Preview Centre Stage’s 14th Annual “New Play Festival”

September 25-29, 2015

Sunday – Thursday, all shows at 7pm

Free and open to the public

Join us for the 14th annual New Play Festival. With 150 submissions, the top three finalists were chosen for you to experience staged readings of new works during our festival week. Come and join us to hear some of the newest voices in the American Theatre. Our Playwright-in-Residence this year is Richard Atkins, author of our upcoming Main Stage play this season, DelikateSSen (May 11-21, 2017).

This season’s New Play Festival includes the following plays:

  • Sun 25th: Staged production of last year’s Festival winner, The Volunteer by C. Kay Landis
  • Mon 26thThe Old, Sad Songs by Stephan Cedars
  • Tues 27th: The Laws of the Stars by Jenny Marlowe
  • Wed 28th: Four Old Broads by Leslie Kimbell
  • Thurs 29th: The Men of Mah Jongg written by Playwright-in-Residence, Richard Atkins

Talkback sessions, with the playwright-in-residence, festival playwrights, actors and audience members, will take place immediately following the readings, making the festival a rare opportunity for playgoers to participate in the creative process of playwriting. The audience also vote to help decide the winning play of the festival, which will have an opportunity to appear in next Season’s Fringe Series.

The winning playwright also receives a check for $500 to put toward the development of their new work.

The theatre is located at 501 River Street inside the Morgan Stanley Wealth Management building just one block off Main Street in downtown Greenville.

Learn more at:  www.centrestage.org

Plays Presented with Synopses

Sunday, September 25, 7pm

The Volunteer

by C. Kay Landis

directed by Kevin Treu

Winner of the 2015-2016 New Play Festival

“It’s a prison of the minds.”


It is the Volunteer’s first day at the Women’s Prison, and being locked in a room with the Inmate isn’t making her any less nervous. A driven, over-achieving graduate student in psychology, the Volunteer has good reason to be in the prison doing research. The catch is this: her real reason for being there isn’t the reason she’s told others. Likewise the Inmate has an agenda of her own, and it’s an elaborate one at that. When the lights flicker and the sirens wail, the Volunteer and the Inmate are caught in a lockdown that ratchets up the Volunteer’s determination to get what she came to this meeting for. The Volunteer is a play about two liars in a battle to outwit the other. Each has a piece of the truth; each has what the other one wants; and each refuses to share it. As hidden agendas are slowly revealed, the desperate battle of the minds culminates in a startling conclusion. In the end, the truth will come out. But when it does, will it set them free?

Monday, September 26th, 7pm

The Old, Sad Songs

by Stephan Cedars

directed by Jessica Eckenrod


When a washed up country singer Don Cygall drives across country to kidnap a college student, Val, she fears she’s been caught in a spiral of vicious torture. But their relationship runs deeper–his career was never above middling even at its peak, so when she discovered his albums in some old boxes and wrote him to share how powerfully they assuaged her adolescent loneliness, he gladly shared his own sadness back with her. Val goes on to college and stops writing. Don has now grown desperate enough to kidnap Val and bring her into a dank basement with questionable intentions. Over a long evening, the threat of violence morphs into a profound exploration of loneliness, camaraderie, disappointment and the power of music. She soon discovers the truth is her only path to freedom…


Tuesday, September 27th, 7pm

The Laws of the Stars

by Jenny Marlowe

directed by Blake Logan


A brilliant young cosmologist – half-Navajo by birth, and very much in search of her own identity – travels to the South Pole to assist a team of astrophysicists on a project with the potential to tell us how the universe began. Her bold ideas might be the key to answering some of mankind’s most enduring questions – but getting her colleagues to go along with her unconventional methods presents a challenge. Along the way, she is forced to wrestle with her place and purpose in the world – while stranded at the very bottom of it.


