The 11th Annual New Works Festival of workshops and classes is scheduled from June 11-20. The festival will culminate June 20-22 with staged readings of plays and a special dance presentation. The development is done far from the eyes of critics and big-city theatregoers — at the famous performing arts camp and school in the Colorado mountains.
Now in its 95th year, Perry-Mansfield, founded by Charlotte Perry and Portia Mansfield, is recognized as the oldest continuously operating performing arts school and camp in the nation.
The Perry-Mansfield New Works Festival, co-chaired by James Steinberg and Karolynn Lestrud, "brings performing arts professionals together in the Rocky Mountains to develop new pieces of drama, musical theatre and dance, and to mentor new talent in each medium."
The 2008 New Works Festival welcomes the addition of New York's Atlantic Theater Company to the successful artistic partnership with Actors Theatre of Louisville, Denver Center Theatre Company, and Off-Broadway's Primary Stages. The New Works Festival continues Perry-Mansfield's founding principle of nurturing new talent with new work.
Andrew Leynse and Primary Stages will bring the new play with music, Mama Hated Diesels: The Songs and Stories of the American Truck Driver, conceived and adapted by Randal Myler and Dan Wheetman (Tony Award nominees for It Ain't Nothin' But The Blues; Joseph Jefferson Award nominees for Fire On The Mountain). "The play is based on actual interviews from truck drivers and their families, and is filled with hard-drivin' traditional trucker tunes," according to festival notes. Myler will also direct.
Marc Masterson and Actors Theatre of Louisville will bring Wild Blessings — a Celebration of Wendell Berry, "a collage piece from the writings of poet and philosopher Wendell Berry," created by Marc Masterson and Adrien-Alice Hansel. Masterson will also direct.
Kent Thompson and the Denver Center Theatre Company will bring playwright Rogelio Martinez (Fizz, Learning Curve) to workshop a new play entitled When Tang Met Laika, billed this way: "In the 1990s Americans and Russians started to work together building the International Space Station. With more than a half century of hostilities under their space suits, can two old foes start to trust one another again? A play about the Cold War warming up, a space shuttle program finding its purpose as it nears retirement, one very large robotic arm, weightlessness, and a gun." Directed by Terrence J. Nolen.
Neil Pepe and Atlantic Theater Company will bring a new musical What's That Smell: The Music of Jacob Sterling, with book and lyrics by David Pittu and music by Randy Redd. It's called "an absurd musical-theatre satire featuring songs and stories from the fictitious career of composer-lyricist Jacob Sterling and presented in a cable talk show format. A rare opportunity to catch up with an artist of questionable gifts as he discusses his inspiration and performs from his stunning repertoire of misbegotten shows." It stars David Pittu, a Tony Award nominee for LoveMusik. It's co-directed by Pepe and Pittu.
All rehearsals and performances will take place at Perry-Mansfield, 40755 Routt County Road 36, Steamboat Springs, CO. Free open rehearsals will take place June 11-20.
Single tickets for each presentation are $15 for performances June 20-22 and will be available for purchase after June 1. A special Festival Weekend Ticket Package is available for $65 and includes all staged play readings, dance presentation and festival reception.
For tickets and information call (800) 430-2787 or (970) 879-7125, or visit the website at www.perry-mansfield.org.
June Lindenmayer is executive director of Perry-Mansfield's New Works Festival. Andrew Leynse is artistic director.