James Dean, Role-Play Games Headline NKU’s Play Festival

NKU_Yes Festival 18 logoHIGHLAND HEIGHTS, KY – Northern Kentucky University’s School of the Arts Theatre and Dance Program has selected three plays that will receive their world-premiere productions this April in the 19th Biennial Year-End Series (Y.E.S.) Festival. Fast Young Beautiful by Ethan Warren and Initiative by Jacob York were selected as the winning playwrights of over 300 script submissions. As an added bonus, The Black Boy in Pink written by NKU BFA Playwriting major, Isaiah Reaves, will receive a lightly-staged production in the studio theatre. Performances will take place April 4-14, 2019 at the NKU Fine Arts Center.


Ethan Warren.

By Ethan Warren
Directed by Nicole Perrone
Corbett Theatre

New to Hollywood, a naive young actor named Dennis is cast in the new James Dean film, and though he’s at first unimpressed with his idiosyncratic co-star, he’s soon seduced by Dean’s mysterious talent. Dean agrees to mentor Dennis, but as they co-star in two films across the spring and summer of 1955, both find themselves struggling to understand what it means to be a great actor, and a good man, before they lose their chance to be either.

Ethan Warren’s first play, Why Are You Nowhere?, received the Playwright’s Award for Staged Reading at the 2016 Midtown International Theatre Festival, as well as the Inkslinger Award from Southeastern Louisiana University, where it had its premiere production in Feb. 2017. His play Hot Dog Christmas was commissioned as part of The Boston Project, the new works initiative at SpeakEasy Stage Company, and his short works have been published in the Stage It! 10-Minute play anthology, and the journal Furious Gazelle. He is also the writer/director of the independent feature film West of Her (2018), and an editor for the film journal Bright Wall/Dark Room.


Jacob York.

By Jacob York
Directed by Mike King
Stauss Theatre

Playing a pen and paper role-playing game may not be your idea of a good time but, for Dave and his friends, it’s a lifeline. Dave has a particularly aggressive form of cancer and the only way he’ll experience all the memories he counted on having is through his friends creating them around him at the gaming table. A play about friends and the lengths you’ll go for them, Initiative examines stories and why we tell them. And what unexpected demons can lie within.

Jacob York’s writing credits include Homers (World Premiere – Georgia Ensemble Theatre, Roswell, GA), Initiative (Semi-finalist, Playfest at Orlando Shakespeare Festival), Adultery for Beginners (Semi-finalist, Humanitas New Voices Program), lead writer for Middle School The Musical and The Real Tweenagers of Atlanta (World Premiere – Alliance Theatre, Atlanta, GA), and head writer for The Know Better Effect. In addition to writing, Jacob is known as an actor on stage (Shakespeare in Love at Nashville Repertory Theatre; Women in Jeopardy! at Merrimack Repertory Theatre; Macbeth at Atlanta Shakespeare Company), on screen (Turn: Washington’s Spies on AMC; Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell on Adult Swim), and as an audiobook narrator (To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo; Certain, Dark Things by M.J. Pack).


Isaiah Reaves.

By Isaiah Reaves
Directed by Brian Robertson
The Henry Konstantinow Studio Theatre 

The Black Boy in Pink is a bold new work by a young provocative playwright set in his hometown of Cincinnati. The year is 1959. Wyatt Frost is a young black man who has been forced to make hard choices to survive. Flickering across his fuzzy RCA Victor television set comes the possibility of a different existence. As his life becomes entangled with the legacy of a picturesque local wealthy family, will Wyatt be able to choose the life he has always wanted? Will he be able to color pink his otherwise black and white existence?

Isaiah Reaves is a dramatist and actor based in Cincinnati, OH. Reaves began writing at the age of eleven. At fifteen years old, his play Wyatt’s Bed received a reading at the Tony Award-winning Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. Since then, his full-length plays have been staged at The Cincinnati Fringe Festival, where his production of The Blackface Project was named a CityBeat Critic’s Pick in 2018. His work has also been produced as part of the Know Theatre of Cincinnati’s Serials and Underground series, as well as in the One Minute Play Festival, Northern Kentucky University, and the Clifton Performance Theatre. Reaves has received training from the College-Conservatory of Music’s Summer Playwriting Workshop and is currently a junior BFA candidate at Northern Kentucky University, where he is the Ken Jones Playwriting Scholarship recipient.

Tickets will go on sale January 28, 2019 at noon. Single tickets are $15 general admission or 2-show package for $25. Student tickets are $10 or 2-show package for $15. The Black Boy in Pink will have free admission, but reservations are required due to limited seating. Please visit the YES Festival website at nku.edu/yesfestival for more information.


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