Studio Players will debut three original plays by Kentucky playwrights in a series of staged readings beginning this weekend. The Bluegrass Playwrights Showcase is the brainchild of Ross Carter, playwright of the recent Studio production, What Would Jesus Pack?
When Studio Players decided to skip its annual summer musical this year, Carter pitched the idea of featuring original works as staged readings. The process, which features minimal staging and actors who have rehearsed but who keep their scripts in-hand, is an important step in the playwriting process, Carter says.
"It's like our version of proofreading," says Carter. "You really need to hear the words interpreted by an actor."
The showcase will highlight new works by Charles Edward Pogue, Ross Carter, and Liz Fentress on separate weekend nights for the next two weeks. Tickets are $15 at the door (no advance sales), which includes admission to all three shows:
■ The Pretenders is Charles Edward Pogue's new version of a remarkable play by Henrik Ibsen that has been called Ibsen's first great play. Also called his most Shakespearean, this historical chronicle about the quest for the Norwegian throne has rarely been performed in the United States or England. Showtimes: 8 p.m., July 10 and 18.
■ Madame Buttermilk is a musical comedy by Ross Carter. Hapless opera soprano Carly Speranza has a lifelong dream: to sing the role of Carmen. When the chance finally arrives, her operatic dream turns into a nightmare of country music, cowboy boots, a jealous rival and an old flame. Showtimes: 8 p.m., July 11, and 2:30 p.m. July 19.
■ Stages of Bloom is a Midwestern comedy by Liz Fentress. Following a humiliating experience at church, 90-year-old Edith Jones looks to her roses to find meaning in life. But not even a perfect hybrid tea in full bloom holds the answers to Edith's hard questions. 2:30 p.m., July 12 and 8 p.m. July 17.