Introducing our 2016 ONSTAGE Playwrights!

I am beyond thrilled to be working with such talented women on this year’s Female Playwrights ONSTAGE Festival!  Talk about fun – each playwright’s world is unique, and together they create a fantastic lineup that will leave you laughing, thinking, and definitely moved!  I can’t wait to see these plays performed with Curves AheadSamFrenchwebour partners at Acadiana Repertory Theatre in Lafayette, LA this July!  The plays will then be read in NYC before ending the fest with another production in Prescott, AZ this fall.  But first, the plays are heading to LA!

You can catch a reading of these plays on Saturday, June 11th at 1pm at Samuel French Bookshop (7623 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, California 90046) for FREE!  We’ll even have snacks on hand to please your palate!

Without further ado, please allow me to introduce you to our fabulous 2016 Playwrights!

PLAYWRIGHT: Donna Hoke  PLAY: JACK PORK

Donna HokeWestern New York regional representative for the Dramatists Guild and ensemble playwright in residence at Road Less Traveled Productions, award-winning playwright Donna Hoke’s work has been seen in 38 states and on five continents. Her full-length plays include THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR (Princess Grace semi-finalist, currently in its third year in rep in Romania), SEEDS (Artie award for Outstanding New Play), FLOWERS IN THE DESERT (AACT top 20 finalist), SAFE (winner of the Todd McNerney, Naatak, and Great Gay Play and Musical Contests), and BRILLIANT WORKS OF ART (winner, HRC Showcase and Firehouse Festival of New American Plays, Woodward/Newman and nuVoices finalist). Donna is also a New York Times-published crossword puzzle constructor; author of Neko and the Twiggets, a children’s book; founder/co-curator of BUA Takes 10: GLBT Short Stories; and blogger. For three consecutive years, she was named Buffalo’s Best Writer by Artvoice—the only woman to ever receive the designation.

PLAYWRIGHT: Anne Flanagan  PLAY: THROWN FOR A CURVE

Flanagan.Jan 2016Los Angeles based playwright Anne Flanagan has seen her short and full length plays produced throughout the US and internationally.  She is the recipient of several writing awards and zero sports trophies.  Publications include her comedy Artifice (Dramatic Publishing) and various anthologies by Smith & Kraus and/or Applause Books.  For many years, Anne worked as a private investigator, so she knows where you live. Website: www.anneflanagan.net

 

PLAYWRIGHT: Nancy Cooper Frank  PLAY: IN THE LOOP

Nancy Cooper FrankNancy Cooper Frank.  Nancy’s The Trouble with Catherine is a full-length play on the bumpy friendship between Catherine the Great and her friend Catherine Dashkova, who helped her seize the throne (written as part of the 365 Women a Year project). Other credits include: Anna and the Blackbird (The Blank Theatre’s Living Room Series, 2015); Dramaphobia (SF Fringe 2015); The Plumber (in 2014 San Francisco Best-of-Fringe winning show); Daniiel KharmsA Life in One Act and Several Dozen Eggs (Great Plains Theatre Conference PlayLab). Nancy’s The Announcement made the final line-up in the 2015  Onstage Female Playwrights Project. More at www.nancycooperfrank.com

PLAYWRIGHT: Jen Huszcza PLAY: BIG BELLY

Jen2Jen Huszcza is a playwright currently based in Los Angeles.  Four of Jen’s plays (Rinse, POP, Flowers, and This) were performed in Little Black Dress INK’s first four festivals. Her short play, It Has to End in Tears, was produced by Greenlight Productions in Santa Monica in March 2015. Four of her plays have been presented as staged readings in the Monday Night Living Room Series at The Blank Theatre in Hollywood.  She wrote and acted in Gunfighter Nation’s collectively written piece, LA History Project: Pio Pico, Sam Yorty, and the Secret Procession of Los Angeles, presented at the Lost Studio in 2010.  She has guest-blogged for the Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative. BFA in Dramatic Writing and MFA in Musical Theatre Writing both from NYU.

PLAYWRIGHT:  Rhea MacCallum PLAY: ASKING FOR IT

 Rhea MacCallum is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter and script consultant, whose plays have been produced across the United States and six continents.  She was honored to participate in the Lincoln Center Directors Lab and was named a finalist by the Actors Theatre of Louisville for the Heideman Award for her play, YESTERDAY ONCE MORE.  Her work has been published by Smith & Kraus, Heuer Publishing, Original Works Publishing, JAC Publishing and themonologueshop.com.  She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, ICWP and ALAP.  Rhea earned her BA from USC and her MFA from the Actors Studio Drama School, New School University.

