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Road Less Traveled Productions announces tenth anniversary season

Road Less Traveled Productions has announced its 2013-14 season, which will mark the local theater company’s tenth anniversary of operations. Founded in 2003 by Executive and Artistic Director Scott Behrend and Literary Director Jon Elston (and debuting its first production in January of that year), RLTP has spent the past decade pursuing a mission of developing and producing world-premiere plays by Western New York playwrights, engaging a new and youthful WNY audience, and consistently presenting an accurate reflection of WNY’s broad multi-cultural composition.

Said Behrend, “RLTP’s 10th anniversary season will celebrate our mission through continuing to do what we’ve done all along: produce world-premiere plays about or of relevance to Buffalo which reflect the interests of our diverse and engaged audience.”

The 10th Anniversary Season launches with a world-premiere evening of original, 10-minute plays by WNY playwrights. “Buffalo Rises” will be “a celebration of the community we live in and love, through the eyes, minds, and hearts of Buffalo’s favorite playwrights,” said Behrend. RLTP Ensemble members Jon Elston (“2012: End Of The Road”), Donna Hoke (“Seeds”), and Darryl Schneider (“Clean Break”) will be joined by other outstanding local dramatists as they weave provocative, funny, and hopeful tales of the challenges, achievements, and aspirations of this city and its residents. “Buffalo Rises” opens Sept. 13, and will run through Oct. 6.

A recent, Pulitzer Prize-winning play will enjoy the second-slot spotlight of the 2013-14 Season when RLTP presents the WNY premiere of Bruce Norris’ “Clybourne Park.” This visionary satire – simultaneously a prequel, sequel, and modern commentary on the American theatre classic “A Raisin In The Sun” – spans 50 years in the history of one much-contested house in a constantly evolving suburb. “In 1959, nervous homeowners scramble to discourage the arrival of the neighborhood’s first black family,” Behrend said. “The tables turn in 2009, as the now predominantly African-American community struggles to resist a new onset of gentrification.” He called the play “a ferocious expose of segregation, white flight, and ever-shifting cultural insecurities” and added that “Clybourne Park” was also the winner of the Tony and Olivier Awards. “Though set in Chicago, it’s a story sure to resonate with Buffalonians.” “Clybourne Park” will run from Nov. 8 through Dec. 1.

RLTP rings in New Year 2014 with a new, world-premiere play by an exciting new voice on the WNY playwriting scene. Mark Witteveen’s “A Very Fine Use Of A Grenade” is a mystery that unfolds in the grand tradition of Harold Pinter’s “Betrayal” and Christopher Nolan’s “Memento.” “The play begins with a man and a woman checking out of a rural Midwest motel room, ready to leave their pasts behind them,” said Behrend. “Gradually the events that brought them to this point are revealed: a power struggle over an independent feature film, an unusual seduction, and an enigmatic disappearance.” Director Doug Zschiegner, who previously shepherded RLTP’s smash-hit world premiere thriller Insidious from page to stage, has assembled a cast that Behrend labels “ingenious,” including: John Fredo, Renee Landrigan, RLTP Ensemble member Kristen Tripp Kelley, and “Insidious” star Greg Howze. “A Very Fine Use Of A Grenade” will run from Jan. 24, 2014 through Feb. 16, 2014.

In Spring 2014, RLTP will unveil a novel and unique theatrical endeavor: the WNY premiere of “An Iliad” by Denis O’Hare and Lisa Peterson. This one-man show frames the timeless epic about humanity’s unshakable attraction to violence, chaos, and self-destruction, as told by Homer himself. The muscular production will revolve around a tour-de-force performance by RLTP Ensemble member Matt Witten; Behrend indicated a portable version of the show will travel to area schools, as part of RLTP’s ongoing initiative to engage young theatergoers and inspire future theater artists. “An Iliad” will run from March 7, 2014 through March 30, 2014.

The 2013-14 Season will close with another WNY premiere: the incendiary “Race” by Pulitzer Prize winner David Mamet. A wealthy executive is charged with assault; two comfortably established lawyers (one black, one white) undertake his defense, with characteristic jaded detachment: an open-and-shut case, business as usual. But the case becomes far more complex when their ambitious young assistant forces the attorneys to confront the role of color in both the crime and also in their perceptions of that crime. RLTP presents the work of master playwright Mamet in this “gripping” new drama, which Behrend says is “resplendent in Mamet’s trademark humor, rapid-fire repartee, and unique blend of profundity and profanity.” Director Doug Zschiegner will return to the stage to play the role originated by James Spader on Broadway. “Race” will run April 25, 2014 through May 18, 2014.

Behrend promised the 2013-14 season would continue to offer the high-quality supplemental programming that RLTP audiences have come to enjoy and expect over the past 10 years, including free public-development readings at RLTP’s Emanuel Fried New Play Workshop, the annual Buffalo Young Writers Night (spotlighting world-premiere short plays by WNY area students), the RAICES/Voces Latinas series of staged readings of contemporary Spanish and Latin plays, as well as “some surprises” to be announced.

“Our Anniversary season is not just a celebration of RLTP, it’s a celebration of the robust community that has embraced and supported our work,” Behrend said, “and we hope to continue serving that community in 2013-14, and beyond, by continuing to produce even more challenging, engaging, and rewarding theater.”

For more information about RLTP and to purchase a subscription please visit www.roadlesstraveledproductions.org or call 629-3069.


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