Sunday, September 25, 2011. Mark your calendars folks, because that's the day the Jewish Plays Project was Launched! The turnout was amazing - 75 talented artists meeting, networking, discussing and celebrating the future of Jewish theater on the uber-cool roof garden of The Delancey. Together, we're reaching for nothing less than the transformation of this vital part of our cultural heritage into a vibrant, exciting 21st century art.
We also previewed our fun audience engagement tool, Txt2Thtr, by having all the guests text in the Worst Jewish Play Title they could think of. Contenders included: Bris of the Spider Woman, The Gefilite Fish Incident, and Mohel: The Uncut Version. But the definite winner was David Loewy's:
The Congregation Beth B'Nai Elohim Hebrew School Honor Roll: A Comedy About G*d
David thoroughly enjoyed his prize - a knish from the famous Yonah Schimmel's.
And the best part - he actually wrote the play! It's hilarious!
But the real meat of the evening was the announcement of our pilot programs for this inaugural year of 5772:
- The JCC of Metrowest Jewish Playwriting Competition
A national search for the best new playscripts. Submission period closes November 1. We've gotten 50 scripts already - will we make 100?
- OPEN: The New Jewish Theater Residency at the 14th Street Y
A three-week Sundance-style new works lab at the Theater at the 14th Street Y. Submissions open January 1, residency happens June 11- July 1, 2012.
- The Think Tank
An online series of essays on the future of Jewish theater, straight from the mouths of the artists themselves.
- The Street Team
An ad-hoc, on-the ground gang of artists at the heart of NYC new play development (ArsNova, New Dramatists, Youngbloods, etc.) searching for great theater pieces with 21st-century Jewish relevance. If you see something, say something!
We think there's something here for everyone, and we hope that all 75 folks who were at our Launch, and the hundreds of others who wanted to be, will take us up on the challenge of re-making the content and culture of Jewish theater. If you have any questions or want to get in on any of these opportunities, email me.
A huge thanks and Mazel Tov to everyone who made the evening happen - the Gen i Task Force of UJA Federation NY's Commission on Jewish Identity and Renewal, the amazing staff and leadership of LABA: The National Laboratory for New Jewish Culture at the 14th Street Y, and our amazing Launch Party Committee: Ben Kamine, Tziporah Kaplan, Josh Kashinsky, Larry Kunofsky, Benjy Shaw, Franny Silverman, and Becky Skoff.
I wish you all a truly sweet and peaceful New Year, and can't wait to be back in touch about our next steps.
Director, Jewish Plays Project
P.S. We're already on to our next event - a Project outing to Edward Einhorn's production of The Pangs of the Messiah. See below for the ticket deal and bar location!