Theatre News: The Great Gay Play Contest

I love to receive theatre-related press releases from “markets” outside the Indianapolis area.  I rarely do anything with them besides read them, and I laugh at myself for letting them make me feel important, but still, they delight me.

I have been saving this one to share with you because even though it is about theatre in Chicago – not Indy – it involves Bryan Fonseca who is, as you probably already know, the head honcho at the Phoenix Theatre here in Indianapolis.

(He is also one of my benchmark directors.  When it comes to any question of artistic leadership or tactful collaboration, I ask myself:  What Would Bryan Do?)

Bryan is going to be one of the judges of the five finalists in The Great Gay Play Contest in Chicago, Illinois next spring.  Here is the full press release (and thank you, David Zak, for sending it to me!)  The bolding is mine:


Pride Films and Plays Congratulates The Five Finalists Selected In The Great Gay Play Contest

 Press Release December 14, 2010

All five works will be featured in a festival of staged readings at the Hoover-Leppen Theater in the Center on Halsted in March.

Five new plays featuring GLBT characters or themes have been selected as the finalists in the first Great Gay Play Contest sponsored by Pride Films and Plays. All five scripts will be performed in a festival of staged readings March 3 – 6, 2011, at the Hoover-Leppen Theater at the Center on Halsted in Chicago.

The five finalists are:

 False Reality by Joe Lauderdale, Los Angeles, CA

Learn To Be Latina by Enrique Urueta, San Francisco, CA

Save the Date by Tyler Dean, Chicago, IL

Short Expanse by Corinne J. Kawecki, Chicago, IL

The Times by Mark S. Watson, Key West, FL

The final judging in the contest is being done by an esteemed panel of directors and artistic directors including Marshall W. Mason, Jason Moore, Doug Finlayson, Patricia Kane, Jeremy Cohen, Patrick Trettenero, Bryan Fonseca, and others.

The five final scripts will be presented in a festival of staged readings at the Hoover-Leppen Theater in Center on Halsted, Chicago, on the weekend of March 3 – 6, 2011. Details of the performance schedule will be announced on January 1.

“We are thrilled to be assisting with the development of fresh GLBT work,” says Pride Films and Plays Executive Director David Zak. “We believe that all of these scripts are ready to be given serious consideration for productions at theaters across the country for next season.”

Here are the five synopses and authors’ bios :

False Reality, by Joe Lauderdale, Laguna Beach, CA

To deal with his difficult family, Trevor has created a fictional identical twin Aidan whose life is much better. But Kyle falls for Aidan and their intense, tender, romantic relationship is full of good intentions and fraught with mistakes. When Trevor’s fiction and reality collide, the relationship is tested in a terrifying moment of truth in Joe Lauderdale’s new drama.

Joe Lauderdale was the Youth Theatre Director at the Laguna Playhouse for 17 years. He directed or produced more than 70 productions for both adults and youth.  His stage adaptation of Cut, the story of a teenage girl dealing with self-injury, received wide acclaim and his production of The Wrestling Season was presented for a GLAAD Los Angeles special event.

Learn To Be Latina, by Enrique Urueta, San Francisco, CA

In Enrique Urueta’s irreverent new comedy, Hanan Mashalani is beautiful and talented, but she’s Lebanese and that just doesn’t a pop star make. As she’s made over by FAD records to be the next Latin bombshell, she falls in love with an actual Latina. She struggles to maintain the image everyone expects her to be, which ultimately tests her relationship and her own identity.

Enrique Urueta lives in San Francisco and is the author of the plays The Danger of Bleeding Brown, Forever Never Comes, and Get Your Troy On. He has a BA in theatre from The College of William & Mary and a MFA in playwriting from Brown.

Save the Date by Tyler Dean, Chicago, IL

Today is the biggest day of wedding coordinator Bradford Curtis’ career. Not only is he the best man, but the mother of the bride happens to be the editor-in-chief of one of the nation’s most prestigious wedding magazines. When someone from the groom’s past shows up with intentions of stopping the wedding, it’s up to Bradford to make sure everything goes as planned. With mistaken identities, plenty of chases, and double entendres galore, Save the Date is Tyler Dean’s modern twist on a classic farce.

Tyler Dean is a Chicago-based playwright, actor, and sketch comedian. He is a Network Playwright at Chicago Dramatists. His newest play Run-of-the-Mill is receiving its world premiere production in Chicago in February.

Short Expanse by Corinne J. Kawecki, Chicago, IL

It’s 1997 and Chloe’s 10th birthday.  Lydia, Chloe’s swim coach and neighbor, and Colleen, Lydia’s partner of 8 years, have thrown a costume party to celebrate.  David, their friend, and Star, Chloe’s mom, are in attendance.  A happy time … or is it?  Revelations abound and the past changes the future forever in Kawecki’s new drama.

Corinne J. Kawecki’s plays, A Bridge to Something, The Moon, the Lake and Fire, Demons and Monsters, Serious, The Interview, Wishes, and Lesbian Nightmare, have been produced in cities across the country including Chicago, New York, Santa Ana, CA, and Baton Rouge, LA. Corinne is a Network Playwright at Chicago Dramatists and a Member of the Dramatists Guild.

 The Times by Mark S. Watson

 Noah is reunited after 10 years with his college sweetheart Christian. But a wedding announcement in the New York Times brings unexpected comedy, drama, and twists of identity and fate.

Mark S. Watson is a North Carolina native who has resided in Key West, Florida for the past 12 years.  He received his Bachelors in Dramatic Art and Speech Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Mark has performed in regional theatres across the United States as an actor, singer, and dancer.  The Times marks his professional debut as a playwright. 

We would like to thank the many dramatists who submitted work to the festival this year, and to the many readers across the country who helped us select our finalists.

About Pride Films and Plays

Pride Films and Plays was founded in 2010 and is dedicated to comprehending the history of great gay writing and fostering its excellence in new works for the stage and screen.

Pride Films and Plays, based in Chicago, links an international network of writers with professionals working in film and theater.

Through readings, contests, classes, screenings and full theater productions, Pride Films and Plays engages artists and audiences in the full developmental process needed to make great artistic experiences.

For more information, visit

Pride Films and Plays

3023 N Clark 327

Chicago, IL 60657

pridefilmsandplays @

David Zak, Executive Director

John Nasca, Patrick Rybarczyk

Artistic Associates


Each of the five competing plays sounds intriguing to me for one reason or another, so I wish Bryan and the other judges good luck in judging them.

‘See you at the theatres…around Indianapolis, definitely, and maybe in Chicago as well!

Hope Baugh –

(Logo above provided by David Zak.)

2 thoughts on “Theatre News: The Great Gay Play Contest”

  1. False Reality sounds like a fun show. Reminds me of the 80’s movie where the girl poses as a guy in high school and ends up becoming one of the popular kids. Who ended up winning the contest for best new gay play? Too many wedding themed ones in the list for my taste as well, would have been nice to have a better mix.

  2. The audience favorite and the juried winner was supposed to be announced tonight (Sunday, March 6, 2011.) I’m curious, too!

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