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Gulfshore Playhouse Announces New Works Festival Winners

The Festival will include developmental workshops for the winning plays and will culminate with staged readings.

Gulfshore Playhouse announces winners for its upcoming New Works Festival. Returning after a two year pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gulfshore Playhouse is bringing the New Works Festival back - and it's even bigger and better!

The Annual New Works Festival will take place at Gulfshore Playhouse from September 7 through September 18, 2022. The Festival will include developmental workshops for the winning plays and will culminate with staged readings.

Following a months-long anonymous process, three winners were chosen by the theater's artistic team. As part of the New Works Festival, these three playwrights will receive a week-long workshop culminating in a staged reading before an audience. The three winners are:


by Mike Bencivenga

In COMPROMISED a celebrated journalist and his wife invite a young couple to their home to help them recover their missing car. The encounter reveals unpleasant, hidden truths that threaten to destroy both relationships. The play is about how we can be crippled by the bad choices we make and the secrets we're forced to keep. In addition it dramatizes the ongoing health struggles of the first responders and journalists who covered the 9/11 attacks in New York. COMPROMISED was a runner-up for the 2020 Eugene O'Neill prize for drama and was named Best Play of 2020 by Playwrights-First in NYC.

The playwright, Mike Bencivenga, is an award winning writer/director/producer in theater, film and TV. He's written10 full length plays, written and directed 2 feature films and has won 3 Emmys for his work at WABC-TV in New York. For more on his career visit:

A Danger to Yourself and Others

by Colette Mazunik

When Eddie, anxious and in debt, tries to rob a gas station, he instead falls for the station clerk, bungles a burglary, gets caught with a weapon, evades hospitalization, flees from the police, and has his library card revoked-but hey, at least he meets the woman of his dreams! "A Danger to Yourself and Others" is a farcical look at what it's like navigating life with anxiety, never knowing if the gnawing feeling in your gut is your intuition or your irrational fear.

Colette Mazunik is a writer and educator living in Denver, CO. Her short films have been official selections for the Madrid International (Best Story nominee) and the Bermuda International Film Festivals. She was an inaugural Playwright Fellow at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, and recently partnered with aerospace engineering scientists to write about near earth space debris.

James of Nazareth

by Lisa Dellagiarino Feriend

A retelling of the Jesus story from the point of view of his younger brother, James, who is left trying to hold the family together and keep everyone out of trouble while Jesus is off preaching radical civil disobedience and a new world order.

Virginia-born and Chicago-based, Lisa Dellagiarino Feriend is an associate member of the Saint Sebastian Players Theater Company, a member of the Dramatists Guild, and President of the Board of Arts For All, a NYC-based nonprofit bringing the arts to in-need youth communities. She has a BFA in Film & TV from NYU and two kids who are disappointed that she doesn't write plays about dinosaurs.

In addition to the three winners, Gulfshore Playhouse will also workshop two new plays that it has interest in specifically developing for future production. These two plays have been selected for development by the artistic team at Gulfshore Playhouse and will receive a full two-week workshop.

These two plays are:

The Refugees

by Brent Askari

In the midst of a civil war in the United States, the ultra-WASPy Sutton family from Connecticut - Yates, Poppy, and Wynn -- flees the country, ending up in the Middle East. The Sutton's preppy attire and bland food label them as outsiders, and they find themselves now impoverished and in the minority, having to deal with manual labor, bureaucrats, and social workers. Increasingly desperate to return to the familiarity of Western Civilization, patriarch Yates joins up with a former Wall Street banker, getting involved in a hapless scheme to emigrate to Europe. When the American refugee community erupts in rioting, the Suttons struggle to survive in their adopted new home.

Brent Askari is a Persian-American writer and actor. He is the winner of the 2019 National New Play Network Smith Prize for Political Theater for "The Refugees". His other plays have been produced at Barrington Stage Company, Geva Theatre Center, and Mad Horse Theatre, and have been produced and developed across the country. He was part of HBO's New Writers Project and has written screenplays for Paramount Pictures, Marvel Films, MTV, and Reveille Entertainment. Brent is a National New Play Network affiliate artist and a member of Mad Horse Theatre Company.

Remember: The Story of Abe Price

by Jeffrey Binder

Gulfshore Playhouse is thrilled to commission the theatre's former associate artistic director Jeffrey Binder to write a full version of his play "Remember: The Story of Abe Price." Originally created as a 45-minute educational production telling the true story of Naples local Holocaust survivor Abe Price, the full version will expand the story to fully encompass his experience during and after the Holocaust.

Performances will take place September 15-18. Each staged reading will be followed by an audience Q&A with the playwright. Single tickets and Festival packages are on sale now at

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