Barrington Stage Company Presents The PlayWorks Weekend – A Staged Reading Series

(Pittsfield, MA) Barrington Stage Company (BSC), the award-winning theatre in Downtown Pittsfield, MA, under the leadership of Artistic Director Julianne Boyd, presents The PlayWorks Weekend, a staged reading series of new plays with performances May 10-12 at the St. Germain Stage.

Plays to be presented are American Underground by Brent Askari, Citizen Scientist by Christina Quintana and Grant & Twain by local playwright Elizabeth Diggs. American Underground and Citizen Scientist are winners of Barrington Stage’s 2019 Burman New Play Award. Grant & Twain received the Edgerton Foundation Award for New American Plays.

Reading dates and times: Citizen Scientist will be presented on Friday, May 10 at 7:00pm and Sunday, May 12 at 2:00pm.  Grant & Twain will be presented Saturday, May 11 at 2:00pm and American Underground will be presented Saturday, May 11 at 7:00pm  St. Germain Stage at the Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center (36 Linden Street). Tickets are $15 for one reading, $30 for all three and seating is general admission. To purchase tickets, call Barrington Stage Box Office: (413) 236-8888 or online at www.barringtonstageco.org.

American Underground, by Brent Askari, will be directed by Julianne Boyd. An interracial couple enjoys a visit from their college-aged son when a young Muslim woman arrives at their back door looking for safe passage via a new Underground Railroad. This riveting thriller takes us inside a stark vision of an unapologetic America. (American Underground will premiere on the Boyd-Quinson Mainstage October 2-20, 2019)

Citizen Scientist, by Christina Quintana, will be directed by Arpita Mukherjee. Kian, an actuary, and Neema, an astronomer, meet exploring the starfield for exoplanets and battling their recent losses. Together, they discover the planet Kepler-64b and learn what it means to be present here on Earth.

Grant & Twain, by Elizabeth Diggs, director Regge Life. While the Union he saved is starkly divided again, Ulysses Grant’s star is rising to new heights.  Then, at age 62, Grant is bankrupted in a Wall Street swindle. His friend, Mark Twain, 13 years younger, idolized the great soldier. He makes the wild claim that if he publishes Grant’s memoirs, he will make it the biggest success in history.  Half-way through the writing, Grant is diagnosed with terminal cancer. The two unlikely friends have staked everything on a race with death.

About the Playwrights

Brent Askari is a Persian-American writer and actor living in Portland, Maine. Brent’s play Hard Cell was part of the 2017 PlayPenn development conference and is being produced as part of Geva Theatre Center’s 2018-2019 Mainstage Season. Some of his other recent plays include: Digby’s Home (Semi-finalist O’Neill Playwriting Conference, produced at Mad Horse Theatre); Cocktails and Travails (Winner of Neil Simon Festival’s National New Play Contest and produced at The Theater Project); Bending Reeds (Semi-Finalist Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Blank Stage Living Room Series). Brent was part of HBO’s New Writers Project and has written screenplays for Paramount Pictures, Marvel Films, MTV and Reveille Entertainment. Brent has acted in numerous theatrical productions across the country and is an ensemble member of Mad Horse Theatre Company. Brent also narrated the nationally syndicated children’s television program “Animal Science,” which was nominated for a national Daytime Emmy in 2014.

Christina Quintana (CQ) is a writer with Cuban and Louisiana roots. Her plays include: Azul (2017 Kilroys List; forthcoming World Premiere: Southern Rep, April 2019), Scissoring (INTAR; Finalist Alliance/Kendeda; now available from Dramatists Play Service), Evensong (APAC; Kilroys List Honorable Mention), Enter Your Sleep (Yale Cabaret) and The Great Lonely Roamer & The Night That Changed Everything (NYU Voices Festival). She is the recipient of fellowships from MacDowell, Playwrights Realm, Van Lier New Voices at the Lark, Queer/Art, CubaOne and Lambda Literary. Her chapbook of poetry, The Heart Wants, was released from Finishing Line Press in 2016, and her poem “She-lium” was featured on Radiolab in collaboration with Emotive Fruition. An alumnus of Youngblood at Ensemble Studio Theatre and a current WP Lab Member, she holds an MFA in Playwriting from Columbia University School of the Arts.

Elizabeth Diggs is a playwright and Professor of Dramatic Writing at Tisch, NYU. Her plays have been produced Off Broadway and at major regional theatres in the U.S. and abroad.  Her plays include: Nightingale, Close Ties, Goodbye Freddy, American Beef, Dumping Ground, Priceless, How to Plant a Rose and Cluster’s Luck. Prizes include the Los Angeles DramaLogue award for playwriting, the CBS/FDG prize and runner-up for the Susan Smith Blackburn prize. Diggs wrote for the groundbreaking TV drama “St. Elsewhere.”  She is a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre, the Dramatists Guild and PEN.

ABOUT BARRINGTON STAGE COMPANY

Barrington Stage Company (BSC) is an award-winning regional theatre located in Pittsfield, MA, in the heart of the Berkshires. Co-founded in 1995 by Artistic Director Julianne Boyd, BSC has a three-fold mission: to present top-notch, compelling work; to develop new plays and musicals; and to find fresh, bold ways of bringing new audiences into the theatre—especially young people.

Barrington Stage commissioned and produced the world premiere of Christopher Demos-Brown’s American Son, which also won the Laurents/Hatcher Award as Best New Play in 2016 and recently concluded a Broadway run, starring Kerry Washington. American Son was later made into a Netflix movie, and will soon be released nationally. Barrington Stage first garnered national attention in 2004 when it premiered William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin’s musical hit The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, which later transferred to Broadway where it won two Tony Awards. In 2009, BSC premiered Mark St. Germain’s Freud’s Last Session, which later moved Off Broadway and played for two years. St. Germain’s Becoming Dr. Ruth (which premiered at BSC as Dr. Ruth, All the Way) played Off Broadway at the Westside Theatre. BSC’s all-time record-breaking musical On the Town was originally produced at BSC in 2013 before transferring to Broadway, where it was nominated for four Tony Awards including Best Musical Revival. In 2016, Barrington Stage swept the first annual Berkshire Theatre Awards by winning 20 out of the 25 awards. In 2017, BSC produced the much-lauded revival of Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s Company, starring Aaron Tveit. In 2018, BSC produced the critically-acclaimed production of West Side Story in honor of Leonard Bernstein and Jerome Robbins’ 100th birthdays. BSC has won the Best of the Berkshires Readers’ Choice for Best Live Theatre for the past two years. 2019 marks BSC’s 25th Season Anniversary.

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