May & June Table Reads Coming Up!

Play Cafe’s New Full-Length Play Development Opportunity

Play Cafe is pleased to offer a fresh opportunity for new play development to members: Play Cafe Table Reads. Table Reads are just that–cold, unrehearsed table readings for new plays in progress. Plays may range in length from thirty minutes to ninety minutes with four actors and a professional dramaturg supplied by Play Cafe. The reading is followed by a discussion/feedback period facilitated by the dramaturg. Musicals are not accepted for this program at this time.

Admission is free, and the room capacity is about 20. The readings are invite-only and not otherwise publicized. Selected playwrights are responsible for providing scripts for all actors, the dramaturg, and the stage directions reader, and are encouraged to provide snacks and beverages for the cast and dramaturg. If the member playwright needs more than four actors–such as adding someone to read stage directions–they must provide and pay them out of pocket. Play Cafe pays each actor $30. Actors interested in being part of our talent pool, please send an email to Since participating actors may be in Equity, readings may not be recorded on audio or video.

The next Table Read is Thursday May 4 from 7PM-10PM at Language Studies International in Berkeley, and the dramaturg is Laylah Muran de Assereto from Spare Stage. The third Table Read is Thursday June 1 from 7PM-10PM at Language Studies International in Berkeley, and the dramaturg is TBD.

Only Play Cafe members in good standing and Play Cafe Board Members may submit. To become a member visit our membership page. To verify membership, write to


DEADLINE for May 4 Table Read is 11:59PM, Sunday, April 16, 2017.

Plays must be emailed to

Format requirements are as follows:

  • No more than 90 pages’ worth of material, and preference given to full-length plays
  • Include a cover page with the title of the play, author’s name, email address, snail-mail address and and phone number
  • Please do not put your name on any page other than the cover page
  • Script file must be attached to your email as a PDF
  • Play title and page numbers must be included on every page
  • Plays may have had one staged/developmental reading and revised but may not have been fully produced or published

Selected playwright will be notified no later than Sunday April 23. Send any input on actor selection (only if selected!) to

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New Leadership at Play Cafe

From outgoing Executive Director, Tracy Held Potter:

For the past five and a half years, I have served as Play Cafe’s Executive
Director, taking over for founder Steve Lyons when he moved from the Bay
Area. Since I took on this role, Play Cafe has grown internally,
converting into a formal 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and creating a
board from the ground up while continuing our traditional monthly Scene
Nights and our biannual workshops. On top of that, we helped a new project
obtain initial funding: the popular and vibrant Musical Cafe Showcase
Founded by Sandy Kasten, Richard Jennings, Jerome Joseph Gentes
and others, the Series quickly became a regular Play Cafe program and
recognized launchpad for local Bay Area musical creation.

As my tenure as Executive Director ends, I am excited about all the new
ways that Play Cafe is coming to life. Last year, we introduced a new
Board of Directors including Play Cafe writers Robert Fields, Madeline
Puccioni, Ann Thomas Seitz, and Christopher Walker, and we received our
first grants, some of which will be used to produce new events in 2017.

As the new year begins, I am pleased to welcome Jerome Joseph Gentes to
the Board and as our official Interim Executive Director. Jerome has been
a Play Cafe writer for years and is one of the co-founders of Musical
Cafe. As an artist and as a producer, Jerome has an enthusiasm for
supporting Bay Area playwrights that will be tremendously beneficial to
all that Play Cafe is about. Please see Jerome’s bio below to see why
we’re so excited that he’s taking on this responsibility.

