Theatre Kalamazoo Announces 2020 New Play Festival

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For over nine years, Theatre Kalamazoo (TK) has been providing a platform for local playwrights to develop and share new plays with the community. Theatre Kalamazoo is proud to announce that the tenth annual Theatre Kalamazoo New Play Festival will be held February 15-16, 2020 at the Judy K. Jolliffe Theatre inside the Epic Center in downtown Kalamazoo with a special festival kick-off performance at the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre's Carver Center Studio on Friday, February 14. The free events at the Judy K. Jolliffe Theatre will feature works by eight local playwrights, performed and directed as staged readings by local actors and directors representing the member theatres of Theatre Kalamazoo.

Kalamazoo county writers were invited to submit new original scripts and participants were selected by a committee in late 2019. The 2020 10th anniversary festival playwrights are Shelby Alexander, Rebecca Chan, Emma Fergusson, Bethany Gibson, Danielle Kropveld, Amber Palmer, Tucker Rafferty and Dawn Richberg. Local playwright Art Nemitz is also featured this year and launches the 2020 festival with the opening night performance for the run of Romance Guaranteed at the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre's Carver Center Studio on February 14 at 7:30 p.m. A discussion with Mr. Nemitz will also follow the 4 p.m. performance on February 15.

Due to the long-running success of the event and the recognition of the diversity and enormity of local talent, the New Play Festival has grown to include new work by Kalamazoo County writers, as well as that of Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo College student playwrights to provide a unique, free and beneficial platform for our local playwrights to develop their work and further their writing skills. Dr. Steve Feffer (Professor of Playwriting at WMU) will conduct post-show conversations to assist the playwrights in further developing their work with input from the audience. Dr. Feffer serves as the Michigan Ambassador for the Dramatists Guild and will host a free playwriting workshop in conjunction with the Dramatists Guild of America (Michigan Region) on Saturday, February 15 at 10 a.m. in the Judy K. Jolliffe Theatre. The community is invited to attend this special festival event and participants should bring a five minute (max) scene to share with the group and register in advance by emailing steve.feffer@wmich.edu.

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the New Play Festival, Theatre Kalamazoo purposefully sought and selected a young writer to take part in this year's event. Shelby Alexander attends Comstock High School and the Kalamazoo Area Mathematics and Science Center and her play, Old Friends, will be presented on February 15 at 2 & 7:30 p.m. Also of note this year, returning festival playwright Tucker Rafferty's play, Sunsets & Shadows, will be presented in the style of radio's golden age by All Ears Theatre, a collaboration of local artists organized by the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo, on February 15 at 2 & 7:30 p.m.

All February 15 & 16 events are free and no reservations are necessary. February 15 & 16 events take place at the Judy K. Jolliffe Theatre in downtown Kalamazoo. For more information, visit TheatreKalamazoo.com or Facebook.com/TheatreKalamazoo

2020 selected plays:

Old Friends by Shelby Alexander, produced by the Festival Playhouse of Kalamazoo College

Record by Rebecca Chan, produced by WMU Theatre

Harold & Taco by Emma Fergusson, produced by Miller Auditorium

Dreamgirl by Bethany Gibson, produced by Kindleberger Arts Commission

Anything to Give by Danielle Kropveld, produced by Center Stage Theatre

Miss Julie by Amber Palmer, produced by Queer Theatre Kalamazoo

Sunsets & Shadows by Tucker Rafferty, produced by All Ears Theatre

The Special Friend by Dawn Richberg, produced by Face Off Theatre Company of the Black Arts & Cultural Center

Special opening night festival event on Feb. 14, 2020:

Romance Guaranteed by Art Nemitz: Kalamazoo Civic Theatre Carver Center Studio Series Romantic Comedy

The Kalamazoo Civic's very own award-winning playwright Art Nemitz brings us this new romantic comedy. A couple meets in a seedy Detroit-area Italian restaurant for a first date after connecting via the internet dating site 'romanceguaranteed.com.' This highly unlikely pair share stories, argue, empathize and ultimately discover a mutual connection. What else will they discover over the course of one spaghetti dinner?

Romance Guaranteed plays from February 14-February 23 at Kalamazoo Civic Theatre's Carver Center Studio and tickets are $15.

Visit https://www.kazoocivic.com/romance-guaranteed-2019-2020-productions for additional information.

The festival schedule is as follows:

Friday, February 14, 2020

7:30 p.m. Romance Guaranteed opening night performance at Kalamazoo Civic Theatre's Carver Center Studio, followed by reception

Saturday, February 15, 2020: All events free of charge

10 a.m. Dramatists Guild of America (Michigan Region) playwriting workshop led by Dr. Steve Feffer

Participants must register in advance by emailing steve.feffer@wmich.edu

2 p.m. Anything to Give, Record, Old Friends and Sunsets & Shadows, followed by a talkback with playwrights

4 p.m. Harold & Taco, Miss Julie, The Special Friend and Dreamgirl, followed by a discussion featuring playwright Art Nemitz

7:30 p.m. Anything to Give, Record, Old Friends and Sunsets & Shadows, followed by a talkback with playwrights

Sunday, February 16, 2020: Event free of charge

2 p.m. Harold & Taco, Miss Julie, The Special Friend and Dreamgirl, followed by a talkback with playwrights

Plays contain mature content and are not intended for younger audiences.




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