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The Playwrights’ GYM


Talking Points by Faye Sholiton



Monday, September 21, 2015      7:00 pm  

In the aftermath of an ugly racial incident at a high school football game, the hosting Valley Cardinals must make amends. Unfortunately, some adults who believe that the best defense is a good offense only exacerbate the tension, leaving the kids to find their own way.    

Playwrights’ Gym: Staged Readings of New Work
All staged readings take place on Monday evenings at 7 pm.
Admission is free, general seating.

Monday, October 26th at 7 pm:  Lady Ott’s Snapshots by Deborah Magid

While providing refuge to Bloomsbury’s contientious objectors to World War I, devoutly Catholic Lady Ottoline Morrell, Virginia Woolf’s best frenemy, must decide between her greatest love – Bertrand Russell – and her marriage.

Monday, January 25th at 7 pm:  Kiss Kiss Bang Bang by Stuart Hoffman

When two aggressive cinephiles cross paths, tempers flare and sparks fly. However, when their abrasive personalities put their jobs at risk, they must rely on the last person they expect to for help: each other. Playing homage to the screwball comedies of the 1930 and 1980s rom-coms, no film remains unscathed.

Monday, February 8th at 7 pm:  The Ascension of Mary Mulligan by Christopher Johnston

At a favorite spot on The Burren in CountyClare, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, Mary Mulligan has begun to ascend. No one knows why. No one seems to know what to do about it, either. But it’s happening.

Monday, March 14th at 7 pm:  A New Work by Juliette Regnier

Monday, April 25th at 7 pm:  A Conversation at a Bus Stop by Mary Weems

In this short play, a chance encounter at a neighborhood bus stop between a black male and white male results in a conversation which reveals the common ground of their humanity.

Monday, Mary 2nd at 7 pm:  The Holy Scriptures of Baja, Arizona by Les Hunter

In a prison cell of the Divine Community of Baja, Arizona, two non-compliants plot the overthrow of the town’s theocratic Sheriff.

Monday, May 9th at 7 pm: A New Work by Anne McEvoy

Monday, May 16th at 7 pm: The Garage Sale by Greg Vovos


What is the Playwrights’ GYM?

The Playwrights’ GYM is a program that provides local playwrights with the opportunity to workshop new work.  Playwrights’ GYM members are area professionals who are given various resources to help further their work. These resources include rehearsal space, collaboration with a director to assist the playwright, marketing, and public events supported by the theatre.  The GYM’s goal is to nurture new work in a safe environment, provide the “exercise” equipment needed to develop new plays by these Cleveland-area writers.



Cornell Hubert Calhoun III is Arts & Culture Coordinator for Mayor Frank G. Jackson and the City of Cleveland. He is an award winning actor and playwright. His plays, Miss Pauline and Portraits of November were featured at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center and Paul Robey Theater in Los Angeles California in 2104.  Mr. Calhoun is a three time nominee for the Cleveland Art Prize for Literature. He received a 2012 Writing Fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center in Johnston, Vt. and was awarded the Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award. His play, The Mighty Scarabs will receive its World Premiere at the Karamu Performing Arts Theater in March, 2015. The play will be directed by fellow Gym Playwright, Christopher Johnston. Calhoun’s is a three-time semi-finalist (2006, 2007 and 2013) at the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, for his works, East 43rd , A Tyme 4 Blue and Blue Silk. Cornell’s Intergenerational plays, The Bad House, Scenes N Cedar & Central, A Child is Missing in Outhwaite Holmes, B.U.L .L .Y. NATION, Holiday Promise and Moments N’ Black History which he also directed were featured on Cleveland’s TV Channel 20.  He credits much of his success to Cleveland theatre legends, Reuben and Dorothy Silver his long-time mentors. Mr. Calhoun holds a B.A. in English and a M.A. in Education.

DSC_7744Stuart Hoffman is a Cleveland-based actor, playwright, and baker.  Since 2006, Stuart has performed with nearly every local theater company in Cleveland, including convergence-continuum, Cleveland Public Theatre, The Cleveland and Ohio Shakespeare Festivals, Ensemble Theatre, Theatre Ninjas, Mamai and The Ohio City Theater Project.  As a playwright, his work has been seen, varying from readings to full productions, at Ensemble Theatre (Cocopelli: a fairy tale), Lorain County Community College (A Flock of Seagulls), Dobama (Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off) and Cleveland Public Theatre (Eureka, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Broken Wings).  Stuart has served as a judge for Dobama’s Marilyn Bianchi Children’s Playwriting Festival for the past six years and currently serves on the volunteer board for the FRIENDS of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights public libraries, committed to the appreciation, improvement and use of our public libraries.

