September 13 , 2019
The Norris Center, Naples
Gulfshore Playhouse, Naples’ premier professional regional theater, has announced the finalists for its Seventh Annual New Works Festival, which brings together playwrights, actors and directors from across the country for a weeklong workshop culminating in a series of staged readings.
Hosted at The Norris Center from Sept. 13 to 15, the New Works Festival invites audiences to experience a weekend’s worth of new works and an exclusive behind-the-scenes look into the process of creating a new play. Audiences will have the opportunity to take part in staged readings and live post-show Q&A sessions with the playwrights, including a free panel discussion with the winning playwrights on Thursday, Sept. 12.
This year’s finalists are:
– “Wonderland” by Michael Scanlan: The times are changing in 1968 – from politics, and religion, to society. Some think these cataclysmic upheavals are for the good, while others are convinced that the world is on the eve of destruction. “Wonderland” explores the changing culture through the eyes of the Lynch family, who grapple with it through anger, fear, courage, and humor. Will their love for each other take them safely through the chaos, or will they be crushed by the changes that threaten their way of life? The play is written by Michael Scanlan, a teacher, director and playwright who has written the book and lyrics for three innovative musicals. A dozen of his plays for young adults have been published by Samuel French and enjoy active production throughout the United States. In addition, several have been translated into other languages and have been performed in Africa and Europe. “Wonderland” will be directed by Gulfshore Playhouse Founder and Artistic Director Kristen Coury, and presented Friday, Sept. 13 at 8 p.m.
– “Near Nellie Bly” by Mark Loewenstern: Nellie Bly, an aspiring daredevil reporter, went undercover in an insane asylum on Blackwell’s Island (now Roosevelt Island) in New York City in 1887. There, she befriended a patient named Anne Neville. After 10 days, Nellie was released. Anne stayed. “Near Nellie Bly” tells the story from Anne Neville’s perspective. The play is written by Mark Loewenstern, winner of the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival and a three-time finalist for the Heideman Award. His commissioned play for California Stage Company about real-life 59-year old female con artist and serial killer Dorothea Puente will premiere in January 2020. Staged readings of “Near Nellie Bly” will be presented Saturday, Sept. 14 at 8 p.m. and directed by Gulfshore Playhouse Associate Artistic Director Jeffrey Binder.
– “Picasso in Paris” by Rich Rubin: It’s 1906 in Paris and 25-year old Pablo Picasso is an emerging artist living with model Fernande Olivier, his mistress, in a small and cluttered studio. He’s just beginning to emerge from abject poverty when he’s introduced to Henri Matisse, an artist of growing renown. The two begin to engage in an intense, complicated rivalry. Meanwhile at home, things aren’t perfect between Picasso, Fernande and their recently adopted daughter either. Personal and artistic firestorms flare with life-altering consequences. The play is written by Rich Rubin, who has produced throughout the U.S. as well as internationally in Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Mexico. His full-length plays include “Swimming Upstream,” winner of the Todd McNerney Playwright Award; “Shakespeare’s Skull,” winner of the Portland Civic Theatre Guild New Play Award; “Assisted Living,” winner of the Neil Simon Festival New Play Contest; and “Cottonwood in the Flood,” winner of the Fratti-Newman Political Play Award. “Picasso in Paris” will be presented Sunday, Sept. 15 at 3 p.m.
“The New Works Festival is one of the most important ways we can contribute to the national landscape of theatre by fostering the birth of new plays, and encouraging emerging playwrights,” said Gulfshore Playhouse Founder and Producing Artistic Director, Kristen Coury. “It also provides even the most seasoned playwrights an opportunity to workshop an idea or a newly-created play away from the spotlight of their more familiar residences. In some cases, the writers haven’t heard their work read aloud, and having a professional director and actors gathered around the table sharing their talents is an incredible gift to the playwright.”
The finalists were selected by a corps of volunteer readers from a pool of 150 blind submissions. Upon submission, information about the playwright is redacted from the script to ensure anonymity.
Tickets to attend staged readings are $15 each, with discounts for multiple shows. Two-show admission is $25; three-show admission is $35. To purchase tickets, visit www.GulfshorePlayhouse.org or call the box office at 866-811-4111.
Gulfshore Playhouse is passionately committed to enriching the cultural landscape of our region by producing professional theater to the highest artistic standards and providing unique educational opportunities to diverse groups of people in a spirit of service, adventure, and excitement. The Playhouse’s work is inspired by a belief in the magic of theater to expand the imagination, challenge the senses, provoke discussion, and revitalize in its audiences an understanding of our common humanity. This belief drives the care with which Gulfshore Playhouse treats its artists, audiences, students, staff, and members of the greater community.
This focus is also at the core of its newest endeavor – the creation of a cultural landmark facility in downtown Naples. Plans are currently underway for the new Gulfshore Playhouse Theatre and Education Center at Goodlette-Frank Road and First Avenue South, which will include two theaters and an education wing to support programming for children, adults, and families.
For more information about Gulfshore Playhouse, visit www.GulfshorePlayhouse.org or call 239-261-PLAY (7529).