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Asolo Repertory Theatre Announces Details For 2011 Unplugged

Asolo Repertory Theatre today announced its selections and details for the 2011 Unplugged festival of new plays. Playwrights include Jeff Baron, one of the world's most-produced playwrights in the past decade; Jamie Pachino, winner of this year's Francesca Primus Prize from the American Theatre Critics Association; Bill Rosenfeld, whose recordings have been nominated for 30 Grammy Awards and won 4 times; and Mat Smart, winner of two Jerome Fellowships and the San Diego Playbill Award for Best New Play. The full titles and schedule are listed below.

Directors for the staged reading play festival are Asolo Rep's Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards, Associate Artistic Director Greg Leaming, retired Asolo Rep Artistic Director Howard Millman, and NY director Wes Grantom (Assistant Director, Asolo Rep's Barnum).

"Asolo Unplugged has very quickly become a very important part of our work here at Asolo Rep. Last year's series allowed us to develop Steven Drukman's play The Innocents, which is receiving its world premiere as part of our 2011-2012 season," explains Unplugged Curator Greg Leaming. "More importantly, Unplugged has allowed us to introduce even more artists to our audience. These readings are often the very first time an author has had the opportunity to hear his or her work in the hands of actors, and watching the audience's engagement with the piece is instrumental in helping the playwrights discover what is the next step in the development of the play. This is raw theatre at its best, the kind of program that allows our audience to see new work at the very beginning of its development."

Unplugged is Asolo Rep's annual festival of new plays, showcasing the freshest new talents writing for the theatre today in scripts that, in many cases, are in the very earliest stages of development. This is a chance for audiences to experience fascinating new stories by some of this country's most imaginative new voices in bare bones staged reading format.

Full casting, additional biographies and fact sheet will soon be released.

Find more information and tickets at, or by calling 941-351-8000, or toll-free 800-361-8388.

Asolo Rep Unplugged 2011

Directed by Wes Grantom
Sunday, April 3 at 7 p.m.
The Steadfast is inspired by Steve Alpert's painting "Legacy" which depicts eight soldiers - one from each of the eight uniform eras of the U.S. wars. Stories from these eight different time periods overlap and play out in this theatrical tapestry of the history of service in our country.

Mr. Green 2 by Jeff Baron
Directed by Howard Millman
Tuesday, April 5 at 8 p.m.
It's six years after the events of Visiting Mr. Green. Mr. Green is 92. His reunion with his daughter didn't go so well, but everything he went through with Ross formed a strong bond between them. Now Ross visits twice a week, sometimes with his boyfriend Chris. A totally unexpected visitor upsets the balance and causes everyone to question their assumptions about parenthood, religion and what makes a family. A first look at Jeff Baron's new play, starring Sarasota's Mr. Green, David Howard.

LET ME by Bill Rosenfeld
Directed by Greg Leaming
Sunday, April 10 at 7 p.m.
An already toxic relationship between husband and wife becomes increasingly more destructive as the couple divorces, manipulating their children in order to cause as much pain to their respective ex as possible. A nuclear family explodes in this disturbing, dark play.

Directed by Michael Donald Edwards
Thursday, April 14 at 2 p.m.
A priceless collection of Japanese art surfaces and two rival art dealers struggle to find out the truth about the collection's history. Nothing is quite as it appears in this compelling story of passion, art and double dealing.

Sponsors for Unplugged include The Hub, Comcast, Treviso and Mezzacorona Wines.

Tickets to the readings are $5 each. Buy one ticket to each of the four Unplugged readings and receive one free ticket to see The Innocents world premiere in the Cook Theatre (free ticket is valid only for performances on April 17, 23 at 2 pm and April 21, 27, and 28 at 8pm.)

Readings will take place in the Asolo Rep rehearsal hall: 5555 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, Florida.

