Thursday, March 26, 2009

High School winners announced

The winners in the High School Division of the 26th annual New Jersey Young Playwrights Contest are:

Requiem by Samantha Berstler, 11th grader at Villa Walsh Academy
About to Pop! by Ben Muzi, 12th grader at Lawrence High School
Suitcase by Tyler McGuckin, 11th grader at Bergen County Academies
'Til Death Do Us Part by Jennifer Woods, 11th grader at Bergen County Academies

These plays are listed in no particular order and were selected anonymously. Judges were not provided with any of the playwrights' information.

These plays will be presented at the New Jersey Young Playwrights Festival on Tuesday, May 19th at 10:00 am on the campus of Kean University in Union, NJ. The Festival is a partnership between Playwrights Theatre and Premiere Stages @ Kean University. This event is free, but reservations are required.

If you or your school are interested in attending, please contact the Education Office at Playwrights Theatre at 973-514-1787, ext. 14. As seating is limited, priority will be given to the young playwrights' families and schools. Any other reservations will be made on a waiting list and admittance will be provided as seats become available.

We congratulate all playwrights who submitted their work to the Contest/Festival this year. We hope to have the written critiques of these plays in the mail around mid-April.

Judging for the Junior HS and Elementary school divisions has completed. Winning playwrights will be notified by mail in the next few days.

Thank you. And congratulations again!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Madison Young Playwrights Festival begins today!

Today is the first day of the 23rd annual Madison Young Playwrights Festival!

This afternoon we will begin with a read-through of all 16 plays with most of the playwrights on hand. Rehearsals will run throughout the week with three sets of performances: on Thursday and Friday we will conduct a staged reading at the four participating schools; on Saturday, all 16 plays will be featured on our main stage here at Playwrights Theatre. It is an exciting week and we're looking forward to getting started.

You can find more information about the Festival on our website at

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"May I have the envelope, please..."

That old envelope contains the results of the 26th annual New Jersey Young Playwrights Contest. Over the next few days I will be contacting the 12 playwrights whose work has been selected for presentation during the Festival. Check back next week as the results will be posted then.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hero's Journey writing tool

I wanted to pass along some information about a website that I perused this morning - This site is a partnership between the International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English and appears to be a collection of curriculum tools for teachers, but also contains some interactive writing guides for students.

I have not yet had the chance to look at the site thoroughly as I only came across it today through a link from the blog of YA novelist Laurie Halse Anderson. However, I did look at the "Hero's Journey" interactive and being a big fan of using this structure as a way to begin a story, thought that I would pass it on. You can link directly to the Hero interactive by clicking this link, or cutting and pasting it into your browser -

This will take you through the background of the Hero's Journey concept and each of the steps of this story structure. Some of our older young playwrights may find it a bit elementary, but I would encourage giving it a try as a writing organizer, or something to help generate an outline. Give it a try!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Finalists chosen!

It has been a very quick three weeks of judging. We are suddenly down to our final round of the NJ Young Playwrights Contest and I am currently in the process of forwarding the Finalist scripts to the members of the Selection Panel.

In a few weeks, I will meet with the Selection Panel to decide the four plays from each division that will receive a staged-reading during the NJ Young Playwrights Festival on May 19 & 20 at Kean University. A few playwrights and teachers have written me emails to inquire about our selection date and I wanted to post that information here in case there are more of you with similar questions.

Immediately after the Selection Panel makes its decision, I will contact each of the winning playwrights and their families directly. By the end of March, early April, we will publicly announce the selected plays. So, just another 3-4 weeks to go!

In the meantime, I'd like to publicly thank all of the Contest Readers who have given their time and expertise to make this program possible. They are still at work writing up their feedback to each of you who submitted a play to the Contest. I hope to have those to you by the end of April, early May.

Thanks again and happy writing!