Thursday, April 16, 2015

PlayGround Festival Staged Reading Selections!

PlayGround has selected four bold new full-length plays by Bay Area playwrights to be developed and presented as public staged readings over two weekends, May 16-17 and May 23-24, as part of the 19th annual PlayGround Festival of New Works at San Francisco’s Thick House. The plays are: Katie May’s A HISTORY OF FREAKS, Erin Marie Panttaja’s PREAPOCALYPTICA (a Planet Earth New Play Festival/PlayGround commission), Jonathan Spector’s FTW, and Ignacio Zulueta’s KANO + ABE (a 2013 PlayGround commission). The expanded PlayGround Festival includes more than 44 performances and readings over a six-week period, May 7-June 14, 2015, including the Festival Staged Readings, Best of PlayGround 19, and the world premieres of Robin Lynn Rodriguez’s Hella Love Oakland and Garret Jon Groenveld’s The Empty Nesters. All festival staged readings are free (suggested donation at the door) though advance reservations are recommended. Tickets, including All-Festival Passes starting at just $60, are available through the Box Office at 415-992-6677 or online at http://playground-sf.org/festival.

Over the past two decades, the PlayGround Festival has served as a launching pad for some of the Bay Area’s most significant new writers. And with the inclusion of new full-length plays in development in 2003, more than a dozen past festival selection have gone on to premiere at theatres in the Bay Area and around the country, including Abraham Lincoln’s Big Gay Dance Party by Aaron Loeb, Crevice by Lauren Yee, and Truffaldino Says No by Ken Slattery, with two more coming this spring  Hella Love Oakland by Robin Lynn Rodriguez and The Empty Nesters by Garret Jon Groenveld.

ABOUT THE PLAYS:

May 17 2pm and May 24 12pm
A History of Freaks by Katie May
Directed by Jim Kleinmann
A “runaway” clown returns from college to find the traveling circus and freak show he calls home on the verge of collapse. Does Joseph hold the key to their survival?

May 16 12pm and May 23 4pm
FTW by Jonathan Spector
Directed by Jessica Burgess Gallu
Three college friends agree to share a two-bedroom apartment in West Oakland and together face the challenges of the real world: finding a purpose, making rent, and the limits of sharing (“Did your boyfriend use my toothbrush??”).

May 17 11am and May 24 3pm
Kano + Abe by Ignacio Zulueta
Directed by Jeffrey Lo
Two Filipino brothers chase the American Dream – one through military service and naturalized citizenship, and the other as an undocumented worker, living under the radar. When desperation forces Kano and Abe back together under the roof of a live-in slumlord, brotherly love gets put to the test in this modern-day Daly City bible story.

May 16 3pm and May 23 1pm
Preapocalyptica by Erin Marie Panttaja
Directed by Katja Rivera
California has just one more year of water remaining. The oceans are quickly becoming depleted of fish. Global temperatures are rising. One family will try to face up to the coming crisis and, if they can, turn back the tide.

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHTS:

KATIE MAY’s (A History of Freaks) plays include Abominable (PlayGround Commission and semi-finalist, O’Neill National Playwrights Conference),  Manic Pixie Dream Girl (fringeNYC, A.C.T. Costume Shop, San Francisco) Black Sheep Gospel (Great Plains Theater Conference), and A History of Freaks (Finalist David Mark Cohen Award), among others. Her short play Rapunzel’s Etymology of Zero (Best of Playground Festival, 2011) is being made into an animated short film scheduled for release in spring, 2015.  She’s the recipient of grants from the Virginia Piper Writing Center, the Society for Women in Film, and a PlayGround Emerging Writers Award. May holds an MFA in Playwriting from Arizona State University.

ERIN MARIE PANTTAJA (Prepocalyptica) is in her third season as a member of the PlayGround Writers Pool. She received a Planet Earth New Play Festival commission to develop a new full-length play based on her short Preapocalyptica, to be workshopped this spring at University of California Berkeley and Stanford. Her plays have been produced at the Dublin Fringe Festival's Thread workshop and Mendocino College's New Works Festival and as part of Twisted Christmas Live.  She is also an engineer, designer, roboticist, and homemaker.

