Two young playwrights with Ohio Valley roots are getting a chance to have their latest works presented at theatrical festivals this spring and summer.
Actor and writer Matt Webster, 25, who grew up in Martins Ferry, and Taylor Ferrera have written the book, music and lyrics for "Propaganda! The Musical," which will be performed at the New York Musical Theatre Festival that runs from Monday, July 7, through Sunday, July 27.
Webster is a 2007 graduate of Martins Ferry High School and a 2011 graduate of West Virginia University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in acting. He is the son of Linda and the Rev. William O. Webster Jr. of Martins Ferry. Matt's father is the minister of Grace Presbyterian Church in Martins Ferry.
According to promotional materials, "'Propaganda! The Musical' is the ultimate tribute to the power of musical theater."
A post on the website for the New York Musical Theatre Festival stated, "Each summer the festival presents productions, concerts, readings and special events in the heart of New York City's Theatre District."
The article added that nearly 40,000 people attend the festival each year, with roughly 1,000 artists taking part in events of the festival each summer.
In 2012, Webster's musical, "Kingdom Come," won "best play" honors at the Downtown Urban Theater Festival in New York City. It was one of 10 full-length productions accepted for the festival's 10th-anniversary season and was performed once at HERE in the SoHo section of Manhattan.
Meanwhile, Bethlehem playwright Jeremy F. Richter's musical, "[best imitation]," will receive its Pittsburgh debut as part of the inaugural Pittsburgh Fringe Festival that will take place Friday, May 9, through Sunday, May 11. The new event, an unjuried arts festival of theater, will be staged in the Shadyside section of the city.
Richter's "[best imitation]" will be presented at Winchester Thurston School, 555 Morewood Ave., Pittsburgh. The performances will be offered in the Hilda Willis Room of Winchester Thurston's upper school at 8:30 p.m. Friday, May 9; 8:30 p.m. Saturday, May 10, and 3:10 p.m. Sunday, May 11.
The local playwright's 90-minute show will be directed by Don DiGiulio, with a cast from a Pittsburgh troupe called the No Name Players. Dan Stiker is the founder and executive and artistic director of the Pittsburgh Fringe Festival.
In addition, "[best imitation]" will be featured in a preview event this week for the Pittsburgh Fringe Festival. Samples will be performed from more than 20 shows that will have full productions in the first festival.
Each of the local shows will receive a "five-minute pitch" during the preview.
The preview night will be presented at Bar Marco, 2216 Penn Ave., Pittsburgh, from 6-9 p.m. Thursday, April 24. Admission will be paid at the door.
Wheeling native John Buffington of Athens, Ohio, has brought his passion for wildlife and his artistic talent together into a published comic book. He is the son of Wheeling natives Chet and Brenda Buffington.
While completing an internship in wildlife and conservation biology for Ohio University, he produced his first comic book, "Keyni: The First Walk." Buffington said it is a story about a young wolf pup and his experiences at the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center, where he did his internship
Linda Comins can be reached via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org