NewPlayFest 2018 Playwrights & World Premieres

The Class of 2018

Congratulations to the winning playwrights of the 2018 AACT NewPlayFest!  Listed below are the winning plays, playwrights, producing theatres, and world premiere production dates in chronological order.

Read about the 2018 Producing Theatres

Finishing School  by Elaine Liner

The oldest resident of an upscale assisted living facility befriends one of the youngest, and they meet for a daily ritual: reading obits (“the senior citizen’s sports page”). Wizzer gives Al helpful advice about life among elders: "Never get between old people and a grocery store sheet cake. You will pull back a nub." Their days get interesting when two flirty women shake up the dynamic between Al and Wizzer.

Producing Theatre:
Elkhart Civic Theatre, Bristol Indiana

Production Dates: September 8-17, 2017

Photo of Elaine LinerAfter more than 30 years as a journalist and theatre critic at newspapers in Texas and Ohio, Elaine Liner made her debut as a playwright and solo performer in 2013. Her one-woman “knitcom” Sweater Curse: A Yarn about Love premiered to five-star reviews at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Elaine has returned three more times to the Fringe to perform and to lead her Mastering the Media Matrix Workshops for festival participants. Her book 107 Publicity Boosters That Work is a how-to-do-media guide for artists, writers, actors and others. Elaine’s other plays are A Ripping Christmas Carol, Copeville, The Crickets’ Lunch (an homage to critics) and Cappy & Monty: A Love Story. She wrote AACT winning play Finishing School to give older actors good roles in a funny play with a happy ending.  []  Photo by Chuck Marcelo.

TBD (To Be Determined)  by Paul Elliott

When two isolated sisters take in a troubled teenager, their world is completely upended. Secrets are revealed, veneers stripped away and the three must band together when evil arrives on the doorstep. TBD (To Be Determined) is a suspenseful play with gripping twists that will leave you breathless.

Producing Theatre:
Lincoln Community Playhouse, Lincoln, Nebraska

Production Dates:  January 19-21, 26-28, 2018

Photo of Paul ElliottPaul Elliott is the head of the Fierce Backbone Writers' Unit in Hollywood and is a respected television and screenwriter who has written, produced, and/or directed both network and syndicated shows, as well as writing/producing/and directing live entertainment spectaculars for theme parks like Disneyland, Walt Disney World Resort, EuroDisney, AstroWorld, Boblo Island, and Sanrio Puroland in Japan. Writing for stage has always been Paul's first love and his plays, Legacy and Perspective (published by Samuel French) and Ledge, Ledger and the LegendMind Games, and The Door (published by Dramatic Publishing), are produced all around the world. Ledge, Ledger and the Legend, was voted one of the top 25 most produced one-act plays in the last 25 years. His comedy, Exit Laughing, was a winning play for AACT NewPlayFest 2014,  and is available from Dramatic Publishing. Finding the Burnett Heart, had a world premiere at the historic Detroit Repertory Theatre and a West Coast premiere at the Missing Piece Theatre in Burbank. Gentle Passage was the flagship production of the 2012 Hollywood Fringe. Dula, Paul's first musical, written with international recording star, Jeanie Cunningham, premiered in a staged reading at Northwestern University as the first step to a full production. []

Eternity  by Michael Cochran

Abe, sick of sticking to a sensible diet, decides to move a client appointment to later in the day in favor of getting an ice cream sandwich. The only problem is Abe is the angel of death and his "appointments" are to greet the newly deceased and take them to the next stop. Things quickly spiral out of control when Abe's repeated attempts to "bump off" his delayed appointment fails and the real threat of a new "unauthorized life" will occur unless Abe gets everything back on track.  Meanwhile Abe keeps collecting additional "clients" as he makes a desperate plan to set things right. Abe and a collection of the living and the dead all end up in a Vegas Wedding Chapel where a surprise visit from the Boss helps Abe rediscover what the real meanings of life and death are all about.

Producing Theatre:
Stage III Community Theatre, Casper, Wyoming

Production Dates: January 26-February 11, 2018

Photo of Michael CochranMichael Cochran was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin and graduated from University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a BA in Theatre.  He attended Graduate School at University of Alabama and received his MFA in Theatre from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.  Cochran worked professionally in Chicago and Kansas City as a Lighting and Scenic Designer until 1983 when he was hired by the Market House Community Theatre (MHT) in Paducah, Kentucky.  Since then he has directed and designed hundreds of productions with MHT and has served as MHT's Executive and Artistic Director from 1996 to the present.  He has written several short plays and historical pieces produced by MHT, but this is his first full length play to be produced nationally and published as a winner of the AACT NewPlayFest 2018.  

