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Quinnipiac University Theater Students to Participate in First New Play Festival at NYC’s Abingdon Theatre Company

From left, Austin Demos of Springfield Mass., Michael Bobenhausen of Danbury, Ashley DiFranza of Hopkinton, Mass., and Jessica Lehman of Nashua, N.H. will be among 34 students to participate in the inaugural New Play Festival, a collaboration between
From left, Austin Demos of Springfield Mass., Michael Bobenhausen of Danbury, Ashley DiFranza of Hopkinton, Mass., and Jessica Lehman of Nashua, N.H. will be among 34 students to participate in the inaugural New Play Festival, a collaboration between

Thirty-four members of Quinnipiac University’s visual and performing arts department will participate in the inaugural New Play Festival, a collaboration between the university and the Abingdon Theatre Company in New York City.

“The festival participants are all Quinnipiac students - playwrights, directors, actors, and stage managers – under the guidance and mentorship of the Abingdon Theatre Company,” said Kevin J. Daly, a visiting assistant professor of theater who helped organize the festival. 

The students will spend four days in New York City, starting with rehearsals on Feb. 27 and culminating with performances at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 1.

Daly said the relationship between Quinnipiac’s College of Arts and Sciences and Abingdon Theatre Company goes back about four years.

“They have come to campus to do workshops on lighting design, stage management and acting,” he said, adding that Quinnipiac students also visited the theater, located at 312 W. 36th St., to take part in workshops and attend performances.

The university and theater decided in September to collaborate on the New Play Festival. Working with the professionals, Quinnipiac students submitted 30 original plays. Officials from the Abingdon Theatre Company then selected seven plays for production.

They are: “Apocalypse Tonight” by David Piselli of Milford; “Count” by Steph Fasano of Monroe Township, N.J.; “Diner of Eden” by Marina Dugan of Fanwood, N.J.; “Emma” by Samantha Chasse of Simsbury; “Love at Corner Diner” by Yara Farahmand of Wellesley, Mass.; “The Lives We Lead” by Jessica Lehman of Nashua, N.H.; and “Three Musketeers” by Alan Johnson of Farmers Branch, Texas.

In addition to writing the plays, Quinnipiac students will be responsible for acting, directing, stage managing and providing costumes and props for all seven, 10-minute plays.

“The students are going to have New York City credits as playwrights and directors before they even leave college,” said Daly, adding that the festival will also allow students to network with professionals in the theater industry. “It is huge. If you want to work in theater, you want to work in New York, Chicago or Los Angeles and New York takes priority over all three.

“The long-term goal is for the festival to become the hub for our theater alumni,” Daly continued. “A lot of our graduating seniors go off to New York to look for work. They are going to be there. I envision this as being sort of a beacon for Quinnipiac theater alumni to keep coming back each year.”

Ashley DiFranza, a senior print journalism and theater major from Hopkinton, Mass., will act in “Love at Corner Diner” and “Count” and direct “The Lives We Lead.”

“I am incredibly excited and grateful to be a part of Quinnipiac’s first New Play Festival in New York City,” DiFranza said. “It is such an amazing opportunity for us as students to get to work with a professional theater like the Abingdon Theatre Company and start generating New York City credits, whether it be as an actor, director or playwright.”

The following Quinnipiac students will also participate in the festival: Michael Bobenhausen of Danbury, Paul Brosnan of Tolland, Christina Comizio of Vernon, N.J., Rosario Corso of Rehoboth, Mass., Sean Davis of Milford, Austin Demos of Springfield, Mass., Anthony DePasquale of Concord, Calif., Sara Detrik of Fairfield, Sarah Faidell  of Taunton, Mass., Cecilia Fanning of East Haven, Alec Farquharson of Natick, Mass., Deanna Garofalo of Jackson, N.J., Zach Glassman of Suffern, N.Y., Krista Langan of Glen Ridge, N.J., Kyle Liang of Norwich, Gerard Lisella of Cortlandt Manor,N.Y., Alex Lorca of Wappingers Falls, N.Y., Lauren Manna of North Branford, Sean McLaughlin of Manasquan, N.J., Morgan Moschetta of South Salem, N.Y., Nicki Palmer of Old Saybrook, Melissa Peters of Monroe, Maggie Pinnow of West Boylston, Mass., Emily Seibert of Oxford and Tenneh Sillah of Boston, Mass.

To reserve free tickets, email Daly at Kevin.Daly@quinnipiac.edu.

Quinnipiac is a private, coeducational, nonsectarian institution located 90 minutes north of New York City and two hours from Boston. The university enrolls 6,500 full-time undergraduate and 2,500 graduate students in 58 undergraduate and more than 20 graduate programs of study in its School of Business and Engineering, School of Communications, School of Education, School of Health Sciences, School of Law, Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine, School of Nursing and College of Arts and Sciences. Quinnipiac consistently ranks among the top regional universities in the North in U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges issue. The 2013 issue of U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges named Quinnipiac as the top up-and-coming school with master’s programs in the Northern Region. Quinnipiac also is recognized in Princeton Review’s “The Best 377 Colleges.” The Chronicle of Higher Education has named Quinnipiac among the “Great Colleges to Work For.” For more information, please visit www.quinnipiac.edu. Connect with Quinnipiac on Facebook at www.facebook.com/quinnipiacuniversity and follow Quinnipiac on Twitter @QuinnipiacU.

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