Ojai Playwrights Conference Presents 2012 Summer New Works Festival, Now thru 8/12

Ojai Playwrights Conference Presents 2012 Summer New Works Festival, Now thru 8/12

THE OJAI PLAYWRIGHTS CONFERENCE (OPC), one of the most prestigious and acclaimed new play development programs in the United States, will celebrate its 15th Anniversary Season with a stellar program of playwrights, new play workshops, special performance events and guest artists during its Summer New Works Festival from tonight, August 8-August 12, 2012 in Ojai.

One of the highlights of the five-day Festival will be “Milestones: A 15th Anniversary OPC Celebration” - a special performance event on Thursday, August 9, 7:30 pm at Matilija Auditorium. Showcasing the talents of female writers, playwrights and performers in an evening that speaks to the joys, pains, courage and hope associated with life’s major milestones, the program will include original monologues, music and musings on life's significant transitions.

There will be original pieces about birth, marriage, death, love and lost-love. Tickets are $20 and may be ordered at www.ojaiplays.org.

Participants are prize-winning playwright Julia Cho, stage and TV actress Linda Gehringer, actress and screenwriter Michelle Joyner, Golden Globe songwriter Amanda McBroom, OPC co-founder and actress Kim Maxwell, Army Wives writer T.D. Mitchell, OBIE Award-winning actress and writer Nikkole Salter, author and actress Agapi Stassinopoulos, HBO’s In Treatment writer Sarah Treem, writer of plays and musicals Annie Weisman, acclaimed solo playwright Charlayne Woodard, and pianist Michelle Brourman.

“OPC has reached a major Milestone in the life of our program,” commented OPC’s Artistic Director/Producer Robert Egan. “For 15 years we have developed plays of the highest caliber for the American theatre. We thought it fitting to create an exciting and entertaining evening to celebrate this, where women who have been a part of creating the OPC experience, or are in the process of creating pieces for our future would, reflect on life's significant transitions.”

Julia Cho plays include The Language Archive (2010 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize), The Piano Teacher, Durango, The Winchester House, BFE, The Architecture Of Loss and 99 Histories. Television work includes Fringe and Big Love.

Linda Gehringer has spent over 30 years acting in theaters across the country and has focused her work on new plays. This fall she will appear in Bill Cain’s How to Write a New Book for the Bible at South Coast Repertory. The play premiered this past year in a co-production between Berkeley Rep and Seattle Rep, won the Bay Area Critics Circle Award and was first read at the Ojai Playwright Conference. Her television work is extensive most recently appearing as Tim Olyphant’s Aunt Helen in the last three seasons of Justified on FX.

Michelle Joyner is a professional actor with a wide range of film, television and theater credits. She most recently guest starred in Fox’s Bones and Lie to Me. As a professional writer, Michelle has written eight studio screenplays and has performed her personal essays in many literary venues around Los Angeles.

Kim Maxwell - Starting her career as an actress, Kim appeared in numerous plays, commercials, TV shows and films. As her passion for stories broadened to in include producing, directing, writing and teaching, Kim co-founded Theater 150 in 1996 and served as its original Artistic Director for 11 years. The following year she co-founded the Ojai Playwrights Conference where she continues to serves as the director of its youth workshop and a board member.

Amanda McBroom's name came to the attention of the public when Bette Midler's version of Amanda's song The Rose hit number one worldwide. Her songs have been recorded by The Manhattan Transfer, Judy Collins, and Barbara Cook. She received a Golden Globe, a Grammy nomination, and the Johnny Mercer Songwriter of the Year Award. She has written eight CDs and three produced musicals.

Nikkole Salter is an OBIE Award-winning actress and writer for her co-authorship and co-performance of the play, In the Continuum which won the NY Outer Critics Circle's Award for Best New American Play. Nikkole also received Helen Hayes and Black Theatre Alliance nominations for Best Actress for her performance. Her play, Repairing a Nation, received readings at the Studio Museum in Harlem’s Target™ Sunday initiative and at The Cell Theatre Company's BlackBoard Reading Series. Her most recent work, Carnaval will receive its world premiere production in Luna Stage's 2012-13 season.

Agapi Stassinopoulos was born in Athens, Greece. She graduated the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. She moved to the United States to pursue acting, and later graduated the University of Santa Monica, with a Master's in Psychology. She has written two books on the Greek archetypes – Conversations with the Goddesses and Gods and Goddesses in Love – it was adapted into a one-woman show for PBS, as well as the documentary, Quest for the Gods. Agapi inspires people all over the world to recognize their individual gifts and create the lives they want.

Sarah Treem is the only writer to have written and produced all three seasons of the HBO series In Treatment. She won a WGA Award and was nominated for a Humanitas Award. She is a writer/producer for the Mark Wahlberg/Stephen Levinson produced HBO series How to Make It in America. Her plays include Empty Sky, Against the Wall, Mirror, A Feminine Ending, Human Voicesand The How and the Why. A Feminine Ending received its world premiere at Playwrights Horizons in 2007 and went on to south Coast Rep and Portland Center Stage. Sarah developed her play The How and the Why at the Ojai Playwrights Conference and it premiered at McCarter Theatre in 2011.

Charlayne Woodard has written and performed four acclaimed solo plays: Pretty Fire, Neat, In Real Life and The Night Watcher (developed at OPC). Multi-character play, Flight, was developed at OPC and produced at numerous regional theatres. (Actress) Off-Broadway: The Witch of Edmonton (Obie Award), Suzan-Lori Parks’ In the Blood (Obie Award), Lynn Nottage’s Fabulation(Playwrights Horizons), Stunning (Lincoln Center). Broadway: Original company of Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Tony Award & Drama Desk nominations). TV: Recurring roles on Law & Order, SVU; Terminator, Sarah Connors Chronicles; and ER. Film: Unbreakable, Sunshine State, The Crucible and Eye for an Eye.

Annie Weisman has written several plays including Surf Report (La Jolla Playhouse), Hold Please (South Coast Rep, Globe Theaters, New York’s Working Theatre) and Be Aggressive (La Jolla Playhouse, Dallas Theatre Center, Chicago’s Rivenden Theatre, Theatreworks. Susan Smith Blackburn Finalist). Musicals include: The Essential Alice with Michael Friedman. Publications include: Smith and Kraus, Vintage, Dramatists Play Service. Television credits: Desperate Housewives, Dead Like Me, Inconceivable, Heartland, The Cleaner, Samantha Who and Eastwick. Annie is a Writers Guild and Dramatists Guild member, and a graduate of Williams College.

The OPC Summer New Works Festival will feature nine events over five days including the return of one of America’s finest playwrights Terrence McNally with a brand new play entitled “AND AWAY WE GO” as the closing event on Sunday, August 12. Other established and up-and-coming playwrights participating in the conference with new works are Luis Alfaro, Robert Askins, Jennifer Haley, Matt Hoverman and Liza Powel O’Brien.

Tickets range from $10 to $25 (note: $10 student pricing for select performances only). An All Access Festival Pass, that includes admission to all nine events, is $190. Festival schedule, details on the playwrights and ticket information available at www.ojaiplays.org or by calling (805) 640-0400.

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