PLAYWRIGHT: Tiffany Antone  PLAY: THE EGG

Antone headshotTiffany Antone is a playwright, producer, and director, whose plays have been read and/or performed in Los Angeles, New York, D.C., Lafayette, and Minneapolis: Cricket Woman Mother Earth (or) A Nasty Comeuppance was a 2011 O’Neil finalist. Ana and the Closet and Twigs and Bone were both Jerome Finalists and O’Neil semi-finalists for 2009 & 2010. In the Company of Jane Doe was produced in NY this spring with CAKE Productions. Her play, The Good Book, is available through Samuel French.  Tiffany holds her MFA in Playwriting from UCLA, lives/teaches in Texas, and blogs for the Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative.  She is the co-founder of The@trics Theatre, and runs Little Black Dress INK.  You can read more about Tiffany at www.TiffanyAntone.com.

PLAYWRIGHT: C.J. Ehrlich  PLAY: THE LILAC TICKET

CJ EC.J. Ehrlich is a NY-based writer/director whose award-winning works have enjoyed productions on five continents. Some favorites: Samuel French Off-Off-Broadway Fest (Shrew Man vs. Shrewman), Grin Theatre, Liverpool (Room Circus, an LGBT bedroom farce), Ingenius NYC (The Red & Green Room). C.J.’s full-length comedy (with Philip J. Kaplan), THE CUPCAKE CONSPIRACY: “Terrorism is Easy. Marriage is Complicated” opened Rover Dramawerks (TX) 2015 Season. Published: Smith & Kraus’ annual Best Ten-Minute Plays anthologies: Noir in Second Class, The Ninth Circus of Hell, Intervention, 2+1=Murder; Applause’s Best American Short Plays of 2014-15 (The Lilac Ticket); Heuer (Home Sweet Homeland Security). C.J. is currently working on two new full-length comedies, The Maltese Babka and Us vs. Us. A proud member of the Dramatists Guild, C.J. lists among her greatest achievements teaching her sons the fine art of the spit take. www.CJ-Ehrlich.com.

PLAYWRIGHT: Reina Hardy  PLAY: TIME LOOP

RPhoto on 1-20-14 at 4.02 PM #3eina Hardy is a playwright from Chicago. Her plays, which usually contain magic and sometimes contain science, have been seen across the country, including at Rorschach Theatre in DC, the Vortex in Austin, and the 2013 NNPN National New Play Showcase. She’s a Michener Fellow, winner of the 2014 KCACTF TYA Prize, finalist for the Terrence McNally Prize and the recipient of an Interact 20/20 Commission. Up next: “Fanatical the Musical” in England with the Stable, and “Agent Andromeda and the Orion Crusade” with Sky Candy in Austin, TX.

PLAYWRIGHT: Amy Drake  PLAY: MODEL BEHAVIOR

Amy DrakeAmy Drake is a Pulitzer Prize nominated playwright, member of the Dramatists Guild of America, Board member of the International Centre for Women Playwrights, and Theatre Communications Group member. Her play Home Body was nominated for four awards in the Midtown International Theater Festival (MITF), New York. Voted Theatre Roundtable Best Director for Night Must Fall and was assistant director for the Actors’ Theatre production of Servant of Two Masters, chosen by The Columbus Dispatch as a Top Ten show of 2012. Amy is a published academic writer, conference speaker, and poet. Amy holds a B.A. from Ohio Dominican University and a M.S. degree in marketing and communication. Her education includes creative writing and history summer programs at Cambridge University, UK, graduate studies at Reed Hall, Paris and playwriting at the Kenyon (College) Summer Institute. Amy has been accepted to the Yale Writers’ Conference 2016. Her new play, Alexander the Great in Love and War, will be performed in the Evolution Theatre Festival, June 2016. Her book, Unmasking Shakespeare: Shakespearean Plays and Commedia dell’Art, will be published by Lambert in June 2016 and available on Amazon.com.

Stephanie Girard PhotographyPLAYWRIGHT: Rachel Hall PLAY: THE MOON

Rachel Hall is a writer from Houston, Texas. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband Grant where she pursues playwriting, children’s literature, and spoken word poetry. Rachel holds a BFA in Theatre Performance from Baylor University, and spent time at both the National Theatre Institute and the St. Petersburg Theatre Arts Academy.

PLAYWRIGHT: Sharon Goldner PLAY: BAZOOKAS

Sharon GoldnerSharon Goldner started out her life’s lunacy as a thumb sucker & pal to two of the greatest imaginary friends ever, KaKa & LeeLee.  When thumb sucking & imaginary friends were no longer cool, she switched  over to gum chewing and  short story writing, for which she is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, with over thirty stories published worldwide.  Segueing to playwriting, she’s had plays produced Off Broadway to Los Angeles and everywhere in-between.  Her plays have been published in collections and she’s won a bunch of awards, plus, a playwriting fellowship all the way in Canada, which proves that being an English major is not a totally useless thing.  This is Sharon’s third stint with the glorious Tiffany Antone and Little Black Dress INK, for which she is truly grateful.  Please note, no letters of the alphabet are ever harmed in any of Sharon’s writing.

