Playwrights' Center hosts a new-play-centric party

Forty years of anything calls for a party, and the folks at the Playwrights' Center are ready to celebrate their birthday in style this weekend at the Varsity Theater. They'll do it not just with food and drink, but also with some specially created performance pieces.

The goal of the "No Work, All Play" is not just to raise money for the organization, but also to connect the community with the writers who employ the center's numerous services, says Jeremy Cohen, the producing artistic director. 

"With all of these public events we are trying to create a great engagement around what we do at the center: development and connecting playwrights with local and national theaters. With these fundraising events, we want people to say, 'I've never been to the Playwrights' Center before, but this is such a great party and I totally get what you are doing,'" Cohen says.

How does this happen? In place of the usual silent auction items is the chance to bid on the services of one of five member playwrights. For the winners, that playwright will take suggestions and then craft a short play. It will be quickly rehearsed and then performed by a company of top Twin Cities actors.

If you want to indulge in a bit of brand-new play writing, but don't have the cast to bid on the silent auction, there are also the New Play Bars. "You can saddle up to the bar and pay $40 to have one of six playwrights write a brand-new play on a cocktail napkin. We'll pop it into a frame, and you will have something to take home," Cohen says.

The event will be co-hosted by Cohen, actor Randy Reyes, and playwright Jeffrey Hatcher. "I can't wait to see that dynamic duo come together. They are salt and pepper. I love the idea of them together on stage, and they will help everyone have a great time," says Cohen.

The evening also includes The Problem with Anarchy, a new short play written by Melanie Marnich. 

Participating playwrights include Hatcher, Christina Ham, and Carson Kreitzer for the live auction; and Dominic Orlando, Trista Baldwin, and Sarah Gubbins as some of the "mixologists" for the New Play Bar.

For the center, part of the goal is to provide support for the playwrights at every step of the journey, from the more than 1,000 general members to the smaller number of core artists.

"We look at the whole trajectory of when a playwright finishes a draft to when it makes it to the stage, and to be a conduit between the playwright and the producing organization," Cohen says. "We are a little bit of everything, depending on which constituency we are reaching, whether it is a writer who has written their first play or someone who has been in the field for 10 or 20 years and is no longer the 'hot thing.'"


All Play, No Work Playwrights' Center 40th Anniversary
6 p.m. Saturday
Varsity Theater
1308 SE Fourth St., Minneapolis
$75 patron; $150 premium
For information, call 612.332.7481 or visit online

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The Varsity Theater

1308 4th St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414


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