'Jan McArt's New Play Readings' Announces 2018-19 Season

'Jan McArt's New Play Readings' Announces 2018-19 SeasonA beautiful young widow refuses to give up an heirloom worth a fortune, given to her by her late husband.

A retired fighter pilot is made to rethink what can be truly beautiful when a woman steps into his life.

Jazz music is mixed with midlife crises and life's tempting tricks, complicating the search for "happily ever afters."

A modern take on an old-fashioned romantic farce, where five intertwined lives wind up in a secluded New York cabin.

These are the plays that comprise the 2018-19 'Jan McArt New Play Readings' series, to be presented at Boca Raton's Lynn University beginning Monday, October 22nd.

Jan McArt, Florida's First Lady of Theater, and head of theater development at Boca Raton's Lynn University, has been guiding her award-winning 'Jan McArt's New Play Readings' series to astonishing success for the past four years.

"I love it, she says, "because it's creative and I'm making things happen."

Her mission with this play reading program? To develop new commercially entertaining plays by Florida playwrights.

Each year four new plays are rehearsed and rewritten over five days. Then they are presented, fully staged, in the 750-seat Keith C. and Elaine Johnson Wold Performing Arts Center on the Lynn campus to an ever-growing, enthusiastic audience.

The past six seasons of these play readings presented at Lynn have debuted several new works which have gone on to full productions in Florida and around the country, including New York; among them: Tony Finstrom's 'MURDER ON GIN LANE,' which was invited to the 'Sleepless Night Miami Beach Festival' in the fall of 2011; Dan Clancy's 'PROPOSITION 8,' which landed at the Desert Rose Playhouse in Rancho Mirage, CA, under the title 'POSTER BOYS' in the spring of 2014; Christopher Demos-Brown's 'CHILD'S PLAY,' which was presented at Miami's Zoetic Stage to great acclaim under the title 'STRIPPED' in the winter of 2015; Michael McKeever's 'DANIEL'S HUSBAND,' which wound up at Fort Lauderdale's Island City Stage in the summer of 2015, winning several Carbonell Awards including 'Best New Work,' before it was successfully produced at New York's Primary Stages in the spring of 2017; Stuart Meltzer's 'THE GOLDBERG VARIATIONS,' which was produced in the winter of 2016 at Island City Stage, and won the 2017 Carbonell Award for 'Best New Work'; Dan Clancy's 'MIDDLETOWN,' which arrived at the Boca West Theatre in December of 2016; Jack Gilhooey's 'THE LONG REUNION,' which was produced at Bradenton's Manatee Performing Arts Center in the spring of 2018; Michael McKeever's 'FINDING MONA LISA,' which was unveiled in Coral Gables at Actors' Playhouse in the summer of 2017; Michael McKeever's 'THE CAMP,' which was produced at Boca West Theatre in the fall of 2017; and Dan Clancy's 'A HOME,' which will be presented as 'AT HOME' at Boca West Theatre in the fall of 2018.

"Usually, when you do the reading of a new play, the cast and director come in and read through it in the afternoon and present it to an audience that evening," says Tony Finstrom, associate producer of this play reading series, who will also have a show in the upcoming 2018-19 season. "And often the cast is simply seated in a semi-circle, or perhaps they'll step up with their scripts to music stands when it's their character's turn to speak."

But this play reading series at Lynn is much more ambitious, giving playwrights the chance to bring in a new play and work with a professional cast and a director for five days - rehearsing, re-writing, rehearsing, rewriting. Then, at the end of the five days, they present their new, polished, reworked play to the public, in performance.

"These are staged readings in the true sense of the word," Finstrom adds. "With actors up on their feet, playing on a minimal set, with lighting, some sound effects, wearing bits of costumes. Like a real performance of a new play, except the actors, of course, carry their scripts."

The four new works that will be presented in this new 2018/19 Season on Monday evenings, at 7:30 PM, in the Keith C. and Elaine Johnson Wold Performing Arts Center at Lynn University, are:

'THE DIAMOND GIRL'
Monday, October 22nd, 2018, 7:30 by Tony Finstrom Directed by Wayne Rudisill
Stage Manager: Alan Saban Cast (alphabetically): Jordon Armstrong, Jeffrey Bruce, Clay Cartland, Patti Gardner, Jan McArt, Ann Marie Olson and Leah Sessa

A dramatization of Anthony Trollope's 1872 novel 'The Eustace Diamonds,' it's part romantic dramedy, part Masterpiece Theatre.
*
'AGENT OF CHANGE'
Monday, January 14th, 2019, 7:30 PM by Greg Burdick Directed by Wayne Rudisill Stage Manager: Alan Saban Cast: TBA
A retired Air Force pilot is about to give up all hope in his country, when he discovers something startling about the woman treating him.
*
'THE QUINTESSENCE OF JOY'
Monday, February 11th, 2019, 7:30 PM by Stuart Meltzer Directed by Margaret Ledford
Stage Manager: Alan Saban Cast: TBA
A comedy immersed in the world of jazz, where adults in the throes of midlife crises face obstacles in the way of their "happily ever afters."

*
'FARCE AND AWAY'
Monday, March 4th, 2019, 7:30 PM by Michael McKeever Directed by Clive Cholerton
Stage Manager: Alan Saban Cast: TBA
Andy is married to Elsa but having an affair with Suzanne, who is sneaking around with Bernard, who may or may not be seeing Max, etc.

*

"If there's one thing I love, it's making things happen," McArt says. "And I'm working as hard as ever to make them happen here at Lynn."

The Four-Play Series discounted tickets are now on sale to the general public, and may be purchased at the Wold Performing Arts Center box office, or by calling 561-237-9000, or by going online to: https://lynn.tix.com/Event.aspx?EventCode=1060935. Individual tickets go on sale August 1st.

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