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Bill Fennelly's Award-Winning Year of Theatre

January 19, 2014 — The year 2013 was a very good year for Theatre Professor Bill Fennelly. His production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the Syracuse Stage won Director of the Year and Production of the Year in the The Syracuse New Times’ Syracuse Area Live Theatre (SALT) Awards. His production of the new musical “Fly By Night” was awarded Equity production of the year in the Dallas-based 2013 Column Awards, which described Fennelly’s direction as “extraordinary. The blocking and staging was like a master class being taught before your eyes.” Fennelly looks forward to an even better year in 2014, with plans to expand collaboration between student playwrights, Drexel Theatre faculty and the Philadelphia theatre community.

Fennelly explained, “Both shows deal with themes that almost everyone can relate to.” “It was great to see how ‘Fly By Night’ became a such a hit at festivals. It’s really a bridge piece to connect all generations and the music is tremendous. I feel very lucky and honored to be recognized for these experiences. I’ve worked with a lot of great people who made these awards possible and have inspired me to continuously search for new approaches to theatre.”

Next month, Fennelly will be participating in the Theatre program’s very first New Works Festival, which will run from Feb. 19 through March 2 in the Black Box Theater (URBN Annex, 3401 Filbert St, Philadelphia). Fennelly will direct Drexel students in two nights of readings of new, original plays by Screenwriting & Playwriting students – Feb. 28 and March 1 at 8:30 p.m. in the Black Box Theater, with dramaturgy by our own noted playwright and screenwriter, Professor Bruce Graham.

“I’m very excited about the New Works Festival, because it explores a lot of new ground for our program,” says Fennelly. “I’ve always wanted the Screenwriting & Playwriting program to do more collaborative work with Theatre. Writing for the stage is a very different process than writing for the screen. It can be a lot more challenging. Hopefully, one of these stageplays will turn into a full production in 2015.”

The New Works Festival also includes a reading of a brand new adaptation of A Tale of Two Cities by Jane Jones, Artistic Director of Book-It Repertory in Seattle. Drexel students will be working with Jones, our visiting Rankin Scholar, and Kate Czajkowski, an actress currently with the Wilma Theater and a Book-It veteran, will teach students how to adapt novels to plays in the Book-It style. The reading of A Tale of Two Cities will be Feb. 22nd at 8:30 p.m. in the URBN Annex Black Box Theater and it’s free for the public with a reception for Jane Jones beforehand.

A Tale of Two Cities:
Feb. 22 at 8:30 p.m. in the Black Box Theatre
New Play Festival readings (in the Black Box):
Friday, Feb. 28 at 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, March. 1 at 8:30 p.m.

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