One new, fully staged play -- by Guillermo "His-Panic Breakdown Reyes -- and several concert readings, will comprise the 1997-98 season for Playwrights Theatre Of New Jersey. "Who said, `Getting there is half the fun?" asks the season slogan; "It's the best part!"
Playwrights Theatre of NJ in Madison has always been more about development than full-fledged productions, though Reyes' latest, Miss Consuelo, will have professionally designed sets, lighting and costumes. Said producing artistic director John Pietrowski, "The audience participates in the journey from the playwright's page to the performer's stage. Freewheeling discussions contribute to the eventual success of the play. It's fun."
Running Oct. 31-Nov. 16, Miss Consuelo tells of a Mexican immigrant in Los Angeles struggling to write the romance novel she hopes will open the gates of success. Reyes' Men On The Verge Of A His-Panic Breakdown played a successful Off-Broadway engagement this spring. His previous plays include The Seductions Of Johnny Diego and Dead Bolivians On A Raft.
Plays selected for the theatre's Concert Reading Series include Dear Digby, adapted from a novel by Carol Muske-Dukes by artistic director Joseph Megel and Elisabeth Lewis Corley (Sept. 12-13); The Good Daughter by Dolores Whiskeyman (Dec. 12-13) and The Art Lovers by Robert Clyman (Jan. 16-17, 1998), and Hymns For The Drowning by Akhil Sharma (Feb. 20-21, 1998).
Reading series plays are performed with minimal props and movement, scripts in hand. Admission is free. Also on tap for Playwrights Theatre of NJ, now beginning its 12th season, are "roundtable" readings for brand new scripts being readied for further development. Only subscribers at the sponsorship level, theatre volunteers, and theatre professionals are admitted.
According to a spokesperson for the theatre, open submissions are accepted Sept.-April. "Everything gets read sooner or later, and we have chosen several plays this way."
Producing Artistic Director John Pietrowski told Playbill On-Line he's proud that the theatre has taken on "a more diversified" group of playwrights for development and pointed to previous works developed at the theatre that have gone on to life elsewhere, including Kitty Chen's Eating Chicken Feet, Keith Glover's Coming Of The Hurricane and Haris [sic] Orkin's Dada.
Classes taught at the theatre include "Creative Dramatics" for 4th-9th graders and a playwriting seminar for adults given by John Morrison.
For information about the Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey season call (201) 514-1940.
--By David Lefkowitz