Newsletter: April 2014


     FORUM 2. Forum 2 members must register with the application form on this page to continue or re‑activate for the next 4‑month session.  The fee is now $130.  Do try to include full or half payment as indicated.  Bi‑weekly meetings are at 6:30 p.m., Wednesdays, at St. Mary’s Armenian Church, D.C.

FORUM 1. To insure your place in the upcoming Forum 1 session, please fill out and mail the application form on this page.  Current members please notify us by May 9th  .   Do try to include full or half payment as indicated.  If you have any problem with that pre‑payment, don’t hesitate to call Ernie at 301‑816‑0569.  The fee is $130.  Forum 1 will include three groups of 8‑10 members, in 6 bi‑weekly meetings.  Our faculty includes, for the Summer, Ernie Joselovitz and Allison Pruitt.

Tuesdays.  Bethesda Elementary School.  6:30‑9 p.m . May 20th to July 29th  .         Joselovitz.

Wednesdays.  St. Mary’s Armenian Church.  7:00‑9:30 p.m.  May 28th to August 6th  .  Pruitt.

Thursdays.   Cleveland Park Library/D.C.  6:30‑9 p.m.  May 29th to August 7thJoselovitz.

One‑on‑One E‑Mail Option.  Joselovitz.


How to Register: we will confirm your place in one of our groups.  For any enquiries, please call Ernie at 301‑816‑0569 or Allison at 703‑448‑0209, or e‑mail . 1. Current members who wish to continue are given priority. Please register by May 9th .  2. Members who discontinued at the last session will be offered the first chance to fill vacancies. 3. Associate members and then all others will be welcomed into the Forum’s remaining openings.



Please register ____________________________________for the upcoming session of ___ Forum 1 ___ Forum 2

___ I was last a member of Spring 2014 Session.____  I am an Associate Member

My preference is for the group at ___________________ on _______‑day.

I prefer the one‑on‑one email option _____.

I’ve enclosed a pre‑payment of _____$130 _____ $65

Tel Number ______________________e‑mail_______________________________

Street Address (if new member) _______________________________________

Send check and hard‑copy of form to: PF, P O Box 5322, Rockville, MD 20848



Sixth Edition

The Learning Environment.  Your guide to getting the most from the full range of Playwrights Forum activities.

The Craft. The PF methodology, along with expert advice and handy tips from “How do I start?” to third-draft woes.

The Market.  The “how-to” from letters of inquiry to surfing the up-to-the-minute guides to today’s playmarketing.


_______YES!  I want my copy of PLAYWRIGHTS FORUM HANDBOOK 6.

I’ve enclosed _____ $7.50 for the e-mailed copy

Send it to:

Name _________________________________________________

E-mail Address ______________________________________________________________________

*Make check to Playwrights Forum.  Mail to: Playwrights Forum, PO Box 5322, Rockville, MD 20848




  New Theatre Tix Privileges ….

FROM: Gwydion Suilebhan, DC Regional Rep

Over the last few weeks, I contacted the artistic and management staff of 30 DC‑area theaters, asking them to please consider offering discount tickets to our members in the region.  As of this date, more than half of those theaters have responded positively to this suggestion. Their policies are listed below.

Adventure Theater. Half‑price tickets. Limit two; subject to availability.

Arena Stage. 15% discount. Limit two; subject to availability.

dog & pony. Discounts offered on a show‑by‑show basis.

Faction of Fools. $10 tickets.

Folger. 50% off of up to four tickets, subject to availability.

Happenstance. Discounts offered on a show‑by‑show basis.

The Hub. Half‑price tickets.

Keegan. $15 off any ticket, for members and one guest.

Metro Stage. Half‑price tickets.

Olney Theatre. One free preview ticket to new plays for Guild members. Half‑price tickets for members for all other performances. Limit two per member.

Pinky Swear. Discounts offered on a show‑by‑show basis.

Rep Stage. One free ticket per member.

Rorschach Theatre. Discounts offered on a show‑by‑show basis.

Round House Theatre. $5 off per ticket for seats in any section at any performance.

Shakespeare Theatre. Offers a 50% discount on A‑ and B‑priced seats for the six‑show main stage season.


Studio Theatre. Up to two 50% off tickets.

Theater Alliance. Half‑price tickets.

Theater J. $25 off the full ticket price.

The Welders. $10 tickets. Limit two.

Woolly Mammoth. $20 tickets for Section B seats.

*Members: check Guild website for full information.


