Palm Beach Dramaworks
The Return of
The Master Playwrights Series
Live Zoom Presentations on July 14 and August 4
Examining the Life and Work of
Wendy Wasserstein and August Wilson
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
West Palm Beach, Fla. (June 16, 2021)-Palm Beach Dramaworks’ popular Master Playwrights Series, an informative and entertaining program that provides in-depth looks at the lives and works of major playwrights, is returning this summer as an online initiative, with the focus on two beloved writers of the late twentieth century. The first of the two live Zoom presentations takes place on Wednesday, July 14 at 7:30pm, with a look at the life and career of Wendy Wasserstein. The second program, on Wednesday, August 4 at 7:30pm, is devoted to August Wilson. The presentations by Mark Perlberg, executive producer of the series, will include scenes from Wasserstein’s and Wilson’s plays, read by professional actors. There will be a Q&A via Zoom at the conclusion of each program. Tickets are free, but reservations are required.
The Master Playwrights Series was launched in 2007 after Perlberg, a Henrik Ibsen enthusiast, asked Producing Artistic Director William Hayes if he could do a presentation about the playwright that combined a lecture with excerpts from Ibsen’s plays. Hayes liked the idea, and so did PBD patrons: the one-time only event quickly sold out. So, a second show was added. It was evident from the audience response that there was a desire for this kind of programming, and the Master Playwrights Series was born. Three playwrights were showcased each season and the programs became two-day events, with the second day devoted to a reading of a complete play by the featured playwright. In 2013, the Master Playwrights Series was folded into a new series, Dramalogue: Talking Theatre! which alternated between the familiar presentations about playwrights (minus the second day), and live interviews with theatre luminaries.
Both Wasserstein and Wilson have been featured before, so these programs are revivals of sorts. Hayes and Perlberg chose to revisit these dramatists now because their personal journeys and their plays speak with great immediacy to this moment in time. In such works as Uncommon Women and Others, Isn’t It Romantic, The Heidi Chronicles, and The Sisters Rosensweig, Wasserstein, with great wit, humor, insight, and compassion, explored the dreams, the challenges, and the obstacles faced by women seeking to forge rich personal and professional lives. Wilson, who chose the blues as his aesthetic, was a lyric poet and consummate storyteller, whose monumental achievement was the Century Cycle, 10 plays that chronicle Black America in a different decade of the twentieth century, including Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Fences, The Piano Lesson, Seven Guitars, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, and Two Trains Running.
“Given all we’ve been through as a society in the past few years, I think it’s likely that audiences will view these programs with fresh eyes and hear Wasserstein’s and Wilson’s words with fresh ears,” said Hayes. “And we’re excited to be doing these presentations online, as we can reach a wider audience.”
About Palm Beach Dramaworks:
Palm Beach Dramaworks is a professional, nonprofit theatre company founded in 2000 and located in the heart of downtown West Palm Beach. Each season, the award-winning company produces five mainstage shows and offers a wide variety of programs for students at the theatre, in schools, and online. Committed to fostering the future of theatre, PBD has become a hub for playwrights in Florida and around the country to nurture their work through initiatives including Drama(in the)works and the annual New Year/New Plays Festival. PBD is a member of Theatre Communications Group, Florida Professional Theatres Association, and the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County. www.palmbeachdramaworks.org