Kentwood Players, a nonprofit theatre group dedicated to enriching, educating and entertaining our community through the transformative power of live theatre while creating an environment for inspiring human potential, was ready to continue celebrating its 70th year of producing quality entertainment when the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic forced the closure of all live theater around the world. While taking this “long intermission” without public gatherings indoors as the perfect time to work on much-needed renovations to their sixty-year old Westchester Playhouse, the Kentwood Players Board of Directors has started presenting a new Virtual Theater Series by seeking new plays to be presented on Zoom.
Organized by Harold Dershimer, Chair of the Plays Committee, the Kentwood Players Virtual Theater Series has been accepting submissions of new, unpublished one-act plays to be presented in the Zoom online format. After receiving hundreds of submissions, the Board of Directors agreed upon several to be presented online until it is safe to gather indoors at the Westchester Playhouse. Each new Virtual Theater Series play has a sneak preview performance following the group’s monthly Zoom membership meeting on the third Wednesday of each month. Each short play will be recorded and presented on the Kentwood Players You Tube channel at no charge to viewers, beginning with Zoom Date in September/October.
Two new plays about families meeting up on Zoom round out the Kentwood Players Virtual Theater Series in 2020. In November, the play Recipe, written by Robert Weibezahl and directed by Sam Gianfala, features Joanna Churgin, Marty Feldman, Mirai Booth-Ong, Xavier J. Bush and Silas Quinn as a family of five chatting about the upcoming holidays and how to celebrate them together. But when the discussion turns to who will be preparing the family favorites, the mood certainly changes! Recipe will be streamed on the Kentwood Players You Tube channel at https://youtube.com/c/kentwoodplayers beginning Sunday, November 22 at 8:15pm.
Together, Apart, written by Cassidy Kepp, is the December selection. Directed by George Kondreck and featuring Jenny Boone, Stanley Brown, and Grace McLaughlin. The play centers around Grace, whose Zoom call to her parents to let them know she wants to move back home to isolate with them, winds up revealing more than she could have ever expected. Together, Apart will be streamed on the Kentwood Players You Tube channel at https://youtube.com/c/kentwoodplayers beginning Sunday, December 20 at 8:15pm.
The Kentwood Players Virtual Theater Series will continue in 2021 with Three Syllables of Shame by Rom Watson, directed by Catherine Rahm in January; Surf’s Up by Ken Levine, directed by Alison Boole in February; and State of Independence by Paul Koster, directed by Susan Weisbarth in March.
New virtual theater play submissions are being accepted via email to [email protected]. For more information and submission guidelines, please visit www.kentwoodplayers.org/VTS.aspx. You can also find Kentwood Players information at www.kentwoodplayers.org and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and You Tube.
Also during the holiday season, Kentwood Players is holding its 8th annual Kentwood Kares Coat Drive. Please donate new or gently used coats, sweaters or jackets for men, women and children, either in the donation bin on the Westchester Playhouse front patio or in person on Saturdays from 10am-1pm when someone will be present in the lobby to accept them. All items will be donated to the Los Angeles Mission.
Graphic credit – NYT