Preview: New Comedies Festival at B Street Theatre

The New Comedies Festival reception is June 16, staged readings run June 20 through June 23; $12-$55; B Street Theatre at the Sofia, 2700 Capitol Ave., (916) 443-5300,

Just as B Street Theatre’s 2018 New Comedies Playwriting Contest winner—The Forever Question —starts its run, the theater company is also set to try out contenders for this year’s prize.

After an opening reception on Sunday, B Street actors and playwrights will get to work prepping four new comedies to be given staged readings. The plays are How to Conquer America, A Mostly True History of Yogurt by David Myers, Golden by Peter Manos, Proclivity for Kiting by Jacob T. Zack and Teen Dad by Adrienne Dawes. Each play will be given two readings and the winning entry will get a full production at B Street next year.

The idea for the competition was sparked by a lack of new American comedies for B Street to choose from, said associate artistic director Lyndsay Burch, who created the competition last year.

“The first year, we had a little over 50 submissions,” Burch says. “We certainly hoped for more … but we realized it would take a year or so for the word to get out.”

This year there were more than 800 submissions from which the four finalists were selected. And while B Street gets a new play, playwright finalists get career boosts.

“Playwriting is a very solitary art form,” says Burch. “To hear their work performed with actors in front of an audience, playwrights get an invaluable experience that is integral to the development of new plays.”