Friday, March 23, 2012

16th Best of PlayGround Festival Announced!

PlayGround, San Francisco’s incubator for the next generation of playwrights, caps off its 2011-12 season with the Best of PlayGround 16: A Festival of New Writers & New Plays. The festival will present five 10-minute plays and two 10-minute musicals selected from the 36 works developed as part of the season’s Monday Night PlayGround staged reading series at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Monday Night PlayGround has engaged and inspired a growing and enthusiastic audience with new plays and now musicals inspired by a single topic each month, including “Bay Area Stories”, “Heroes/Heroines”, and, as part of a unique annual collaboration with Berkeley’s Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, “Patterns of Chaos” on the mathematics of randomness. Tickets are available through the Box Office at 415-992-6677 or online at

The five plays and two musicals to be presented at this year’s festival are:
You Eat What You Kill by Cleavon Smith, directed by M. Graham Smith
Ships in the Day by Genevieve Jessee, directed by Joy Carlin
Room for Rent by Mercedes Segesvary, directed by Jessica Heidt
Hella Love Oakland by Robin Lynn Rodriguez, directed by Jon Tracy
Childless by Garret Jon Groenveld, music by Christopher Winslow, directed by Raelle Myrick-Hodges
Meet the Breeders by Ignacio Zulueta, music by Don Seaver, directed by Tracy Ward
Miss Finknagle Succumbs to Chaos by Kirk Shimano, directed by Jim Kleinmann

Honorable mentions this year are awarded to Tom Swift for Pregnancy Test, Ken Slattery for When Emoticons Run High and Leah Halper for Home Front.
The 2012 Festival also features staged readings of seven new full-length plays commissioned by PlayGround from writers Trevor Allen, Daniel Heath, Jonathan Luskin, Katie May, Evelyn Jean Pine, Mandy Hodge Rizvi, and Ken Slattery.
Event:              Best of PlayGround 16: A Festival of New Writers & New Plays
Date:                Thursdays - Sundays, May 3 - 27 (Friday, May 4th, press night)
Time:               Thurs. - Sat., 8pm; Sun., 7pm
Location:          Thick House, 1695 18th Street, San Francisco
Tickets:            Best of PlayGround: $25-$40 (general), discounts available for students, PlayGround subscribers and members, and groups of 10 or more. Thursdays, May 3, 10, 17, and 24 are Pay-What-You-Can performances; Pay-What-You-Can tickets go on sale one hour before the performance, first-come first-served, subject to availability.
Staged Readings: $10 suggested donation at the door
For tickets call (415) 992-6677 or on-line at
Information:     Jim Kleinmann, Artistic Director; 415.992.6677;

Performance Schedule
·         Best of PlayGround 16 - All seven short plays are presented at each performance, Thursdays through Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 7pm (Sunday evenings, May 13, 20, and 27, are followed by post-show discussion with festival playwrights)

·         Staged Readings:
Sunday, 5/6/2012, 2pm:  Valley of Sand by Trevor Allen, directed by Rick Lombardo
Monday, 5/7/2012, 7pm:  Altair by Evelyn Jean Pine, directed by M. Graham Smith
Sunday, 5/13/2012, 2pm:  Ecce Homo by Jonathan Luskin, directed by Meredith McDonough
Monday, 5/14/2012, 7pm:  Manic Pixie Dream Girl by Katie May, directed by Jon Tracy
Sunday, 5/20/2012, 2pm:  Siren by Daniel Heath, directed by Raelle Myrick-Hodges
Monday, 5/21/2012, 7pm:  The Shakespeare Bug by Ken Slattery, directed by Jessica Heidt
Sunday, 5/27/2012, 2pm:  Drive Thru-Open till Midnite or Later by Mandy Hodge Rizvi, directed by Molly Noble

PlayGround Benefit & Awards Night
PlayGround will celebrate this year’s Festival playwrights at the annual PlayGround Benefit & Awards Night on Monday, April 2 at the Claremont Hotel, with special guests 2011 Pulitzer Prize winner Bruce Norris and Master of Ceremonies Jonathan Moscone. The event features a talk with Norris and Moscone, a silent auction, reception, three-course dinner and live entertainment. For more information on the PlayGround Benefit, visit

