CATF in West Virginia Has Blessing World Premiere and Sneak Peek of Wilder Musical

News   CATF in West Virginia Has Blessing World Premiere and Sneak Peek of Wilder Musical The 2003 Contemporary American Theatre Festival (CATF) is under way in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, with four plays — including a world premiere by Lee Blessing — staged in repertory to Aug. 3.

The fest began July 11 and includes Whores, Blessing's new work about a Central American general living in America and on trial for unspeakable past crimes. Also on the slate is the developmental staging of the "erotic chamber musical," Wilder, which will get its full world premiere at Playwrights Horizons Off-Broadway in the fall.

This is the 13th season of the festival.

CATF founder and producing director Ed Herendeen directs Whores, a "satirical drama" with New York actors Shawn Elliott, Maryann Urbano, Catherine Curtin, Jenny Maguire, and Bernadette Quigley.

Also playing, but not open to reviews, is Erin Cressida Wilson's Wilder, starring James Immekus and Coleen Sexton (Broadway's Jekyll and Hyde). The production is directed by Lisa Portes and features music written and performed by Jack Herrick and Mike Craver of the Red Clay Ramblers (Sam Shepard's A Lie of the Mind).

The show is performed here under a special contract. The Wilder world premiere in Manhattan will star John Cullum. Also on the CATF slate this season are Eric Coble's child-rearing comedy Bright Ideas, starring New York actors Lee Sellars and Jennifer Mudge, directed by Herendeen. The play received its world premiere at Cleveland Playhouse last year, and was just added to the new season at MCC in New York City.

Deborah Zoe Laufer's play, The Last Schwartz, rounds out the CATF season, with New York actors Jennifer Mudge, Lee Sellars and Carolyn Swift. Lucie Tiberghien, who directed the CATF production of Craig Wright's The Pavilion two years ago, directs.

The festival also features staged readings of new plays by Blessing (Flag Day, which will be produced as part of next year's festival) and The Clandestine Crossing, a spy romp, written by Keith Glover.

For more information, visit www.catf.org.