Jonathan Spector (FTW) is a playwright and director whose plays include In From the Cold, Adult Swim, FTW and Good, Better, Best, Bested. His work has been developed and produced with PlayGround, Just Theater, Aurora Theater, Playwrights Foundation, and the Source Theatre Festival. He's a Resident Playwright at Playwrights Foundation, a winner of Theatre Bay Area's TITAN award, and the Co-Artistic Director of Just Theater.

Ignacio Zulueta (Kano + Abe) is a PlayGround Emerging Artist and Resident Playwright. His plays and radio plays have been featured in Ashland, New York, Kalamazoo, the Bay Area and KUSF and KPFA. Kano + Abe was commissioned and developed by PlayGround. He is the lead writer for the multi-acre site-specific event Matthew Briar and The Age of Resurrection at San Jose's History Park.

ABOUT PLAYGROUND:

PlayGround, the Bay Area’s leading playwright incubator, provides unique development opportunities for the Bay Area’s best new playwrights, including the monthly Monday Night PlayGround staged reading series, PlayGround Festival of New Works, Best of PlayGround, full-length play commissions and support for the production of new plays by local playwrights through the New Play Production Fund and, PlayGround’s newest initiative, the PlayGround Film Festival. To date, PlayGround has supported nearly 200 local playwrights in the development and staging of over 700 original short plays and 55 new full-length plays, including more than a dozen that have since premiered in the Bay Area. PlayGround alumni have gone on to win local, national and international honors for their short and full-length work, including recognition at the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Humana Festival, Sundance Festival, Source Festival, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Aurora Theatre's Global Age Project, Internationalists Playwriting Prize, and New York International Fringe Festival, among others.  More information at http://PlayGround-sf.org.

WHAT: PlayGround Festival of New Works Staged Readings, featuring four bold new plays by Bay Area playwrights, each presented twice over two weekends. This year’s selections include: A HISTORY OF FREAKS by Katie May; PREAPOCALYPTICA by Erin Marie Panttaja; FTW by Jonathan Spector; and KANO + ABE by Ignacio Zulueta.

WHERE: Thick House , 1695 18th Street, San Francisco, CA

WHEN: May 16-17 and May 23-24, 2015.

Date                Time         Event              Play                         Playwright
5/16/2015      12:00PM  Reading #1   FTW                         Jonathan Spector
5/16/2015      3:00PM    Reading #2   Preapocalyptica    Erin Marie Panttaja
5/17/2015      11:00AM  Reading #3   Kano and Abe       Ignacio Zulueta
5/17/2015      2:00PM    Reading #4   A History of Freaks        Katie May
5/23/2015      1:00PM    Reading #5   Preapocalyptica    Erin Marie Panttaja
5/23/2015      4:00PM    Reading #6   FTW                         Jonathan Spector
5/24/2015      12:00PM  Reading #7   A History of Freaks        Katie May
5/24/2015      3:00PM    Reading #8   Kano and Abe       Ignacio Zulueta

TICKETS: All festival staged readings are free and open to the public (suggested donation at the door). All-Festival Passes, which include reserved seating for all festival events, start at just $60. For more information about the PlayGround Festival of New Works, call (415) 992-6677 or visit www.PlayGround-sf.org/festival.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

PlayGround Company in the News Apr-15

Read on to learn more about PlayGround Company Member and Alumni recent news, current happenings, and upcoming events.

Nancy Carlin’s musical she co-wrote with Michael Rasbury, MAX UNDERSTOOD, will have its World Premiere at the Cowell Theater in Fort Mason, April 15-26, with Paul Dresher Ensemble producing, David Schweizer directing, and featuring Teddy Spencer as “Dad.” http://www.dresherensemble.org/max.html

Ruben Grijalva’s VALUE OVER REPLACEMENT and Jonathan Spector’s ADULT SWIM, both PlayGround commissions and 2014 PlayGround Festival selections, have been named finalists for this year’s Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference.

