NYCPlaywrights April 6, 2024

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Apr 6, 2024, 5:05:56 PMApr 6
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Greetings NYCPlaywrights


FOUR - The Industry Readings
This new play, which combines a dramatic story with classical flourishes, centers around an NYC string quartet on the brink of a breakup.
By Loch Lyle Music Publishing & Muse Picholine Media

Thursday, May 9 · 3 - 6pm EDT
Open Jar Studios
1601 Broadway #11th floor New York, NY 10019


The Gallery Players in Park Slope, Brooklyn, New York, is seeking plays for its 28th Annual Black Box New Play Festival to be held in January/February 2025. Each play selected will be given a black box production with non-equity actors. Playwrights must be available, if not in person, via Zoom or other virtual venue for some rehearsals and use this as an opportunity to continue work on their play.


Sesame Workshop Writers’ Room is a writing fellowship from the creators of Sesame Street. Seeking fresh new writing talent that reflect the diversity of our vast audience. Emerging storytellers who are selected to join the Writers’ Room will receive hands-on writing experience guided by Sesame Street veterans and other media industry leaders. Each participant will develop and write a pilot script for their own original kids concept.


M. T. Pockets Theatre 2024 Ten Minute Play Festival
We will be holding our annual Ten Minute Play festival this year from August 30 - Sept. 6, and we are looking for new material!

*** FOR MORE INFORMATION about these and other opportunities see the web site at ***


Christopher Durang, a Tony Award-winning playwright and a master satirist, died on Tuesday night at his home in Pipersville, Pa., in Bucks County. He was 75.

His agent, Patrick Herold, said the cause was complications of aphasia. In 2016, Mr. Durang was found to have a rare form of dementia, logopenic primary progressive aphasia. The diagnosis was made public in 2022.

An acid, impish writer, Mr. Durang never met a classic (“The Brothers Karamazov,” “The Glass Menagerie,” “Snow White”) that he couldn’t skewer. In a career spanning more than 40 years, he established himself as a hyperliterate jester and an anarchic clown. Regarding subject and theme, he pogoed from sex to metaphysics to serial killers to psychology, and he had a way of collapsing high art and jokes that aimed much lower.



Durang’s long-term memory, in particular, has remained intact. His illness manifests as a difficulty in producing and comprehending speech. He knows what he wants to say; he just can’t access the words. He also struggles to follow lengthy sentences because he can’t hold phrases in his short-term memory to put them together. Augustine compares the condition to being a toddler, where one has few words. Or, imagine you speak Spanish but not fluently. “If people come up to you and start talking quickly in Spanish and want you to answer or explain something technical to them, you know what that feeling is,” says Augustine. “You’re not out to lunch. You know what you want to say; you just don’t know the words. If people interrupt you or try to answer for you, that throws you off.”



Many of my plays have references to popular culture and personalities from the period in which they are written.  And as time has gone by, some of these references seem dated or aren’t recognized by current audiences. And I’ve been asked from time to time to “update” these references so the plays seem more current.
And in several instances I’ve tried to do that, but have found that the attempts have not been satisfactory.  Either the “updates” have frankly not been as funny as the original references; or sometimes they’ve been too tied to our current time, and you wonder why the characters don’t talk about other events and personalities from the current time.
So here’s the short version of my request and advice:  I think these plays are best done set in their original periods.
The core of these plays still seem relevant to me: Beyond Therapy is about the struggles of people trying to find relationships; Laughing Wild is about the difficulties of being alive in general, especially in the intensity of cities; Sister Mary Ignatius… is about the dangers of authoritarianism – otherwise known as strong willed people imposing their beliefs on others (and presenting beliefs as facts); Baby with the Bathwater is about how hard it is to be a parent, and how even harder to be a child; and A History of the American Film is about how the archetypes in movies express the inner dreams of Americans, and how those dreams started to go sour in the mid-60s and 70s.
(Wow!  So that’s what those plays are about.  I don’t usually analyze themes that way.)
And within those plays,  if there are references that the audience doesn’t get, I think back on myself as a child watching the movies of the 30s and 40s on television.


