SFA playwright’s play in New York festival

What started out as a huge disappointment for playwright Jackie Rosenfeld, senior lecturer in the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Theatre, has turned into an exciting opportunity.

Last October Rosenfeld traveled to New York City to see The Manhattan Theatre Mission’s production of “keepingabreast,” her play about a 28-year-old cancer patient who must decide whether or not to undergo a mastectomy to rid herself of the cancer that has proven resistant to chemotherapy treatments.

But the day before the show opened, the Off-Off-Broadway venue where the play was being presented flooded, and the production was postponed.

“It was heartbreaking to not see the production realized,” said Rosenfeld. “The cast and crew had spent months working on the piece, ticket sales had gone very well, and I had been so excited to see what shape this production would take. It was a major disappointment for everyone involved.”

The company tried for several months to find a new venue, but the search was unsuccessful. Instead of giving up, however, the company altered its plans and submitted the play to the 2012 New York International Fringe Festival, the largest multi-arts festival in North America.

Over 1,000 plays are submitted annually to the prestigious two-week festival; “keepingabreast” was chosen as one of the 200 plays being presented this year. It will be presented five times at the Studio at Cherry Lane Theatre, under the direction of Jeff Crosley.

“In retrospect, the flooding was a blessing in disguise,” Rosenfeld said. “Had that not happened, I’m not sure the company would have thought to submit the play to the festival.”

“Its inclusion in the festival gives it greater exposure than it would have received last October,” Rosenfeld continued. “Producers and directors will be looking for new works, so hopefully they’ll see “keepingabreast” and want to mount it somewhere else. I’m excited about the possibilities that lie ahead for the play,”

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