Long Beach Playhouse’s New Works Festival Runs Aug. 28-31

253898576-9D13-4416-769BE12598C6C5E4One of the most popular programs at the Long Beach Playhouse (LBP) is its New Works Festival. Conceived more than 20 years, the New Works Festival invites novice and experienced playwrights from all over the world to submit their unproduced plays to the LBP’s New Works Literary Committee. Members of the committee read the 100+ scripts that are submitted.

Four winners are selected and each receives a staged reading. The playwrights hear their words brought to life by actors, hear feedback from the audience, and receive detailed written critiques by professional theatre critics.

“We receive so many really good plays, it’s hard to choose just four,” said Lisa Morrison, chair of the New Works committee. “And while we didn’t start out with the intention to choose works set in historical moments in time, this year’s plays do have that in common. The topics range from racism, to the gay experience in Nazi Germany to the assassination of JFK.”

“In my mind, this is one of our most important programs,” said Andrew Vonderschmitt, Executive and Artistic Director for the Playhouse. “It nurtures the artist who writes the play. It gives the Playhouse a chance to showcase the talents of the actors and directors with whom we regularly work. And it gives the audience a chance to discuss what they’ve seen with the director, actors and sometimes with the playwright.”

The winning plays are presented during the last week in August, beginning on Thursday, August 28 and concluding Sunday, August 31. The 2014 New Works winners and specific staged reading dates and times are:

Thursday, August 28 @ 8pm

CHILDREN OF CAMELOT by Nakisa Aschtiani, Directed by Kate Felton

The Kennedy assassination has inspired countless books, films and conspiracy theories, but Children of Camelot asks, “What if?”. What if Lee Harvey Oswald wasn’t murdered in prison? What if he was put on trial? An alternate history of this major turning point in our country’s history, this thought provoking play has us reexamining our assumptions and taking a closer look at everything we thought we knew.

Friday, August 29, 8pm

CAESAR’S BLOOD by Rich Rubin, Directed by Anthony Galleran

It is late November, 1864. Civil War is raging and President Lincoln was just re-elected. At New York’s famed Winter Garden Theatre, a one-night only performance of Julius Caesar starring the most celebrated American actors of their time, the Booth brothers, is about to begin. John is a fervent believer in the Confederate cause and Edwin and Junius are ardent supporters of Lincoln and the Union. The drama of the bloody tragedy onstage is rivaled by the drama backstage. Family relationships, racism, and egos are all challenged in this provocative drama based on true events.

Saturday, August 30, 8pm

SUGARHILL by Linda Ramsay-Detherage, Directed by Anna Kate Mohler

On a hot December evening in 1941, in Sugarhill, Louisiana, Marietta Trudeau returns home from a hospital stay following the death of her son. After reading her late son’s composition on The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, Marietta believes the sudden appearance of a dark-skinned fugitive is that of a time traveler from the future who can undo her son’s death. Marietta and her family defy racism and Jim Crow law to protect the man who has given her hope.

Sunday, August 31, 2pm

DIETRICH DANZIG by John Pisano-Thomsen, Directed by Phyllis M. Nofts

Paragraph 175 of the German Criminal Code in effect from 1871 to 1994 made homosexual acts between males a crime. When Nazis broadened the law in 1935, widespread social persecution took place and the prosecutions that followed resulted in thousands dying in concentration camps. Dietrich Danzig is the fictional story of a successful young ballet dancer and his attempts to survive Nazi Germany. In this compelling drama, love, courage, and perseverance are all tested.

Admission is a suggested $10 donation.

Submissions for this year’s festival are currently being read by the committee. If you are a playwright interested in submitting a script for next year’s New Works Festival please check out the New Works page on our website, located on the Shows tab dropdown menu under Special Events.