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The Fulton Theatre Announces Schedule and Creative Teams for STORIES OF DIVERISTY Playwriting Festival

The lineup includes FOR COLORED BOYZ on the verge of a nervous breakdown/ when freedom ain’t enuff, L'Hôtel, and Lev of Leningrad.

The Fulton Theatre Announces Schedule and Creative Teams for STORIES OF DIVERISTY Playwriting Festival

The Fulton Theatre has announced the schedule of its inaugural in person playwriting festival. "Stories of Diversity," July 16 - July 18, 2021. The festival will feature three distinct and diverse plays that will engage the Lancaster community in much needed conversation. The lineup includes FOR COLORED BOYZ on the verge of a nervous breakdown/ when freedom ain't enuff, L'Hôtel, and Lev of Leningrad. Tickets are FREE to the community, but a reservation is required.

Submissions were open to playwrights throughout Lancaster County and beyond, with dozens of plays submitted by playwrights throughout the United States, the winning playwrights derive from California, Texas, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Plays included including voices from Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), LGBTQ+, and religious and economic diversity. A team of over 30, including the newly formed Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility (IDEA) Committee, read the plays in three qualifying rounds. The audience and a panel of judges will select the winner of the inaugural new works festival. The winner, announced soon after the festival's close, will be professionally produced by the Fulton as part of a future Groff Studio Series production in the Tell Studio Theatre during a future season. The winner will also receive a cash prize. Festival Casting is by Joseph Abramowicz.

FRIDAY, JULY 16, 2021 - 6:00 PM

FOR COLORED BOYZ on the verge of a nervous breakdown/ when freedom ain't enuff

By Bryan-Keyth Wilson

A collection of poems telling the stories of black men from slavery to the present. This composition examines the dark realities of what it means to be a man of color in America. Wilson's work delves into

issues such as toxic masculinity, homophobia, systematic racism, mental issues, and police brutality. While there's no linear narrative each poem is weaved together through music and dance making this piece a choreopoem. The choreopoem is performed by five nameless men only represented visually by their colors. They are The Man in Black, Man in Red, Man in Green, Man in Orange and Man in Blue. Other subjects examined in this choreopoem include colorism, racial stereotypes, the black family and politics. By the conclusion of Act II, walls are broken, and each man on stage takes a new right of passage giving reverence to the ancestors and affirming the bond of brotherhood is what they need to move forward in this world.

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT - Bryan-Keyth Wilson (He, Him, His) - Dubbed the Literary Prince, Bryan-Keyth Wilson is a noted multi-hyphenate in the theatre and publishing arena. He is a contributor for Broadway World and freelance journalist. BKW is an activist and believes that his work should be reflective of the times we live. He studied Musical Theatre with a Dance emphasis at Sam

Houston State University, and serves as the founding artistic director of The Creative Co-Lab TX|NYC. He is now in development of his first comic book series THE TALENTED TENTH. He is a faculty member of The Black Writers Reunion & Conference and creator of the LIFT EV'RY VOICE International Playwright & Spoken World Virtual Festival. www.bryankeyth.com IG: @literaryprince

THE CAST:

Malcom Armwood will be reading for the part Blue. Armwood, a newcomer to the Fulton, made his Broadway debut in Hadestown. He was last seen in American Repertory Theater's production of The Black Clown.

Joel Ashur will be reading for the part Black. Ashur, a newcomer to the Fulton, is known for The Good Lord Bird, Carry Me Home: A Remember America Film and The Ride.

Darius Barnes will be reading for the part Orange. Barnes, a newcomer to the Fulton, has numerous Broadway credits, including Kiss Me Kate, Mean Girls, and Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella. He will be seen in the new Broadway Musical MJ The Musical in 2022.

Jonathan Burke will be reading the part of Green. Burke, a newcomer to the Fulton, credits include the Broadway productions of The Inheritance and Choir Boy.

Antoine L. Smith will be reading the part of Red. Smith, a newcomer to the Fulton, has numerous Broadway credits including Carousel, The Color Purple, and Memphis. He will be seen in the new Broadway musical MJ The Musical in 2022.

