The fifth annual CityWrights professional weekend for playwrights, part of City Theatre’s 20th Summer Shorts festival, gets underway Thursday with a 6:30 p.m. launch party at Miami’s EPIC Hotel. With the theme “Building a Bridge Across the Gender Divide,” the conference will have a focus on gender parity and the voices being heard on stages around the country.
Pulitzer Prize winner Marsha Norman will give the keynote speech during a Friday luncheon. She’ll participate in a question-and-answer session Saturday and lead a workshop on writing for musical theater (she’s the author of the book for the upcoming musical King Kong). Among other playwrights participating are Daria Polatin, Cusi Cram, Deborah Zoe Laufer, Donna Hoke, Elaine Romero, France-Luce Benson, Gwydion Sulebhan, Kelly Younger, Lauren Feldman, Lauren Yee, Leslie Ayvazian Anderson, Neena Beber, R. Eric Thomas, Steve Yockey, Susan Bernfield, Susan Miller and Suzanne Miller. A free public reading of new works (including pieces by Norman, Cram, Ayvazian and Laufer) will be held at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Olympia Theater at Gusman, 174 E. Flagler St., Miami; visit www.olympiatheater.org to RSVP.
Space is still available at the conference, priced at $299 for an all-access pass and $189 for a student pass. Call 305-755-9401 or visit www.citytheatre.com for complete information.
Nicholas Richberg, the Carbonell Award-winning actor most recently seen in Zoetic Stage’s Betrayal at Miami’s Arsht Center, has been named the company’s managing director. Richberg replaces company founder Kerry Shiller, who recently moved to Denver with her husband, former Arsht executive vice president Scott Shiller, when he was named president and CEO of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.
Richberg, who has been Zoetic’s public relations director, has appeared in six of the company’s productions and played Black Stache in the Arsht Center-University of Miami production of Peter and the Starcatcher, the role that won him a best actor Carbonell. Next season, he’ll be one of the stars of the Stephen Sondheim musical Passion at Zoetic, and in his new post he’ll work alongside artistic director Stuart Meltzer. For more information on the company, visit www.zoeticstage.com.
Mark Della Ventura, a New World School of the Arts grad, wrote a beguiling solo show titled Small Membership as his senior college project. He has performed the piece — a funny, warm, vulnerable play about a shy guy obsessed with his perceived shortcomings — several times in South Florida, and it has been accepted as one of the many shows in the 2015 edition of the New York International Fringe Festival. Performing it will be the easy part. Raising the dough to get there is the challenge.
To that end, Della Ventura has started a GoFundMe campaign, aiming for $8,500 to cover all the involved pay-to-play expenses involved in getting his show New York exposure. The festival will run Aug. 14-30, with performance times, dates and venues still to be set. Tickets will be $18. For more information on the festival, visit www.fringenyc.org.