Tacoma Little Theatre, AACT present world premiere play

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Tacoma Little Theatre and the American Association of Community Theatre (AACT) have partnered to present the AACT NewPlayFest winning play “Shattering” by Pat Montley. 

In “Shattering,” Jonah has just been released from juvenile commitment into the foster care of Jacqueline Dawson, whose estranged son Jonah helped to murder. She witnessed the crime and testified against the other two perpetrators. Now the gang leader who organized that crime wants to teach a lesson about what happens to “snitches.” He orders Jonah to torture and kill Jacqueline – or be killed himself. The instructions come through Jonah’s girlfriend LaBelle, whose investment in the outcome is intensified by her pregnancy. Jonah and LaBelle plot the murder, even as Jonah’s relationship with the strict but caring Dawson develops, and his imagined visits with her dead son jar his conscience. 

Tacoma Little Theatre (TLT) is located at 210 N. I St. Founded in 1918, TLT is a historic live theatre employing professional standards of excellence and has been at its present home in Tacoma’s Stadium District for over 70 years. TLT produces seven main stage productions, seven staged readings, youth productions, three four-night Murder Mystery Dinners, and other special events annually. Educational programs include three four-week summer camps, six after school programs, a home school theatre program, group dance lessons, and improv lessons. TLT also has a resident improv group and a resident burlesque group. A small professional staff and a dedicated volunteer board of directors manage the theatre. Last year, TLT became Washington’s oldest national award-wining theatre, with their production of “The Pillowman,” winning several awards at AACTFest 2019 in Gettysburg, Penn. 

Chris Serface directs TLT’s world premiere production of “Shattering.” The cast features Robin McGee as Jacqueline “DeeDee” Dawson, Donovan Mahannah as Jonah, Joshua Hector as Sonny, and Cynthia Kinyanjui as LaBelle. The production crew includes assistant director Jeremy Lynch, stage manager Nena Curley, with set design by Blake R. York, light design by Niclas Olson, sound design by Dylan Twiner, properties by Frank Roberts, and costumes by Michele Graves. 

AACT NewPlayFest addresses the critical need for new, high-quality plays for community theatre audiences around the globe. This AACT playwriting competition is unique with the guarantee that an established theatre will produce each play as a world premiere, and that Dramatic Publishing Company will publish the script in an anthology of winning plays. Dramatic Publishing, one of the major licensers of plays and musicals in the United States and beyond, includes the winning plays in their catalog and licenses the performance rights. 

Playwright Pat Montley lives in Baltimore and has had 20 plays published. Her works have enjoyed readings at the Kennedy Center, Baltimore Center Stage, Rep Stage (Maryland), and the Abingdon Theatre (New York City), and productions at the Nebraska Repertory Theatre, the Manhattan Theatre Source, the Harold Clurman Theatre, the Nat Horne Theatre, Baltimore’s Theatre Project, and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She was one of 50 playwrights nationally commissioned by Center Stage to write a monologue for its “My America” project. Her work has been supported by a Kennedy Center Playwrights’ Intensive, by residencies at the Millay Artists’ Colony (New York) and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program (Calif.), and by grants from the Deutsch Foundation, the Maryland and Pennsylvania Arts Councils, the Shubert Foundation, the Mary Roberts Rinehart Foundation, and Warner Brothers. Montley has a Ph.D. in Theatre and has taught playwriting at UMBC, Goucher, Johns Hopkins, and Chatham University in Pittsburgh, where she chaired the theatre department. 

The AACT NewPlayFest world premiere production of “Shattering” by Pat Montley at TLT is made possible in part by a grant from the Jack K. Ayre and Frank Ayre Lee Theatre Foundation, created by the children of Frank Ayre Lee as a tribute to their father, and a legacy for the creative endeavors of his cousin Jack, who participated in theatre productions at Drew University in New Jersey and at a community theatre in Connecticut in his younger years. Lee was also an avid aficionado of theatre and had dabbled in playwriting. The family is pleased to honor both men through a lasting legacy promoting new works for theatre through AACT NewPlayFest. 

AACT’s mission is to help theatres thrive by providing networking, resources, and support for America’s theatres. It represents the interests of thousands of theatres across the United States and its territories, as well as theatre companies with the U.S. Military Services overseas.

The world premiere will open Jan. 24 and run through Feb. 9, 2020. Tickets are $25 (adults), $23 (seniors 60+/students/military), and $20 (children 12 and under). Tickets may be purchased online at www.tacomalittletheatre.com, or by calling the box office at (253) 272-2281. Group rates are available for 10 or more, and special FLEX passes for 6 are only $135. 

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