Keith Josef Adkins, Alex Kilgore, Emily Morse and More Judge Samuel French's 2014 OOB Short Play Festival, Beg. Today

Keith Josef Adkins, Alex Kilgore, Emily Morse and More Judge Samuel French's 2014 OOB Short Play Festival, Beg. Today

Samuel French previously announced a talented roster of judges for the Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival (OOB Festival), the nation's premiere short play competition, running from today, August 5th-10th at the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre.

Tickets for each night of the Festival may be purchased online (, telephone (212.279.4200) or in person at the box office (416 West 42nd Street).

The nightly OOB Festival judges determine which plays move on to the Festival Finals. Judging panels are comprised of the theatre industry's most-celebrated professionals, including artistic directors and major playwrights. This year's judges are Keith Josef Adkins, Leslie Ayvazian, Neena Beber, Rick Burkhardt, Adam Greenfield, Alex Kilgore, Dave Malloy, Emily Morse, Christian Parker, Maria Striar, and Susan Westfall. Bios listed below.

"The thing that makes this Festival really special for the playwrights is the chance to have their work seen by some of our industry's most influential leaders," said OOB Festival co-Artistic Director and Samuel French Literary Manager Amy Rose Marsh. "We ask people to judge from all walks of the theater -- literary managers, playwrights, artistic staff, performers -- and this year's lineup is one of our most exciting."

The Festival Week consists of eight performance sessions in which three or four scripts are presented in front of a judging panel. Six plays proceed to the Festival Finals, held on Saturday, August 10th. During the Finals, the Festival staff watches the final plays and selects six authors to be a published in the OFF OFF BROADWAY FESTIVAL PLAYS series. The Sunday of Festival Week acts as a showcase of all winners, and Samuel French invites many industry professional to attend.

Originating in 1975, the Festival is New York's most established short play festival and has attracted the attention of applicants from not only the U.S., but international dramatists as well (Canada, Singapore, the United Kingdom, etc.). The OOB Festival is unique in that it requires applicants to collaborate with a producing organizing or to self-produce their work. Additionally, the winning plays are published in Samuel French's acclaimed OFF OFF BROADWAY FESTIVAL PLAYS series and licensed to theatre producers around the world.

The 39th Annual Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival will run from August 5-10 at the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre at Playwrights Horizons (416 West 42nd Street). For more information about the 2014 OOB Festival, including tickets, schedule, and playwright profiles and interviews, visit or, or follow on Facebook: and Twitter: @OOBFestival #OOBFestival.

Bios of the 2014 OOB Festival judges:

Keith Josef Adkins is a playwright, screenwriter and artistic director. His plays include PITBULLS (Fall 2014 Rattlestick Theater), SAFE HOUSE (Winter 2015 St. Louis Repertory, Fall 2014 Cincinnati Playhouse), THE LAST SAINT ON SUGAR HILL (Fall 2013 National Black Theatre), SUGAR AND NEEDLES,THE FINAL DAYS OF NEGRO-VILLE, among others. Keith is artistic director of The New Black Fest. TNBF recently curated Facing Our Truth: Ten-Minute Plays on Trayvon, Race and Privilge. Keith also worked as a writer for the hit CW comedy GIRLFRIENDS and his film THE ABANDON, is in development with executive producer Eriq LaSalle. Keith has taught graduate playwriting at Columbia University and blogs regularly for HowlRound.

Leslie Ayvazian is the author of 8 full-length plays and 7 one act plays, published variously by Samuel French and Dramatist Play Service. Some have been included in annual anthologies of best plays. Nine Armenians won the John Gassner/Outer Critics Circle Award for best new American play, The Roger L. Stevens Award, and second place for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Rosemary and I received an honorable mention from the Susan Smith Blackburn jury. Leslie has received commissions from the Manhattan Theatre Club, Windancer Productions and South Coast Repertory Theatre. Make Me, directed by Christian Parker, was produced in New York by the Atlantic Theatre Company. High Dive was produced at the Long Wharf Theatre and the Manhattan Class Company, directed by David Warren, and went on to be produced in Poland and Slovakia. Her short film Every Three Minutes starring Olympia Dukakis was produced by Showtime and won a Telly Award. Her play Deaf Day was produced as a short film in Syria by Rana Kaz Kaz, and was included in the 2012 Palm Springs International Short Film Festival. Her latest short film, The Favor, stars Olympia Dukakis, Margaret Colin, and John Pankow. A theatrical version of The Favor ran at City Theatre in 2013 and also had a production in The Ensemble Studio Theatre's Spring festival of one-act plays. A current play Out of the City has received workshops at the Manhattan Theatre Club and the Southampton Writers' Conference. It will receive its first production next season at the Purple Rose Theatre in Chelsea, Michigan. A second production will follow in 2014 at the Merrimac Theatre in Lowell, Massachusetts, directed by Christian Parker. Her one-act play Above it All recently toured the Miami, FL school system. Her latest play, 15/15, recently received a workshop at the Atlantic Theatre in NYC. Leslie is an Adjunct Professor of dramaturgy at the Columbia University Graduate School of the Arts. Her credits as an actress include a recurring role on Law & Order -- SVU and roles on Broadway in Lost in Yonkers and Naked Girl on the Apian Way.