Brian Herndon can currently be seen in NICK AND NORA at 42nd Street Moon, and will be appearing in THE ADDAMS FAMILY this summer with San Jose Stage.

Ken Sonkin directed THE FOREIGNER for Contra Costa Civic Theatre, running through April 26.

The WELL (www.well.com) is celebrating its 30th Anniversary this month. Led by CEO (and PlayGround Resident Playwright) Brady Lea, The WELL counts among its members a number of other PlayGrounders, including Evelyn Jean Pine and Martha Soukup. Founded in 1985 as the Whole Earth ‘Lectronic ‘Link, The WELL is ancient in online community years, and it has long been the virtual water cooler for many early online thinkers, writers, crackpots and friends.

Madeline Puccioni's GOONERS was staged for the Dramatist Guild SF's Footlight event at The Tides Theatre on April 6 and was also staged for the Theatre Bay Area Conference’s Playwright Cabaret on April 13.

Trevor Allen’s play WORKING FOR THE MOUSE is receiving its L.A. premiere at Theatre Asylum this month. https://www.theatreasylum-la.com/projects/2317 He is also producing The Theatre Process podcast series, recorded by Black Box Theatre.com and distributed by Theatre Bay Area. Here is the latest episode: http://theatrebayarea.site-ym.com/news/222622/Theatre-Process-L.-Peter-Callender-and-Dominique-Serrand.htm

Robert Sicular and Ron Campbell have started rehearsals for One Man, Two Guvnors at Berkeley Rep, opening May 15. Ron is also the Monday Night Actors Jam at Soar Feat Studios and prepping to play Don Quixote at Marin Shakespeare Festival.

This month, Liz Anderson is playing a Russian Dominatrix in the short film Flesh, and Time-Traveling Hacker in the web-series This Time Will Be Different.

Ross Peter Nelson was one of three playwrights selected by Southern Rep in New Orleans to create new one-act plays for 2015. His piece, Zoloft Tango, will be performed at 7:30pm on April 20-21 at Mid-City Theatre as part of the 3x3 New Play series.

Rachel Bublitz's short play To The Man Who Sang Bowie will join the line-up for Round 5 of PianoFight's ShortLived audience-judged theater competition, http://www.pianofight.com/shortlived/.

Carla Pantoja, Mary Baird and Lizzie Calogero (as well as Best of PlayGround ensemble member Melissa Ortiz) recently performed Romeo and Juliet at Omni Commons, directed by Maryssa Wanlass.

Ignacio Zulueta is the lead writer for MATTHEW BRIAR DEFEATS DEATH, an immersive multidisciplinary event coming to History Park in San Jose (advance details at his mailing list, http://eepurl.com/GevdL). His short play 57 VARIETIES, directed by Colin Johnson, was recently performed at Shotz! Fool's Gold at Pianofight.

PlayGround & Planet Earth Arts Celebrate Earth Day Week!

Continuing their successful collaboration launched last October, PlayGround and Planet Earth Arts have teamed up again to celebrate Earth Day Week with four evenings of new short and full-length plays on environmental issues in professional staged readings at Stanford University and the University of California Berkeley. The celebration kicks off on Earth Day, April 22 at 7:30pm at Stanford University’s Dinkelspiel Auditorium, with a program of two short plays – Rachel Bublitz’s Reading Babar in 2070 and Maury Zeff’s The Universe on Ice – followed by the first public reading of Erin Marie Panttaja’s new full-length, Preapocalyptica, commissioned by PlayGround and Planet Earth Arts and adapted from her short play of the same name. The program repeats Thursday evening, April 23 at 8pm at Cal’s Durham Studio Theatre, Friday, April 24 at 8pm at Stanford’s Roble Hall Theater (with the addition of William Bivins' The Announcement), and concludes Friday, May 1 at 8pm at Cal’s Wheeler Auditorium. The readings will be followed by panel discussions with the playwrights, faculty and leading environmentalists. The short plays were originally developed for the Planet Earth New Play Festival and Monday Night PlayGround last October. All Planet Earth New Play Festival / Earth Day Week (Spring 2015) events are free and open to the public. For more information or to reserve tickets, visit http://playground-sf.org/planeteartharts.