Playwright Bios:

Jeff Baron is one of the world's most-produced playwrights in the past decade, with well over 300 separate productions in 22 languages in 38 countries. Visiting Mr. Green, Jeff's best-known play had a lengthy run Off Broadway at NYC's Union Square Theatre. Nominated for an ACE (Buenos Aires), a Moliere (Paris) and a Drama League Award (New York), Visiting Mr. Green won Best Play Awards in Greece, Mexico, Israel, Uruguay, Turkey and Germany. His newer plays have originated in Australia, South America and Europe. He has worked with some of the world's great actors and directors.
In addition to his theatre work, Jeff Baron is an accomplished screenwriter and filmmaker. His screenplays have sold to a who's who of producers and studios, including Disney. His
television writing credits include The Tracey Ullman Show, Sisters, other prime time series
and multiple projects for Nickelodeon. Jeff's award-winning short films have been seen internationally.

Jeff Baron was commissioned by the Los Angeles Opera to write the libretto for an original one-act opera, Escape. His song lyrics have been performed in Carnegie Hall and other major venues. His journalism and fiction have been published in France, Canada and the U.S. Jeff has degrees from Northwestern University and Harvard University.

Jamie Pachino is an award winning playwright and screenwriter. Her work has been produced in four countries, commissioned, published and honored. In recent years, Jamie has been named the winner of the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays production grant, the Laurie Foundation Theatre Visionary Award, Chicago's Joseph Jefferson ("Jeff") Award for Best New Work, the Pinter Prize Gold Medal for Drama, and this year's Francesca Primus Prize by the American Theatre Critics Association, among many others.

Her plays have been nominated for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and Illinois Governor's Award, and named Runner-up for the Osborn Award (American Theater Critics Association) and Jane Chambers Award. Jamie's plays have been produced and developed by such theatres as Steppenwolf, Long Wharf, Hartford Stage, American Conservatory Theatre, San Jose Rep, Pasadena Playhouse, Geva, Northlight, Florida Stage, A Contemporary Theatre, and the Women's Playwright Conference in Athens, Greece. She currently serves on the faculty of the University of California at Irvine, and previously held positions with Northwestern University (her alma mater), Columbia College, National Louis University, and the Chicago Academy for the Arts in Chicago.
As a screenwriter, Jamie has written features for DreamWorks, Disney, Vanguard Films, Walden Media, and Smith/Hemion, and teleplays for Lifetime Television and the HallMark Hall of Fame. Other film scripts have been optioned by Greenestreet, Hearst, Trigger Street Films, and Lions Gate. She is a proud member of the WGA, and the International Center for Women Playwrights and is represented by Evolution Entertainment.

Bill Rosenfield As a recording executive has been responsible for over 50 Original Cast Recordings including Curtains, Legally Blonde, The Color Purple, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Chicago, Avenue Q, Caroline Or Change, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Urinetown, The Last Five Years, Cabaret, Ragtime, A New Brain, Titanic, Steel Pier, Assassins, Bat Boy, Parade, Fosse, Marie Christine, and The Wild Party. His recordings have been nominated for 30 Grammy Awards and won 4 times.

He has received two Drama Desk Awards in 1992 (on behalf of RCA Victor) and 2002 for Lifetime Achievement, an SDC Foundation Governor's Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Theatre and a 2006 Richard Rodgers Award. Since relocating to London, he served as "creative consultant" on Daniel Kramer's controversial (and highly acclaimed) production of Hair at the Gate Theatre in London and is serving a similar function on the upcoming West End revival of Frank Loesser's The Most Happy Fella.

He is one of the authors of the Greenwich Theatre's Fifteen Minute Musicals. He has appeared as a commentator on the BBC World Service Radio and was on the evaluation committee for the Cardiff Festival Global Search for New Musicals. He is a fequent contributor to Travel & Leisure Magazine and is also the author of the popular one act play Bridal Terrorism (published by Samuel French). Prior to his work in the recording industry he worked as a Story Editor for film producer Howard Gottfried as well as in the Play Department of the New York Shakespeare Festival. He has been on many theatrical committees and boards and has had numerous speaking engagements at places as varied as the Guggenheim Museum to Phillips Exeter Academy to hosting the Broadway Family Feud at the Clear Channel Theatrical Division Conference.