The reading will be directed by Robert Hartwell. Hartwell began his career at the Fulton with the 2009 production of Hello, Dolly!. He has numerous Broadway credits as a performer, including Hello, Dolly!, Motown The Musical, Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, Nice Work if You Can Get It, and Memphis. Directing credits include Assistant Director on the First National Tour of Once On This Island. Hartwell is the founder of The Broadway Collective.

SATURDAY, JULY 17, 2021 - 10 AM

Lev of Leningrad

By Noah Schoenberg

Lev of Leningrad tells the tale of Lev Furman, immigrant extraordinaire.

Lev's story begins when he accidentally becomes a Jewish "refusnik" in the former Soviet Union at the age of 26. 14 years later, Soviet authorities finally grant Lev and his young family an exit visa to leave the Soviet Union. Lev's troubles surprisingly continue in the United States as he learns to cope with his family's successful assimilation into American culture, especially his younger daughter Karine who challenges Lev's understanding of gender and authority.

Throughout his adventures, Lev retains his sense of humor and faith that all will work out - with assistance from Philadelphia's Finest and other friends.

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT - Noah Schoenberg grew up and attended school in Philadelphia. He shipped off to St. Paul/Minneapolis for college, where he earned degrees in applied mathematics and neuroscience. He returned to Philadelphia after college to work in financial services.

Lev of Leningrad is Noah's first play. He wrote Lev accidentally at the age of 26.

THE CAST

Chuck Ragsdale will be reading the part of Lev. Ragsdale returns to the Fulton, after most recently playing Hector MacQueen in Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express. He was a member of the Broadway 1st National touring company of the Tony-Award winning A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder and off-Broadway's infamous Silence! (Silence of the Lambs, the musical).

Liz Shivener will be reading the part of Karine. Shivener returns to the Fulton, after most recently playing Greta Ohlsson in Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express. Her National tour credits include Disney's Beauty And The Beast (Belle), Shrek, The Musical (Fiona), and Les Misérables (Swing, u/s Fantine).

Kim Carson will be reading the part of Lilia. Carson returns to the Fulton, after most recently appearing in Other Desert Cities. A Barrymore Award-winning actress, Carson, has appeared in productions at the Arden Theatre, Walnut Street Theatre, People's Light & Theater, among other Philadelphia Theatre companies.

Missy Dowse will be reading the part of Aliyah. Dowse, returns to the Fulton after most recently appearing in the 2014 production of Young Frankenstein. Other credits include the National tour of Gypsy, and the New York premiere of The Battles, originating the role of Niccolo Macciavelli. She is the founder of The Actor Inc.

Zach Calhoon will be reading the part of Aaron. Calhoon returns to the Fulton after most recently playing Harry Roat in the Groff Studio Series production of Wait Until Dark. Other credits include: BUZZ (Alabama Shakespeare Festival, directed by Carrie Preston) Fountainhead/John in Water by the Spoonful (Premiere Stages), and Ever Montgomery in Dancing Lessons (Kitchen Theatre Company/Geva Theatre Center).

Peter Bisgaier will be reading the part of Mikhail. Bisgaier, returns to the Fulton after most recently playing Sergeant Carlino in the Groff Studio Series production of Wait Until Dark. A Philadelphia actor, Bisgaier is the Co-Artistic Director at Pegasus Theatre Company. He is also a member of the improv team "The Teachers' Lounge."

The reading will be directed by Matt Pfeiffer. Pfeiffer returns to the Fulton, after most recently directing the 2018 Groff Studio Series Blackbird. He is a Philly born actor and director whose recent credits include: A Midsummer Nights Dream (Arden Theatre), Hand to God (Philadelphia Theatre Company), Buzzer (Theatre Exile) and Constellations (Gulfshore Playhouse).