PLAYWRIGHT: Amber Bosworth PLAY: HERE THERE BE CURVES

Amber BosworthAmber Bosworth has been committed to theater since she was a kid. She served five years in the US Navy as an Air Traffic Controller to help pay for college. She now works for Lockheed Martin Flight Service and spends most of her free time writing and acting on any stage that will have her. She has been involved with Seatbelts Required, Harvey, Dead Mans Cell Phone, and Educating Rita.  Her first love has always been writing.  After twenty years of following the sensible path, Amber has finally started to follow her dream as a writer.  She is getting her Masters in Creative Writing from Full Sail University.  Amber is excited and humbled to be apart of Little Black Dress INK.

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Announcing the 2016 ONSTAGE Final Line-Up!

Curves AheadSamFrenchwebWelp, it’s been a seriously rough couple of weeks for this producer: this year’s ONSTAGE Finalists were all so fantastic that narrowing the list down to a producable number was heart-breakingly difficult!  I can only say that after a lot of hair-pulling, we have an incredibly strong line-up of hilarious, introspective, moving, and wacky pieces – which is just the way I like it!

Now, don’t you want to witness these awesome new plays for yourself?  Well, you’re about to get your chance, because the plays are going to be read at the Samuel French Bookshop in Hollywood, CA on Saturday, June 11th at 1pm.  The reading is free, and we’ll have snacks and wine – plus the Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative will be there!  The only tricky thing is making sure we have enough space, so RSVP to our Facebook page, and arrive early to make sure you get a seat!

Now, how about I share with you the list of winning plays?

ASKING FOR IT   by Rhea MacCallum
BAZOOKAS   by  Sharon Goldner
BIG BELLY  by Jen Huszcza
HERE, THERE BE CURVES    by Amber Bosworth
IN THE LOOP   by  Nancy Cooper Frank
JACK PORK  by Donna Hoke
MODEL BEHAVIOR  by Amy Drake
THE LILAC TICKET  by C.J. Ehrlich
THE MOON  by Rachel Hall
THROWN FOR A CURVE  by Anne Flanagan
TIME LOOP  by Reina Hardy
THE EGG  by Tiffany Antone

In addition to our reading in LA, the plays will be read in NYC and produced with Acadiana Repertory Theatre in Lafayette, LA and by Little Black Dress INK in Prescott, AZ.

Congratulations to all of the absolutely awesome playwrights who participated in our 2016 Female Playwrights ONSTAGE Festival!  We love and adore you, and we can’t wait to read see your words again in 2017!

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Cheering on the Finalists

Ewbank HeadshotBy Guest Blogger and 2016 ONSTAGE Finalist, Melanie Ewbank

I just saw the LBDI Facebook post announcing the final-finalist reading at Sam French Bookshop. I clicked the LIKE button. I am pretty excited to “see who wins.” If you were to ask my friend, Tony, I am “just a friggin’ ‘LIKE’ clicker.” I will share the posts, but I struggle with commenting, even though I am atwitter with excitement. I am not yet on Twitter, but I plan to make giant leaps forward into the gram of insta and the tweets before my friend’s 94 year old grandmother mocks me (again) for lagging behind in all the cool stuff. (Ten years ago she shamed me into joining Facebook.)

My submission has made the finals. But this is not why I am pretty excited to “see who wins.” I mean, c’mon, I’m not completely without ego, and I am hoping that my play makes the final-finals, but I have enormously talented friends whose plays did not make the semi-finals. I have enormously talented friends whose plays did not make the finals. My play may not make the final-finals.

I have heard that women are sniping and cruel to other women, and, having been an actor in Hollywood, I know this can sometimes be true. However, within the community of female writers (and in my particular case, the community of female playwrights) I have found this to be always untrue. In fact, my peers are openly kind, generous, supportive, and celebratory for the successes of other women.

And shouldn’t it be this way? Really? I mean, when one succeeds we all succeed. Together, if we keep writing, and keep supporting, and keep publicly celebrating the successes of other female writers, we will change the industry in powerful ways. Ways which will more accurately reflect our world. Or, rather, a female perspective of our world. A world of diversity. Of passion. Of humor. Of tragedy. Of love. Of life.

So, while it is very rewarding to get recognized, particularly in a peer setting, I want to encourage all, each, and every one of us to keep writing. Keep writing, and keep submitting. Keep submitting and start producing.

