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Press Release: Powers New Voices Festival 2018

THE OLD GLOBE TO PRESENT
THE FIFTH ANNUAL POWERS NEW VOICES FESTIVAL,
A SERIES OF NEW AMERICAN PLAY READINGS,
JANUARY 12–14, 2018

The FREE Weekend Festival Begins Friday with
VOICES OF THE COMMUNITY: CELEBRATING LOCAL
PLAYWRIGHTS
, Play Readings Created by San Diegans Through the
Arts Engagement Initiatives COMMUNITY VOICES and COLAB;

Followed by San Diego Debuts of
THEY PROMISED HER THE MOON
by LAUREL OLLSTEIN, Directed by GIOVANNA SARDELLI;
TOO HEAVY FOR YOUR POCKET by JIRÉH BREON HOLDER,
Directed by PATRICIA MCGREGOR;
THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX by PIGPEN THEATRE CO.;
and THE GREAT LEAP by LAUREN YEE,
Directed by DELICIA TURNER SONNENBERG

 

SAN DIEGO (December 8, 2017)—The Old Globe today announced it will present the fifth annual Powers New Voices Festival, a weekend of readings of new American plays by professional playwrights, playing January 12–14, 2018. The festival will kick off on Friday, January 12 at 7:30 p.m. with Voices of the Community: Celebrating Local Playwrights, an evening of work created by San Diego residents through the Globe’s arts engagement initiatives Community Voices and coLAB, and will continue with four readings by some of the most exciting voices writing for the American theatre today. The new American play readings commence on Saturday, January 13 at 4:00 p.m. with Laurel Ollstein’s They Promised Her the Moon, directed by Giovanna Sardelli (Somewhere, The Whipping Man at the Globe), followed at 7:30 p.m. by Too Heavy for Your Pocket by Jiréh Breon Holder, directed by Patricia McGregor (Globe for All’s Measure for Measure).The Festival continues on Sunday, January 14 at 3:00 p.m. with The Tale of Despereaux, with book, music, and lyrics by PigPen Theatre Co. (The Old Man and The Old Moon at the Globe), based on the novel by Kate DiCamillo and the Universal Pictures animated motion picture. The Festival will wrap up that evening at 7:30 p.m. with The Great Leap by Lauren Yee, directed by Delicia Turner Sonnenberg (Globe’s Skeleton Crew).

Voices of the Community: Celebrating Local Playwrights will feature readings of select works from the Globe’s Community Voices and coLAB initiatives, play development workshops that provide professional theatre-making skills to select San Diego communities. This evening is a curated collection of some of the best short scripts developed in these programs. They include Freedom, Can You Hear That? by Gill Sotu and participants from Fourth District Seniors Resource Center; Big Man by Dairrick Kahlil Hodges; The Hound and the Rat by Carter Davis; Rob & Lee by Katherine Harroff and participants from Veterans Village of San Diego; Dad and Dementia by David Latham; Ethel and Eleanora by Jonathan Mello; and Sunset Cliffs by Sheila Shaw. (Friday, January 12 at 7:30 p.m.)

In They Promised Her the Moon, John Glenn is a household name, but Jerrie Cobb? Not so much. In 1960, Glenn was one of the famous “Mercury Seven” who trained at NASA to become the first American astronauts. But Cobb and 12 other women also underwent the same rigorous psychological and physical testing, some outscoring and outpacing their male counterparts. The men went to space, Jerrie Cobb was never given that chance. Laurel Ollstein’s They Promised Her the Moon tells the true story of this exceptional woman—a skilled aviator, a world record–holding pilot, a business executive—and the powerful forces that kept her earthbound. (Saturday, January 13 at 4:00 p.m.)