I also wanted to take a moment to recognize two of our hardest-working
volunteer organizers, Jamie Greenblatt and Sandy Kasten, who will remain
to handle casting, scheduling, rentals, and all of our financial and legal
affairs. Play Cafe exists because of their work and I am grateful for all
that they do behind-the-scenes to keep things running smoothly. Jamie will
serve as Board President in 2017. Madeline Puccioni will take over as

Play Cafe memberships are set on a calendar schedule, so now is the time
to join or renew at

Jerome Joseph Gentes was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. He
received his B.A. in English from U.C. Berkeley and his M.F.A. in
Nonfiction Writing from Columbia University. From 2007 on, he worked in
nonprofit arts administration in Western New York, and taught English
Literature, Composition, and Creative Writing at Niagara University and
Medaille College there before returning to the San Francisco Bay Area in
2011. He currently works as a professional marketing content writer,
playwright, and producer, and lives in San Jose.

With co-producer Bridgette Dutta Portman, he co-produced Sheherezade’s
Last Tales, the fifteenth and final production in the Sheherezade series,
which received the award for Outstanding Anthology Play Production at the
2016 Theatre Bay Area Awards.

He and Portman co-produced the inaugural run of PCSF PlayOffs, the
successor program, in late 2016. Along with other creatives, he
launched the Musical Cafe Showcase Series in 2014, which is now in its
third year as a Northern California development platform for new, original
musical theatre works-in-progress.

As a teaching artist, he taught theatre and poetry with programs such as
the UC Berkeley DeCAL program (Berkeley, CA) and Just Buffalo Literary
Center (Buffalo, NY), and at schools including Tuscarora Indian School
(Lewiston, NY), the Drew School (San Francisco), and Deer Valley High
School (Antioch, CA). He was a 2012 Pushcart Prize nominee (poetry) and
participated in the Found Poetry Review 2013 Pulitzer Remix. Along with
several others from that project, he served as a panelist at the 2014
Association of Writers and Writing Programs Annual Conference (Seattle)
and curated an offsite reading in tandem with the Conference.

He started writing plays in earnest again in 2012, with developmental
readings of his full-length play Hold Your Piece at the Playwrights’
Center of San Francisco in June 2012 and September 2013 and at United
Artists Theatre (Buffalo, NY) in August 2012. Shorter works appeared on
stages around the Bay Area in various stages of development from workshop
reading to finished, including Aria 51, Schrodinger’s Christmas, Parlor
Games, Just Add What Blood Is Thicker Than, and OR: or, The Play of Light.
With New Musical Theatre of San Francisco, he collaborated on the Spring
2013 production of Show Me Yours: Songs of Innocence and Experience with
New Musical Theater of San Francisco, and is working on a full-length
musical with composer and lyricist Rice Majors called The Right Note.

His writing has appeared in Fourteen Hills,, Boxy Magazine, Eleven
Eleven, Rougarou, Verbatim, Artvoice, San Francisco Bay Guardian, Buffalo
News, and Publishers Weekly, among other publications.

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Spring 2017 Musical Cafe Showcase Submissions are OPEN!

Play Cafe is currently accepting submissions for the Spring 2017 Musical Cafe Showcase. The submission deadline is January 31. For details and submission guidelines see

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How to Get Your Work Produced Workshop: Sun, Oct 16

Join us for Play Cafe’s popular workshop panel How to Get Your Work Produced featuring panel discussions with prominent and successful writers, artistic directors, and composers. Participants are welcome to attend as many or as few sessions as they wish. For $10, we will offer an optional dinner item from a local eatery to be delivered during the meal break.

This event will include three sessions:

Session 1, 1:30-3:00 How to Get Your Play Produced
Panelists: Jon Tracy, Lauren Gunderson, Cleavon Smith,
Jeffrey Lo & Annette Roman
Moderator: Tracy Held Potter

Refreshment break from 3:00 to 3:30 included in price

Session 2, 3:30-5:00 How to Get Your Musical Produced
Panelists: Scott Guy, Patricia Milton, Min Kahng,
Sarah Rose Leonard, Elizabeth McKoy & Gretchen Feyer
Moderator: Jerome Joseph Gentes

Dinner Break 5:00-6:00
Optional dinner provided for an additional $10

Evening Networking Session, 6:00-8:00: Meet Your Colleagues and Potential Collaborators. Bring a quick pitch! Looking for a playwright? A composer? Lyrics? Incidental music for your play? Early registrants will have the opportunity to sign up for time to sing a song, play a tune on the piano, read from a play or lyric, or just introduce yourself and your current project to the community.

