Friday, May 25, 2018
Stage

Trio of theater projects feature local playwrights

This is the season when a number of Tampa Bay area theaters, including this trio, present new works, usually short plays by local writers.

Gorilla Theatre's Young Dramatists' Project, now in its 13th year, is taking place at Freefall Theatre. Over the next two weekends, the project will feature staged readings of plays by six teenage writers: Chris Ralph from Fort Lauderdale, Adam Berner from Belleair, Matthew Johnson from St. Petersburg, Catherine LaVoy from Rockledge, Matt Ubl from Jacksonville and Alex Gonzalez from Tampa.

The project is about all that is left of Gorilla, which has been mostly inactive since the death of its founder and benefactor, Aubrey Hampton, in 2011. The theater filed a lawsuit against Hampton's company, Aubrey Organics, to claim what it believes is part of an inheritance, but that suit was dismissed last month in a hearing in Hillsborough County Circuit Court. A motion for a rehearing is set for June 20.

Cast members in the YDP readings include Roxanne Fay, Jon Van Middlesworth, John Lombardi, Chris Crawford, Michael Shenefelt, Lydia Ferry, Stephanie Anarumo and Joshua S. Roth. Each young playwright receives membership in the Dramatists' Guild of America and a royalty payment.

Performances begin Friday and continue through June 16 at Freefall, 6099 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $15, $5 for high school and middle school students. (727) 498-5205; freefalltheatre.com.

• At Stageworks, the second annual edition of TampaWorks presents eight short plays that take place in local settings, including Ghosts of Hyde Park by Matt Cowley, Gasparilla Queen by Dewey Davis-Thompson, Customer Service by Philip Hall, Geo-Muggled by Joie Marsh and Play Me by Janet Scaglioni. The production opens tonight and has four performances through Sunday at the theater, 1120 E Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. $20. (813) 251-8984; stageworkstheatre.org.

• Tampa Repertory Theatre is also getting into the act of presenting local playwrights in a show that opened last week. TampaWrights2, a festival of one-act plays, features work by Jack Gilhooley, Matt Cowley, Michael Cote, Amber Karlins and Landon Green through June 16 at Ybor City's Silver Meteor Gallery, 2213 E Sixth Ave., Tampa. $15. Information: tamparep.org.

John Fleming, Times performing arts critic

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