And stay kind, generous and supportive, and celebrate the successes of your…WTF?! What is the female equivalent of “fellow”? Do you see how important our writing can be? Some woman somewhere must have invented the female equivalent for “fellow” and if she hasn’t, can one of us please do so?

When it happens, be sure to post it on social media. By then I may even be using the Instagram and/or the Twitter. If not, I promise to share it on Facebook…and maybe even comment.

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Honored and Amazed

By Guest Blogger and 2016 ONSTAGE Finalist, Playwright Elizabeth Coplan

Elizabeth CoplanMy name is “Elizabeth Coplan and I wrote Hospice: A Love Story,” I told the audience at curtain call. Did I hear a collective gasp of appreciation? More likely it was my imagination. Either way, I continued “I am honored and amazed by tonight’s performance.”

Honored to be a part of this terrific group of female playwrights, honored that Little Black Dress Ink selected my play as one of the 5th Annual Female Playwrights ONSTAGE project and the National Festival of New Work’s semi-finalists. I’m honored that Red Earth Theatre, its directors, actors, and crew, could take my good play, and make it a great play.

And I was amazed at how well the LBDI Festival submission and peer review processes worked from start to finish. I enjoyed reading the works of other female playwrights, discovering the commonplace situations they describe with new eyes and filters, and I was amazed by the opportunity to travel where my play would be seen by no one I knew, no one who had even heard of me before that night.

In reality, the entire LBDI process spanned nine months and counting; however, the excitement began three months ago when LBDI director Tiffany Antone sent an email that began:

Thank you for your patience as we’ve been working hard to make our way through this year’s ONSTAGE submissions.  We had almost 200 plays submitted this year, and that meant a LOT of incredible peer-reviews to go through—so we are feeling incredibly grateful to everyone who shared their work, time, and talents with us!

We are pleased to inform you that your play has been selected as a semi-finalist for Little Black Dress INK’s 2016 Female Playwrights ONSTAGE Project! 

OMGoddess! I won! Well, I won a semi-finalist staged-reading of my play along with other talented female playwrights.

My husband and I own a small business which means traveling is a very small part of our budget. Yet I did not want to miss the opportunity to see my work interpreted by Kate Hawkes at the Red Earth Theatre. I studied the area after, arranged our plane flights, snuck in a few days to see the Grand Canyon and a couple more to explore Sedona which celebrated Cinco de Mayo on the Saturday of my play.

We found an inexpensive flight, took the cheapest room at the Grand Canyon, discovered the perfect AirBNB at the end of Sedona, away from some of the tourist spots and with a full kitchen. We enjoyed Tlaquepaque for the First Friday Arts Walk and returned the next day to taste a Prickly Pear Margarita at El Rincon.

With the full kitchen we cooked our own meals and enjoy the view from our deck. We “stayed in” for our meals which gave me the time to work on other projects and deadlines.

By early afternoon, Saturday, May 7, I felt something shift. Red Earth posted a picture of the evening’s directors and actors. Okay, I am not going to lie. I felt much more excited and nervous than I thought. Up to that point I was cool, calm. I had spent the morning working on the re-write of my latest play and editing a press release for another writer’s play in Seattle. Ho hum. All in a day’s work.

Now Red Earth’s picture had my stomach doing flip-flops as if I was the one going on stage. I guess in a manner of speaking, I was. Or at least my play was and all my creativity and my life and…

RedEarthONSTAGE2016My stomach did not calm down, not even by the end of the evening. In fact, even now I feel excitement as I remember those final moments on stage, right before Kate Hawkes asked us all to take a bow.

I would do this all again in a heartbeat. Thank you Little Black Dress Ink and Red Earth Theatre. I am honored and amazed that I shared the stage with playwrights Amber Bosworth, Anne Hamilton, Micki Shelton, Melanie Ewbank and C.J. Enrlich (in absentia). Thanks too Directors Kate Hawkes, Nichole Garrison, Sarah Ann Leslie, and Gerard Maguire…and all the talented actors, especially Nichole Garrison and Terra Shelman in my play.

Someone should notify the Sedona Chamber of Commerce (and any other city hosting a festival performance) of the high level of entertainment provided.   I think the Chamber would be honored and amazed that such talent was presented right under their own starry-night.

 

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Announcing our 2016 ONSTAGE Finalists!

Female Playwrights ONSTAGE cropONSTAGE has had an awesome year so far!  Our Partner Producers in Lafayette, Ithaca, Sedona, Los Angeles, Ames, and Auburn have gone beautifully, and I couldn’t be happier with our list of finalists… now I just have to winnow this tremendous list of plays down to our final line-up, and I’m telling you that it won’t be easy!

