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24-Hour Theatre is back, as art with a heartfelt purpose


South Florida theater's most creative benefit, the 24-Hour Theatre Project, returns this evening for one night only, with the aim of helping one of the theater community's own. Eight playwrights spent the late hours of Sunday and wee hours of Monday writing short plays spun from titles on a list created by the Naked Stage's artistic director, Katherine Amadeo.  And Monday night at 8 p.m. at Palm Beach Dramaworks, the results of their sleepless creativity will unfold with participation from many of the region's finest artists.

Theater fans who fork over $30 for a ticket ($50 for VIP seating and a poster) will get to see the only performance of eight brand-new works.  And they'll be helping to put a dent in the considerable medical expenses of Dana Castellano, a Women's Theatre Project board member who has waged a fierce fight with cervical cancer since January.

In July, when the community came together to perform a benefit dubbed The Dana Plays, Castellano explained her deep love of theater.

Untitled"The more I was around theater, the more I loved it.  You see an amazing show and use your imagination, which is something we lose just going to the movies," said Castellano, who had emergency surgery a few weeks ago.

As for what you'll see tonight if you make the trek to West Palm Beach, here's the rundown.

Antonio Amadeo, who co-founded the Naked Stage with his wife and pal John Manzelli, is the author of Coin-Operated Boy, which is being staged by Thinking Cap Theatre founder and artistic director Nicole Stodard.  Alex Alvarez, Tracey Barrow-Schoenblatt, Troy Davidon and Matthew Korinko are in the cast, and Amanda Bartmon is stage managing.  Andie Arthur's The Monsters of Madison Avenue, directed by Slow Burn Theatre's Patrick Fitzwater, features Noah Levine, Kevin Reilley, Barbara Sloan and Shane Tanner, with Stephanie Meskauskas as stage manager.

Tony Finstrom's The Last Viking, staged by Steven Chambers, features Meredith Bartmon, Sally Bondi, Julie Kleiner and Lourelene Snedeker, with Kent Wilson stage managing.  Michael Leeds is the author of May Divorce Be With You, which will be staged by Margaret Ledford. In that cast are Michelle Brino, Niki Fridh, Christina Groom and Joe Kimble, with Shonna Rash as stage manager.

Katherine AmadeoMichael McKeever's offering is Last Trip on the Mothership, staged by Amy London and featuring Clay Cartland, Dave Corey, Sabrina Gore and Adam Simpson, with Louis Brady stage managing. David Nail has written a play titled Soul Control, to be staged by Barbara Bradshaw.  Laura Hodos, Margot Moreland, Rick Peña and Josh Stoughton are in the cast, and Nikki Hudak is stage manager.

Karen Stephens' play is titled Phineas Finds His Way.  Kim St. Leon directs Beverly Blanchette, Nick Duckart, Jeni Hacker and Pierre Tannous, with Rachel Chin stage managing.  Matt Stabile is the author of Life, in 140 Characters or Less.  Andy Rogow is staging the play, and cast features Nanique Gheridian, Amy McKenna, Ann Marie Olson and Skye Whitcomb, with Patrick Rodriguez as stage manager.

All of the artists are contributing their time and talents to one of the theater community's signature annual events.  And this year, that art is in service of someone widely loved and admired.

Palm Beach Dramaworks is located at 201 Clematis St., West Palm Beach.  For tickets, call 561-514-4042, ext. 2, or visit the Dramaworks web site.