Mynx and Savage  by Rebecca Gorman O’Neill

Adam, a comic book writer, is torn between the superheroes that make him money and a dark, true story that he is afraid to tell.  Ket is an artist-assistant sent by Adam’s publisher to make sure he hits his deadlines.  As Adam learns to trust Ket as a colleague and not a corporate tool, Adam’s characters start bleeding through: both the bright and glossy Mynx and Savage, and the sweet, quiet, and true story of Adam’s troubled past.  In the end, Ket makes Adam realize that his stories – no matter what form they take - will always betray his truth. 

Producing Theatre:
The Vortex Theatre, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Production Dates: April 27-29 & May 4-6, 11-13, 2018

Photo of Rebecca Gorman O’NeillRebecca Gorman O’Neill was born in Akron, Ohio; she left at age 17 to attend Dartmouth College.  When she won the Eleanor Frost playwriting award her Junior year, she was relieved to have an excuse to stop acting.  Rebecca went on to earn her MFA in Dramatic Writing from Carnegie Mellon University.   Rebecca’s original plays have been produced in the U.S. and in Canada.   Her plays Tell-Tale and The Greater Good are published through Eldridge Publishing and Next Stage Press, respectively.  Rebecca is a Professor of English at Metropolitan State University of Denver, where she teaches playwriting, screenwriting, cinema studies, and the graphic novel.

Treehouse  by Joe Musso

Johnny and his pals Oliver and Ben could be typical 17-year-old boys, hanging out in Johnny’s treehouse and dreaming of talking to the beautiful Alana, were it not for Johnny's insistence that he has the mind of a 53-year-old. Johnny’s mom is a little worried. Out-of-the-blue her son is suddenly pulling straight A's, keeping his room immaculate, and reading Shakespeare. As Johnny persists in his claim that he’s an old man in a teenager’s body, and conversations in the treehouse become increasingly peppered by the words of the Bard, Johnny grapples simultaneously with adolescence, love, and the mind's ability to heal from great loss.

Producing Theatre:
Cottage Theatre, Cottage Grove, Oregon

Production Dates: August 10-26, 2018

Photo of Joe MussoJoe Musso lives in Birmingham, Alabama. His plays have been presented in numerous theatres and have won several awards, including the Great Plains Theatre Conference Holland New Voices Award, the MTWorks Excellence in Playwriting Award, the HRC Showcase Theatre W. Keith Hedrick Playwriting Award, and the Gloria Ann Barnell Peter Playwright Competition. His full-length play Conk and Bone was published in the 2012 Great Plains Theatre Conference Reader, and his ten-minute play The Rollercoaster of Love was published in Smith & Kraus' The Best 10-Minute Plays 2012. Many of his plays for young actors are published through Heuer Publishing and Brooklyn Publishers, and Applause Theatre & Cinema Books included his play Bam! Ka-Pow! in its anthology 25 Ten-Minute Plays for Teens.  []

Sweet  by Denise Hinson

Sweet is centered around three generations of the Carter family, headed by former boxing champ "Sweet" Clemmet Carter. When an enthusiastic sports writer enters their life asking to write a book about Clemmet's boxing days, he discovers that some family secrets are better left buried.

Producing Theatre:
County Seat Theatre Company, Cloquet, Minnesota

Production Dates: September 28-30, October 3-7, 2018

Photo of Denise HinsonDenise Hinson is a playwright residing in Albuquerque, New Mexico . Her plays have received productions and readings in places including Bottom of the Barrel Ten Minute Play Festival, Out of Order Ten Minute Play Festival, the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (Regional), the Linnell Festival of New Plays, and Stage It! Ten Minute Play Festival.

Finalists for AACT NewPlayFest 2018 also included:

Behold by Tom Cavanaugh

Bitten by a Boomslang by Andrew Black

Familiar Strangers by Lynda Crawford

The Assistant by Ashley Minihan

The Paymaster by Michael Feely

Very Best Coffee by Briandaniel Oglesb


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