2015 Pittsburgh New Works Festival


Staged Readings

August 23


Glue by John Seibel
Pittsburgh, PA
Produced by Industrial Gardens

American Afghan vet sitting on park bench meets a young lady with a broken shoe which eventually leads to him discussing his things in his life which may be broken also.  John Seibel is Pittsburgh native, though he lived for 23 years in Southern California, returning here to the Burgh some 20 years ago. As an unplanned move home, he considers this a true gift. Over the years John has dabbled in writing from poetry, short stories, attempted novels, screen writing and plays. Also, for over 40 years off and on, he traveled the world as a merchant seaman. This satisfying a lifelong desire to see the world. His interests also include painting and photography. In the last few years, acting has come into his life, and he find it to be very exciting and challenging. John’s family life includes two grown children, a son and daughter, and two grandchildren, for now.

Extraordinary Lies by James Baden
Columbia, MO
Produced by Comtra

Professor Jack Arden and his old friend Harry Martin reunite after 20 years and share some tea, some stories and some extraordinary lies.  James Baden is a former Newspaper Editor and is currently Educational Program Coordinator at the University of MissouriAsian Affairs Center.

Flabby Abby by J. Thalia Cunningham
Delmar, NY
Produced by Prime Stage Theatre

Obese ten-year-old Abigail waits in the office of Dr. Basil Waldorf, a specialist in pediatric obesity, while her well-heeled parents bicker. Dr. Waldorf’s nurse, Patrick, takes Abigail away to do some blood tests and helps Abigail understand the root of her weight issues.  J. Thalia Cunningham, MD is an emergency physician, playwright, travel writer, and photographer. FIRST, DO NO HARM was a winning play in Panndora’s Box New Play Festival. Two monologues from CROSSING THE LINE were published in Smith & Kraus’ “The Best Men’s Stage Monologues of 2014.” UNVEILED, based on Cunningham’s 7 trips to Afghanistan, was produced at the Pittsburgh Short Works Festival, the Short & Sweet Festival in Malaysia, where it won the award for best script,Australia, the Philippines, and Dubai. UNVEILED was published in Smith & Kraus’ “Best Ten-Minute Plays of 2014.” SINGLES NIGHT THE SAFE WAY was selected for Hit & Run VII short comedy festival. CHILD SOLDIER was commissioned by Siena College. She was a featured playwright in the Potpourri World Women Works 2015, where WITCH CAMP, RAINBOW’S END, and FLABBY ABBY were presented.A member of The WorkShop Theater Company, Cunningham received her BA from The Johns Hopkins University and MD from Hahnemann University. She was chief of emergency medicine at St. Mary’s Hospital and the VA Hospital in Albany, New York.


August 30



The Girl in the Washroom by Bella Poynton
Williamsville, NY
Produced by R-ACT Theatre Productions

Set in 1961 after an unfortunate event in a New York City alleyway, Daisy and Stanley decide to spend the evening recovering in a nearby hotel . The evening becomes one of confessions and realizations as the two women discover that they’re situation is much more serious than initially suspected. The women are forced to come face to face with the great failures in their lives, their constant state of unhappiness, and the still present social class structure of the United States in the early 1960s.  Bella Poynton is a playwright and theater artist from Buffalo, NY. Her Plays have been developed at the Great Plains Theater Conference, The Barrow Group, The Science Fiction Theater Company, Road Less Traveled Productions, and the Women’s Work Lab at New Perspectives Theatre. Her play, Pope Joan was a regional finalist at KCACTF, and produced at New World Stages in 2009. Bella’s play Speed of Light was will have its World Premiere production at Road Less Traveled Productions in 2015. Last year, The Aurora Project was produced at The Science Fiction Theater Company in Boston, Otherworld Theater in Chicago. Other recent honors include the Original Shorts Festival at Theatre du Mississippi and the 8th Annual New Works Festival at Panndora Productions where her play Medusa Undone will be produced in spring, 2015. Bella is the playwright in Residence at Otherworld Theatre Company in Chicago and is a teaching artist at Syracuse Stage. BFA Acting, Boston University. MFA Playwriting University of Iowa.

