LaGuardia Performing Arts Center Presents 11th Annual Rough Draft Festival, March 4-23

LaGuardia Performing Arts Center Presents 11th Annual Rough Draft Festival, March 4-23
Photo taken during rehearsals on 02-07-2024 for LPAC’s “Working: A Musical.”

LONG ISLAND CITY, NY (March 11, 2024) — The LaGuardia Performing Arts Center (LPAC) at LaGuardia Community College/CUNY (LAGCC) presents the 2024 Rough Draft Festival, a celebration of original works being developed by New York artists, students, and organizations. The festival features professional playwrights and a free dance workshop. This year, for the first time in its 11-year history, a student segment will feature aspiring playwrights from colleges throughout New York City. The festival runs from March 4 through March 23.

“We are so pleased to work with the exceptionally talented playwrights and organizations on the Rough Draft Festival’s 11th edition,” said Handan Ozbilgin, Curator of the Rough Draft Festival and Artistic Director of LPAC. “In addition to five fascinating and dynamic readings by the established playwrights, we are introducing a student segment to Rough Draft. There will be eight plays written by students who applied to festival from different colleges from five boroughs. We hope you’ll join us to see exciting new works that are as diverse in form as they are in content and cover a wide range of themes.”

Each year LPAC aims to include innovative and creative plays in their annual festival. Artists, selected through an application process, receive stipends and workspace. In addition to supporting theater artists as they develop their works-in-progress, the Rough Draft Festival gives audiences an inside look into the creative process. Over the years, the festival has created valuable exposure and momentum for productions and artists, leading to subsequent readings, productions, and tours.

Rough Draft Festival 2024 – STUDENT READINGS
FREE Admission. RSVP required.

  • Come As You Are by Chloe Selavka (Monday, March 4 at 7 p.m.) — Mara copes with the aftershocks of her mother’s sudden passing while moving to Boston and preparing for her older sister’s wedding.
  • The Word of The Day by Cori Diaz (Tuesday, March 5 at 7 p.m.) — An experimental drama about a woman who thinks she’s being communicated with via the word of the day.
  • A White Girl’s Understudy by Isabel Beatriz Tongson (Friday, March 8 at 2:30 p.m.) — Lyn Talaga has achieved her childhood dream. She is an off-stage understudy in the new Broadway play Speakeasy Love and covers the principal female role. However, her greatest love is the show’s leading man and dating the leading woman.
  • In Loving Memory by Drew Nova (Friday, March 8 at 7 p.m.) — When you lose someone, chances are someone else lost them too. Death takes things from us too soon or maybe just in time. Our only choice as the living is to grieve what’s lost. But that’s hard, isn’t it? Especially, when everyone around sees things differently than you do.
  • Guilt (or the US Army Field Manual on Gold Star Families) by Mohammed Ali Alani (Saturday, March 9 at 3 p.m.) — After a year and a half of being Missing in Action (MIA), Captain Sam Al-Jundi is officially declared dead. The Al-Jundi family, an upper-middle-class Iraqi American household, is thrust into turmoil as they grapple with the devastating news.
  • The Swan by Emma Rey Dias (Saturday, March 9 at 5 p.m.) — A storyteller’s world falls apart around them, so they hold fast to the first sure-thing they can get their hands on: Olympic figure skating. But as everything continues to crumble for our unreliable narrator, and for the athletes trapped in their screen, they begin to learn that nothing is ever a sure-thing.
  • Jen Knows by Sam Walsh (Sunday, March 10 at 3 p.m.) — Joe knows that Jen knows how he should move forward with his life. Joe knows that Jen knows he needed to leave his job, his wife, his kids. A fractal fantasia examining the many iterations of self, Jen Knows dares to question the base need for certainty in our lives.
  • Rockstars Need Eyeliner by Hamad Naroze (Tuesday, March 19 at 3:30 p.m.) — Jespal “Jesse” Singh as he enters college life and starts trying to live a life that is not of his father’s design and against his expectations. His journey strains his relationship with his older sister, Aasha, and best friend, Blake. Jesse traverses through these difficulties, trying to make sense of what he really wants, and who he really is.

Rough Draft Festival 2024 – FREE DANCE WORKSHOP
FREE Admission. RSVP required.

  • “Dig Yaba,” presented by Hussein Smko and Khalil Ayed (Wednesday, March 13 at 2:30 p.m.). “Dig Yaba” is a movement method where participants discover who they are and what anger does to their lives if it is not contained. The workshop is part of the CUNY Dance Initiative, which is supported by the Howard Gilman Foundation, the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, SHS Foundation, Harkness Foundation for Dance, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Rough Draft Festival 2024 – RD PLAYWRIGHT READINGS
Tickets are $5/each. Each reading is followed by a Q&A. Click on the titles below to reserve seats.

