Summer Play Fest Launches in NYC With Vrooommm!, Unfold Me, Lower Ninth, My Wandering Boy

News   Summer Play Fest Launches in NYC With Vrooommm!, Unfold Me, Lower Ninth, My Wandering Boy The fourth annual Summer Play Festival, boasting 16 new plays in repertory in four one-week chunks, begins July 10 at Theatre Row on West 42nd Street in Manhattan.
Lower Ninth director Daniel Goldstein
Lower Ninth director Daniel Goldstein Photo by Aubrey Reuben

This rare American showcase produced by Arielle Tepper offers emerging work in fully-produced stagings under one roof, in four intimate venues within the Theatre Row complex. Playwrights learn more about their writing from audience feedback and reviews — to say nothing of the questions that directors, designers and actors provide.

The festival — known and marketed as SPF, with a bottle of suntan lotion as its logo — has a rare summer-stock-in-the-city sort of feel, and for mavens of new plays, it's becoming a major must-attend event. (And at $10 a ticket, it's one of the most affordable theatregoing experiences around.) Producers, artistic directors, agents and other industry folk hover around the works like bees over flowers.

The festival continues to Aug. 5 and includes other events and programs.

The first week includes My Wandering Boy by Julie Marie Myatt, Unfold Me by Joy Tomasko, Vrooommm! A NASComedy by Janet Allard and Beau Willimon's Lower Ninth, about two men trapped on a New Orleans roof after a hurricane.

Festival venues are the Kirk, Clurman, Beckett and Lion Theatres. Visit < a href=http://www.spfny.com>www.spfnyc.com for more information about specific times and dates for productions.

WEEK ONE: July 10-15

  • My Wandering Boy
    Written by Julie Marie Myatt
    Directed by John Gould Rubin
    "Emmett Boudin is missing. A private detective hired to find him uncovers a trail filled with those who fiercely protect his secrets. a drama about discovery in the vast landscape of America."
  • Lower Ninth
    Written by Beau Willimon
    Directed by Daniel Goldstein
    "A storm of horrific proportions has stranded two men on the roof of their home. They struggle with heat, thirst, and each other. How long can they survive before desperation kicks in?"
  • Unfold Me
    Written by Joy Tomasko
    Directed by Linsay Firman
    "Daniel picks up the clothes of dead people for a charity shop. His girlfriend Lynn cleans them. In this love story, when Lynn becomes ill, two mysterious strangers come calling."
  • Vrooommm! A NASComedy
    Written by Janet Allard
    Directed by David Lee
    "Holly 'Leggs' Nelson, the first woman on the NASCAR circuit, is so fast that everyone thinks she's cheating. Rookie of the Year, "Hotshot," wants to know her better — or does he want to learn her secrets? A fast-paced comedy about life on the car-racing circuit." WEEK TWO: July 17-22


  • Cipher
    Written by Cory Hinkle
    Directed by Kip Fagan
    "In a secret location, two clerks monitor the thoughts of suspected terrorists. When their assignment gets tough, they begin to ask questions — which is a dangerous thing to do."
  • The Gabriels
    Written by Van Badham
    Directed by Rebecca Patterson
    "Over Easter weekend an unconventional family awaits the arrival of their children. The reunion makes for a surprising holiday as bridges are burned and rebuilt and all face beliefs very different from their own."
  • Half of Plenty
    Written by Lisa Dillman
    Directed by Meredith McDonough
    "Holly and Marty move to their dream home and meet the seemingly friendly Zooks. But when a suspicious family moves into the neighborhood, the Zooks convince Marty to take matters into his own hands."
  • Novel
    Written by Anna Ziegler
    Directed by Michael Goldfried
    "A widowed non-fiction writer attends a conference expecting the usual. But when he discovers a group of world record holders, his stalled imagination is sparked. Comic and personal, Novel grapples with grief, guilt and the fictions we create." WEEK THREE: July 24-29

  • Alice in War
    Written by Steven Bogart
    Directed by Alice Reagan
    "Young Alice discovers a bizarre war zone and other mysterious surprises on the other side of her basement wall. A curious play about finding hope when war is all you know."
  • Blueprint
    Written by Bixby Elliot
    Directed by Jonathan Silverstein
    "An architecture professor and his ambitious student develop a complicated relationship that may or may not blur the line between professional support and personal interest."
  • minor gods
    Written by Charles Forbes
    Directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch
    "The night before he reveals a scientific bombshell, Henry hires a rentboy to justify his findings. In this eye-opening drama, the two confront their past as well as man's potential to play God."
  • The Nightshade Family
    Written by Ruth McKee
    Directed by Shelley Butler
    "As Hannah is about to depart for Hungary, her estranged brother appears with a mouth full of rotting teeth and refuses to leave. A biting comedy about why familial bonds are impossible to break." WEEK FOUR: July 31-Aug. 5

  • Devil Land
    Written by Desi Moreno-Penson
    Directed by Jose Zayas
    "A childless couple kidnaps a young girl. But the girl has a dangerous friend living in the boiler, and soon, she sets him on the attack. A darkly humorous fairytale for the modern world."
  • Flesh and the Desert
    Written by Carson Kreitzer
    Directed by Beth Milles
    "A kaleidoscopic biography of a living and breathing Las Vegas complete with Elvis, Liberace, Seigfried and Roy, Bugsy Siegel, and Showgirls."
  • Missing Celia Rose
    Written by Ian August
    Directed by Adam Immerwahr
    "After the Civil War, a small town harmoniously integrated its freed slaves. But when a young white boy uncovers the secret behind the disappearance of the black minister’s wife, his discoveries change the town forever."
  • Not Waving
    Written by Ellen Melaver
    Directed by Douglas Mercer
    "On a summer day at the beach, lines are drawn, boundaries are crossed, trust is tested, and six people must decide if they can rely on the one they love the most." The plays were narrowed down by a panel of theatre professionals: Elissa Adams, Neena Beber, David Binder, Matthew Byam Shaw, Jeremy Dobrish, David Dower, Gordon Edelstein, Jordan Harrison, Lisa McNulty, Richard Nelson, Sheila Nevins, Barbara Pasternack, Leigh Silverman, Daniella Topol and John Weidman. More than 1,000 scripts were submitted from all over the world.

    Arielle Tepper Madover is a producer of Frost/Nixon, Monty Python's Spamalot, The Pillowman and other productions.

    Memberships to SPF are on sale. For more information, call (212) 279-4040.