Playwrights Palooza winners
Tehachapi Community Theatre Spotlight
August 5, 2023
Playwright Mona Deutsch Miller took top honors at the Tehachapi Community Theatre Association's Playwrights Palooza for "Frankie, Queen of the Ferry." Based in Los Angeles, Miller is the president of the Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights (ALAP) and member of Fierce Backbone, a theatre company dedicated to new works. Director, Andi Hicks, seasoned actor, Alex Zonn and newcomer to Tehachapi, Wendy Huckeba, brought to life the charmingly poignant story of enduring love that Miller's great grandparents share as they meet for their annual anniversary trip on the Staten Island Ferry.
Second place went to "Range of Light," by local playwright Deborah Hand. This marks Hand's third win in the yearly festival ("Another Way," 2015 and "Wallflowers" and "Dreamer," 2016). Christian Engelbrecht directs the story that depicts the meeting of Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir in Yosemite Valley that resulted in natural sites being included in the Antiquities Act. President Roosevelt and John Muir were played with passion by Alex Zonn and David Stenstrom. Patrick Donahue rounds out this cast in his TCTA debut as Ranger Charlie.
"Joy 2.0," written by playwright James Menges, placed third in this year's competition and tells the tale of the conflicts that arise in the search for that euphoric feeling of joy. Will Billy (Christian Engelbrecht) find joy in a back-to-nature retreat as suggested by wife, Julie (Carissa Wilkin)? Or will he be lured into his growing addiction to technology by the AI intelligence of "Joy 2.0" (Sarah Beaudin)? Dave McGuire makes his debut as director.
The award winners were chosen by audience vote. The Playwrights Palooza was produced by Kenny Chugg, Dave Faber, and Lisa Meridth with the strong technical support of Jason Hanson and Thomas Ingram.
The BeeKay Theater Season continues with "The Addams Family," a new musical by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice (playing weekends in Sept./Oct.), "T-Town Talent" (Nov.) and "A Coney Island Christmas" (weekends in Dec.). Tickets are available on the website at http://www.tctonstage.com.
Note, auditions for "A Coney Island Christmas" are Aug. 11-13. Check http://www.tctonstage.com for times and location.