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Young SoCal playwrights have prizes, will travel, after Kennedy Center wins

April 20, 2010 |  8:38 pm

Two young Southern California playwrights got a boost from last week's 42nd annual Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in Washington, D.C., picking up prizes that will afford them the chance to work at two of America's leading play-incubation programs.

Briandaniel Oglesby, who graduated last year from UC Riverside, is headed this summer to the National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, Conn., where he'll have a two-week, expenses-paid fellowship. He won for a short play, "Nebraska by Noon," about a mother desperately trying to get her disturbed adopted son to Nebraska in 2008 before the imminent expiration of its safe haven law, which allowed children abandoned there to become wards of the state.

At the O'Neill Center, Oglesby can work on whatever he likes, soak up the goings-on and hobnob with his fellow resident writers, Pulitzer Prize-winner Alfred Uhry ("Driving Miss Daisy") and Chris D'Arienzo, librettist of "Rock of Ages," the lighthearted jukebox musical set at the height of L.A.'s "hair band" scene of the 1980s.

Patricia Loughrey, a first-year master's degree candidate at Cal State Long Beach, will head to Minneapolis to continue honing her winning play, "Dear Harvey," at the Playwrights Center. She'll get a three-day workshop there, followed by further mentoring for a year.

"Dear Harvey" portrays the slain San Francisco supervisor and gay rights hero Harvey Milk, as seen through his own words, and through the eyes of people who were close to him. Loughrey conducted more than 30 interviews to compile material for the show, which had its premiere last year at San Diego's Diversionary Theatre and was subsequently produced by San Diego State University's theater department.

Loughrey is offering her script royalty-free for a week next month for readings and productions coinciding with what would have been Milk's 80th birthday.

-- Mike Boehm

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