Playwrights Theatre Announces the Winners of the 31st Annual New Jersey Young Playwrights Contest

From the 470 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 four Elementary Schools plays.
MADISON, N.J. - May 14, 2014 - PRLog -- Playwrights Theatre is pleased to announce the winners of the 31st Annual New Jersey Young Playwrights Contest. From the 470 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 four Elementary Schools plays. In each category, selection was blind; plays were selected without knowledge of playwrights' schools, grade or background. The 31st Annual New Jersey Young Playwrights Contest Festival will be held on June 2 and 3, 2014, as part of a partnership between Playwrights Theatre and Premiere Stages at Kean University. Select plays from this festival may be reprised at Playwrights Theatre’s nationally-recognized Forum Reading Series in December 2014. 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, June 2, 2014, at 7pm for the Elementary and Junior High Division winners and on Tuesday, June 3, 2014, at 7pm 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.

Two categories were added to the contest this year. In celebration of New Jersey’s 350th anniversary, Playwrights Theatre created a Revolutionary Plays category, for plays written about New Jersey’s role in the Revolutionary War. The winner in that category was Verna Chen, who attends Indian Hill School in Holmdel, NJ, and wrote Molly Bloom and Her Weird Experience in the American Revolution. The play will be performed on Monday, June 2, 2014, as part of the Elementary and Junior High School Division reading. In addition, Verna will receive a $100 Savings Bond.

The Living with Disabilities Category encouraged writers to create plays that featured characters with physical or mental disabilities. From the fourteen plays submitted, Millburn High School student, Hazel Solender’s play Midnight was selected to represent this category. A reading of her play will occur before the High School Division festival on June 3, 2014. All plays submitted to this category were also submitted to the VSA Playwright Discovery Competition at The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, DC.

Playwrights Theatre has also partnered with RoxPac in Roxbury, NJ, where selected plays will be part of a summer festival of student work performed by students at RoxPac. Winning plays will be announced shortly.

In the High School Division (grades 10-12), the winners are:
"Hurricane Season" by Alexa Derman, Westfield High School
"Mechanical Advancemen"t by Emily Donegan, Bergen County Academies, Hackensack
"Ink Never Dulls" by Talia Green, Bergen County Academies, Hackensack
"Enter Banquo’s Ghost" by Miranda Hoyt-Disick, Tenafly

The aforementioned winners received 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 1, 2014, at the War Memorial in Trenton. The Governor’s Award is the highest honor in arts education in New Jersey.

In the Junior High School Division (grades 7-9), the winners are:
"My Life, My Family, Not My Wallet" by Christopher Frick, Dwight D. Eisenhower Middle School, Wyckoff
"Accounting for Change" by Elizabeth Hendy, Union County Academy for Performing Arts, Scotch Plains
"An Underdog Story" by Morgan McCauley, Dwight D. Eisenhower Middle School, Wyckoff

In the Elementary School Division (grades 4-6), the winners are:
"So Let’s Get Cooking" by Lily Bauer, Chatham Middle School
"Zoe Verrazano’s Big Adventure" by Katie Dore, Central Avenue Elementary School, Madison
"A Good Story, A Beautiful Life" by Ashley Jiang, Indian Hill School, Holmdel
"I Beat the Bully" by Amanda Kefalas, Carl H. Kumpf Middle School, Clark

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

For more information about Premiere Stages, visit or call 908-737-4092. (7469).

Playwrights Theatre’s New Jersey Young Playwrights Contest receives generous funding from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts; the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation; and Travelers Foundation, Bank of America, Investors Savings Bank Charitable Foundation, the Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, PSE&G, The Bay and Paul Foundation and the Provident Bank Foundation. The New Jersey Young Playwrights Festival and New Jersey Young Playwrights Program are registered to the Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission.

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, which includes the The New Jersey Emerging Women Playwrights Program and the Literary Artist Fellowship 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. From 2003-2016, we have been designated a Major Arts Institution by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts (along with only five other theatres: The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, George Street Playhouse, McCarter Theatre Center, Two River Theatre and Paper Mill Playhouse) as “an anchor institution that contributes vitally to the quality of life in New Jersey.”

About Premiere Stages:
As the professional Equity Theatre-in-Residence at Kean University, Premiere Stages is committed to serving the cultural needs of the northern and central New Jersey regions and the Kean campus community. 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 emerging and regional artists.

Jennifer DeWitt
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