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Metropolitan Playhouse Announces Lineup for 2013 East Village Theater Festival, 4/15-5/5

Metropolitan Playhouse, OBIE Award winner, presents the fourth annual East Village Theater Festival, a three-week celebration of the ever-vital life and lore of the East Village. The festival features four different evenings of new plays and solo-performances, as well as the work of local artists, and a panel discussion on the neighborhood's changing identity.

The festival runs April 15th through May 5th, 2013, Monday - Sunday at 7:00 pm and Saturday and Sunday at 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm at the Metropolitan Playhouse, 220 East 4th Street.

The East Village Theater Festival includes a total of 8 new short plays, 6 new solo performances, a panel discussion with local documentarians and neighborhood advocates. The festival will be complemented by the work of local artists in the theater lobby.

The festival includes 2 series of new works, each in their 9th year: The East Village Chronicles and the Alphabet City Monologues.

The East Village Chronicles are new plays inspired by the contemporary life, the lore and the history of the diverse neighborhood. This year's collection, selected from submissions from around the country, includes plays by award-winning and prolific authors local and distant: Evening A, directed by Wendy Merritt (The Crucible and Proof for Sink or Swim Rep) includes Alive and Well, by Mercedes Segesvary (San Francisco); They Come and Come, by John J. Kelly (Elmira, NY); Chess with Edison, by David Vazdauskas (New Brunswick, ME); and Every Pair of Blue Jeans Was Like a Bullet, by J. Paul Porter. Evening B, directed by Stephen Pelletier, includes Delicacy, by fcreator of the Village Voice "Shelter" column Toni Schlesinger; The Invention of the Living Room, by Andrew R. Heinze; Occupy Avenue A, by Josh Gulotta; and The Origin of Zoos, by Michael Bettencourt.

The Alphabet City solo performers are Emily Taplin Boyd, Emily Grosland, Sheila Head, Teresa Kelsey, Stephen Conrad Moore, and Alysia Joy Powell.

These works are unlike any other theatrical experience in their marriage of true-life and performance: derived verbatim from interviews with local residents, the monologues present the lives and philosophies of current East Village neighbors in their own words, as portrayed by actor/interviewers. They have featured over 50 neighbors since 2003, including both prominent and unknown artists and advocates; entrepreneurs and street figures, drug dealers and care-givers. Better known partners include Hilly Christal of CBGB's; photographer Marlis Momber; street philosopher and artist de la Vega; Bill diPaola of Time's Up; Eddie Boros of Avenue B Garden; and "Mosaic Man" Jim Power. This year's series is directed by Yvonne Opffer Conybeare.

The festival will also include a panel discussion with local activists and historians on Sunday, May 5th at 7:00 pm (panelists to be announced.)

Exhibitions of the work of East Village Artists will run throughout the festival in the theater's lobby (shared with the Connelly Theater.)

Metropolitan Playhouse explores America's theatrical heritage through forgotten plays of the past and new plays of American historical and cultural moment. Winner of a 2011 Village Voice OBIE award for "For helping us see, theatrically, where we've been and where we are." and called both "invaluable" and "theatrical archaeologist extraordinaire" by Backstage, Metropolitan has earned accolades from The New York Times, nytheatre.com, and The New Yorker as well for its ongoing mission to produce theater that illuminates American culture and heritage. Recent productions include The Detour, The Boss, Both Your Houses, The Jazz Singer, Deep Are the Roots, The House of Mirth, From Rags to Riches, One-Third of a Nation, The Great Divide, Uncle Tom's Cabin, The Drunkard, Dodsworth, and The Return of Peter Grimm. Past productions of note include Year One of the Empire, The Pioneer: 5 plays by Eugene O'Neill, Denial, The Octoroon and The Melting Pot.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for students and seniors, and $10 for Children under 18. Discount passes are available for multiple events. To purchase tickets online visit www.metropolitanplayhouse.org or call 800-838-3006.

Performances: Monday April 15th - Sunday May 5th, 2013 Monday - Sunday at 7:00pm; Saturdays and Sundays at 1pm and 4pm. Panel: Downtown Dreams: Sunday, May 5th at 7:00pm.

EAST VILLAGE CHRONICLES - Short Play Descriptions

Program A - EVC A
Directed by Wendy Merritt

Alive and Well by Mercedes Segesvary - A biracial couple find their downtown apartment robbed, with only a note from the thief and a "helpful" neighbor left behind. Where does compassion stop and judgment start?

They Come and Come by John J. Kelly - On the 1920's Lower East Side, Irish and German immigrants find the community born of hardship when a recently arrived electrician tries to find his just-arrived wife in the bustling city.

Chess With Edison by David Vazdauskas - An ironic comedy of change and history: it is 1898, and the Stuyvesant Chess Club awaits a very prestigious visitor, but Susan B. Anthony's suffragettes rattle the very gates of an old boys' invention.

Every Pair of Blue Jeans Was Like a Bullet by J. Paul Porter - Spiritual East Village residents Karl Marx, V. E. Lenin, and Papa Josef Stalin find themselves newly incarnated in downtown New York--as venture capitalists, in a comedy that sheds a little light on the nature of revolution.

Program B - EVC B
Directed by Stephen Pelletier

Delicacy by Toni Schlesinger - A young woman's fantastical dream embraces mulitudes on the Lower East Side.

The Invention of the Living Room by Andrew R. Heinze - Before there were suburbs, a young architect in a Lower East Side tenement imagines a better kind of home, beyond the kitchen and stoop, with lawns, bedrooms, and dream of dreams: a room just for living.

Occupy Avenue A by Josh Gullotta - A Wall Street broker and his hook-up from the night before negotiate socio-sexual politics and the power of wealth, while the protestors fill the streets below in November, 2011.

The Origin of Zoos by Michael Bettencourt - In 1913, early feminist Margaret Sanger and eugenicist Madison Grant face off in a restaurant, with duelling visions of the Lower East Side as either a genetic cesspool or a political triumph.

ALPHABET CITY subjects to be determined.

Pictured: Sara Antkowiak, Paul Bomba, and James Luse in Russian Tea by Matthew Kelly. Photo by John Kalish for East Village Chronicles, Vol. 8.


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