2016 Featured Playwright
MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL by Lee Blessing
A successful murder-mystery writer lives more dangerously than the stories he invents. Haunted by questions of gender identity, fidelity, bigamy and drug addiction, how can he hope to succeed as a mate, a parent, a husband or a wife?
Lee Blessing's Bio
LEE BLESSING has had two theatres devote full seasons to his work: New York’s Signature Theatre and Profile Theatre in Portland, Oregon. His play A Walk in the Woods ran on Broadway and in London’s West End, was nominated for Tony and Olivier Awards and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Among numerous other honors, Blessing’s plays have twice won the Steinberg/American Theatre Critics’ Association Award. Notable recent premieres: For the Loyal, Illusion Theater, Minneapolis; A View of the Mountains, New Jersey Repertory Company; A User’s Guide to Hell, Featuring Bernard Madoff, Project Y Theatre, NYC; Courting Harry, History Theatre, St. Paul; When We Go upon the Sea, 59E59th St. in New York and InterAct Theatre, Philadelphia and Great Falls, Ensemble Theatre of Sydney (Australia). Blessing contributed “Seven Joys” and “Wood for the Fire” to a pair of play cycles commissioned by London’s Tricycle Theatre. His work has seen recent production in France, Spain and Peru. For a dozen years Blessing headed the graduate playwriting program at Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University. He is married to playwright and TV writer-producer Melanie Marnich. They live in Los Angeles.
TINY by Sarah B. Mantell
Rachel and Greg are free! They've built themselves a tiny house on wheels and all they need now is someplace to park it. When Hannah and Neil offer a spot in their enormous yard, it seems like the perfect solution. And maybe it is. Or maybe even the best of intentions can’t free us from the stories we tell each other – and the stories we don't.
Sarah B. Mantell's Bio
SARAH B. MANTELL is a playwright and illustrator. Her work has been developed at Philadelphia Theater Company, Geva Theatre, PlayPenn, Great Plains Theatre Conference (this May), and The Yale School of Drama where she is currently pursuing her MFA. She holds a BFA in Illustration from Rhode Island School of Design and is a proud alum of Philadelphia’s The Foundry. Sarah has also worked with The Magic Theatre, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, People’s Light & Theatre, Tiny Dynamite, Bruce Walsh’s Living Room, The Arden, and PlayPenn where she served as Director of Education and a Conference Dramaturg. Sarah is also the inventor of Experimental Pie Day. You can find her plays and pictures at: sarahmantell.com
THE FOUND DOG RIBBON DANCE by Dominic Finocchiaro
Norma, a professional cuddler, offers others the intimacy of touch without the unwanted burden of emotional turmoil. But when she discovers a lost dog, her efforts to find its rightful owner threaten to destroy her own life's carefully-crafted equilibrium. Can Norma keep her heart safe in the face of a dog’s unbridled affection, a persistent barista named Norm, and the healing power of the music of Whitney Houston?
Dominic Finocchiaro's Bio
DOMINIC FINOCCHIARO is a Brooklyn-based playwright, performer, and freelance dramaturg. His writing has been produced and developed around the country, including with Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Civilians, the Lark Play Development Center, PlayPenn, the National New Play Network, Portland Center Stage, the Flea Theater, the Kennedy Center, the UCross Foundation, the Amoralists, and at the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival. Dominic is a native of San Francisco and recently completed the MFA Playwriting program at Columbia University.
BOOKMARKS by K. Frithjof Peterson
After Grant's childhood friend Travis is charged with an unthinkable crime, Grant finds himself compelled to find out why. But when those answers threaten his marriage and sense of identity, Grant is forced to confront the limits of his own compassion and loyalty.
K. Frithjof Peterson's Bio
K. FRITHJOF PETERSON's work has been performed throughout the United States as well as translated and performed in Moscow, Russia. Full length plays include Where the Whangdoodle Sings (Generous Company), Bookmarks (Finalist, The O'Neill National Playwrights Conference) and Bosons. His plays have also been finalists for The Kennedy Center’s National Ten-Minute Play Award, the Heideman Award, and the Samuel French OOB Festival and developed with The Kennedy Center, WordBRIDGE, Fusion Theatre Company (Albuquerque), The Inkwell (D.C.), Strange Sun Theater (NYC), The Gift Theatre (Chicago) and Fox Valley Rep (IL).
TIGHTROPE by Megan Fevurly
As a tightrope walker, Mira is at home balancing life's obstacles, even under the most extreme conditions. But when faced with the challenge of a lifetime, will Mira's determination to prove that she is in control of her own destiny ensure her legacy- or destroy it?