For 20-year-old Bowzie Brandon, the future looks bright in Jiréh Breon Holder’s Too Heavy for Your Pocket. He has a loving wife, good friends, and a full scholarship to Fisk University, Nashville’s most prominent black college. But it’s 1961, and Bowzie gets swept up in the Freedom Riders movement, which promises a better world and a brighter tomorrow. Can Bowzie convince his loved ones—and himself—that the fight to shape his country’s future is worth risking his own? A heartfelt and moving look at what happens when you find yourself at the crossroads of history. (Saturday, January 13 at 7:30 p.m.)

PigPen Theatre Co. returns to San Diego with The Tale of Despereaux after wowing Globe audiences last season with The Old Man and The Old Moon. This acclaimed company brings their inventive, musical style to this magical modern fairytale. Once upon a time in the faraway kingdom of Dor lived a brave and virtuous mouse who dreamed of becoming a knight. Banished from his home for his lofty ambitions, Despereaux sets off on a noble quest to rescue an endangered princess and save an entire kingdom from darkness. The Tale of Despereaux is a theatrical, musical enchantment based on the novel by Kate DiCamillo and the Universal Pictures animated motion picture. (Sunday, January 14 at 3:00 p.m.)

The Great Leap takes place in San Francisco in spring 1989. Manford Lum is a neighborhood star on the basketball courts of Chinatown, but he longs to make the leap to something more. Soon, he talks his way onto a college team headed for Beijing for an exhibition game and finds himself in the middle of China’s post-Cultural Revolution, where Manford suddenly perceives his past in the context of international politics. Inspired by events from the life of playwright Lauren Yee’s own father, The Great Leap is a fast-paced and hilarious play about family, history, and basketball. (Sunday, January 14 at 7:30 p.m.)

The Powers New Voices Festival 2018 will take place in the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, part of the Globe’s Conrad Prebys Theatre Center. Tickets to all four readings are free but require reservations, currently available to donors and subscribers only. Reservations for the general public will be available beginning Friday, January 5 at 12:00 noon. Tickets can be reserved by calling the Box Office at (619) 234-5623.

“All of us at the Globe are thrilled to celebrate the fifth year of our Powers New Voices Festival, which has become a highlight of the Globe’s year and the centerpiece of our increasingly sophisticated and productive new play development program,” said Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director Barry Edelstein. “The works we will read this year are strong, diverse, and vibrantly theatrical. They make this Festival an important source of work for our annual season and for other companies in San Diego. The Globe has commissioned new plays from writers our audience knows and from new voices. Among those new voices this year will be local playwrights who were inspired and nourished by our Community Voices and coLAB initiatives, parts of our arts engagement work in San Diego neighborhoods. The Globe is committed to bringing to San Diego the best new writing for the stage, and we are thrilled to give our audiences opportunities to see the artistic process in action. We are grateful to Paula and Brian Powers for their continuing support, which demonstrates their visionary commitment to the future of the American theatre, and to the idea of the Globe as a thriving center of creativity and innovation.”

Several plays previously featured in the Powers New Voices Festival have gone on to future productions in San Diego and across the country. Nick Gandiello’s The Blameless and Dominique Morisseau’s Skeleton Crew both received full productions in the Globe’s 2016–2017 Season, and Skeleton Crew was also presented as part of a limited Globe for All Tour to several of our community partners. Anna Ziegler’s The Last Match had its world premiere last season in the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre and is currently playing Off Broadway at Roundabout Theatre Company. Also playing in 2016 was tokyo fish story by Kimber Lee, a playwright featured in a previous Festival with brownsville song (b-side for tray), which, along with Jiehae Park’s peerless, had their San Diego premieres at MOXIE Theatre. In 2017, the Globe commissioned Ziegler’s Arranged, which will be seen as part of the 2017–2018 Globe Season as The Wanderers, as will Native Gardens by Karen Zacarías, which was part of last year’s Festival as well.

Paula and Brian Powers provided a sustaining gift to The Old Globe of $1 million over five years, and the Powers New Voices Festival bears their name through 2021 in recognition of this significant gift to the Globe and the Powers’ belief in the importance of new works for theatre. Paula Powers currently is on the Board of Directors of The Old Globe and serves as the organization’s Secretary.

