Saturday, April 12, 2014

Best of PlayGround Gala Announced!

PlayGround-LA, Los Angeles’s incubator for a new generation of playwrights, caps off its second season on Monday evening, May 12 at the Zephyr Theatre with the second annual Best of PlayGround, a one-night gala celebration of the best playwrights and short plays selected from more than 100 submissions and 36 works developed as part of the season’s Monday Night PlayGround staged reading series. The Gala will feature an all-star performance of the six Best of PlayGround winners and a post-show reception with the performers and playwrights. Tickets start at $50 and are available through the Box Office at 323-992-6766 or online at

The six plays to be presented in this year’s Best of PlayGround are:
Origin Story by Tiffany Cascio
Little Swan, a Pas de Deux by Allie Costa
A Change of Heart by Vincent Terrell Durham
Mass Effect by Forrest Hartl
If I Were a Man by Mercedes Segesvary
A David Lynch Family Christmas by Mark Sherstinsky

Finalist for this year’s Best of PlayGround is Richard Ruyle (“Do You Hear…?”).

About the Plays

Origin Story by Tiffany Cascio
America’s future is shaped over Girl Scout cookies and medical marijuana.

Little Swan: A Pas de Deux by Allie Costa
A ballerina prepares for the performance of her life.

A Change of Heart by Vincent Terrell Durham
If you listen closely, you can hear a person’s soul at the end of every heartbeat.

Mass Effect by Forrest Hartl
The history of school shootings in America is tensely summarized by a quirky group of high school students. 

If I Were A Man by Mercedes Segesvary
If I were a man, would I ever wonder what it's like to be a woman?

A David Lynch Family Christmas by Mark Sherstinsky
Family. Secrets. Problems. Liquor. Christmas. Lynch. 

About the Playwrights

Tiffany Cascio is a television producer/writer and aspiring playwright. She moved to Los Angeles from Sacramento where she worked as Executive Producer and Producer for several series and specials on HGTV and DIY Networks. She is currently writing and producing shows for HGTV and working toward becoming a playwright.

Allie Costa's original plays and screenplays include Who She Could Have Been (LBDI Semi-Finalist), Testimony, Safe Distance, Sunday Mail, and Can You Keep a Secret? Acting credits include Spring Awakening, Anything Goes, Hamlet, 90210, You Me & Her, Goldfish Love. She is currently playing Sam in Wake.

Vincent Terrell Durham is a playwright and author.  A Change of Heart is one of three pieces to have graced the stages of Playground-LA.  He’s currently shopping his first novel: The Root Worker – The Virgin Mary – and the Unstoppable Margaret Johnson.  He’s happy to have become a part of the PlayGround family.

A Southern California native, Forrest Hartl studied acting at Cal and playwriting at USC. He teaches theatre at Cerritos College. Forrest has written plays for Kaiser Permanente’s Educational Theatre Programs, which tour to schools daily. He is in post-production for his latest short film.

Mercedes Segesvary is a playwright and fine art illustrator. Her short play, “Room For Rent” won her a 2012 PlayGround Emerging Playwright Award. In 2008 Mercedes brought to life a comedic retelling of a San Francisco Tour Guide’s life and received a Best of Fringe Award for her critically acclaimed performance.

Mark Sherstinsky had several one-act plays staged by PlayGround-SF, including The Docent (2001 PlayGround Emerging Playwrights Festival, The Best of PlayGround, 1997-2001).  His Hell for Dummies was a finalist in the Strawberry One-Act Festival (New York City, 2006) and was published in The Best Plays From The Strawberry One-Act Festival (v.3).

About PlayGround-LA

The mission of PlayGround-LA is to support the development of significant new local voices for the theatre. PlayGround-LA has developed a unique model for identifying and nurturing the best new writers, helping them to build a significant body of original work, and strongly weaving these artists into the family of local theatre professionals. PlayGround pairs early development playwrights with established, professional actors and directors and fosters the artistic relationships that develop.

Ten days before the designated Monday, October-March, a topic is announced and emerging playwrights in the Greater Los Angeles Area have until 2pm the following Tuesday to submit a short script. A panel of judges selects six winners, whose entries are cast over the weekend and then rehearsed with the area’s best professional actors and directors in a whirlwind ninety minutes each before being performed as script-in-hand staged readings. Previous topics include “Origin Story”, “Sea-Change”, “Holiday Spirit”, “I Have A Dream...”, and “Idioms of the Heart”.

PlayGround-LA is the first regional expansion of the celebrated Bay Area playwright incubator and theatre community hub, PlayGround(SF). PlayGround was launched in San Francisco in 1994 by co-founders Jim Kleinmann, Brighde Mullins and Denise Shama. In 1996, Kleinmann became PlayGround’s first Artistic Director. Since its founding, PlayGround has developed and staged nearly 700 original ten-minute plays by 190 Bay Area early-career writers and has commissioned/developed 52 full-length plays by distinguished PlayGround alumni. In the process of staging those works, PlayGround has helped to identify some of the leading emerging writers and, at the same time, has engendered the creation of a true community of theatre artists, bringing together hundreds of local actors, directors and playwrights. For most if not all of the participating writers, PlayGround is the first professional staging their work has received and serves as their introduction into the professional theatre community.

PlayGround’s alumni have gone on to win local, national and international honors for their short and full-length work, including recognition at the Humana Festival, Sundance Festival, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, New York International Fringe Festival, Aurora Theatre Company’s Global Age Project, and Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival, among others. Directors and actors participating in PlayGround are among some of the most distinguished theatre professionals, regularly working on leading local stages.

For more information, visit or follow PlayGround on Facebook ( and Twitter (

WHAT:             Best of PlayGround Gala
                        A performance of the best six works from the 2013-14 Monday Night PlayGround season

WHEN:             May 12, 2014
                        Monday @ 7:30pm

WHERE:           Zephyr Theatre
                        7456 Melrose Ave.
                        Los Angeles, California 90046

HOW:               (323) 992-6766  or

TICKETS:         $50 (General), $100 (Premium, includes priority seating and complimentary glass of wine), and $150 (Host).

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