Vivid Stage, formerly Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre, in residence at the Oakes Center at 120 Morris Avenue in Summit, will present its new annual Meet the Artist reading series on Wednesdays, May 4, 11, 18 and 25. All readings will be held at the Oakes Center at 7:30 p.m. This event is part of the New Jersey Theater Alliance 2022 Stages Festival, made possible through support from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, an agency partner of the National Endowment for the Arts; Bank of America; The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey; OceanFirst Foundation; the George A. Ohl, Jr. Trust; New Jersey Historical Commission; and New Jersey Fund for the Blind. www.njtheatrealliance.org/stages

The new series of play readings is an opportunity for the public to participate in the development of new works, both to hear the plays read by professional actors and also to discuss the projects with the playwright, director and the actors afterwards. The public will have the opportunity to provide feedback to the team after each performance.

On May 4, Vivid will present The Love Songs of Brooklynites by James Armstrong. Chuck has just moved to Brooklyn when his neighbor Abbie harasses him about misdirected mail to his apartment. As Abbie falls into his life, she introduces him to stress baking, computer coding, and the poetry of a town still trying to revise itself. Part TS Eliot, part Preston Sturges, The Love Songs of Brooklynites takes audiences on a theatrical journey to find themselves while finding others.

James Armstrong is a playwright whose works have been performed in the United States, as well as in Canada, Australia and Japan. His play Foggy Bottom at the Abingdon Theater Company was hailed by The New York Times as “one of the most international farces of the moment” and the Detroit Free Press called his play Capital “an inspirational new comedy”. His short play The Rainbow premiered as part of the 18th Annual NYC 15-Minute Play Festival at the American Globe Theater. It was also a finalist for the Actors Theater of Louisville Heideman Award and is included in The Best American Short Plays: 2012-2013. His adaptation of Moby-Dick had its world premiere at the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater in 2015. Detroit Rep created Capital in 2017, and East Carolina University shot his stage adaptation of Alice in Wonderland. James holds a master’s degree in playwriting from Carnegie-Mellon University. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America.

On May 11, Vivid will present The Oreos by Angelle Whavers. What happens when marketing associate Blaine and Twitch streamer Evette wake up to find…they’re black? In the same vein as Black Like Me and Watermelon Man, The Oreos explores race in the modern world through laughter, awkward encounters, and our pride as a “woke” society.

Angelle Whavers graduated from Drew University with a BA in Theater and History. His playwriting credits include: 4320p: Immersion with the Tectonic Theater Project; Boogie, Growing Stages New Works Festival; and does not translate Vulcan Theater. She worked as a writer and performer with Parody in Blue. She is co-founder and director of social media for Unidentified Stages. His acting credits include: Performer, Actor’s Hour; Sapphire, 4320p: Immersion: Nell, Haiku; and Florence, poof!

On May 18, Vivid will present Lia Romeo’s The Golden Door. What does it mean to be an American, and how much is it worth giving up? In 1902, an Italian peasant woman was detained at Ellis Island. In 2047, an American teenager tries to cross the Canadian border to escape a country ravaged by disease. THE GOLDEN DOOR explores immigration through the ages and asks what really makes America great.

Lia Romeo is the 2021-2022 Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program Fellow at Juilliard. His play The Forest was developed at the O’Neill Playwrights Conference and premiered at the NJ Rep. His play Sitting and Talking, starring Dan Lauria and Wendie Malick, premiered at the Mile Square Theater and was later performed by Laguna Playhouse, New Jersey Rep, Seven Devils New Play Foundry and other companies. Other plays were produced off-Broadway at 59E59 and in the region across the country, and four of his plays were recognized by the Kilroys list. She won the City Theater’s National Short Playwriting Award and was the recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship in Playwriting from the New Jersey State Council for the Arts. His plays are published by Broadway Play Publishing, Playscripts, Dramatists Play Service and Smith & Kraus. She is Associate Artistic Director of Project Y Theater Company and teaches playwriting at Primary Stages/ESPA and Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Masters in Creative Writing program. She got her BA from Princeton and her Masters in Playwriting from Rutgers/MGSA.

On May 25, Vivid presents Barbara Blumenthal-Ehrlich’s Brand New Day. Lydia’s daughter hasn’t been home since a series of subway bombings in an unnamed city. Now Lydia is forced to wait for the news with her annoying son-in-law, Donald, and a mysterious millennial photographer who keeps following her. A dark comedy about maternal helplessness in the age of terrorism.

Barbara Blumenthal-Erlich’s feature films have been produced at the New York International Fringe Festival, off-Broadway Theater Row (Prod. by Tony Award-winning Arielle Tepper Madover), Northern Light (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada), Overtime (San Antonio), Forward Flux (Seattle) Trustus (Columbia, SC), Trinity Rep (Providence), and more. A contributing writer on the national tour, THE GRIEF DIALOGUES. Plays have been developed in New York at Playwrights Horizons, Roundabout, Second Stage, EST, ARACAworks, Stella Adler and Rattlestick, and regionally at Kennedy Center, Actors Theater of Louisville, Geva, Victory Gardens, Route 66 Theatre, Collaboraction, Elephant Theater , Le Blanc, Hangar, among others. She won the Beverly Hills Theater Guild Julie Harris Playwriting Award 2016, the Israel Baran Award and was a finalist in competitions such as the Sundance Playwriting Lab, O’Neill Playwrights Conference, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Heideman Award and the Princess Grace Fellowship. . Her play SISTER SISTER was nominated for the Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Edmonton Prize and STILL LIFE was nominated for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and received an Honorable Mention on the Kilroy List. Pieces published by Smith & Kraus “Best of” anthologies for 2016-18.

Vivid Stage will require all visitors to show proof of vaccination; masking will be optional for reads. Proof of vaccination may include a valid paper vaccination record, a photo of a valid vaccination record, the NJ Docket app, or an equivalent application from your state.

All readings will be held at the Oakes Center at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $10. To purchase contactless advance tickets, visit our website. For more information, call 908-514-9654. The Oakes Center theater is wheelchair accessible. Parking is accessible from Ashwood Avenue, behind the theater. For more information on any of the Vivid Stage programs, please call 908-514-9654, www.vividstage.org.

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