FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ANNOUNCES NEW WORKS
FOR FOURTH ANNUAL FESTIVAL
PLAYS BY R. JONATHAN CHAPMAN & KEVIN STEFAN,
F.J. HARTLAND AND ADAM SIEGEL
PLUS NEW MUSICAL BY BIL WRIGHT AND DIONNE McCLAIN-FREENEY
MAY 6 – JUNE 6, 2010
ABINGDON THEATRE ARTS COMPLEX
PROCEEDS TO BENEFIT THE HARVEY MILK HIGH SCHOOL
TICKETS NOW ON SALE
New York, NY (3/22/2010) – GAYFEST NYC, Inc., (Bruce Robert Harris and Jack W. Batman, Producers), the country’s premier producer of new LGBT-themed plays, announces its Fourth Annual Festival, a five-week event filled with new theatre works spotlighting gay issues. This year, the Festival will include four fully-staged productions featuring professional actors, talk-backs with the authors of the Festival plays, appearances by celebrated members of the LGBT community, plus special events. All proceeds from GAYFEST NYC benefit the Harvey Milk High School. Performances are scheduled from May 6 - June 6, 2010 at the Abingdon Theatre Arts Complex (312 West 36th Street). Casting will be announced in April.
This year’s Festival selections, chosen from dozens of submissions worldwide, are:
May 6 - May 16, 2010 (June Havoc Theatre)
Romeo and Hamlet
Written by R. Jonathan Chapman and Kevin Stefan
Directed by Sidney J. Burgoyne
Winner, 2005 Outstanding Original Script, CAT Awards (Canada)
A comedy on marriage equality in the style of William Shakespeare. Romeo goes to the ball where he is soon to meet the beautiful young Juliet, but bumps into the dashing prince Hamlet instead. Naturally, the two fall hopelessly in love. While Hamlet strives to juggle the pressures of his new-found love, his arch-conservative family, and his quest for revenge, he must also keep his secrets from the woman he is sworn to marry: Hell hath no fury like a Juliet scorned.
May 13 – May 23, 2010 (Dorothy Strelsin Theatre)
Written by F.J. Hartland
Directed by Margarett Perry
A young painter finds his life turned upside down by a new lover with a mysterious past and a mother pursuing a career as a stand-up comedian. Whose side will he take?
May 20 – June 5, 2010 (June Havoc Theatre)
New York Premiere
Written by Adam Siegel
Directed by Martin Casella
Winner, 2008 New Play Festival, South Carolina Center Stage
A famous children's author and illustrator has rarely seen his son since walking out on his family to live with another man more than forty years ago. The son’s appearance at his father's doorstep sets in motion a dramatic chain of events that exposes a family's betrayals and secrets as it struggles to come to terms with its past.
May 27 - June 6, 2010 (Dorothy Strelsin Theatre)
This One Girl’s Story (inspired by the proud life of Sakia Gunn)
Book by Bil Wright,
Music and Lyrics by Dionne McClain-Freeney
Directed and Choreographed by Devanand Janki
Four girls out on the town, laughing and loving, until a senseless crime of hate turns a night of joy into tragedy. The powerful score includes pop, gospel, jazz and echoes of traditional musical theatre. (Based on a true story.)
“GAYFEST NYC’s mission is twofold,” said Jack W. Batman, co-Producer of the festival. “First, to develop new voices for the LGBT community and, in doing so, expand the reach and accessibility of both emerging and established playwrights, composers and lyricists while providing high level entertainment to a discerning and supportive audience. The second part of our mission is to give back. To that end, through our fundraising efforts and the generosity of our sponsors, advertisers and supporters, we have established a scholarship fund to benefit students of Harvey Milk High School,” continued Batman. “Since 2007, GAYFEST NYC, Inc. has awarded twenty-three scholarships to graduating seniors and established an accredited elective Playwriting program at the school.”
Harvey Milk High School (HMHS) is a fully-accredited, voluntary NYC public high school focused on the educational needs of teenagers who are in crisis or at risk of physical violence and/or emotional harm in a traditional educational environment.
“GAYFEST NYC, Inc. is also committed to producing plays that will have a life outside the Festival,” said Bruce Robert Harris, co-Producer of GAYFEST NYC, “plays that will represent the Festival in productions around the English-speaking world and which might also be brought to life in television and/or film presentations. Board members of GAYFEST NYC, Inc. include Terrence McNally, Charles Busch, Douglas Carter Beane, Mario Cantone, Kate Clinton and a distinguished group of Broadway producers, actors, writers, artistic and executive directors of regional theatres plus other entertainment professionals.”
Sponsors of GAYFEST NYC include American Airlines, HSBC Bank, Bud Light, Grey Goose Vodka, Lladro, RockStar energy drink, Andrew Christian, DG Neary Real Estate, Jamie deRoy, Interactive Male, Sutter Home Vineyards, Theatermania.com and media sponsors including the Village Voice, Where New York, IN New York Magazine, Next Magazine, Back Stage, The New York Blade, GO! Magazine, FunMaps, Mark Nelson Events and others. GAYFEST NYC receives generous support from the Office of the Manhattan Borough President.