Wednesday, September 28th, 7pm

Four Old Broads

by Leslie Kimbell

directed by Ruth Wood


Retired Burlesque queen Beatrice Shelton desperately needs a vacation – and NOT another trip up to Helen, Georgia to see that “precious little German village for the umpteenth time.”  A Sassy Seniors Cruise through the Caribbean may be just the ticket if she can just convince her best friend Eaddy Mae Clayton to stop praying and go with her. Unfortunately, things have not been very pleasant at Magnolia Place Assisted Living since Nurse Pat Jones began working there. Newest resident Imogene Fletcher is suddenly losing her memory. Maude Jenkins is obsessed with her favorite soap opera and planning her own funeral. Sam Smith, retired Elvis impersonator, keeps trying to bed every woman in the building. A mystery unfolds with laughter as the gals try to outsmart evil nurse Pat Jones and figure out why so many residents have been moved to “the dark side”, what exactly IS that mysterious pill and what happened to Doctor Head? Hilarity ensues as Imogene goes undercover and Maude enters the Miss Magnolia Senior Citizen pageant to throw Pat off their trail. If they can solve the mystery, they may make it to the cruise ship after all.




Thursday, September 29th, 7pm

The Men of Mah Jongg

by Richard Atkins

directed by Reed Halvorsen


Sidney Weinberg is a seventy something, Jewish widower living alone in his Upper West Side, New York City apartment.  When he receives a DVD in the mail addressed to his deceased wife entitled “How To Be A Champion At Mah Jongg,” he feels it’s a sign from his dearly departed to keep her memory alive.  Consequently, he goes about trying to convince his three best, die-hard poker playing buddies to switch to the game of Mah Jongg, a game primarily played by women. However, his macho friends will have absolutely no part in it until his keen powers of persuasion entice them to give it a try.  The ensuing results may surprise, enlighten and even shock you!



Richard Atkins hails from Baltimore, and though he currently resides in New Mexico, is very loyal to his Orioles and Ravens. He studied theatre and performance piano at the University of Maryland and knew at an early age he had to be a triple threat to further himself in the world of show business. Being an actor and pianist wasn’t enough. So he began composing music and honing his playwriting skills. In addition, he found that play-writing could further his acting career, as he had a better chance of performing in his own work. When acting didn’t pay the bills, he went to work as a pianist in New York City and played for such notables as the Guy Lombardo Orchestra, Howard Stern, the New York Yankees, the NBC Broadcasters Foundation and had longstanding cocktail gigs at the Ambassador Grill at the UN Plaza Hotel and the Hotel Intercontinental. Atkins has writ-ten 20 plays and 6 musicals and continues to be produced and prolific. Working with Tony-winning author Mark Medoff on two projects. One of the co-written plays, “DeliKateSSen”, is coming to Centre Stage in May of 2017 opened a lot of doors for him as well. At the age of 59, Atkins still anxiously looks to the future for many great projects already in the pipeline, which he is excited to have realized on stage and film. Richard thanks the great and supportive staff at Centre Stage for inviting him to be playwright in residence for this years’ New Play Festival. He would also like to thank his wife for decades of support and inspiration. Ironically, Richard’s daughter Rebecca, who has been a broadcast journalist at Fox Carolina in Greenville for the past two years, will be leaving for New Mexico to start a new job in Albuquerque the same week Atkins is arriving in Greenville to work on the New Play Festival. Richard gives a shout out to his two canine companions, Kayleigh and Scout who loyally sit by his feet 24/7 as he writes plays at his computer!!


Gayle Brown- Gayle recently completed twenty-seven years as a vice president of Dramatic Publishing Company where her primary focus was acquiring new plays and musicals and nurturing the development of young playwrights. She previously served for seven years as Assistant to the President of the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. Among her responsibilities, she helped facilitate international theatre exchanges. A particular highlight was her six weeks in China serving on the production team for The Fantasticks, which was translated into Chinese and performed in Beijing and Shanghi. Her ongoing love of musical theatre has brought her on stage as Lola in Damn Yankees, Annie in Annie Get Your Gun, and Petra in A Little Night Music, as well as roles in, among others, Godspell, Company and Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill. Gayle recently relocated from southern Connecticut to the Greenville area and was quickly impressed with Centre Stage’s fine theatrical work. She is very pleased to have been asked to serve as host for this year’s New Play Festival.




