Wednesday, December 31, 2008

AAPEX 2008 Round-Up and Wha's Up for 2009!

Nashville, Tennessee
Dec. 31, 2008

The African American Playwrights Exchange 2008 Round-Up

Happy New Year, everybody. My big Christmas present was getting the Internet back up at home, so I have the pleasure of filling everyone in on what a great year 2008 was for AAPEX and where that is taking us in 2009. Thanks to our incredible network of artists in New York City, AAPEX has presented so many reading there over the last year or so that I'm losing track! And thanks to our growing network of NYC supporters, most of those reading have played to SRO houses. I especially have to thank my pastor, Doug Sanders of Otter Creek Church, and playwright Merrill Jones of Washington D.C. for getting me to the city for the readings of HANNAH ELIAS (by Nathan Ross Freeman) and Merrill's stunning new family drama MRS. STREETER. I wish I could have been there for the March reading of Hershell Norwood's BILLIES BLUES but I am seriously proud to announce that ALL THREE OF THESE PLAYS ARE GETTING PRODUCITONS IN 2009! And Mike Oatman's crazy new comedy THE CHITTLIN THIEF is being reviewed for the upcoming season at a Chicago theater. Mike has had FOUR readings of THE CHITTLIN THIEF since October of 2207 - AAPEX readings in Washington, DC, New York & Nashville and one he put together himself in his home base, Cleveland, Ohio - land of Karamu.

As a direct result of the AAPEX reading at The Players Club, BILLIE'S BLUES came into the hands of director/producer T. Bankole. Bankole put the play up in this past summer's Downtown Urban Theater Festival and now BILLIE'S BLUES is scheduled to open in Brooklyn at Long Island University at the beginning of February, 2009. As a direct result of the AAPEX reading of HANNAH ELIAS and the support of our great friend, LilIanne Klien - who has gotten us in to The Players Club on more than one occasion - I have managed to pitch a June production to my colleagues here in Nashville at the historical Darkhorse Theater. This production will star legendary Nashville actress Helen "Olaketi" Shute Pettaway and inaugurate The Olaketi Ensemble - an acting ensemble which is being founded to present the works of AAPEX artists. We are looking forward to a possible reading of HANNAH ELIAS at the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center at Vanderbilt University in February or March of 2009 and are excited to welcome Dr. Frank Dobson, who runs the center, as part of of the AAPEX network. Concurrent with plans for the November AAPEX reading of MRS. STREETER, Merrill Jones advised me that there will be an 8 week run at the Berkeley Black Repertory Theater in Berkeley, California, opening in March. And Dee Spencer, who was in the reading and who works for Continental Airlines, is pitching Gregory Carr's one woman show GIMME WINGS to her employer and else where. This industrious young actress has landed an opportunity to perform Carr's one woman show about four African American aviatrixes - aka pilots - at the Black Cultural Center in Orange, New Jersey. It has to go up before January 30, because Gregory and Dee are looking to enter it in the Larry Hamlin Solo Performance Series in Winston Salem at the National Black Theater Festival this summer. To be perfectly honest, folks, we could use some donations on this one, and Hazel Joyner Smith, Executive Director of the International Black Film Festival of Nashville, is going to provide the non-profit umbrella so that any donation will be tax deductible. Contact me if you wouldn't mind throwing a few bucks our way so I can pay Passion. And Gregory. And Dee. And Corene, so we can have a qulity video to send to Winston Salem. Passion - what can I say about this amazing lady or the other directors who have given AAPEX so much momentum? Check out Passion's film DRAMA MAMAS at Thanks to Thierry Saintine, who got BILLIE'S BLUES on it's feet, to Benard Cummings, who got us a reading of THE CHITTLIN THIEF at Stella Adler and to Ward Nixon for going the extra mile and for casting the fantastic Kimberly Munroe in the lead role. Congratulations to Karen Evans and The Black Women Playwrights' Group of Wasington, DC on their Chicago triumph. And to Hazel Joyner Smith and her daughters Ingrid and Ivy Brown for including a live stage performance as part of this year's film festival - and to Rev. Alvin Moore, the play's author, for successfully pitching it to a film studio ( more on that as it evolves), and to D.C. Copeland, another AAPEX writer who's getting some movie love when LaMont Caine of The Reserve Entertainment Group optioned his play ONCE UPON A TIME IN HARLEM for a 2010 production. And to 11 year old Mary Pat Hector in Atlanta, who's getting a tour of her play about dealing with child abuse - and who actually heard back from Oprah! Also coming in 2009: The Black Women's Stage Project: MADAM; THE C J WALKER MUSICAL by Adriana Rogers and Paul Johnson, starring Jewel Lucien as Madam C J Walker. WATERMELON SUSHI - the film by Yayoi Winfrey. Check it out at Finally, we're proud to say as this year comes to an end, AAPEX has 94 African American Playwrights and 81 African American Theatres listed on our website which makes us the source for everything in African American Theatre!