Neena Beber's plays include Jump/Cut, The Dew Point, Tomorrowland, and A Common Vision, all published by Samuel French; her one-act Misreadings premiered at the Humana Festival and has been produced around the world. Recipient of an Obie Grant, a Weissberger Award, a MacDowell Colony Fellowship, an A.S.K. Exchange to The Royal Court Theatre in London, a Sloan Commission from Cleveland Playhouse, and an Amblin Commission from Playwrights Horizons. Screenplays include How to Deal(New Line) and the short Bad Dates (Touchstone); television credits include numerous pilots, episodes of "Daria", HBO's "Happily Ever After", and adapting "Little Bear" with Maurice Sendak for Nickelodeon. BA Harvard University; MFA NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, where she was a Paulette Goddard Fellow and recipient of a Distinguished Alumni Award. She is a grateful alumna of New Dramatists and has taught at Columbia University, NYU, and Padua Playwrights Festival. She grew up in Miami, Florida.

Rick Burkhardt is an Obie-Award-winning composer, playwright, performer, and songwriter whose original music and text pieces have been performed in over 40 US cities and on four continents. He collaborates regularly with playwrights (Kristen Kosmas, Sylvan Oswald, Erin Courtney, Casey Llewellyn, etc.), with theater ensembles (600 Highwaymen, Two-Headed Calf, Hoi Polloi, etc.), and with contemporary music ensembles (ICE, Yarn/Wire, Wet Ink, Radical 2, etc.). He can also be found touring the country with his experimental music trio The Nonsense Company, and occupying various streets with his cabaret-folk duo The Prince Myshkins.

Adam Greenfield has been Director of New Play Development at Playwrights Horizons since 2007. From 1997-2006, he was Associate Artistic Director of The Empty Space Theatre in Seattle. Recent directing credits include Courtney Baron's Eat Your Heart Out (Humana Festival) and Madeleine George's Zero Hour (13P) and Greg Moss's La Brea (Clubbed Thumb). Other directing/development credits include La Jolla Playhouse, O'Neill, Soho Rep, Sundance, Seattle Rep, New Dramatists, ACT, The Playwrights' Center, Printer's Devil, Portland Center Stage, Berkeley Rep, and Playwrights Realm.

Alex Kilgore As Founding Artistic Director of the Off-Broadway company, the stageFARM, Alex concieved commissioned and directed both 2008's SPIN series, (Gina Gionfriddo, Elizabeth Meriwether, Adam Rapp, Mark Schultz, and Judith Thompson) as well as 2007's VENGEANCE series, (Neena Beber, Ron Fitzgerald, Gina Gionfriddo, Julian Sheppard, and Francine Volpe). Alex also directed the world premiere of David Folwell's DRUG BUDDY for the stageFARM at Cherry Lane and produced Off Broadway premieres of Elizabeth Meriwether's OLIVER PARKER!, Mark Schultz's THE GINGERBREAD HOUSE (Drama League Award-Bobby Cannavale), and Gina Gionfriddo's U.S. DRAG.

Off-Broadway acting credits include the US premieres of David Folwell's BOISE (Rattlestick- 2004 Outer Critics Circle Nomination), Philip Ridley's THE PITCHFORK DISNEY (Blue Light Theater Co.), REFUGE by Jessica Goldberg, and LOST HIGHWAY, (as Hank Williams). Film credits include "FEVER," (1999 Directors' Fortnight Cannes), "IF I DIDN'T CARE," "HIGH MAINTENANCE," "COWBOY JESUS"...etc. TV credits include "THE HEART, SHE HOLLAR," "WONDER SHOWZEN," "THE CITY" "SWIFT JUSTICE." He is the President of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and plays in the band CLAW.

