A fraught moment from Woof, seen in the2000 Young Playwrights Festival
A fraught moment from Woof, seen in the
2000 Young Playwrights Festival
Those of you who like to gloat that "I was a fan of so-and-so's work way back when" may want to check out New York City's Young Playwrights Festival 2001, starting this month at the Cherry Lane Theatre.

Back when they were 18 and under, such theater heavies as Kenneth Lonergan and Rebecca Gilman were cutting their teeth at the Young Playwrights Festival where, every year, a handful of talented high school students get to see their plays mounted on an Off-Off-Broadway stage. The project offers budding playwrights a chance to have their work professionally produced and offers audiences an opportunity to experience the creativity of developing artists.

This year, four plays by young writers will be featured in the YPF's 20th anniversary season at the Cherry Lane Alternative in the West Village. The authors, aged 16 to 18, come from all over the country. The plays chosen for production this year are:

- Gorgeous Raptors by Lucy Alibar-Harrison: "Ugly Kaballah, the only Jewish girl in her small Georgia town, finds safety and power in a rich fantasy life, leading to the birth of the 'raptor girls.' "

- Johnny Likaboot Kills His Father by Yelena Elkind: "A young writer works out his daddy issues in some very creative prose."

- Conference Time by Jeb G. Havens: "A dysfunctional committee of absurdist characters fruitlessly founders toward consensus in this fast-paced romp."

- Nursery by Julia Jarcho: "An insightful and theatrical examination of the impact of violence, presciently penned before the Columbine High School tragedy."

These four one-act plays comprise a full evening of entertainment that will be presented from October 26 through December 8. Tickets are $30, or $20 if you go during the preview period, October 28-November 2; call 212-279-4200 for reservations. Initiated in 1981 by Stephen Sondheim and now presided over by Alfred Uhry, Young Playwrights, Inc. is dedicated to nurturing young writers and bringing new plays to the public. For more information about the organization and its other programs, visit the website www.youngplaywrights.org.