The Old Globe’s New Voices Play Development Program is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. Special thanks to The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust for supporting The Old Globe. The Old Globe’s Community Voices and coLAB programs are supported by a grant from The James Irvine Foundation. Financial support is provided by The City of San Diego.

LOCATION and PARKING INFORMATION: The Old Globe is located in San Diego’s Balboa Park at 1363 Old Globe Way. There are numerous free parking lots available throughout the park. Guests may also be dropped off in front of the Mingei International Museum. The Balboa Park valet is also available during performances, located in front of the Japanese Friendship Garden. For additional parking information, please visit www.BalboaPark.org. For directions and up-to-date information, please visit www.theoldglobe.org/plan-your-visit/directions--parking/detailed-directions.

PLEASE NOTE: To look up online or GPS directions to The Old Globe, please do not use the Delivery Address above. There is only a 10-minute zone at that physical address. For GPS users, please click here for the map coordinates, and here for written directions to The Old Globe and nearby parking in Balboa Park.

CALENDAR: Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (11/4–12/24), AXIS:Culture Shock’s The Nutcracker Sneak Peek (12/23), The Importance of Being Earnest (1/27/18–3/4), Uncle Vanya (2/10–3/11), AXIS: Give Love San Diego (2/10), American Mariachi (3/23–4/29), AXIS: American Mariachi event (3/31), The Wanderers (4/6–5/6), AXIS: Happy Birthday, Mr. Shakespeare! (4/21), A Thousand Splendid Suns (5/12–6/17), Native Gardens (5/26–6/24), The Tempest (6/17–7/22), Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax (7/2–8/12), Barefoot in the Park (7/28–8/26), Much Ado About Nothing (8/12–9/16), 2018 Globe Gala (9/22).

PHOTO EDITORS: Digital images of The Old Globe’s productions are available at www.theoldglobe.org/press-room.

The Tony Award-winning Old Globe is one of the country’s leading professional regional theatres and has stood as San Diego’s flagship arts institution for over 80 years. Under the leadership of Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director Barry Edelstein and Managing Director Timothy J. Shields, The Old Globe produces a year-round season of 15 productions of classic, contemporary, and new works on its three Balboa Park stages: the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage in the 600-seat Old Globe Theatre and the 250-seat Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, both part of The Old Globe’s Conrad Prebys Theatre Center, and the 605-seat outdoor Lowell Davies Festival Theatre, home of its internationally renowned Shakespeare Festival. More than 250,000 people attend Globe productions annually and participate in the theatre’s artistic and arts engagement programs. Numerous world premieres such as the 2014 Tony Award winner for Best Musical, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Meteor Shower, Bright Star, Allegiance, The Full Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,and the annual holiday musical Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas! have been developed at The Old Globe and have gone on to enjoy highly successful runs on Broadway and at regional theatres across the country.

 

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PHOTO EDITORS: Publicity photos for the Powers New Voices Festival are available here.

 

POWERS NEW VOICES FESTIVAL PLAYWRIGHT BIOGRAPHIES

Laurel Ollstein (Playwright, They Promised Her the Moon) is an award-winning playwright based in Los Angeles. This year, Ms. Ollstein’s They Promised Her the Moon premiered Off Broadway at Theatre at St. Clement’s in a production by Miranda Theatre Company. She began her career as an actress before becoming a writer. Her one-woman show Laughter, Hope and a Sock in the Eye had successful engagements at three theatres in Minneapolis and toured New York City, Baltimore, and Los Angeles, winning awards and “critic’s choice” from LA Weekly and Los Angeles Reader. Returning to California, she became a founding member of Tim Robbins’s The Actors’ Gang. Her plays include Insomniac, Storage Room, Pot Roast, Cheese, OPA! The Musical, Dorothy Parker in the Bath, Blackwell’s Corner, Esther’s Moustache, The Dark Ages, and Bias Cut. She also directs playwriting programs serving mature adults and teens, provides writing and arts education in schools, and creates plays on social justice themes. One result of this work is Showing Our Age, a play with music about aging produced at [Inside] The Ford. Ms. Ollstein also writes essays, memoirs, screenplays, and television. Her honors include the Marty Klein Comedy Writing Award, Kenneth McGowan Award in Playwriting, White Buffalo Mask Award, and UCLA Playwriting Recruitment Scholarship. Ms. Ollstein holds an M.F.A. in Playwriting from UCLA.

