Sunday, September 7, 2008

Plays and Playwrights Anthologies -- 10th Anniversary

I think I have already mentioned here in the nytheatre i that the Plays and Playwrights books will be reaching their first major milestone soon: the next volume, Plays and Playwrights 2009 (which will be published in February), will be the 10th in the series.

Not bad at all for a series that started as modestly as this one did.

We'll be ready to announce the 10 plays that will be in Plays and Playwrights 2009 within a couple of weeks -- watch the nytheatre i for that announcement. Today I am announcing another of the contributors to this volume: the foreword of the book is going to be written by playwright Garth Wingfield. There's nobody more appropriate for the job. Here's why.

In late April, 1999, I saw a play at Synchronicity Space (now the site of the theater at 55 Mercer) called Are We There Yet? It was written by a playwright I didn't know, a guy named Garth Wingfield. I loved the play and as I was leaving the theatre, I remarked to Rochelle something like -- "Somebody ought to publish this play -- because it's a really good script, and if it isn't published, it will probably disappear forever, like so many other plays we see."

Didn't think much about this until the end of that year when, for some reason, the idea of publishing Are We There Yet? popped back into my head. This time I said to Rochelle, "Remember last April when I said somebody should publish that play? We ought to do that. We should publish a book of plays."

Even though we'd never published a book before, we went forward with the idea. We contacted several playwrights we'd gotten to know over the past year whose work we admired -- Kirk Bromley, C.J. Hopkins, Lynn Marie Macy, Robert Simonson, David Summers & Gary Ruderman -- and thanks to press agents Kevin McAnerney and Sam Rudy, we made contact with Eddie DeSantis and -- you guessed it -- Garth. While we were doing all of this, I saw a play called When Words Fail... by Dave Dannenfelser, and I got in touch with him as well. All eight agreed to let us publish their work in a book we decided to call Plays and Playwrights for the New Millennium. The snappy title was apropos--the book was scheduled for release at the very beginning of 2000.

Believe me, publishing another book was the farthest thing from my mind (and Rochelle's) back then.

But Plays and Playwrights of the New Millennium was a success. I remember at our launch party for the book, at The Present Company Theatorium, John Clancy told our guests how important it was to have plays from the indie/downtown theatre scene captured forever between the covers of a real, tangible book.

Now, as we prepare to start production of our tenth annual volume, I appreciate the chance that our collaborators back in 99-00 took on us. And I have to say, we owe the whole idea to Garth, because for whatever reason, it was his play that planted the idea in my skull in the first place.

So thanks, Garth, for that ... and thanks for writing our foreword this year!

1 comment:

Jamespeak said...

Ooooooh! Can't wait to hear which plays are in this year...