BUDDING PLAYWRIGHTS TAKE NEW WORKS
FROM PAGE TO STAGE IN UH ALBEE WORKSHOP
Student Works Performed April 24 – 29 in UH Jose Quintero
HOUSTON, April 5, 2007 – America loves to discover new talent.
The success of TV’s “American Idol” is proof of
that, but the University of Houston has a long tradition of finding
different types of stage stars.
Through its annual Edward Albee New Playwrights Workshop, UH’s
School of Theatre & Dance locates talented student scribes and
allows them to develop their scripts into full-blooded productions.
Aided by Pultizer Prize-winning playwright and UH Distinguished
Lecturer Lanford Wilson, each writer goes through the challenging
process of working and reworking scripts, so their vision remains
clear for both actors and audiences.
Now, five new playwrights are ready to share their finished works
with Houston audiences as their productions hit the stage of UH’s
Jose Quintero Lab Theatre in the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for
the Arts building.
Performances are at 8 p.m., April 24 – 28 and 2 p.m., April
29. Below is information on this year’s plays and playwrights,
who are available for interviews and photos.
- Aaron Racicot:
Home is where the heart is, but in “Tough Love,” it’s
also a political hotbed. Racicot’s play is about a married
couple evaluating their principles, but it began as something
less topical. “I started with a cliched situation and was
aiming to interject political ideas into the story without being
preachy,” he said. “It's easier said than done, but
I feel like I did a good job of it. I think some audience members
will not even realize that the play has anything to do with politics
and will enjoy it just the same. At least, I'm hoping so.”
“Tough Love” will be performed
April 24, 26 and 28
- Brady Alland:
The highs and lows of love are at the heart of Alland’s
“Sticks and Stones.” In getting his story onto the
stage, Alland’s biggest challenge was convincing Wilson
that the final draft was indeed ready for showtime. “He
has the ability to see things from an audience’s point of
view. He’ll suggest word choices or length changes and,
sure enough, his recommendations help the play get better.”
“Sticks and Stones” will be
performed April 24, 26 and 28
- Dustin Sturgill:
He’s only 25 years old, but Sturgill’s artistic inspirations
are definitely old school. The inspiration for “Somebody
Else’s Balls” -- about four friends lost in a cave
where an ancient civilization once dwelled -- is Plato’s
“Allegory of a Cave,” and his favorite playwright
is William Shakespeare. “Shakespeare covers the full spectrum
of emotions in his works,” he said. “His work gives
me a good perspective of what I need for my writing. Plus, ‘Hamlet’
is my favorite play.”
“Somebody Else’s Balls”
will be performed April 24, 26 and 28
- Rachel McKeehan:
Her play “Flesh and Blood” is short, but McKeehan
believes a mere moment can be more entertaining than a sweeping
saga. Her tale of a fantasizing sci-fi fan and a jilted lover
began as a project for last year’s Albee Workshop, and was
ultimately inspired by the sheer rush of experiencing reality.
“This play became a way to help others realize that in spite
of all of these imagination pits that we try to escape to, sometimes
it’s a trip to just exist. Just soak it up,” she said.
“Flesh and Blood” will be performed
April 25, 27 and 29
- Elizabeth Keel:
The biggest challenge for a first-time playwright? For Keel, it
was casting “Shanghai,” her play about kidnappers
who prey on celebrities. “Sometimes you can't have the people
you originally imagined, but then again, you can also be very
pleasantly surprised,” she said. A long time theater fan
and writing enthusiast, she put two-and-two together and decided
to pen her own play.
“Shanghai” will be performed
April 25, 27 and 29
In 1989, Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatist Edward Albee founded
the New Playwrights Workshop, in which student playwrights submit
scripts to be selected for development and production. In 2004,
Albee recruited friend and acclaimed playwright Wilson to oversee
Wilson began writing as a student at the University of Chicago
in the late 1950s. After graduation, he moved to New York City and
became involved with the Off-Off-Broadway scene as a playwright,
actor and director. His first play, “So Long at the Fair,”
was produced by Caffé Chino in 1963. His massive Bohemian
study “Balm in Gilead,” with some 35 characters, was
staged at Café La Mama in 1965. In 1969, he co-founded the
critically acclaimed Circle Repertory Company and served as resident
playwright for three decades. The first major success was “Hot
L Baltimore,” Wilson’s 1975 effort about a shabby hotel
whose clientele included old-age pensioners, derelicts and prostitutes.
He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Drama in 1979 for “Talley’s
Folly,” a two-character romance set in the 1940s in which
a Jewish accountant from St. Louis woos Sally Talley, the daughter
of a well-to-do, WASP-ish family.
For more information on the Edward Albee New Playwrights Workshop,
For details on UH’s School of Theatre & Dance, visit
About the University of Houston
The University of Houston, Texas’ premier metropolitan research
and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers
and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate,
civic and governmental entities. UH, the most diverse research university
in the country, stands at the forefront of education, research and
service with more than 35,000 students.
For more information about UH visit
the universitys Newsroom at www.uh.edu/admin/media/newsroom.