Ojai Playwrights Conference Comes To L.A. With Benefit Celebration IMAGINING AMERICA
The Ojai Playwrights Conference is coming to Los Angeles for the first time with a benefit celebration, "Imagining America," to take place on Saturday, May 2, 2020, at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City.
The event will feature work by leading American Playwrights, performed by noted American actors, sharing insights into where America is right now, and where we might be headed. Proceeds from the event will support OPC's on-going mission to develop groundbreaking new plays for the American theatre.
The evening of theatre will be curated by OPC Artistic Director/Producer Robert Egan, who stated, "The Los Angeles theatre community comes to Ojai every summer to support the important new work of American Playwrights who speak to the great challenges facing our communities today. With this event, we want to both celebrate and strengthen the artistic bridge that brings us all together, by imagining and re-imagining America. This is an especially critical time to deeply consider the state of the union and to hear powerful perspectives from some of our most respected artists."
Writers set for the event include Jon Robin Baitz, Culture Clash, Stephen Adly Guirgis, David Henry Hwang, Liliana Padilla, Regina Taylor and Sarah Treem, most of whom have had deep connections with OPC over the years.
Two respected members of the Southern California theatre community will be honored at the event, OPC Board Member and theatre activist Kerry English, and poet, playwright, educator and community builder Luis Alfaro.
The "Imagining America" performance begins at 7 p.m. and will be followed by an OPC style lively lobby celebration with food, fine wines, craft beers, original cocktails and the opportunity to mingle with OPC writers and celebrity talent.
Ticket packages for the Benefit Celebration performance and post-show reception begin at $250. Tickets are limited and may be ordered online at www.ojaiplays.org.
Jon Robin Baitz plays developed at OPC include "Faraway Friends" in 2018, "Vicuña: The Epilogue" in 2017, "Vicuña" in 2016, "Other Desert Cities" in 2010, "Chinese Friends" in 2003, and "The Paris Letter" in 2002. Baitz is a two-time Pulitzer Finalist, as well as an award-winning screenwriter for TV and film.
Culture Clash's Richard Montoya was a Writer-in-Residence at OPC in 2017. The award-winning troupe, Montoya, Rick Salinas and Herbert Siguenza, has been performing and writing groundbreaking work for stage and TV and performing across the country since 1984.
Stephen Adly Guirgis was a Writer-in-Residence at OPC for "Between Riverside and Crazy" in 2012 and "The Little Flower of East Orange" in 2005 and developed "Motherf***er with the Hat" in 2009. His plays have won numerous prestigious awards, including the Pulitzer Prize.
David Henry Hwang's extensive writing credits include the book for "Aida," the revised book for "Flower Drum Song," and "M. Butterfly." He has mentored numerous OPC playwrights and participated in previous OPC benefits. A Tony Award winner, he is also is a two-time Pulitzer Finalist.
Liliana Padilla was a Writer-In-Residence at OPC in 2019 and developed "How to Defend Yourself" there in 2018. One of OPC's youngest playwrights, she won the Yale Drama Series Prize in 2019.
Regina Taylor is a Golden Globe-winning actress and award-winning playwright whose work includes "Stop.reset," "Drowning Crow" and "Crowns," one of the most performed musicals in the country.
Sarah Treem developed "When We Were Young & Unafraid" at OPC in 2011 and "Vienna's Amazing" in 2008. A Golden Globe winner for her work on TV's "The Affair," Treem has won numerous other awards for "House of Cards" and "In Treatment."
Since 1998, theatre professionals and enthusiastic audiences have converged in Ojai to participate in the development of new plays for the American theatre. Plays developed at OPC have gone on to have numerous productions on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and at regional theatres across the country. Some have been nominated for and won prestigious awards. Both "Fun Home" by Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori, and Jon Robin Baitz's "Other Desert Cities" were Pulitzer Finalists; "Fun Home" won the Tony Award for Best Musical; and Danai Guiria's "Eclipsed" and Stephen Adly Guirgis' "The Motherf**ker with the Hat" were each nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play.
In 2019, Aziza Barnes' "BLKS" opened at New York's MCC Theater Space (developed at OPC in 2016); Lilliana Padilla's "How to Defend Yourself" had its world premiere at Humana Festival and Victory Gardens in 2019 (OPC 2018); Jeff Augustin's "The New Englanders" premiered at New York City Center (OPC 2018); Keith Bunin's "The Coast Starlight" made its world premiere at La Jolla Playhouse (OPC 2018); "Greater Clements" by Samuel D. Hunter had its world premiere at Lincoln Center Theater (OPC 2017).
World premieres of OPC plays coming up in 2020 include Kate Cortesi's "Love" at Marin Theatre Company (OPC 2019); Ren Dara Santiago's "The Siblings Play" Off-Broadway at Rattlestick Theater (OPC 2017); "53% of" by Steph Del Rossso at Alliance Theatre (OPC 2018); "Graveyard Shift" by Korde Arrington Tuttle at Goodman Theatre (OPC 2017).