Long before New York had a Fringe Festival, New York had the Ensemble Studio Theatre's OCTOBERFEST, a marathon of new, old and developing plays crammed together on two floors of the theatre company's home at 549 West 52nd Street. The first OCTOBERFEST was in 1981.
Not for the theatrically faint of art or those lacking in dramatic stamina, OCTOBERFEST 2009 brings together 86 plays over 38 days, October 8 thru November 14, selected by its members and presented in varying states of readiness with a schedule so large and complicated (and organized like a military operation), no single month or press release can contain it. For those with broadband, the complete performance schedule is at www.ensemblestudiotheatre.org/schedule_by_date.html.
"This is an opportunity for theatre aficionados to come into the Ensemble Studio Theatre's famous creative gymnasium, a place of invention, discovery and risk, and experience the spirit of work in progress," said Ensemble Studio Theatre Artistic Director William Carden of OCTOBERFEST, the five-week celebration of the work by the Ensemble Studio Theatre's member artists. "We want people to get close to the heartbeat of what we do and become a part of that energy. OCTOBERFEST audiences will be entertained by the unexpected, surprised by the spontaneous, challenged by a new voice on stage for the first time or a familiar voice staged in a new way."
For those actually reading this release, developing, established and deceased playwrights include Arlene Hutton, Yvonne Adrian, Leslie Ayvazian, Ellen Barber, Gina Barnett, Eliza Beckwith, Bill Bozzone, Laura Maria Censabella, Chris Ceraso, Bill Cwikowski, Jeanne Dorsey, Joan Rosenfells, Adam Kraar, Steven Fechter, Megg Farrell, Anna Ziegler, Kim Merrill, Lynn Rosen, Maria Gabriele, Abigail Gampel, J. Holtham, Horton Foote, Ben Henderson, Steve Kronovet, Holli Harms, Neil Koenigsberg, Nick Norman, Kent Alexander, Peter Maloney, Ken Mandel, Anthony McKay, Julie McKee, Keith Alan Benjamin, Peter Mattei, Carole Real, Jacquelyn Reingold, Michele Remsen, Clay McLeod Chapman, Alethea Black, M. Z. Ribalow, Thornton Wilder, Kira Obolinsky, Betsy Robinson, Erik Brogger, George F. Walker, Tom Rowan, David Perry, Jane Condon, Frederick Feirstein, Edith Freni, Alice Kenner, Amy Staats, Ben Rosenthal, Jeffrey Sweet, Mary F. Unser, Susan J. Vitucci, Jane Wheeler, Susan Haar, Eugene O'Neill, Laura Jacqmin, Glen Hirshberg, Kristen Lowman and, and Grace Woodard.
Titles of the plays include Vacuum; FAMOUS, A Hollywood Musical; Phil in a Box; Murph; Interviewing Miss Davis; Regarding Hearts; Heaven Knows; Empire of the Trees; Marla; Progress in Flying; Ghost Party: A Cabaret; The Carpetbagger's Children; Dirty Nails; Backswing; Household Name; Guts; Fit; Death of an Engineer; Endless Lawns; The Rare White Alligators; Doesn't Anyone Know What a Pancreas Is?; A Story About a Girl; The Skin of Our Teeth; The Lion; I Apologize, Zastrozzi: The Master of Discipline; Faye Drummond; Raw and Unchained; Bottoms Up!; Tea & Tennis; Asking for Trouble; Bruncha Sutra: The Erotic Brunch; Time Will Tell; Look We Are Breathing; Through the Window; St. Helena; Flight; Graceful Living; The Whole Story; Fallers - a Family Cantata; The Fiend; Will Sacrifice; Opportunity; Trade; Eulogy; River Road; The Peter Maloney Project: Kolossal Hero! and Eating and Drinking.