As chilly weather settles into Minnesota, local playwright Kira Obolensky has a wintery new musical to share. The Overcoat: A Low-Fi Musical is the first play in the Playwrights’ Center’s 2017-18 Ruth Easton New Play Series, a long-running series offering Playwrights’ Center Core Writers 20 hours of workshop time to develop a new play and giving theater fans a chance to see free public readings of the plays in progress. Readings of The Overcoat: A Low-Fi Musical will take place Monday, December 4 and Tuesday, December 5 at 7 p.m. at the Playwrights’ Center, 2301 E. Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis. Reservations are recommended and can be made at pwcenter.org.
Kira Obolensky is a beloved and celebrated playwright, especially in the Twin Cities where she is known for her collaborations with Ten Thousand Things Theater. For The Overcoat: A Low-Fi Musical, she worked with composer Brian Harnetty on a haunting and minimal score to accompany her reimagining of Nikolai Gogol’s short story “The Overcoat.” In the play, poor beleaguered Charlie Shoe needs a new coat to keep Winter away—she’s there, on the bridge, on the stair, waiting for his body and soul. Funny and tragic, this short musical wonders if empathy and love are really enough to save us from the clutches of coldness.
The workshop and readings will be directed by Seth Bockley, joined by a cast of Eric Sharp*, Katherine Fried, Thomasina Petrus*, Jennifer Baldwin Peden*, Joy Dolo, Skyler Nowinski, Craig Johnson*, and Malick Ceesay (*Member of Actors’ Equity Association).
Damian Baldet and Maulik Pancholy in The Remains by Ken Urban, part of PlayLabs 2016. Pancholy will appear in the world premiere production of The Remains at Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C. in the spring of 2018. Photo by Paula Keller.
The public season at the Playwrights’ Center— the PlayLabs festival and the Ruth Easton New Play Series—features top local and national actors and incorporates design elements, giving audience members a unique way to experience new work and a chance to be part of the creative process. These readings are free to attend and take place at the Playwrights’ Center, located at 2301 E Franklin Avenue in Seward.
The 2017-18 season:
PLAYLABS (October 23-29):
Reservations for PlayLabs will open approximately a month before the festival.
RUTH EASTON NEW PLAY SERIES:
Kira, John, and Harrison are all Twin Cities-based playwrights.
Find play descriptions and other details at pwcenter.org/season.
Harrison David Rivers
The 2016-17 Ruth Easton New Play Series at the Playwrights’ Center continues March 6 and 7 at 7 p.m. with public readings of “The Sea & The Stars” by Twin Cities playwright Harrison David Rivers. The readings will take place at the Playwrights’ Center, 2301 E. Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis. The events are free, but reservations are recommended and can be made at pwcenter.org.
Playwright Harrison David Rivers moved to the Twin Cities in 2014 for a Many Voices Fellowship at the Playwrights’ Center, and in 2015 he was selected as a McKnight Fellow in Playwriting. He is now a Core Writer, a three-year program supporting professional playwrights through play development workshops and connections to theaters.
Rivers describes “The Sea & The Stars” as “a play about love, karaoke and the sea.” In the play, Simon, who is a lifeguard, meets Finn, who is terrified of water. Both are adrift, with broken hearts, returning to the tiny beach town of Jupiter and to families who need them.
David Mendizábal will direct, and the cast includes Jon-Michael Reese*, Eric Sharp*, Jasmine Hughes*, Christina Baldwin*, Austene Van* and Sasha Andreev* (*Member of Actors’ Equity Association).