Downtown Urban Theater Festival (DUTF) opened on Wednesday, April 13 at the MMAC Theater with a star-studded night honoring Nilo Cruz, winner of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play, Anna in the Tropics, with the first-ever DUTF Playwright Master's Award. The award program included a video tribute featuring Oskar Eustis (Artistic Director for The Public Theater), Daphne Rubin-Vega (two-time Tony Nominee for Rent and Anna in the Tropics) and Reg E. Gaines (Tony nominee for Bring in da Noise Bring in da Funk).
The final week of the festival features:
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20
By Stephen Cedars
In a town near the Mexican border, high school guidance counselor Mr. Bryce has talent, success, respect and his valuable anonymity. But when a mysterious, headstrong student begins to challenge that elusive veil of adult authority, Mr. Bryce remembers that he also has a past.
Lost and Found
By Marsha Sheiness
A comedy-drama. Eight teenagers laugh and cry as they tell their personal stories about growing up gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender in a world largely intolerant of sexual differences.
THURSDAY, APRIL 21
By Subrina Moorley
A family past of abandonment and resent resurfaces when two sisters come to the aid of their newly widowed, Born-Again Christian father.
FRIDAY, APRIL 22
I Scream Out Loud
By Andre' Jermaine Ford
Told in poetry and prose, I Scream Out Loud is the redemptive story of one man's journey to self-revelation and spiritual freedom as set against the backdrop of life in the inner city.
Gentrified Minds (The NY Horror Vol. 2)
By The Nomad Junkie
A protest against the corporatization of the soul, displacement of people of color, fragmentation of neighborhoods and rapidly disintegrating "counter-culture. Performed by The Children of Warhol.
SATURDAY, APRIL 23
Gloves for Guns
By David Lawson
Two teenagers find themselves in a mysterious afterlife after shooting up their high school. They are left with nothing but a baseball glove, a baseball and a mysterious portal that shows them select visions of what is happening on the Earth they've left behind.
DUTF has been recognized as one of the world's best festivals for new works and described as "not only prestigious, but a slice of heaven for playwrights who want the chance to freely express themselves." (Theater Festivals, 2005) From an inclusive, multicultural perspective, DUTF presents works that echo the true spirit of urban life and speak to a whole new generation whose lives defy categorizing along conventional lines. It has been a catalyst and an outlet for some of the nation's most vibrant and creative playwrights and will present its 100th play on closing night.
DUTF is made possible with public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts, celebrating 50 years of building strong, creative communities in New York State's 62 counties.
All tickets for DUTF 2011 are $18 and available at www.downtownurban.net and OvationTix.com/(866) 811-4111. The festival run through April 23, 2011 at MMAC (Manhattan Movement & Arts Center), 248 West 60th Street, Manhattan (www.manhattanmovement.com), cross streets Amsterdam and West End Avenue, Subway: 1, A, C, B, D to 59th Street/Columbus Circle.
Visit DUTF online at www.facebook.com/pages/Downtown-Urban-Theater-Festival/152194641470752, www.twitter.com/DUTFNYC and https://www.youtube.com/user/dutfnyc.
Photo Credit: Stevie Glass and Christopher Parelli (A Nu Day Media)