‘Pupu plat­ter’ of play­writ­ing classes

Ci­tyWrights of­fers work­shops, pan­els and ses­sions

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - Showtime - South Broward - - ON STAGE - By Rod Stafford Hag­wood

Mini-mu­si­cals are new this year at Ci­tyWrights, the weekend sym­po­sium for both pro­fes­sional and am­a­teur play­wrights, pro­duced by Mi­ami’s City The­atre com­pany and held at the Epic Ho­tel in down­town Mi­ami.

This is the sixth year for the se­ries of work­shops, con­fer­ences, lec­tures, read­ings and per­for­mances. They are staged at the same time as City The­atre’s run of short plays, “Sum­mer Shorts,” which also fea­ture short 10-minute mu­si­cals for the first time in its 21-year his­tory. The con­fer­ence, as is cus­tom­ary, will also have work­shops, pan­els and ses­sions on art, busi­ness, train­ing and ca­reer devel­op­ment

“It’s a funny lit­tle story,” ex­plains Susi West­fall, com­pany co-founder and lit­er­ary di­rec­tor. “I am a fan of mu­si­cals, but I’m not knowl­edge­able.

Last sum­mer, West­fall at­tended the Off Off Broad­way Short Play Fes­ti­val and watched t he 10-minute mu­si­cal “Eve­lyn Shafffer and the Chance of a Life­time.” “I saw it four times over the run of the fes­ti­val and each time it held up.”

So West­fall helped to in­clude ‘Eve­lyn Shaf­fer’ as one of two mini-mu­si­cals pro­duced dur­ing this year’s “Sum­mer Shorts” run through July 3 at the Adri­enne Ar­sht Cen­ter for the Per­form­ing Arts. The other im­pe­tus to in­clude writ­ing li­bret­tos and books for mu­si­cals at Ci­tyWrights came from the­ater fans.

“The other thing that be­gan to hap­pen over the course of the year … while I was in New York to launch the City The­atre Anthology (CreateS­pace In­de­pen­dent Pub­lish­ing Plat­form, 2015) at the Drama Book Shop, and all th­ese peo­ple kept com­ing up to me and telling me, “Doyou know there are all th­ese short, 10-minute mu­si­cals and you all should do them?’ That sort of led to the pro­gram­ming around Ci­tyWrights. How do we bring th­ese folks in be­cause this is an area we are ex­pand­ing in. And our au­di­ences are lov­ing th­ese two lit­tle mu­si­cals [at ‘Sum­mer Shorts’].” Here’s more about Ci­tyWrights: Master artists: The lineup this year will in­clude Tony Award win­ning au­thor Greg Ko­tis (“Urine­town”), Tony-nom­i­nated lyri­cist/com­poser Amanda Green (“Hands On A Hard­body” and “Bring It On”), com­poser/lyri­cist Ge­or­gia Stitt (“Snow Child”) and Jen­nifer Ash­ley Tep­per, the di­rec- t or of pro­gram­ming f or Fe­in­stein’s/54 Be­low cabaret in New York City. “I think there’s a re­ally Pupu plat­ter to nib­ble from,” West­fall says. “I’m tick­led to see what hap­pens.”

“Nex­tGen” scholar project: Also new this year is this men­tor­ship ini­tia­tive where City The­atre worked with stu­dent play­wrights in Mi­ami-Dade high schools. Ten teenagers will at­tend two play­writ­ing in­ten­sives with Do­minic D’An­drea, found­ing pro­duc­ing artis­tic di­rec­tor of the One-Minute Play Fes­ti­val. There will be a read­ing of the stu­dents’ work Wed­nes­day, June 22 at 7 p.m. at the Ar­sht Cen­ter. The event is free and open to the pub­lic. “In 2017, we are in­ter­ested in ex­pand­ing into Broward,” adds West­fall. For more in­for­ma­tion, email lit­er­ary and pro­grams man­ager Amy Coker at [email protected]­tyTheatre.com.

How to see the sched­ule: For the list of events, go to Ci­tyTheatre.com and click on the “City The­atre Pro­gram­ming” tab and then on the drop-down menus click on “Ci­tyWrights” and then “2016 Sched­ule.”

If you go: Ci­tyWrights is June 23-26 at the Epic Ho­tel, 270 Bis­cayne Blvd., Mi­ami (other events will be at down­town Mi­ami’s Ar­sht Cen­ter and the Olympia The­atre). Ad­mis­sion is $299 for all-ac­cess pass; $199 for a Florida pro­fes­sional pass; $125 for ed­u­ca­tor all ac­cess pass and single day passes; $100 for a stu­dent all ac­cess pass. To reg­is­ter, email [email protected]­tyTheatre.com, call 305-755-9401 or go to Ci­tyTheatre.com

COUR­TESY

City The­atre co-founder Su­san West­fall, left, Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-win­ning play­wright Mar­sha Nor­man and “Shorts Gone Wild” di­rec­tor John Manzelli.

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