Playwrights Take Control of Their Own Fates

May 4, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Kennedy Center

Day-long Workshop sponsored by the Dramatists Guild, includes:

Panel discussion, moderated by DC playwright Brett Abelman about Fringe festivals. Panelists Laura Zam, Bob Bartlett, others.

Devon Smith on social media

Panel discussion about raising money to support your work, moderated by Jojo Ruf, of the Welders Playwrights Coop.  Panelists Ari Roth (Artistic Director, Theatre J), DC playwright Gwydion Suilebhan.

Round-table discussion of local playwright initiatives, includes Renee Calarco, Caleen Sinnette Jennings, Allyson Currin, Joanna Castle Miller, Danielle Mohlman.

Keynote conversation with playwright/actor, Centerstage Artistic Director Kwame Kiwei-Armah, about “playwrights assuming leadership positions in the American theatre…”

Guild members FREE, others $10.


April 2             Round Table Discussions

April 16           Round Table Discussions

April 30           Round Table Discussions

May 14            Round Table Discussions

May 28            Round Table Discussions

*All meetings begin at 6:30 p.m. at St. Mary’s Armenian Church



April 7             The Times of Trouble by Susan Kelly.  Directed by Joan Bellsey.  7 p.m.  Monday.  Lawton Community Recreation Center.

April 21           Logan’s Square by Bill Costanza.  Directed by Andrew Wassernich.  7 p.m.  Monday.  Lawton Community Recreation Center.

April 28           White Lies by Trish Rudder.  Directed by Sheilah Crossley-Chase.  7 p.m.  Monday.  St. John’s Episcopal Church.

May 12            Mr. Carver and Me by Ron Wood.  Directed by TBA.  7 p.m.  Monday.  St. Mary’s Armenian Church.


June 2                          Could Do… by Joseph Talarico.  Directed by Mary Suib.  7 p.m.  Monday.  Iona Senior Services Center.


Frequent addresses for meetings and readings…

St. Mary’s Armenian Apostolic Church, 4125 Fessenden St NW, Washington, DC 20016.

St. John’s Episcopal Church, 6701 Wisconsin Avenue, Chevy Chase, MD 20815.

Iona Senior Services Center, 4125 Albemarle Street NW, Washington, DC 20016.

Round House Theatre’s Education Center. 925 Wayne Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910.

Twinbrook Recreation Center. 12920 Twinbrook Parkway, Rockville, MD 20851.

MetroStage. 1201 North Royal Street, Alexandria, VA 22314.

Centro Nia.  1420 Columbia Rd., NW, Washington DC 20009

Lawton Community Recreation Center.  4301 Willow Lane, Chevy Chase, MD 20815.

DC Arts Center.  2438 18th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009



