Matthew Lillard Launches Campaign to Bring American Theatre to Edinburgh Fringe

Matthew Lillard Launches Campaign to Bring American Theatre to Edinburgh FringeFollowing in the footsteps of Jennifer Morrison (ONCE UPON A TIME, WARRIOR, HOUSE) and Charlie Carver (TEEN WOLF, THE LEFTOVERS), actor/director Matthew Lillard (SCREAM, THE BRIDGE, THE DESCENDANTS, SCOOBY-DOO) has launched a social media challenge to help bring American theater to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Morrison recently auctioned off a skype session with herself to everyone who donated $20 to the endeavor and noted her name in the memo at phantomowls.com, while Carver auctioned off a personalized mixtape to those who donated $30.

For Matthew Lillard, one entry is $10 and there is no limit to the amount of entries one person can submit. Two winners will then be chosen and both winners will receive a voicemail message (or voicemail outgoing message if preferred), from Matthew Lillard as his signature character Shaggy, from SCOOBY-DOO, which he has voiced in animation and performed live on film. Winner may request the voicemail be recorded for a friend or family member if they so desire. Again, donations can be made at phantomowls.com, with Lillard's name in the memo line.

The new entity Phantom Owl Productions is an American company producing seven distinct pieces at this year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Rajiv Joseph, Neil LaBute, Stephen Belber, Annabelle Gurwitch, Steven Cragg, J.W. Rowland, and Judi Sadowsky make up the writers representing the company at this year's arts festival - the largest of its type in the world.

Their slate includes the European premiere of FILTHY TALK FOR TROUBLED TIMES by Neil LaBute; the European premiere of FAULT LINES by Stephen Belber; the Rogue Machine production of GRUESOME PLAYGROUND INJURIES by Rajiv Joseph; the Skylight Theatre production and European premiere of I SEE YOU MADE AN EFFORT (written and performed by Annabelle Gurwitch); the European premiere of I AM NOT MARK TWAIN (written and performed by Steven Cragg); the European premiere of THINGS MY MOTHER NEVER TOLD ME (written and performed by Judi Sadowsky); and a workshop production of THE COLD INSIDE by J.W. Rowland. Larissa Kokernot (Founding Member and Artistic Circle member of Chalk Repertory, FAMILY PLANNING, THREE SISTERS) directs GRUESOME PLAYGROUND INJURIES and Matthew Lillard (director/actor - SCREAM, THE BRIDGE, THE DESCENDANTS, SCOOBY-DOO) directs FAULT LINES and FILTHY TALK FOR TROUBLED TIMES.

Andrew Carlberg, David Mauer and Amanda Mauer are producing for Phantom Owls. Jessica Aquila Cymerman is the company's Assistant Director and Production Associate. Jennifer Morrison is serving as an Executive Producer, and Charlie Carver is an Associate Producer.

The ensemble of actors performing in GRUESOME PLAYGROUND INJURIES, FAULT LINES and FILTHY TALK FOR TROUBLED TIMES are Zibby Allen, Dean Chekvala, Steve Connell, Brad Fleischer, George Griffith and Jules Willcox.

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival takes place August 7-31, 2015 and tickets for the plays Phantom Owl Productions can be found at www.edfringe.com. Information on how to make a tax-deductible donation, or producing inquiries and opportunities, can be found at www.phantomowls.com.

THE PLAYS:

FAULT LINES by Stephen Belber
Whole foods, composting toilets, and mini hot dogs abound in this dark comedy by Stephen Belber. A seemingly ordinary boys' night out turns sour when a stranger forces two friends to delineate boundaries between loyalty, conviction, and betrayal.

FILTHY TALK FOR TROUBLED TIMES by Neil LaBute
At a seedy bar in Anytown, USA, the frank exchanges between everymen (and everywomen) explore the innumerable varieties of American intolerance. A compelling look at the early thinking of celebrated playwright Neil LaBute.