  • The Command Center by SMJ (Saturday, March 16 at 8 p.m.) — An exploration of how theater isolates people, creates community, and how the industry… and Power Rangers exploit young people. SMJ (they/them) is an NYC-based, mixed-Latiné, and non-binary playwright, musical theater writer, educator, and theater maker originally from Mount Vernon, OH. They’re a member of the Dramatists Guild and Ring of Keys.
  • PRISONCORE! by Kanishk Pandey (Tuesday, March 19 at 7 p.m.) — A multidisciplinary show that places the audience within a panopticon to confront the inherent cruel nature of prisons and investigate the possibility of prison abolishment. Kanishk Pandey (he/him/his) is a joyous exile who attempts to live, to err, to fall, to triumph, to recreate life out of life. He has been honored by institutions such as Synecdoche Works, O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Austin Film Festival, and New York Stage and Film.
  • Zeus 4 by Lauren Holmes (Thursday, March 21 at 7 p.m.) — In a park in Boston, dog owners gather to let their dogs run around off leash — against park rules. As the seasons pass, they all must overcome constant threats to their dog park society from other park goers, from park rangers, and from each other. Lauren Holmes grew up in Dedham, Massachusetts. She earned a B.A. in government from Harvard College and an MFA from Hunter College’s playwriting program. She was recently awarded a 2024 Woodward Residency, and is part of a theater collective, The Omnivores, founded with classmates from Hunter.
  • Son of an Unknown Father by Reynaldo Piniella (Friday, March 22 at 7 p.m.) — This work tells the story of the first Black saint of the Americas, Martin de Porres. Born into slavery in Lima, Peru in the 1600s, Martin aspired to break through the chains of his bondage by devoting his life to the Catholic Church. But no matter how virtuous Martin was, nothing could break through the barriers of his oppression. Until one day, Martin discovers he has the power to heal people with his bare hands. Reynaldo Piniella is an actor, writer, activist and educator from East New York, Brooklyn. He is the inaugural recipient of the All Stars Project’s Fellowship for Young Artists of Color, a FREEdom Fellow at the Weeksville Heritage Center and has received residencies from the Public Theater’s Shakespeare Initiative and HB Studio.
  • The After Wife by Sophie McIntosh (Saturday, March 23 at 7 p.m.) — It is 1963, and robotic engineer Martin has brought a prototype robot named Nora—the most authentically humanoid model created to date—to his home in the suburbs of Chicago to help take care of his house and children following the recent death of his wife. His daughter Ruth and son Wally, initially intrigued by the robot, become unnerved as its mannerisms grow increasingly and eerily similar to those of their deceased mother. Sophie McIntosh (she/her) is a New York–based playwright and theater maker who aims to give voice to women and queer folks, offer empathetic insight into living with mental illness, and riff on the cynical sincerity of young adults. She earned a BA in drama from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and is currently working toward an MFA in playwriting at Columbia University.

Guests attending Rough Draft shows at LPAC are encouraged to enter via the college’s Van Dam entrance, located at 45-50 Van Dam Street, Long Island City, Queens (see LaGuardia’s Maps And Directions). For more information, email or call (718) 482-5151.

• • • •

LaGuardia Community College (LAGCC), a Hispanic-Serving Institution, located in Long Island City, Queens offers more than 50 degrees and certificates, and more than 65 continuing education programs to educate New Yorkers seeking new skills and careers. As an institution of the City University of New York (CUNY), the College reflects the legacy of our namesake, Fiorello H. LaGuardia, the former NYC mayor beloved for his advocacy of underserved populations. Since 1971, LaGuardia’s academic programs and support services have advanced the socioeconomic mobility of students while providing them with access to a high quality, affordable college education.

The LaGuardia Performing Arts Center (LPAC) at LaGuardia Community College/CUNY is a bridge to the performing arts for the Western Queens community and a learning ground for LaGuardia students interested in the arts. With low ticket prices, state-of-the-art theatrical facilities, and a repertoire of original and accessible programming, LPAC connects emerging theater, music, and dance artists to audiences and established arts organizations in New York City. It is the stage for productions of LaGuardia’s award-winning Theater and Music Performance programs, as well as works from partner institutions, including Carnegie Hall, the Joffrey Ballet School, and the Drama League of New York. Additionally, as an educational facility and community space, LPAC is regularly the site of graduations, town halls, and education programming for K-12 students from schools throughout New York City.


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