On Thursday, April 23 at 4pm, PlayGround and Planet Earth Arts partner with UC Berkeley’s Contemporary Drama Working Group (CDWG) for student readings of short plays The Announcement by William Bivins and The Bake Sale by Mandy Hodge Rizvi, as well as the first public reading of Kirk Shimano’s one-act, Android. Bishop. Countess. Microbe. Megan., directed by Bay Area theatre veteran Joy Carlin. Android… was commissioned by PlayGround and Planet Earth Arts and adapted from Shimano’s ten-minute play, The Android and the Bishop. 

Join Planet Earth Arts, PlayGround, Stanford University and University of California Berkeley for a powerful theatrical evening of bold staged readings by the Bay Area’s leading actors that SF Weekly described as amazing...a talented display of beauty, rage, physical comedy and striking use of language. Experience the raw energy and excitement of talented playwrights unleashing their imaginations on the timely planetary issues of climate change, mass extinctions and the future of life as we know it. Leave your preconceived notions about environmental issues at home, and come prepared to be challenged, enlightened, and inspired.

PlayGround, the Bay Area’s leading playwright incubator, provides unique development opportunities for the Bay Area’s best new playwrights, including the monthly Monday Night PlayGround staged reading series, annual Best of PlayGround Festival, full-length play commissions and support for the production of new plays by local playwrights through the New Play Production Fund and, PlayGround’s newest initiative, the PlayGround Film Festival. To date, PlayGround has supported 200 local playwrights in the development and staging of more than 700 original short plays and 55 new full-length plays, including more than a dozen that have since premiered in the Bay Area, New York and around the country. PlayGround alumni represent the who’s who of the Bay Area’s best new playwrights, including Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, Aaron Loeb, Erin Bregman, Garret Jon Groenveld, Geetha Reddy, and Lauren Yee, among others. For more information, visit http://playground-sf.org. 

Planet Earth Arts is an initiative of the Sustainable World Coalition, sponsored by Earth Island Institute, a (501)(c)(3) non-profit organization. Planet Earth Arts and Planet Earth New Play Festival are made possible by the generous support of Vinit Allen, Stanford University, Sustainable World Coalition, University of California, Berkeley and William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Planet Earth New Play Festival is a collaboration between Sustainable World Coalition/Planet Earth Arts, National Center for New Plays, PlayGround and the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.

WHAT: Planet Earth New Play Festival / Earth Day Week (Spring 2015)

WHERE/ WHEN:

Wednesday April 22, 2015 / 7:30pm
Dinkelspiel Auditorium, 471 Lagunita Drive, Stanford University


Thursday April 23, 2015 / 4pm & 8pm
Durham Studio Theater/Dwinelle Hall, University of California - Berkeley


Friday April 24, 2015 / 8:00pm
Roble Hall Theater, 374 Santa Teresa Street, Stanford University


Friday May 1, 2015 / 8:00pm
Wheeler Auditorium, University of California – Berkeley


TICKETS: All readings are free and open to the general public. Reservations are recommended but not required. To reserve tickets, visit http://playground-sf.org/planeteartharts.


Saturday, April 11, 2015

PlayGround Post-Gala Online Auction!

