Finalists for 2014 Great Gay Play And Musical Contest Announced

Five finalists have now been named in the 2014 Great Gay Play And Musical Contest sponsored by Pride Films and Plays. The works are as varied as the writers, and PFP will present enhanced staged readings of these works in May at Center on Halsted.

The finalists are:

Synopses of the plays and bios of the playwrights:

The Book Of Andy by Michael J. Mejia, Delano, CA
After Andy responds I don't know to a marriage proposal, he visits his exes to find what went wrong with them. When he finds they're thriving without him, Andy lies and tells them he's dying.

Michael J. Mejia is a known and produced playwright from Kern County, California. After receiving BA's in English and Theatre from Cal-State Bakersfield, he received his MFA in Dramatic Writing from Tisch School of the Arts, Asia, in Singapore. His plays explore Mexican/American, Gay and Christian themes.

Gentle Passage by Paul Elliott, Los Angeles, CA
Paul Elliott's horrific Gentle Passage was written to expose the actual childhood his husband, Ed, survived. While the premise of the play is fiction and names have been changed, the story is entirely true.

As a published playwright with over 700 productions to date, Paul Elliott's new comedy, Exit Laughing, the 2013 AACT PlayFest winner premiered at the historic Landers Theater and will be opening in New York this spring. His first novel, The Riverton Project, is represented by WME. Gentle Passage was written as a birthday present for his husband.

Michelangelo and Tommaso by James Rosenfield, Sacramento, CA
Genius, passion, and the bloodthirsty Inquisition collide and explode in James Rosenfield's MICHELANGELO AND TOMMASO. The Catholic Church's whitewash of the lifelong affair of Michelangelo and the Roman nobleman Tommaso de Cavalieri included a fictional biography, the burning of private papers, and the threat of heresy, until Tommaso finally fought back, rebelling against and the murdering of Pope Paul IV.

James Rosenfield has been writing since 1980, and has published two plays and two novels; has had produced over 20 plays, five of them off off Broadway; and placed in 30 contests, among them the Shubert Playwright in Residence for the University of Colorado, the New York Screenwriting contest, and playwright in residence for Playwrites Rep, a New York based feminist group.

The View UpStairs by Max Vernon, New York, NY
The View UpStairs is an original musical inspired by the UpStairs Lounge Fire- a little known arson attack that occurred in 1973 in New Orleans. To this day it remains the worst massacre in US LGBT history.

Max Vernon is a composer/lyricist, playwright, and performer based out of NYC. His work has been praised in New York Magazine, The New Yorker, W, Out Magazine, among others. His musicals include Wired (Ars Nova, Eugene O'Neill Conference Finalist, NAMT finalist) The View UpStairs (NYU-Tisch, Two River Theater, Joe's Pub, Weston New Musical Award Nominee), and Sugarbaby (Joe's Pub). He is a 2013-2014 Dramatist Guild Theater Fellow.

Who Killed Joan Crawford? by Michael Leeds, Boynton, FL
On a dark stormy night, five men arrive at a cabin for a surprise birthday party. Each guest is dressed as the birthday boy's favorite actress, Joan Crawford in one of her signature roles. The "Joans" begin drinking and dishing until dark secrets emerge and soon there's one Joan less... and then another... and.. Who Killed Joan Crawford?

Michael Leeds wrote and directed Swinging On A Star, (Tony nomination Best Musical). His many directing credits include Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah, (Drama Desk nomination Best Director/Best Choreographer) and the award-winning European Premiere of Arthur Miller's Playing For Time. In addition to writing for the theatre, Michael co-wrote the films, The Simian Line starring William Hurt, and The Last Film Festival starring Dennis Hopper. He is currently Associate Artistic Director of South Florida's Island City Stage.

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