5th Annual PlayLab Kicks Off May 3rd With Six Readings
Florida Repertory Theatre's 2018 PlayLab Festival of New Plays and Emerging Voices kicks off May 3 with six new play readings, the world premiere production of last year's festival winner, "George Washington's Teeth" by Mark St. Germain, a Playwright's Panel discussion, and a Keynote Address by alumna playwright, Daryl Lisa Fazio.Sponsored by Lee Moore and Dee Whited, the fifth annual Festival runs through May 6 in the ArtStage Studio Theatre, and tickets are $15 per reading or $77 for an all-access pass that includes six admissions and the Keynote Address/Playwrights' Panel. The six showcased plays reflect Florida Rep's mission to produce a wide variety of work by emerging and well-established writers, and are "Hostage" by Michelle Kholos Brooks, "Alabaster" by Audrey Cefaly, "Berta, Berta" by Angelica Chéri, "Gary" by Bruce Graham, "Maybe, Probably" by Eric Henry Sanders, and "The Burdens" by Matt Schatz. The selected plays were chosen from an open call for submissions to affiliated artists with the National New Play Network and other literary agencies. Each playwright works with a professional director and a professional cast of actors both local and brought in from across the state, region, and New York. Directing "Hostage," Ria Cooper returns to PlayLab after directing last season's "Damascus." Cooper is a recent graduate of the FSU/Asolo Conservatory M.F.A. program, and comes to Florida Rep from Sarasota, where she recently directed with new company, Urbanite Theatre.Eleanor Holdridge, who is directing "Alabaster," is the head of the M.F.A. directing program at Catholic University of America, and comes to Florida Rep with an extensive regional theatre resume that includes The Olney Theatre, The Shakespeare Theatre Company, Geva Theatre, Portland Stage, Julliard, and the Yale School of Drama. Reginald Douglas is the Artistic Producer with Pittsburgh's City Theatre, and directs "Berta, Berta" in the PlayLab before heading to West Virginia's Contemporary American Theatre Festival to helm the play's world premiere this summer. Florida Rep ensemble artist and Interim Artistic Director, Jason Parrish, directs "Gary" after recent appearances in "Cabaret," "How the Other Half Loves," and directing credits that include "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" and "A Christmas Story." Veteran Florida director and actor, Steven Flaa, directs romantic comedy, "Maybe, Probably" after extensive work across the state with American Stage, Alhambra Dinner Theatre, The Wick, Actors' Playhouse, and many more. "The Burdens" is directed by Avi Hoffman, a Florida-based director, actor, and artistic director whose work was seen onstage in Florida Rep's nationally acclaimed productions of "You Can't Take it With You" (2010) and "Arsenic and Old Lace (2014). Also as part of the 2018 festival, audiences will have the opportunity to see Florida Rep's world premiere production of "George Washington's Teeth" by Mark St. Germain that was read in the 2017 festival. Playing in the Historic Arcade Theatre through May 13, it will have performances throughout the PlayLab weekend. From the author of "Best of Enemies," "Dancing Lessons," and "Camping with Henry and Tom," the zany farce is the centerpiece of the 2018 PlayLab and a talkback will be held following the 8PM performance on Saturday, May 5th. PlayLab and Keynote Address tickets are $15 per reading or $77 for an All-Access Pass to see all six new works and the Keynote Address and Playwright's panel. Tickets to "George Washington's Teeth" are priced at $35-$55, and can be purchased separately. All tickets are available online at www.floridarep.org or by calling the box office at 239-332-4488. Each reading will include a talk-back and a discussion with the playwrights, directors, and actors. The audience feedback is instrumental in the development process and helps the playwrights perfect their scripts and helps guide Florida Rep as it decides whether to include one of these plays in a future season. The festival will feature many of Florida Rep's ensemble artists, professionals from across the state of Florida, and a number of local actors familiar to Southwest Florida audiences.