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Ojai Playwrights Conference to include new musical from Counting Crows frontman

June 28, 2011 |  2:45 pm

Durwitz This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details.

The annual Ojai Playwrights Conference brings together dramatists from around the country to develop new works for the stage. This year's gathering will feature plays in progress by Bill Cain, Danai Gurira, Sarah Treem and more. In addition, the conference will present a new musical in development titled "Black Sun" by Counting Crows singer Adam Duritz and playwright Stephen Belber.

This year's event is scheduled to kick off on Aug. 2 and will feature public presentations of the works from Aug. 9 to 14.

"Black Sun" (Aug. 11) is a musical that follows eight New Yorkers who must deal with the sudden disappearance of sunlight from their existence. This marks the first stage musical for Duritz, who has been the lead singer for Counting Crows since the band was formed in 1991. Belber is a playwright whose most famous work is the drama "Tape."

Gurira's "The Zimbabwe Project" (Aug. 12) deals with the history of the African nation from 1895 to the present day, told from a woman's perspective. The play is the final chapter in Gurira's trilogy of dramas about the troubled country that was formerly called Rhodesia under British colonial rule.

Cain's "30.3. thirty. three. a play for three actors in their 30s" (Aug 13) is about a young actor who attempts to play the daunting role of Jesus Christ. Cain has workshopped four other plays at Ojai, including "Equivocation" and "How to Write a New Book for the Bible."

"When We Were Young and Unafraid" (Aug. 14), by Treem, tells the story of a bed-and-breakfast owner who encounters a mysterious woman visitor passing through the area. Treem recently developed her play "The How and the Why" at Ojai.

Other plays to be presented at the conference include "Fallow" by Ken Lin, "Rick and Dick" by Rick Cleveland, "Tattoos on the Heart" by Greg Boyle and "Red Flamboyant" by Don Nguyen.

Two recent dramas that were developed at Ojai have gone on to receive acclaim in New York -- "The Mother... with the Hat" by Stephen Adly Guirgis and "Other Desert Cities" by Jon Robin Baitz.

[For the record: 10:18 a.m. June 29: A previous version of this post incorrectly spelled Adam Duritz's name as Adam Durwitz.]


New works by Jon Robin Baitz and others at 2010 Ojai Playwrights Conference

Stephen Adly Guirgis: At the Ojai Playwrights Conference

Theater review: 'Eclipsed' at Kirk Douglas Theatre

-- David Ng

Photo: Adam Duritz of Counting Crows. Credit: Mike Coppola / Getty Images