Genre: Other
Free readings of American Whupass, Film Chinois and A Crooked Man

Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) is pleased to announce the winning selections of the 2008 TRU Voices Series. In a series that is unique because it develops new producers as well as new plays, three works were chosen from submissions by emerging or established producers, as well as writers. This year, TRU received 64 submissions; out of nine semi-finalists, four scripts were submitted by producers in the TRU Producer Mentorship Program, and two of the four are final selections. "They were submitted blind, so our readers didn't even know the plays were from TRU producers. I'm pleased that the people in our program turn out to have such a good eye for promising new works," said TRU executive director Bob Ost. The plays will be read on Mondays, June 2, 9, and 16 at 7:00pm at the Players Theatre, located at 115 MacDougal Street, NYC.

The plays chosen for the TRU Voices Series are: American Whupass, a rollicking satire of modern-day electioneering by Justin Warner, submitted by TRU producer mentee Melinda O'Brien; Film Chinois, a noir mystery romance by Damon Chua, submitted by the Grove Theatre Center in LA; and A Crooked Man, an inter-generational drama by Richard Kalinoski, submitted by TRU producer mentee Nora Armani. All three plays have political undertones, and distinct ethnic identities. "Although we didn't set out to do so, we've created a series with a through-line of social relevance and conscience," said TRU Literary Manager Catherine Lamm.

- American Whupass by Justin Warner will be read on June 2, 2008 at 7:00pm, produced by Melinda O'Brien and her company M&M Productions Acting Co., with the assistance of Danielle Johnson, another TRU mentee. The director is Nancy Robillard.

A faded football star, an energy kingpin, and a former wrestling champ duke it out for a Nevada Senate seat in a no-holds-barred campaign that takes political warfare to outrageous extremes. "It's pretty timely," declares producer O'Brien with a sly grin. The play has been developed at the Aurora Theatre (Berkeley, CA), Luna Stage (NJ), New Jersey Rep, the Last Frontier Conference (Valdez, AK), and the Abingdon Theatre (NYC), and was a winner of the Aurora Theatre Company's 2007 Global Age Project and a semifinalist for the O'Neill Conference. Justin Warner is a Kennedy Center-ACTF winner, a Princess Grace finalist, and a five-time Heideman Award finalist. His musical The Masked Zinfandel, written with Peter Yarin, was featured in the 2008 ASCAP Foundation/Disney Workshop in New York with Stephen Schwartz. Justin's short play collection Screwups ("Hilarious" -- Off-Off Broadway) was recently published by Original Works. He is a member of the BMI Musical Theater Workshop and the Dramatists Guild. For more, visit

Director Robillard's work has been seen on New York stages at Directors Company, Vital Theatre, Theatre for the New City, Culture Project, HERE, Phoenix Theatre, Queens Theatre in the Park, and First Look Theatre Company.

- Film Chinois by Damon Chua, will be read on June 9, 2008 at 7:00pm. Winner of the 2007 Los Angeles Ovation Award for Best New Play, it will be produced by Charles L. Johanson Jack W. Batman (a TRU Advisory Board Member) and Grove Theatre Center. The director is Kevin Cochran.

In Beijing in 1947, at an uneasy time between WWII and the imminent Communist take over, an enigmatic woman known as Chinadoll challenges an idealistic CIA operative to face the truth. Film Chinois, was developed through Grove Theatre Center's New Play Initiative. Playwright Damon Chua was the winner of the 1st Asian-American Playwriting Competition organized by ACTS of Harvard University and holds a Fulbright nomination in the Dramatic Arts. He currently heads up the Playwrights Group for Company of Angels, Los Angeles' oldest non-profit theatre company, and is one of the most produced playwrights in his native Singapore.

Grove Theater Center, founded by Kevin Cochran and Charles Johanson, has produced over 100 productions on four stages in three Californian cities. GTC has premiered 23 new plays including work by James McLure, Christopher Hart, David Paterson and Ron House. In 2003, GTC inaugurated the New Play Initiative, a national contest to develop new plays. GTC's 2005 NPI play, Blake...da Musical!, won the Los Angeles Ovation Award for Best New Musical. GTC's 2006 NPI production of Straight Up with a Twist garnered an Ovation nomination as Best Solo Performance (and is currently running in NYC at The Players Theatre) and in 2007, GTC's NPI production of Film Chinois won the Ovation for Best New Play. Another NPI developed play, The Accomplices by Bernard Weinraub, premiered at The New Group and received a 2007 Drama Desk nomination for Best New Play. More at Director Cochran's past New York credits include the premieres of Lightin' Out at the Judith Anderson Theater, Offending Shadows at Ensemble Studio Theater and The Gospel According to Omaha at the William Redfield Theater.

- A Crooked Man by Richard Kalinoski will be read on June 16, 2008 at 7:00pm. Kalinoski's celebrated play Beast on the Moon opened Off-Broadway in 2005 at the Century Center Theatre in Manhattan, ran 120 performances, and was named one of five "must see" plays in New York by the New York Daily News. The play will be produced by Nora Armani and Pemart Productions, and directed by Linda Selman.

