For theater enthusiasts, Labor Day weekend isn’t about one last trip to the beach or three relaxing days at home. For those of us in D.C., it means it’s time for the annual Page-to-Stage festival and checking out some of what the theater community has in store in the months ahead.
Now in its 18th year, Page-to-Stage takes place Aug. 31 through Sept. 2 at the Kennedy Center, and will feature 76 D.C.-area theaters performing free readings and rehearsals of productions in development. Local playwrights, librettists and composers all take part, with some working with scripts in hand, while other shows are almost fully staged.
“This is our biggest year of participation ever, with sneak peeks at more than 75 productions,” says Diana Ezerins, director of public programs at the Kennedy Center. “It is also highly likely that we will be able to give the public a first look at the new spaces at The REACH.”
During this festival, theater artists will receive feedback and network with others, allowing them to refine their work and develop relationships that lead to later collaborations.
“We try to be as inclusive as possible. The notion of Page-to-Stage has always been about a come-one-come-all situation,” Ezerins says. “Those interested in participating send us a desire to participate and we schedule them based on the type of production and also anticipated audience size. They just need to be a writer in the D.C. region participating as part of a theater company in the DMV, including Baltimore.
The origins of Page-to-Stage came from the need to showcase new work in development, and many companies have been part of the festival since the earliest years, such as Synetic Theater, performing The Tempest by Nathan Weinberger, directed by Paata Tsikurishvili; and Seventh Street Playhouse, which will be highlighting The Eaton Woman, written and directed by Anthony E. Gallo.
Then there are some theater companies returning this year after some time away, such as Ford’s Theatre, which will be performing Jimmy (Becoming Katharine Hepburn) by Jessica Dickey and directed by Shana Cooper.
New companies are taking part as well, such as Voices Unbarred, which tells stories of inmates, and will be offering Dear America: Disconnect Between Perception & Truth by Men of Cohort 32, directed by Allison Frisch.
“We’re lucky to live in this theater scene because it’s so thriving and there are a lot of new companies that have been forming,” Ezerins says. “A lot of the newer companies are built by people who have been in the scene for a while, but needed a new space for their work. They make what the festival what it is. We’re so happy that so many people are lovers of this festival.”
The Page-to-Stage Festival runs August 31-September 2, 2019 at the Kennedy Center. Details and tickets
This year, Page-to-Stage will have a sort of reverse offering, with a reading from actress and poet Bassey Ikpi.
“She is Nigerian-born but spent most of her childhood growing up in the D.C. region,” Ezerins says. “She is releasing a book called I’m Telling the Truth, but I’m Lying, and it explores life in America, battling anxiety and mental health and later being diagnosed as bipolar. She is going from on the stage to writing a book.”
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Some of the big themes that Ezerins has noticed evolving in this year’s entries revolve around what’s happening in our society today, and there’s also more biographical plays than in recent festivals. Washington Women in Theatre will present Stella Adler by Sidra Rausch, directed by Karen Berman; Monumental Theatre Co. presents Montgomery, a musical that follows the story of Claudette Colvin, the first African American woman to refuse to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery Alabama. The musical is written by Britt Bonney and directed by Kevin McAllister.
While the majority of shows in Page-to-Stage are straight plays, there is diversity, with two dance pieces, some musicals, four shows for families and an opera.
“The works tend to showcase a variety of people and walks of life in the D.C. region,” Ezerins says. “We make it an inclusive environment so the audience and different theater companies can connect with one another and celebrate the D.C. scene together.”
Theaters scheduled to perform: For a complete schedule of times, visit KennedyCenter.org.