The 20th Anniversary Gala may be over but the fun continues, with our post-gala online auction, featuring eleven packages and more than 28 offerings, from a theatre salon with Aaron Loeb and Chad Jones at the Pacific Heights home of producer Jill Matichak to half-price theatre tickets to A.C.T., and from a winery tour/tasting to half-price hotel accommodations in San Francisco and Berkeley! All proceeds from the online auction benefit PlayGround’s New Play Incubator programs. Take a look, pick your favorite, and help spread the word!


Click the "BUY NOW" link to purchase and lock in your favorite packages.

THEATRE SALON
THEATRE TICKETS & WALK-ON ROLE
HOTELS & DINING
VINEYARD TASTING/TOUR
TEST PREP TUTORING

001 Theatre Salon Chez Matichak with Aaron Loeb & Chad Jones (May 17, 2015)
Join theatre aficionado and producer Jill Matichak at her home on Sunday, May 17 for an evening of good food, good wine and good conversation, featuring PlayGround alumnus and 2013 Glickman Award winning playwright Aaron Loeb (Ideation) and leading theatre critic and writer Chad Jones (theaterdogs.net, San Francisco Chronicle). Begin your evening with drinks and hors d'oeuvres in Jill’s cozy Pacific Heights apartment with a charming Bay view, then enjoy a discussion of the new play scene with Aaron and Chad, followed by a light buffet, dessert and continuation of the discussion. A one-of-a-kind opportunity to share an intimate evening with two leading voices in Bay Area theatre! Limited to 20 participants. Value: Priceless.
Courtesy of Jill Matichak, Aaron Loeb and Chad Jones.
BUY NOW ($75)! - 16 tickets available

002 American Conservatory Theater (2 tickets)
Enjoy the best of San Francisco performance with a pair of tickets to the American Conservatory Theater performance(s) of your choice, including the upcoming A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC and 2015-16’s collection of reinterpreted classics and bold new works. Restrictions: Strand and Costume Shop performances not included. Value: $300.
Courtesy of A.C.T.
BUY NOW ($150)! - 2 packages available
 

003 Aurora Theatre Company’s 2015-16 Season (two 6-Play Subscriptions)
Don’t miss a single show with two six-play subscriptions to Aurora Theatre Company’s 2015-16 season, including five Bay Area/West Coast premieres! Value: $530.
Courtesy of Aurora Theatre Company.
BUY NOW ($265)! - 1 package available
 

004 TheatreWorks (2 tickets)
A pair of tickets to TheatreWorks, Silicon Valley's leading professional theatre. Valid the remainder of the 2014-15 season, including Fire on the Mountain, the bluegrass musical (through April 26), 2015, and Noel Coward's Fallen Angels (June 3-28, 2015), both at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts. Value: $148.
Courtesy of TheatreWorks.
BUY NOW ($74)! - 1 package available

005 Smuin Ballet Spring 2015 Program (2 tickets)
A pair of tickets to Smuin Ballet's Spring 2015 program, including Michael Smuin's Romeo and Juliet and Hearts Suite, Helen Pickett's Petal, and a world premiere by Adam Hougland. May 8-17 (Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco), May 21-24 (Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, Mountain View), May 29-30 (Dean Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek), and June 5-6 (Sunset Center, Carmel). Value: $150.
Courtesy of Smuin Ballet.
BUY NOW ($75)! - 2 packages available

006 Monday Night PlayGround Walk-On
Ready for your star turn? Win a walk-on role in the 2015-16 Monday Night PlayGround season performing at Berkeley Repertory Theatre's Roda Theatre and a chance to show your friends you “coulda been a contender!” Join your favorite local directors and actors for an intense hour-and-a-half rehearsal, brief technical rehearsal and your starring performance, then join cast and crew for the after-gathering at PlayGround’s favorite watering-hole… first round’s on us! Value: Priceless.
Courtesy of PlayGround.
BUY NOW ($250)! - 1 package available
 

007 Hotel Rex, San Francisco (one-night stay, deluxe room)
Savor a night’s deluxe accommodations at Joie de Vivre’s Hotel Rex off Union Square, noted for its sophisticated d├ęcor, inspired by the San Francisco art and literary salons of the 1920s and 30s.. Value: $300.
Courtesy of Joie de Vivre Hotels.
BUY NOW ($150)! - 2 packages available

