Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, Craig Hatkoff, and Madelyn Wils of the highly successful Tribeca Film Festival have announced the first annual Tribeca Theater Festival as well as the six playwrights who will have readings of their works presented as part of the festival's "All Access Open Stage" program, which will provide exposure for playwrights of color by offering readings from their works in a professional environment. These invitation-only sessions will be directed by Kenny Leon on Monday, October 25 and Michael Greif on Tuesday, October 26.

According to Wils, president of the Tribeca Film Institute, "We are thrilled to be launching this program. The quality of the submissions we received proves that there is enormous talent ready to break through the pack." Excerpts from the previously unproduced plays will be read before an audience of theater professionals, including agents, producers, and theater company representatives. The selected plays and playwrights are: Ascension, by Cynthia Robinson; Cowboy vs. Samurai, by Michael Golamco; The Escape Artist's Children, by Steve Harper; Magnificent Waste, by Caridad Svich; Sissy, by Ricardo A. Bracho; and You Dead Yet?, by Akin Salawu.

Two plays have been chosen to receive honorable mention. Although they will not be featured in the reading series, "All Access Open Stage" will pair each of their authors with a mentor playwright during the Tribeca Theater Festival to discuss their work. The honorable mention selections are: Dance the Holy Ghost: A Play on Memory, by Marcus Gardley; and Where Sleeping Dogs Lie, by Christina M. Ham.

In addition to "All Access Open Stage," highlights of the festival will include "The Downtown Plays," "Stage On Screen" programs, panel discussions, and full play readings. For further information on the Tribeca Theater Festival, click here.