Among the notable players involved are Elizabeth Waterston (Much Ado About Nothing in Central Park) and Lizbeth MacKay (The Clean House), who will appear in Father Joy; Todd Cerveris (The Booth Variations), Anna Chlumsky (the "My Girl" films) and Vin Knight (No Great Society), who will act in The Butcherhouse Chronicles; Del Pentecost (Debbie Does Dallas), Maria Striar (artistic director of Off-Broadway's Clubbed Thumb) and Colleen Werthmann (Miss Witherspoon), all part of the Marge cast; and Tuck Milligan (The Kentucky Cycle) and Judith Hawking (The Soldier's Wife), stars of Hardball.
For the third year running, the Summer Play Festival takes over Off-Broadway's Theatre Row in July. Dates are July 5-30 for the 15 featured plays.
SPF presents all the shows in four of the five theatres in the Theatre Row Complex, including The Beckett, The Clurman, The Kirk and The Lion. The schedule for the plays runs as follows:
Week 1, July 5-9: Millicent Scowlworthy, Splitting Infinity, and The Squirrel
Week 2, July 11-16: The Butcherhouse Chronicles, Hitting the Wall, Father Joy, and Gardening Leave
Week 3, July 18-23: A Wive’s Tale, Training Wisteria, Spain, and Marge
Week 4, July 25-30: Hardball, Sonia Flew, The Fearless and Swansong
A complete calendar of shows, including times, can be found at the SPF website: www.spfnyc.com. The complete list of plays and directors is as follows:The Butcherhouse Chronicles by Michael Hidalgo, directed by Thomas Caruso "is about four high school students looking for their missing history teacher."Father Joy by Sheri Wilner, directed by Pam MacKinnon, "is a fantastical comedy about a girl whose father is actually disappearing before her very eyes." The play has been seen at the O’Neill Playwrights Conference, Rattlestick Theater and The Old Vic Theatre in London.The Fearless by Etan Frankel, directed by Scott Schwartz, "follows the decade-long journey of three friends who formed a rock band in college."Gardening Leave by Joanna Pinto, directed by Michael Goldfried, "finds a lonely older British man whose life is turned around when a pretty young Iranian woman comes to help with his rooftop garden."Hardball by Victoria Stewart, directed by Lou Jacob, "is a comedy about a rising female Republican political pundit."Hitting the Wall by Barbara Blumenthal-Ehrlich, directed by Drew Barr, "is a dark comedy about a pair of neighbors putting their lives together after the death of one of their children."Marge by Peter Morris, directed by Alex Timbers, "is a comedy about a man who hires a prostitute to help murder his wife." The play was presented at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and workshopped at Soho Rep. Millicent Scowlworthy by Rob Handel, directed by Ken Rus Schmoll, is a “ripped from the headlines” story "that finds teenagers reenacting a murder that took place in their community." The play was supported at the O’Neill, Rattlestick and The Flea. Sonia Flew by Melinda Lopez, directed by Justin Waldman, "follows a Cuban exile haunted by the memories of her past when her son announces his intention to join the Marines." The play has been seen at the Huntington Theatre Company and the Contemporary American Theater Festival.Spain by Jim Knable, directed by Jeremy Dobrish, "is a comedy about a woman, recently separated from her husband, who encounters a sixteenth-century conquistador in her twenty-first century living room."Splitting Infinity by Jamie Pachino, directed by Matt Shakman, "is about two old friends, a Rabbi and an astrophysicist who wants to prove that God does not exist." The play has been developed at Steppenwolf, Hartford Stage, American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco and ACT Seattle.The Squirrel by Alex Moggridge, directed by Patrick McNulty, "is a comedy that follows a woman and her oversensitive husband, overbearing sister, and a man she just hit with her car." Swansong by Patrick Page, directed by David Muse, "is a fictitious story about real life playwright Ben Johnson putting together the first Folio of William Shakespeare's work after the Bard's death." The play was nominated in 2002 for Best Play by the American Theatre Critics Association, and has seen readings at Arizona Theatre Co. and The Producer’s Club, among others.Training Wisteria by Molly Smith Metzler, directed by Evan Cabnet, "combines a dysfunctional family with a dirty yard and home improvement on the evening of the son's graduation party."
A Wive's Tale by Christina Ham, directed by Rosemary Andress, "is a futuristic drama about a group of barren women in the future conspiring to create the perfect society." *
The three-year-old festival recently spawned its first New York commercial production in Kenny Finkle's Indoor/Outdoor, recently Off-Broadway at DR2. That play was seen at the 2005 festival.
The festival is the brainchild of producer Arielle Tepper. The festival covers production costs of all the shows, making it a much cushier environment for artists than, say, the New York International Fringe Festival, in which participants pay a nonrefundable $500 fee and pay for all aspects of mounting the show, save renting a space. Additionally, the festival holds no rights to the shows at any times.