SUNDAY, JULY 18, 2021 - 10 AM

L'Hôtel

By Marisol Medina

A dark comedy about a modern American woman and her religiously conservative, Cuban-born mother. During a hopeless attempt at a bonding trip to Paris, the mother's greatest fear, a terrorist attack, traps the women in their luxury hotel room with a handsome and helpful Algerian-Parisian bell boy; causing the women's fluctuating morals, misleading prejudices, violent need to survive, and closely guarded secrets to come to light.

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT - Marisol Medina is a playwright and nonfiction writer of stories on identity and the destructive nature of societal and familial norms. She is a first-generation Cuban-American from Texas who lives in Los Angeles. Marisol acted in Houston and Seattle before moving to LA where she went into comedy (Groundlings, UCB, Comedy Store, Los Angeles Comedy Festival, and SF Sketchfest ), had a child, and now writes. Marisol was a semi-finalist for the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's 2019 National Playwright Conference, a finalist for 2019 LAB Local Theater in Boulder, CO, and a finalist for Athena Project's 2020 Plays in Progress Series.

THE CAST

Eileen Faxas will be reading the part of Eileen. Faxas, a newcomer to the Fulton, is a three time Emmy Award-winning journalist. She returned to the arts and has appeared in the National Tour of Mamma Mia! and numerous stage and television roles.

Nancy Ticotin will be reading the part of Mom. Ticotin, a newcomer to the Fulton, Broadway credits include West Side Story, Jerome Robbins' Broadway, and Damn Yankees. Her numerous television credits include Orange Is the New Black, Law and Order S.V.U, Pose, and FBI.

Jamen Nanthakumar will be reading the part of Bell Boy/Salim. Nanthakumar, a newcomer to the Fulton, is known for Crossing Over, Veronica Mars, and Oklahoma!

The reading will be directed by Nadia Guevara. Guevara is an award-winning actor, director, producer, and arts administrator. She currently serves as Director of Arts Engagement and member of the Literary Advisory Board at GALA Hispanic Theatre in Washington, D.C where her pandemic project Leyendo con GALita has garnered over 40,000 views.

The Festival kicked off digitally on the Fulton's FultonHD platform on May 21, 2021 for World Diversity Day. The playwrights recorded a moderated panel discussion of what to expect from their plays, and in partnership with McCaskey High School Campus Theatre and Dance program, students from this award-winning program presented music, dance, spoken word and visual art as a reflection on the beauty and diversity of our community. These programs are still available for viewing on FultonHD.org.

The Fulton is grateful to the Festival Sponsors, Lancaster County Community Foundation, and Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health for their support for this necessary initiative. In addition, the Fulton is grateful to Highmark Blue Shield as the Festival Education Sponsor.

How to Reserve Tickets

Tickets are FREE by reserving at www.thefulton.org/community/diversity-equity-and-inclusion/ or by calling the box office at 717.397.7425. Guests must pick up a festival pass at the Fulton Box Office between Monday, July 12 and Thursday, July 15.

"We are proud to partner and support the Diversity Playwriting Festival as a way of creating important space for new and underrepresented voices to be amplified and elevated. We believe Lancaster County is stronger when every voice is heard and every resident is safe. Our community is only extraordinary when every family, neighbor, and friend is respected," says Sam Bressi, CEO of Lancaster County Community Foundation.

Marc Robin, Executive Artistic Producer, stated, "The Fulton Theatre has always been a gathering place for the community. The programming needs to reflect the diverse makeup of Lancaster. We hope by taking this necessary step of increasing the opportunities to foster stories of diversity, that the entire community feels included at the Fulton Theatre, their home for the performing arts."

Eric Pugh, the Fulton's Marketing Director, and the Festival's Producer, stated, "Over the course of the past year, the Fulton has taken great strides, with much to be done, in removing barriers for any community member to not feel welcome at the Fulton. We were elated with the amount of submissions for this first year, and the selections represent a spectrum of diverse stories. We look forward to growing the festival in the future."

In June 2020, the Fulton Theatre made a promise to the Lancaster Community to be a change agent and to help amplify the diverse voices of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, the LGBTQ+, and other diverse groups. The recently appointed IDEA Committee and the "Stories of Diversity" Playwriting Festival are our first steps to fulfilling that promise.



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