Durango PlayFest Announces 2019 Featured Actors!



– Headliners include Dan Lauria, Wendie Malick, Emily Swallow and Brett Dalton – 

DURANGO, Colo., July 9, 2019 – Durango PlayFest today announced a cast of 11 New York- and Los Angeles-based actors who will headline four plays being developed at its new works festival. The August 5-10 event brings nationally recognized actors, playwrights and directors to Durango to incubate new plays, hold workshops for the community, and culminate the week with staged readings. The event schedule and tickets are available at www.durangoplayfest.org.

“Even though Durango PlayFest is only in its second year, the word is out… it’s an amazing place for actors to work with top-tier playwrights and directors and immerse themselves in the workshop process,” said actor Dan Lauria. “PlayFest’s cast includes familiar faces from the screen and stage, and will give audiences the opportunity to see world-class talent in an intimate, interactive environment.”

The Ways of Necessity will feature Lauria (“The Wonder Years,” “Lombardi”) as a successful father who finds out he has terminal cancer. His family and friends will be played by Wendie Malick (“Just Shoot Me,” “Dream On”), Jon Tenney (“The Closer,” “Tombstone”), Carla Gallo (“Superbad,” “Undeclared”), Andrew Leeds (“Veep,” “Bones”) and Austin Cauldwell (“Switched at Birth,” “Invisible”). Written by Stephen Nathan, the play will be directed by Tenney.  

Emily Swallow (“Supernatural,” “The Mentalist”) and Matthew Sullivan (“JAG,” “Line of Fire”) will star in Two Hander, which takes a 20-year look at the seesawing relationship between a professor/playwright and his star pupil. Two Hander was written by Lois Walden and Barry Kleinbort, and will be directed by Sheryl Kaller.

In a new adaptation of Willa Cather’s classic novel My Ántonia, Brett Dalton (“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”) will play Jim and Tatiana Wechsler (“Oklahoma!,” “X: Or Betty Shabazz v. The Nation”) headlines as Ántonia. Songwriter Paul Lieber will be providing music for the piece. Meg Miroshnik wrote the play and Devin Brain will direct.

A Shift in Gravity, written by Kathleen McGhee-Anderson and directed by Jennifer Nelson, examines a clash of wills between two middle-aged female writers when a young, male journalist insinuates himself into their lives. Actors include Kim Brockington (“Guiding Light” and “Asunder”).

Malick and Lauria will also appear in Durango PlayFest’s Exclusive Preview cold read of Pulitzer-prize-nominated playwright Lee Blessing’s new work, Ceely. Malick will be playing the title role of Ceely, a clairvoyant member of a mafia family, while Lauria will be reading the part of her watchful brother.

In addition to featuring nationally recognized talent, the four plays and the preview reading will also include actors from the area and students/alumni from Fort Lewis College. “We’ve designed the week so that our Four Corners community members can experience the creative process firsthand,” said Felicia Lansbury Meyer, festival director of Durango PlayFest. “That can range from acting on stage, helping behind the scenes, taking part in one of our panels or talkback sessions, or mingling at parties with the artists. We’ve got something for everyone, and can’t wait to bring these plays to life.”