In no particular order, our 2016 ONSTAGE Finalists are:

DANGLING by Deneen Reynolds-Knott
JACK PORK by Donna Hoke
WRITE THIS WAY by Donna Hoke
THROWN FOR A CURVE by Anne Flanagan
THE EGG by Tiffany Antone
IN THE LOOP by Nancy Cooper Frank
BIG BELLY by Jen Huszcza
ASKING FOR IT by Rhea MacCallum
WATERFALL by Katherine Koller
OLD SCHOOL by Melanie Ewbank
SHOPPING WITH BEVANN AND NIKI by Karen Murphy
THE LILAC TICKET by C.J. Ehrlich
HOSPICE: A LOVE STORY by Elizabeth Coplan
TIME LOOP by Reina Hardy
MODEL BEHAVIOR by Amy Drake
THE MOON by Rachel Hall
READING SIGNS by Marilynn Barner Anselmi
I ONLY CRIED TWICE by Erica Bennett
LOW AND AWAY by Demetra Kareman
THE FALL OF AUTUMN SUMMERS by Karli Shields
THE PLAN by Katherine James
BAZOOKAS by Sharon Goldner
HERE THERE BE CURVES by Amber Bosworth
TILL ITS OVER by Jennie Webb

Finalists were selected based on their peer review score and nominations from our Producing Partners.  Winning plays will be announced June 1st, and presented at the Samuel French Book Shop Saturday, June 11th at 1:00 pm.

HUGE thanks to all of this year’s playwrights, partner producers, directors, actors, and audiences for making our semi-finalist readings such a success!

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From Bloomington to Broadway

Amy Drake headshot summerBy guest blogger, ONSTAGE semi-finalist Amy Drake

I’m so excited about having my play MODEL BEHAVIOR read at Little Black Dress INK’s 2016 Female Playwrights ONSTAGE Project in Ames, Iowa! Here’s why: according to The Broadway League a full 49.2% of Broadway ticket-buyers reside outside of New York City or Big Apple suburbs.[i] Chances are theater patrons are who take their vacations to New York and spend their hard-earned dollars to see Broadway shows enjoy seeing theater during their leisure time back home, not just on vacation. In terms of ticket sales that equates to 6.5 million tourists making the trek from large cities and small towns all across the country.[ii] “The average reported date of ticket purchase for a Broadway show was 36 days before the performance.” These patrons are planning ahead. Not surprising. No one wants to risk missing the show they really want to see.

If your new play resonates with the sensibilities of their family and friends in the Sun Belt or the Midwest, it bodes well for theater ticket sales in New York. That’s why it’s important to read and stage new works in theater festivals around the country. You can forge a connection with patrons by staging short works in their home town. If they like your work they may just remember you when your show makes it to the New York stage.

And they can afford to see a range of shows. NYC Data reports, “Broadway theatregoers were quite affluent compared to the general United States population, reporting an average annual household income of $201,500.”[iii] These travelers have already made a substantial investment in travel and lodging. If the ticket buyer has heard of your show, or you, the playwright, they might just take a chance and buy a ticket after taking the site seeing tour and visiting Central Park Zoo.

The only way you get better at play writing is to write and produce a lot of plays, read a lot of scripts, see a lot of plays and stay current with theatrical trends by joining professional theater organizations, attending conferences and maintaining connections with others working in the field. Attending a workshop can be a great learning and social experience, too. Moreover, theater festivals are training ground for improving your play, even after you have held readings and local performances. You can get feedback on your work and a new perspective on the piece.

I am delighted to present my play MODEL BEHAVIOR in the upcoming reading. The plot developed from a news story about a Swedish department store featuring “real-sized” models right alongside traditional thin mannequins in their windows. My message is that everyone should be able to find clothing that makes her, or him, feel attractive. Full disclosure: the play recently premiered at the Midtown International Theatre Festival in Manhattan, but a reading always helps a playwright improve work. I’m grateful that the Little Black Dress INK’s 2016 Female Playwrights ONSTAGE Project has given me this opportunity to share my script with my colleagues and a wider audience. See you there!

Amy Drake is a Pulitzer Prize nominated playwright, member of the Dramatists Guild of America, International Centre for Women Playwrights and Theatre Communications Group. Her play Home Body was nominated for four awards in the Midtown International Theater Festival (MITF), New York. Voted Theatre Roundtable Best Director for Night Must Fall and was assistant director for the Actors’ Theatre production of Servant of Two Masters, chosen by The Columbus Dispatch as a Top Ten show of 2012. Amy is a published academic writer, conference speaker, and poet. Amy holds a B.A. from Ohio Dominican University and a M.S. degree in marketing and communication. Her education includes creative writing and history programs at Cambridge University, UK, graduate studies at Reed Hall, Paris and playwriting at the Kenyon (College) Summer Institute. Her new play, Alexander the Great in Love and War, will be performed in the Evolution Theatre Festival, June 2016.