In this moving drama, a callow young man comes to grips with his grandfather's notorious past and discovers unexpected compassion and love on the roof of the old man's house. A Crooked Man was first read publicly at the Salt Lake Acting Company in 2003 as part of the theatre's Play Sounding Series. In 2004, it was chosen for an enhanced reading at the Dayton Future Fest. In 2006, it was read at Allianak Productions in Toronto and at New Repertory Theatre of Massachusetts. In 2007, it won the Armenian Dramatic Arts Alliance's Paul Playwriting / Screenwriting Award and the Playwrights First Award. A Crooked Man opened in its first professional production in February of 2008 in Toronto. Subsequently it played in Spanish in Buenos Aires, Argentina in March of 2008. This is the New York premiere of the play.

Producer Nora Armani has a list of international theatre and film credits to her name. Her award-winning self-penned stage appearances as an actor/producer include: On the Couch with Nora Armani, Sojourn At Ararat (with Gerald Papasian), Nannto, Nannto and Snowflakes in April. These productions have toured internationally in their English and French versions over 4 continents garnering awards and accolades. She has also produced and curated numerous film exhibits and film festival screenings in London (at Ciné Lumière, ICA, Saddlers' Wells, British Museum), Paris (Pompidou Centre), Los Angeles (AFI, Silver Lake Film Fest.) and Washington, D.C. (The Kennedy Center) to name a few. Ms. Armani recently co-produced and launched the First Annual Noor Play Festival of Middle East themed plays at the Wings Theatre in New York, directing two of the plays in it. Director Selman has written, developed, and directed numerous works including the Off-Broadway and Emmy Award-winning Bubbe Meises, Bubbe Stories; Tallulah Hallelujah! chosen one of the Ten Best Plays of the Year by USA Today; From My Lady's Diary: Marie Antoinette, a chamber-music drama at The Vineyard Theater; and Bunner Sisters, a stage adaptation based on a novella by Edith Wharton.

The TRU Voices Series encourages submissions from emerging and established producers who are interested in testing the waters with a new work, and offers an opportunity for them to forge relationships with writers. TRU also accepts submissions from writers and tries to match them with a sponsoring producer for the series. The TRU Voices Series track record is impressive. Shows that started in the series include Pied-à-Terre, which played off-Broadway at The Kirk, Theatre Row; The Great American Trailer Park Musical by Betsy Kelso and David Nehls, which enjoyed an off-Broadway run and is currently touring; and Normal by Yvonne Adrian, Cheryl Stern and Tom Kochan, which played a limited run in fall '06 at the Connelly Theater in the East Village starring Barbara Walsh. A finalist in the 2006 series, Missives by Garret Jon Groenvald, had a recent production at 59E59 Street Theatres directed by Elysabeth Kleinhans, and was well received and well reviewed; TRU was a proud co-producer with Animated Theatreworks and PlayGround.

TRU was founded in 1992 to promote a spirit of cooperation and support within the general theater community by providing information and a variety of entertainment-related services and resources that strengthen the business capabilities of producing organizations, individual producers, self-producing artists and other theater professionals. The company holds monthly seminars on a wide range of subjects important to theatrical producers conducted by panels of experts from both the commercial and not-for-profit worlds. TRU also publishes a print newsletter and a monthly email community newsletter. In addition, TRU served as the umbrella organization for a co-production by several of its member companies as a part of the first annual New York Fringe Festival. From that experience, the organization has expanded its production efforts by creating the TRU VOICES New Play Reading Series and the TRU VOICES New Musicals Reading Series. In 2001, TRU began giving annual scholarships to The Commercial Theater Institute, to encourage the development of aspiring producers, and most recently created a Producer Mentoring Program whose mentors are among the most prominent producers and general managers in New York theater.

Programs of Theater Resources Unlimited are supported in part by public funds awarded through the New York State Council on the Arts and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, as well as generous support from the Friar's National Foundation Association.
About the Company: Theatre Resources Unlimited

Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) is a twenty-year-old 501c3 nonprofit organization created to help producers produce, emerging theater companies to emerge healthily and all theater professionals to understand and navigate the business of theater. Membership includes self-producing artists as well as career producers and theater companies.

TRU publishes an email community newsletter of services, goods and productions; presents the TRU VOICES Annual New Play Reading Series and New Musicals Reading Series, new works series in which TRU underwrites developmental readings to nurture new works as well as new producers for theater; offers a Producer Development & Mentorship Program whose mentors are among the most prominent producers and general managers in New York theater; and also presents Producer Boot Camp workshops to help aspirants develop the business skills they need. In addition to new works development and the speed date, TRU serves writers through a Practical Playwriting Workshop and a Director-Writer Communications Lab.

Programs of Theater Resources Unlimited are supported in part by public funds awarded through the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, as well as generous support from the Friar’s National Foundation Association.

For more information about TRU membership and programs, or call 212-714-7628.

Open:   06/02/08
Close:   06/16/08

Monday, June 2 at 7:00pm – American Whupass
Monday, June 9 at 7:00pm – Film Chinois
Monday, June 16 at 7:00pm – A Crooked Man
Theater:   Players Theatre
Address:   115 MacDougal Street
New York, NY
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