Dave Malloy is a composer, writer, performer, and sound designer. He has written the music for eight musicals, including Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, an electropop opera based on War & Peace. Comet premiered at Ars Nova in the fall of 2012, before transferring Off-Broadway to Kazino, a Russian supper club built specially for the show; the show won multiple awards, including the Richard Rodgers Award, an OBIE, and 11 Lortel nominations. He is also one of the co-creators/performers of Three Pianos, a drunken romp through Schubert's "Winterreise" that won an OBIE in 2010. Other musicals include Black Wizard / Blue Wizard,Beowulf - A Thousand Years of Baggage (2011 Edinburgh Herald Angel, 2008 Glickman Award), Beardo,Sandwich, and Clown Bible. He has won a Jonathan Larson Grant, an ASCAP New Horizons Award, and a NEA/TCG Grant for Theatre Designers; has been a Guest Professor in devised music theater at Princeton and Vassar Universities, and a Resident Artist at Ars Nova and Sundance's Ucross Foundation; and is the composer for Banana Bag & Bodice. He lives in Brooklyn. Upcoming: Ghost Quartet at the Bushwick Starr, a piece about Rachmaninov and hypnosis at LCT3, a piece about Taoism at ACT, and Moby Dick.

Emily Morse, newly appointed Artistic Director of New Dramatists, is a theatre artist whose career has spanned 25 years, encompassing performing, directing, playwriting, dramaturgy, devising, producing, arts administration, curating and/or artistic consulting at theaters and companies of all sizes. A graduate of Temple University, Emily serves on the Advisory Board for PlayPenn and New Georges' Kitchen Cabinet. In May 2010, in recognition of her stature as a playwright advocate and dramaturg, Emily received an inaugural Lilly Award for Advocacy. She is happy to be a returning judge, after participating in the 2013 Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival. For more information,

Christian Parker is a director and dramaturg. He recently concluded a nearly thirteen year tenure as the Associate Artistic Director at the Atlantic Theater Company, where he collaborated on the major expansion of the production and development of new plays. He is also the Chair of the MFA Theatre program at Columbia University, where he heads the concentration in Dramaturgy. At Atlantic, he directed full length and one act plays by Jeff Whitty, Ken Weitzman, Tina Howe, Leslie Ayvazian, Kevin Heelan, Keith Reddin, Rolin Jones and Kate Moira Ryan. He has worked as well at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center, Sundance Theatre Labs. Perry-Mansfield, and the Lark developing new work. This fall he will return to Atlantic as the dramaturg for the new musical FOUND by Lee Overtree, Hunter Bell and Eli Bolin, and will direct Leslie Ayvazian's OUT OF THE CITY for Merrimack Repertory Theatre.

Maria Striar (Producing Artistic Director, Founder) Maria helped found Clubbed Thumb in 1996, and has been on its staff since. Up until 2004 she directed and performed in many of the company's shows. She still performs upon occasion with other downtown companies. Maria conceived and edited 2007's Funny, Strange, Provocative: Seven Plays from Clubbed Thumb. She received her B.A. from Brown University and her M.F.A. from the University of California, San Diego.

Susan Westfall is a co-founder and Literary Director of City Theatre in Miami, Florida, and she is a professional playwright. Westfall co-founded City Theatre in 1996. It is a professional theater company dedicated to the short form play, which comprises the annual Summer Shorts Festivals, Shorts Gone Wild program, Shorts 4 Kids outreach tours, and City Reads for CityWrights Reading Series. As Literary Director, Westfall supervises City Theatre's outreach to playwrights, theatres, agents and publishers; coordinates the City Theatre National Award for Short Playwriting which recognizes and awards excellence in writing for the short play genre as part of the season submissions pr ocess; contributes to the play selections for company readings, programs and productions; programs and coordinates CityWrights: Professional Week for Playwrights, a national playwright conference held during Summer Shorts that brings together local, regional, national playwrights and other artists together for creative and professional development. Westfall's plays include Two Weekends And A Day, Feel The Tango, Look At Me (Heideman Finalist, published in "Best Short Plays 2011"), Rats, The Boy From Russia, Uprising, The Wedding Party, Passing Through (Heideman Finalist), With the Patience of Angels (Heideman Finalist), 1962, You Are Here, andVoices at the Mary Elizabeth Hotel. She has participated in the Miami Dade County Dept. of Cultural Affairs Playwright Development Program; was recipient of a Florida Arts Council Playwriting Fellowship; a Remy Award for Outstanding Contribution to Theatre by the Theatre League of South Florida. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America, The Playwrights Center, Theatre Communications Group, and the South Florida Theatre League. Susan is a native Miamian, holds a BFA in Playwriting from FSU, and lives with her family on Key Biscayne.

Related Articles

Off-Off-Broadway THEATER Stories | Shows

From This Author BWW News Desk

Before you go...