Durango Playfest Announces Play Line-Up For 2023 Festival

5th Annual Event Features New Works from William Ludel, David Myer, Alex Riad and PlayFest Alum Molly Carden

DURANGO, Colo., April 17, 2023 – Durango PlayFest today announced four new works that will headline its 5th annual play development festival, June 28 – July 2. PlayFest’s mission is to bring well-known and emerging playwrights, directors and actors to Durango to incubate new plays, hold free events for the community, and culminate the week with captivating, staged readings for local audiences.

WILLIAM LUDEL will workshop a play at PlayFest for the first time this June, a piece titled “Dr. Arthur Goldman’s Birthday Party.” Ludel has had an extensive career as a playwright, theater director and television director. For his work in television, he has received three Directors Guild of America awards and eleven Daytime Emmy Awards.

Synopsis: Arthur Goldman is preparing to celebrate his 70th birthday, and his party guests include his wife, his best friend and a visitor from his past. But Artie finds he can no longer distinguish who and what are real – and what secrets his loved ones may be keeping from him.

DAVID MYER lives in Los Angeles where he writes for stage and screen. His play, “237 Virginia Avenue,” will be in the 2023 line-up at PlayFest. His work has been developed at Center Theater Group, Berkeley Rep, South Coast Rep, The Old Vic, The Royal Court, The Skylight Theater, Chalk Rep, and Labyrinth Theater Co. He’s worked on TV shows for Fox, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon. Myer writes about impossible dreamers, meetings across cultures, and people wrestling with their place in history.

Synopsis: 400 years of history on one piece of property in Virginia unfolds through an intimate and combative relationship between father and son – a multi-generational reckoning with race, debt and the historical forces running in our veins.

ALEX RIAD, an Egyptian-American playwright from New York City, makes his debut at PlayFest with “Heartbeat.” He has been a part of The Lark’s Middle Eastern Writers Lab, a Literary Fellow at The Farm Theater, a member of The Actor’s Studio Playwright Unit, a Lila Acheson Wallace American playwriting fellow at The Juilliard School, and is currently under commission at the Atlantic Theater Company via the Judith Champion Launch Commission Program.

Synopsis: A soon to be married couple, living in a conservative state, embark on a road trip for an abortion as they struggle to keep their relationship together.

MOLLY CARDEN, an actor who participated in the 2022 festival, returns in 2023 as a playwright with her autobiographical, one-woman show, “I Came Back for Molly.” Carden’s New York theatre credits include “Emotional Creature” (Signature Theatre), “Pressing Matters” (Clurman Theatre), “Please Continue” (Ensemble Studio Theater), “How To Live On Earth” (Colt Coeur), “Cherry Smoke” (Working Theater), and “Downtown Race Riot” (NYSF/Powerhouse Theater).

Synopsis: A rollercoaster ride that moves around in time and place, between psychiatric hospitals, Starbucks, and drama school, finding levity and humor in strange and dark places. Content warning: contains themes of suicide and mental illness.

The play readings will feature nationally recognized actors and directors. A full cast list will be announced in early June, however, PlayFest has commitments from actors Richard Kind (East New York, Spin City), Ray Abruzzo (The Sopranos, The Practice), Evan Hall (Mars, Orange is the New Black), and Wendie Malick (Shrinking, Just Shoot Me).

The festival’s full schedule and ticket information will be posted at durangoplayfest.org in late April.

Felicia Lansbury Meyer