So - wha's up in 2009? If it's anything like 2008, A LOT!

Please make sure we post what you're doing in 2009 - especially in February and March. And if anybody knows the name of Michelle Obama's press secratary, please pass it my way. I am looking forward to interviewing her for Wanda Clay's Tennessee Style Magazine.

Jaz Dorsey

Five African American Women Playwrights Selected to Re-Write Shakespeare

Five African American women playwrights have been selected by the The Upstart Crow Project to join 32 other women playwrights to adapt all 37 of William Shakespeare's plays into a brand new contemporary canon which will be produced around the country in the 2012-2013 season.

The Upstart Crow Project is fundraising to commission 37 female American playwrights of diverse generational cultural and stylistic backgrounds. Women are criminally underrepresented on the American stage - this season in NY only 12.6% of new plays were the work of female writers. We all know by now that women are equal to men in terms of revolutionary spirit, creativity, complexity, humor, and yes, brilliance. Want to make a fierce political statement and an artistic statement at the same time? Your tax-deductible donation goes straight to commissioning a kickass play. This is some serious bang for your buck. Click here to visit the Upstart Crow Budget Page to learn more about what your donation will do and what you'll get in return.

To learn more about the five playwrights listed above, click their names under the "Playwrights and Members on the Web" listing on the right which links to their website. Including the 62 playwrights with an Internet presence, there are also 32 more African American playwrights listed bringing the total number to 94. Coupled with the 81 African American theatre companies (with web sites) around the country, it appears we may be in the Golden Age of African American theatre.

Source: The GirlieGirl Army

Ione Lloyd's BLACK TALE opens Thursday, January 29th (NYC)

Hello, AAPEX Community,
I'm an emerging playwright and I have a show coming up in NYC at the LGBT community center as a benefit to connect people of all races, ethnicities and sexual preferences to the dream of MLK. I have a 200 seat theatre to fill and would greatly appreciate any assistance you could offer in spreading the word. Please see below for more info.

Thank you and Happy New Year,

Black Tale
Thursday, January 29th
208 West 13th Street
Theatre 101
Presented by The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center
A Black Magic Women Will Put A Spell On You!

With Special Guest Star
Rae Dawn Chong
Written by
Ione Lloyd
Directed by
Renita Martin
Produced by
Rhythm Visions Production Company, Inc

6PM Reception with wine/light food and Female MC Showcase

Black Tale Begins Promptly at 7PM

Black Tale is a contemporary hip-hop fairytale centered on the Greek myth of Persephone or just another day in the hood. Black Tale enchants with poetry, movement, elements of Negro spirituals, mythology, classic parables, and nursery rhymes, transporting you to the not so far away land of Bed-Stuy "Do or Die" Brooklyn.
Tickets are $10 and are on sale now! Get 'em while the getting's good. Tickets will also be sold at the door, but advance sales are reccomended. For tickets go to
Black Tale will be presented as a benefit performance for the LGBT Center and in honor of MLK - to connect people of all races, ethnicities and sexual identities to the dream.
Peace and Love in the hood and everywhere
The Black Tale Fam

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Mafia Short Script Competition (2/21 Deadline)

Pavaline's Mafia Short Script Competition is now open. "Write A Script We Can't Refuse" (Mafia Theme) Attention writers: Write a short script. Script must be between 5 - 20 pgs. Winner will be flown to New York for a production meeting, then flown to the set to watch their short script produced. Deadline for Mafia Short Script Competition is February 21, 2009. Visit us today for full details at: We are also accepting full feature screenplays (various) in our "Open Submission."

