The 33rd Annual William Inge Theatre Festival, the Official Theatre Festival of the State of Kansas, celebrates comedy, drama and music in four whirlwind days starting Wednesday evening, at Independence Community College in Independence, Kansas.
Arthur Lee Kopit joins the list of outstanding dramatist as this year’s Playwright Honoree. Kopit, a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and a three-time Tony Award nominee, will be present to accept the William Inge Theatre Festival Distinguished Achievement in the American Theatre Award.
Tickets for all events are available at www.ingecenter.org/tickets or by calling (620) 332-5491, between 1pm and 5pm, Monday through Friday.
As always, the Inge Festival is filled with theatre luminaries, professional artists and scholars from across the country.
The Inge Festival kick-off is a concert reading of one of Arthur Kopit’s newest plays, “BecauseHeCan”, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 26, at the William Inge Theater at Independence Community College. Featured actors in this “techno thriller” are Barry Bostwick, George West Carruth, John Gleeson Connolly, Nathan Darrow, and Elyse Knight and is directed by Jane Unger.
On Thursday, March 27, get your tickets for “The Great Barrier” a new play by Otis Guernsey New Voices Award winner Mat Smart. The reading of his new work, that takes place Thursday, at 7:30 p.m. at the Independence High School auditorium. Cast members are Hawthorne James, Chuma Gault, and Kate LoConti, directed by Ron Oj Osborn.
The Inge Festival turns to the Independence Civic Center Friday, March 28th, as professional guest artists entertain with music at the Gala dinner. The event serves as a fund-raiser for the continued restoration of the William Inge Family Home, which is a year-round artist retreat.
The Inge Festival concludes Saturday, March 29, at 7:30 p.m., with “Arthur Kopit: What is the Meaning of This?” This multi-media extravaganza features live performances, video, and guest performers in Arthur Kopit’s achievements. Mike Wood is creator/writer/director, with live scenes and staging by director, Karen Carpenter.
There will be plenty more going on during the daylight hours, too. Thursday through Saturday, Inge Festival patrons have the rare opportunity to learn from working professionals during public workshops and panels. The guest artists address the full range of performing arts.
Also during the daytime hours are “Scenes at the Inge House.” Excerpts of scenes from plays by William Inge and Arthur Kopit take place in the living room of the William Inge boyhood home in Independence. Patrons may also ride on a “Tour of Inge’s Independence,” viewing the sites of William Inge’s boyhood—still intact in historic Independence.
The second annual William Inge High School Acting Competition attracts talented students from across the state as they perform selected scenes by Inge, and takes place Saturday.
Individual tickets for evening events range from $12-$35. The Tour of Inge’s Independence and Scenes at the Inge House are $5 admission.
Tickets can be purchased online at www.ingecenter.org, or in person at the Inge Center office at the Fine Arts Building, Room 123, at Independence Community College, 1057 W. College Ave., 1-5 p.m. weekdays.
Major funders of the Inge Center are the National Endowment for the Arts, the William Inge Festival Foundation, the Independence Chamber of Commerce, and Independence Community College; the Inge Center’s host and chief sponsor.
Independence, Kansas, is located 90 miles north of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and 140 miles south of Kansas City, Missouri.