Mat Smart is the author of twelve full-length plays, the book & lyrics of one musical, and numerous one-acts. He is a past recipient of two Jerome Fellowships from the Playwrights' Center. This past summer, Williamstown Theatre Festival produced the world premiere of his newest play, Samuel J. and K. Steppenwolf Young Adult will produce the Midwest premiere of the play this winter. Also this past summer, the New Theatre Group produced his one-act, A Standing Long Jump, in the Minnesota Fringe Festival.

His play The 13th of Paris premiered at Pittsburgh's City Theatre and was the recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award. It has since been produced by Horizon Theatre in Atlanta, The Public Theatre of Maine, The Warehouse Theatre in Greenville, South Carolina, and Seattle Public Theatre. The 13th of Paris will soon be published by Dramatic Publishing.
The Hopper Collection won San Diego Playbill's award for Best New Play and was subsequently produced at Huntington Theatre Company in Boston and the Magic Theatre in San Francisco. It is published by Broadway Play Publishing and a monologue from the play appears in Smith and Kraus' Best Women's Monologues 2008.

Mat is a co-founder of Slant Theatre Project in New York City, serves on the Board of Directors for The New Harmony Project, and is an alumnus of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab and Ars Nova's Play Group. He has been commissioned to write new plays by South Coast Rep and Huntington Theatre Company. A graduate of the University of Evansville, he holds an M.F.A. in Playwriting from University of California - San Diego. An avid Chicago Cubs fan, he has seen baseball games at twenty-seven of the current MLB stadiums.

Michael Donald Edwards is in his fifth season as Producing Artistic Director of Asolo Rep. He was previously the Associate Artistic Director for Syracuse Stage and served as Artistic Director of Shakespeare Santa Cruz. A Garland Award and Drama Logue Award winning director, Mr. Edwards has directed at Indiana Repertory Theatre, Geva Theatre, Syracuse Stage, The Shakespeare Theatre, San Jose Rep, Opera San Jose, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Old Globe in San Diego, Virginia Stage Company, the Virginia Opera, the State Theatre of South Australia, Opera Australia, Victoria State Opera and the Metropolitan Opera. Previously for Asolo Rep, Mr. Edwards has directed The Smell of the Kill, Amadeus, Nobody Don't Like Yogi, Darwin in Malibu, A Tale of Two Cities, Equus, The Winter's Tale, Perfect Mendacity, The Last Five Years, The Life of Galileo, La Bête and pieces in the first annual Unplugged festival of new plays.

Greg Leaming (Festival Curator) is Director of the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training and Associate Artistic Director for Asolo Rep. He has directed his own translation/adaptation of Pierre Hennekin and Maurice Veber's Anything to Declare? As well as Boeing Boeing, Hearts, The Imaginary Invalid, The Play's The Thing and the world premiere of Jason Well's Men of Tortuga. For the FSU/Asolo Conservatory he has directed Pericles, Blue Window, Murder by Poe, The Mystery Plays and this year's The Two Gentlemen of Verona. He is also the Curator of Asolo Rep's Unplugged new play series. He was the Director of Artistic Programming for Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven CT (1996-2001) and Acting Artistic director (2001 - 2002). He was the Producing Director of Hartford Stage Company for the 1996-97 season and was Associate Artistic Director for the same theatre from 1984 -1992.

Asolo Repertory Theatre is Florida's premier professional theatre and one of the most important cultural forces in the Southeastern United States. As a center for theatrical excellence, Asolo Rep crafts the highest quality productions of classical, contemporary and newly commissioned work all performed in the rarest form of rotating repertory. Featuring an accomplished resident company - complemented by distinguished guest artists - Asolo Rep offers audiences a unique and dynamic theatre experience. Under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards and Managing Director Linda DiGabriele, this world-class institution has taken bold steps toward the future, building landmark partnerships and collaborations which will add to its success for generations to come.


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