The Music of Philip Glass Engages Playwrights To Write Ten-Minute Musicals

The Music of Philip Glass Engages Playwrights To Write Ten-Minute Musicals

On Monday evening, March 19, PlayGround concludes its 24th season of Monday Night PlayGround with a special "Musical Theatre Night," inspired by and featuring the music of Philip Glass. The playwrights have just four-and-a-half days to generate their original short musicals and plays with music set to Philip Glass' String Quartets Nos 2-5 (as recorded by San Francisco's own Kronos Quartet in the 1995 recording "Kronos Quartet performs Philip Glass"). The top six will be matched up with leading directors and actors and presented as script-in-hand staged readings at Berkeley Repertory Theatre on March 19 at 8pm. Los Angeles writers will have their work on the same topic presented at L.A.'s Zephyr Theatre on March 12. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

Through his operas, his symphonies, his compositions for his own ensemble, and his wide-ranging collaborations with artists ranging from Twyla Tharp to Allen Ginsberg, Woody Allen to David Bowie, Philip Glass has had an extraordinary and unprecedented impact upon the musical and intellectual life of his times. Often dubbed a "minimalist," he preferred to describe himself as a composer of "music with repetitive structures." He's known as much for his film scores as for his operas, symphonies, string quartets, and numerous compositions for his own ensemble and is unique for his wide, multi-generational audience in the opera house, the concert hall, the dance world, in film and in popular music - simultaneously.

Some of PlayGround's recent break-outs alumni playwrights are Aaron Loeb, Lauren Yee, Geetha Reddy, and Garret Jon Groenveld. Loeb, whose PlayGround commissioned Abraham Lincoln's Big Gay Dance Party was the hit of the 2009 NY International Fringe Festival, will see the premiere of his Edgerton Award winner, The Trials of Sam Houston, at Dallas Theatre Center next month. Kesselring Prize winner Lauren Yee's Cambodian Rock Band is currently premiering at South Coast Rep. Geetha Reddy and Lauren Gunderson co-wrote HeLa, which premiered at TheatreFirst last spring. And Garret Jon Groenveld saw his play, The Empty Nesters, move on from a PlayGround premiere to a commercial production and is planned to tour in the next year. His play, The Hummingbirds, won the 2012 Internationalists Global Playwriting Prize and has been performed around the world.

Past musical theatre nights have featured work by George and Ira Gershwin, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, local folk duo Misner & Smith, and original compositions by Don Seaver, Scrumbly Koldewyn, and Ben Prince. Other recent Monday Night PlayGround topics have included: "In the Beginning," "Reap What You Sow," and last month's "Tall Tales." The top six plays from each month are rehearsed for just one-and-a-half hours each and presented as script-in-hand staged readings at Monday Night PlayGround, now celebrating its twenty-fourth year in the Bay Area and sixth in Los Angeles. Audience members can experience the thrill of being a producer through the monthly People's Choice Awards, helping to determine which plays and playwrights go on for consideration in PlayGround's annual showcase, the Best of PlayGround.

PlayGround, the Bay Area's leading playwright incubator, provides unique development opportunities for the Bay Area's best new playwrights, including the monthly Monday Night PlayGround staged reading series, annual PlayGround Festival of New Works, full-length play commissions and support for the production of new plays by local playwrights through the New Play Production Fund. To date, PlayGround has supported over 200 local playwrights in the development and staging of more than 850 original short plays and 75 new full-length plays, with 6 more commissions currently in development. PlayGround also operates Potrero Stage (formerly Thick House), a state-of-the-art 99-seat black box theatre in San Francisco's Potrero Hill neighborhood, home to some of the Bay Area's leading new play developers and producers, including PlayGround, Crowded Fire, Golden Thread, and Playwrights Foundation. For more information, visit

Tickets are $15 general admission ($30, priority seating) online in advance and $20 general admission at the door, subject to availability. For more information about the Monday Night PlayGround series, call (415) 992-6677 or visit

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