008 Hotel Shattuck Plaza and FIVE Restaurant, Berkeley
Enjoy one night’s deluxe accommodations at Berkeley's Hotel Shattuck Plaza, including dinner for two at the posh Five Restaurant. Value: $305.
Courtesy of Hotel Shattuck Plaza.
BUY NOW ($153)! - 1 package available

009 Absinthe Brasserie & Bar, San Francisco
Enjoy dinner for two at the Absinthe Brasserie & Bar, one of the longest-running and most convivial dining institutions in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley neighborhood. Located within walking distance of Civic Center and the performing arts centers, the establishment features French and Northern Italian-influenced brasserie fare for lunch and dinner, plus weekend brunch. Absinthe’s lively bar offers classic and creative cocktails and late-night dining. Value: $150.
Courtesy of Absinthe Brasserie & Bar

SOLD!

010 Nickel & Nickel Vineyard Tour & Tasting, Oakville (for 4 people)
Enjoy a tour and tasting of single-vineyard Cabernets at Nickel & Nickel, the sister winery to Far Niente. Located on Highway 29 in Oakville, California, Nickel & Nickel brings back to life the farmstead that was first settled on the site in the 1880s, with a cutting edge winery behind the scenes. Visit the historic Sullenger House built in 1884, the Gleason barn, circa 1770, which was moved from New Hampshire and re-constructed at the winery, our subterranean wine cellar and more. Package comes with a complimentary bottle of Nickel & Nickel chardonnay. Value: $315.
Courtesy of Nickel & Nickel Vineyard.

SOLD!
 
011 Test Prep from a Pro (10 hours)
Do you know a high school student facing the SATs or ACTs? A college graduate looking to conquer the GMAT or GRE? Give them the gift of a higher score and reduced stress levels with 10 hours of test prep with an expert tutor. PlayGround Company Member and actress Lisa Morse has been tutoring the standardized tests for more than a decade and uses her humor and energy to make lessons not only effective but enjoyable. And how cool will it be, when you attend the world premiere of Robin Lynn Rodriguez’s Hella Love Oakland this spring, to whisper to your friends as you point to the stage, "See that actress? That’s my daughter's SAT tutor!" Current clients ineligible. Value: $1,200.
Courtesy of Lisa Morse.
BUY NOW ($600) - 1 package available

Friday, April 03, 2015

PlayGround's 19th PlayGround Festival of New Works!


PlayGround, the Bay Area’s leading playwright incubator, caps off its 2014-15 season with the 19th annual PLAYGROUND FESTIVAL OF NEW WORKS, running May 7-June 14, 2015, at San Francisco’s Thick House. This year’s expanded Festival features more than 44 performances and readings by over a dozen local writers, including: BEST OF PLAYGROUND 19, a fully-produced program of six 10-minute plays selected from more than 180 submissions to the Monday Night PlayGround series; the world premiere of Robin Lynn Rodriguez’s HELLA LOVE OAKLAND (2013 PlayGround Festival selection) and Garret Jon Groenveld’s THE EMPTY NESTERS (2013 PlayGround Festival selection), and staged readings of four bold new full-length plays in development. Individual tickets are $25-$55 and All-Festival Passes (including priority seating tickets to all festival activities) start at $60. Tickets are available through the Box Office at 415-992-6677 or online at http://playground-sf.org/festival. For the complete schedule of performances and readings, visit http://playground-sf.org/calendar.shtml.

