New American Playwrights Project at the Utah Shakespeare Festival

Cedar City, UT- The 23rd annual New American Playwrights Project (NAPP) will take the stage at the Utah Shakespeare Festival from August 7 to August 28. Three plays will be presented as staged readings in the Auditorium Theatre on selected dates. Chosen from hundreds of plays submitted, this year’s lineup includes Affluence by Steve Peterson, Caesars Blood by Rich Rubin, and Closure by James McLindon.

Tickets are $10 each and are on sale now at 1-800-PLAYTIX and www.bard.org.

Audience members will have the unique opportunity to see a staged reading of these new pieces and take part in a discussion with the playwright, director and actors. These discussions are essential to the development of these plays and the playwright.

Tough times have hammered the once-wealthy Woodley clan in Affluence. Yet the week after Christmas, hope is restored. Grandmother is dying and will leave them a bundle. Only there's a problem: Inheritance tax rates surge at the stroke of midnight, and the old gal isn't gone yet. What does a desperate family do? And who else is at risk on the slippery slope of murder? It's a dark comedy indeed, written by Chicago native Steven Peterson, a two-time winner of the Julie Harris Playwright Award and the Dorothy Silver Playwriting Competition. Directing Affluence is Frank Honts, and it plays August 7, 8 and 26.

 

The Civil War is raging in the play, Caesars Blood, and President Lincoln has just been re-elected. In New York, Julius Caesar is being performed, starring the famous Booth brothers—Edwin, Junius Brutus, and John Wilkes. John is a believer in the Confederate cause; his older brothers are supporters of the Union. Before and after the play, the three spar about politics and so much more. Caesars Blood by Rich Rubin is a play based, as the saying goes, on true events. Rubin’s plays have been produced throughout the United States and internationally in Europe, Asia, Australia, Canada, and Mexico. Directed by Joshua Stavros, Caesars Blood plays August 14, 15 and 27.

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As Brian lies dying, he is desperate to reconcile with his estranged children in Closure. His only hope is the somewhat askew, sweet, and profane Virgin Mary, who appears to him in a Percocet haze dispensing advice about children, salvation, and Hieronymus Bosch. Closure by James McLindon is a drama with comedy about the endgame of a dysfunctional life and a broken family trying desperately to mend itself before its last chance is gone forever. McLindon plays have been produced at theatres across the nation, including Samuel French Festival, Ashland New Plays Festival, Boston Playwrights Theatre and Arkansas Rep. Closure is directed by Drew Shirley and plays August 21, 22 and 28.

“It is an exciting week to have the playwrights in residence,” said Chuck Metten, director of NAPP. “We make a strong commitment to American theatre. Without new plays, theatre will disappear. Many of the plays that go through NAPP get produced at other theatres which creates more jobs in the industry.”

Playwright biographies and more information are available at http://www.bard.org/plays/napp2015.html.

Through the New American Playwrights Project, selected playwrights spend time at the Festival working on a new play with actors from the company, and then present it to an audience, followed by instructive discussion between the playwright, actors, and audience members.

The plays in this series are written for contemporary adult audiences and may occasionally contain themes and language not appropriate for children and that some may find offensive.