Playwrights Theatre Announces the Winners of the 29th Annual New Jersey Young Playwrights Contest

From the 261 plays submitted by young writers throughout the state, a panel of theatre professionals has selected four High School plays, three Junior High School plays and three Elementary Schools plays.
April 17, 2012 - PRLog -- (Madison, NJ) - Playwrights Theatre is pleased to announce the winners of the 29th Annual New Jersey Young Playwrights Contest. From the 261 plays submitted by young writers throughout the state, a panel of theatre professionals has selected four High School plays, three Junior High School plays and three Elementary Schools plays. In each category, plays were selected without knowledge of playwrights' schools or grade. Judges were not provided with any of the playwrights' information. The 29th Annual New Jersey Young Playwrights Contest Festival will be held on May 21 and May 22 as part of a partnership between Playwrights Theatre and Premiere Stages at Kean University. Select plays from this festival will be reprised at Playwrights Theatre’s nationally-recognized Forum Reading Series in December 2012. This reading series brings together writers from all over the United States.

The plays will be presented at the University Center's Little Theatre at Kean University on Monday, May 21 at 7 pm for the Elementary and Junior High Division winners and on Tuesday, May 22 at 7 pm for the High School Division winners’ plays. The readings will feature professional actors and directors and reservations can be made by calling 973-514-1787 X21 or via email Admission to the readings is free, but reservations are required, as seating is limited.

“Our festivals of new plays by young writers are always the highlight of the season for me,” says Jim DeVivo, the Director of Education for Playwrights Theatre. This year, I am impressed not only with the quality and interesting content of the plays, but also with the improvement displayed in the writing from students who were past participants in the Festival. I am excited to get to know these writers and to develop their work over the next few weeks.”

In the High School Division (grades 10-12), the winners are:
Monster by Samuel Gelman, 12th grade, The Pingry School
The Mystery Madame of 110 and Broadway by Emma Hathaway, 11th grade, Bergen County Academies
Must-Read by Isabelle Ingato, 11th grade, Toms River High School East
Disneyland by Alina Sodano, 11th grade, Bergen County Academies

The aforementioned winners will receive a New Jersey Governor’s Award in Arts Education, which is co-sponsored by New Jersey Arts Education Partnership and the New Jersey Department of Education, at the Governor’s Awards Ceremony on May 10 at 4:30 pm at the War Memorial in Trenton. The Governor’s Award is the highest honor in arts education in New Jersey.

“We’re moving the readings to an evening time slot this year in the hopes that we can attract a larger audience,” said Playwrights Theatre Artistic Director John Pietrowski. “Parents interested in encouraging their children’s writing efforts and regular audience-goers will find this to be an important and exciting evening. The plays deal with all kinds of topics in unique and playful ways. This year’s plays are an especially compelling crop.”

In the Junior High School Division (grades 7-9), the winners are:
It Always Would by Emma Q. Baxter, 7th grade, Randolph Middle School
Fame in the Family by Madeleine Granovetter, 9th grade, Glen Ridge High School
Only Strangers by Nicole Zanchelli, 9th grade, Mount Saint Mary Academy

"Premiere Stages is excited to continue our partnership with Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey on the New Jersey Young Playwrights Festival and support fledgling playwrights as they spread their artistic wings,” said Clare Drobot, Producing Associate and Resident Dramaturg, Premiere Stages. “Artistic development and arts education are at the core of Premiere Stages' mission and we are proud to foster these young writers and share their work."

In the Elementary School Division (grades 4-6), the winners are:
Rosedale by Elizabeth Kilgore, 5th grade, St. Vincent Martyr School
The Time Travelers by Jason Li, 6th grade, Cranbury School
From Geek to Chic by Mollie Sullivan, 4th grade, Torey J. Sabatini School

Samuel Gelman (High School) and Elizabeth Kilgore (Elementary) were winners in their respective divisions last year. For the past two years, Emma Q. Baxter has submitted plays to contest and she was recognized last year with an Honorable Mention. Mollie Sullivan’s (Elementary) play was presented in March 2012 during the Madison Young Playwrights Festival.

About the High School Playwrights:

Sam Gelman, a senior at the Pingry School, is very excited that his play Monster was selected and will be produced by Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey. Sam has been writing plays since Middle School, finally finishing his first full-length play in his Freshman year. Since then, he has written various short plays, one of which also received the Governor’s Award in 2011. Sam will be attending Princeton University next year and intends on continuing to write, act, and direct plays.
Emma Hathaway is a Junior in the Academy for Visual and Performing Arts at Bergen County Academies. Emma has performed as an actor, singer, and featured dancer in BCA’s main stage shows and One-Act Play Festivals. She plays violin in the New York Youth Symphony Orchestra, has been selected for NJ All State Orchestra and Choir, and in the occasional spare moment, loves to write.

Isabelle Ingato is a junior at Toms River High School East, where she has been a Writing Center tutor, VP of the Interact community service club, Secretary of the Raider Compost Initiative (where she learned to use a drill), principal cellist of the Toms River High School East Orchestra since her freshman year, and a leading actress with The Eastside Theatre Company, her favorite performance being Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street in which she played Lucy Barker/The Beggar Woman and for which she won the Outstanding Supporting Actress Award. She also participates in JV tennis, Math League, the Spanish National Honor Society, and the T.E.A.M. youth empowerment and leadership group.  

Alina Sodano is an 11th grader in the Academy of Visual and Performing Arts at the Bergen County Academies in Hackensack, New Jersey. She has performed in main stage productions and the One Acts Play festival at BCA. When she is not participating in theatre, Alina enjoys playing the violin, singing in choir, taking science courses and playwriting.

For more information about Playwrights Theatre, visit or call (973) 514-1787.

For more information about Premiere Stages, visit or call 908-737-SHOW (7469).

About Playwrights Theatre:
Founded in 1986, Playwrights Theatre is a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit professional theatre and arts education institution dedicated to developing and nurturing the dramatic imagination of artists, students, and audiences. Our New Play Program creates development opportunities for professional writers through readings, workshops and productions, and invites audiences to participate in authentic feedback experiences. Our New Jersey Writers Project, Poetry Out Loud, New Jersey Young Playwrights Contest and Festival, and Creative Arts Academy programs provide a comprehensive and hands-on arts education experience to over 31,000 students, Pre-K through adult.

About Premiere Stages:
As the professional Equity Theatre-in-Residence at Kean University, Premiere Stages is committed to serving the cultural needs of the campus community and the northern and central New Jersey regions. Premiere Stages actively engages and enhances the specialized training programs at Kean University while embracing and serving a culturally diverse audience, underserved children, and a broad pool of regional artists. Premiere’s programming is comprised of three major artistic initiatives: Premiere Play Factory--Arts Education, Premiere Artists--Professional Development for University Students and Premiere Play Festival--New Play Development.

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Playwrights Theatre is a non-profit, professional theatre comprised of playwrights, theatre artists, and arts educators. We provide opportunities for writers to develop their works in a nurturing environment and connect with new audiences.
Source:Jennifer DeWitt
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