TheatreWorks next week launches its New Works Festival ’09 at the Lucie Stern Theatre, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto.
The eighth annual festival runs July 15 through Aug. 23.
It kicks off with the world-premiere production of "Tinyard Hill," a new musical by Tommy Newman and 2009 Jonathan Larsen Award-winning composer Mark Allen. This season's festival will feature workshops of new works by artists including Chris Smith, Raquel Bitton, Darrah Cloud , Kim D. Sherman, Joe DiPietro, Brendan Milburn, Valerie Vigoda, Laura Schellhardt, Rajiv Joseph, Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk, in addition to concerts by Grammy-winning vocalist Maureen McGovern and nationally acclaimed singer and composer Vienna Teng.
The festival lineup includes staged readings of three new plays: "The Sparrow and The Birdman," a song-filled drama about Edith Piaf by Bitton and Smith (7:30 p.m. Aug. 3); "Auctioning the Ainsleys," a humorous drama by Schellhardt, directed by recently appointed New Works director McDonough (7:30 p.m. Aug. 18 and 8 p.m. Aug. 21); and "The North Pool," a cat-and-mouse thriller from playwright Joseph (2 p.m. Aug. 15 and 7:30 p.m. Aug. 17).
The festival will feature staged readings of three new musicals: "Makeover," the story of a feisty single mother who builds an empire from her gift for glamour, with book and lyrics by Cloud and music by Sherman (7:30 p.m. Aug. 5 and 7 p.m. Aug. 9); "Ernest Shackleton Loves Me," a fever-dream musical with music by GrooveLily team Milburn and Vigoda, and book by DiPietro (2 p.m. Aug. 8, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 11 and 8 p.m. Aug. 15); and "Tales from the Bad Years," about a generation of lost and adrift 20-somethings, from Kerrigan and Lowdermilk (7:30 p.m. Aug. 19, 8 p.m. Aug. 22 and 7 p.m. Aug. 23).
Grammy-winner McGovern is scheduled to perform 8 p.m. Aug. 6 and nationally acclaimed singer/composer Teng 8 p.m. Aug. 14.
Additional events will include "The Big Four O: Hurwitt and Kelley," a conversation with San Francisco Chronicle theater critic Rob Hurwitt and TheatreWorks' founding artistic director Robert Kelley (7:30 p.m. July 27); "Young Playwrights Showcase," a selection of the best from TheatreWorks' Young Playwrights Initiative (2 p.m. Aug. 9); "Bay Area Playwrights Take the Stage," an evening of mini-readings hosted by Theatre Bay Area (8 p.m. Aug. 20); and "Meet the Festival Artists," in which the featured playwrights and composers will share their challenges and triumphs in creating new works (7:30 p.m. Aug. 10).
Tickets are $10-$15 per play to $75 for six plays and four staged readings. Concert tickets are $75 for McGovern and $35 for Teng.
For tickets and more information, call 463-1960 or visit www.theatreworks.org.