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Off and writing

2008_24_hour_theatre_logo_white_smaFueled by pizza, beer and maybe a little fear, seven playwrights are spending the night doing what playwrights do:  creating plays.  The difference is that, at 7 a.m. Monday, those plays go into rehearsal.  And by 8 p.m., the one-time-only performance of seven short plays will begin.

At Actors' Playhouse Sunday evening, the founders of the Naked Stage -- Antonio Amadeo, Katherine Amadeo and John Manzelli -- shifted gears from opening their own show, Nerve, this weekend to kick off their second annual creative fundraiser.  The 24-Hour Theatre Project involves playwrights, directors, actors and behind-the-scenes artists, all with the aim of raising money for several small theater companies and putting on some good shows in the process.

Casting and the choice of directors happens by chance, with each playwright picking envelopes containing a director's name or actor's head shot.  Then the writers huddle with their creative collaborators to pick a play title from a whimsical/silly/crazy list.

Here's how the process has played out so far:

Andie Arthur is writing Don't Cry for Me...Wasilla!, to be directed by Stuart Meltzer, with Irene Adjan, Tom Wahl, Nan Barnett and Wayne LeGette in the cast.  Smells like a mini-musical.

Chris Demos Brown's play, The Secret Lives of Superheroes, will be directed by Paul Tei and will star David Perez-Ribada, Marjorie O'Neill-Butler, Ken Clement and Ricky Waugh.

Elena Maria Garcia is writing Randok's Retirement Villa for Galactic Scoundrels, with Clive Cholerton directing Erin Joy Schmidt, Michaela Cronan, Barry Tarallo and George Schiavone.

Andrew Rosendorf is creating Heterophobia (A Love Story), to be directed by Arturo Fernandez.  The all-male cast features Christopher Kent, Scott Genn, Adam Simpson and Actors' Playhouse artistic director David Arisco, who said with a laugh that he's pretty certain he'll end up in drag.

Lucas Leyva is writing For Love & Play-Doh, to be directed by Margaret Ledford, with John Manzelli, Barbara Sloan, Cliff Burgess and Margery Lowe in the cast.

Jonathan Wemette chose 1515 -- for its many possibilities -- and got Gordon McConnell as his director, plus the all-female cast of Carrie Santana, Laura Hodos, Kim Morgan Dean and Deborah L. Sherman.

And Michael McKeever, who got the title/director/cast news while he was backstage at his Sunday night performance of A Moon for the Misbegotten at Palm Beach Dramaworks, settled on The Real Life Story of Craven Titwieler.  Meredith Lasher will direct Kim Ostrenko, Katherine Amadeo, Stacy Schwartz and GableStage artistic director Joseph Adler (famous at last year's 24-Hour Event for appearing as a Star Wars trooper and doing lots of improvisation) in Craven.

My favorite unchosen title? #*%@ You, Harold Pinter!  Though you never know what might happen overnight.

You can still get in on the 24-Hour action as part of the audience. Just call the Actors' Playhouse box office Monday at 305-444-9293 or visit the theater's web site. Tickets are $58 -- a small price to pay for seeing Dave Arisco all dolled up.

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