BPF – Part Two

I am pleased to announce that my play “Shadows of Men” all be featured in the Baltimore Playwrights Festival (BPF) of 2016. My play will be given at reading at Fells Point Corner Point Theatre on March 26 at 11am. Admission is free to all those who would love to attend. The mission of the Baltimore Playwrights Festival is ”to provide an environment that nurtures the talents of Maryland and DC playwrights. The BPF does this through public readings, discussions, critiques and workshopping of new plays.” They subsequent summer season “is devoted to the presentation of these newly developed works, for the entertainment and cultural edification of … audiences.”

Baltimore Playwrights Festival

The Baltimore Playwrights Festival was kind enough to give my play “Fifteen Men In A Smoke-Filled Room” a reading back in March of 2013. Check out this little tidbit from Memory Lane.

I used to live down in Baltimore and Washington, DC while studying for my master’s degree at Georgetown University (2007-2008). It’s always a pleasure to go back down to the area!

A GREAT honor!

I want to extent my sincere thanks and appreciation to the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center located in my home state of Connecticut. I learned today that my play “Shadows of Men” is a semi-finalist for the extremely prestigious O’Neill Theater Conference.

From the O’Neill website:

“Each year a community of professionals gathers in the serene setting of the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in order to support playwrights and new works for the theater.  The National Playwrights Conference strives to create a supportive environment that empowers playwrights to their own process and to experience the play with a professional company.

In the years since its inception the National Playwrights Conference has developed more than 600 plays… Virtually every major American playwright has been part of the Conference, including Julia Cho, Rebecca Gilman, Regina Taylor, John Guare, Israel Horovitz, David Henry Hwang, David Lindsay-Abaire, Adam Rapp, Lanford Wilson, Wendy Wasserstein, and August Wilson.”

2008 LOGO REMAKE_FINAL

The very fact that my play is a semi-finalist is a tremendous distinction of which I am very proud. It is very difficult to get a nod from the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center.

This nod makes me very happy.

That was quick…

I received a nice little gift in the mail today – a note from Branch County Community Theatre (BCCT) – informing me that my new play “Philosophus” placed third in the Robert J. Pickering Award for Playwriting Excellence.

BCCT Logo

Branch County Community Theater is based in Coldwater, MI and is a vital artistic component to its community. The Robert J. Pickering Award specifically “was established to honor past member and playwright, Bob Pickering, and to provide a vehicle for playwrights to see their works produced.”

Out of 125 entries this year, “Philosophus” was third place – a great honor! I only completed the play about a month ago, so, when I sent it to BCCT, it was “fresh off the presses.” I have never completed a play and had it recognized so quickly – especially among such a large pool of applicants – by such a respected organization.

Many thanks to BCCT (and Robert Pickering) and best of luck to the first place winner!

Yay for TNT POPS!

Today I received the news that my play “Shadows of Men” ended up as a finalist in the TNT POPS! New Play Project of 2016. “TNT” (or “Texas Nonprofit Theatres, Inc.“) is “a statewide service organization” designed to promote and support theatrical organizations in Texas. My script about John Dos Passos during the Spanish Civil War made it into the top 15 scripts submitted for the contest – a great honor!

My play “Encore, Encore” was previously a finalist in the 2014 TNT POPS! New Play Project contest. The play has since gone on to receive one staged reading and three productions.

Thanks so much to the judges for their interest and best of luck to the eventual winner!

Many thanks to ATHE!

I am very pleased to say that my play “Encore, Encore” is officially a finalist in the Association for Theatre in Higher Education Award of Excellence – a top pick among 150+ other plays. The award “honors a new play marked by sophisticated and nuanced storytelling, with the potential to make a major artistic impact on contemporary theatre.” This is the second year that play submissions have been accepted for this award.

The award itself is sponsored by the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) – a comprehensive non-profit professional membership organization that advances theatrical interests in college and university theatre departments and among administrators, educators, graduate students, and theatre practitioners.

You can find out more about ATHE here!

