Encore Michigan

Theatre NOVA’s Michigan Playwright’s Festival 3/6-3/10

News February 16, 2019 David Kiley

ANN ARBOR, Mich.–Theatre NOVA, Ann Arbor’s professional theatre with an exclusive focus on new plays and playwrights, presents their semi-annual Michigan Playwrights Festival, now in its fourth year. Five new plays by Michigan playwrights will be given readings March 6-10, 2019.

Theatre NOVA focuses on new plays and new playwrights and is dedicated to working with new and local playwrights to help them develop their craft and to offer brand new plays for audiences. The theatre created the Michigan Playwrights Festival to nurture Michigan playwrights and to develop full-length plays for future seasons. In the past year, Theatre NOVA produced “Resisting” by David Wells and “Mrs. Fifty Bakes a Pie” by Linda Ramsay Detherage. Both of these world premieres were products of Michigan Playwrights Festivals, receiving rave reviews and audience feedback. “Resisting,” directed by Billicia Charnelle Hines, garnered a Wilde Award for Best Original Production and was nominated for Best New Script.

In previous years, Theatre NOVA produced “Clutter,” an original script by Michigan playwright Brian Cox, as a result of its staged reading at a previous festival. “Clutter” was lauded by audiences and critics and earned two Wilde Award awards, including Best New Script. “Irrational” by R. MacKenzie Lewis and David Wells was given a full production and also received a Wilde Award for Best New Script. Other plays that began as staged readings at Theatre NOVA and have gone on to full productions at Theatre NOVA are “Katherine” by Kim Carney, “Spin” by Emilio Rodriguez, and “Bird” by Kristin Hanratty.


Schedule of the March 2019 Michigan Playwrights Festival:

“He Said She Said” by Skyler Tarnas, Wednesday, March 6 at 8:00 pm

Aspiring TV News anchor, Ruth DiAngelo, finally has her own show, which aims to put facts above partisan politics. But her run-ins with an inflammatory pundit and predatory press secretary put both her job and relationship in jeopardy. As Ruth struggles to find her place in the news media, she begins to see exactly what neutrality means in the modern world.
Directed by Emilio Rodriguez, “He Said She Said” features Maurizio Dominguez, Madison Lukomski, Krystle Dellihue, Brittney Marie, Samuel Morse, Jonathan Curry, Emily Fishman, and Patrick O’Lear.

Skyler Tarnas (Playwright) is a 2017 University of Michigan graduate with concentrations in English, Drama, and Creative Writing through the Residential College. His work has previously been performed with the university theatre group, The RC Players, and read at the University of Michigan Playfest. He was awarded the Roy W. Cowden Fellowship in 2015 and the James H. Robertson Award for distinctive performance in drama and creative writing upon graduation. He currently interns for Detroit Public Theatre and hangs around Ann Arbor directing strange independent Shakespeare productions.

“The Moment He Sees Fit” by Martin McArthur, Thursday, March 7 at 8:00 pm

“The Moment He Sees Fit”takes place in the 1850’s and focuses on the journey of Benny, a house slave, who struggles between his devotion to his master, Mr. Sheppard, and his desire for freedom. After the death of Mr. Sheppard’s father, the story follows the change in Benny and Mr. Sheppard’s relationship over the course of ten years once they move into a new house.
Directed by Aliyah Keisler, “The Moment He Sees Fit” features Evan Nash, Eddie Rothermel, Haley Cook, Tyler Burkhardt, and Sayre Fox.

Martin McArthur (Playwright) is a biracial, fourth-year creative writing major at Oakland University. He wrote numerous, shorter plays in Kitty Dubin’s Playwriting course, and wrote “The Moment He Sees Fit” in her Advanced Playwriting course.

