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Playwrights set scene for honors

Published May 2, 2007


The playwrights are barely old enough to shave.

Yet their work deals with such themes as an obsessive lifestyle; an older man trying to repair his failure through a relationship with a promising youth; a marriage unraveling.

Written by Shorecrest Prep students, the maturely crafted plays recently won prestigious state, national and international recognition.

Gabe Neustadt, 16, Petar Yanev, 14, and Alex Nunnelly, 15, all are students of Bill Leavengood, an acclaimed playwright who teaches stage, screen and television writing at Shorecrest.

The course has produced a batch of award-winning plays during the past few years.

One reason, Leavengood said, is that the class is small, offering a lot of one-on-one attention.

"The class is a lot of work, it doesn't count as an honors class. Shorecrest kids are mindful of that, " said Leavengood, who has taught at Shorecrest for 11 years.

Honors this year

- Gabe Neustadt, a 10th-grader, won Critic's Choice at the District 4 thespian competition for the second year in a row. His Strand in the Closet won the Blank Theatre Nationwide Young Playwright's Festival and will be produced in Hollywood in June.

The play also was chosen one of seven winners out of 6, 500 international entries to the Florida Studio Theatre's Young Playwright's festival.

It also won the Gorilla Theatre's Young Dramatist's Project and will be produced in May in Tampa.

It is Neustadt's second straight year of winning Florida Studio and Gorilla Theatre honors.

- Alex Nunnelly, also a 10th-grader, earned a Critic's Choice honorable mention. His play is In Utero, "very edgy stuff, " Leavengood said, about what happens between two people whose marriage changes after childbirth.

[Last modified May 1, 2007, 20:20:44]

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