Please note: Entry fees range from $40 to $50.00 depending on whether or not you become a "member."

An Urban Short Film Script competition deadlines June 21, 2009.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Owa's Christmas Manifesto: Theater for the Bizarre

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Red Harlem Readers (NYC)

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

TRU Voices Reading Series call for scripts

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Please note deadlines for submissions: For plays without a producer attached: 12/29/2008. For plays with a producer attached: 1/04/2009.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Fee for Cringe Fest

Please note: there's a $25 fee for entering this festival, unless you're a member of the Dramatists' Guild, for whom the fee is waived. From the application form, it would appear that the fee applies to each title submitted.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Cringe Fest Call for "Bad" Plays (NYC)

Since 2005, NY Artists Unlimited has been presenting a fall Bad Plays Festival and a summer Bad Musicals Festival. The '08 festival at the Producers' Club was the biggest one yet, attracting large audiences, producers, reviewers, and more. Liz Smith wrote it up three times in her columns in the Post and Variety. This festival has been covered by The New York Times, New York magazine, TimeOut, and other major media.

In '09, the various festivals will be combined into one big event taking place in two theatres under the umbrella of the International Cringe Fest.

Wanted are scripts/ films that are REALLY GOOD, HIGHLY ENTERTAINING, NICE 'n NAUGHTY: politically incorrect, political satire, bad language/ bad puns, or otherwise frowned upon by "polite" society. Writers vie for the Golden Pineapple, Silver Tomato, and Bronze Banana (by audience vote). Preference: 5 to 45 mins., straight plays, musicals, and/or short films (films must be finished and on DVD). Produced/ unproduced. Style: comedy/ dramedy.

Submit: application, cover letter, resume(s) of all artists. In addition, for plays/ musicals: 5 or more copies (as needed) of script; for musicals: sheet music/ tapes/ CDs; for films: 2 DVDs only (no scripts). Support materials welcome but not required. Scripts read aloud/ films viewed 2-3 times before decisions made. NO SASE; submissions not returned. Guidelines/ app on website:

If you have further questions, email: Submissions will not be accepted from applicants who have not read guidelines and filled out application form. Deadline: 2/28/09. Response: by 5/01/09 or earlier.
Melba LaRose
Artistic Director
NY Artists Unlimited
212 West 14 St., Suite #2A
NYC 10011
Phone: 212-242-6036, fax: 212-989-8864

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dorsey Seeks Atlanta Co-Producer for New Musical

Jaz Dorsey, Dramaturg for The African American Playwrights Exchange, seeks an Atlanta based co-producer for an Equity showcase of a new musical. Should be familiar with Equity Showcase code and have a good working knowledge of Atlanta venues. Inquiries to

Jazz for Peace Comp Tixs Jan 3 & 4 (NYC)

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Red Harlem Readers Stories and Poems From Holidays Past (NYC)

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Saturday, December 13, 2008

AAPEX Looking for LA Directors & Actresses

Jaz Dorsey, Dramaturg, The African American Playwrights Exchange, is seeking to develop contacts with directors and actresses who are based in Los Angeles.

Please contact by email at jazmn47@aol. com or by phone at 615-915-0891

Thursday, December 11, 2008

SMELL THE POWER Reading 12/14 (NYC)

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For more information or to RSVP please click

Red Harlem Readers Sunday Reading Series (NYC)

This week, amazing entertainment and free spice tea. Next week,amazing entertainment and free mulled wine. Join us and feel the joy!

For more information, please email us at:

Monday, December 8, 2008


Chicago Dramatists’ 4th Annual Many Voices Project is a national playwriting contest and Developmental showcase that embraces all playwrights of color. The Project seeks out, develops and showcases unproduced, full-length plays in English (or primarily in English) by U.S.A. residents who are playwrights of color, including, for instance, playwrights of African, Latin, Caribbean, Pacific Island, Asian, East Indian, Arab, and Native American descent. The Many Voices Project brings together several of Chicago’s race and ethnic-specific theatres, and culminates in a week of development (July 6 – 15, 2009) and a weekend festival of staged readings (July 16 – 18, 2009), plus $500 cash awards for the four selected playwrights.