A 4-Play Festival Passport is available at $65, with single tickets priced at $18 for all productions. Tickets are now on sale at www.Theatermania.com or by calling 212-351-3101. For additional information log onto: www.GAYFESTNYC.com.
R. Jonathan Chapman (Playwright, Romeo and Hamlet) graduated with a Masters in Philosophy from the University of Calgary in 2001. In 2008 he won Grand Prize for the Alberta Playwriting Competition for his full length play The Wall. His one act play the god of ordinary things was produced as part of the 2008 Ignite! Festival of emerging artists with Sage Theatre in Calgary, and a new play The Kingdom of Three will appear in Ignite! 2010. Previous work including Romeo and Hamlet, Prometheus Unplugged, and Watching Fight Club Made Me Crazy were produced in Calgary with Hidden Insanity Theatre, of which Jonathan was a co-founder. Jonathan is currently the President of the Alberta Playwrights Network, a non-profit agency providing developmental support for playwrights in the province.
F.J. Hartland (Playwright, Mother Tongue) is a playwright/actor/director currently based in Pittsburgh. In 2008 he was the recipient of a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Playwriting Fellowship. F.J.'s work has been produced a record-setting nine times in the Pittsburgh New Works Festival; other Pittsburgh venues include Bricolage Theatre, Rage of the Stage, South Park Theatre, Duquesne University, Prime Stage and PrideFest. In NYC his work has been produced by Emerging Artists Theatre, Love Creek, 13th Street Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Quaigh Theatre and Don't Tell Mama and five times in the Samuel French Off-Off-Broadway Short Play Festival.
Dionne McClain-Freeney (Music & Lyrics, This One Girl’s Story) is a pianist, singer, songwriter, choral director, arranger, musical director, teacher and actor, appearing on some of the world’s best known stages, including Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Yankee Stadium, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Don’t Tell Mama, Chicago’s Soldier Field and Millennium Park, La Bellevilloise in Paris, and the Lyon Opera House in Lyon, France, and an accompanist for some of New York tri-state area’s most beloved churches, including Canaan Baptist Church, Unity Fellowship Church, Marble Collegiate Church, and Middle Collegiate Church. As an actor, Dionne appeared in Cape May Stage’s production of Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill. She is a composer, creating music and lyrics for This One Girl’s Story, Artistic Director of TruPraise Gospel Ensemble, and a regular performer in, and consultant to France’s Absolute Gospel Festival.
Adam Siegel (Playwright, The Legacy) is the author of several plays, including The Legacy, which was the winner of the New Play Festival at South Carolina’s Centre Stage. The Legacy was also selected by HRC Showcase Theater in Hudson, NY, for a reading during their 2008-2009 season and was a semi-finalist in the Eileen Heckart Drama Competition. His previous play, Color Blind, was given a staged reading by FirstStage in Los Angeles. In addition to writing plays, Adam is the Editorial Director of Bearport Publishing, an award-winning children’s publisher. He lives in Maplewood, NJ with his partner, Gary Collins, their four children, Ben, Noah, Simon, and Eve, and their dog, Coco. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America.
Kevin Stefan (Playwright, Romeo and Hamlet), another co-founder of Hidden Insanity, is completing his M.Sc. in Civil Engineering at the University of Calgary. His previous writing credits include sketch comedy for Hidden Insanity’s “Culture Pop,” in which he also performed as the show toured the Athabasca, Edmonton and Calgary Fringe Festivals in the summer of 2002, as well as the uplifting "Tour-based Microsimulation of Urban Commercial Movements", which was published in Transportation Research Part B. Kevin currently sits on the board for the Calgary Fringe Theatre Festival.
Bil Wright (Book, This One Girl’s Story) is a novelist, playwright and director. He is the author of the critically acclaimed novels “Sunday You Learn How to Box,” “One Foot in Love” and “When the Black Girl Sings.” Directing credits include: Yasmine Rana’s The War Zone Is My Bed (San Diego premiere), Bloodsummer Rituals based on the life of poet Audre Lorde (Jerome Fellowship, N.Y. premiere), Men As I Needed Them (International Festival of New Theater and Dance, Theater Am Turm, Frankfurt, Germany) LAMI Playwriting Award for Mother, Father, Lover Man. Silencing Ning produced this spring by Emerging Artists Theatre as part of their EATfest. Member of Dramatists Guild. Graduate of NYU Tisch School of the Arts.
GAYFEST NYC, Inc., a NYS 501(c)(3) non-for-profit corporation, is an Off Broadway theatre company in New York City that nurtures playwrights and develops new LGBT plays and musicals for world stages and film and television production. GAYFEST NYC presents an annual festival showcasing those works most ready for production.GAYFEST NYC is committed to sharing its gifts and its dollars with the next generation of LGBT Americans. To this end, monies raised through ticket sales and other specialized fundraising efforts throughout the year are used to provide in-school elective programs and scholarships for students of The Harvey Milk High School. Since June 2007, GAYFEST NYC has presented twenty-three scholarships to graduating seniors and established an accredited elective Playwriting program at the school.