Megan Fevurly's Bio
MEGAN FEVURLY is a Denver-based playwright and dramaturg. Her plays have received readings and productions at Curious New Voices, University of Denver, The Edge Theatre, University of Idaho, Towne Street Theatre, 2Cents Theatre Group, Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival and Athena Project Festival. She was a playwright for the inaugural Local Playwrights Slam at the Colorado New Play Summit, and this past March she was a semi-finalist in the Plays in Progress Series with Athena Project Festival. She has worked on projects with the National New Play Network and Dramatist Guild of America. Currently she is earning her MFA in Dramatic Writing from the University of Idaho, and is a member of Dramatist Guild of America.
BREATHE ME by Jenny Sternling
Andy runs a popular tour boat business in a small seaside village where he shares a life, love and a beachfront cottage with his wife, Claire. When tragedy tears her from him, Andy struggles to face his future without her - until he makes a mysterious discovery that may allow her to live again. But when the rules of life, death, time and space no longer exist, can Andy keep from losing Claire- and then losing her again?
Jenny Sternling's Bio
JENNY STERNLING is a native Idahoan who has worked in the Northwest for over 30 years as a professional actor, director, writer, and producer in stage, film, voice-over, and television. Her past theatrical adventures include founding a comedy improv troupe; starring in a Marine World TV special alongside a baby tiger; appearing as Lyubov Ranevskaya in The Cherry Orchard, directed by Michael Hoffman at Boise Contemporary Theatre; and writing and producing dozens of custom-tailored corporate theatre productions with her company, Event Entertainment. As a theatre arts teacher for organizations including Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Boise State University’s MBA program, and Bishop Kelly High School (where teaches and directs theater,) Jenny has collaborated with students and colleagues to write, produce and present numerous plays and films. In 2010 Jenny returned to university for MA studies in 19th - century theatre history; she graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2012. After she toured numerous archives conducting research on a forgotten 19th-century form of melodrama called dog dramas, she wrote a unique play: Taking the Seize: A Dog Drama. Selected as a Playwright in Residence, Jenny honed her play and skills at the 2015 Seven Devils Playwrights Conference.
THE MOTHERHOOD ALMANAC by Noah Diaz
What is motherhood? Where does it start? Where does it end? Is it found in the joy or the grief, the risk or reward, the smallness of a gesture or the enormity of a history passed from one generation to the next? Or is every mother her own tapestry; woven from the successes and failures, dreams and disappoints, a stubborn will and a love beyond question?
Noah Diaz's Bio
NOAH DIAZ is an Omaha-based actor and playwright. His plays include The Motherhood Almanac, The Home Shopping Network Pageant Play, WILD ANIMALS YOU SHOULD KNOW, and Typhoid Mary Magdalene, or The Sloane Hospital for Women Presents a Passion Play About the Life and Death of Jesus Christ. As an actor, Noah has worked with the Omaha Theater Company at the Rose Theater, BLUEBARN Theatre, SNAP! Productions, Shelterbelt Theatre, dog & pony dc, F-Troupe Collaborative, and Brigit Saint Brigit Theatre Company in Omaha, as well as Red Theatre in Chicago. His work has garnered him six Theatre Arts Guild Awards, four Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards, and three Broadway World Awards. Currently studying special education and communication disorder at the University of Nebraska–Omaha, Noah is passionate about Deaf-accessible theatre and currently teaches Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing integrated drama classes at the Omaha Theater Company. He’s thrilled to be joining the Seven Devils Playwrights Conference this year!
All photos on this page by Sarah Jessup
The 2016 Finalists and SemiFinalists:
- Carrie Barrett – The Hermitage
- Bob Bartlett – Falwell
- Mardee Bennett – The Reapers of Woodbrook Avenue
- Darcy Bruce – All We Know Is Not Enough
- Tom Coash – Line of Descent
- Sarah Einspanier – The Convent of Pleasure
- Jonathan Fitts – leviathan
- Miranda Rose Hall – When the Whales Came
- Stephen Kaplan – The Community
- Rachel Nelson – Fast Car
- Charlie O’Leary – Rail
- Greg Paul – When the Man Comes Around
- Cecilia Raker – dry bones rising
- Kat Ramsburg – Anatomy of a Hug
- Ken Urban – Boston Tragic Dinner
- Nat Cassidy – Pierce
- Mia Chung – Catch as Catch Can
- David Brian Colbert – Bobby’s Home
- Michael Yates Crowley – The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B Matthias
- Kevin Daly – Where is Everybody?
- Colby Day – [untitled time dilation play]
- Patrick Gabridge – Chore Monkeys
- Erik Gernand – A Place in the Woods
- Robert Kerr – Ventilator Blues
- Adam Kraar – Windows to the Soul
- C. Kay Andy Landis – The Volunteer
- Victor Lesniewski – Cold Spring
- James McLindon – When Herod Came to Georgia
- Courtney Meaker – Made of These
- Steven Peterson – Baby Shower Bombshell
- Brian Quirk – Almost Always, Fayeville
- Alexis Roblan – The Andrew Play
- Charly Simpson – Who We Let In
- Tracy Thorne – Good Children
- Jonathan Yukich – Cloning Greta