Giovanna Sardelli (Director, They Promised Her the Moon) directed the Off Broadway world premieres of Describe the Night (Atlantic Theater Company), Huck & Holden (Cherry Lane Theatre), Animals Out of Paper and All This Intimacy (Second Stage Theatre), and The Leopard and the Fox (AlterEgo Theatre Company). Her other select Off Broadway world premieres include Little Children Dream of God (Roundabout Theatre Company), Wildflower (Second Stage Theatre), Finks (Ensemble Studio Theatre), and Apple Cove (Women’s Project Theater). Her regional credits include Somewhere and The Whipping Man (The Old Globe), the world premiere of Archduke (Mark Taper Forum), Guards at the Taj (Geffen Playhouse, 2017 Ovation Award for Best Production of a Play), Mr. Wolf, All the Way, and The Whipping Man (Cleveland Play House), The Lake Effect, Crimes of the Heart, The Velocity of Autumn, and Somewhere (TheatreWorks Silicon Valley), and the world premiere of The North Pool (TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, Barrington Stage Company), The Mountaintop and Absalom (Actors Theatre of Louisville), and Clybourne Park, Lord of the Flies, and Muckrakers (Barrington Stage Company). Though based in New York, Ms. Sardelli is the Director of New Works for TheatreWorks Silicon Valley. She received an M.F.A. from New York University’s Graduate Acting program and is a graduate of its Directors Lab.

Jiréh Breon Holder (Playwright, Too Heavy for Your Pocket) holds an M.F.A. from Yale School of Drama’s playwriting program and currently teaches at Emory University’s Department of Theater Studies and Creative Writing Program, where he is the 2016–2018 Fellow in Playwriting. His play Too Heavy for Your Pocket made its New York debut at Roundabout Theatre Company in October 2017. Itwas the recipient of the 2016 Kendeda Prize and the 2017 Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award. His sharp and often political plays frequently include wild visual metaphors and address the magic of everyday life in the South. His other plays include The Rules, In the Southern Breeze, …What the End Will Be, and 50:13. Mr. Holder has received productions or readings at Yale School of Drama, Yale Cabaret, Alliance Theatre, Roundabout Theatre Company, and Manhattan Theatre Club. He is currently under commission from Manhattan Theatre Club, Roundabout Theatre Company, and Alliance Theatre.

Patricia McGregor (Director, Too Heavy for Your Pocket) made her Old Globe debut in 2016 with the Globe for All Tour production of Measure for Measure. She has twice been profiled by The New York Times for her direction of world premieres. Her recent credits include The Parchman Hour (Guthrie Theater), Hamlet (The Public Theater), Ugly Lies the Bone (Roundabout Theatre Company), brownsville song (b-side for tray) (Lincoln Center Theater), the world premiere of Stagger Lee (Dallas Theater Center), and the world premiere of Hurt Village (Signature Theatre Company). Her other credits include A Raisin in the Sun, The Winter’s Tale, Spunk, Adoration of the Old Woman, Blood Dazzler, Holding It Down, Four Electric Ghosts, Nothing Personal, and The House That Will Not Stand. For several years she has directed the 24 Hour Plays on Broadway. She is a Usual Suspect at New York Theatre Workshop, a co-founder of Angela’s Pulse, and a Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow at Yale School of Drama, where she also served as Artistic Director of the Yale Cabaret.