Tickets are Available Online

Play Cafe members use code cafe1016 for $5 discount. To join Play Cafe, visit

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Meet Our Board of Directors

Over the summer, Play Cafe’s Board of Directors expanded to six members with Tracy Held Potter continuing as President, Jamie Greenblatt continuing as Secretary, and Sandy Kasten, a non-board member, continuing to serve as our Treasurer. Our new members include Madeline Puccioni, Robert Fields, Christopher Walker, and Ann Thomas Seitz.

With this revitalization of our Board, we are making plans to grow Play Cafe, and we will begin with the generous support of a Civic Arts Grant from the City of Berkeley. This is our first grant since we gained nonprofit status, and we will be using these funds to expand current programs and introduce new programs.

This Fall, we will renew our workshop series with a three-session program called “How to Get Your Work Produced” on Sunday, October 16th at the Berkeley Rep School of Theatre. More details about this popular event will be posted in the coming weeks.


Robert Fields is a screenwriter and playwright, Fields has had productions or readings of a number of his works. He has been active with Play Cafe for many years. Fields enjoys creativity and has a wide-ranging interest in things of that nature.

Jamie Greenblatt (Secretary) comes to playwriting with a background in set and costume design. She has a BA in Theatre Arts from Oberlin College and is a member of Theatre Bay Area and The Dramatists Guild of America. Her full length play, My Recollect Time was staged by Inferno Theatre in Berkeley in 2013. Contradance, a full length movement piece with puppetry, trapeze, and music was performed at the Eighth Street Studio in Berkeley. Some of her other full length plays include: Elijah’s Hope (Honorable Mention in Stage 3 Theatre Company’s ninth annual Festival of New Plays) and Captain Nemo (a top finalist in Wily West Productions’ New Play Festival San Francisco 2011).

Sandy Kasten (Treasurer) is an East Bay bookwriter and lyricist. Her short musical, Frankie’s Laundry (with Bryon Richards and Jerry Ranger), was produced in Los Angeles. Her songs were featured in Round One Cabaret and Show Me Yours at the Alcove Theatre in San Francisco. She is a member of New Musicals, Inc. (formerly the Academy for New Musical Theatre). Sandy serves as Treasurer of Play Cafe and is a founder and producer of the Musical Cafe Showcase series.

Tracy Held Potter is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter who has served as Play Cafe’s Executive Director for over five years, is the Artistic Director of All Terrain Theater, co-founded the 31 Plays in 31 Days Project, and is a company member of PlayGround LA. Her stage plays and operas have been performed around the country. She has an AA in Theater Arts from Laney College, a BS in Conservation and Resource Studies from UC, Berkeley, and an MFA in Dramatic Writing from Carnegie Mellon University. @tracyheldpotter

Madeline Puccioni is a “re-entry” playwright, who’s delighted to be back at her desk writing plays, after grading English 1A papers for 30 years. Recently, she’s had a number of short plays produced in San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles, and now she is working on a full length play and a screenplay. She is now a member of PlayGround SF, Towne Street Theatre L.A., Playwrights Center SF, Dramatists Guild and the International Centre for Women Playwrights. Recently, she’s become an Associate Artist with Those Women Productions. She’ll see her first full length, Cyclone Dancing, staged at Paper Wing Theatre this September, her Backseat Betsy staged by ReproRights at PianoFight SF in November, and her Cooley’s Reel produced in Santa Cruz Actors’ Theatre’s 8×2 Festival in January. You can read some of her new work on the New Play Exchange.

