Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Yasmine Beverly Rana to read in Warsaw

Yasmine Beverly Rana will be reading from The War Zone is My Bed and Other Plays in Warsaw. The first reading will be at TR Warszawa, Monday, April 23 at 7 pm. On Friday, April 27, the reading will be at Museum of Modern Art Warsaw at 6 pm.

The War Zone is My Bed and Other Plays follows journeys of spiritual destruction and redemption from the banks of the Mississippi River and the fallen levees of New Orleans to the conflict-ravaged streets of Sarajevo and Kabul, as the characters attempt to seek and sustain love in violent circumstances.

In the title play, The War Zone is My Bed, a prostitute from Kabul and a journalist from Bosnia stumble through a maze of brutality to find solace within each other. In Blood Sky a traumatic event is triggered by a mysterious, animalistic call. Also collected here are Returning, in which a photographer from Sarajevo is torn between his role as an artist and victim of war and Paradise, where, as the Mississippi River rises, two lovers who are also illegal immigrants, debate whether they should stay in New Orleans and risk their lives or flee—and, thereby reveal their illegal status.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Winners of the 29th Annual New Jersey Young Playwrights Contest

Playwrights Theatre is pleased to announce the winners of the 29th Annual New Jersey Young Playwrights Contest. From the 261 plays submitted by young writers throughout the state, a panel of theatre professionals has selected four High School plays, three Junior High School plays and three Elementary Schools plays. In each category, plays were selected without knowledge of playwrights' schools or grade. Judges were not provided with any of the playwrights' information. The 29th Annual New Jersey Young Playwrights Contest Festival will be held on May 21 and May 22 as part of a partnership between Playwrights Theatre and Premiere Stages at Kean University. Select plays from this festival will be reprised at Playwrights Theatre’s nationally-recognized Forum Reading Series in December 2012. This reading series brings together writers from all over the United States.

The plays will be presented at the University Center's Little Theatre at Kean University on Monday, May 21 at 7 pm for the Elementary and Junior High Division winners and on Tuesday, May 22 at 7 pm for the High School Division winners’ plays. The readings will feature professional actors and directors and reservations can be made by calling 973-514-1787 X21 or via email Admission to the readings is free, but reservations are required, as seating is limited.

In the High School Division (grades 10-12), the winners are:
Monster by Samuel Gelman, 12th grade, The Pingry School
The Mystery Madame of 110 and Broadway by Emma Hathaway, 11th grade, Bergen County Academies
Must-Read by Isabelle Ingato, 11th grade, Toms River High School East
Disneyland by Alina Sodano, 11th grade, Bergen County Academies

The aforementioned winners will receive a New Jersey Governor’s Award in Arts Education, which is co-sponsored by New Jersey Arts Education Partnership and the New Jersey Department of Education, at the Governor’s Awards Ceremony on May 10 at 4:30 pm at the War Memorial in Trenton. The Governor’s Award is the highest honor in arts education in New Jersey.

In the Junior High School Division (grades 7-9), the winners are:
It Always Would
by Emma Q. Baxter, 7th grade, Randolph Middle School
Fame in the Family by Madeleine Granovetter, 9th grade, Glen Ridge High School
Only Strangers by Nicole Zanchelli, 9th grade, Mount Saint Mary Academy

In the Elementary School Division (grades 4-6), the winners are:
by Elizabeth Kilgore, 5th grade, St. Vincent Martyr School
The Time Travelers by Jason Li, 6th grade, Cranbury School
From Geek to Chic by Mollie Sullivan, 4th grade, Torey J. Sabatini School

Samuel Gelman (High School) and Elizabeth Kilgore (Elementary) were winners in their respective divisions last year. For the past two years, Emma Q. Baxter has submitted plays to contest and she was recognized last year with an Honorable Mention. Mollie Sullivan’s (Elementary) play was presented in March 2012 during the Madison Young Playwrights Festival.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Playwrights Theatre’s Staff Members To Speak on New York University Young Audience Panel

The “Which Way TYA? New Directions for Theater for Young Audiences” conference will be held at New York University on April 27-29, 2012. For a schedule of events and to register, visit

Playwrights Theatre’s Director of Education (and New York University Ph.D. candidate in Educational Theatre), Jim DeVivo, will be presenting “The New Jersey Young Playwrights Festival: Cultivating Young Artists in the Garden State”. He will be joined by former New Jersey Young Playwrights Festival winners Summer Dawn Hortillosa, Constantine Lignos and Justine DeSilva.

John Pietrowski, Playwrights Theatre’s Artistic Director and a 2012 recipient of the New Jersey New Jersey State Council on the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship in Playwriting, will be part of a plenary keynote panel entitles “The Writer, The Future.” He will be joined by Theatre for Young Audiences playwright and author, Sandra Fenichel Asher and playwright/director Brendan Murray from the United Kingdom.

The program will also include Theatre for Young Audiences directors, writers and artists from across the world: Dr. Gerd Taube (Frankfurt, Germany), Dr. Manon van de Water (U of Wisconsin), Martin Drury (Irish Arts Council), Mary Rose Lloyd (New Victory, New York), Kim Peter Kovac (Kennedy Center, Washington DC), Peter C Brosius (CTC, Minneapolis), Roxanne Schroeder-Arce (U of Texas) and David Wood (London, England).