The Turning of the Screw by Warren Holleman
Houston, TX
Produced by Pittsburgh New Works

A hapless priest and a woman bound to a violently jealous husband manage to find their way out of prior commitments and into each other’s arms. Then comes the hard part: trying to figure out what comes next. We join the confused couple as they begin their honeymoon at Motel 6. Things go poorly until their “coach” arrives—in the guise of a Shakespearean Fool —to guide them on the path to connubial bliss.  Warren Holleman’s first play, The Prime of Her Life, received Honorable Mention, Stage 3 Theatre’s Festival of New Plays; Semi-finalist, ARTSPORT New Works Playwriting Contest; Semi-finalist, Stanley Drama Award; Finalist, Long Beach Playhouse 18th Annual New Works Festival; Semi-finalist, O’Neill National Playwrights Conference. The Comity of Eros premiered in Theatre Southwest’s Festival of Originals, and the Houston Press called the play “the most finished and daring” of the five plays and “strong enough to make the whole second half of the night worth it.” The short play was also performed at the Actors Theatre (Santa Cruz) and the Friends and Neighbors Festival (Baltimore). Other credits: The Turning of the Screw, Theatre Southwest Festival of Originals, finalist; Waiting for Boudreaux, Penobscot Theatre’s Northern Writes Festival; The Existential Crisis Hot Line, Theatre-In-the-Raw Play Writing Contest, 3rd place; Beyond the Pale, New American Voices Play Reading Series, quarter-finalist; and, All’s Swell That Ends Swell, Texas Playwright’s Festival, finalist.

Town Hall Incident by Fred Perry
Roswell, GA
Produced by University of Pittsburgh Stages

The tables are turned when an overreaching government agency tries to intimidate the citizens of a rural American town.  Fred Perry’s plays have been produced at the Colony Theatre in Los Angeles, Theatre East (west), Roger Rocka’s Music Hall in central California, and the Carrollwood Players Theatre in Tampa Bay, where his one-act, Five Days in Calcutta, won 1st place in last year’s Weekend of One Acts. His two act comedy, The Ascension of Twyla Potts was a winner at the 2013 London Film Awards (stage play category), won the Special Marquee Award at the 2013 American Movie Awards, and is published by Heartland Plays.  His scripts have won over twenty international competitions, and a modified screenplay version of Five Days in Calcutta is set to film this summer, directed by Dawn Fields of Palm Street Films. Fred holds a B.A. in theatre Arts and a graduate degree from California State University, Northridge, California.


Program A  September 5 – 14



Prodigal Returns by Garry Kluger
La Crescenta, CA
Produced by CCAC South

PRODIGAL RETURNS is the story of two sisters, Sara and Jody. After being estranged for years Sara returns home following the death of her father and is immediately confronted by her sister, Jody. Not only is their father laid to rest, but they also try and do the same with the events that tore them apart.  Garry Kluger began acting at the age of 8 and continued professionally right up to the time when he realized that the last 8 roles he had auditioned for were all in the elf/leprechaun genre, so he concentrated on his writing.  As a writer Kluger has authored three books, nine plays, and has written over 150 shows for Disneyland, Disney World, WDI, Disney Down Under, and was the head writer for all of their shows in the Innoventions Building at Disneyland.  For television, Garry was the head writer for the FX Network show, The FX Friday Night FiX, and was the head writer for The Ultimate Guide, a 10 part documentary series on the Discovery Channel. Garry was also a producer and writer for the original TV pilot, Office Hours.  Garry is also a writing member of Theatre West – one of Los Angeles’ oldest and most prestigious theatre companies.  In 2009 Kluger was honored with, the prestigious Red Carpet Award from Women In Theatre for his contributions to the Los Angeles theatre scene.

Empty Plots by Chris Gavaler
Lexington, VA
Produced by Stage Right

A pregnant couple make a pilgrimage to the past.  Chris Gavaler is a four-time winner of the PNWF Outstanding Playwright award. He’s published two novels, School for Tricksters (SMU 2011) and Pretend I’m Not Here (HarperCollins 2002), and his short fiction appears in over three dozen national journals. He teaches at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA and blogs about pop culture at thepatronsaintofsuperheroes.wordpress.com.

