2022 Summer Play Reading Festival

Be among the first to see three exciting new plays in progress at the 2022 Summer Play Reading Festival!

New Play Development is the lifeblood of Florida Studio Theatre. Reading series, like the Summer Play Reading Festival, provide select works in progress with a platform, a live audience, artistic support, and valuable feedback in order to nurture the development of new plays for the stage. To date, FST has produced over 30 world premieres, many of which have been supported and nurtured through FST’s New Play Development program. Now, we invite you to be among the first to see some of the most recent works from around the country, brought to life through script-in-hand readings performed by professional actors. This summer's lineup includes the comedy The Suffragette's Murder by Sandy Rustin, the riveting and timely drama Baton by Deneen Reynolds-Knott, and the historical play inspired by real events Master of Revels by Jeffrey Couchman.

2022 Summer Play Reading Festival

by Sandy Rustin

WHEN Friday, July 8 @ 3PM
COST $10 | BUY 

When Loralee Hart, an orphaned suffragette, turns up murdered after a gang riot on the Bowery one morning in the summer of 1857, the residents of The Mayhew Boardinghouse are all under suspicion. An eccentric group of unlikely women’s rights activists living at New York City’s only vegetarian boarding house must face a morning of interrogation from an unknown officer while gang leader, Chucky the Moose, looms large on the streets of Manhattan. Part comedy, part protest, The Suffragette’s Murder is a riot you won’t want to miss.

by Deneen Reynolds-Knott

WHEN Friday, July 15 @ 3PM
COST $10 | BUY 

Ava and Tim’s date at a sports bar in Hell’s Kitchen was going well. From talking shop to a playful debate over whether or not men should always pay the check, they really seemed to be hitting it off. That is until the TV screens suddenly all lit up with breaking news: images of unrest in Baltimore, Maryland. It was the night of Freddie Gray’s funeral. Flashbacks run rampant through Ava’s mind, and she finds herself suddenly so far away from Tim – from the sports bar – from the date. When the young Black couple’s differing feelings about the case come spilling out, the past and the present collide, unleashing an evening of accusations, confessions, and questions.

by Jeffrey Couchman
WHEN Friday, July 22 @ 3PM
COST $10 | BUY 

This new play is based on the true story of William Henry Ireland, a 17-year-old boy who forged notes, letters, and even whole plays in the name of Shakespeare. Will is an aspiring young author who dreams of finding success through his storytelling. His father is not supportive of his son’s aspirations. Vying for his father’s approval, he concocts a plan to give his father exactly what it is he is searching for—the works of Shakespeare. Master of The Revels is a gripping story about truth, lies, and the tales we create to protect ourselves.

Sandy RustinSandy Rustin (Author of The Suffragette's Murder) is an actress and award-winning playwright who has been named as part of Broadway Women’s Fund’s inaugural “50 Women to Watch” list. Her comedy The Cottage is in development for a Broadway production directed by Jason Alexander. Sandy created and wrote the Book & Lyrics for Mattel’s American Girl Live. Sandy (and collaborator, Sarah Saltzberg), gave a “thorough feminist scouring” (NY Times) to Rogers & Hart’s I Married an Angel, which they adapted for NYC’s City Center’s Encores! Her sketch comedy musical, Rated P … For Parenthood, opened Off-Broadway at the Westside Theatre. Sandy’s play, Struck, enjoyed critically acclaimed productions at NJ REP and Theatre Raleigh. Her play, Houston, was the recipient of the New American Musical Award, and Sandy’s comedy, Elijah, recently won "Best Play" in the Midwestern Jewish Plays Project. Sandy is the Founding Co-Artistic Director of Midtown Direct Rep and an advocate for the Meredith Cowden Foundation. She is a Northwestern University graduate and a member of ASCAP, SAG, AEA, and the Dramatists Guild, and is represented by Abrams Artists. www.sandyrustin.com

Deneen Reynolds-KnottDeneen Reynolds-Knott (Author of Batonis a member of Clubbed Thumb’s 2019-2020 Early-Career Writers’ Group and received a finalist grant from their 2018 Open-Application Commission. She is a New Georges affiliated artist and has developed work with Liberation Theatre Company’s Writing Residency, Project Y’s Playwrights Group, Rising Circle’s INKtank Development Lab and Frank Silvera Workshop’s 3in3 Playwright Residency. Her full-length play, Baton, was selected for the 2018 Premiere Play Festival and received a workshop reading at Premiere Stages, the 2017 Playfest at the Orlando Shakespeare Company, and was a finalist for the 2017 PlayPenn and Bay Area Playwrights conferences. Deneen’s play, Antepartumwas presented at the 2020 Fire This Time Festival as part of their signature ten-minute play program. She received her MFA in film from Columbia University.

Jeffrey CouchmanJeffrey Couchman (Author of Master of the Revelsis co-author (with Scott Alan Evans) of the play Three Wise Guys, based on Christmas stories by Damon Runyon, which premiered Off-Broadway at the Beckett Theatre. He has written the book and lyrics for two musicals: Battleship Potemkin, based on Eisenstein’s classic film, and Blood and Fire, about the beginnings of the Salvation Army in Victorian London. He has written screenplays for Imagine Films, Warner Bros. TV, and other studios. His fiction has appeared in many literary journals. He is author of the book The Night of the Hunter: A Biography of a Film (selected by the Financial Times of London as a Best Book of the Year) and editor of an annotated edition of two film scripts by James Agee, The Night of the Hunter and The African Queen: First and Final Screenplays (University of Tennessee Press). Couchman teaches screenwriting at the College of Staten Island.