New works at Phoenix Theatre

The kiddies have plenty of theater options this summer — including “Pinocchio” at Hale Centre Theatre in Gilbert (through Aug 20) and “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella” at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Mesa (through Aug 6).

But sometimes grown-ups need a bit of their own theater time, complete with fresh original works they haven’t read to anyone at bedtime or seen a hundred times in cartoon form.

Phoenix Theatre presents its 14th Annual “New Works Festival” July 11-24 on their downtown Phoenix campus. Folks who attend can see four new works in the development stage, following them from first table read to staged reading.

“Tropical Heat” by Rich Ofloff recounts the clash between a fire-and-brimstone preacher and a good-time party girl. “Reykjavik” by Phillip Dawkins is “a twisted romantic comedy about finding your other half while keeping a firm grasp on your whole.” “The Penis Eulogy” by Daniel Cahill imagines a man with prostate cancer who learns that sex is a thing of the past. And “Dinner on the Inside” by Christian Krauspe has a group of blue-blooded couples hosting dinner for a new Congressman and his wife.

So basically you’ve got religion, sex and politics — all the things we’re told never to discuss in public. I like it. Folks who get the “VIP Pass” can attend the first table reads for each work (with cast, playwright, dramaturge and director) — as well as their staged readings. They even get a nifty T-shirt and VIP lanyard.

The VIP pass also gets you into other festival events, which include a playwrights forum, a “24 hour theater project” performance of several short works developed from start to finish in 24 hours or less, an ASU centennial project featuring works with Arizona themes written by diverse playwrights — and a VIP party.

There are other ticket options, and students can enjoy special pricing on the VIP pass. All the fine print, including detailed information on each play and playwright, is spelled out in Phoenix Theatre’s “New Works Festival” blog. But frankly, they had me at “Eulogy.”

— Lynn

Note: Once the AZ Centennial Plays (directed by Dan Schay) are developed, they’ll be presented at ASU (ASU Studio 133, FAC) Oct 21-30. Click here to find more theater works for families.

Coming up: Dancing with words, Happy birthday Paris!

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