60 is the New 40 Play Festival

Plays running the gamut from science fiction to a superhero saga to people revealing long-held secrets are among the eight scripts that will be performed at the 2nd Act Players’ 60 is the New 40 Short-Play Festival.

Plays will be performed online Nov 13, 14, 20, 21. Four plays will be performed each weekend in shows running approximately 45 minutes. Online streaming will begin each night at 7 p.m.

Actors will each play multiple characters in multiple plays, spotlighting their acting versatility. 

All the plays feature main characters who are redefining themselves in their senior years. Characters range from a former concert pianist who rediscovers his love of music with the help of a new friend to superhero sisters to Golden Years’ couples finding love in unexpected places.

Three of the winning playwrights — Mark Contorno, Elizabeth DeSchryver and Craig Gustafson, live in the Chicago area.

Winning playwright Ian Patrick Williams, an alumnus of Chicago Organic Theater Company, also is one of the authors of the Chicago theater classic play Bleacher Bums. He also won a Chicago Emmy for acting in the PBS version of Bleacher Bums. Williams now resides in California.

DeSchryver is a past 2nd Act Players’ new script winner. Her play Fair, which focused on a young woman beginning to suspect some unsettling truths about her father, was part of the #MeToo Play Festival the 2nd Act Players staged in 2018.

The Winning Scripts and Playwrights:

To be performed Nov. 13, 14:

Normal Shnormal
Ian Patrick Williams
Studio City, Calif.

Egil Foss and His Left Hand
Mark Contorno
Chicago, IL.

Elizabeth DeSchryver
Evanston, IL.

The Elusive Pursuit of Maximum Bliss
Ken Preuss

Plays to be performed Nov. 20, 21:

The Sensational Sisters
John Mabey
Atlanta, Ga.

Spot the Camel
Craig Gustafson
Lombard, IL.

In Her Golden Years
Steven Korbar
San Juan Capistrano, Calif.

About Time
Robin Baron
Bethesda, Md.

Tickets will go on sale in October, $10 for each weekend;s shows, or a special $15 price for people buying tickets for both weekends.

More on the playwrights:

Robin Baron’s produced plays include: Mother’s Day, Seoul Players, Seoul, Korea (2019); Gus, Otherworld Theatre, Chicago, IL (2019); About Time,, 4th Street Theater, Chesterton, IN (2019); Bruce, Funhouse IV, Seattle, WA (2018); and Downsizing, Stage Left, Spokane, WA (2018). Robin’s plays have been part of Page to Stage at The Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C. (2014-2019). She is a member of The Dramatists Guild and lives in Bethesda, MD.

Mark Contorno (playwright, composer and lyricist) is a native of Chicago, who has also lived in New York and Los Angeles. He has written numerous plays and musicals some of which were produced in Chicago as well as New York and Charleston, South Carolina.

Elizabeth DeSchryver is a published poet and short story writer as well as a playwright. Her short plays have been performed at Chicago Dramatists, Cold Basement Dramatics, and 2nd Act Players. Now that she is retired, she is looking forward to writing more.

Craig Gustafson has been writing 10-minute plays for the past two years. His Lending a Hand has been published in Best Ten Minute Plays of 2019 and Save Me, Myron Glick! will be published in The Best Ten-Minute Plays 2021.

Steven Korbar’s full-length and one-act plays have been produced throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. His short plays, Table for Four, Mrs. Jansen Isn’t Here Now and What are You Going to Be? have all been published in Smith and Kraus’ Best Short Plays series.

John Mabey started his career as a mental health counselor and infuses everything he’s learned about relationships and emotions into his characters. His work has been produced in Los Angeles and New York as well as overseas in Amsterdam.

Ken Preuss is a Florida-based playwright, performer and teacher. His one-acts for teens and assorted short plays have been produced in Australia, Canada, England, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, and 48 of 50 States.

Ian Patrick Williams won the Chicago Emmy award for acting in and co-authoring the teleplay Bleacher Bums for PBS-TV; the script was later produced as a TV movie by Showtime. His one-act play Provenance was produced last year at Ensemble Studio Theater in L.A.


The Cast: