The Growing Stage Hosts Round Two of Its 11th Annual New Play Reading Festival


originally published: 04/13/2022

(NETCONG, New Jersey) — The Growing Scene: New Jersey Children’s Theater, located in the Historic Palace Theater on Route 183 in Netcong, presents the second round of their 11th Annual New Play Reading Festival on Saturday, April 23 at 4:00 p.m. Join them for the final leg of their festival as they restructured the afternoon to highlight selected scenes from each of their four finalists, chosen from over 125 entries. From this very special event, one will be selected to receive a fully edited production in the 2022-2023 Growth Stage season. After the reading, they will have a post-presentation discussion with the finalists as well as food and drink.

The 2021-2022 finalists include integrate by Glenn Weyler; Discover June by Karen Ruetzl; The sanctuary by Ann Eskridge; and Maddie and Eleanor by Martha King DeSilva.

integrate by Glenn Weyler (North Carolina) – Directed by: Sean Quigley.A young Afrilachienne has a secret: she and her family are giants who hide in plain sight. Now that she’s reached high school age, she has to quit homeschooling and force herself to shrink to fit in with the other students. At school she meets another girl like her, but this one is a runaway with lots of dangerous ideas. Can she and her family keep their own secret safe and help a lost soul as well?

Discover June by Karen Ruetzl (Georgia) – Directed by Lauren Moran Mills. Jenna’s secret desire is to be an artist like her late mother, but she doubts herself. Her father, who has just remarried, takes Jenna to her grandmother, a woman she hasn’t seen in 12 years, while he and his wife go on their honeymoon. Jenna begins a journey of self-discovery as well as a discovery of her mother, June, through her grandmother and the creatures that live on the island.

The sanctuary by Ann Eskridge (Michigan) – Directed by Sahirah Johnson. The sanctuary, a play about a young boy who lost his father, befriends a neighborhood eccentric by helping him craft his shrine out of bric-a-brac that honors those who have died. Over the years, this shrine becomes an eyesore for the neighborhood, and they want to demolish it. When Little Man hears this, he tries to warn Lucy Johnson that the Sanctuary is in danger. But by the time he arrives at her house, the shrine has been demolished and she is gone. What remains are images he will cherish and the wisdom she instilled in him.

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Maddie and Eleanor by Martha King De Silva (Washington DC) – Directed by Casey Esbin. When Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert decide to take Anne into foster care instead of the boy they’ve been asking for, it’s in the hopes that they can do him some good. As Anne grows, her curiosity, imagination and capacity for love teach all three of them what it means to start a family and the importance of being involved in it. Free and timeless adaptation of LM Montgomery’s classic.

Admission is $10 per person and registration is now open. For more information visit or contact the ticket office at [email protected] or call (973)347-4946.

The Growing Stage programs are made possible, in part, through funding from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and contributions from numerous corporations, foundations, and individuals.

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