The work of 10 rising New York playwrights will see the printed page on Feb. 1, as "Plays and Playwrights 2002," the new play anthology from Martin Denton, the creator and editor of the theatre-based website New York Theatre Experience, is released to stores (virtual and corporeal). The volume is the third in an ongoing series, each book generally released in the first weeks of the new year.
"Plays and Playwrights 2002," features new works from this past season, each seen and selected by Denton, who also serves as chief critic for his website. The titles are:
• The Death of King Arthur by Matt Freeman
• Match by Marc Chun
• Woman Killer by Chiori Miyagawa
• The Wild Ass's Skin by J. Scott Reynolds
• Halo by Ken Urban
• Shyness Is Nice by Marc Spitz
• Reality by Curtiss I'Cook
• The Resurrectionist by Kate Chell
• Bunny's Last Night in Limbo by Peter S. Petralia
• Summerland by Brian Thorstenson.
The book will be officially launched with a reading at HERE, the Off-Off Broadway complex of theatres. Read at the 6 PM event, which is free to the public, will be scenes from: The Death of King Arthur, starring Michael Colby Jones and Sarah Dandridge; Bunny's Last Night in Limbo, starring Lu Chekowsky, Thomas Pilutik, Stephanie Sanditz and David Sochet; Woman Killer with Ronald Cohen, Brian Nishii, Shawn Randall, Margie Sharp and Sophia Skiles; and Zeke Farrow, Anderson Gabrych and Camille Shandor in Shyness Is Nice. A reception will precede the performance.
* Spitz is probably the best known of the playwrights. A contributing editor at Spin Magazine, he is the author of the plays I Wanna Be Adored, Retail Sluts, The Rise and Fall of the Farewell Drugs and ...Worry Baby. Curtiss I'Cook, meanwhile, is a member of The Present Company, which produces the annual New York International Fringe Festival.
The "Plays and Playwrights" series was born of critic Denton's wish to save some of the worthier Off-Off-Broadway plays he was reviewing from obscurity and artistic death. Keeping a mental tally of the productions he had especially admired, he later asked the playwrights for permission to publish them in a volume (the writers were paid in free copies of the resulting book).
The initial enterprise, titled "Plays and Playwrights of the New Millennium," returned its investment and continues to sell well as a popular alternative collection across the nation. The anthology has resulted in several regional productions for its showcased playwrights, the most recent begin the Amaryllis Theater Company of Philadelphia's staging of C. J. Hopkins' Horse Country.
Denton and SmartTix recently launched the "SmartNYTE" series of post play panel discussions.
—By Robert Simonson