Traditionally, summer is the season of seaside holidays, sun and fun, baseball, barbecues, and on a less celebratory note, CONSTRUCTION. This summer the Bobcat Players have fallen prey to the construction blues as our theater, the Ed Schaughency, will undergo a very necessary overhaul. Consequently, our show scheduled for July, One Man, Two Guvnors, will now be moving to our 2020 season. It is certain to be a stellar addition to a new slate of plays that we are just now beginning to consider.
In the meantime, the Bobcat Players are not content to rest on past laurels this year. Although our theater space will be dark, we will be busy with our return to the Pittsburgh New Works Festival. We couldn’t be more excited about this opportunity to participate in a renowned festival that heralds the inaugural performance of a series of new, never-before-produced one acts.
A little background on the New Works Festival: this festival, which has been in existence for twenty-nine years, has been a celebration of newly penned one-act plays submitted by playwrights from all over the United States. During all that time, the venue has changed periodically. This year for the first time the festival will be held at the newly constructed state-of-the-art Genesius Theatre, located on the Duquesne University campus in uptown.
The Bobcat Players first participated in New Works during their 2016 season, when we produced a staged reading of playwright Dennis Moore’s short comedy, Unlikely Event. Under the direction of former board member Erin Berger Ricciardi, Unlikely Event was awarded the prize for outstanding staged reading.
The following year, again in the hands of Erin, the Bobcats produced Hamilton Kreeger’s taut drama, Wilderness Survival. Again, this show was performed as a staged reading, or a lab works, which preceded the month of bona fide fully staged productions.
In 2018, we reluctantly made the decision to give up our space in the festival due to a series of personal events that impacted our outreach committee, the driving force behind our participation. But thanks to the generosity of spirit of the New Works staff, we are back again this year. And we are both excited and proud to announce that this summer we will begin work for the first time on a Main Stage production for New Works. We are gratified and humbled by our inclusion with eleven other professional and community theaters that will present fully staged one-acts during the month of September.
Our work with New Works is just beginning. In early June, we will participate in a lottery format in which we select the one-act that we will produce. Auditions for that piece will occur in mid-July. Then we will work throughout the dog days of summer to bring our play to life onstage at the Genesius.
Directing for the Bobcat Players in this venture will be Shelly Cary, a veteran director who has guided a number of shows to fruition for us in the past decade. Among her credits are The Foursome, Don’t Dress for Dinner, Foolish Fish Girls and the Pearl, and, just this past season, Blithe Spirit. Shelly also has graced the Bobcat stage in a variety of shows including California Suite, Hay Fever, Unexpected Gifts, Calendar Girls, and, in our inaugural show for the 2019 season, Enchanted April. She is a member of the Bobcat Players board of directors, serving as secretary, publicity chair, and a member of the outreach committee. Shelly also has been active in neighboring community theatre, the Red Barn. She has been director, actor, and this year will take on the role of producer for the summer musical, The Drowsy Chaperone.
Stay tuned for our Facebook posts as we begin the process for New Works. If you are an actor, consider auditions. If you are a critic, come and critique our show. Most importantly, if you are a playgoer, support us as part of the audience when we venture once more from our beloved Beaver roots and take to the stage in Allegheny County. We’d love to have your support!