4615 Theatre: The Infinite Tales, adapted and directed by Gregory Keng Strasser
Adventure Theatre MTC: The Velveteen Rabbit by Patrick Flynn, directed by Jenna Duncan
African-American Collective Theater (ACT): Come To Find Out…, written and directed by Alan Sharpe
Arts on the Horizon: Squeakers and Mr. Gumdrop, written and directed by Natalie Cutcher and Amanda Forstrom
ArtStream Company: Poof! The Heist at Harrington Manor by Elizabeth Cronin, Annie Coffman, and Catlin Caplinger, directed by Elizabeth Cronin
Baltimore Playwrights Festival: That Woman by William Triplett, directed by George Andre Tittle
Bassey Ikpi: Telling The Truth But I’m Lying by Bassey Ikpi
Best Medicine Rep: The Fifth Date by Lori Boyd, directed by Lynn Sharp Spears
Bowie State University and Kent State University: How Can I Say This So You Will Stay by Morgan McGuire, directed by Susan Einhorn
Brave Soul Collective presents: #BlackGayRage, by Alan Sharpe, Monte J. Wolfe, Anthony Green, and Jared Shamberger, directed by Wolfe, Sharpe, and Shamberger
Briar Road Productions: Conference Room A, written and directed by Jennifer Williams
Catholic University of America: MFA Playwrights, written and directed by Kelly Armstrong and Caroline Reilly
Company Lambe-Lambe: Son Titere, written and directed by Cecilia Cackley and Francisco Benavides
Conscience Drama Directive: Seen and Unseen by James H. Fox, directed by Marietta Hedges
Crash of Rhinos: Bah Humbug: A Christmas Carol Reboot, written and directed by Mike Harris
D.R. Creative Collab: The Gift, written and directed by Rachel Grossman and Tosin Olufolabi; Nice & Lily by Rachel Grossman, directed by Danielle A. Drakes
Dance and Bmore: Voices of Carmen, written and directed by CJay Philip
Factory 449: Thank you, Dad by Aladrian C. Wetzel, directed by Rick Hammerly
Federal Theatre Project: In a Cloudless Sky, written and directed by Kevin Finkelstein
Ford’s Theatre: Jimmy (Becoming Katherine Hepburn) by Jessica Dickey, directed by Shana Cooper
FRESHH Inc Theatre Company: A Compulsion for Breathing by Nina Angela Mercer, directed by Tanisha Christie
Georgetown University: Fandom For Robots by Rachel Linton, directed by Vanessa Gilbert
Guillotine Theatre Company: Classics and the Cutting Edge: What Happens Stays and Rape Upon Rape by Cate Brewer and Henry Fielding, directed by Catherine Aselford
Happy Theater: Nest, written and directed by Natasha Mirny
Huemanati Artist Collective: Day Dream, written and directed by Barry Moton
InterAct Story Theatre: The Ballad of Bobtail Bong Bong, written and directed by Ali Oliver-Krueger
Liberated Muse Arts Group: Color in a Sphere of Monochome by Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman, Susan O’Hara, Deidre Gantt, Kelly Canavan, Tichaona Chinyelu, and Daphne Valcin, directed by Ali-Coleman
MetroStage: Cousin Bella Whore of Minsk by Sherman Yellen, directed by Carolyn Griffin
Monumental Theatre Co: Montgomery by Britt Bonney, directed by Kevin McAllister
Mosaic Theater Company of DC: Inherit The Windbag by Alexandra Petri, directed by Lee Mikeska Gardner
Naked Theatre Company: River Rouge by Andy Boyd, directed by Kevin Place
Nu Sass Productions: Nu Drafts by Angela Kay Pirko and others, directed by TBD
One Off Productions: Company K, written and directed by Lisa Hodsoll
Pinky Swear Productions: The Regular by Bob Barlett, directed by Ryan Maxwell
Pipeline Playwrights: Unfocused by Jean Koppen, directed by Jordan Friend; Rebellion in the Heartland by Patricia Connelly, directed by Catherine Tripp
Playwrights Collaborative: Collaborative Shorts, written and directed by Members of Playwrights Collaborative
Playwrights Group of Baltimore: The Bridge Plays by Susan Middaugh, Rich Espey, Rosemary Toohey, Dwight Cook, John Conley, SJ, Kevin Kostic, and Amy Bernstein; self-directed