Playwright Christopher Durang will take to the stage in the Bucks County Playhouse production of his Tony Award-winning comedy Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike in New Hope, PA.

Durang will portray Vanya in his Chekhov-inspired, Bucks County-set comedy that will also feature Marilu Henner (Chicago, "Taxi") as Masha. Sheryl Kaller (Mothers and Sons, Next Fall) will stage the production that will run July 17-Aug. 10.

Additional casting will be announced.

Critics and audiences responded warmly to the farce that began Broadway previews March 5, 2013, and officially opened March 14. It was twice extended. The production played a total of  201 Broadway performances when it ended its run last August. It has become a popular title for regional theatres since its Broadway run.

The play received six Tony Award nominations and won for Best Play. Original cast members David Hyde Pierce, Kristine Nielsen, Shalita Grant and Billy Magnussen were also Tony-nominated, as was director Nicholas Martin. Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike was also honored with the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Broadway Play.



Durang wrote and stars in a segment of PBS’ avant-garde series “Alive From Off Center” entitled “Words on Fire.” He plays a modern-day Jack Benny who describes “man’s ability to be inactive over something that he feels passionate about,” whether it be global warming or staying in love. “Words on Fire” airs Friday at 11 p.m. on KCET.

The playwright talked to Susan King while he was in Los Angeles recently appearing at the Tiffany Theatre in his play “Laughing Wild.”

Is this your first involvement with “Alive From Off Center”?

Yes. I knew the producer of this particular episode, Wendall Harrington. She got involved in “Alive from Off Center” and called and asked if I would be interested in doing something. I like these small things you know that will actually get done. I have written a lot of movie scripts and they get put in a pile.

Did you have any guidelines to follow?

It had to have some connection to words and to fire, but it could be loose. The quote the girl (actress Kristine Nielsen) talks about in my piece was actually a quote the producer had shown to me to inspire me. I actually had trouble following the quote so I wrote it in.

You also appear in this piece. Do you like to act in your own works?

I mostly do. I am writing a play now, and assuming that it happens I wouldn’t be in that one. I am probably going to do less of my own work.


No reason. I was in the last two plays of mine in New York, and I think it’s just time I am not in the next one. I don’t know why, and then I don’t know why I chose to be in this one. This piece, “Words on Fire,” and also “Laughing Wild” are a little bit like essays and editorials. It just seems easy to do it myself.



Christopher Durang, who has devoted most of his work to talking back to a hostile and arbitrary universe, has taken up his satirist's pen to enter the hostile and arbitrary terrain created by these titanic American playwrights in "Durang Durang," an evening of short plays. He responds as he has always responded to the presence of something grave and inherently tragic: he laughs, a trifle nervously, perhaps, but very loudly. The odds are that you will, too.

"Durang Durang" opened last night with wickedly subversive timing, just one day before the premiere of "Simpatico," Mr. Shepard's new play at the Public Theater, and two days before the revival of Williams's "Glass Menagerie" at the Roundabout. Audience members who leave those productions reeling with empathetic angst need only take the short trip to Stage II of the Manhattan Theater Club to dispel the sensation. To paraphrase Mrs. Sorken, the free-associating, theatergoing matron Mr. Durang has created to introduce the evening, these are plays that find the Dramamine in drama.

Like most work by this uneven, prodigiously gifted playwright, "Durang Durang" is both endearing and exasperating. It can seem as juvenile and predictable as a wisecracking college revue, but then it opens up into moments of coruscating comic insight that soars way beyond the material's ostensibly limited nature. Mr. Durang has generally worked better in short, explosive fragments than in sustained narratives. Now in his mid-40's, he shows no signs of growing into a conventional storyteller. But do we really want him to?



David Hyde Pierce & Christopher Durang | Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Director David Hyde Pierce and playwright Christopher Durang discuss the process of bringing this hit comedy to the stage and to the Mark Taper Forum.
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