Saturday, September 1, 2012

AMERICAN DAMES Hits the Mark at 22nd Annual Long Beach Playhouse Festival!

Fresh off the proverbial printer, the latest draft of playwright Susan Kathryn Hefti's AMERICAN DAMES, or Waiting for Dolley was read aloud for the very first time on Sunday, August 19, 2012 as part of the 22nd Annual Long Beach Playhouse (LBP) New Works Festival in Long Beach, California!

Directed by LBP's Kate Felton, the cold reading of this brand-spanking-new script went swimmingly! Boldly piercing the boundaries of history, the marvelous cast made vivid these time-tripping, if iconic, American Dames! 

Set on the Fourth of July, 2011, just months before the 10th Anniversary of the terrorist attacks, Martha, Abigail, Betsy & Molly try desperately to wrap their 18th century brains around the ever-changing American landscape as they wait anxiously for Dolley's arrival: But will she ever come? Could the American Dames even be real? Could they possibly still be alive? Could it really be that the Dames have somehow been living on a historic continuum on Manhattan's tony Upper East Side all these years? Or are these spirited, opinionated patriots just ghosts from America's past?

In the universe that is AMERICAN DAMES, these and other such existential questions may not have any easy answers. But this brand new draft of the play (which not even the playwright has yet heard!) inspired a very spirited (pun intended) post-reading discussion about the play and its themes on the American identity!

Already garnering three new play festival awards (Stella Adler's 2012 Harold Clurman Finalist; 2012 Long Beach Playhouse New Works Finalist & 2012 Julie Harris Playwriting Award Semi-Finalist), the great enthusiasm for AMERICAN DAMES, and its wonderfully eccentric distaff characters, continues to propel this fresh and original play forward throughout the development process.

We applaud the Long Beach Playhouse Theatre for nurturing new work & for providing a safe environment in which emerging American playwrights can explore & experiment as they continue to develop & write their plays! 

A big thanks to everybody who attended the reading in California! And thanks especially to Andrew Vonderschmitt & everybody else at the Long Beach Playhouse Theatre who helped to create this wonderful opportunity to continue the development of Susan Kathryn Hefti's newest full-length play AMERICAN DAMES, or Waiting for Dolley!

As we journey through the development process for this exciting new American play, we'll be sure to keep you all posted on its progress!

Photo courtesy of Kate Felton. Pictured above from L to R: Jim Felton (Reading Stage Directions); Katie Pelensky (Abigail); Andrea LaVela (Martha); Sarah French (Molly) and Phyllis Nofts (Betsy).