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Bay Street’s Artistic Director Scott Schwartz Talks About 6th Annual New Works Festival

T.J. Clemente

A previous Title Wave. (Photo: Richard Lewin)

Scott Schwartz was hired to be Bay Street Theater's Artistic Director back on August 13, 2013 because he was a leading voice of the next generation of American theater. Part of his vision moving forward was the creation in the spring of 2014 of the Bay Street New Works Festival which he named "Title Wave." Now entering it's 6th year, Schwartz is proud and enthusiastic about the 2019 "Title Wave." In a chat he explained why he is excited about this year's shows and why he feels "Title Wave" is an important part of the Bay Street Theater calendar.

Talking with Harvard educated Scott Schwartz is an experience because of both the speed of his thoughts to word process combined with his wonderful vocabulary's dexterity. Schwartz stressed he finds it most important to give playwrights, "The opportunity to see their works in front of a live audience. So they [the playwrights] can see what works and where they might have to revise and tinker."

The 6th Annual New Works Festival starts Friday, May 3 at 7 p.m. The first production of this year's Bay Street "Title Wave" will be the production of, My Lord What a Night, written by Deborah Brevoort. Schwartz is excited about both the quality of the writing of this play and its historical significance. This play he said, "Focuses on something that happened back in 1937 when legendary African American opera singer Marian Anderson gave a concert in Princeton and after being refused accommodations at the local hotel, she struck up a friendship with Albert Einstein - who besides being a professor at Princeton was an actual fan of her singing." Schwartz added, "The play stresses our responsibilities as human beings to each other while still being a fun show about something serious."

The Saturday, May 4 at 2 p.m. presentation is playwright Amy Berryman's Walden. Schwartz gave me a window to why this play was chosen when he said, "It takes place in the future, but the near future. There will still be challenging relationships. This play involves sisters but also deals with the impending environmental calamity and reacting to it." This Schwartz explained, "Means dealing with issues we are all actually dealing with now." The writing, he explained, encompasses "making the best of what we have. Ultimately, [Waldon] is a play you can relate to about relationships you can understand."

The Saturday evening (at 8 p.m.) presentation is Delmonico, written by Jack Canfora. This play is about the first meeting of The Beatles and Bob Dylan. Again, Schwartz stressed that this is an account of "something that actually happened based on real people that had a huge significance on our culture." He said that Delmonico, "Is well written...the parts with Brian Epstein and John Lennon are fascinating. The show is about real great, great icons."

On Sunday, May 5 at 3 p.m. will be presented the last show of 2019 "Title Wave." It is a musical titled, Bliss, written by both Emma Lively and Tyler Beatle. Scott said, "It's the largest musical we have ever done with 16 in the cast." He described it as, "A fairy tale from a woman's perspective being smart, silly, and fun." Scott also mentioned, "It's funny...for the whole family." There will be 16 live musicians.

Schwartz's tenure as Artistic Director of Bay Street can only be viewed as successful. I personally would give him an "A" if I was doing the grading. Bay Street's calendar is vibrant all year-round, the community support of the programing is strong as all shows are well attended with many sold out. To that point, Schwartz reminded that even though "Title Wave" tickets are free, you must either call or go to the box office to reserve and pick up your free tickets. The Festival often sells out in advance.

Bay Street is located at 1 Bay Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call 631-725-9500 or visit www.baystreet.org.

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