2023 Play Festival Finalists

Announcing the four finalists of the 2023 Premiere Play Festival, selected from 701 submissions.

Playwright Vincent Terrell Durham is a black man. His head is shaven and has facial hair. He has a wide smile and his head is resting on the palm of his hand which is perched on a table. He is wearing a blue button up shirt.

The Fertile River

Written by
Vincent Terrell Durham
Directed by
Marshall Jones III

It’s the summer of 1958 and Mrs. Sarah Woods has been visiting colored families in a small rural North Carolina community on a mission from the State. Cora Lee Burden is the latest to receive an appointment notice from Mrs. Woods. The sixty-four-year-old grandmother of a mentally challenged child has no idea what a white social worker from the government would want with her family. But being a colored woman of the south, she knows the visit is a call for caution.

Playwright Gloria Majule is a young black woman. Her curly hair is cut into a cropped afro. She has gold make-up and is wearing gold hoop earrings and necklaces. She is leaning against a wall and is staring pensively into the camera. She is wearing a light pink tank top.


Written by
Gloria Majule
Directed by
Stori Ayers

Mshale, a Mount Kilimanjaro tour guide, dreams of marrying a white woman and moving to the West. Sprite sets out to decolonize what he deems “his mountain”. Henry and Frannie are white missionaries who claim to be Tanzanian. As the four journey up to the roof of Africa, the looming ghost of colonialism dictates who gets to reach the peak, and who gets left behind.

Christian Mendonça is a Portuguese-American man. He has dark, gelled back hair and has a dark beard and mustache. He is grinning at the camera and is standing against a gray background. He is wearing a light pink shirt.

Flowers for Men

Written by
Christian Mendonça
Directed by
John J. Wooten

Henri, a social worker, gets funding to test out his pilot program “Flowers for Men,” a five-week healing journey that asks men to nourish a flower into blossoming and to heal a relationship in their personal lives. Easier said than done. Will this group of six men make it out of this program ready to grow, or will they be hell-bent on self-destruction? A review of toxic masculinity, machismo, forgiveness, and the lack of grace and self-love that men often fail to afford themselves and others.

Playwright Scott Organ is a white man. His hair and beard have a mix of blonde and gray hair. He has green-gray eyes and is grinning at the camera.He is standing against a slate gray background and is wearing a light gray t-shirt.


Written by
Scott Organ
Directed by
John J. Wooten

Emilia is a devoted nurse in an ICU unit, highly regarded by her boss, Bess and her peers: Amy, Mike and the new hire Mandy, who Emilia has taken under her wing.  When it’s discovered that someone on the unit is stealing medicine, the nurses are unsettled, particularly when an outsider shows up, effectively placing them all under a microscope. When the culprit is finally revealed, the nurses must fight to save themselves and the integrity of the unit.

You're invited!

You are invited to the 18th Annual Festival Finalists Reading Series, featuring the four finalists of the 2023 Premiere Play Festival at Enlow Recital Hall (215 North Ave, Hillside, NJ).

Uhuru by Gloria Majule
Friday, June 9 at 7:00 pm

Flowers for Men by Christian Mendonça
Saturday, June 10 at 7:00 pm

Diversion by Scott Organ
Sunday, June 11 at 3:00 pm

The Fertile River by Vincent Terrell Durham
Monday, June 12 at 7:00 pm

To attend the readings, RSVP by filling out the Google Form. You can also RSVP by emailing premiere@kean.edu or by calling Christina Hoffman, Director of Marketing and Audience Development, at (908) 737-4077.

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