Bay Street Theater & Sag Harbor Center for the Arts in Sag Harbor has revealed that their 4th annual New Works Festival was tremendously successful. Held Friday, April 28 through Sunday, April 30, this year’s Festival was a collaboration between over 40 East End and New York City-based artists who took audience members on an emotional roller coaster as four new plays and musicals in development were read live for the first time.
“We are very pleased with the response to the four readings,” shared Scott Schwartz, Bay Street Theater’s Artistic Director. “The mission of the festival is to give playwrights a chance to hear their works in front of an audience and learn from that audience’s response.”
This year’s Festival featured Molly Sweeney: A New Musical, based on the play by Brian Friel, book by Eric Ulloa, with music and lyrics by Caleb Damschroder, and directed by Schwartz; The Impossibility of Now by Y York, which was directed by Bay Street Associate Artistic Director Will Pomerantz, Thomas Murphy – presented in partnership with Manhattan’s Flea Theater – a one-man play by Roger Rosenblatt, which was directed by Scott Schwartz, and The Cocktail Party Effect by Scooter Pietsch, which was directed by Jen Wineman.
Each play was incredibly well received and Thomas Murphy was so popular the reading sold out prior to the performance.
The Festival offers the unique opportunity to watch “raw” theater, as the readings are accompanied by minimal staging. Following the performance, theatergoers were invited to stay for a talkback where they could offer the playwrights their reaction to the play and learn about the piece’s development directly from the playwright. The audience’s feedback helped Jules Feiffer and Andrew Lippa continue to tweak The Man in the Ceiling, a 2016 New Works Festival feature, which will make its World Premiere this summer at Bay Street.
“It also gives the audience at Bay Street and the East End Community a chance to experience cutting edge voices in the theater,” added Schwartz.
Admission to the Festival readings were complimentary thanks to sponsors by Cornelia Perry, William Rubenstein, Robert A. Stern and Alexandra McNear, and public funding provided by Suffolk County.
Bay Street Theater is located at 1 Bay Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call 631-725-9500 or visit www.baystreet.org.