Thursday, March 2, 2023

Shows announced for The Phoenix Theatre Company's 25th Festival of New American Theatre

The Southwest’s Premiere New Theatre Works Festival

April 7, 2023 to April 23, 2023

Hosted annually by The Phoenix Theatre Company, the Festival of New American Theatre amplifies new voices and expands the canon of American theatre. Returning for its 25th year, the Festival will continue honoring our longstanding commitment to the development of new works, playwrights, and performers and include a variety of events that allow artists of all kinds to see their work come alive onstage.

This year’s festival will feature:
  • a play reading
  • two musical readings
  • two Composer Lyricist Cabarets
  • Choreography Lab
  • First Draft Series
  • a brand-new event showcasing the role of designers in new work development
  • a return of the 24-hour Theatre Project.

The 25th Anniversary will also feature collaborations with Spotlight Youth Theatre and Arizona State University.

"The array of distinct perspectives being recognized in this year’s festival is particularly thrilling. New work development is a collaborative process, so we are placing a spotlight not only on playwrights, composers, lyricists, and book writers, but also on the creative team – directors, music directors, choreographers, and designers. We are proud to be celebrating both local and national artists and the important roles they play in creating new American Theatre." - Michelle Chin, Festival of New Works Director

This is an opportunity to witness how a production goes from the page to the stage! Read on to discover what play and musical readings will be in development or learn more about the 25th Annual Festival of New American Theatre on our website.

About the Readings in Development:

Play Reading
Written by: Rusty Ferracane
April 7 at 7:00 PM and April 8 at 3:00 PM

The Evolution of Dar takes place over a five-year span in the early 1970’s. Set to the soundtrack of selected top 40 hits from the era, the play follows a young boy named Dar, from nine years old to fourteen years old. He is raised by his alcoholic mother who is desperately lonely and insecure. Her two turbulent marriages are unbearable for Dar, as well as the endless bullying he endures at school. One way he copes with the torture of emotional and physical abuse is by escaping into a fantasy world of popular television variety shows. A story about how pain and suffering can often provide us with the courage to overcome adversity.

Musical Reading
Music by: Charlie Romano
Lyrics by: Will Wegner
Book by: Will Wegner and Charlie Romano
Based on the play Up (The Man in the Flying Chair) by: Bridget Carpenter
April 14 at 7:00 PM and April 16 at 3:00 PM

In 1983, Walter Griffin made national headlines after tying a cluster of weather balloons to a lawn chair and flying 16,000 feet into the sky. Nearly two decades later, Walter is still searching for his next great invention, but he struggles to get his ideas off the ground. His wife, Helen, encourages him to find a steady job, while their son, Mikey, searches desperately for recognition of his own. After a surreal encounter with his idol, high-wire artist Philippe Petit, Walter believes he's found his ticket to success and goes to extreme lengths to fund his new prototype. Meanwhile, Mikey finds an unlikely friend in a pregnant classmate, Maria, who soon lands him a job at her Aunt Chris’s questionable small business. Helen is overjoyed at her family’s newfound stability, but she soon discovers that their situation is more precarious than it seems, threatening to topple down off the wire at any moment.

Musical Reading
Music by: Doug Katsaros
Lyrics by: Amanda Yesnowitz
Book by: Ken Davenport
April 21 at 7:00 PM and April 23 at 3:00 PM

Growing up in small-town, working-class 19th century Ireland, Charlotte is told what to do, what to think, and how to behave. But this spirited lass refuses to follow the well-worn path of generations of servile, domesticated women before her. Fueled by a joyless childhood and an unflappable ambition, Charlotte is determined to become a doctor even if it means living her life in disguise — as a man. Over the course of our story, Charlotte reinvents herself as Dr. Charles Baker, sacrificing her womanhood for a greater cause. In the process she becomes the first female surgeon to perform a successful C-section, in which both mother and child survive. Tragically, her accomplishments go undiscovered until her death when the world finally learns that the real Dr. Charles Baker was a feisty maverick woman, Charlotte Anne Berry. Inspired by a true story.

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