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Best of the Rest Is Back!

Enjoy staged readings of the runners-up from the 2023 8 Tens @ 8 Festival on May 19, 20, 21.

Last year, we received nearly 260 submissions for the 8 Tens @ 8 Festival. The reading committee for 2023 selected 24 plays to send to the directors, to help ensure a mix of options for them to choose from. The 16 plays chosen by directors received a full production in January/February. But there were also 8 quality plays that weren’t chosen by a director. These runners-up will be performed as staged readings this May as part of the Best of the Rest.

Before 8 Tens @ 8 moved to the 16-play, two-show format, Best of the Rest was a regular occurrence. It was an opportunity for Actors’ Theatre to put even more playwrights’ original works in front of an audience and celebrate the diversity and quality of the scripts received as Festival submissions. There was even often fierce debate among audience members about whether some of the “rest” should have been done as part of the Festival.

We receive many fine scripts for consideration for 8 Tens @ 8 and bringing back the Best of the Rest is a way to allow even more of them to hit the stage. The staged-reading format also allows us to give a different kind of experience to our theater audiences—seeing a talented cast and directors bring each play to life in just a slightly less polished form than a full production.

This year’s Best of the Rest features work by John Howie Patterson, Gail Borkowski, Lindsey Brown, Judy Klass, D. Lee Miller, Donald Loftus, and F. J. Hartland. You might recognize some of them as local or formerly local playwrights, and others as former 8 Tens winners, with some exciting new talent in the mix as well.

Best of the Rest is co-directed by Rebecca Haley Clark and Cathy Warner, and the cast includes Karen Blagmon, Ali Eppy, Dawn Grube, Laura Grimaldi, Lyndsey Marks, Halin Moss, Jonathan Carter Schall and Avondina Wills.

Performances will be Friday and Saturday, May 19 and 20, at 8 pm, and Sunday, May 21, at 2 pm. All seats are $15.


For even more new original script excitement, check out the full-length play reading of The Gertrude Variations by Wilma Marcus Chandler, which will be performed on Monday May 22 at 7 pm, presented by 36North: A Playwrights’ Collective in association with Actors’ Theatre.


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