[COMMENT1] Forum 1’s Paul Handy had his play about Martin Luther King, Let Freedom Ring, presented at the National Association of Women Judges Convention, at Howard University’s School of Law, and later, at Anacostia High School.   His play Carry a Big Stick, about Teddy Roosevelt and the dirty politics behind the Panama Canal, will be performed as part of the Capital Fringe Festival. And his playlet, Belva, The Lady Lawyer, about  the life of Belva Lockwood, was also given a staged reading at the National Association of Women Judges Conference.  Forum 1’s multi-talented  Margaret Van Sant  taught Rehearsal And Performance last Fall at Cape Cod Community College, directed a Chris Durang play, and participated in the  Provincetown Theater 24‑Hour Theater Festival.  Bill Costanza’s (Forum 1) play Lily’s Gift enjoyed a reading by the Reston Players.  The Washington Bach Consort commissioned Forum 2’s Marty deSilva to write the second play for their “Bach to School” program.  Two of her short plays, For Who the Bell, Like, Tolls and It’s Not Just a Cubicle, were produced at ShadowBox Live Theatre, in Columbus, OH, as part of their “The Best of Shadow 2” show.  Play reading of Leaving The Summerland by Karen L.B. Evans offered by the Black Women Playwrights’ Group at the Atlas Theater ‑ Lab I.  Forum 2 alumna Karen Zacarias saw her new adaptation of Edith Wharton’s Age of Innocence given three workshop reading by Arena Stage, where she continues as a resident playwright.  Jane Ross (Forum 2)  received word that her play The Redcoats Are Coming! was a finalist in the Anna Zornio Memorial Playwriting Competition.  The Home Grown Festival at Theatre J. Included staged readings of plays by  Allyson Currin, The Return to LatinA Grand Design by D.W. Gregory, and Backstage by Ernie Joselovitz.   Anna Freud at the Hotel Regina by Forum 1s Myron Kristy received a staged reading at the Austrian Embassy.  Kristy Simmons (Forum 1) wrote a video‑performance piece using live and recorded actors for the doris‑mae gallery.  Paula Stone’s 10‑minute plays—Freshly Squeezed and That Takes the Cake—were re‑broadcast on Spokane Radio Theatre, WA.  Thanks to revisions following readings directed by Nick Olcott, Bill Triplett’s Paperweight was a semi‑finalist for the 2012 National Playwrights Conference at the O’Neill Center.  John Morogiella’s Engaging Shaw was produced at West End Players Guild in St. Louis and published by Samuel French.  His Civilizing Lusby received two readings, one at Abingdon Theatre Company in Manhattan and the other in Baltimore as part of the Dramatists Guild Baltimore Footlights. His Men and Parts was published in 2012 Best Ten Minute Plays by Smith and Kraus.    Allyson Currin’s play Benched was part of a double‑header at Pinky Swear Productions.  WSC Avant Bard’s premiered her play Caesar and Dada at the Callan at Catholic University.  The Arts Club of Washington and First Draft presented an evening of her work.  Last but not least, First Draft also offered a staged reading of her other new play The Sooner Child at The Arts Club and Theatre on the Run. She has received a commission from the prestigious Cincinnati Playhouse.  Her upcoming project, The Redneck Holy Grail, is planned for production by The Welders, a playwrights’ cooperative.  Jennie Berman Eng’s (Forum 2) play A Letter to the Draft Board won the Vittum prize for 10 minute play.  Associate member Catherine O’Connor’s Joan and Jihad received a reading in the Beltway Drama Series.  Her Family Matters and Table Talk were read by Playwrights Collaborative.  Playwrights Forum members at the Capital Fringe Festival included Jason Ford, with his play Jonah Dove, Madame Ambassador by Duke Ryan, Greed, Money, Politics…. And The Nicaragua Canal? by Paul Handy, Forum 2’s Elizabeth Bruce and Michael Oliver produced, directed and wrote a series of shorts, Legal Tender: Flash Theatre for a Flash Fiction World.  Forum 1’s Alexandra Petri’s Tragedy Averted was presented by Ad Hoc Players. American Women Writers National Museum at its “Dramatic Celebration of Women Who Play Wright” featured occasional Forum member Mary Hall Surface (along with friends Jennifer L. Nelson and Renee Calarco).  Group Repertory Theatre in North Hollywood produced Patricia Wolf’s 10 minute play, Not Yet Dead, in their Festival of Shorts. Former Forum member Dan Lieberman, under the name David L. McWellan, had a public staged reading of his play Voices Speak to Us: Drama of the Palestinian/Israeli Conflict, at Takoma Park Auditorium and the Cedar Lane Universalist Church Chapel.  Forum 2’s Marty DeSilva with Joan Cushing (who had been with our Musical Wing) were commissioned by Imagination Stage to write an adaptation of 101 Dalmations.  The Silver Spring Inclusive Theatre Companies presented The Fonce  Job, with lyrics written by the Forum’s Marilyn Millstone as part of ArtStream OnStage.  Ex-Forum member Maurice Martin saw his play, The Walking Fred, presented at the Landless Theatre’s Mashup Festival at the GALA Hispanic Theatre.  Ex-Forum’s Roy Berkowitz, whose play Neitzsche Ate Here has been made into an independent film, premiered as an official selection at the Montreal World Film Festival.  Occasional Forum 2 member Joe Palka is having two of his plays, Polish Sharpshooters and Mookie Cranks a Tater published by Leon Embry.   Sidra Rausch had a staged reading of her play, How I Became A Bennington Girl.  Also presented was Cream Soda & Creme de Menthe by Forum friend Caleen Sinnette Jennings as part of the Washington Women in Theatre’s Annual Festival.  Forum 2’s Marilyn Millstone received a public staged reading of a portion of her new play, The Hope Slope, at Vagabond Players Theatre, Baltimore, produced by the Baltimore Playwrights Festival.  The Baltimore Footlights Reading Series presented Does Your Dick Work by ex-Forum member Susan Middaugh, at Single Carrot Theatre.  Forum 2’s Rich Amada’s award-winning play, The Judicial Murder of Mrs. Surratt, received a public reading at Little Theatre of Alexandria.   At the Baltimore Playwrights Festival Awards Celebration, Heralds of Hope Theatre Company’s production of Forum 2’s Tom Stephens, Countdown to the Happy Day, was deemed top production, and also won the Carol Weinberg Award for Best Play.  Laura Zam’s one-person play, Married Sex, was produced as part of the New York International Fringe Festival.  Former Forum member Otho Eskin’s play Final Analysis premiered last year at the Midtown International Theatre Festival, winning its top prize.  Harry Bagdasian has completed and published a novel, Spider In Baggie In Freezer (available through Amazon).  And his play, Carrying On, was produced successfully at the Eclectic Theatre Company, Los Angeles, will be published by Dramatic Publishing.  Forum 1’s Barry Weinberg’s End Papers won the American Association of Community Theatre’s (AACT) New Play Fest, a nationwide competition.  It was produced by the Little Theatre of Mechanicsburg, PA, and was published by The Dramatic Publishing Company in an anthology of the six AACT winning plays.



by Jane Ross

You might say that playwright Ron Wood found his calling at the bottom of the sea:  as a member of a nuclear missile submarine crew submerged on 72-day patrols.

At the halfway point of each patrol, the crew celebrated with a halfway night.  Among  his other official duties, Ron was in charge of these “bawdy, underwater galas”, and he wrote some silly sketches performed by the entire crew.  In one of his short skits, however, he wrote a more dramatic piece. After the performance a young torpedo man approached him to say, “Lieutenant Wood, that play you wrote actually brought tears to my eyes.” After that moment, Ron says, “I was hooked.”

Successes followed.

After the Navy he studied playwriting at the Herbert Berghof Studio in New York City before moving to DC where he studied at the Playwrights Theatre School, led by Harry Bagdasian and Ernie Joselovitz. With their guidance he wrote his first full-length play Four Men From Annapolis. The play premiered at the 1986 Source Theatre Festival and then was produced at the Touchstone Theatre in Arlington, VA the following year. That same year, the Touchstone production was awarded a Helen Hayes Award Nomination for “Best New Play of 1987.”


Membership in the Playwrights Forum followed.  At this time he wrote a dark comedy Members, a play about a halfway house for eunuchs set  in a small Oklahoma town  in the late sixties. Members was given a staged reading as part of the 1989 Source Theatre Festival. There it received a nomination for Best New Play.

In his continuing quest to know more about playwrighting, he applied to Carnegie Mellon’s University’s MFA program. Leaving his day job he moved his entire life, including his cat Ash, to Pittsburgh. In these two years, he was immersed in theater. Exhilarated.  “I was no longer a naval engineer who secretly wrote plays on the side,” he says, “I was a full-fledged playwright.” The experience at Carnegie included acting in two productions: in the play Salome and in the Bruce Willis film Striking Distance.

But once back in DC and the routine of his defense consulting job,  inexplicably  his creative life stopped. He claimed to himself that he was working on a big play. He actually did think and dream about one.  But “in all cold seriousness” , he recalls, he knew was not going to write the play.

Years passed with no plays, and in 2004 he experienced a “sea change” so profound and tragic that it would forever alter his view of the world and who he is as an artist.

One September night, his distraught father called him from Texas with a garbled message which became terribly clear: The driver of an 18-wheeler, 80,000 pound truck had fallen asleep, crossed the median strip and collided head-on with his sister’s SUV. Instantly killed was his sister (32), his mother (70), and his three nephews (4, 2, and 6 weeks). Five others in another car were killed. The truck driver was the only survivor.

He remembers the pain and darkness in the years following as “unimaginable.”  However, he survived. In the aftermath, he began to write again.  He renewed his ties with the Playwrights Forum and Ernie and Allison (“I had come full circle back to the Forum where I began”).  Recently he completed his newest play Mr. Carver And Me which will have a reading on May 12.

What then has changed for this playwright owing to his life events? Not his style, he thinks. He still writes dramas with lots of humor.

One thing has though: his awareness of how fragile life is.  As a true playwright, he says it best:  “I see death everywhere. I see death as always waiting just around the corner. Not ominously, with fangs and claws but just quietly waiting, wearing a comfortable suit, maybe seated at an outdoor bistro table reading the newspaper.  And when it’s your time and you turn that final corner, Death graciously puts down his tea, stands up (checking himself to make sure his fly is zipped), then gently takes your hand…and leads you off toward immortality.”

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