“The Hero and the Hag” by Sean Paraventi, Friday, March 8 at 8:00 pm

Things aren’t as they appear to be on this Hallows’ eve, as our hero Mark takes a mystical journey without leaving the backyard of a Halloween party in Evanston, IL. He meets a cast of costumed-characters who teach him life lessons, and he discovers a pregnant, smoking nun can be much scarier than the grim reaper.
Directed by Nathan Corliss, “The Hero and the Hag” features Mat De Lisle, Morgan Emily Hoeffel, Leigh Evans, Katie Parzych, Freddy Hernandez, and Kiana Gandol.

Sean Paraventi (Playwright) is an actor, playwright and improvisor who resides in Detroit, Mi. He has had plays produced in Detroit, Chicago and New York and he is thrilled to be taking part in Theatre NOVA’s Michigan Playwrights festival which he has participated in past years as both an actor and a playwright.

“Some Assembly Required” by Tobias Tieger, Saturday, March 9 at 8:00 pm

What is Heaven? Where is Hell? And why is Madeline Munzel trapped in her living room with her ex-husband? A play about (not) saying goodbye. 
Directed by Terie Spencer, “Some Assembly Required” features Maggie Gilkes, Eddie Rothermel, Jim Snideman, and Ansley Barnard.

Tobias Tieger (Playwright) is very excited that “Some Assembly Required” was included as part of Theatre NOVA’s Michigan Playwrights Festival. Recently his short play, “Dignity,” was produced as part of the 2018 Detroit Fringe Festival; he organized the Ann Arbor Pub Reading series with PencilPoint TheatreWorks last summer; and he co-led the November Playwrights Bake-Off.

“The Curse of the McClures” by Kristin Andrea Hanratty, Sunday, March 10 at 2:00 pm

When Kiley arrives unannounced and unemployed to her family home, it causes concern to her grandmother, Nora, and mother, Dierdre. Their worries only increase when they discover the purpose of her visit: Kiley is writing a book about the ‘Lake Michigan Triangle’, a century-old Midwest legend encompassing missing sailors, lost ships and a 1950’s plane crash that took the life of Kiley’s great-grandfather. But in researching this mystery, the women uncover a painful curse that is all their own. 
Directed by Brian Cox, “The Curse of the McClures” features Maggie Gilkes, Jeannine Thompson, Kelsea Annlyn, and Joseph Sfair.

Kristin Andrea Hanratty (Playwright) is thrilled to again be a part of the Michigan Playwrights Festival! Kristin’s plays have been performed throughout the United States. Her full-length plays include “Bird”(Puzzle Piece Theatre, Ferndale, MI, April 2017) and “Dirt”(Theatre NOVA, Michigan Playwrights Festival, Ann Arbor, MI, July 2018.) Her short/one-act plays include “Wine”(The Boathouse Theatre, Lake Tahoe, CA, Oct 2018), “The Job Interview” (Durango CO Arts Annual Play Festival, Oct 2016), and “Worthless Gods” (Frostburg University Theatre, MD, One Act Play Festival, Sept 2016). She is a three-time Academy Award/Nicholls Fellowship Quarterfinalist and Austin Film Festival Semi-finalist.

The Michigan Playwrights Festival will run March 6-10, 2019 at Theatre NOVA (410 W. Huron, Ann Arbor), a downtown performance space. Show times are 8:00 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. Theatre NOVA features free parking for patrons, as well as quick access to the city’s restaurants, bars, bakeries, and coffee shops.

Tickets are $10 for each reading, while festival passes good for all five readings are $30. Theatre NOVA continues its commitment to making theatre accessible by offering pay-what-you-can tickets for those who need them for all readings. For tickets or more info, visit TheatreNOVA.org, call 734-635-8450 (Tuesdays through Fridays from noon until 3 p.m.), or buy them in person at the box office one hour before show time. 

Theatre NOVA is Ann Arbor’s resident professional theatre company. Its mission is to raise awareness of the value and excitement of new plays and new playwrights in a diverse and expanding audience and to provide resources and outlets for playwrights to develop their craft, by importing, exporting, and developing new plays and playwrights.


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