BEST OF PLAYGROUND 19 (World Premiere)
Featuring New Works by: Rachel Bublitz, Genne Murphy, Erin Marie Panttaja, Kirk Shimano, Steven Westdahl, and Davern Wright
May 7-24, 2015 at Thick House

The six ten-minute plays to be presented at this year’s Best of PlayGround are:
Reading Babar in 2070 by Rachel Bublitz, directed by Rebecca Ennals
Someone by Genne Murphy, directed by Jeffrey Lo
Preapocalyptica by Erin Marie Panttaja, directed by Katja Rivera
Art and Tech by Kirk Shimano, directed by Jon Tracy
Frankenstein's Grandmother by Steven Westdahl, directed by Tracy Ward
Cratchit by Davern Wright, directed by Jim Kleinmann

This year’s Best of PlayGround ensemble includes: Michael Barrett Austin, Millie DeBenedet, Melissa Ortiz, Michael Phillis, Stephanie Prentice, Lindsey Marie Schmeltzer, and Jomar Tagatac.

HELLA LOVE OAKLAND by Robin Lynn Rodriguez (World Premiere)
Directed by Rebecca Novick
May 11-June 13, 2015 at Thick House

Hella Love Productions in association with PlayGround presents the world premiere of Robin Lynn Rodriguez’s HELLA LOVE OAKLAND, running May 11-June 13. Can a conscientious mother choose between raising awareness and raising her kids? This ninety-minute one-act play uses mixed genres of spoken word poetry, turf dancing, meta and traditional theater to tell the stories of three women in the city of Oakland, dealing with issues of equity in education and the experience of gentrification in urban public schools. Rodriguez’s Hella Love Oakland was commissioned and developed by PlayGround, based on her popular 2012 Best of PlayGround short (also a 20th Anniversary Celebration finalist). Directed by Rebecca Novick and featuring Lisa Morse, Safiya Fredericks and Lizzie Calogero. An Equity-approved project.

THE EMPTY NESTERS by Garret Jon Groenveld (World Premiere)
Directed by Amy Glazer
May 18-June 14, 2015 at Thick House

Empty Nesters Productions in association with PlayGround and Virago Theatre Company present the world premiere of Garret Jon Groenveld’s THE EMPTY NESTERS, running May 18-June 14. When Greg and Frances drop their youngest child off at college in Arizona, they take a little vacation to the Skywalk at the Grand Canyon West on their way back to Los Angeles.  Returning to an empty home, these helicopter parents are faced with the question, "What do you want to be when they grow up?" Groenveld’s The Empty Nesters was a 2013 PlayGround Festival selection. It was further developed last June at the TRU Voices New Plays Reading Series in NYC. Directed by Amy Glazer and featuring John and Pamela Gaye Walker. An Equity-approved project.

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHTS:

Rachel Bublitz (Reading Babar in 2070) is the Founder of the 31 Plays in 31 Days Project and a Youth Ambassador for the Dramatists Guild of America. This is her second season with PlayGround. Rachel’s full-length play, Of Serpents & Sea Spray, will open at Custom Made Theatre Co. in January of 2016. Rachelbublitz.com

Garret Jon Groenveld (The Empty Nesters) is a Poet and Playwright living in San Francisco.  An original writer of PlayGround his full-length plays include The Absence of Birds, Missives, The Serving Class, The Empty Nesters and The Hummingbirds.  An inaugural writer in Residence at the Playwights Foundation, his plays have appeared in the Bay Area Playwrights Festival (1999, 2004), The Global Age Project (2010, 2012), the TRU Festival (2006, 2014) and have been produced in San Francisco, New York, Amsterdam, Bucharest, Romania, Zaragoza, Spain and Mexico City, Mexico.  THE HUMMINGBIRDS is also the winner of the Internationalists 2012 Global Playwrighting Competition with presentations in 6 Countries.

GENNE MURPHY (Someone) is a Philadelphia-born playwright / arts educator. Her plays include Hope Street and Other Lonely Places (2011 O'Neill finalist, 2012 Azuka Theatre production) and Outside the Wire (shortlist, 2013 BBC International Radio Play Competition). Genne is a member of PlayGround, the 2015 SF Olympians Festival and Philadelphia Young Playwrights’ Alumni Council.

