After a two-year hiatus, B Street Theatre’s New Comedies Festival is back! For this third annual festival, they asked up-and-coming playwrights from across the country to submit their best brand new, unproduced comedies. After 200 submissions and several rounds of review by volunteer readers and B Street Artistic Staff, they’ve chosen the top four to receive live staged readings in the recently renovated Upstairs at the B space!
But the competition isn’t over. The ultimate prize? At least one of these new comedies will be chosen to receive a full B Street Theatre Mainstage production for the 2023 Season! You can see the winner of the last Festival (2019) on the Mainstage this summer from June 22nd to July 31st – Jacob T. Zack’s absurd and hilarious satirical romp Proclivity for Kiting!
Want to help choose this year’s winner? Attend a reading of all four plays and you can vote for your favorites to help the B Street Artistic Staff decide who will get that coveted 2023 Mainstage Season slot.
-Cosmo St. Charles is Dead and Someone in this Room Killed Him
Summary: When world-renowned archeologist Cosmo St. Charles dies of unknown causes while hosting an out-of-character dinner party, it’s up to gritty private eye Mac Marlowe to uncover the truth and catch the killer.
Playwright and Bio: Nicole Zimmerer (she/her/hers) is a playwright and librettist with a deep-seated hatred of stairs. She has been a recipient of The Kennedy Center’s VSA Playwright Discovery Award and the Betty Z. Rose and Anne J. Exline Presidential Fellowship. She has had multiple productions in Houston, New York City, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Washington, DC. She holds a BFA in Playwriting and Dramaturgy from the University of Houston and an MFA in Dramatic Writing from Carnegie Mellon University.
-Death of a Social Security Benefit
Summary: Jack and Shirly are an unmarried elderly couple who share a house and drink martinis all day. Shirly wants to get married for financial purposes, but Jack, having been married multiple times, doesn’t see the point. Shirly, however, is determined to protect the life she now has, and will go to any lengths to keep both her and Jack’s social security benefits. Death of a Social Security Benefit is a hilarious new play about love, family, and finances.
Playwright and Bio: Silvia Gonzalez was recently named Artist of the Year by Senator Melissa Hurtado for her work in her district with Hanford Multicultural Theater Company. Silvia is a proud alumnus of three playwright residencies: New Dramatists, Chicago Dramatists, and INTAR Playwright Lab in New York. She is a long-time member of the Dramatists Guild and a newer member of the Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights (ALAP). She is the director of the citywide Hanford Dia de Los Muertos community event. She also writes a column for the local paper and keeps active the HMTC blog. She enjoys making puppets and creating puppet shows for the theater. She recently turned her play Pedro the Puppeteer into a film.
Summary: 19-year-old Maisie has finally landed an apprenticeship at the prestigious Red Key Publishing House, with the acclaimed fiction writer Gilda Tarrington assigned as her mentor. But posh, ancient Gilda has a secret: she’s really the mind behind the famous pseudonym of an erotic paperback empire, and she believes Maisie has the potential to be her successor. Determined not to lose her first major writing opportunity, Maisie sets out to learn everything she can about sex in a series of hilarious, harrowing, and heartwarming escapades.
Playwright and Bio: Sarah Groustra (she/her) is a playwright and theatermaker from Brookline, Massachusetts. Her work has been produced by Playdate Theatre and at Playwright’s Workshop At Kenyon College, and has been developed with Grub Street and The Parsnip Ship. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild. Sarah is currently a senior at Kenyon College, in Gambier, Ohio.
Summary: Two lone survivors from a plane crash find themselves battling the elements and each other as they try to navigate the open ocean and a deserted island. With some hope, some ingenuity and maybe a little help from God…they might just make it out of this disaster alive.
Playwright and Bio: Peter Story and Tara Sissom are former interns and company members at the B Street Theatre. They are both writers and collaborators and are excited to have had the opportunity to work with each other on this project.