Young Playwrights Project: Spotlight on Next Generation
PlayGround spotlights the next generation of talent with the Young Playwrights Project. In March, PlayGround launched the project, and announced a contest to write a new 10-minute play inspired by the topic “Bay Area Stories.” The competition is open to Bay Area high school students, who have until April 16 to submit a script. The best four plays will be read as special “curtain raisers” May 17-20 of the Best of PlayGround Festival. Guidelines:

About PlayGround:
PlayGround is the Bay Area's leading playwright incubator. The mission of PlayGround is to support the development of significant new local voices for the theatre. More than just another play development program, PlayGround focuses on the creation of a true theatre community by nurturing the collaborative process between first-time or early development playwrights, and established, professional actors and directors. Over the past seventeen years, PlayGround has developed a unique model for identifying and nurturing the Bay Area’s best new writers, while helping them to build a significant body of original work. PlayGround alumni have gone on to win not only local but also national honors for short and full-length work, including recognition at the Humana Festival, Sundance Festival, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Aurora Theatre's Global Age Project, New York International Fringe Festival, the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival, Guthrie Theatre, and The Drama League’s New Directors-New Works series, among others. More information at

About the Playwrights:
Garret Jon Groenveld is among the founding writers of PlayGround and a seven-time winner of the Emerging Playwrights Award. Among his full-length plays include: The Empty Nesters, The Grand Divorce, The Hummingbirds (2012 Global Age Project), Missives and The Serving Class. His play Missives, originally commissioned by PlayGround, appeared in the Bay Area Playwrights Festival in 2004, premiered in San Francisco in 2005 at Theatre Rhino and in New York in 2008 at 59E59 Theatres. His play The Serving Class, also commissioned by PlayGround, won the Global Age Project from the Aurora Theatre in 2010. He was an inaugural Resident Playwright of the Playwrights Foundation and a proud member of the Dramatists Guild.

Genevieve Jessee is an actor and playwright based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She received a BA degree in Theatre Arts from Dillard University, and an MFA in Playwriting from Boston University. Her work has been presented at the Source Festival, Boston Playwright's Theater, and The Bay Area Playwright's Festival. Most recently, her one-woman show Girl in, but not of, the ‘Hood garnered Best of 2011 San Francisco Fringe Festival, and “Sold Out” awards.

Robin Lynn Rodriguez is the recipient of the 2012 June Anne Baker Prize, awarded annually to a female playwright representing a gifted new comedic or political voice for the stage. This is her first year in the PlayGround Writers Pool. She has recently started writing for stage, but has been involved in new play development as an actor and director for many years. She has taken classes at the Playwright’s Foundation, during which time she completed her play Hedge. She is also a high school English and Drama teacher and the mother of two amazing six-year-old girls.

Mercedes Segesvary is a playwright, director, fine art illustrator and comedienne. Her accomplishments include the 2011 Musicals month People's Choice Award for her play, Save A Little Time and Book Online. She also holds a 2009 Marin Fringe Director’s award, a 2008 Best of the SF Fringe award and has a traveling fine art exhibition titled “Colors of Emotions.” Mercedes is also a teaching artist with “Art For City Youth” serving children in need.

Kirk Shimano studied fiction writing and computer science at Stanford University. His short plays have been produced by multiple San Francisco theater companies including Inner Dialogue (PianoFight), Billy’s Got Issues (Wily West Productions), Proposition Ate (Playwrights’ Center of San Francisco), and Leda and the Pr0n (No Nude Men). He is a Technical Director at Industrial Light & Magic where he occasionally works with robots, sometimes rides in spaceships, but never gets to hang out with Johnny Depp.

Cleavon Smith teaches English Composition and Creative Writing at Berkeley City College. He graduated from the US Naval Academy and Mills College's Creative Writing MFA program. He's published fiction and poetry and is participating in the PlayGround pool of playwrights for the second year.

Ignacio Zulueta was born in Manila, studied in Providence, and writes in Oakland. His plays have been seen and heard throughout the Bay Area, as well as in Ashland, New York, Minneapolis, and on KUSF 90.3FM and KPFA 94.1FM. He’s an AlterLAB writer at Altertheatre and part of the NewWorks Incubator at Asian-American Theatre Company.  Ignacio writes sketch comedy for Battlestache Studios and does radioplays and live foley for 915 Cayuga – a live radio style variety show. Follow him on Facebook at


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.