most recently created a Producer Mentoring Program whose mentors are among the most prominent producers and general managers in New York theater. In March of 2008, TRU was associate producer of its first Equity showcase, Missives at 59E59 Theatre, a play that was developed in the 2006 TRU reading series. TRU programs for actors include an Annual Audition Event, Resource Nights and "Speed Dating" as well as free monthly actor events, including workshops.

Programs of Theater Resources Unlimited are supported in part by public funds awarded through the New York State Council on the Arts and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, as well as generous support from the Friar's National Foundation Association.

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