2009 | New Works Festival
EMPIRE OF THE TREES
by Adam Kraar, directed by Giovanna Sardelli; with Quincy Dunn-Baker, Sanjiv Jhaveri, Annie Purcell, David Sajadi, Sarah Garza
Deborah and her foreign correspondent husband are a young American couple living in New Delhi in 1963. A relationship with an Indian bookseller leads Deborah to discover a mysterious spiritual connection to ancient Indian myth, but myth spills into reality in this powerful, political, and poetic piece.
ADAM KRAAR is a playwright whose work includes New World Rhapsody (Manhattan Theatre Club commission); The Spirit House (finalist, Actors Theatre of Louisville Humana Festival; premiered at Performance Network of Ann Arbor); The Abandoned El (Illinois Theatre Center; Urban Stages reading); Storm In The Iron Box (National Play Award runner-up), and The Lost Cities of Asher (New River Dramatists fellowship). His work has been produced and developed by Primary Stages, N.Y. Stage and Film, N.Y. Shakespeare Festival, Ensemble Studio, Theatreworks U.S.A, Rude Mechanicals, H.B. Playwrights Theatre, Geva Theatre, Bloomington Playwrights Project and others. Awards: Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Inge Center for the Arts fellowship, Millay Colony (Berilla Kerr fellowship), Southeastern Theatre Conference, Manhattan Theatre Club playwriting fellowship; MultiStages 2007 New Works Finalist. M.F.A., Columbia University. Plays published by Dramatic, Applause and Smith & Kraus. Adam grew up in India, Thailand, Singapore and the U.S. www.adamkraar.com
by Michael Bettencourt, directed by Elfin Vogel; with Sandra Berrios, Freedome Bradley, Carlton Byrd, David L. Carson, Bruce Faulk, Dennis Fox, Bryant Mason, Douglas Taurel, Afton Williamson, Natasha Yannacañedo
After Jesse Colton’s wife is lynched in Mississippi for allegedly being a communist, he escapes to Harlem, joins a revolutionary movement and heads to Spain to fight Franco. Step back in time to the 1930s in this passionate, bilingual play that will keep you on the edge of your seat!
MICHAEL BETTENCOURT is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter, and monthly columnist for Scene4, an online arts journal. He has received awards for 17 plays for stage and screen, including Ostrander Award (Memphis TN) for Best Original Script); Silver Medal in the Pinter Review Prize for Drama; Winner, Maxim Mazumdar New Play Competition – Alleyway Theatre, Buffalo NY; Best Play in the 7th Annual Turnip Theatre 15-Minute Play Festival; Winner of the Boston Theater Works BTW Unbound Festival of New Plays; Winner of the American Alliance of Theatre and Education Unpublished Playreading Project; Winner, Eric Bentley New Play Competition of the New Phoenix Theatre of Buffalo, NY; Region II Finalist in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival; Finalist in the Lamia Ink International One-Page Play Competition; Finalist, Sundance screenplay competition; Finalist, Filmmakers Screenplay Competition; and others. All of Michael’s scripts are at www.m-bettencourt.com. Many thanks to his wife, Maria-Beatriz.
DANCING WITH ABANDON
by Karen Hartman and Phil Lebovits; directed by Vince Pesce, music director Mark Hartman; with Danny Beiruti, Sandy Binion, Debra Cardona, Zachary Clause, Natalie Charle Ellis, John Haggerty, Karla Mosley, Ronica Reddick, Alison Scamarella
Opera diva Alice Silverstein (the "Oprah of Opera"), is receiving a Kennedy Center Honor when her abandoned, drunk, teenage son Dwyane, crashes onto the stage triggering a scandal hat brings this diva down. See Alice rise and fall, and rise again, in this one-of-a-kind rock ‘n opera fusion.
KAREN HARTMAN (Co-writer, Composer) is a comedy writer/performer, composer, lyricist and librettist. She began as an opera singer, winning the prestigious Metropolitan Opera Audition on the West Coast. Unable to keep a straight face with opera, she wrote a stand up act and entered the comedy world. One of the first female comediennes, she was a regular at The Comedy Store in Los Angeles for ten years, and developed a one and a half woman show, Diva Takes a Dive which toured nationwide. Writing/ Music credits include HBO Comedy Specials, Showtime, and nationally syndicated television. She appeared and starred in movies and television series, and is a member of The Dramatists Guild, National Board of Review, AEA, SAG and AFTRA. She is winner of Caroline’s Comedy Competition, “The Funniest Woman in America,” and L.A. First Class as “The Best of the Best.” Karen lives and laughs with her husband in NYC. www.dancingwithabandon.com
PHIL LEBOVITS (Co-writer) has been a comedy writer for over 20 years. Credits include The Dennis Mille Show, Comic Strip Live, and working with Jason Alexander on such TV projects as “The Whitey Show” and “Liquid Soap.” A graduate of Syracuse University, Phil founded Guilty Children, one of Boston’s most successful comedy troupes. Following his stint with the group, Phil wrote sixteen comedy murder mystery shows that have been produced in over 40 cities. As a musician and lyricist, Phil wrote the opening song “Shop Til I Drop” for the movie The Debtors starring Michael Caine and Randy Quaid. He’s currently developing two reality series with BBC America.