Palm Beach Dramaworks Launches NEW YEAR/NEW PLAYS Festival
The new year is a time of new beginnings. Palm Beach Dramaworks will usher in 2019 with the introduction of a program that gives the general public a first look at plays so new, they're still evolving. The Dramaworkshop's first-ever New Year/New Plays Festival will take place over the weekend of January 4-6, when five plays will receive readings on PBD's mainstage. Saturday's program will also include a discussion, "Regional Theatre and the Future of American Plays," featuring panelists of industry professionals from major organizations.
The New Year/New Plays Festival provides playwrights with the opportunity to hear their words performed in front of a live audience, which is instrumental to the development and growth of a play. And audiences not only have a chance to feel the excitement of seeing something brand new, but to offer invaluable feedback to the playwrights.
The plays are The Captives by Barbara Blumenthal-Ehrlich, Drift by William Francis Hoffman, With by Carter Lewis, Ordinary Americans by Joseph McDonough, and Red, White, Black and Blue by Michael McKeever. With the exception of Ordinary Americans, the plays were chosen from among some 300 received by The Dramaworkshop, managed by Bruce Linser, during the 2018 submission period. Ordinary Americans was commissioned by PBD for a future mainstage production.
"I am very excited about the Festival and I hope audiences will share my enthusiasm for this invaluable event," said PBD Producing Artistic Director William Hayes. "From the time this company was founded, one of my goals was for PBD to be an incubator of new plays and a producer of world premieres. I knew that could only happen after we were well-established and thriving, and as soon as the opportunity presented itself, in the fall of 2014, we launched The Dramaworkshop. We made the call for submissions, and the response from playwrights around the country was inspiring. The number of submissions has grown every year, underscoring the need for The Dramaworkshop and the New Year/New Plays Festival. Simply put, new work is vital to the future of theatre. The economics of Broadway discourage Broadway producers from championing plays that have not previously been done elsewhere, which makes it imperative for regional theatres to identify, encourage, nurture, and bring to life exciting new plays. And I've found that audiences are hungry for the sense of discovery that this Festival will provide. They could be seeing the next Indecent or Fences, two plays that PBD is performing this season that were developed at regional theatres."
Red, White, Black and Blue by Michael McKeever A national tragedy sets the stage as Lenora Waters finds herself about to become the first black female president of the United States amid cut-throat opposition and demons from her family's past. Part political thriller, part jet-black satire, Red, White, Black and Blue examines the upside-down world of American politics and one woman's struggle to secure her place at the top, without losing her humanity.
Drift by William Francis Hoffman A crumbling family history. An orphaned piano prodigy left to wander the streets alone. His older brothers at violent ends over competing tales about their father's tragic death. Set in 1957 Chicago, in the lofted annex of a forgotten church and on the steel girders of a skyscraper under construction, Drift offers a concussive and heart-wrenching glimpse of a family trying desperately to uncover who they are. ? With by Carter Lewis Minnie and Clifford devolve into a world of hilarious, but ultimately heartbreaking, minutiae as they navigate a blizzard, a dead son, a rat in the kitchen, and a half-decorated Christmas tree, hoping to find the last strains of dignity in their final days together. With delves into the contempt and comfort of two lives devoted to each other and entwined forever.
The Captives by Barbara Blumenthal-Ehrlich A gripping and darkly comic story of a death-row inmate and the closeted artist who's painting his last meal. But he wants a stay of execution - not a final meal - setting in motion a social media frenzy and a series of life-altering events for the painter, the prison warden, and the man about to die. The Captives rattles the cages we find ourselves in and unflinchingly asks who or what is holding us there. Ordinary Americans by Joseph McDonough In the early 1950s, Gertrude Berg and Philip Loeb, the pioneering stars of television's groundbreaking sitcom, The Goldbergs, heroically struggle to save their show, their careers, and their friendship in the face of McCarthyism, anti-Semitism, and the political climate of the country. Based on actual events, Ordinary Americans reveals the double-edged sword between speaking out and staying silent.
The Schedule: Friday, January 4* 3pm - Red, White, Black and Blue by Michael McKeever 5pm - Dinner break 7pm - Drift by William Francis Hoffman
Saturday, January 5* 1pm - Panel Discussion: "Regional Theatre and the Development of New American Plays"** 3pm - With by Charles W. Lewis 5pm - Dinner break 7pm - The Captives by Barbara Blumenthal-Ehrlich
Sunday, January 6 12:30pm - Lunch with the artists at Leila Restaurant*** 3pm - Ordinary Americans by Joseph McDonough 6pm - Champagne Toast**
Pricing $50 - All three days *$25 - All day $15 - Per play **The panel discussion and champagne toast are free with a ticket to any play ***$25 - Lunch at Leila
For more information, visit palmbeachdramaworks.org/dramaworkshop, or contact