BWW Previews: EIGHT YOUNG PLAYWRIGHTS SEE ORIGINAL WORK COME TO LIFE IN COMPETITION at Carrollwood Players Theatre
On February 8-10, 2019, thirteen talented adult actors will bring to stage the trials and tribulations of school life and being a kid in KIDSPEAK 4.0, a Staged Reading in the CWP Black Box at Carrollwood Players.
In late 2018, the theatre reached out into the community and invited budding young playwrights to submit new, original short plays for their fourth youth playwriting challenge. Of the nearly 50 submissions, 8 original plays written by third through seventh graders were selected for competition and a world premiere.
KIDSPEAK 4.0 brings the imagination of these children to life. From a dance school mystery, an overprotective dad, jealousy in theatre, the final essay of high school to life in a youth prison, kids forming a special organization, an imaginary friend and a mime in love, the themes are a varied as the young writers.
Playwrights range from ages 11 to 13 and featured plays are "The Dance Mystery (Detectives Again)" written by Cassidy F, "Becoming Romeo and Juliet" written by Ashlee L., "The Last Homework" written by Reginalda J., "Lost In Prison" written by Jolicia H., "Daddy's Girl" written by Musiq V., "The Super Kids" written by Tristen S., "The Hidden Truth" written by Kaikara V. and "The Mime" written by Jordan L.
After being one of the producers for three years, Deb Kelley is excited to direct and pleased to share her role with the show's youth director, 13-year-old actress Kaedin Cammareri.
Kaedin said, "I have been acting in theater since the age of 6, but have never been given to opportunity to direct. When I watch movies, there is always a part of my brain that is thinking of alternate ways a scene could have been executed or blocked. Also, I aspire to direct a show at Carrollwood Players someday. Learning to direct is a good start in that direction."
On a set designed and decorated by Shirley Overton, returning KIDSPEAK actors are Alexa Sheppard, Carlee Soto, Tiffany Cline, and MaryBeth Wells. Making their KIDSPEAK 4.0 debut are Beth Behner, Mary Kay Cyrus, Daryl Everett, Leanne Ferguson, J.R. Deines, Walter Sotillo, Kari Tepfenhart, Suhail Khan, and Alex Andrews.
"It is so important to encourage and foster involvement with creative and/or performing arts at an early age, because they are so beneficial to the internal growth of young people. Thus, I'm thrilled to be a part of this and put these young talented playwrights' work to life," said Alex.
KIDSPEAK 4.0 is honored to have several educators among its cast.
MaryBeth who joined Carrollwood Players 4 years ago through the inaugural KIDSPEAK, said, "It is so much fun to put life to these stories."
Alexa, also with Kidspeak since 1.0, agreed. "It is such a humbling experience performing these kids' new and original works. They write what they know, and they put their real hearts and feelings into everything they do. Their creativity and insight never fail to leave me in awe. These kids are the future, so encouraging their artistry and individuality - catering to these forerunners of tomorrow is the best part of all."
Inspired by sign language interpreter and KIDSPEAK 4.0 actress Daryl, new this season are interpreters during the Sunday matinee, expanding the special show to a larger audience.
Deborah and producer Michael C de Baca are thrilled to have a new judge, two returning judges from the show's inception and last year's youth director as youth judge.
Joining judges Luana Mitten, publisher of BeaLu Books, Matt Belopavlovich, an educator at Patel Conservatory, playwright and director, and youth judge/actress Maggie Gamson is educator and Broadway World theatre critic Peter Nason.
The four have the difficult responsibility of choosing their three favorite plays. Those votes in combination with the audience's favorite will award first, second, and third place trophies after the final performance on Sunday night.
"This staged reading is very special for two reasons - we get to showcase the talents of young writers that may never have seen their work produced without being selected for KIDSPEAK 4.0 and we give busy adults the opportunity to perform without a lengthy rehearsal or show commitment," said Deb. "We have the honor of potentially being the first step for a young playwright destined to be their generation's next Lin-Manuel Miranda. Knowing that KIDSPEAK 4.0 could be that starting point is very gratifying."
CWP Black Box at Carrollwood Players is located at 4333 Gunn Hwy. KIDSPEAK 4.0 is Friday and Saturday, February 8-9 at 8pm and Sunday, February 10, 3pm. Tickets are $12 general admission. Advance tickets can be purchased at https://app.arts-people.com/index.php?ticketing=cwpt.