[i] The Broadway League, “The Demographics of Broadway Audience 2015-2015.” Download 4 Apr 2016.

[ii].According to the Broadway League: “In the 2014–2015 season, there were a record breaking 13.1 million admissions to Broadway shows.” The Broadway League, “The Demographics of the Broadway Audience 2014-15.” Online. Retrieved 2 Apr 2016 from https://www.broadwayleague.com/index.php?url_identifier=the-demographics-of-the-broadway-audience

[iii] NYC Data. Demographics of the NYC Broadway Audience, 2013-2014. Online. Retrieved 2 Apr 2016 from

< http://www.baruch.cuny.edu/nycdata/culture/broadway-demographics.htm >

 

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Female Playwrights ONSTAGE Semi-Finalist Readings

We are thrilled to share our 2016 ONSTAGE Semi-Finalist reading schedule with you!  (Updates with IA and AL reading dates/times forthcoming)

Curves Ahead 2READING SCHEDULE:

Lafayette, LA: April 1st and 2nd with Acadiana Repertory Theatre

DANGLING, by Deneen Reynolds-Knott
JACK PORK, by Donna Hoke
BOX CAMERAS, by Christine Foster
PINNED, by Alice Stanley Jr.
THROWN FOR A CURVE, by Anne Flanagan
THE EGG, by Tiffany Antone
MEMBERS ONLY, by Jennifer Tromble


Los Angeles, CA:  April 24th at 7pm
 
– 7 plays, 7 playwrights, 7 directors representing 7 L.A. Theatre Companies

IN THE LOOP, by Nancy Cooper Frank
GRIT, by Jane Ann Crum
TILL IT’S OVER, by Jennie Webb
DON’T JUST SIT THERE, by Diane Sampson
BIG BELLY, by Jen Huszcza
ASKING FOR IT, by Rhea MacCallum
WATERFALL, by Katherine Koller

12973228_989078917814055_4712128086016233521_oIthaca, NY: April 30th at 6pm

LOW AND AWAY, by Demetra Kareman
STAK, by Stacy D. Tanner
THE FALL OF AUTUMN SUMMERS, by Karli Shields
THE UNLIMITED YEAR-LONG CLASS PACK, by Erin Austin
THE PLAN, by Katherine James
CLEAVAGE, by Barbara Blumenthal-Ehrlich
WRITE THIS WAY, by Donna Hoke

Sedona, AZ: May 7th 5:00 pm

HERE THERE BE CURVES, by Amber Bosworth
OLD SCHOOL, by Melanie Ewbank
THE HIKE, by Micki Shelton
SHOPPING WITH BEV AND NIKI, by Karen Murphy
THE LILAC TICKET, by C.J. Ehrlich
HOSPICE: A LOVE STORY, by Elizabeth Coplan
MUSE, by Anne Hamilton

coming-soonAimes, IA – April 28th

EMPTY BEDS, by Alex Rubin
FUTURE GIRL VISITS BARBIE’S MOM, by Ellen Davis Sullivan
TIME LOOP, by Reina Hardy
MODEL BEHAVIOR, by Amy Drake
TOMORROW, WE WILL BE STRONGER, by Kira Rockwell
BAZOOKAS, by Sharon Goldner
THE MOON, by Rachel Hall

Auburn, GA – May 14th, 5:00 pm
at Rising Starz Performing Arts Studios

THE GREAT TIT, by Gretchen O’Halloran
READING SIGNS, by Marilynn Barner Anselmi
SHIRLEY MACLAINE, by Annie Wood
CREME FILLING, by Jo-Anne Walton
GUN PLAY, by Jennifer Walton
I ONLY CRIED TWICE, by Erica Bennett

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Announcing the 2016 ONSTAGE Semi-Finalists

Wow, we have been so busy over here at Little Black Dress INK!  We had almost 200 scripts submitted this year, and some incredible peer-reviews—so we are feeling incredibly grateful to everyone who shared their work, time, and talents with us!

via GIPHY

We also had a new Partner Producer join us, meaning we could select 40 semi-finalists this year, and with that in mind, we’ve created an exciting line up of short dramas, comedies, and monologues!  So, without further ado, let me introduce you to the 2016 ONSTAGE Semi-Finalists:

