Inge Festival Honoring Durang Begins April 23; Pawk Directs Picnic

News   Inge Festival Honoring Durang Begins April 23; Pawk Directs Picnic The 27th annual William Inge Theatre Festival, honoring playwright Christopher Durang, kicks off April 23.

The four-day festival named in honor of the Pulitzer Prize and Academy Award-winning playwright, offers workshops and guest lectures in performance, playwriting and directing.

For the first evening of the festival, Tony Award winner Michelle Pawk stages Inge's Picnic at 7:30 PM. Pawk appeared in last season's Transport Group revival of Inge's The Dark at the Top of the Stairs.

The second evening of the festival features a concert presentation of Adam Bock's The Flowers. Bock will also be presented with the Inge Festival's Otis Guernsey New Voices Award on April 24.

On the final day of the festival, Durang will be awarded the William Inge Theatre Festival Distinguished Achievement in the American Theatre Award. Previous theatre artists honored by the festival include Jerry Bock & Sheldon Harnick, John Kander & Fred Ebb, Wendy Wasserstein, John Guare, Horton Foote, Stephen Sondheim, Arthur Miller, August Wilson, Neil Simon and Edward Albee.

Peter Ellenstein, the Inge Center's artistic director, said in a statement, "We are excited to honor one of modern theatre's funniest and most topical playwrights, whose noteworthy achievements include inspiring a new generation of young playwrights." Durang, known for his satirical style, has penned Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You, Beyond Therapy, Baby with the Bathwater, Betty's Summer Vacation, The Marriage of Bette and Boo, Laughing Wild, Miss Witherspoon and the recent Off-Broadway musical Adrift in Macao. Durang is currently co-director of the playwriting program at the Juilliard School of Drama.

A native of Independence, KS, Pulitzer Prize and Oscar-winning writer William Inge is known for his works Picnic; Bus Stop; Come Back, Little Sheba; A Loss of Roses; and the semi-autobiographical The Dark At the Top of the Stairs. Inge won an Academy Award for his screenplay for "Splendor in the Grass."

The William Inge Theatre Festival is held at the playwright's alma mater, the Independence Community College, from April 23- 26. For more information on the Inge Festival and other Inge Center activities, contact (800) 842-6063, ext. 5835 or visit www.ingecenter.org.