Joshua Tree Summer Theatre
Joshua Tree Summer Theatre Under the Stars takes top 2021 BROADWAY WORLD Palm Springs Regional Theatre Awards
High desert event’s inaugural season garners Best Direction, Best Play, Best Supporting Performer honors
Having kick-started the return of live entertainment in Greater Palm Springs last summer with its inaugural run at Wind Walkers Medicine Wheel, Joshua Tree Summer Theatre Under the Stars has capped its critical acclaim with three honors in the 2021 Broadway World Palm Springs Regional Theatre Awards.
The national online theatre publication has awarded two of the event’s four plays in these categories:
Best Direction of a Play — Miri Hunter, SHAKESPEARE IN REVUE
Best Play — EYELESS IN COLONUS
Best Supporting Performer in a Play — Mackenzie Naylor, EYELESS IN COLONUS
High desert-based director, writer and performer Miri Hunter conceived as well as directed SHAKESPEARE IN REVUE, which finds four struggling wordsmiths — Frances Beaumont, Thomas Kyd, Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare — meeting in a saloon, sharing their aspirations to become the world’s best playwright.
“It is truly an honor to receive the Best Direction acknowledgement/award for my theatre work,” said Hunter, who is also the producing/artistic director of Thought Theatre Morongo Basin and co-founder and co-producer of the annual Hi-Desert Fringe Festival in Wonder Valley. “I want to thank my amazing cast, who were also nominated for their performances: Nathan Bosworth, Kurt A. Schauppner, Kevin Hayles and Chalise Kunz. My special thanks to Abe Daniels for producing Joshua Tree Summer Theatre Under the Stars and to Broadway World for recognizing the work of the Hi-Desert theatre community.”
Written by award-winning playwright Bruce Bonafede, who is based in Palm Springs, Best Play winner EYELESS IN COLONUS reimagines the story of Oedipus (Kurt A. Schauppner) through the eyes of an innocent young girl named Clio (Mackenzie Naylor, Broadway World award winner for Best Supporting Performer). As Oedipus, the exiled and now-blind beggar king, and Theseus, king of Athens (Benjamin Bees), enter a sacred garden foretold to Oedipus in the prophecy, they stumble upon the girl, who was not mentioned by the oracle — and Oedipus sets off to unravel the mystery of why she is there.
“I loved being a part of the inaugural season of Joshua Tree Summer Theatre Under the Stars,” said EYELESS IN COLONUS director Howard Shangraw, who has produced theatre throughout Southern California and is also a veteran stage, film and television actor (STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE, CAGNEY & LACEY, DAYS OF OUR LIVES). “Having the talents of Kurt Schauppner, Ben Bees, Mackenzie Naylor and playwright Bruce Bonafede recognized in this fantastic way adds to the reward of creating live theatre.”
The debut run of Joshua Tree Summer Theatre Under the Stars was co-sponsored by Wind Walkers Medicine Wheel and Thought Theatre Morongo Basin. Noted local stage director and actor Abe Daniels, the venue’s creator and caretaker, is gratified by the honors received by the new play series, which he conceived. “I congratulate our Broadway World winners, and all of our directors, actors, technicians and patrons, for their passion in helping us launch this event,” Daniels said. “We’re both pleased and proud to offer our unique open-air space as a showcase for local talent in this community-based effort. It has succeeded beyond my wildest dreams.”
The theatre company is now accepting new play submissions for its 2022 season; contact Abe Daniels via windwalkersmedicinewheel.com. For the full list of Broadway World’s 2021 winners, visit https://bit.ly/33aWspu.