Ensemble Studio Theatre's 19th annual OctoberFest has run, logically, as long as October does, closing the 31st on EST's two stages. Performances began Oct. 1. New playwrights and some of EST's 400 established members joined together for the month-long celebration of readings and semi-staged and fully staged productions.
Among 1999's playwrights are Leslie Ayvazian, Edward Allan Baker, Keith Alan Benjamin, Horton Foote, Arthur Giron, Bryan Goluboff, Jack Heifner, Shirley Lauro, Kaiulani Lee, Quincy Long, Peter Maloney, Ellen Maraneck, Paula Marchese, Rita Nachman, David Riedy, Sean Sutherland, Jeffrey Sweet, Cherie Vogelstein, Michael Louis Wells, Shel Silverstein and Tennessee Williams. Specific details as to which plays have been chosen and what their schedules are will be released early next week.
More than 70 plays have been on view at the fest, including:
Oct. 1, 2: How To Make A Bomb by Bruce Ellman, a comedy about a theatre critic's speech gone terribly wrong.
Oct. 3, 4: A Shiksa in Boca Raton by Rita Nachman.
Oct. 6, 7: The Last Trial of Clarence Darrow by Shirley Laura (author of Open Admissions)
Oct. 8, 9: Scenes from Eccentricities of a Nightingale by Tennessee Williams, directed by Dan Isaac
Oct. 13, 14: Hot Buttered Bourbon by Randall Cook
Oct. 15, 16: A Sense of Wonder by Kaiulani Lee
Oct. 20, 21: Dwarf Tossing by Jack Heifner
Oct. 23, 24: The Lifeboat Is Sinking by Shel Silverstein (a repeat turn from last year's Fest by the recently-deceased songwriter playwright)
Oct. 23, 24: "Horton Foote - Early Television Plays"
Oct. 27, 28: Moving Bodies by Arthur Giron, a co-founder of E.S.T.
Last year's Octoberfest program included Teresa Rebeck's Drinking Problem, Tim Gallagher's The One the Wolves Pulled Down, Paul Zindel's Every Seventeen Minutes the Crowd Goes Crazy!, Lawrence Luckinbill in his own one-man play Clarence Darrow, Silverstein's A Japanese Doll or The Lifeboat Is Sinking and Horton Foote's The Man Who Climbed the Pecan Trees.
OctoberFest 1999 is free (donations are accepted), but reservations are required. To save a place, call (212) 247-4982 one week prior to the performance date. The Ensemble Studio Theatre is located on the web at http://www.ensemblestudiotheatre.org. -- by Christine Ehren & David Lefkowitz