11th Annual Essential Theatre Play Festival Opens Soon

In just a few weeks, the 11th Annual Essential Theatre Play Festival will be opening, playing for the first time at the King Plow Art Center in the Actor’s Express space. We’ll be running July 5-August 2 — please visit www.EssentialTheatre.com for details or follow us on Twitter ATL_Essential for the latest information.

FOOD FOR FISH by Adam Szymkowicz, opening July 5. Regional Premiere.
Directed by Peter Hardy
Featuring: Kelly Criss, Kate Graham, Eve Krueger, Brent Nicholas Rose, Charles Swint and Sarah Falkenburg Wallace.
Bobbie is a lonely young man living in New York, trying to write about three sisters who long to escape the city and return to their childhood home of New Jersey … or is he really just an imaginary character in the mind of Sylvia, the youngest sister? Middle sister Alice is hopelessly in love with the husband of her older sister, and so she goes out on dates with a different man every night, working in her lab by day to isolate the human gene that makes us fall in love … so she can control it! Oldest sister Barbara (played by a man) and her husband (played by a woman) can’t figure out how men and women are supposed to relate to each other. This is the kind of play we love to do at the Essential – funny and beautiful and just about impossible to describe. The New York Times did it best, calling it “Fabulously weird and weirdly fabulous.”

Next to open, on July 10, will be ICE GLEN by Joan Ackermann. Regional Premiere.
Directed by Ellen McQueen
Featuring: Jo Howarth, Dina Shadwell, Jayson Smith, Spencer G. Stephens, Jim Starbh and Ann Wilson.
Sarah Harding lives in an isolated country cottage, surrounded by a warm circle of quietly eccentric friends. She may be America’s greatest poet, but no one’s ever seen her work … which is just the way she wants it. But now an editor has arrived from Boston, wanting to publish her poems and bring her the fame and fortune she has never sought. With unforgettable characters, this wonderfully funny romantic drama — about the frozen places in our hearts coming back to life again — is like the best Emma Thompson movie you never saw. “Beautifully written.” Talkin’ Broadway. “A lovely play.” CurtainUp

Opening July 15 will be JIM CROW AND THE RHYTHM DARLINGS by Vynnie Meli. World Premiere.
Directed by Betty Hart
Featuring: Rachel Bodenstein, Enisha Brewster, Daniel Burnley, DeAndrea Crawford, Nadir Mateen, Delesa Sims
It’s World War Two, and with so many men going off to serve, the previously all-male world of jazz is opening up to women for the first time. The International Rhythm Darlings are an all-female African-American band touring the Deep South, which would be a tough situation in the best of times … but now they’ve got a last-minute replacement in the group, a white Jewish woman, and integrated bands aren’t allowed to play together on stage. Not in the South, not anywhere.

Inspired by the real-life experiences of musicians from that era, Vynnie Meli’s play takes a fascinating look at some extraordinary women who make their way past fear and hatred to find the common threads that bind them together. Winner of the 2009 Essential Theatre Playwriting Award competition, the only prize exclusively dedicated to the work of Georgia playwrights. The Essential Theatre is proud to have developed this play (along with Working Title Playwrights and Jewish Theatre of the South) and to be bringing it to the stage for the first time.