Formed by Steve Umberger to develop and promote work for stage and film on a project basis, The Playworks Group LLC's productions and events have included:
Kith and Kin by Oliver Hailey
It began with this deliciously dark comedy about a delightfully dysfunctional Texas family, written by one of theatre and television's unique voices. Hailey wrote many plays, and was one of the minds behind the TV cult classic Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. A friend, he sent us Kith and Kin after its West Coast debut, and Playworks then produced it twice, once independently and once with Spirit Square Arts Center.
More early history
Heathen Valley by Romulus Linney
Some Things That Can Go Wrong at 35,000 Feet by John Orlock (Premiere)
Finding Donis Anne by Hal Corley
Counter Girls by Michael Russell (Premiere)
Husbandry by Patrick Tovatt
Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune by Terrence McNally
John Orlock, Hal Corley, and Michael Russell joined us for productions of their plays, reflecting the ideal of having playwrights involved in the process. Husbandry, first seen at Actor's Theatre of Louisville's Humana Festival, was also made into a film short after its Playworks production, receiving an ASC Emerging Artist Grant. Playworks also produced a development film short based on Christopher Kyle's award-winning play Boca.
Playworks has initiated many collaborations including Shirley Valentine, Willy Russell's Broadway and film hit. Over an eight year period, Shirley traveled to many theatres including Twin City Stage, Appalachian Summer Festival, Pack Place and Florida's Riverside Theatre. The company co-produced the SummerStage series with Spirit Square, which included Michael McKeever's Open Season, and a festival of new scripts in staged readings. These included Judy Simpson Cook's Starstruck, McKeever's The Garden of Hannah List, and Hal Corley's Brush the Summer By, with all three writers present to join the rehearsal process. Shortly after the festival two of the plays received their world premieres, Starstruck at Flat Rock Playhouse, and Brush the Summer By at Adirondack Theatre Festival.
Thinking in Pictures was a collaboration with The Light Factory, one of only four museums of film and photography in the U.S. Thinking in Pictures offered the unusual format of film scripts in staged readings. The titles included Dairy Queen Days, adapted by Bob Inman from his novel, and Anita Bryant Died For Your Sins by Brian Christopher Williams, as well as Jeff Stacy's Gospel Hill, soon after made into a feature starring Danny Glover and Angela Bassett.
Recent projects have included Lunch at the Piccadilly, a new musical by Clyde Edgerton and Mike Craver, and The Christians by Lucas Hnath. Based on Edgerton's best selling novel, and with songs by Drama Desk Award winner Craver, Piccadilly was developed in three productions and a concert version at the York Theatre Company in New York. The show enjoyed a recent production through an innovative sponsorship by Aldersgate ccrc. The Christians featured a diverse onstage choir of 23 singers from the community. Many of Playworks' projects are expanded through outreach and events inspired by the projects' content.
See how a project is developed
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See how a project is developed
The Playworks Group LLC