Emerging playwrights Cherylene Lee, John Henry Redwood (The Old Settler), Tommy Shepard and Dan Wolf (Beatbox: A Raparetta) are in the spotlight at San Jose Repertory's New America Playwrights Festival May 20 and 21 at the Villa Montalvo. The four playwrights will have staged readings of their works presented at the historic Estate for the Arts in Saratoga.
Lee starts off the Fest with her tale of child stardom in the 1960's, Lost Vegas Acts, being read May 20 at 3 PM. The Chinese American playwright has created a new musical loosely based on her travels from Las Vegas to the Ed Sullivan Show as one part of the song and dance sensation, the Lee Sisters. Donald Eldon Wescoat composed the score. Megs Booker directs.
Redwood, produced across the country with his Old Settler, now turns to a group of tenants living in an apartment building in South Orange, New Jersey, where Aeneas Jappa, the superintendent, suspects one of them of hiding a dark secret. The Darkest Hour Before the Dawn, described as "part romance, part mystery, part courtroom drama," will be read May 21 at 11 AM. Amy Gonzalez directs.
Is Life a Dream? ask the Gen X protagonists of Shepard and Wolf's adaptation of Pedro Calderon de la Barca's Life Is a Dream, reading May 21 at 3 PM. Infusing the classic drama of honor and youth struggling in a world of corruption with rap, movement and song, the playwrights update the story to modern times. John McCluggage directs.
Single tickets are $5 with lunch and show packages available. Villa Montalvo is located at 15400 Montalvo Road. For reservations, call (408) 367-7255. San Jose Repertory is on the web at http://www.sjrep.com. -- By Christine Ehren