‘Pupu platter’ of playwriting classes
CityWrights offers workshops, panels and sessions
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
City Theatre co-founder Susan Westfall, left, Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Marsha Norman and “Shorts Gone Wild” director John Manzelli.