Asking For It  by Rhea MacCallum
Bazookas  by Sharon Goldner
Big Belly  by Jen Huszcza
Box Cameras  by Christine Foster
Cleavage  by Barbara Blumenthal-Ehrlich
Creme Filling  by Jo-Anne Walton
Dangling by Deneen Reynolds-Knott
Don’t Just Sit There!  by Diane Sampson
Empty Beds  by Alex Rubin
Future Girl Visits Barbie’s Mom  by Ellen Davis Sullivan
Grit  by Jane Ann Crum
Gun Play by Jennifer Walton
Here, There Be Curves by Amber Bosworth
Hospice: A Love Story  by Elizabeth Coplan
I Only Cried Twice by Erica Bennett
In the Loop by Nancy Cooper Frank
Jack Pork  by Donna Hoke
Low & Away  by Demetra Kareman
Members Only  by Jennifer Tromble
Model Behavior  by Amy Drake
Muse by Anne Hamilton
Old School  by Melanie Ewbank
Pinned  by Alice Stanley Jr.
Reading Signs  by Marilynn Barner Anselmi
Shirley MacLaine  by Annie Wood
Shopping with Bev and Niki  by Karen Murphy
Stak  by Stacy D. Tanner
The Egg  by Tiffany Antone
The Great Tit  by Gretchen O’Halloran
The Hike  by Micki Shelton
The Lilac Ticket  by C.J. Ehrlich
The Moon  by Rachel Hall
The Plan  by Katherine James
The Fall of Autumn Summers  by Karli Shields
The Unlimited-Year-Long-Class-Pack  by Erin Austin
Thrown for a Curve  by Anne Flanagan
Till It’s Over  by Jennie Webb
Time Loop  by Reina Hardy
Tomorrow, We Will be Stronger  by Kira Rockwell
Waterfall  by Katherine Koller
Write This Way  by Donna Hoke

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2016 is Going to be our Biggest Festival Yet

Little Black Dress INK is thrilled to announce that our Female Playwrights ONSTAGE Project will receive its first rolling premiere in 2016 through a partnership with Acadiana Repertory Theater (ART) in Lafayette, LA! ART logo

Little Black Dress INK is a female playwright producing organization, and our ONSTAGE Project is a nationally recognized new play festival that includes a peer-reviewed script contest featuring multiple staged reading across the country before culminating annually with a production in Prescott, AZ.  With ART’s partnership, our 2016 winning playwrights will now receive two (yes, TWO!) separate productions of their winning plays!

Acadiana Rep will first participate in our ONSTAGE semi-finalist readings this coming Spring, before producing the winning 2016 ONSTAGE plays in mid 2016.

“It has always been my goal to evolve our ONSTAGE Project from a one-time production in AZ, to a rolling premiere event that spans the US,” said LBDI’s artistic director, Tiffany Antone. “Acadiana Rep’s partnership is a HUGE step closer to making that happen, and I couldn’t be more excited!”

Little Black Dress INK is currently accepting submissions from female playwrights.  If you are a female playwright, please check our submission guidelines t0 find out how you can participate in this year’s awesome new play adventure!  The deadline to share your work with us is Nov 15th, 2015.

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Part III: Producer Talks With Playwright/Playwright Talks With Producer

Tiffany Antone & Jen Huszcza have a chat (via email)

This is Part III of a three-part conversation playwright Jen Huszcza and I had about Little Black Dress INK’s ONSTAGE Project festival.  I want to thank Jen for conceiving of and initiating this conversation, and for getting it into readable shape!

You can read Part I here and Part II here

Jen2JEN:

As we finish this up, I want to talk about being yourself as a writer. So often we writers hear about finding your voice, or finding your truth, blah, blah, blah. Then, when you’ve written a bunch of stuff, there is an expectation (both from yourself and others) that you will just do your thing. I find myself constantly fighting that. Writing does not get easier. It gets harder as I find ways to stay true to myself and what I want to say. Meanwhile, time keeps moving forward and I keep moving forward in life, so I find I have new things to say and new ways to say it. I’ve reached a point in my life where I have failed at a lot, and I find that interesting.

I can talk about where my plays come from or my influences or the circumstances of the world or my life, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t mean a damn when I sit down to work. When I’m writing (and writing is work, not some fluffy little hobby), I am only focused on what I have in front of me and building from there. Then, when I’ve reached the end, I go back and rewrite again and again and again.

Neal Griffin and Annabelle Veatch star in Kira Rockwell's WITH MY EYES SHUT, directed by Cason Murphy.

Neal Griffin and Annabelle Veatch star in Kira Rockwell’s WITH MY EYES SHUT, directed by Cason Murphy.

I don’t know if this will be helpful to someone submitting to your festival. Sometimes things done with the most helpful intentions explode in unexpected ways, but I’m an American, so I must remain optimistic. And I am curious about what the next theme for the next festival will be.