PigPen Theatre Co. (Book, Music, and Lyrics, The Tale of Despereaux) began creating their unique brand of theatre, music, and film as freshmen at the Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama in 2007. They have since produced their original plays in New York City and toured the country, including playing The Old Man and The Old Moon at The Old Globe in 2017. They have earned “critic’s picks” from The New York Times, Time Out New York, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, The Boston Globe, and many more, and they have been ranked among the top ten theatrical events of 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2016. They were the first company to win the New York International Fringe Festival’s Overall Production/Play Award two years in a row (2010, 2011), and they went on to win IRNE Awards (2012, 2015) and Joseph Jefferson Awards (2014) for their theatrical productions. In 2016, Sir Trevor Nunn invited PigPen to be a part of his first American acting company for a production of Shakespeare’s Pericles. PigPen’s debut album, Bremen, was named the number 10 album of the year in The Huffington Post’s 2012 Grammy Awards preview, sending PigPen on tour to play to sold-out crowds across the country. American Songwriter premiered their follow-up EP, The Way I’m Running, in 2013 while the band was playing a series of concerts that became one of the most popular residencies of the past decade at the legendary Schubas Tavern in Chicago. In 2015, PigPen released their sophomore album, Whole Sun, performed at the return of Mumford & Sons to the Gentlemen of the Road festival, and made their feature film debut in Jonathan Demme’s Ricki and the Flash starring Meryl Streep. PigPen is working with Writers House, one of the world’s leading literary agencies, to develop their debut children’s novel. The members of PigPen Theatre Co. are Alex Falberg, Ben Ferguson, Curtis Gillen, Ryan Melia, Matt Nuernberger, Arya Shahi, and Dan Weschler. pigpentheatre.com.

Lauren Yee (Playwright, The Great Leap) is the playwright of King of the Yees, which premiered this past season at Goodman Theatre and Center Theatre Group. Her recent and upcoming work includes Cambodian Rock Band (South Coast Repertory), The Great Leap (Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Atlantic Theatre), and King of the Yees (A Contemporary Theatre, Canada’s National Arts Centre). Her other plays include Ching Chong Chinaman (Pan Asian Repertory Theatre, Mu Performing Arts), The Hatmaker’s Wife (The Playwrights Realm, MOXIE Theatre, PlayPenn), Hookman (Encore Theatre Company, Company One), In a Word (San Francisco Playhouse, Cleveland Public Theatre, Strawdog Theatre Company), Samsara (Victory Gardens Theater, Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Playwrights Conference, Bay Area Playwrights Festival), and The Tiger Among Us (MAP Fund, Mu Performing Arts). Ms. Yee’s recent awards include the Kesselring Prize and the Francesca Primus Prize. She is a member of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab and a Playwrights Realm alumni playwright. She currently has commissions from Geffen Playhouse, La Jolla Playhouse, Lincoln Center Theater/LCT3, Mixed Blood Theatre, Portland Center Stage, and Trinity Repertory Company. She holds a B.A. from Yale University and an M.F.A. from UC San Diego. laurenyee.com.

Delicia Turner Sonnenberg (Director, The Great Leap) is a founder and former Artistic Director of MOXIE Theatre, where she directed many acclaimed productions. Last season she made her Old Globe debut directing Dominique Morisseau’s Skeleton Crew, followed by Romeo and Juliet with The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program. She has also directed plays for San Diego Repertory Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, San Diego State University, Cygnet Theatre Company, Mo`olelo Performing Arts Company, New Village Arts, Diversionary Theatre, ion theatre company, and Playwrights Project. Her honors include Theatre Communications Group’s New Generations Program grant, the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle Awards, Women’s International Center Living Legacy Award, Van Lier Fund fellowship (Second Stage Theatre), and the New York Drama League’s Directors Project. She is married to designer Jerry Sonnenberg and is the proud mama to August and Zoë.