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Page-to-Stage new play festival for all tastes

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Entertainment,Music,Emily Cary

For the past 11 years, the Kennedy Center has hosted a weekend of creative works in progress by more than 40 theaters to whet the dramatic and musical appetites of all ages. This season's Page-To-Stage schedule, running from Saturday through Monday, offers readings and rehearsals that audiences are invited to attend.

The imaginative plays range in subject from how to catch a leprechaun to a Little Red Riding Hood who grows fangs in the forest. There are quirky tales by Edgar Allan Poe, the mystery of Amelia Earhart, the story of two Hampton Institute students destined to become great American artists who were tutored by an Austrian Jewish refugee painter and a Ken Ludwig adaptation of Sherlock Holmes's "Hound of the Baskervilles."

Seven members of the DC Area Playwrights Group perform their own 10-minute plays at a Monday evening showcase, while the Safe Streets Arts Foundation presents Six Prisoner-Written Short Plays.

Musical comedy is always a favorite form of expression and entertainment. Adult music lovers will gravitate to the Playwright Zone's "Everything I Do" adapted from George Bernard Shaw's "Man and Superman." "Ladies Swing the Blues" offered by MetroStages, defines bebop, blues and jazz and the prevailing folklore about key artists in the New York of 1955. The Kennedy Center Theater for Young Audiences has commissioned "Orphie and the Book of Heroes" for ages 7 and up and their families. The book and lyrics by are by Christopher Dimond and the music by Michael Kooman.

Onstage
Page-to-Stage New Play Festival
Where: Throughout the Kennedy Center, 2700 F Street NW
When: Saturday, Noon to 10 p.m., Sunday 6 to 7 p.m., Monday 1 to 10 p.m.
Info: Free and open to the public. No tickets required. Seating on a first-come, first-served basis; 202-467-4600, 800-444-1324; kennedy-center.org

Kim Peter Kovac, the producing director of the Kennedy Center Theater for Young Audiences, has been involved in the development of more than 50 plays, operas and dances in that position and is the co-founding director of the Kennedy Center's New Visions/New Voices program.

Kovac emphasized that all the shows being seen this weekend are primarily raw works just beginning the long process toward production. Most will be read by the actors minus costumes and sets. Singers will be seated behind a music stand and accompanied by a piano. Even so, that rough presentation often is enough to generate audience reaction, highly important in the decision to proceed with a project.

"The two most exciting things about being involved in the shows for young audiences is that children are always very honest," he said. "They don't fake being bored, so their reaction is critical. Second, I enjoy working with so many wonderful artists and designers as we put together each new show. Already we're working on readings in October and March of two new commissions"

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