Project 2020: The Last Battle of the American Revolution by Kimberley Lynne, directed by John Judy
Radiator Productions: Radiator, written and directed by Craig Houk
Rainbow Theatre Project: Blue Camp by Tim Caggiano and Jack Calvin Hanna, directed by Christopher Janson
Reliant Theatre: Mine to Take by Matthew Marcus and Lily Kerrigan, directed by Emily Sucher
Rep Stage: E2 by Bob Bartlett, directed by Joseph W. Ritsch
Safe Streets Arts Foundation: Jailhouse Confessions: Bloodcurdling and Bizarre Stories from the Lock-Up by Tom Kropp, Michael Brown, Gigi Smith, and other prisoners, directed by Dennis Sobin
Scena Theatre: Sea by John Fosse, directed by Robert McNamara
Seventh Street Playhouse: The Eaton Woman, written and directed by Anthony E. Gallo
Sir Harvey Fitz Productions: Reflections by Dan Teano, directed by Harvey Fitz; Poetic Vibes, written and directed by Harvey Fitz
Spooky Action Theater: Bread by Jaclyn Enchin, directed by Shanara Gabrielle
Synetic Theater: The Tempest by Nathan Weinberger, directed by Paata Tsikurishvili
The Highwood Theatre: Community: Growing Through Change, written and directed by The Highwood Theatre
The In Series: Stormy Weather by Sybil Williams, directed by Alison Wong
The Indian Ocean Theatre Company: Passing by John Sowalsky, directed by Harley Venton
The Interrobang Theatre Company: Here We Are by Jen Diamond, directed by Katie Hileman
The Law Theater Project: Professor Ginsburg’s Trumpet, Frontiero v. Richardson, The Play by Dr. Samantha M. McDermitt, directed by Mr. Eddie Page
The Rose Theatre Co.: The Murder on The Links by Agatha Cristie, adapted from the novel and directed by Leslie Kobylinski
The Washington Rogues: Reasons for Leaving by Jenny Lane, directed by Ryan Taylor
The Welders: the earth, that is sufficient, written and directed by Annalisa Dias; Welders 3.0: A Look Ahead by Cat Frost, Farah Lawal Harris, Teshonne Powell, Sisi Reid, JR Russ, and Jared Shamberger
Theatre Prometheus: You Were Mine by Rachel Lynett, directed by Sarah Pultz
Theatre51: Now to Ashes by Renae Erichsen-Teal and Sarah Pultz, directed by Sarah Pultz
Three Princes Theatre: Juniper Jones and the Rocket She Built by David J. Hills, directed by Ben Kleymeyer
Tonic Theater Company: Places by Romy Nordinger, directed by Cailin Heffernan
Too Much Damn (TMD) Theater: “Airquote Ladylike” Vol. 2 – Concert of Women Musical Theater Creators by Various Playwrights, Lyricists, and Composers, directed by Bryanda Minix; and Use Your Words by four young playwrights, ages 5-12, directed by Marketa Nicholson
Transformation Theatre, Inc.: Gas/Food/Lodging by Bob Bartlett, Audrey Cefaly, DW Gregory, directed by Jenny Male
Unexpected Stage Company: Pelicans by David Johnston, directed by Christopher Goodrich
Unknown Penguin: What She Said by Patrick Flynn & Michelle Polera, directed by Flynn
Venus Theatre Company: The Powers That Be, written and directed by Deborah Randall
Voices Unbarred: Dear America: Disconnect Between Perception & Truth by Men of Cohort 32, directed by Allison Frisch
Washington Improv Theater: I Wrote That by Ryan Brookshire, Elaine Colwell, Elizabeth Fulton, Isabel Galbraith, Tim Harkin, Nina Hsu, Kristina Martinez, Olivia Martinez, Jordana Mishory, Jamal Newman, and Joe Randazzo, directed by Mishory
Washington Stage Guild: Dead Air by Greg Jones Ellis, directed by Bill Largess; A Thing of Beauty by D.W. Gregory, directed Steven Carpenter
Washington Women in Theatre: Stella Adler by Sidra Rausch, directed by Karen Berman
Young Playwrights’ Theater (YPT): In the Mind of a 21-Year-Old Art Student by Nevaeh Edwards, directed by Farah Lawal Harris
For a complete schedule, visit KennedyCenter.org.