Feature Stories and Reviews

The Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs presents its Staged Reading Series on Friday, Sept.11 at 7:30 p.m. in the Moe Auditorium & Film Center at Center for Performing Arts campus, 10150 Bonita Beach Road.

The series showcases six new short plays from four local and three international playwrights hailing from Canada, Dubai and Los Angeles: Guy Newsham, Alex Broun and Jonathan Josephson. The four Southwest Florida playwrights featured include: Don Fox, Shawn Ryan, Leslie Sanderson, Deborah Williams. "Our local playwrights are solid comedic writers," said Frank Blocker, the Centers' film and theater director.

When live theatre can return (safely and appropriately), it will start small— smaller audiences, small casts, shorter rehearsal periods, short lengths of shows, shorter lengths of runs… it’s all going to smart tiny and grow from there. And when things do get back up and running, outdoor venues are going to have a leg up on institutional theatres for any number of reasons.


So… with all of those parameters at play, what will be the first wave of plays produced post-lockdown? Small-cast, short plays that are designed to be performed outdoors. Unbound Productions has been developing plays for this very specific form since 2009— plays adapted for our flagship project Wicked Lit have sold out venues across Southern California and around the world with site-specific (as well as theatre-bound) productions. Since 2017, Stage Rights has represented 17 of the plays that Unbound has developed in three handsome volumes, all of which deliver spine-tingly chills adapted from timeless stories.


Here are spotlights on a handful of plays that could very well headline your return to live theatre:



adapted from Washington Irving by Jonathan Josephson

This lyrical, loyal adaptation of Washington Irving’s quintessential ghost story has been wowing audiences and showcasing young actors since 2009. The play tells the story of the passionate school teacher Ichabod Crane, his unrequited love for the fair Katrina Van Tassel, his rivalry with the brutish Brom Bones, and his unfortunate encounter with the region’s most fearsome specter— the Headless Horseman. And if you want to know the real story of what happened that fateful night Ichabod met his end, the extended Legend(s) of Sleepy Hollow reveals all as narrated by Ichabod’s loyal horse, Gunpowder.


Not only does the play’s setting and style lend itself perfectly to an outdoor location, but its inherent theatricality has also led to sold-out professional productions from coast to coast and led school productions to national championships and other recognitions both stateside and in the UK.

Read the rest of the article here.

photo by Daniel Kitayama

March 6, 2020

The 4th Annual International Stage It! 10-Minute Play Festival has announced the winners for this year's publication, now in it's fourth volume. The unique competition began with open submissions in October, garnering 346 plays from around the world, and a unique adjudication process. The top 25 plays have been selected for publication in Stage It! 4: 10-Minute Plays. The book is released in conjunction with the Festival weekend, March 20-22, where many of the plays will be produced.

More than 30 states were represented in the playwrights' submissions as well as plays from Australia, Canada, France, Luxembourg, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. The adjudication process included 31 judges, most coming from Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, and Florida, with others from Indiana, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas, with three coming from Canada and one from Australia. All judges have had professional experience as actors, playwrights, directors, producers, designers, critics, writers and/or filmmakers. Each play received a critique from each judge and is then rated. The top-scoring 20-25% became semi-finals. The plays are re-read by judges who have not seen them to help determine the finalists.

January 8, 2020

January 14 will mark the deadline for entries into the fourth annual Stage It! 10-Minute Play Festival at Center for Performing Arts Bonita Springs. The Festival culminates with a full production of ten of the winning plays March 19-22, 2020. The Festival has taken on increasingly international appeal having received entries from Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Greece, India, and the UK, just to name a few. More than 300 entries are expected for this years' competition....

Past Stage It! winners include Lynn Aylward (CA), Lela Chesson (NC), Jonathan Josephson (CA), Arnold Kane (CA), Judy Klass (TN), Donald Ralph Lampton (FL), Rex McGregor (Australia), Nancy Rose Ostinato (FL), Jennifer O'Grady (NY), Steffi Rubin (NC), Judd Lear Silverman (NYC), Elisabeth Giffin Speckman (IN) and Trevor Suthers (London).

Playwrights can submit their plays online here: https://www.artcenterbonita.org/stageit/entry.html

December 12, 2019

If you’re familiar with Unbound Productions’ Wicked Lit as a traditional part of the Pasadena area’s Halloween, then you might not think about stopping in the Sunday staged readings at A Noise Within as part of your happy holidays.

But, as Unbound Productions Executive Director Jonathan Josephson reminded during a recent email exchange, ghost stories are very much a part of American holiday traditions.

After all, Josephson explains, “’A Christmas Carol’ is a ghost story, perhaps the most beloved ghost story of all time.

“Experiencing storytelling is all about sharing time with friends and loved ones, and gathering round the campfire, literally or otherwise, which inherently tightens the bonds of families and communities by creating shared experiences,” says Josephson.

BroadwayWorld: Unbound Productions Presents WICKED LIT STAGED READINGS

December 2, 2019

Unbound Productions Executive Director Jonathan Josephson and Artistic Director Paul Millet have announced the details for Wicked Lit Staged Readings at A Noise Within. The enhanced staged reading will feature The Unholy Sisters by Susannah Myrvold (premiered at First Stab Festival II in 2018), directed by Millet; H.P. Lovecraft's From Beyond adapted by Trey Nichols (World Premiere - Wicked Lit 2016), directed by Shaina Rosenthal; and The Grove of Rashomon adapted by Jonathan Josephson, from the short story "In A Grove" by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa (World Premiere - Wicked Lit 2015) directed by Darrell Kunitomi.


Stories of darkness and horror are as old humanity, and just as universal. Journey with us through three short plays inspired by the darker side of storytelling - meet a scientist who has broken through a new plane of existence in a Lovecraftian thriller; take a journey alongside a fanatical Medieval inquisitor on his hapless search for witches; and travel to 13th Century Japan to relive a haunting, harrowing tale of violence from a multitude of perspectives.

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