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Durango PlayFest Announces Casting And Directors For New Works Festival

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Pulitzer-prize-nominated writer Lee Blessing's latest play, The Family Line, will have its premiere reading at PlayFest.

Durango PlayFest Announces Casting And Directors For New Works Festival

Durango PlayFest today announced the five New York- and Los Angeles-based actors who will headline three plays being developed at its new works festival, as well as the directors for each play. The August 5-8 event brings nationally recognized actors, playwrights and directors to Durango to incubate new plays, hold events for the community, and culminate the week with staged readings. The event schedule and tickets are available at www.durangoplayfest.org.

Nikkole Salter ("New Amsterdam," "Godfather of Harlem") and Brian Lee Franklin ("Godless," "Free State of Jones") will star in Ghost Story, the tale of a middle-aged black New Yorker who brings home a younger, white Midwesterner for what she thinks is a one-night stand. Things get complicated in this play about ghosts - both literal and metaphorical, and the ways we try to move forward. Written by Lia Romeo, the play will be directed by Tom Wright ("Ray Donovan," "Sunshine State").

Pulitzer-prize-nominated writer Lee Blessing's latest play, The Family Line, will have its premiere reading at PlayFest. Dan Lauria ("The Wonder Years," "Lombardi") and Sky Lakota-Lynch ("Dear Evan Hansen") play a grandfather and grandson who meet for the first time after the teen's mother dies suddenly of COVID and they spend 24 hours together on a road trip, driving the boy to his estranged father. Felicia Lansbury Meyer will direct this reading.

In Sitting & Talking, Lauria and Wendie Malick ("Just Shoot Me," "This is Us") reprise their roles as Charles and Enid, singles in their 60s who have never tried online dating, but give it a go in this love story set in the midst of a global pandemic. During PlayFest, playwright Romeo will adapt the play, which was previously staged on Zoom, into an in-person piece. The reading will be directed by James Glossman.

"When staging two-handers, chemistry is everything. We can't wait to see how our talented directors work with each of the three pairs of actors to bring our playwrights' work to life," said PlayFest artistic director Lansbury Meyer. "After the cancellation of last year's festival and other artistic events, there is a huge appetite for live theater in our community. It's truly gratifying to be able to return to the stage with such a high caliber line-up of actors and directors."

In addition to the three headliner plays, Durango PlayFest includes a play by a local playwright. Golden Gate, by Lindsey Kirchoff, will be read by actors from the community and will be directed by Bud Franks, the former producer/general manager of the storied Casa Mañana Theater in Fort Worth, Texas.

The third annual Durango PlayFest will be held August 5-8, 2021. The festival brings nationally known and emerging artists to Durango, engages and educates the community, and bolsters economic vitality through the development of new works in an intimate and collaborative forum. PlayFest strives to make artistic expertise and experience accessible to students, educators and community members in the Four Corners region, and to provide a nurturing environment to playwrights for development of their new work. For more information, visit www.durangoplayfest.org.


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