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Blank Theatre's Nationwide Young Playwrights Festival Sets Lineup for 23rd Anniversary Edition

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Now celebrating its 23rd Anniversary, The Blank Theatre's Nationwide Young Playwrights Festival has chosen 12 plays by young playwrights aged 12-19 from seven different states. These plays will be presented by professional actors and directors in this year's festival at The Stella Adler Theatre in Hollywood, June 4-28.

Said Noah Wyle (star of television's ER and Falling Skies), Artistic Producer at The Blank, "Each Spring for the past 23 years, The Blank has found the freshest, most original voices in the American theatre, invited them to Los Angeles, and promoted their work during a month-long festival in June. This thought provoking work, performed and directed by seasoned professionals, has entertained thousands of audience members over the years. While these authors are often as different as the states from which they come and the subjects with which they deal, they share something truly improbable. They're teenagers." Wyle continued, "These are not only the voices of today's theatre - they are the voices of tomorrow's as well."

This year's winning plays are: SUSPENDED by India Kotis, Brooklyn, NY, Age 17; INHERENTLY AMBIGUOUS by Dan Devine, La Grange Park, IL, Age 18; THREE STORIES by Alexa Derman, Westfield, NJ, Age 18; HERE WE ARE AGAIN by Ariella Carmell, Los Angeles, CA, Age 18; THE EXCEPTIONAL CHILDHOOD CENTER by Dylan Schifrin, Sherman Oaks, CA, Age 16; SPLOOSH by Frank Garland, Seattle, WA, Age 17; THE PARTING by Spencer Emerson Opal-Levine, Sarasota, FL, Age 12; BROMEO AND JULIUS by Sabrina Batchler, Sherman Oaks, CA, Age 18; THE COCKTAIL PARTY EFFECT by Aiyana White, Van Nuys, CA, Age 19; TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN by Jonah Rawitz, Buffalo Grove, IL, Age 17; THE ELEPHANT by Ruth Geye, Shaker Heights, OH, Age 16; and TEENAGE ANGELS by Honor Levy, Los Angeles, CA, Age 17.

A panel of theatre professionals chose from over 220 plays submitted by young writers across the nation. Winning playwrights are next assigned a mentor, and then a professional director who will help them hone their scripts for four public performances with professional actors. This year's mentors include David Rambo (Revolution, Empire, CSI), Kelly Miller (Director of Development, New Neighborhood), Dave Holstein (Weeds, Raising Hope), Todd Milliner (executive producer, Grimm), Ellen Byron (Just Shoot Me, Wings), Gary Tieche(Medium), Michael Jung (Disney), Kit Steinkellner (four-time YPF winner), Austin Winsberg (five-time YPF winner), Beth Bigler (The Real Housewives of Atlanta and three-time YPF winner), Patrick Burleigh, and Brighde Mullins. This year's directors are (in alphabetical order) Barbara Bain, June Carryl, Bjørn Johnson, Michael Matthews, Loni Peristere, Alina Phelan, Christopher J. Raymond, Michael A. Shepperd, Richard Tatum, April Webster, Jason Weiss, and Constance Zimmer.

Over the past 22 years, The Blank has produced 260 plays by young playwrights. Eleven of those plays or playwrights have gone on to be presented on The Blank's mainstage. Additionally, many of the plays have been nominated for LA theatre awards, including an Ovation Award for Best Writing-World Premiere, and an LA Weekly Award for Best One-Act Playwriting. Other alumni playwrights are populating the nation's theatres and sound stages with their work. Many YPF winners have gone on to successful writing careers on Broadway, created network TV shows, are filling regional stages, and one has even been a Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

This year's festival is made possible by the Walt Disney Company, Rosenthal Family Foundation, Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Los Angeles City Department of Cultural Affairs, Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, William C. Bannerman Foundation, The Plum Foundation, The Hollywood Fringe Festival, and Biller Family Foundation.

The Blank Theatre's 23rd Annual Young Playwrights Festival runs June 4-28 at the Stella Adler Theatre, 6773 Hollywood Boulevard, in Hollywood. The performance schedule is Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm. Each week's program includes three plays, and admission is $20 for adults and $14 for students. Festival passes, which are good for one ticket each week of the festival, are $68 for adults and $48 for students. Tickets may be purchased in advance online at www.TheBlank.com, or via phone by calling (323) 661-9827.


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