Two Jamaica Plain Playwrights’ Plays Debuting at 1st Annual Boston New Works Festival

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The 1st Annual Boston New Works Festival will take place in June, and two Jamaica Plain playwrights' works are among the small list of plays that will be part of the festival.

Michael Wartofsky

Jamaica Plain playwrights, Gabby Simone Preston and Michael Wartofsky, are two of the playwrights chosen to be part of the festival. Preston will showcase the play, Silt. Wartofsky, along with his co-writer Kathleen Cahill ,will showcase the play, Late: A New Musical.

Moonbox Productions selected nine original plays by local playwrights for the festival taking place June 24-26, 2022 at the Boston Center for the Arts.

For the next year, selected submissions will be part of an extensive workshop process that will culminate in staged productions, said a press release.

Silt is an impossible conversation about unconscious racial violence and how it changes relationships. In an imagined world without accountability, both author and audience confront reality together. Will they – and will the characters – choose acknowledgement or ignorance? Silt offers a challenging and cathartic experience of racial conflict that is at once poetic and disturbing.

Late: A New Musical was written as a way to express the writer’s heartbreak about the murder of American school children through gun violence. First day back. School was closed, but now it’s open again. Billie is hiding in the supply closet – her refuge – preparing the speech she’s going to make at the school assembly. Her friends are outside the door, telling her she needs to hurry up, it’s starting. But what is “it”? The assembly? Or the memory of that day? … A day in the life of Billie, Charlotte, Makala, Jake, Katie, Vernell, Ryan, Autumn, and Cole. An ordinary American day for nine ordinary American kids. Only some survived.

“New works have been on Moonbox’s short list forever, but it wasn’t until COVID – with all of its undeniably disastrous ramifications – that we suddenly found ourselves with the time and space to finally dive in,” said Producer Sharman Altshuler. “We have always sought to staff and cast our shows exclusively from the local Boston community, and to be able to extend that commitment now to the support and showcasing of local playwrights and theater-creators is deeply exciting and gratifying! The Boston area is teeming with creative talent, and an annual Festival will create a fun, accessible, welcoming, and exciting event that all communities in the greater Boston area and beyond can participate in and enjoy together."

Gabby Simone Preston is an artist with interests in performance, writing, new media and sound, who mostly grew up in the DC area and then grew up a bit more in Boston. Preston aspires to be a teaching artist, to start a performance collective, to design a children’s museum, and to become a master gardener. Preston thinks often about rising waters, enjoys both trying and failing to predict the future, and mostly makes work about race, gender and how trapped we don’t have to be.

Michael Wartofsky is a songwriting professor at Berklee College where he established an undergraduate minor in Musical Theater Writing and won a Distinguished Faculty Award in 2018. His 2019 album, All the Possibilities: Broadway Sings Wartofsky on Yellow Sound Label features twelve breathtaking Broadway voices interpreting his original songs. He was the composer of Car Talk: The Musical and Cupcake (Boston, 2012). He wrote music/lyrics for The Man in My Head starring Darius de Haas (NYC 2006), and music for Friendship of the Sea (North Shore Music Theater, 2003). He earned an MFA from the NYU Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program.

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