Les Hunter SquareLes Hunter is an Assistant Professor of English at Baldwin Wallace University, Literary Director of Theatre 167, past Curator of New Plays at LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, and co-founder of the Brooklyn Playwrights Collective. He wrote for all three parts of the collaborative Jackson Heights Trilogy (Theatre 167, published: Indie Theatre Now). Other projects include his plays Biggest Break (Artistic New Directions), Lion of the East (Bates College), Cyrano de Bergen County, New Jersey (published: Playscripts), and To the Orchard (Foundation for Jewish Culture New Play Grant); an American adaptation with Ozen Yula of his play, For Rent (LPAC,); a screenplay, Lion (Dubai Film Connection); and a musical, ’99, developed at Millikan University with Ben Morss of the band Cake. Les’ writing about theater has appeared in American Theatre Magazine,, The Dramatist, and The Eugene O’Neill Review. In 2014 he was a resident at the Ora Lerman Foundation Soaring Gardens Artist’s Retreat and a participant in the Mellon School of Theatre and Performance Research at Harvard University. MA: Brooklyn College, MFA: Boston University, PhD: Stony Brook University. Website:

Christopher Johnston is a playwright, director and freelance journalist. His play about a Vietnam veteran, Ghosts of War, premiered at Dobama in January 2013. His plays have appeared at Cleveland Public Theatre (Sexually Explicit Material, The Mind Field, Theories of Relativity, The Mad Mask Maker of Maigh Eo), Dobama Theater’s Night Kitchen (Murder in Mind, Loud Americans: A Punk Saga), and convergence-continuum (APORKALYPSE!, Spawn of the Petrosexuals ). Last Light, was performed at the West 78th Street Theatre Lab in New York. He has directed for The Bang & The Clatter Theatre Co., Charenton Theatre Co., CPT, Dobama, IngenuityFest, and Karamu House. He also teaches playwriting and nonfiction workshops at Cleveland State University. He has published more than 3,000 articles in numerous publications, including American Theatre, Balanced Living, Cleveland Magazine, Continental, The Plain Dealer, Progressive Architecture, Proto Magazine, Scientific American (online), and He ghostwrote The Way I Saw It, the memoirs of the late Marc Wyse, co-founder of Wyse Advertising.                 

Deborah Magid is a Playwright, composer, lyricist, director, actor, singer, tech writer-editor, journalist, blogger, and all-round energetic gal. She is attached to five Cleveland theaters including the Cleveland Play House as member of their prestigious Playwrights’ Unit, is a member of Dramatists’ Guild, and serves on the Board of the International Centre for Women Playwrights.  Deborah’s works are not genre-identifiable as they include drama, comedy, SciFi, short, long, straight, musical, rock opera, and RICHARD WAGNER’S ENTIRE RING CYCLE IN 10 MINUTES, a one-woman play that she performs with sock puppets.

Anne McEvoy is a Cleveland actor/director who stumbled into playwriting when searching for scripts with multiple female roles for St. Joseph Academy. What resulted was an all-girl take on A Christmas Carol which calls Dicken’s authorship into question. After taking Sarah Morton’s writing workshop, she created Crashing Through Ceilings for Cleveland Public Theatre’s Black[BOX] series, which told
the true stories of 6 women in a group home. Remedy of Tea, her 3-person epilogue to Madwoman of Chaillot,  was produced by Clague Playhouse, and most recently, she’s had the pleasure of reimagining two classics for Talespinner Children’s Theatre — The Magic Flute in 2012, and Clara and the Nutcracker, Nov., 2014.  When not in the theatre, Anne’s a senior writer at  American Greetings, has had several children’s books published, and has scripted material for Great Lakes Theatre Outreach, Pandemonium, Women in History, Gateway Walking Tours, and Cleveland’s  Downtown City Alliance.     

