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Road trip

It's not likePlayfestweblogowbackground2 we don't get to see brand-new plays in South Florida. We certainly do. Right now, Lauren Feldman's Fill Our Mouths is at New Theatre, Michael McKeever's Suite Surrender is at the Caldwell and Roger Hedden's The Count is at Florida Stage, where early March will bring the company's second 1st Stage New Works Festival, with readings of new plays by Nilo Cruz, Marco Ramirez, William Mastrosimone and others.

But from Feb. 8-17, the Orlando Shakespeare Theater will serve up its annual Harriet Lake Festival of New Plays, a.k.a. PlayFest.  It's a magnet for theater lovers (and, this year, members of the American Theatre Critics Association, who will hold their winter conference in conjunction with the festival).  Agnes of God playwright John Pielmeier gives the keynote address, teaches a master class and shares the first act of his new play, Madonna and Child.  There are workshop productions of plays by Deborah Brevoort, John Minigan and Aoise Stratford.  Plays by Mike Folie, Reina Hardy, David Karl Lee, Arlene Hutton, Ian August, Michael Vukadinovich and David Davalos will get readings, as will adaptations of The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Miss Julie.  And Michael Hollinger's award-winning Opus, done last season at Florida Stage, gets its Central Florida premiere in a fully staged production.

And one of the coolest things about this cultural experience in the land of break-the-bank theme parks? A button to get into any PlayFest event (except for Opus, which costs a reasonable $20 to $37 to see) is $5, with individual readings just $3 and workshops $8.  Check out the details here.