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Premiere Stages At Kean University Announces 2019 Premiere Play Festival Finalists

Premiere Stages, the professional theatre company in residence at Kean University, has selected its four finalists for the 2019 Premiere Play Festival. Now in its 15th year, the Festival is an annual competition for unproduced scripts that offers developmental opportunities to playwrights with strong affiliations to New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Delaware. This year's finalists were selected from a record 659 submissions, a 15% increase from the previous record set in 2018.

This year's finalists are: Hyannis by Kari Bentley-Quinn, a former finalist for the O'Neill National Playwrights Conference and Playwrights Realm Writing Fellowship; Walden by Amy Berryman, winner of the LA Short Film Festival's Best Drama Award for You Are Everywhere, which she wrote, co-produced and starred in; Foreclosure by Vincent Delaney, a past recipient of the Reva Shiner Comedy Award and McKnight and Bush Fellowships; and The Wake by Tammy Ryan, a past winner of the Francesca Primus Prize and Carbonell Award. Two of this year's four finalists are past winners of the Premiere Play Festival: Ms. Ryan in 2010 for Lost Boy Found in Whole Foods and Mr. Delaney in 2016 for Las Cruces.

In Ms. Bentley-Quinn's Hyannis, Cape Cod residents Michelle and her mother Fran run a small shop where they sell beach gear, souvenirs, snow globes and the best fudge around. Also working in the shop are Michelle's son, Tommy, back from his second stint in rehab, and Lauren, home from college to tend to her ailing mother. As the summer blends into winter, a bond between Tommy and Lauren forms that threatens to change everyone forever.

Set in the not-so-distant future, Ms. Berryman's Walden imagines a world where climate change has intensified and scientists are recommending that humans colonize other planets. Cassie, a NASA botanist, returns from deployment in space and is shocked to find her sister, Stella, a former NASA architect, engaged to an Earth Advocate. As the twins grapple with questions of rivalry and love, humanity hangs in the balance.

What happens when your best friends lose their home but refuse to leave it? And how much do we really owe (or know?) our neighbors? Mr. Delaney's Foreclosure poses questions to those answers in a sharply comic look at a modern collapse that shows no sign of ending.

In Ms. Ryan's The Wake, Maggie and Rosemary rent a beach house in Florida to scatter their sister's ashes six months after her death, only to find themselves and their respective partners staring down a hurricane. As the strong winds and rain bands begin, strange encounters with wildlife signal something more is going on. Filled with humor and heart, The Wake explores grief, family, and America's shifting cultural and environmental climates.

All finalists will receive professional readings directed by John J. Wooten, Producing Artistic Director of Premiere Stages, as part of Premiere's 15th annual Spring Reading Series March 14-17, and will be considered for expanded development in Premiere's mainstage season. One of the four plays will be selected for an Actors' Equity Association (AEA) 29-Hour Reading in June, and the most promising play will be awarded a full AEA production as part of Premiere's 2019 season. All finalists receive cash awards ranging from $750 to $2,500. Readings are offered by invitation only. To request admission to any of the readings, please call 908-737-4077 or email

This year's submissions were evaluated through a process coordinated by Premiere Stages' Literary Assistant/Resident Dramaturg, Nicholas Orvis, in partnership with esteemed panelists Adrian Centeno, William Eddy, Craig Garcia, Cheryl Katz, Kimber Lee, Lysna Marzani, Arpita Mukherjee, Nicole Pandolfo, Carole Shaffer-Koros and Ernest Wiggins. The following semifinalists were also honored in this year's competition: Alma by Benjamin Benne, Possession by Catherine Castellani, A Woman by Chris Cragin-Day, THIS HAPPENED ONCE AT THE ROMANCE DEPOT OFF THE I-87 IN WESTCHESTER by Gina Femia, 2076 by Elisabeth Frankel, Cicada by Nick Gandiello, Laid to Rest by Donnetta Lavinia Grays, The Hairy Man by Bryan Halperin, Torera by Monet Hurst-Mendoza, Like They Magical by Elizabeth Irwin, be mean to me by Sofya Levitsky-Weitz, Derecho by Noelle Viñas López, The Hope Hypothesis by Cat Miller, No One Is Forgotten by Winter Miller, the broken hearts of a corrupted white house by Matthew Paul Olmos, Stand and Wait by Eliana Pipes, Nice Nails by Aaron Ricciardi, The Lucky Ones by Lia Romeo and the calm before by Deborah Yarchun.

Premiere Stages offers affordable prices, air-conditioned facilities and free parking close to the theatre. Premiere Stages also provides free or discounted tickets to patrons with disabilities. All Premiere Stages facilities are fully accessible spaces, and companion seating is available for patrons with disabilities. Assistive listening devices and large print programs are available at all times; publications in alternate formats are available with advance notice. Please call 908-737-4077 to request a sign-interpreted, audio-described or open-captioned performance. For more information, please visit Premiere Stages online at

Premiere Stages is made possible in part through funding from W. John Bauer and Nancy Boucher, The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The Northfield Bank Foundation, The Hyde and Watson Foundation, The Union Foundation, E.J. Grassmann Trust, The New Jersey Theatre Alliance, Investors Foundation, The Union County HEART Grant, Actors' Equity Foundation, and through the generous support of individual patrons and local organizations. Discover Jersey Arts is our marketing partner. Visit for more information about other arts programming happening around the Garden State.

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