The Youngblood collective provides guidance, support and exposure for up-and-coming professional playwrights through weekly meetings that allow members to present full-length works in progress. The program also features creative retreats to the Lexington Center for the Arts, new works festivals, and a fully-supported main stage production of the group's most production-ready work.
"Every time we put together a Thicker Than Water collection, we're astounded at the amount of incredible material our member writers can generate in a year's time," said EST co-artistic director R.J. Tolan in a recent statement. "This year we've included two short musicals which is a first for the collection."
The productions featured in Thicker Than Water 2008 follow:
508 by Amy Herzog.
Marlo Hunter directs Julie Fitzpatrick and Miguel Govea in the work where "young ex-lovers confront a strange area code on their joint cell phone bill."
La Fete penned by Daria Polatin.
"On Christmas in Paris, a mother and daughter tear into each other with the new stepdad caught in the crossfire." R.J. Tolan directs a cast that features Geneva Carr, Lucy DeVito and Grant Shaud. For Candy by Michael Sendrow.
David Gelles-Hurwitz and Grant Shaud appear under the direction of Marlo Hunter in Sendrow's work where "a dead letter forces a reckoning between a widower and his son."
It'll Soon Be Here, a new musical written by Delaney Britt Brewer, with music by Eric Kuehnemann.
"Love at the (Bill) Clinton inaugural: a one-hit wonder helps her daughter find romance." Abigail Zealey Bess directs a cast that includes Debbie Lee Jones, Jenny Greer and Lance Rubin.
Red Blue and Purple, written by Justin Deabler.
Michael Goldfried directs Kelli Lynn Harrison and Miguel Govea in this work about "a smalltown boy [who has made] good faces the friend he left behind."
Co-Op The Musical, written by Courtney Lauria and Matt Schatz, with music and lyrics by Matt Schatz.
Jordan Young directs Julie Fitzpatrick and Steve Boyer in the musical where love unexpectedly blooms in an Oregon produce market.
Both penned by Emily Chadick Weiss.
"Sex, betrayal, heartbreak, sex: the furious pace of freshman year at a northwestern university" are the central themes to the work featuring Steve Boyer, David Gelles-Hurwitz, Jenny Greer, Lance Rubin and Maureen Sebastian, under the direction of Alexa Polmer.
The creative team for all Thicker Than Water 2008 productions comprises set designer Maiko Chii, lighting designer Evan Purcell; costume designer Danielle Schembre and sound designere David Lawson.
Thicker Than Water also boasts two new full-length works-in-progress by Jihan Crowther and Michael Lew; a Youngblood cabaret; late-night standup comedy; and a playwriting "mashup" in conjunction with the Ma-Yi Writers Lab.
The Thicker Than Water festival will officially open Feb. 4 and continue through March 1 at the Ensemble Studio Theatre, located at 549 West 52nd Street in Manhattan.
Tickets are available by calling (212) 352-3101. For further information visit www.ensemblestudiotheatre.org.