TIFFANY:

I love what you said about messy theater.  I adore messy theater.  In fact, I wanted to make this year’s theme HOT MESS – but my husband very wisely reminded me that since we are still just borrowing stages, I probably shouldn’t seek out scripts that would leave our host theaters digging dirt out of their floorboards for days.

With that in mind, I definitely appreciate your compliments about my writing style.  Coming at playwriting from an acting background as I did, I have always felt that plays should be active.  I love plays that have to be seen in order to be heard and felt.  As an actor and as an audience member, those are the pieces I most respond to.  So as a playwright, those are the plays I strive to write.  I mean, we live in an age where we can essentially watch theater anytime, anywhere – so if a theater company is going to ask me to shell out a fistful of my hard earned clams, I want to see something on their stage that I can’t just beam to my television/laptop/iPhone.  And that’s a tricky standard, because Hollywood can do so very much!  But when I see a show that lines up killer story with mesmeric theatricality and emotionally inventive characters, I can’t get enough!  I walk out of the theater feeling alive, invigorated, and feeling as though I’ve been privy to something sacred.

We recently attended HAND TO GOD in NYC.  I loved it.  The play is smart, fierce, and messy as hell – in all the best of ways.  Sure, you could turn it into a (probably very enjoyable) film, but the vibrancy and theatrical power of the story would change.  There’s just something electrifying about seeing a man violently wrestle with a hand puppet (and his demons) in live theater that you can’t recreate on a screen.

So, I guess you could say that as a writer, I’m always trying to tackle whichever mad question about the human condition that’s seized my mind, with a sense of theatricality.  And if that gives way to messiness (as it often-times does), I’m ok with that.  Of course, not everyone shares my enthusiasm for theatre that leaves literal marks on stage, haha.  So the question becomes, “Where are my people?”  As a playwright, where can I find a home amongst like-minded directors, designers, and producers who aren’t afraid of a play that needs a live chicken on stage?  Or a house that collapses in on itself at the end of the show?  Oftentimes, a director or producer reads a fantastical play and goes “Well, it’s great, but it can’t be done!” and I think that in 99% of those cases, they’re wrong.  It’s not that the play itself is impossible – it’s that they’re unable to solve the creative challenges the play represents.  Some of my favorite plays were at one time or another deemed “impossible” – until of course someone accepted the challenge to do it.

Looking for a Miracle by Karen Murphy w/Karen Murphy and Jean Maissen

Looking for a Miracle by Karen Murphy w/Karen Murphy and Jean Maissen

And I think that’s really one of the disappointing things about theater today.  We live in an age where technological advances make nearly everything possible, theatrically speaking, and yet there are still a lot of theatricians revering talky-talk plays above all else.

This all reminds me of discussions I would have when I was producing the Young Playwrights Festival at the PCA.  Every year we’d wind up with some fantastical, crazy, imaginative piece that required cavemen and pirates and space travel or shadow puppets – and someone would say “Well, it’s cute, but it’s not really as good or as smart as this play over here…” with said play being a genuinely well written, but arguably safer, play that follows traditional structure but isn’t particularly challenging.  So I’d go to bat for the wacky, “challenge” plays because I knew we could make them happen!  I could see that with a little extra careful staging, the right costumes, or some well-chosen music, the piece would come to life in the most delightful of ways.  And I was always right!  Those plays that I fought to keep in the line up were most often the pieces that got the biggest laughs, or had people talking the most afterwards because they required some theater magic – people love theater magic!  They may not have won the “best in show” honors, but they were integral to the success of the line-up, and to the creative energy of the festival at large – because it’s only when someone tells us we can’t do something that we start to question our creative instincts.

Now I’m soap-boxing, haha.

But the point I’m trying to make is that I think a lot of playwrights feel like they “can’t” write wild things because no one will produce them.  I think we need to be true to our wild side, because there are other wild things out there who can’t wait to get their wild paws on something meaty, beautiful, and visually mighty.  We need to be responsive, we need to pay attention to the market, and we need to write things that will inspire a team of creatives to put their lives on hold in order to produce our little play-babies, but we also need to be bold and not stifle ourselves due to a fear of (or aversion to) spectacle.

Now, that being said, I did not pick HOT MESS as this year’s theme – so don’t send me a bunch of plays that require we hire a cleaning crew when we’re done.   I’m still dealing with some financial limitations that mean I can’t flood the stage with rain or mud or a hoarder’s collapsed house, haha.  And it’s a festival, so we’re aiming for quick changes between shows.  But don’t be afraid to send me plays that take risks, that are adventurous, and that inhabit the theatrical space beyond conversation.  I’m always trying to build a diverse line-up, and that only happens when we receive a wide variety of plays.

That being said… This year’s festival theme is now available HERE!

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