William Inge Theatre Festival
Photos: Arthur Kopit with a Guinness; Barry Bostwick; and Nathan Darrow.
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|Country and Region||United States — Kansas|
|Type of Festival||Drama|
|Location of Festival||Independence, Kansas USA|
|Festival Contact Information|
William Inge Theatre Festival
The William Inge Theatre Festival is a unique blend of Broadway and Hollywood mixing with hometown can-do spirit. Hundreds of Independence community volunteers provide hospitality to visiting guest artists, theater students, and theater buffs from across the nation. In addition to evening performances by professionals from Broadway and Hollywood, patrons enjoy workshops, panel discussions, a scholars conference and social events.
Since its founding in 1981, the William Inge Theatre Festival has celebrated the accomplishments of nationally renowned playwrights. Inge, who passed away in 1973, was the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of “Picnic” and Academy Award-winning screenwriter of “Splendor in the Grass.”
The Inge Festival’s setting is the quaint small town of Independence, located in rural southeast Kansas. It is 90 miles north of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and 140 miles south of Kansas City, Missouri. The Inge Festival is sponsored by the William Inge Center for the Arts, a year-round arts center at Independence Community College.
|Festival Dates||March 26 - 29, 2014|
In 2010 The William Inge Theatre Festival was designated as the Official Theater Festival of the State of Kansas. The Inge Festival is a unique blend of Broadway and Hollywood sheen and hometown can-do spirit. Hundreds of community volunteers help provide hospitality to visiting guest artists, theater students, and theater buffs from across the nation. In addition to evening performances by professionals from Broadway and Hollywood, patrons enjoy workshops, panel discussions, a scholars conference and social events.
Major supporters of the William Inge Center for the Arts include the Kansas Arts Commission; Hallmark Corporation; the William T. Kemper Foundation; and Independence Community College. The Inge Festival’s setting is the quaint small town of Independence, located in rural southeast Kansas. It is 90 miles north of Tulsa, Okla., and 140 miles south of Kansas City, Mo. The Inge Festival is sponsored by the William Inge Center for the Arts, a year-round arts center at Independence Community College.
Inge Festival Honoree 2014:
- Arthur Kopit
- The playwright, librettist, screenwriter, adapter and mentor, a multiple Tony and Drama Desk and Pulitzer Prize nominee, will be the Honoree of the 33rd Annual William Inge Theatre Festival. Kopit joins the roster of internationally renowned playwrights who have traveled to the Inge Festival to receive the William Inge Distinguished Achievement in the American Theatre Award. This select company includes Arthur Miller, Stephen Sondheim, Edward Albee, Wendy Wasserstein, David Henry Hwang, Tina Howe and Neil Simon, to name only a few. “Arthur Kopit’s is an inspirational fixture of the American theatre,” said Peter Ellenstein, Inge Center Artistic Director. “Kopit’s work impossible to define. His plays and musicals are, by turns, funny, human, challenging, warm, experimental, political, disturbing, witty, constantly surprising and deeply human.” Ellenstein said, “He has also served as mentor to scores of younger playwrights. We are thrilled to have such a versatile, universally respected honoree joining us in Independence next year.” Kopit will attend the Inge Festival, March 26-29, 2014, and present a writing workshop. At the multi-media Tribute performance, which concludes the festival, Kopit will accept the annual William Inge Theatre Festival’s Distinguished Achievement in the American Theatre Award. Kopit burst on the scene in 1962, while still a college student, with a series of avant-garde absurdist plays that captured the imagination of America’s greatest theatre artists. In the subsequent fifty years, Kopit has become one of the most respected and versatile dramatists of our time. A playwrights’ playwright, he not only continues to add to his own prolific contribution to the American Theatre, but also nurtures and mentors younger generations of playwrights through his long association with The Lark New Play Development Center in New York City.
Featured reading 2014:
- Arthur Kopit’s BecauseHeCan
March 26, 2014, Staged Reading
- A cast of tremendous actors, including Barry Bostwick, George West Carruth, John Gleeson Connolly, Nathan Darrow, and Elyse Knight, will present a staged reading of Kopit’s comedic techno-thriller BecauseHeCan; directed by Jane Unger, which kicks off the 33rd William Inge Theatre Festival at Independence Community College in Independence, Kansas at 7:30pm. March 26th.
- Arthur Kopit, this year’s Inge Festival Honoree, is a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and three-time Tony Award nominee. BecauseHeCan is set in a dangerous new world, and tells of Joseph and Joanne Elliot, a high-powered New York City couple who awake one day to discover that their private lives are no longer private, thanks to a teenage computer hacker with a warped sense of fun.
- Tony and Golden Globe Award-winner Barry Bostwick has had an incredible career in all genres of stage and screen. He created the role of Danny Zuko in Grease; won the Tony Award for The Robber Bridegroom; played the title role of George Washington in the CBS mini-series; has become a cult sensation as Brad in the film The Rocky Horror Picture Show; and played the Mayor in the long-running Spin City. And won a Golden Globe for War and Remembrance. This is a reunion of sorts as Bostwick previously worked on a reading of Kopit’s script-in-progress, “Secrets of the Rich”.
- Nathan Darrow plays Edward Meechum, Kevin Spacey’s “Bodyman,” in Netflix’ hit series, House of Cards. He completed world tour of Richard III which included stops at the prestigious BAM and the Old Vic. Nathan began his career in Kansas City and is well known to regional audiences from appearances at The Unicorn Theatre, Kansas City Actor’s Theater and the William Inge Center for the Arts, as well as Berkeley Rep.
- Elyse Knight’s extensive career include performances on TV’s Too Close for Comfort, Law and Order, Caroline’s Comedy Hour, and as herself on The Hollywood Squares. She has performed at many New York area stages as The Snapple Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre, and Joe’s Pub.
- George West Carruth is a New York-based actor whose credits include portraying Virgil in an off-off Broadway production of William Inge’s Bus Stop.
- John Gleeson Connolly is an actor and builder living in Los Angeles. His film appearances include State of the Union and Ali, and TV shows include 24, Criminal Minds and Sex and the City.
- Tickets and more information are available at http://www.ingecenter.org.
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- By phone
Toll free at 800-842-6063, Ext. 5491, weekdays 1:00-5:00pm
- By fax
- In person
Inge Center office at Fine Arts Bldg., room 123, at Independence Community College. weekdays 1:00-5:00pm
- By email