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Planet Connections Theatre Festivity will present an evening of world premiere plays by Erik Ehn, Halley Feiffer, and Israel Horovitz addressing censorship in the arts as part of Playwrights for a Cause, to be held at 7:30pm (doors open at 7pm) on June 14, 2015 at Theatre 79 (79 E 4th St, New York, NY).

Speakers include this seasons Planet Connections Playwrights:
Cecilia Copeland – speaking on the history of censorship of women in the arts
Kaela Mei-Shing Garvin – speaking on the censorship of environmentalist
Michael Hagins – speaking on the history of censorship of minorities in the arts
Mark Jason Williams – speaking on the history of censorship of LGBT artists.

PFAC-Poster-NoActors-300x464pxAll proceeds from ticket sales for Playwrights for a Cause will benefit the National Coalition Against Censorship, a non-profit arts advocacy organization.  The performances will be followed by a talkback with NCAC and all four playwrights on issues surrounding censorship in the arts. The event concludes with an Opening Night Party which will also celebrate the 2015 Planet Connections Theatre Festivity, which begins June 15. Speeches will be made by a handful of the 2015 artists regarding their work as artists and the importance of art as a tool for social justice. The world premiere plays being presented will be directed by  Glory Kadigan and GT Upchurch. The plays will be performed by David DeblingerLucy DeVito, Raissa DorffLori KeeAbraham MakanyKelly McAndrewStacey Karen RobinsonImran Sheikh, Donna Vivino and John William Watkins.

The event will be emceed by Planet Connections Literary Manager David Stallings and Planet Connections Music Festival Producing Curator Candice Fortin.

The world premiere plays include:
Three Speech by Erik Ehn Directed by Glory Kadigan A woman dreams her way through a free-speech scenario, cascading through levels of rage and recollection. What is the relationship between free and the uniquely, preciously valued?

A Play About New Mexico by Halley Feiffer Directed by GT Upchurch A young female playwright meets with the Artistic Director of a prominent theater company. The Artistic Director has commissioned a script from her.  Or so she thinks.

Breaking Philip Glass by Israel Horovitz  Directed by Glory Kadigan Paul confronts an art gallery’s manager about recently-discovered erotic photos to be featured in the gallery’s upcoming exhibition. Paul’s mother is the main female model in the photos, shot 50 years earlier. The gallery does not have permission from Paul’s family to present the photos – but that’s not going to stop the gallery from exhibiting and promoting previously-unseen work by a world renowned photographer.

Regarding Mr. LaBute’s play: ​​In light of The Sheen Center’s cancellation of Playwrights for a Cause benefiting the National Coalition Against Censorship and the resulting recent media reports, playwright Neil LaBute has decided to pull his one-act play from the event. “Unfortunately the event was starting to become all about my play and its title and not about the fine work that Erik Ehn, Halley Feiffer and Israel Horovitz were also presenting that evening, along with the accompanying speeches and the cause of the evening itself,” said Neil LaBute. “I had hoped my work would be viewed on its own merits rather than overshadow our message or become a beacon of controversy. I am honestly not interested in stirring hatred or merely being offensive; I wanted my play to provoke real thought and debate and I now feel like that opportunity has been lost and, therefore, it is best that I withdraw the play from Playwrights For A Cause.” – Neil LaBute

Understudies include Planet Connections nominees and award winners: Dominique Fishback, Bob JaffeEric Percival, Oliver Trager and Kelly Zekas
Lead Producer: Glory Kadigan​ ​Assistant Producer: Dee Dee Katchen Planet Connections Festivity Artistic Director: Brock Hill Production Manager/Production Stage Manager: Jenna Lazar
Assistant to the Lead Producer: Tyler Winthrop Assistant Director/Rehearsal SM’s: Rachel Jacquin and  Susan Tenney
Scenic Designer: Bradley Wehrle
Lighting Designer: Christopher Weston
Costume Designer: Cheryl McCarron
Sound Designer: Jacob Subotnick
Media/Video Designer: Aaron Gonzalez
Casting Director: Robin Carus
PR: Cynthia and Judd Hollander
Poster Designer: Shin Jiwon
Front of House Manager/Box Office Director: Laura Mae Baker
Assistant Front of House Manager/Box Office Assistant Director: Jazmyn Arroyo
Assistant Production Manager:  Lauren Arneson
Website Manager: Maureen Leary

The National Coalition Against Censorship’s mission is to promote freedom of thought, inquiry and expression and oppose censorship in all its forms. The Coalition formed in response to the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Miller v. California, which narrowed First Amendment protections for sexual expression and opened the door to obscenity prosecutions. Over 40 years, as an alliance of more than 50 national non-profits, including literary, artistic, religious, educational, professional, labor, and civil liberties groups, The Coalition has engaged in direct advocacy and education to support First Amendment principles. The Coalition is unique in that they are national in scope, but often local in approach, and works with community members to resolve censorship controversies without the need for litigation.

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