HURTS SO GOOD, A NEW PLAY BY NEIL SIMON and More Set for WSU Studio Theatre's Heck-Rabi Play Festival, 2/28-3/9

Since 2000, the Studio Theatre has hosted the Louise Heck-Rabi Dramatic Playwriting One Act Festival, encouraging young playwrights to submit their original works. Each year, 6-7 semi-finalists are chosen out of all submissions. The plays are then read at a Workshop, where they are critiqued by judges. Three finalists win a scholarship as well as the opportunity to produce their play in front of a live audience. Each winning playwright has a chance to work with a student director and student performers to realize their productions on the stage.

Running February 28 through March 9, 2013 audience members can see this year's selected student plays: Hurts So Good by Carollette Phillips and Edmund Alyn Jones, A New Play by Neil Simon by Dave Toomey, and Chiseled by Laura Heikkinen. Tickets are $5 and are available by calling the Hilberry Theatre Box Office at (313) 577-2972, online at, or by visiting the box office at 4743 Cass Avenue on the corner of Hancock.

Hurts So Good is a story about two people who are bonded to each other through a shared love and past. It is about self-sacrifice, lingering hopes, and the kind of regrets that always leaves one asking "What if?" Hurts So Good is a drama that explores the struggle called love in the context of modern complications.

A New Play by Neil Simon chronicles Lou, a theatre veteran and director, and his best friend Sandy who decide to put on a new play by renowned playwright Neil Simon. The play investigates demonic repossession and, during rehearsals, becomes too real as disembodied voices and shadows haunt the theatre.

Chiseled is a piece that questions where "we" went wrong utilizing the snapshots of our memories. In Chiseled, the actors live and reflect in and out of the realistic world, and the confines of what we "think" happened in our minds to find the answers.

Louise Heck-Rabi was a dedicated writer and an active member in the Detroit literary scene. She created the playwriting scholarship to ensure that young playwrights of Detroit would carry on her passion years after her passing. The competition serves as a memorial and tribute to her dedication to the arts and to education.

The cast includes (in alphabetical order):

Hurts So Good: James Jordan (Southfield, MI) as Him, Alexis Mabry (Detroit, MI) as Her.

A New Play by Neil Simon: Zyle Cook (Marcellus, MI) as Sandy, Gaia Klotz (Midland, MI) as Lorraine, Dan Miller (Harper Woods, MI) as Felix, Joe Sfair (Eastpointe, MI) as Lou.

Chiseled: Hannah Butcher (Taylor, MI) as Model, Denzel Clark (Detroit, MI) as Dan, Kristen Dawn-Dumas (Southwest Detroit, MI) as Cee, Tayler Jones (Detroit, MI) as Em/Guest 1, Bryauna Perkins (Chesterfield, MI) as Elle, Laith Salim (Dearborn, MI) as Jay, Brad Smith (Waterford, MI) as Guest 2.

The production team includes: Zee Bricker (Director, Hurts So Good), Sharayah Kay Johnson (Director, A New Play by Neil Simon), Sara Kline (Director, Chiseled), Jamie Spinelli (Production Stage Manager), Michael Hallberg (Stage Manager, Hurts So Good), Shannon Hurst (Stage Manager, A New Play by Neil Simon), Amanda Mahoney (Stage Manager, Chiseled), Lisa Berg (Scenic Designer), Cameron Gottschall (Assistant Scenic Designer), Mike Gingerella, Kendall Talbot (Costume Designer), Tyler Ezell (Lighting & Sound Designer), and Felix Li (Publicist).

The Studio Theatre is an intimate, 110-seat, open-stage theatre in the lower level of the Hilberry Theatre on Wayne State University's campus that is often used for experimental, student, and classroom productions. Annual programming includes the PhD Directors' Series, the Student Stage and the Louise Heck-Rabi Dramatic Writing Competition. For nearly fifty years the Studio Theatre has presented great theatre featuring WSU undergraduate students. With generous support from patrons and donors, the Studio Theatre recently underwent renovation. For box office hours and information on performances, tickets, and group discounts, please call the box office at (313) 577-2972 or visit the theatre's website at

Pictured: Zyle Cook as Sandy, Joe Sfair as Lou, Dan Miller as Felix in A New Play by Neil Simon.

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