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Jan McArt’s 2016-17 Play Reading Series Announced at Boca Raton’s Lynn University

An unusual retelling of a King’s assassination at a masked ball. One couple’s love and marriage through the years, examined over five vignettes. Friends attending sixty-five years’ worth of high school reunions. An Eastern European village of “good people” vs. a U.S. General, following WWII. These are the plays that comprise the 2016-17 ‘Jan McArt New Play Readings’ series, to be presented at Boca Raton’s Lynn University beginning Halloween night, Monday, October 31st.

Jan McArt, Florida’s First Lady of Theater, and head of theater development at Boca Raton’s Lynn University, has been guiding her award-winning ‘Jan McArt’s New Play Readings’ series to astonishing success for the past four years. “I love it, she says, “because it’s creative and I’m making things happen.” Her mission with this play reading program? To develop new commercially entertaining plays by Florida playwrights.  Each year four new plays are rehearsed and rewritten over six days.  Then they get presented, fully staged, in the 750-seat Keith C. and Elaine Johnson Wold Performing Arts Center on the Lynn campus to an ever-growing, enthusiastic audience.

Of the past sixteen plays presented, six have gone on to full productions around Florida, and around the country, including one that’s heading to New York next spring.  They include: Dan Clancy’s ‘PROPOSITION 8,’ which landed at the Desert Rose Playhouse in Rancho Mirage, CA, under the title ‘POSTER BOYS’ in the spring of 2014; Christopher Demos-Brown’s ‘CHILD’S PLAY,’ which was presented at Miami’s Zoetic Stage to great acclaim under the title ‘STRIPPED’ in the winter of 2015; Michael McKeever’s ‘DANIEL’S HUSBAND,’ which wound up at Fort Lauderdale’s Island City Stage in the summer of 2015, winning several Carbonell Awards including ‘Best New Work.’  It will be produced at New York’s Primary Stages this spring; Stuart Meltzer’s ‘THE GOLDBERG VARIATIONS,’ which will be produced this winter at Island City Stage; Dan Clancy’s ‘MIDDLETOWN,’ which will arrive at the Boca West Theatre in December; Michael McKeever’s ‘FINDING MONA LISA,’ which will be unveiled in Coral Gables at Actors’ Playhouse next summer.

“Usually, when you do the reading of a new play, the cast and director come in and read through it in the afternoon and present it to an audience that evening,” says Tony Finstrom, associate producer of this play reading series, who will also have a show in the upcoming 2016-17 season.   “And often the cast is simply seated in a semi-circle, or perhaps they’ll step up with their scripts to music stands when it’s their character’s turn to speak.”  But this play reading series at Lynn is much more ambitious, giving playwrights the chance to bring in a new play and work with a professional cast and a director for six days – rehearsing, re-writing, rehearsing, rewriting.  Then, at the end of the six days, they present their new, polished, reworked play to the public, in performance. “These are staged readings in the true sense of the word,” Finstrom adds. “With actors up on their feet, playing on a minimal set, with lighting, some sound effects, wearing bits of costumes, etc.  Like a real performance of a new play, except the actors, of course, carry their scripts.”

Tickets to these four new staged readings are now on sale at the Four-Play Series Discounted Price of $30 (a savings of $10 when individual tickets for each play go on sale at the cost of $10 each), and may be purchased at the Lynn University box office online at, or by calling 561-237-9000.

The four new works that will be presented in this new 2016/17 Season on Mondays, at 7:30 PM, in the Wold Performing Arts Center at Lynn University, are: 

Oct. 31, 2016 – A KING!  A PLOT!  A GUN!  A SHOT!  And all that followed (quite a lot!) a new play by Tony Finstrom

Directed by Wayne Rudisill

Cast: Barbara Bradshaw, Jeffrey Bruce, Meredith Bartmon, Patti Gardner, Elizabeth Price, Angie Radosh, and Jan McArt

TIME: March, 1792.  PLACE: The Royal Palace of Stockholm, Sweden.  Chaos reigns following a masquerade ball in which a would-be assassin’s bullet may have mortally wounded Kind Gustav III.  Strindberg dramatized it.  Verdi musicalized it.  But never has this story been told in quite this way.

Jan. 23, 2017 – THE LONG REUNION a new play by Jack Gilhooey

Directed by Peter Pileski

Cast: TBA

Daisy, Billy and Jimmy attended their high school reunions for 65 years, sharing magic moments, laughter, grievances and more than a little animosity.

Feb. 13, 2017 – LOVE AND OTHER UNNATURAL ACTS a new play by Don Webster

Directed by Wayne Rudisill

Cast: TBA

We first meet Jan and Ed Hubble early in their marriage, when Ed has just had his head turned by another woman.  Five vignettes allow us to follow the couple through various stages of intimacy and conflict as they shift into a cautious respect, all while gently growing old together.

Mar. 6, 2016 – THE CAMP a new play by Michael McKeever

Directed by Margaret M. Ledford

Cast: TBA

With the war over and the camps of Eastern Europe liberated, a Pandora’s Box is opened.  Disgusted by the Nazis’ crimes against mankind, a U.S. Army general ignites a battle of wills with a village of “good people” who claim to have known nothing of the horrors in their own backyard.