is the grass any bluer...

is the grass any bluer...
on the other side?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Midway Play Festival a Cornucopia of Delights

Midway Play Festival’s Artistic Director is always a busy fellow, but the past few months have been incredibly action packed for Bob Singleton.  From his performance in SummerFest’s The Merchant of Venice to directing Brian Hampton’s wonderfully wild and wacky The Jungle Fun Room at Studio Players, his schedule has been full, yet he still had the wherewithal to coordinate the actors, directors, crew with the facility that will  host the assortment of short plays that will be presented a goodly 30 minutes away (as the crow flies, anyway, from Lexington) in Midway, Kentucky. This weekend, all those efforts will come to fruition when he and Jim Betts oversee the Midway Play Festival’s entertaining assortment of short plays at the Thoroughbred Theatre.

The works were found by requesting submissions from playwrights all over the country and abroad.   Singleton tells me that the process started when Producing/Managing Director Betts joined an Appalachian playwriting group, and numerous others based out of New York, San Francisco, Washington, London, and other areas, and posted information about the festival on their message boards. “He started this process in June; submissions were cut off at 150 10-minute plays, but we ended up receiving around 250 submissions. He secured five judges who read 30 plays each and selected what they felt were the 4 best plays -- that culled the 150 down to 20 submissions. We then set up 2 nights of readings. I secured a number of local actors who generously donated their time and talents, and we did what I guess you could call a Readers Theatre. This gave us the opportunity to hear the final 20 plays out loud, which was invaluable. We invited the readers and the directors, along with Jim and John McDaniel, who operate the Thoroughbred Theatre, to join us for the readings, took their feedback and came up with the final 7 shows that will be produced.”
Jim Betts

In addition to the feedback, Bob says he and Jim “took under consideration a number of other elements in making the final decision, then contacted the directors and asked them to list their top 3 choices of plays they would want to direct and from there we made the assignments. The playwrights hail from across the U.S., including Chicago, New York, South Dakota and Massachusetts.”

Describing the lineup as a real murderers’ row, Singleton adds, “The directors are some of the best and most well-known around, and represent area high schools and colleges, as well as many of the local theatre organizations.”
Bob Singleton & actors who read plays for the panel of judges

Paul Thomas (SCAPA)
Jeremy Kisling (Associate Artistic Director of Lexington Children’s Theatre)
Tonda-Leah Fields (directed at numerous local theatres, college and high schools)
Beth Kirchner (Executive Artistic Director, Woodford County Theatre)
Evan Bergman (KCTC instructor, Dunbar High School)
Tim X Davis (BCTC, Director of Film & Theatre program)
Eric Seale (Artistic Director, Actors Guild of Lexington)

Sharon Sikorski and Tim Hull in No Sugar
“We have some of the top acting talent, designers and crew members in the region involved in the show, as well as Natalie Cummins as our Stage Manager extraordinaire…so, the audience is in good hands!”

Singleton is proud that the festival will present an array of works sure to dazzle and delight.  “The shows run the gamut from the comic to the serious, the topical to the twisted, with a little supernatural spookiness slipped in for good measure (we have our final matinee on Halloween, after all).”

“In every way, this festival is a showcase of the great talent we have here in Central Kentucky, and the playwrights that ply their craft all across the US. We’re all devoted to our craft and we’re looking forward to the run of shows, and many future returns for the Midway Play Festival.”
Tim X Davis & today's birthday girl Natalie Cummins

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The Thoroughbred Theatre
127 East Main Street
Midway, Kentucky

October 22-24 & 29-31

8:00 p.m. Friday & Saturday
2:00 p.m. on Sundays

Tickets are $12 in advance / $15 at door

Senior Citizen & Students (with ID): $12 at all times

Reservations: 859.846.9827 /

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

No Sugar by Philip Hall (Longboat Key, FL)
Directed by Eric Seale
Debbie: Sharon Sikorski
Barry: Tim Hull

The Test by Paula Caplan (Cambridge, MA)
Directed by Tim X Davis
Cleveland: Dmetrius Conley-Williams
Bradley: Emanuel Wright

Emanuel Wright & Dmetrius Conley-Williams in The Test

Saddam’s Lions by Jacob Juntunen (Chicago, IL)
Directed by Jeremy Kisling
Rashida: Stephanie Radford
Jon: Clenton Hollinger

Taken For A Ride by Jan O’Conner (North Hollywood, CA)
Directed by Paul Thomas
Susan: Hayley Williams
Samson: Jordan Pruitt

Violating Uncle Piggy by Judd Lear Silverman (Brooklyn, NY)
Directed by: Tonda-Leah Fields
Mummy: Melissa Rae Wilkeson
Daddy: Jim Wilkeson
Investigator: Wilson Shirley

Blood Grass by J. Stephen Brantley (New York, NY)
Directed by Beth Kirchner
Mary: Martha Bernier Campbell
Guy: Nick Vannoy

It’s Impossible to get fired from Thrifty Drug Aid by Jessica Juhrend (Spearfish, SD)
Directed by Evan Bergman
Nancy:  Jan Hooker
Caroline:  Annie Barbera
John:  Tim Hull


I can't wait to get to Midway's Thoroughbred Theatre tomorrow to to enjoy these wonderful plays.  

I'll have another post later about someone who's involved with the Festival, and who shares with me her secret talent, which just might be the most unusual one yet.  So, stay tuned!

See you at the shows,
peace, y'all,

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