Pride Films and Plays to Present GAY PLAY WEEKEND, 5/17-19

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Five thrilling new works will be showcased in Pride Films and Plays Gay Play Weekend May 17 to 19 at Center on Halsted's Hoover-Leppen Theater. They include:

· A blues-infused work about an esteemed James Baldwin-esque African American and his meeting with a young black writer in The Red Train.

· Forbidden Glass, a new drama about illicit love and intrigue among gay Iranians.

· Dancing in the Mirror is a fusion of dance and theater, as a Broadway dancer returns to his hometown to teach in the dance school in which he was brought up, and to confront the memory of the teacher who abused him.

· Sand Man is a drama about a Chicago reporter whose work on bullying and the suicide of a gay teen has left him emotionally and physically battered

· And Directions For Restoring The Apparently Dead, in which past and present collide when a straight man and gay man are reunited after life-shattering experiences.

"The quality and variety of the works we read during this contest round was exciting," said PFP's Executive Director David Zak. "The variety of themes being explored, and styles being experimented with brings great hope for the future."

The complete schedule for the weekend is:

  • Red Train by B. V. Marshall, directed by Kyra Morris, Friday May 17 at 7:00, and featuring Charles Glenn, Jamie Smith, Michael Manocchio, and Sacara Nicholas.
  • Dancing in the Mirror by Perry Ojeda, directed by Jay Andrew Espana, Saturday, May 18, 4:00 pm. Dancing in the Mirrorfeatures Alexandra Gonzalez, Jason Gorczyca, Matthew Glasner, Luis Herrera, Steve Kimbrough, and Joan McGrath.
  • Directions for Restoring The Apparently Dead by Martin Casella, directed by Chuck Berglund, Saturday, Mary 18 7:00 pm.Directions... features Patrick Gannon, Nick Stockwell, Patrick Rybarczyk, and Katie Sherman.
  • Forbidden Glass by Kirt Shineman, directed by Alexander St. John, Sunday May 19 1:00 PM. Forbidden Glass features Kareem Khubchandani, Jude Hansen, Jay Paul Deratany, Yazmin Ramo,Marc Rita and Alima Belconis,
  • Sand Man by G. William Zorn, Sunday, May 19 at 4:00. Sand Man features Derek Van Barham, Tom Chiola, Goli Rahimi, Matthew Harris, Glenn Abel, Brody Murray, Tim Lee, and Alex Wolking.

The plays are performed as 'enhanced staged readings', with blocking, costuming, dance, and design elements. Performances are at Center on Halsted's Hoover-Leppen Theatre, 3656 North Halsted, Chicago. Tickets for each performance are $10, and can be purchased through www.brownpapertickets.com and a weekend pass is available for $35.

Synopses of the plays and bios of the playwrights:

Directions For Restoring The Apparently Dead by Martin Casella, New York, NY

Two men in their 40's, best friends since childhood, one gay, one straight, make an escape to the north of England after both have experienced life-changing tragedies. As past and present overlap and intersect, they begin to examine the origins of their relationship, and the limits of it as well. The cast includes Patrick Rybarczyk, Patrick Gannon, Nick Stockwell and Katie Sherman.

Martin Casella's award-winning plays include The Irish Curse(off-Broadway, London, published by Samuel French); Scituate; Grand Junction; Beautiful Dreamer; Desert Fire; Paydirt; Mates. He was the bookwriter for Play It Cool (off-Broadway; GLAAD, OCC nomination); Saint Heaven; Paper Moon; Happy Holidays; Taking Care Of Mrs. Carroll. A Cal Arts graduate, he also teaches playwriting to LBGTQ kids at NYC's Harvey Milk High School. Member of the Dramatists Guild and WGA.

www.martincasella.weebly.com

The Red Train by Ben Marshall, Plainfield, NJ

Julian, a young composer, finds his idol, drunk in a Parisian Café. The older man spews invective and insult instead of wisdom, while both men covet the same waiter. Julian then rejects his idol, his best friend and everyone else until he faces the emotional turmoil he's helped to create.

Benjamin V. Marshall's plays have earned recognition from HBO New Writers Project, New York's Theatre for a New City and in play festivals from Alaska to Australia including, Purchasing Power for Chicago's WBEZ radio. Awards: NJ State Council on the Arts, VCCA, and Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. Dramatists Guild.