GRUESOME PLAYGROUND INJURIES by Rajiv Joseph
From missing eyes to broken hearts, this darkly humorous drama by Rajiv Joseph highlights the intersections of two star-crossed lives as they chart a 30-year course of friendship, veiled emotions, and bodily harm.

I AM NOT MARK TWAIN by Steven Cragg
This roller coaster of a tale follows a married man's transcontinental trip to screw an ex-girlfriend. Written and performed by Steven Cragg, with a horrible accent, wearing a dirty, rank Mark Twain mustache and wig.

I SEE YOU MADE AN EFFORT by Annabelle Gurwitch
Whether Annabelle is navigating the tricky waters of acceptable behavior with her teenage son, being hounded by the AARP, realizing she's aged out of her own Mrs. Robinson sex fantasy, or discovering her invisibility at a punk rock concert, this is the ultimate coming-of-middle-age story.

THINGS MY MOTHER NEVER TOLD ME by Judi Sadowsky
Childhood in a world filled with alcoholics, poets and dreamers. The importance of a good kiss. A cure for fear of flying. Through her quirky prose, Judi shares these stories and more. Lots of laughter and a good dose of tears.

THE COLD INSIDE by Jennifer Rowland
A workshop reading series. A man awakens in an empty hospital room, covered in bandages from head to foot. He doesn't know who he is or how he got there. A nervous, attractive woman wanders in and something sparks between them. He tries to persuade her to help him recover his identity - the only thing he remembers is being whisked away by a large frozen woman driving a flying sled through a blinding snowstorm.

THE PLAYWRIGHTS:

STEPHEN BELBER's plays have been produced on Broadway and in over 25 countries. They include Match, Tape, Don't Go Gentle, Dusk Rings a Bell, McReele, Finally, Geometry of Fire, Fault Lines, Carol Mulroney, A Small, Melodramatic Story, One Million Butterflies, The Power of Duff,and The Muscles In Our Toes. He was an Associate Writer on The Laramie Project, and co-writer on The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later. Movies include Tape (directed by Richard Linklater); The Laramie Project(Associate Writer); Drifting Elegant; Management, starring Jennifer Aniston; and Match, starring Patrick Stewart - the last two of which he also directed. Television credits include Rescue Me, Law & Order SVU,and pilots for F/X, FTVS and HBO.

STEVEN CRAGG's play I Am Not Mark Twain won the HBO Comedy Festival's "Best One-Person Show" award. Steven is an alumnus of the famed Groundlings Theater Company in Los Angeles. He has written on such shows as Saturday Night Live, MadTV, Scrubs, and Happy Endings. He is currently developing half-hour comedies for Universal TV.

Author and actress ANNABELLE GURWITCH's latest book, I See You Made an Effort, is a New York Times' Books of Style select and New York Times Bestseller. It was also named by Kirkus Reviews as one of Nine Books Guaranteed to Make You Laugh in 2014. Annabelle gained a loyal comedic following hosting Dinner and a Movie on TBS and as the author of You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up and Fired!, which was also a New York Times Book of Style selection and a Showtime Comedy Special. She has been a commentator on NPR and contributor to The New York Times,The Nation, and the Los Angeles Times; her live appearances include The Moth Mainstage, New York Comedy Festival, Carolines on Broadway and 92nd Street Y. Annabelle is short-listed for the 2014-2015 James Thurber Prize for American Humor Writing.

RAJIV JOSEPH's plays include Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, a 2010 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; Gruesome Playground Injuries; Animals Out of Paper; The North Pool; The Lake Effect; Mr. Wolf; and Guards at the Taj. He is the book-writer and co-lyricist for the musical, Fly. Rajiv also wrote for the Showtime series Nurse Jackie for seasons three and four and was the co-screenwriter of the film Draft Day, which was released last year. Rajiv received his B.A. in Creative Writing from Miami University and his M.F.A. in Playwriting from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. He served for three years in the Peace Corps in Senegal, West Africa.

