TheatreSquared announces 2014 Arkansas New Play Festival

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2014 ARKANSAS NEW PLAY FESTIVAL in Fayetteville and Little Rock, June 7-15, 2014

Major expansion for sixth annual festival adds fully staged workshop production

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS — April 30, 2014 — TheatreSquared Artistic Director Robert Ford and Executive Director Martin Miller announced today the lineup of new plays for TheatreSquared's sixth annual Arkansas New Play Festival. For the first time, the festival will include a fully staged workshop production — B Side: Myself, a new play with rock music by Arkansas playwright Jamey McGaugh. Staged reading performances will include Just Like Us by Karen Zacarías, What God Had Wrought by John Walch, and Disfarmer by Werner Trieschmann. Performances will be held in Little Rock in partnership with the Arkansas Repertory Theatre on June 7-8, 2014, and in Fayetteville at TheatreSquared (505 W. Spring St.) June 12-15, 2014. New Play Passes granting access to all Northwest Arkansas performances are on sale now for $35 at the Walton Arts Center Box Office, and may be reserved by calling (479) 443-5600 or visiting theatre2.org. A PDF of the Festival schedule is available for download here.

"New plays are the lifeblood of the American theatre," said Ford. "For three weeks in June, we give playwrights the unparalleled opportunity to develop new scripts in close collaboration with professional actors, dramaturgs and directors. At the end of this intensive creative process, audiences in Fayetteville and Little Rock will be given unusual access to these bold new plays before they take the national stage — and directly impact how they are shaped."

"As Arkansas's only professional outlet for playwrights to develop new work, this festival is incredibly important to us and to our audiences," said Miller. "We are thrilled to have new support to the festival to include a fully staged production for the first time this year," said Miller. The 2014 Arkansas New Play Festival is supported by a $15,000 ArtWorks grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and by a major gift from TheatreSquared patron Barbara Bennett Shadden, in memory of Harry S. Shadden. 

B Side: Myself by Jamey McGaugh will feature original music performed by a live rock band and will be fully staged. It’s the musician’s nightmare: the audition of a lifetime with a deep-pocketed record producer and an international rock star, but the rest of the band is nowhere to be found. This fully staged workshop production will be directed by Sean Patrick Reilly and feature cast members Jim Goza, Kieran Cronyn, Bob Hart, Maggie Ferran, and Coleman Clark as well as musicians Kate Knox, Dan Robinson, Brian McCue, and Bryan Tamara. Thursday 6/12, 7pm; Saturday 6/14, 8pm; Sunday 6/15, 6pm.

Three new works will receive rehearsed staged readings at the 2014 Arkansas New Play Festival. JustLike Us by Karen Zacarías, who is playwright-in-residence at Arena Stage, was originally premiered in Denver and is being substantially reimagined for the festival. Based on Helen Thorpe’s bestselling book, this new play follows four Latina girls whose immigration status begins to erode their opportunities — and their friendships. Directed by Tlaloc Rivas. Friday 6/13, 6pm.

Zacarías will also be the featured guest for the Fayetteville Public Library's Author Series in June, and will lead a free playwriting workshop at the library (6/12, 12pm) as well as a public discussion forum hosted by Ozarks at Large host Kyle Kellams (6/11, 6pm). More information is available on the library's website.

Disfarmer, by Werner Trieschmann, returns for its third year of development at the Arkansas New Play Festival (2009, 2011) in newly expanded form. Based on a true story, this comedic portrait tells the tale of an eccentric photographer from Heber Springs, Arkansas, who in the early forties charged townsfolk and visitors to have their pictures taken—and decades later caused a minor speculative mania when New York gallery owners “discovered” his work and descended on the small Arkansas town. Directed by Keira Fromm. Friday 6/13, 8pm.

What God Hath Wrought, by John Walch, is a "transatlantic farce" with original music. Customer Service Superagent Meg Chambers can handle any request — she’s the last stop on the Habañero’s service line, dealing with escalated complaints about everything from exploding burritos to too-weak salsa. But when a mysterious Morse code message comes in from, apparently, 1857, she may finally have met her match.  New York-based playwright John Walch is the winner of the American Theatre Critics Association’s Osborn Award. Directed by Shana Gold. Saturday 6/14, 4pm.

Special performances at the 2014 festival will include the Arkansas Young Playwrights Showcase, featuring six ten-minute plays by Arkansas high school students (Saturday, 6/14,  2pm); and the eigth annual 24 Hour Play-Off, pitting teams of artists against each other to come up with the best original ten-minute play with just 24 hours to write and rehearse (Sunday, 6/15, 6pm).

The performance schedule for June 7-8 in Little Rock will be announced in early May, with tickets on sale at that time via the Arkansas Repertory Theatre at (501) 378-0405 or therep.org.

New Play Passes for TheatreSquared's 2014 Arkansas New Play Festival performances in Fayetteville are on sale now for $35 through the Walton Arts Center Box Office. Passes grant access to all performances, including special events and an opening reception catered by Table Mesa Bistro. To reserve passes, patrons should call (479) 443-5600 or visit theatre2.org. A limited number of "30 under 30" passes for patrons under the age of 30 are available as well ($15). Single tickets for individual performances will go on sale in mid-May.

TheatreSquared’s locally produced and nationally acclaimed productions reach 28,000 patrons each year. The company is Northwest Arkansas’s only year-round professional theatre, offering a unique audience experience in its intimate 175-seat theatre at Walton Arts Center’s Nadine Baum Studios. In 2011, TheatreSquared was recognized by the American Theatre Wing, founder of the Tony Awards, as one of the nation’s ten most promising emerging theatres. For further information, contact TheatreSquared at (479) 443-5600 or visit theatre2.org.

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The 2014 Arkansas New Play Festival is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and by Barbara Bennett Shadden, in memory of Harry S. Shadden.

Major funding for the TheatreSquared Season 9 is provided by The Walton Family Foundation, Inc.; by The Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation; by Joel and Lynn Carver, Margaret and Dick Rutherford and Nick and Carolyn Cole; and by the Arkansas Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.

Major marketing support for TheatreSquared Season 9 is provided by the Fayetteville Advertising and Promotions Commission. Media sponsors include NWA Media, CitiScapes, KUAF, Mailco USA and The Fayetteville Flyer.