Enter “Philosophus”

“The secret of being boring is to say everything.”
~François-Marie Arouet (Voltaire)

bra07058

Today, I finished my new farce, “Philosophus,” a project of great meaning to me and also an unexpected and very fulfilling gem. I say this because I wrote a version of this play many, many moons ago (about 17+ years) when I was still discovering my voice as a playwright and undergoing many challenges in the process. It was one of the first plays I ever wrote – and, dare I say, it probably wasn’t that good. The subject matter stayed with me, however, so I suddenly decided to take a stab at the storyline again after completing my recent play “Leave It To Ms. Minor.” Four weeks later, I have a completed draft of the play, of which I am very proud. I have to say I have never written a play with such ease as this one. There were hardly any bumps on the road and the entire process was very smooth. Let us hope that same ease suggests it is naturally worthy of the stage!!

Briefly, Philosophus” is a two-act, screwball comedy about the egregiously self-righteous philosopher Voltaire and the bizarre escapades surrounding his flight from the court of Frederick II, King of Prussia, from whom he stole a sensitive, personal manuscript of poems. Determined to embarrass the monarch in revenge for an unfortunate falling-out, Voltaire finds his journey to France rudely halted in the city of Frankfurt by the intriguingly Hitlerian Baron von Freytag, representative of the Prussian King. Before too long, the Baron’s over-eagerness to obey his master’s wishes and the enormity of Voltaire’s ego combine to create a purely comedic kind of chaos, which becomes all the more ludicrous by the addition of a money-hungry German shrew, two slightly dim-witted, look-a-like servants, and Voltaire’s buxom, sex-obsessed niece, who fancies herself an ingénue.

You can check out a longer synopsis and a sample of the work on the My Works page of my website!

“Leave It to Ms. Minor”

I have recently finished a relatively final draft of a new play – “Leave It to Ms. Minor.” The play concerns the odd, ambiguous, and controversial relationship between an aging television star and his younger, headstrong, domineering companion.

Groucho Marx with Erin FlemingThe play was inspired by the controversial relationship between famed comedian Groucho Marx and his companion Erin Fleming, who constantly shadowed Groucho in his final eight years of life. Fleming was either praised or loathed by Groucho’s friends and family and became a polarizing figure in the Groucho Marx story. Some view her as the mastermind of Groucho’s late-life resurrection, while others see her as being an exploitive and leech-like hanger-on.

I have been working on the play for many months now and am pleased with its current state. This is the first play I have completed mainly through commuting in the train back and forth to New York City!

Take a look at the sample on my My Works page!

Thank You, Adirondack Plays

I learned today that my play “Encore, Encore” is going to be included in a new play anthology sponsored by the new publishing group Adirondack Plays.

Adirondack Plays bills itself as a group helping to connect directors across the United States with exciting and valuable new theatrical new work. Those directors who do want to produce new work typically have to send out a submission call that may solicit a large number of responses – the vast majority of them unusable. Adirondack Plays seeks to remove the intense work involved in trudging through a whole host of new plays so that directors can find what they need with greater ease.

The group itself is a new addition to the theatrical scene and founded by a professional publisher of marketing and educational material. There will be a number of different anthologies in the series: “Mostly Female,” “Social Justice,” “LBGTQ,” “Black Box,” High School One Acts,” “For Churches,” and “Award-Winning.” “Encore, Encore” is being included in the “Black Box” anthology. The anthologies won’t be available until roughly the middle of next year.

Many thanks to Adirondack Plays for their faith in my work!

Thanks to Elitch Gardens!

What a sublime pleasure it was to attend the staged reading yesterday of my long-lasting play “Fifteen Men In A Smoke-Filled Room!” I arrived in Denver on Friday evening and attended the reading that night. I also had the opportunity to explore the fascinating city of Denver and its surrounding suburbs.

On my travels, I took this picture of the beautiful Historic Elitch Gardens Theater, nestled snugly between luxury condos in the wonderful West Highlands area of Denver:

Elitch ColinAnd look what I found posted on one of the front doors:

Eitch PosterAnd, ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, what a lovely program:

Elitch ProgramThe play was directed by the lovely Bev Newcomb-Madden, who I had the great joy of meeting in person on the night of the show. (Bev and I had previously talked over the phone about the play.) Bev managed to find a great cast for the reading. I was extremely impressed with the performance of the actors and actresses in what is actually a dense, difficult play to perform. The actors brought tremendous power to their roles – especially the two female characters.

Thanks again to festival producer Gavin Mayer for his leadership and the wonderful opportunity to have my play performed!

I wish the best of luck to the Historic Elitch Gardens Theater as it continues its renovations over the succeeding years!