NEIL LABUTE's plays include Bash: Latter-Day Plays (Douglas Fairbanks Theatre, Almeida Theatre); The Shape of Things (Almeida Theatre, Promenade Theatre); The Distance from Here (MCC Theatre, Almeida Theatre); The Mercy Seat (MCC Theatre, Almeida Theatre); Filthy Talk for Troubled Times (MCC Theatre); Fat Pig (MCC Theatre, Trafalgar Studios);Autobahn (MCC Theatre); Some Girl(s) (Gielgud Theatre, MCC Theatre);This is How it Goes (Donmar Warehouse, The Public Theatre); Land of the Dead/Helter Skelter (Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Bush Theatre);Wrecks (Everyman Palace Theatre, The Public Theatre, The Bush Theatre); In a Dark Dark House (MCC Theatre, Almeida Theatre); The Break of Noon (MCC Theatre, Geffen Playhouse); Reasons to be Pretty (MCC Theatre, Almeida Theatre); In a Forest, Dark and Deep (Vaudeville Theatre, Profiles Theatre); The Heart of the Matter (MCC Theatre); Woyzeck - adaptation (Schauspielhaus Zurich); Things We Said Today (Profiles Theatre, Sala Beckett); The Furies/The New Testament/Romance (59E59); The Great War (Ensemble Studio Theatre); Taming of the Shrew - additional scenes (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre); Short Ends (Open Fist Theatre); Lovely Head(Spoleto Festival-Italy, Fringe Festival-Madrid, La Mama); In The Beginning (Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Theatre Row); Miss Julie - adaptation (Geffen Playhouse); Reasons to be Happy (MCC Theatre); Good Luck (In Farsi) (59E59); Over The River And Through The Woods (Planet Connections Theatre Festivity); Pick One (Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Young Vic); One Day Like This (American Academy of Dramatic Arts); Here We Go 'Round The Mulberry Bush (59E59); I'm Going To Stop Pretending That I Didn't Break Your Heart (Venice Biennale); The Money Shot (MCC Theatre); All The Ways To Say I Love You (Young Vic); Happy Hour (La Mama); Exhibit A (Theatre Delicatessen); and the upcoming productions of The Way We Get By (Second Stage) and Mohammed Gets A Boner (Planet Connections Theatre Festivity). Film includes: In the Company of Men; Your Friends & Neighbors; Nurse Betty; Possession; The Shape of Things; The Wicker Man; Lakeview Terrace; Death at a Funeral; Some Girl(s); Some Velvet Morning; Dirty Weekend; "Tumble" (short); "After-School Special" (short); "Sexting" (short); "Denise" (short); "Double or Nothing" (short); "Bench Seat" (short); "Sweet Nothings" (short); "BFF" (short); and "It's Okay" (short). Television includes: Bash: Latter-Day Plays (Showtime); Full Circle(DirecTV); Ten X Ten (DirecTV); Billy & Billie (DirecTV). Fiction includes: Seconds of Pleasure (Faber & Faber).

J.W. ROWLAND's critically-acclaimed play, The Indians are Coming to Dinner received its World Premiere at Pacific Resident Theatre in Venice, California. The Contest also premiered in Los Angeles before playing the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. One Good Death was featured as part of The Road Theater Company's Summer Reading series. Other plays include Heartbreaker, The School Plays, and Ice Girl in Bungalow B. Jennifer is an alumnus of Harvard College and American Conservatory Theatre Young Conservatory and is currently a member of the Antaeus Writers Lab, as well as the Dramatists Guild.

JUDI SADOWSKY believes, "It is never to late to be what you might have been." A bit of a late bloomer, at six years old, Judi Sadowsky knew she wanted to be a writer. Sixty-three years later she wrote and starred in a one woman show, Things My Mother Never Told Me, and published a bestselling book of her short stories. And now, she will be performing, on her 70th birthday, at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival!

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