8x10_8661Juliette Regnier is proud to join Dobama Theatre’s Playwrights GYM.  An actor turned playwright, Juliette was the inaugural Nord Playwriting Fellow at Cleveland Public Theatre for the 2013/14 season and dedicated the year to a trilogy of plays called “The S Plays”  the first of which, Shorn, debuted in 2007 at Dobama Theatre.  Soiled and Sisters were given a staged reading and a workshop production respectively during the fellowship. Ms. Regnier’s most recent acting credits include Lady Ariadne Utterword in Heartbreak House, and Bananas in The House of Blue Leaves at the Beck Center. She has appeared onstage at Kalliope Theatre; (Cleveland Critics Circle Award for her work in Dear World), Dobama Theatre, Cleveland Public Theatre, Cleveland Signstage Theatre, The Cleveland Play House, Great Lakes Theatre, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Ensemble Theatre, and the American Repertory Theatre.  Film credits include several independent shorts and she was voted best actress at the 2006 Indie Film Gathering Film Festival.  She studied with the Moscow Art Theatre at Harvard University and taught undergraduate acting at Case Western Reserve University for nine years.  Juliette, also a cabaret artist, debuted her fourth cabaret, Elsewhere, in 2013 which she continues to tour.

Faye Sholiton developed her work in the Cleveland Play House Playwrights’ Unit (1996-2011) and is a charter member of Dobama’s Playwrights’ Gym. Her full-length plays have been read and performed more than 45 times throughout the U.S., and in London and have won her four Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence grants, plus many national honors. Scenes from THE INTERVIEW, V-E DAY, ALL THINGS BEING EQUAL, and TELLING LIVES appear in multiple anthologies and THE INTERVIEW is published by Speert Publishing. PANAMA, her newest full-length had staged readings recently at Dobama and at Detroit’s Marygrove College. Since 2009, she serves as Ohio Regional Representative to the Dramatists Guild. In 2011, she founded Interplay Jewish Theatre, a company that offers free staged readings of significant works on contemporary Jewish themes. Visit

Greg Vovos is a playwright and director who has worked in Cleveland theater since he returned in 1998 after earning his MFA in Playwriting from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.  He has worked as a director and playwright for Dobama, Cleveland Public Theatre, the Beck Center, Cleveland Playhouse, Charenton Theater Co., TITLEWave theatre, Baldwin Wallace, Tri-C, and others on many critically acclaimed productions.  He has taught playwriting at Baldwin-Wallace University, Cuyahoga Community College West, UNLV, and various theatres in the area. He also writes screenplays and is a writer at American Greetings. His plays have been seen all over the world and been published by Dramatic Publishing and PPT Press.  His most satisfying work has been for the Theatre for Healthy Living, where he has written plays about difficult issues facing youth today.  These plays — performed by the young people themselves — have been produced at high schools, detention centers, and youth prisons, among others, and address issues such as racism, teen pregnancy, drug and alcohol abuse, heroin abuse, obesity, and the challenges of transitioning back to society. Greg was awarded an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award for Playwriting for 2014. Beyond writing, he is married to his best friend and together they have two awesome kids.

Mary WeemsDr. Mary E. Weems is a poet, playwright and social/cultural foundations scholar. Her plays and/or excerpts have been published or produced since 1997. Her play Another Way to Dance won a Cleveland Public Theater’s Chilcote Award. Weems’ play Move to the Back of the Bus, a 45-minute overview of the Civil Rights Movement was produced by Young Audiences from 1998 through 2007.  Publications include “Another Way to Dance,” and “Dead Soul 4413,” part of Another Way to Dance and Numbers respectively published in The Theatre Audition Book 2, (Meriwether, 2009) Gerald Lee Ratliff, ed., and “Two Sides to Every Story,” in Still More Monologues for Women, By Women (Heinemann Books, 2001), Tori Haring-Smith, ed. Weems has been commissioned to write two plays. “Africans in American Gullah!” by the Cleveland Municipal School District and “From Po Girl on Dope to Ph.D.” adapted from the memoir of Dr. Elaine Richardson aka as Dr. E. In January of 2013 Weems’ new work “A Conversation after a Funeral” about a meeting between Emmett Till and Anne Frank at Till’s funeral was the featured event at the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage and an excerpt from her play “Closure” about the foreclosure crisis, was featured at Case Western Reserve University by the Mandel School of Social Work. Currently Mary Weems is seeking production possibilities for her new play MEAT which explores the murders of eleven Black women in her hometown, Closure which opened the 2010-11 season at the Karamu House, under the direction of Artistic Director, Terrence Spivey, with Dianne McIntyre as guest choreographer, Hats, a one-act drama about Black men set in a pool hall, and Black Notes her one-woman show about the Black experience which includes excerpts from her new book Blackeyed: Plays and Monologues. Dr. Weems currently designs and implements diversity programming in the public and private sector, professional development workshops and seminars designed to suit client needs. She may be reached at