THE ROSE THEATRE CO Brings FIRST DRAFT Reading Series to 1st Stage

Love new plays? Then THE ROSE THEATRE CO’s Reading Series|FIRST DRAFT has great news to report. The series will begin its 2018-19 season of new play readings with a new Northern Virginia location to partner with its DC venue at the Arts Club of Washington. The new Northern Virginia location is at the accessible 1st Stage (Tysons), near a Silver Line metro stop and with plenty of free parking for those who drive.

THE ROSE THEATRE CO’s Reading Series|FIRST DRAFT comes to 1st Stage in Tysons for the first time in October. Photo by Keith Bridges Media.
THE ROSE THEATRE CO’s Reading Series|FIRST DRAFT comes to 1st Stage in Tysons for the first time in October. Photo by Keith Bridges Media.

For more than a dozen seasons, the ROSE THEATRE CO’s Reading Series|FIRST DRAFT has been celebrating the idea that new plays have an important place in the future of American theater–and that audiences are an integral part of the playwriting process.

“THE ROSE is an ‘audience first’ company. We strive to bring high-quality live performance entertainment at accessible, friendly venues…all free of charge. Whether you’re a veteran theatergoer or going to a theater for the first time, there’s a unique energy when you’re in the room, up close and personal, experiencing a play as it comes to life for the first time. There’s nothing else like it,” noted Leslie Kobylinski, Artistic Director & Founder.

So far the reading series has debuted over 45 new plays.

Asked about the move to the new location venue in Northern Virginia at 1st Stage, Kobylinski said that “The audience for THE ROSE THEATRE CO.’s Reading Series | FIRST DRAFT has grown exponentially over the dozen years or so we’ve been presenting in northern Virginia. After a wonderful run at Theater on the Run, we realized it was time to start looking for a new space to meet the needs of our growing audience – something that was Metro-accessible, with plenty of parking and a dedicated performing space. The venue at 1st Stage fit the bill perfectly.”

“The FIRST DRAFT staged readings are concert-style, with actors at music stands, acting out an early draft of a script along with a narrator describing production elements so the audience will get a full sense of the story,” noted Kobylinski. “Every play takes its own path so there’s not just one way to move a script forward. We like to work with a writer at the beginning of their process and present scripts in the rough early stages. It’s a great opportunity for the writer to hear it out loud, in front of an audience and get a sense of what’s working and not working, well before the ‘point of no return’ when production decisions have to be made and resources vested.

“We’re so pleased that resident writer Chris Stezin’s Balls Out is kicking off the FIRST DRAFT season for us. His work has been hailed as ‘comedic genius’ and recognized by DC’s prestigious Helen Hayes Awards for achievement in new plays,” said Kobylinski. “Chris is the gold standard for playwriting and a huge audience favorite. He’s a resident playwright at THE ROSE. He is passionate about expanding the scope of quality professional theater.”

Balls Out will be performed on October 16 at the Arts Club of Washington and October 17 at 1st Stage. The marketing synopsis:

“Darla Marini is supporting three worthless ex-husbands, so she’ll do whatever it takes to hang on to her job as a Division 1 softball coach. Patrick DeBodean has just been cut from the baseball team, and he’ll do whatever he can to stay at Southwest Iowa State Tech. Ginnie, the athletic director, sees an opportunity for national exposure and hatches a plan that could change college sports forever. A Sports Fantasia. With Dream Ballets.”

Leslie Kobylinski, Artistic Director of THE ROSE THEATRE CO. Photo by Keith Bridges Media.
Leslie Kobylinski, Artistic Director of THE ROSE THEATRE CO. Photo by Keith Bridges Media.

What can patrons expect at the reading of Balls Out? “First and foremost, we hope to provide you with a really entertaining evening out. Before the show, we kick things off with a little wine and light refreshments followed by a concert-style reading of a new play,” said Kobylinski. “After the performance, we invite audiences to join the conversation with our acclaimed actors, writers and theater professionals about their experience.”

When asked about the new reading series at 1st Stage, Alex Levy, Artistic Director, said that “For over ten years, 1st Stage has endeavored to be an arts hub for its community. In addition to its five mainstage productions, the Logan Festival for Solo Performance and our numerous educational programs, we are proud to partner with organizations like THE ROSE THEATRE CO. FIRST DRAFT reading series to provide extraordinary literary arts programming to our patrons.”

Details about the 2018-19 ROSE THEATER CO Reading Series|FIRST DRAFT, including plays, playwrights, performance dates and locations can be found here.

Note: THE ROSE THEATRE CO. is named in honor of Roza (Rose) Nowotarska, a Polish-American broadcaster, author, journalist, poet and playwright. “Rose championed all things in the name of art and tirelessly supported the people willing to create it,” said Kobylinski.

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David Siegel
David Siegel is a freelance theater reviewer and features writer whose work appears on DC Metro Theater Arts, ShowBiz Radio, in the Connection Newspapers and the Fairfax Times. He is a judge in the Helen Hayes Awards program. He is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association and volunteers with the Arts Council of Fairfax County. David has been associated with theater in the Washington, DC area for nearly 30 years. He served as Board President, American Showcase Theater Company (now Metro Stage) and later with the American Century Theater as both a member of the Executive Board and as Marketing Director. You can follow David's musings on Twitter @pettynibbler.