Centenary Stage to Launch 22nd ANNUAL WOMEN PLAYWRIGHT SERIES With FATA MORGANA, 4/16

The 22nd annual Women Playwrights Series at the Centenary Stage Company will launch on April 16 at with "Fata Morgana", by Mary Humphrey Baldridge, presented at 7:30 PM in the Lackland Center.

When feisty 60-something New Yorker Gwen foils an armed robbery at a neighborhood deli, her chance encounter with celebrity unearths an old mystery in her life and that of her grown daughter. "Fata Morgana" is a play about mothers and daughters, lost husbands and fathers, and the line where reality and unreality meet, with surprising revelations. The presentation will be directed by Harold Baldridge, Executive Director Emeritus of the famed Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City.

Playwright Mary Humphrey Baldridge is a Founding Member of the Playwrights Guild of Canada, and a Lifetime member of Dramatists Guild NYC. She is playwright, poet and short story writer, published and produced in the USA, Canada and Australia. Her full-length plays include The Photographic Moment, GENESIS: The Mary Shelley Play, The Revenge of the Dinosaur Lady-all published by the Playwrights Union of Canada (PUC) Play Service, as are Land Warrior and Ruth & Robert & Robert & Ruth. Other productions include LA BONNE DAME: Remembering George Sand and The Sanitation Chronicles with Paul Brno. Fata Morgana previously received readings at The Neighborhood Playhouse and by The Barrow Group and Fab Women, NYC. This spring another new play The COLD HOUSE will be represented at FemFest, Winnipeg, where Ruth & Robert... premiered in 2005. Baldridge has just finished another new play, about an iconic cowboy from the turn of the last century, The Legend of John Ware.

Now in its 22nd year, the Centenary Stage Company Women Playwrights Series ( WPS) presents 3-4 new plays each year in rehearsed staged readings throughout the month of April. Led by Program Director Catherine Rust, the WPS is dedicated to providing a working forum for the unique and underserved voice of women writing for the theater today. The Series offers emerging playwrights a chance to work with professional directors and actors in a short rehearsal period, followed by a staged reading of the work in front of a live audience, with audience feedback and discussion. Each presentation features refreshments for all, and lively "talk-backs" with the playwright and cast following the performance. The Series features the finalists in the Susan Glaspell contest, which offers the winner further development support worth $35,000 in a full production on the CSC professional Equity main-stage season, as well as a cash payment to the author.

Centenary Stage Company is an affiliate member of the National New Play Network (based in Washington, D.C.), and participates in the "Extended Life" and "Rolling World Premiere" programs, designed to give playwrights larger exposure and sustained life throughout the country in their first year of production.

Admission to the "Fata Morgana" is by donation and reservations are requested. For reservations and information contact the Centenary Stage Company Box Office at 908-979-0900, or visit online at www.centenarystageco.org.

Also featured in this year's WPS will be "In the Car with Blossom and Len" by Joni Fritz, on Wed, Apr 23 at 7:30 pm, "How Water Behaves" by Sherry Kramer on Sunday, April 27 at 2 PM, and "Cygnus" by Susan Soon Ye Stanton, on Wednesday, Apr 30 at 7:30 PM

A free writing workshop will be offered on Saturday, Apr 26 from 10 - 2 PM, led by John Pietrowski, of the Playwrights Theatre of NJ. Advance reservations are required, and can be made through the CSC Box office.

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