Each spring, the theater world flocks to Louisville. The pilgrimage isn't because of the Kentucky Derby; this one is for the city's drama derby, a.k.a. the annual Humana Festival of New American Plays in March.
You don't have to go all the way to the city of smooth bourbon and fast horses to check out what's new in theater, though. Florida Stage, nestled in seaside Manalapan just south of West Palm Beach, has its own new play festival, and the 2008 lineup looks like a strong one.
Pulitzer Prize winner Nilo Cruz (at left), who divides his time between New York and Miami (where he grew up), has a new script titled Interpreter of Desire, about lost love in 1960s Cuba.
Extremeties playwright William Mastrosimone is represented by Dirty Business, an inspired-by-fact play about a party girl caught between a Mafia bigwig and the American president. Jeffrey Hatcher's G.I. Gay tackles the issue of gays in the military.
Christopher McGovern takes a musical approach to a spooky situation in A Crash in Roswell, about a New Mexico family and its unusual visitor. And another Miamian, Marco Ramirez (right), crafts an amalgam of comic book and play in Macon City.
Taking place March 2-4, 2008, the second annual New Works Festival will also feature a keynote address by Pulitzer winner and 'night, Mother author Marsha Norman.
Unlike the Humana Festival, Florida Stage does readings (vs. full productions) at its festival. But as a proven incubator for new works, the company has a knack for unearthing plays with promise. Besides, the playwrights will be there, so anyone who likes to hang with artsy types should seriously consider a road trip.