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Naugatuck Resident's 10-Minute Play Featured in WestConn Festival

Free event will showcase 18 short-form features from area students.

Western Connecticut State University will present the third annual 10-Minute Play and Webisode Festival, the result of a collaborative effort between the university’s departments of  Writing, Linguistics and Creative Process, Communication and Media Arts, and Theatre Arts.

The festival will feature readings and viewings of works written by students from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 12, in the Student Center Theater on the university's Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. The event will be free and the public is invited.

The opportunity to experience a stage reading or viewing of their work by professionals, as well as the ability to network with Broadway and media experts, proved enticing enough to yield 70 play and webisode entries from Western students. A jury of entertainment and media professionals narrowed the field to 10 plays and eight webisodes that will be read or viewed during the festival. The digital selections also were screened before Italian media and theatre professionals at the Universite Roma Tre in mid-March.

The plays will include: “Lovely Letters” by Michael Guiliano, of Bethel; “Sky’s Ablaze” by Jim Goggins, of Naugatuck; “Doorbell …” by Sarah Cummings, of Danbury; “St. Valentine’s Anniversary Disaster” and “Psych” by Allyson Cosgrove, of Trumbull; “It Matters” by Kayla Murphy, of Newtown; “They Hear Our Silence” by Alicia-Leigh Oliveri, of Ridgefield; “A Third Gender” by Sam Strizver, of Stamford; “My Dead Hot Girlfriend” by Jenita Richards, of Bronx, N.Y.; and “The Thief’s Locker” by Heather Japp, of Uncasville.

The webisodes are: “Promo” by Abigail Lebron, of Wallingford, and Chip Martinez, of Bethel; “The Other Side” by Ian Steiner, of New Milford; “Power Struggles” by Ryan Pappalo, of Norwalk; “Hide & Seek” by Kimberly Janvier, of West Hartford; “Freshmen v. Zombies” by Donald Von Tassel, of Danbury; “Ascension” by Dakota Kieras, of Danbury; “Legal Limits” by Mike Pepaj, of Brookfield; and “Panhandlers” by Kristopher Burke, of Asbury Park, N.J.

The jury consists of 15 judges, including:

  • Patricia Angelin, a professional actress with international credits. She is a member of the Actors Equity, the Screen Actors Guild, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and Irish Equity. Angelin has achieved the highest level of Alba Emoting International Certification. She is a teacher and practitioner of the Alba method.
  • Margaret Bail, a graduate of the WCSU M.F.A. in Creative and Professional Writing program, whose first book was published in 2013. A literary agent, she teaches at North Dakota University.
  • Donata Carelli, an award-winning Italian playwright, screenwriter and author. Her script, “Ben Arabie,” won the Premio Fondi La Pastora in 2004.
  • Sarah Cole, an actress, director and professor of theatre at Framingham State University in Massachusetts. She also is a playwright and has won international recognition for her exploration of the plight of women veterans in “Aftermath.”
  • Alan Demovsky, an actor, director and volunteer at community theaters in Bergen and Rockland counties. He directs for the Arlene Dahl Play Readings at the New York Chapter of the Emmy Awards.
  • Cicely German, a WCSU alumna with a Master of Arts in English, is the former chair of the English department at Brewster High School. German has taught English, journalism and drama, and produced plays for 30 years.
  • Neil Hickey, former chief editor of TV Guide. Hickey currently teaches at the Columbia School of Journalism and is on the board of Arts on the Lake, providing a stage for new playwrights.
  • Alida Jay, a lead researcher for the Location Managers Guild of America, is currently developing a dramatic series for cable.
  • George Leclere, former media director for the United Nations and president of the International Emmy Awards. An international consultant, Leclere has many projects in Russia, South Korea and China.
  • Chip Leonard, an actor who grew up on a farm and dreamed of performing on Broadway. Leonard made this dream come true and has performed in “Les Miserables.” He has won a screenwriting award for feature films and shorts, which have been distributed internationally.
  • Cynthia Link, an author and playwright who has been part of the Arlene Dahl Play Reading series presented by the New York chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. She has served as juror for the International Emmys Young Writers Award.
  • Margo McKee, a playwright, director, producer and actor who co-authored two off-Broadway productions and has performed as a play “doctor” for others. McKee’s company, Soundstage, has trained thousands of actors and directors in New York City and Los Angeles.
  • Manuela Metri, head producer at Red Box Productions in Beverly Hills, Calif., and Rome, Italy. She has produced, directed and acted in many plays, including “Menopause, the Musical.” Metri also acted in the soap opera “The Bold and the Beautiful.”
  • Ellen Muir, a radio and television performer and member of the Screen Actors Guild. She is producer and director of events for the New York chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
  • Julie Poll, a writer on the Board of Governors of the New York Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. She was consulting producer for the Daytime Emmys and has authored books on media. Poll has judged the annual International Emmys Young Writers Awards.

For more information, send an email to festival@wcsu.edu.

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