The Forum, convened by NYU guest professor and former Unicorn Artistic Director Tony Graham, is designed for TYA practitioners, researchers in TYA and applied theatre, educators, and students of educational theatre. The weekend-long event will offer panel discussions, workshops, and narratives, as well as opportunities to see current theatre for young audiences in New York City at special ticket prices. Mr. Graham notes: “I think that all our work, whether in the classroom or in the theater, asks the same question: how much of our work is ‘ought’, and how much is driven by art?” The Forum will examine key issues in the future of TYA, including cultural translation, self-censorship and morality, the role of the playwright and dramaturg in new works, new trends and innovations in TYA including Theatre for the Very Young (TVY), and issues of participation and youth in TYA.

Mr. Graham added: “At the Forum, we’re going to be blasted with a whole lot of fresh thinking, and we’ll see more clearly where we want to be heading!”

Jim DeVivo is a teaching artist who specializes in creating theatre with, for, and by young people. He is a PhD candidate in the Program in Educational Theatre at the Steinhardt School of Education at NYU and an adjunct at NYU and Middlesex County College. For Playwrights Theatre, Jim coordinates the New Jersey Writers Project residencies, the Creative Arts Academy classes, and the statewide and local Young Playwrights Festivals. At NYU, Jim is the Artistic Associate for the New Plays for Young Audiences Series at the Provincetown Playhouse. Jim has presented at national conferences for the American Alliance for Theatre and Education (AATE) and the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) regarding his work in playwriting and new play development for young people. Jim's work with teachers includes workshops in drama-in-education practices at the NJEA Convention and at secondary schools across New York and New Jersey. He is a frequent reader/adjudicator for local and nationwide writing and recitation contests and consulted on the theatre exit exams for the NJ Department of Education. As an actor, Jim performed with the New Plays for Young Audiences Series and with the Artpark Repertory Theatre in Lewiston, NY. As a dramaturg, he has worked with undergraduate playwriting students at Niagara University and NYU. Jim is the recipient of the Lowell S. and Nancy Swortzell Graduate Scholarship (2008-2009), a member of the Liverpool (NY) Central School District Fine Arts Hall of Fame, a member of the advisory board for the Union County Academy of Performing Arts, and a recipient of a NJ Governor's Award in Arts Education (2009).

John Pietrowski is currently the Artistic Director of Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey (PTNJ), where he has overseen the nationwide New Play Development Program, the New Jersey Writers Project (in partnership with the New Jersey State Council on the Arts), PTNJ Creative Arts Academy, Poetry Out Loud, New Jersey Emerging Women Playwrights Program, and the Literary Artists Fellowship (both in partnership with NJSCA) for the past twenty-six years. He has directed numerous world premier productions at Playwright Theatre, as well as NJRep, Oldcastle Theatre, Premiere Stages, Shadowland Theatre, The Growing Stage (a TYA Theatre), and What Exit? Theatre, to name a few. His direction of the TYA play A Midnight Cry at The Growing Stage (TGS) was chosen by Bank of America as their representative NJ production for Black History Month in 2008, and he recently directed a production of Mother Hicks with a deaf and mute actor in the role of Tuck at TGS. As an actor, he played the role of Andrew Schrag in David Wiltse’s Sedition at both Playwrights Theatre and Shadowland, and Zeblyan in Two Jews Walk into a War, at PTNJ, NJRep, Shadowland, and InterAct Theatres. He designed the original curriculum for PTNJ’s Juvenile Justice program, was the Program Director for the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Theatre Program for Teachers and Playwrights, and currently teaches at Fairleigh Dickinson University and Kean University. His plays have been performed at Foundation Theatre, Loaves and Fish Theatre Company and Playwrights Theatre, and his most recent play, Dura Mater, was the basis of his being awarded a Playwriting Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. He holds a BS in Performance Studies from Northwestern University, an MPA from Seton Hall University in nonprofit management, and is currently working towards a Master Certificate in Creative Placemaking in the first ever offering of this program at Rutgers University. He is married to stage manager and properties designer Danielle Constance Pietrowski.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

In Rehearsals for the STAGES Festival

Brian Parks, Edward Furs, Andrea Bianchi, Natalie Wilder, Scott Cagney in last week's STAGES rehearsal with John Pietrowski. Readings were from Playwrights Theatre Adult Playwriting Class which runs year-round. Run by Playwrights Theatre’s Artistic Director John Pietrowski (a recent recipient of a New Jersey State Council on the Arts Playwriting Fellowship), students range from beginners to highly experienced writers who have received NJSCA Playwriting Fellowships.

John Pietrowski directs Brian Parks, Michele Morgan, Tony Robinson in CLOSET DRAMA by Allen Crossett in NJTA's STAGES festival. Allen is part of Playwrights Theatre Adult Playwriting Class which runs year-round. For more info on the class, visit

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Former New Jersey Young Playwrights Festival state winner and Playwrights Theatre Board Member, Judah Skoff's, play A MATTER OF DREAMS will be presented at William Patterson University, April 12 - 29, 2012.

Our dreams can scare or entice us. Our faith guides us through them to different paths and people. How they are handled in A MATTER OF DREAMS might surprise you. Set primarily in Hoboken, NJ, Adam, who has rejected his Jewish upbringing, and Claire, a mysterious woman, embark on a psychosexual journey into the darkest parts of their desires. This causes problems for Deena, Adam’s best friend, a “single Jewish woman,” who wants to live the Jewish life. Her relationship with Noah, a cultural snob who looks down on Hoboken, becomes emotionally devastating, forcing her to question her own belief in a Jewish family.

For more details and to purchase tickets, visit