The Old Ship of Zion

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A warm, touching play about the members of a small African-American church, struggling to keep its doors open and adapt to changing times. Mama Gwen is a beloved elder who feels the burden of others who depend on the strength of her faith, and Quincy is a young man who loves his church but is beginning to realize that he’s gay.  A Professional World Premiere about people searching for a spiritual life in trying times.  With lots of music!

Featuring the acting talents of: James G. Smith,

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Lillian Likes It

Starting out as a satirical look at the world of social media, this quirky comedy takes a turn into deeper territory when Lillian thinks she may have found the perfect guy — unfortunately, he’s dead, but does that really matter if she can still chat with him online? The World Premiere of the Winner of the 2015 Essential Theatre Playwriting Award.


Featuring the acting talents of:  Alyssa Caputo, Tyler Hayes, Antonia LaChe, Christie Vozniak, Ben Silver and Pat Young





Joshua Mikel is an actor,

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Bare Essentials Play Reading Series

All readings in the Bare Essential series are free and open to the public. Be sure to stay after for exciting conversation with the director, cast and playwright!


We’re happy to announce that we’ve now set the three Bare Essentials Readings that will take place during the run of the 2015 Essential Theatre Play Festival. All readings will take place at the West End Performing Arts Center and will start at 7:30 p.m., followed by a discussion.  The readings will be open to the public with no admission charged.


2015 Bare Essentials Reading Selections

August 4: DELI by Diane Dexter,

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