Chicago Street Theatre to Produce Award-Winning Play in World Premiere

Chicago Street Theatre to Produce Award-Winning Play in World Premiere
By: Chicago Street Theatre Last Updated: May 2, 2016

The American Association of Community Theatre (AACT) is pleased to announce Chicago Street Theatre/Community Theatre Guild is producing the AACT NewPlayFest winning play, Wash, Dry, Fold by Nedra Pezold Roberts. The world premiere will open May 20 and run through June 4, 2016. Tickets are available at or by calling the box office at 219-464-1636. Chicago Street Theatre is located at 154 W. Chicago Street, Valparaiso, Indiana.

AACT NewPlayFest is an initiative by AACT to address the critical need for new, high-quality plays for community theatre audiences around the globe. There is no shortage of new works, but how do theatres find the time to read them and cull out the ones their communities will enjoy? Many theatres have new play contests, but few produce the winning scripts beyond staged readings. Yet a script is not likely to be published unless it is produced and creates a buzz; and it is not likely to reach future audiences if it is not published. So how do playwrights get their work produced?

These are the questions AACT is answering with AACT NewPlayFest in keeping with its mission of providing support and resources to community theatres. The winning playwrights get their plays published in an anthology by Dramatic Publishing Company and their plays receive full productions by established theatres. Chicago Street Theatre is one of only seven theatres in the nation to receive the honor of producing an AACT NewPlayFest in 2016.

Chicago Street Theatre is celebrating its 61st season of producing first-class live theatre for Valparaiso and the greater Northwest Indiana region. As a Producing Theatre, Chicago Street Theatre/Community Theatre Guild was able to help determine the final seven plays, and is producing a play that landed at the top of its list – Wash, Dry, Fold by Nedra Pezold Roberts. Wash, Dry, Fold tells the story of sisters Trudy and Enola, who have been bickering all their lives, over differences in religion, lifestyle, and childhood resentments. Now they are stuck with each other trying to salvage Grace’s Place, the run down laundromat they inherited from their mother. And there are other problems. Uncle Slackjaw, a Vietnam P.O.W., slips in and out of reality as often as he wanders in and out of the laundromat. The bank has turned Enola down for a loan, and Officer Baby Face is threatening to lock up Uncle Slack as a public nuisance. The arrival of Arlene—a 28-year-old, over-qualified tattoo artist—into their working-class neighborhood brings the possibility of change. But her offer of a desperately needed loan does more than give Enola and Trudy a shot at saving Grace’s Place. It gives them the potential to unlock their cages of torment, especially the torment of their own guilt. The production is directed by Traci Brant and Jonni Pera and the cast includes Mary Walton DeBoer, Ed Hubbard, Barbara Malangoni, Caity Mullen, and David Pera.

Nedra Pezold Roberts is a native New Orleanian, and passed her childhood and early adult life falling in love with her city--a love affair that hasn’t diminished in over 40 years away from that home. This former English and drama teacher is now an emerging playwright based in Atlanta. Several of her plays have won competitions over the past few years, including the 2013 Southern Playwrights Competition and the 2013 AACT NewPlayFest. For AACT, The Vanishing Point produced at California Stage in Sacramento, California, won seven Elly Awards, among them Best Script, in the 2014 awards announced by the Sacramento Area Regional Theatre Alliance. In 2014 she had plays in California, Alabama, Ohio, and New York; in 2015 she has had productions in Houston, Tampa, and New York, and staged readings in Montgomery and Ashville. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America, Working Title Playwrights, and serves on the board of the Atlanta Writers Club.

The AACT NewPlayFest world premier production of Wash, Dry Fold by Nedra Pezold Roberts at Chicago Street Theatre is made possible in part by a grant from the Jack K. Ayre and Frank Ayre Lee Theatre Foundation. The Jack K. Ayre and Frank Ayre Lee Theatre Foundation was created by the children of Frank Ayre Lee as a tribute to their father, and a legacy for the creative endeavors of his cousin Jack, who participated in theatre productions at Drew University in New Jersey and at a community theatre in Connecticut in his younger years and continued that interest when he moved to California. Mr. Lee was also an avid aficionado of theatre and had dabbled in playwriting. The family is pleased to honor both men through a lasting legacy promoting new works for theatre through AACT NewPlayFest.

AACT provides networking, resources, and support for America’s theatres. AACT represents the interests of more than 7,000 theatres across the United States and its territories, as well as theatre companies with the U.S. Armed Services overseas.