Feature Stories and Reviews

October 20, 2019

The Alternative Theater Company presents ALTERED MINDS, Off-Broadway AEA Showcase, a collection of short plays, from quirky to inspiring, on relevant mental health issues and the stories of those whose lives they touch. The limited run will take place SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 29TH through SUNDAY DECEMBER 8TH, 2019, in the Sargent theater space at the American Theatre for Actors, 314 West 54th Street, New York, New York. A diverse professional cast, directed by a team of veteran directors, present the various styles of original plays selected from 900 worldwide submissions. Plays include:

Phone Friend by Jonathan Josephson

Two lonely strangers connect when a widower keeps dialing his wife's old number and one day someone else picks up.

"If you ever wanted to dial that number, or call me, talk to me, for whatever cosmic reason you might want to - I'm here. It's Traci. Not a roto-dial fuckhead."

Directed by Judy Dodd Phone Friend stars Jillie Simon*(multi-award winning Hungry with Eric Roberts,A Chance)as "Traci" and Paul Thomas Ryan* (Studio 54, Carnegie Hall,various concerts)as "Henry."

...Established in Sydney in 2002, Short+Sweet is currently active in over 30 cities, with over 2,500 artists involved globally each year. Before my first year in my new home was out, I’d directed my first play, performed in another, nabbed myself an agent, and most importantly found my tribe. As a drama teacher, directing wasn’t completely new to me, but it was the first time I’d worked with a playwright. The play I directed was by Spiro Athanasiadis, a writer based in Melbourne who was very supportive of the production and open to collaboration

...The past eight months have been more challenging than I expected, but Short+Sweet has once again given me new friends, a creative outlet and a stronger sense of belonging. We all need a place to belong, something which is certainly reflected in the programme of Short+Sweet Dublin. A longing to be part of something, for connection is a recurring theme... There are plenty of laughs in the programme too. Jonathan Josephson’s This Hungry Churchyard is a quirky take on the hours after the death of Romeo and Juliet. Rex McGregor’s Threatened Panda Fights Back looks at the lengths someone will go to when an unexpected arrival rocks the boat.

“Wicked Lit” will be haunting audiences at Mountain View Mausoleum and Cemetery once again, and it’s for a good cause. “Audiences in the past have have come to Mountain View Mausoleum to see short plays fully produced,” Jonathan Josephson, executive director Unbound Productions and one of the producers of “Wicked Lit.”

“What we’re doing this year is simpler and smaller. It’s a fundraiser and it’s the same concept, where audiences follow actors throughout the mausoleum but instead of being fully produced plays they’re snippets of the most popular plays we’ve done over the last nine years.”

Josephson said the play is going to give the veteran audience members as well as the newbies a new view of the classic show.

“Most of the people coming to the fundraiser have been to ‘Wicked Lit’ before,” he said. “For newcomers it will be a taste of what we typically do. The plays are adaptations of the classic dark stories. Some of them are literature pieces by Edgar Allen Poe, some are drawn from folklore but they all have a gothic, macabre feel. What makes “Wicked Lit” a production unlike others is that play physically moves from location to location.

“‘Wicked Lit’ has sold out when it plays and it’s very popular and of course getting to see the play in the mausoleum is really exciting and fun. A lot of the plays we produce are set in mausoleums. It’s a set-responsive experience... We’ve had about 30,000 people see our shows over the years,” Josephson said. “Because we have a bit of a following we’re able to pay our actors and our artists better than industry standards which we’re proud of. People are drawn to our productions.

September 30, 2019

The Warner Theatre will present its 8th Annual International Playwrights Festival held in the Warner's Nancy Marine Studio Theatre October 11 and 12, 2019. The mission of the International Playwrights Festival is to recognize the work of emerging and established playwrights and to build a link between the playwrights, the theatre community and our audiences. The festival is a two-night celebration of new works by playwrights from across the country and around the globe. For the eighth year, 150 plays were accepted for consideration from across the United States and as far away as China and New Zealand. Eleven winners have been selected and one play will be invited to participate in the 2019 festival.

September 16, 2019

PlayGround-LA, Los Angeles’s leading incubator for a new generation of playwrights, is pleased to announce the thirty-six playwrights selected for the 2019-20 PlayGround-LA Writers Pool. Over the course of the upcoming season (PlayGround-LA’s eighth), these writers will generate over 150 original short plays, of which 36 will be developed as part of Monday Night PlayGround, a monthly script-in-hand staged reading series...

The 2019-20 PlayGround-LA Writers Pool are: Michael Adams, Amanda Andrei, Rachel Borders, Diana Burbano*, Kathleen Cecchin*, Allie Costa*, Daysha Edewi, Eric Esquivel, Victoria Goring, John Guerra, Elayne Heilveil, Dan Hirsch*, Susan C. Hunter, Uma Incrocci, Julianne Jigour*, Starina Johnson*, Mark V. Jones, Jonathan Josephson*, Ian Kaye, Arthur Keng*, Mildred Inez Lewis, Rhea MacCallum*, Eliza McGowan-Stinski, Misao McGregor, David Meyers, Scott Mullen, Nicholas Pappas*, Emily Rogers, Jessica June Rowe*, Richard Ruyle, Joe Samaniego, Mercedes Segesvary*, Mark Sherstinsky*, Nicki Spencer*, Elizabeth Szekeresh, and Desirée York.   

* Best of PlayGround Award recipient

Freud's mother, asteroids, dinosaurs, curses and a sprite with an identity crisis will all be on display in the eclectic short play collection Funny Shorts LIVE! at Center for Performing Arts Bonita Springs' Moe Auditorium and Film Center, September 13 & 14.

Funny Shorts LIVE! is an extension of the Center's wildly popular Stage IT! 10-Minute Play Festival, an annual competition and book publication that draws playwrights from around the world. With performances scheduled throughout the year, this event will feature playwrights from New York, California, North Carolina, Kentucky, Main and Michigan. Keeping in tune with a new mission of featuring local playwrights, Naples' own Carole Fenstermacher will see her play Amalia and Bobblehead presented with the other comic gems. The play imagines a phone call between Freud and his mother.

New York's Judd Lear Silverman's play In the Wondrous Woods will also be featured along with Kitty Dubin's Cutting It Close and David Beardsely's Every Creeping Thing, about a group of dinosaurs-and one smarmy cockroach-having a climate change meeting as a giant asteroid approaches. Other plays include Teri Folz's Magpie, in which a disgruntled wife finds her own voice and Jonathan Josephson's Runed, a fast-paced caper where someone's going to end up cursed. Josephson, like Silverman, has become a stalwart of the short play genre.

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