h2

Articles

Playwrights Gearing Up For 2010

By Sondra Murphy

Continuing a tradition of star-studded performances, the 13th annual Ojai Playwrights Conference winter benefit is set for this month at Matilija Auditor-ium.
The original evening of theater will be created and directed by Michael Morris and OPC artistic director and producer Robert Egan.
Demonstrating the clout the conference has cultivated over the years, prestigious actors will again participate in the “Hearts on Fire” winter benefit that will honor four-time Tony Award-winning playwright Terrence McNally with the 2010 OPC Award.
Born in 1939, McNally produced his first play in 1964 at the age of 25. Although several early comedies such as “Next” (1969) and “The Ritz” (1975) won McNally significant praise, it was not until later in his career that he would become internationally renowned with works such as “Frankie and Johnny at the Claire de Lune” (1987) for which he wrote the screen adaptation which starred Al Pacino and Michelle Pfeiffer.
McNally has won four Tony awards and been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama for “A Perfect Ganesh.” Besides “Frankie and Johnny,” he is known for writing “Love! Valour! Compassion!,” television scripts and the book for the musicals, “The Full Monty,” “Ragtime” and “Kiss of the Spider Woman.”
“Terrence is one of America’s greatest living playwrights. So many awards, so much output, and so many extraordinary characters brought to life in his poignant plays,” said Egan. “McNally participated in the Ojai Playwrights Conference several years ago, and developed one of his plays here,” he added. “He said it was one of the best developmental experiences of his life.”
Featured actors this year are two-time Oscar and three-time Emmy winner Sally Field (“Places in the Heart,” “Norma Rae,” “Brothers & Sisters”); Golden Globe winner Sandra Oh (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “Sideways”); Emmy and Golden Globe winner Ted Danson (“Cheers,” “Becker”); and Oscar and Golden Globe winner Mary Steenburgen (“Melvin and Howard,” “Parenthood”). They will be in the cast for a one-night-only performance titled “Hearts on Fire.”
Also performing at the benefit are Emmy-winning actress Dana Delany (“China Beach,” “Desperate Housewives”); Emmy nominated and Tony winner John Glover (“Smallville,” “Love! Valour! Compassion!”); Emmy and Golden Globe nominee Jane Kaczmarek (“Malcolm in the Middle,” “Raising the Bar”); Golden Globe winning songwriter Amanda McBroom (“The Rose”); Zachary Quinto (“Heroes,” “Star Trek 2009”); Steven Weber (“Brothers & Sisters,” “Dracula: Dead and Loving It”) and Emmy and Golden Globe nominee Noah Wyle (“E.R.,” “The Librarian” series), and other talent still to be announced.
Egan promises an evening of heart-breaking, heart-lifting and heart-throbbing performances of an eclectic mix of works by some of America’s greatest playwrights, including McNally.
Egan has a history of bringing together major talent in Ojai for once-in-a-lifetime performances. “The OPC has become one of the most acclaimed new play and development programs in the country and these stars want to support our efforts,” said Egan. “We are the only one whose primary mission is to develop plays and writers whose focus is on the major social, political and ethical issues of our day.”
“Hearts on Fire” is set for Jan. 30 at 5:30 p.m. The actors rehearse the morning before the benefit readings and infuse adult humor into the performance, garnering a self-imposed PG rating in past years.
Ticket options are $85 for “Hearts on Fire” only, or $225 for the reading, plus the post-show dinner and live auction at St. Thomas Aquinas Hall. The auction will feature trips abroad, a set visit to “Desperate Housewives” courtesy of Delany, theater packages, and romantic getaways for Valentine’s Day. Many of this year’s performers will serve as auctioneers.
Award-winning chef Michael Hollingsworth, a favorite among political and artistic celebrities, is organizing the dinner.
VIP packages for eight cost $2,000 for preferred seating, dinner and a group photo with the cast. A limited number of back row tickets will be available for $70. Tickets may be purchased at ojaiplays.org or by calling 640-0400.
Proceeds benefit the Ojai Playwrights Conference, which takes place each summer as a means to foster creative technique in established and emerging playwrights, as well as develop and advance unproduced plays. More than 500 submissions were received this year and selections will be announced in spring.
The 13th annual OPC New Works Festival, scheduled for Aug. 10 through 15, is a two-week, intensive, in-residence workshop which culminates in special events and performances open to the public.

Continuing a tradition of star-studded performances, the 13th annual Ojai Playwrights Conference winter benefit is set for this month at Matilija Auditor-ium. The original evening of theater will be created and directed by Michael Morris and OPC artistic director and producer Robert Egan. Demonstrating the clout the conference has cultivated over the years, prestigious actors will again participate in the “Hearts on Fire” winter benefit that will honor four-time Tony Award-winning playwright Terrence McNally with the 2010 OPC Award.

Register to read more...

Advertise on our site

Overview
Packages
Register