PALO ALTO, Calif.: TheatreWorks Silicon Valley will stream their annual New Works Festival Online April 23-May 15. The festival will feature new plays, selections from new musicals, and conversations with playwrights, and will be available on a pay-what-you-can basis.
“During this time of uncertainty for the arts, TheatreWorks has continued to foster innovative and boundary-breaking new plays and musicals,” artistic associate and director of new works Giovanna Sardelli said a statement. “We can’t wait to share these incredible artists and their projects.”
The festival will begin on April 23 with an event celebrating TheatreWorks’s current commissions and looking at works-in-progress. Featured artists include Min Kahng of The Four Immigrants: An American Musical Manga; the Kilbanes of Weightless; Lynn Rosen of The Imperialists; Geetha Reddy of Safe House; and Mansa Ra of Too Heavy for Your Pocket.
The first reading will feature selections from the musical Currency, conceived by Dan Wolf, written by Wolf, Phil Wong, DelinaDream, RyanNicole, and Juan Amador, with composition by Keith Pinto. Currency aims to smash open The Merchant of Venice and piece it back together from the different perspectives of the Shylocks of society. The presentation will include the first two parts of a three-part series of theatrical musical videos, and is presented by Playwrights Foundation in partnership with the National Center for New Plays and Bay Area Theatre Cypher. Sean San José will direct.
On April 24, the festival will feature selections from Lizard Boy, followed by a conversation with the creative team. Equal parts comic book lore and coming-of-age love story, Lizard Boy is a new indie rock musical with book, music, and lyrics by Justin Huertas. Brandon Ivie will direct.
Play readings will begin May 1 with As Soon As Impossible by Betty Shamieh. The comedy explores the relationship between two older men, one an Arab American and one a WASP. The play is a collaboration between the Stanford University Department of Theater and Performance Studies and the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity. The reading will be directed by Samer Al-Saber and followed by a talk with Shamieh.
The next reading will be Kareem Fahmy’s A Distinct Society, directed by Sardelli. The play follows an Iranian family who use a library on the border of the U.S. and Canada as a meeting place following the U.S. Muslim immigration ban. The reading will be presented May 8, followed by a talk with Fahmy.
The festival will close on May 15 with pas de deux (lost my shoe), written and performed by Lisa Ramirez. The dance theatre piece explores memory, grief, and forgiveness, as Lisa, freshly recovering from addiction, enrolls in a ballet class to confront the death of her younger brother, a principal dancer with the Oakland Ballet Company, to alcoholism. The reading will be directed by Jeffrey Lo, with video production by Steven Muterspaugh, and will be followed by a talk with Ramirez.
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley serves more than 100,000 patrons each year and has captured a national reputation for artistic innovation and integrity, often presenting Bay Area theatregoers with their first look at acclaimed musicals, comedies, and dramas.
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