Two by Eugenie Carabatsos
Pittsburgh, PA
Produced by Thoreau NM

Two rag dolls have been placed in a box in the attic. Unsure of their future, one of them wants to rip off her head and end it all.  Eugenie Carabatsos is a graduate of Wesleyan University.  She is currently pursuing her MFA in Dramatic Writing at Carnegie Mellon University. Her plays have won BroadwayWorld’s Award for Best Play in South Carolina, the Trustus Theatre Festival, the Mountain Playhouse Comedy Writing Contest, the Venus Theatre Festival, the UnChained Theatre Festival, and the Edward Hopper House Two-on-the-Aisle competition. Her full-length plays have been produced by the iDiOM Theatre, Trustus Theatre, South Park Theatre, Playwrights’ Round Table, 3 Brothers Theatre, the Alumnae Theatre, as well as in numerous festivals. Two is her attempt at a children’s play that went awry. She is happy to report that all of her childhood toys have their heads intact.At least she hopes so. She supposes it may be time to go up to the attic and check.


Program B September 6 – 15



Queen Stefi by Zac Thompson
Chicago, IL
Produced by Actors Civic Theater

The foreign-born queen of a ruthless emperor encounters someone from her past who threatens to blow her present to smithereens.  Zac Thompson is a writer living in Chicago. His work has appeared in the Chicago Reader, Time Out Chicago, Chicago magazine, and elsewhere. He grew up in Springdale, Arkansas.

Sweet Tea and Cadillacs by Ben Torbush
Barcelona, Spain
Produced by Cup-A-Jo Productions

An aging actress auditions for a part in an new play. The director isn’t sold by her Hollywood charm, but his confrontational attitude dredges up difficult truths from her past that may change his mind.  Ben Torbush is originally from Atlanta.  He now teaches theatre and English in the suburbs of Barcelona.A dilettante actor and amateur raconteur, he could stare for hours at the glowing nexus of poetry and truth. In lieu of therapy he plays the guitar badly.  His favorite industrial plastic is polypropylene.

The Old Maid and Her Old Goose by Kyle John Schmid
Austin, TX
Produced by The Theatre Factory

When two Aunts feud over the romantic education of their niece, a contest is born to decide once and for all whose approach to love is best. At stake: pride and a local pig farmer.  Kyle John Schmidt is a writer from Montezuma, Iowa. His plays have been produced by Actors Theatre of Louisville (Take 10 Apprentice Showcase and the Humana Festival), Crashbox Theatre, the Kid Magicians, Play-in-a-Bar, the Samuel French OOB Short Play Festival, University of Texas New Theatre, and the David Mark Cohen New Works Festival. Kyle was co-winner of the 2010 Heideman Award, a recipient of the Theatre Masters Award, is published by Playscripts, and featured in the anthology, The Best American Short Plays 2010-2011. He received his MFA from the Michener Center for Writers.


Program C  September 19 – 28


Gravity Between Us by Josie Rush
Pittsburgh, PA
Produced by The Red Masquers

After a controversial decision, two sisters must confront the imperfection of their family, the power of their rivalry, and the importance of their friendship.  Josie Rush is a Ph.D. student and composition instructor at Duquesne University.

Rules of Discovery by Andrew Ade
New Wilmington, PA
Produced by The Summer Company

A routine witness preparation session, conducted by a pair of attorneys and a hired trial consultant, goes into melt down once their defense witness unwittingly reveals suspicious information about the defendant in an imminent vehicular manslaughter case.  Andrew Ade has written full-length and short plays, as well as the book and lyrics for a musical, How the Children Stopped the Wars (music by Anthony Billera). His play A Question of Taste had its New York premiere in the 2013 Midtown International Theatre Festival, having received the 2009 Arts & Letters Prize in Drama and winning the Best Play Award at the Theater Festival in Black & White (Pittsburgh Playwrights Theater Company). Recent productions include Reports of a Home Invasion (Spotlight Award, 2013 New Voice Play Festival, Charles Town, WV), Little Miss Understanding (2013 8×10 TheatreFest, Weathervane Playhouse,Akron, OH), and True Meaning (2013 PPTC Theatre Festival in Black & White). Previous plays include Language Barrier (Best Play Award, PPTC 2010 Theater Festival in Black & White), Off-Color Remarks (Finalist, Outstanding Playwright Award, 2011 Pittsburgh New Works Festival), and Daughters of Africa (Honorable Mention, 2014 Goshen Peace Play Competition).Ade is a 2012-2013 Heinz Endowments Fellow (playwriting); was the sole playwriting recipient of the 2009 Kennedy Center National Teaching Artist Grant; and has had residency fellowships at MacDowell Colony, The Ragdale Foundation, and The Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences. He is currently an Assoc. Professor of English at Westminster College in New Wilmington, PA, where he teaches dramatic literature and criticism, literary theory, world fiction, film history and playwriting.