PURPOSE: The Many Voices Project was created in response to Chicago Dramatists’ desire to work with more playwrights of color. It also is intended to provide opportunities to playwrights of color for new play development and for professional networking that may lead to productions of their plays, and to expand Chicago Dramatists’ relationships with race and ethnic-specific theatres. The long-range impact hopefully will expand and deepen the theatre’s relationships with all artists of color for years to come.

THEATRE PARTNERS: Many of the city’s race and ethnic-specific theatres participate as Theatre Partners, providing endorsement of the Project, artists for the readings, and dramaturgical support. Past partners have included: Congo Square, Teatro Luna, Rasaka Theatre Company, Silk Road Theatre Project, MPAACT, Urban Theatre Company, and Teatro Vista. Each of the participating playwrights also will receive a dramaturgical meeting with one of Chicago’s larger theatres.

PLAY SELECTION: Play readers consist of Chicago Dramatists’ Resident and Network Playwrights and staff. The final selection of plays is determined by the Artistic Director and the Project Director, as informed by the readers’ scoring. The main criteria for selection is the quality of the work, with secondary consideration given to the diversity of the racial and ethnic makeup of the playwrights selected.

Participant playwrights will be announced by May 15, 2009. Cash prizes awarded on July 18, 2009.

SUBMISSION RULES AND GUIDELINES: Submissions that do not adhere to the rules and guidelines will not be considered.
1. The contest is open to all playwrights of color who are U.S.A. residents, including, for instance, artists of African, Latin, Caribbean, Pacific Island, Asian, East Indian, Arab, and Native American descent. Any type of play and topic will be welcome (plays do not have to be about race or ethnicity).
2. Plays must be in English or primarily in English, unproduced (though readings and workshops are fine), and full-length (minimum 70 minutes).
3. Submitted plays must be in standard industry format and include a standard list of character descriptions/ages and how many actors are needed. Plays must be submitted either not bound or with three hole punch-type binding, although e-mail submission is preferred.
4. Include a one-page synopsis.
5. No musicals (though plays with music are fine) and no adaptations of works by other authors.
6. Include a playwright’s bio or resume.
7. Individual playwrights may submit no more than one full-length play.
8. Include SASP if notice of receipt is desired.
9. Submissions must specify the playwrights’ name, race or ethnicity, address, e-mail, and all phone numbers.
10. Submissions will not be returned.
11. The theatre will provide a travel and housing stipend for out-of-town playwrights.
12. All plays will be read at least twice, by different judges.
13. There is no submission fee.

E-mail submissions are strongly encouraged. All e-mail submissions must be sent as a ".pdf" file.
Submit by February 15, 2009 to:
Or mail submissions by February 15, 2009, (postmark deadline) to:

Ms. Ilesa Duncan
Many Voices Project Director
Chicago Dramatists
1105 W. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622

Please address all inquiries or questions to Ms. Duncan at the above address or email address above or at (312) 633-0630 ext. 4#.

Source: The Loop

Friday, December 5, 2008

AAPEX Black Women's' History Project

The African American Playwrights Exchange will dedicate 2009 to discovering and helping to promote unpublished plays which deal with the contributions that African American Women have made to U. S. history. Any playwrights who would be interested in communicating about thier work in this realm are invited to contact AAPEX dramaturg Jaz Dorsey at

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Red Harlem Readers new readings 12/7 & 12/14 (NYC)

A very solid and tasty serving of post holiday live drama, music, poetry and discussion. You will be very satisfied!

See you soon...

Monday, December 1, 2008

African American Theater Company call for scripts (LA)

Towne Street Theater, LA's premiere African American Theater Company, is soliciting scripts for it's 2009 staged reading series: TST on Tour. Five scripts will be chosen to be presented as staged readings at various theaters around town during the year.We are looking for plays and screenplays with universal themes - comedy, drama, mystery, sci-fi, war, chick flicks, etc. At this time please only submit a log line, synopsis, and brief letter of introduction. Submit to: Do not submit any attachments or full scripts at this time. More information about Towne Street Theater can be found on our website

Source: TRU