Ann Thomas Seitz holds a B.A. in Creative Writing from Mills College in Oakland and lives in the East Bay with her classical musician husband and is currently on the Play Cafe Board. She is the recipient of the 2014 Joeray Madrid Memorial Award for Excellence in Dramaturgy from Chabot College. Her play productions include the ensemble and devised work Deportee directed by Jon Tracy, the Inferno Theater One-Minute Play winner Hiroshima Awaits Below and the short play winner Nick’s Diner. Other productions include Life In Order and Poet’s Cafe.

Christopher Walker has been involved in all aspects of theatre and film, including writing, directing, acting, design, lights, sound, stage management, stage craft, marketing, ticket sales, security, and janitorial, in no particular order. He’s had a number of stage plays professionally produced, most notably Locking Horns, which won two awards, the Beck’s Elect Best of the Fest, and the Universal Arts Award for Best Play, at the 2001 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. His screenplay Rocketland was a top ten finalist in Francis Ford Coppola’s American Zoetrope Third Annual Screenplay competition. He has a BA in English and in Theatre from Indiana University; studied film for a year in Australia; studied at the Master’s level in Theatre for two years in South Africa; and studied Improvisation at the Second City Training Center in Chicago. If his back is against the wall, he can dance for money.

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Musical Cafe 2016 Spring Showcase Lineup

Musical Cafe

We are thrilled to announce the selections for the Musical Cafe 2016 Spring Showcase. Come see and hear them June 5 & 6 at The Flight Deck! Watch this space for tickets and more information!

Book by Brian Allan Hobbs
Music and lyrics by Michael John Boynton

Book, lyrics and music by Miranda Ferris Jones

Book, lyrics and music by Alan Coyne

Book, lyrics and music by Jeffrey Scharf


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Musical Cafe Showcase accepting submissions

Play Cafe is currently accepting submissions for the Spring 2016 Musical Cafe Showcase. The submission deadline is February 15. For details and submission guidelines see

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One Minute Play Contest

One Minute Play Contest for Play Cafe Members Only
Selected plays will be performed at Inferno Theatre’s Third Annual Contemporary Performance Diasporas Festival May 6-8, 2016 in Berkeley.

Must be a current dues paying member of Play Cafe (see the “Membership” tab to join or renew your membership).

Inferno Theatre staff who are also Play Cafe members may not participate.

Two submission limit per playwright.

Topic: diaspora(s) – do not limit your play to a specific diaspora. Keep in mind the root of the word, from the ancient Greek “to scatter about.”

One minute long, 2 page limit, standard play format, size 12 font

No more than 6 characters in play

Entries due March 1, 2016.

No fee

Playwright must attend with an entourage!

Selections announced March 10, 2016

One or two plays will be selected.

Send entries to:
In subject line: Diasporas Play Contest
One attachment: Script in PDF format with playwright’s contact information on the script.

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Musical Cafe now has its own web site!  Check it out at

Our Winter and Spring Musical Cafe Showcases were so successful (both sold out) that we’re having two performances of the fall show!  Our venue will be the Flight Deck in Oakland (just one block from Oakland City Center BART).  Tickets go on sale September 9. All tickets $20.

For details about the featured shows see the Musical Cafe page.

The Fall Musical Cafe needs volunteers!  Help with concessions or box office at one performance and receive two comp tickets to the other.  We also need a bartender to serve wine at the Sunday show. Bartender must have a TIPS (alcohol safety training) certificate. If you’d like to help out, please contact Sandy at

Submissions for the January, 2016 Musical Cafe Showcase will be accepted from October 1 to October 25. For details, please see

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July 9 Scene Night is at Language Studies International

Due to renovations at our previous location, Play Cafe’s July 9 Scene Night will be relocated to Language Studies International.

Thursday, July 9, 2015
7pm-10pm (scene sign-up starts at 6:45pm)

We will be meeting at the close-by Language Studies International Building at 2015 Center Street, between Milvia and Shattuck in Berkeley (one block from the Downtown Berkeley BART Station and right next to the parking garage).

We will meet in a room on the first floor.

Anthony Clarvoe will moderate.

Stay tuned for the location for August and future dates.

Hope you can make it!

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