By Linda Armstrong
Theater Is Abounding This Summer
There is theater everywhere you look in New York City this summer and it is coming from quite a few places. I’m going to tell you about three in particular. The Public Theater in Manhattan is presenting something very ambitious. African American, Pulitzer Prizewinning playwright Suzan Lori Parks undertook a marvelous project in November 2002; writing 365 plays in 365 days. It’s a play series entitled simply 365 Days/365 Plays and it will go on for a year. The part of it that is being presented during the month of August and September will include a diverse group of theater companies performing. The eight companies include: The Brick Theater, Inc., The Classical Theatre of Harlem , The H.A.D.L.E.Y. Players, LAByrinth Theater Company, Ma-Yi Theater Company, MUD/BONE, TADA! Youth Theater and viBe Theater Experience. These companies will present their interpretations of Parks’s texts across New York City for seven days each in theaters in Battery Park, Harlem, Queens, Brooklyn and The Bronx.
From the Young Voices section viBe Theater Experience will combine original music and dance elements with text to continue their mission of empowering urban teenage girls. TADA! Youth Theater’s Resident Youth Ensemble will do vaudeville-style productions.
A section called Celebrations of Diversity will include Ma-Yi Theater Company performing plays on the Asian American experience in America. LAByrinth Theater Company will celebrate the diversity of New York City. The Classical Theatre of Harlem will use their 365 week to continue bringing theater and art to a culturally diverse Harlem audience.
In the third and final section, Collaborative Creations MUD/BONE will have their storefront studio in the South Bronx showcase their multidisciplinary community of artists. The Brick Theater, Inc., best known for their large-scale collaborative projects, will present the same seven 365 texts every night for a week employing different creative teams – a total of 49 different productions.
For the full performance schedule, visit www.publictheater.org/365/participants.php.
Over 600 theaters have joined a grassroots premiere of the plays in Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Colorado, Greater Texas, Los Angeles, Minnesota, New York, the Northeast, San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, The Southeast, Universities (365U), Washington D.C. and the western U.S. The 365 National Festival is produced by Suzan-Lori Parks and Bonnie Metzgar. For information on the 365 National Festival, visit www.365days365plays.com.
Summer Shorts, a festival of new American short plays, will be presented from August 2nd-30th at 59E59 Theaters. John McCormack and J.J. Kandel, in association with The Open Book, will present the festival. Summer Shorts offers nine one-act plays, eight having their world premieres, in two separate evenings. Tickets are $18 each. Tickets can be purchased by calling 212-279-4200 or online at www.ticketcentral.com.
The Strawberry One-Act Festival, presented by the Riant Theatre, which will held at the American Theater of Actors, located at 314 W. 54th Street, will occur from August 2nd-19th. As always, when you see a production in the festival you are also able to vote for it to win awards, which will be presented at the August 26th awards ceremony held at Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theatre at Symphony Space. For ticket information call 646-623-3488 or go to www.therianttheatre.com. Tickets for the shows are $20, $25 and $35.
On another note: The Public Theater is now accepting applications for The Emerging Writers Group, a new initiative that seeks to target playwrights at the earliest stages in their careers and nurture their artistic growth by providing necessary resources and support. The initiative seeks to develop new American playwrights. This program is the first program of The Public Writers Initiative, a long-term program that will provide key support and resources for writers at every stage of their careers. Time Warner is the Founding Sponsor of The Public Writers Initiative.
The 12-15 people who will be chosen through an open application process will benefit a great deal for the year they are involved with the initiative. Selected playwrights will receive a $3000 stipend. They will also participate in a biweekly writers group led by The Public’s Literary Department and master classes with established playwrights. Additionally, they will have a chance to observe or assist playwrights in rehearsal for a production at the Public. Career development advice and artistic support will be provided by a variety of successful writers and the Public artistic staff. Works by Emerging Writers will be presented in at least one reading at The Public. Members of the group will also receive complimentary tickets to The Public Theater shows and a supplemental stipend for tickets to productions at other theaters. For more information and application guidelines visit www.publictheater.org/artists/emergingwriters.php.
The applications deadline is August 31, 2007.