The Man That Got Away by Jeffrey James
Toronto, Canada
Produced by Phase 3 Productions

Craig Russell, a Canadian female impersonator was so much more than the mere drag queen label implies. He was a wit, a writer, an actor, a most accomplished nightclub and concert hall entertainer and after starring in the International Art House hit “OUTRAGEOUS!” a certified Movie Star. In this play his spirit returns from the dead and shines some light on his childhood and adolescence and along with a haunting series of voices from his past illuminates the demons that haunted and ultimately destroyed him and his career.  Jeffery W. James began writing in earnest twenty years ago as a way to get in touch with himself and his inner Artist. Jeff began writing screenplays; two, Valentine’s Day and All That Glitters are complete and have received positive reader feedback from bluecatscreenplay.com. Currently, Jeff is working on two projects: Letting go … a screenplay and a final draft of Twenty First Century Love!: a three act comedy with dramatic moments. Pittsburgh; the time has come for a hilarious theatrical look at same sex love and marriage.


Program D  September 20 – 29


Grim Tidings by Dennis Jones
Powhatan, VA
Produced by The Heritage Players

After two prophecies from a fortune teller come to pass, Edward Hastings must face the reality of the third, that the Grim Reaper – or Death Agent – will be coming for him just after midnight on Christmas morning. With help from the fortune teller, Edward hopes to escape this fate.  Dennis Jones has had his ten minute and one-act plays performed throughout the United States and in Great Britain. His play DINNER & DESTINY was published in ‘Ten minute plays from Oxford’.  Dennis lives outside of Richmond, VA with his lovely wife, Judy, and assorted wildlife.

Nana’s Home Movies by F.J. Hartland
Johnstown, PA
Produced by McKeesport Little Theater

Landon’s life changes forever when he inadvertently inherits his grandmother’s movie projector.  F. J. Hartland has made a record setting fourteen appearances in the Pittsburgh New Works Festival, winning the prize for Best Play four times.  Recently, he was named the winner of Throughline Theatre’s Play Contest where his play GAMES OF THE MIND will be produced in September of 2015. In Pittsburgh his work has been performed at Duquesne University, Bricolage, Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company, Gemini Theatre and Future Ten, just to name a few.

The Green Eyed Monster by Michael Wolfson
Valley Village, CA
Produced by The South Hills Players

Ellen suspects that Carl has been unfaithful and she’s mad. Very mad. Mad enough to want to kill him. But before her anger can lead to Carl’s demise, things take an unexpected turn. One that gives new meaning to the old adage that things aren’t always what they seem.  Michael Wolfson’s plays have received performances across the country. “Undue Influence”, L.A. Theatre Works (CA). “A Paradise Of Fools”, Ashland New Plays Festival (OR) and the Detroit Repertory Theatre (MI). “The Soul Sitter”, Sonoma County Repertory (CA) and Little Theatre of Alexandria (VA). “Will’s Grill”,Attic Theatre Ensemble (CA), Nantucket Short Play Festival (MA) and HTM Players (NY). “The Prisoners Dilemma”, Pittsburgh New Works Festival (PA),Alleyway Theatre (NY) and Vital Theatre (NYC).  “Legerdemain”,Ashland New Plays Festival (OR);Asylum Theatre (NV) and Lake County Repertory Theater (CA). “Work And Play”, Palm Springs Short Play Festival (CA) and Spokane Civic Theatre (WA). “The Art of Seduction”, Pittsburgh New Works Festival (PA). “Party Time”, Little Theatre of Alexandria (VA) and Eclectic Company Theatre (CA). “Watch Your Language”, Stagecrafters (MI). “Thinking Outside The Box”, Pittsburgh New Works Festival (PA). “Word Play”, Brief Acts Company (NYC). “Cat And Mouse”, Bridewell Theatre (London, England) and Penobscot Theatre Company (ME). “A Senior Moment”, Pittsburgh New Works Festival (PA) and Geneva Theatre Guild (NY). “Wishful Thinking”, Three Roses Players (CA). “Coffee And Cake”, Brief Acts Company (NYC).!