2017 New Works Festival at Playhouse

On March 31, the Long Beach Playhouse kicks off its 27th annual New Works Festival (NWF) in its Studio Theatre. 

New Works is a national competition for plays that have never been produced. A call for scripts is made and playwrights submit their works to the Playhouse. The New Works committee reads all of the plays and chooses the two it thinks have the best chance to eventually go on to full productions.

“We receive as many as 100 submissions each year,” said Madison Mooney, executive director of the Long Beach Playhouse. “This year we will present the two top scripts as judged by the New Works Committee.”

The two staged readings will take place on March 31 and April 1. One script is performed as a staged reading each night. Following the presentation a facilitated discussion is held with the audience. A written critique is prepared by local theater professionals for each of the two winners. 

“Because these plays are performed as readings, the focus is on the words and inflection. There’s nothing to distract from the script. The audience pays attention in a different way,” said Anna Kate Mohler, Chair of the New Works committee. “And, the feedback and discussion between the actors, director and audience can be lively and thought-provoking. It’s a chance for the audience to see the artistic process from many perspectives.” 

Purely by coincidence this year’s two top scripts both feature psychologists. On March 31 LBP presents The Other Genius. The script was written by Steven Haworth and is directed by David Anis.  The play is a black comedy about a love triangle between a student named Jameson, his psychology professor and love interest Fiona, and his genius father. The complicated relationships cause Jameson angst as he tries to conquer an evil genius without becoming one himself. 

The following night, April 1, LBP presents On a Raw Moose Day written by Alan Goodson and directed by Chris Mertan. The piece revolves around three members of the Leviathan family (Max, Margie and daughter Judy), Max’s assistant Andrew and Judy’s fiancé Jimmy and a mysterious script that might be their undoing.  

“One of the most important things we can do is encourage playwrights. To me, New Works exemplifies what it means to be a community theater,” said Sean Gray, artistic director for the playhouse. “I encourage the public to attend. It’s a chance to see something new and actually participate in the dialogue.”

Tickets are available for both performances at $10 each.

For  more information or to purchase tickets visit www.lbplayhouse.org or call (562) 494-1014. 

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