ERIN MARIE PANTTAJA (Prepocalyptica) is in her third season as a member of the Writers Pool. She received a Planet Earth New Play Festival commission to develop a new full-length play based on her short Preapocalyptica, to be workshopped this spring at University of California Berkeley and Stanford. Her plays have been produced at the Dublin Fringe Festival's Thread workshop and Mendocino College's New Works Festival and as part of Twisted Christmas Live.  She is also an engineer, designer, roboticist, and homemaker.

Robin Lynn Rodriguez (Hella Love Oakland) is a PlayGround Resident writer, who received the Emerging Playwright Award when Hella Love Oakland was presented at the 2012 Best of PlayGround Festival. She has also won PlayGround's June Anne Baker Award and her commissioned full-length of Hella Love Oakland received a staged reading at its 2013 Festival. Her full-length play Hedge was a finalist for the Bay Area Playwrights Festival in 2011 and received a staged reading at the PlayGround Festival in 2014. She recently began writing for the stage after being a theater teacher. 

KIRK SHIMANO (Art and Tech) wrote the screenplay for Miss Finknagle Succumbs to Chaos, which received the People's Choice Award at the 2013 PlayGround Film Festival. His plays include Love in the Time of Zombies (San Francisco Theater Pub) and Pegasus: The Movie (The Play) (San Francisco Olympians), which was inspired by his day job of illuminating imaginary things with imaginary lights.

Steven Westdahl (Frankenstein’s Grandmother) graduated from Emory University (BAs in English and Theatre & Film), became a founding member of the SF Neo-Futurists (Best Theater, 2014, SF Weekly / Best of the Bay, 2014, Bay Guardian), and will direct Zurich Plays, a Dada history of the Dadaist, at the SF Fringe in 2015.

DAVERN WRIGHT’s (Cratchit) scripts include Would You Like the Can, Sir? (January 2015 PlayGround People’s Choice Award) and Something’s Wrong with Peter (2011 Santa Fe Film Festival Official Selection).  He also acts, and can be seen this summer in Marin Shakespeare Company’s Cymbeline and Richard III.  He has an M.F.A. in Film Production from USC, a B.A. in Theatre from Williams College, and currently teaches Film Editing at Academy of Art University.

ABOUT PLAYGROUND:
PlayGround, the Bay Area’s leading playwright incubator, provides unique development opportunities for the Bay Area’s best new playwrights, including the monthly Monday Night PlayGround staged reading series, PlayGround Festival of New Works, Best of PlayGround, full-length play commissions and support for the production of new plays by local playwrights through the New Play Production Fund and, PlayGround’s newest initiative, the PlayGround Film Festival. To date, PlayGround has supported nearly 200 local playwrights in the development and staging of over 700 original short plays and 55 new full-length plays, including more than a dozen that have since premiered in the Bay Area. PlayGround alumni have gone on to win local, national and international honors for their short and full-length work, including recognition at the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Humana Festival, Sundance Festival, Source Festival, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Aurora Theatre's Global Age Project, Internationalists Playwriting Prize, and New York International Fringe Festival, among others.  More information at http://PlayGround-sf.org.


WHAT: 19th Annual PLAYGROUND FESTIVAL OF NEW WORKS, featuring more than 44 performances and readings of bold new plays by over a dozen Bay Area playwrights. The Festival includes: BEST OF PLAYGROUND 19 (world premiere), Robin Lynn Rodriguez’s HELLA LOVE OAKLAND (world premiere), Garret Jon Groenveld’s THE EMPTY NESTERS (world premiere), and staged readings of four new full-length plays in development.

WHERE: Thick House , 1695 18th Street, San Francisco, CA

WHEN:  May 7-June 14, 2015

TICKETS: $25-$55. All-Festival Passes start at just $60. For more information about the PlayGround Festival of New Works, call (415) 992-6677 or visit www.PlayGround-sf.org/festival.