Stephan Cedars is a writer, director and teacher originally from south Louisiana.  His work has been produced or developed through Theatre Masters, the NY Fringe Festival, Incubator Arts Project, the Brick Theatre, the Downtown Urban Theatre Festival, chashama, Theatre for the New City, Stella Adler Studios, NYU, the Reproductive Festival, Grain of Sand Theatre, Over Our Head Players, the Renaissance Guild, Valley Rep, the Working Theatre Collective, Fractal Productions and other theatres throughout the United States.  For several years, he created and produced community programming in south Brooklyn designed for specific neighborhoods, funded through the Brooklyn Arts Council.  His plays have been published by Original Works and IndieTheatreNow.  Amongst his awards are the Theater Masters Visionary Playwright Award and Commission, a Fellowship with the Target Margin Institute for Collaborative Theater Making, a Residency with America-in-Play, and the John Golden Playwriting Prize.  He has taught myriad subjects in the liberal arts to kids grade 2 through 12, and is a creative writing instructor with Writopia Labs and Kimball Studio, where he helps working actors develop their own writing.  He earned his MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU, which he attended as a Rita and Burton Goldberg Fellow.

Leslie Kimbell was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee and now resides in the tiny town of Winder, Georgia. She can usually be found digging through the local thrift shops and picking up discarded items from off of the side of the road to paint and use in whatever play she is currently working on.

Leslie gained the majority of her life experience and sense of humor from twenty two years traveling the world as a Burlesque Headliner and Showgirl. Leslie retired from the Burlesque circuit in 2006 to pursue her dream of being a wife, mommy, actor and writer. Leslie is the proud mother to two “drop dead gorgeous” boys Cameron and Logan and wife to the “long suffering” Scott. Leslie is also a theatre and film actor. In 2015, Leslie appeared in Season 3 of Swamp Murders on Investigation Discovery and had supporting roles in the movies BURIED CAIN and The Midnight Man which will both be released on DVD this year. She also had a supporting role in NOWHERE U.S.A. – a Pilot for Netflix. Recent theatrical roles include Florence in The Odd Couple (Female Version) and Mrs. Braddock in The Graduate. FOUR OLD BROADS is inspired by the memories of her Nannie De Vries and Aunt Sissie who were always sassy old broads. This is Leslie’s first play and she has been thrilled and honored to be mentored by the amazing Del Shores.


Jenny Marlowe is an actor and playwright based in Los Angeles. Most recently, her work has been seen at Native Voices at the Autry, Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga, and the Hollywood Fringe Festival. Her solo show, Words, Words, Words! was an Official Selection of the Scratch Interact Festival at London’s Southwark Playhouse, and she is a four-time winner of the Philadelphia Young Playwrights’ Festival. A graduate of Princeton University (go Tigers!) and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Jenny has also appeared on stages on both sides of the Atlantic – including (in the US) Kansas City Rep, Cornerstone Theater Company, A Noise Within, the Autry, and the La Jolla Playhouse; and (in the UK) Upstairs at the Gatehouse, the Scoop @ More London, the Treehouse Gallery at Regents Park, and the Oubliette Arthouse Leicester Square. Her on-screen work includes Modern Family on ABC and a popular series of BuzzFeed videos dealing with contemporary Native American issues. She is a member of Native Voices at the Autry’s resident ensemble and the all-Native comedy troupe the Mayflower Welcoming Committee; and a proud member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA, and British Equity.


  1. Kay “Andy” Landis, MFA, plays include The Volunteer, A Special Day, “Praying for a Hurricane,” “Camden on Ice,” “Hating Hope,” and “Whatever.” Her full-length The Volunteer was a semi-finalist for 2015 Ashland New Plays Festival and 2015 Playwrights’ Center Core Apprenticeship. Her short and 10-minute plays have been produced or staged by Warner Theater Festival, Ramapo College Theater Festival, ATHE, The Edward Albee Great Plains Theatre Conference, and Metropolitan Theatre Festival. Her short play, “Whatever” was a 2014 Kennedy Center ACTF finalist. Twice selected for the Cape May International Theater Festival, Landis was a 2005 guest artist for the Kennedy Center playwriting intensive. Memberships include; The Dramatists Guild, SAG/AFTRA, the 9thFloor Playwrights NYC. Before returning to her first love of playwriting, Landis was a professional singer/songwriter with Warner Chapel Music and an actor in Los Angeles appearing on television, film, and stage. Landis divides her time between New York and Nashville, Tennessee.




The art of Irv Welling will be on display through October 10, Tues. – Fri. 2-6 p.m. The exhibit is presented in cooperation with the Metropolitan Arts Council. This partnership is sponsored by South State Bank. Admission is free.

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