Dancing In The Mirror by Perry Ojeda, Studio City, CA

Dancing In The Mirror is a drama with original music and dance. Professional dancer, Danny Torres, in the twilight of his career, inherits a dance studio from his childhood mentor. Returning to his rural home town in Southern Michigan, he must wrestle with the ghosts of his past reopening old wounds with the family he left behind.

Perry Ojeda, writer & actor, received critical acclaim for his first solo performance piece, The Trick which was presented in New York, Chicago and in Dublin. He has written & produced the webseries "H.A! Homosexuals Anonymous". As an actor, Mr. Ojeda has performed on & Off- Broadway, in London's West End and in Television & Film. For more info:www.PerryOjeda.com

Forbidden Glass By Kirt Shineman, Peoria, AZ

Forbidden Glass is a story of illicit desires in a foreboding land. When Javad, a gay Iranian, sweet-talks Barry, an American reporter, into helping him get an interview for sanctuary in Turkey, he unravels a tale which has unforeseen consequences. Unluckily, the telling of his tale spills blood, rather than sand.

Kirt Shineman, a full Professor of Communication at Glendale Community College in Glendale, Arizona, has won multiple national and international directing & playwright awards. He is currently working on a play about Faust and Gutenberg titled The Black Art. In 2012, the Off-Broadway premiere of Allie Oop's Last Fantastic Day at the Manhattan Repertory Theatre played to sold out audiences. The play was published in 2012 by Original Works Publishing. His play Forbidden Glass (Emerging Artists' Theater, New York City, 2010 and 2011), was an O'Neill Theater Conference semifinalist, and presented PT 2nd Draft Series 2011, and received a staged reading in Palm Springs at Script2Stage2Screen Theater Company, January 2012. In 2012 his 10-minute play monologue, First Person, was performed and filmed by Artists' Path Company. His play Germs and Viruses was a finalist in the FABUM's 2011 Playwright Competition in Washington DC.

Sand Man by G. William Zorn, Kalamazoo, MI

In 2007, a boy named Lawrence King was shot in the head for giving another boy a valentine. Over a two week period, no major news outlet reported on the story. Sand Man is about one man's frustration with the media's willingness to ignore this kind of account and the consequences of caring about it at all.

G. William Zorn - Bill - is currently in the last year of the English Ph.D. program at Western Michigan University. His plays have been produced all over the country and he has won numerous awards for playwriting, including the 2009 Mark Twain Prize from he John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and the Gwen Frostic Playwriting Award in 2010 and 2012.

Pride Films and Plays, based in Chicago, links an international network of writers with professionals working in film and theater. PFP fosters excellent writing for the stage and screen that speaks not only to the LGBT community, but is also essential viewing for all audiences. Using stories with gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender characters or themes, Pride Films and Plays develops human stories that become a cultural bridge to understanding. Through readings, contests, classes, screenings, and full Theater Productions, PFP engages artists and audiences in the full developmental process needed to make great artistic experiences.

In addition to the Great Gay Play Contest, PFP conduces the Great Gay Screenplay Contest, and Women's Work for plays and screenplays with lesbian characters or themes written by women. It is also staged a full season of work in Chicago this year, including the world premiere of previous contest finalists At The Flash, a 20th Anniversary Production of Beatiful Thing (which runs through February 17 at the Athenauem) and the world premiere musical Under A Rainbow Flag (running March 23 to April 21 at Profiles Main Stage). For tickets and information visit www.pridefilmsandplays.com.

Center on Halsted is the Midwest's most comprehensive community center dedicated to advancing the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community and securing the health and well-being of LGBTQ individuals. More than 1,000 community members visit the Center every day, located in the heart of Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood. The diverse programs offered range from volleyball, yoga, and cooking classes to free rapid HIV testing, group therapy, vocational training, and comprehensive senior and youth programs. For more information, visit www.centeronhalsted.org.

For more details on the Great Gay Play Contest, or any of PFP's writing contests or productions, visit www.pridefilmsandplays.com.

Pictured: Jay Paul Deratany and Kareem Khubchandani in Forbidden Glass, part of Gay Play Weekend for Pride Films and Plays.



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