Fall 2010: Another Beginning

The 2010 Festival is history and the work speaks for itself. Now it is time to re-invent a new repertory. Nothing compares to the feeling that I have when I begin to plan a new season. It is Fall in Shepherdstown and that means reading scripts. I have been traveling back and forth to New York and Chicago where I have been meeting with playwrights and Literary agents…taking “pitches” and attending readings and workshops. My Kindle is loaded with new scripts. Beginning a new season is thrilling, exhilarating and frightening. I am ferociously devoted to finding provocative scripts with good stories and new ideas…new works that express the beauty, wonder, and dirty truth of the human spirit.

Our Odyssey continues…

For two decades the Contemporary American Theater Festival has invited brave artists and adventurous audience members to join us on an extraordinary odyssey to discover and create the future of the American Theater. It has been an exhilarating voyage in search of new American plays. Over the years we have explored and produced new works by some of the best playwrights in America, as well as discovering a new generation of emerging writers. Our quest for innovative new plays and new ideas has earned us a reputation as one of America’s most important producers of new work. Our long strange trip has been an artistic endeavor of collaboration between the artists, the work and our followers. This eventful journey began on a wing and prayer AND a burning passion to make art. Our passion, creative spirit, imagination and industrious commitment to discover truth and beauty in our turbulent world–guides us on our next odyssey.

I am looking forward to sharing with you my thoughts on our upcoming 2011 Theater Festival. I also look forward to hearing from you. Please send me your comments, reactions, impressions and testimonials from our 2010 Season. Let’s start a digital conversation. Let’s TALK THEATER!

Ed Herendeen, Producing Director


Max Baker Playwright /Director THE EELWAX JESUS 3-D POP MUSIC SHOW

Playwright and Director Max Baker was in Shepherdstown over the weekend. He was meeting with the CATF Design team for our up-coming World Premiere of THE EELWAX JESUS 3-D POP MUSIC SHOW. Max wrote the book and lyrics and is directing the premiere at the 2010 Contemporary American Theater Festival July 7th-August 1st.

     “So great to come down and meet Bob Klingelhoefer (set designer) and to nail down the set-design (which we did). Bob is a great guy and I am really impressed with his designs. I am happy with the final EELWAX design and can’t wait to see it operational…it was immensely useful for me to see the theater in its’ raw state…”  Max Baker

     “The concept for the show is…that it comes OUT OF THE TV! The band and Ignatz and Mr. Shine appear 3-Dimensionally in the Day Room…the focus should be on the band and Mr. Shine. They become the TV… My hope is to blow the walls off the theater and really feed the audience with EXCITEMENT and BUZZ!”  Max Baker

THE EELWAX JESUS 3-D POP MUSIC SHOW is a performance art/theater piece set in the eclectically-furnished, highly sanitized Group Home Day Room. The Residents (each with their own set of anxieties, compulsions, hunger and clothes to iron) are fed a daily dose of Corporate-controlled entertainment in the form of a 3-Dimensional Music Show hosted by the charismatic, character-shifting Mr. Shine who literally pops out of the TV. The outside world is plagued by Swine Flu, there are cameras in the sky, and the intrusion of a seemingly scruffy old man who lives down the hall is greeted by the Residents with fear and animosity.

     “My overall thoughts at the moment are that the theater audience members are an extension of the Resident’s. After all, we are all Residents…”  Max Baker

We had a very productive weekend of design meetings. I am impressed with Max’s creative energy and imagination. THE EELWAX JESUS 3-D POP MUSIC SHOW is a collaboration between Max Baker who wrote the book and lyrics and CATF actor, Lee Sellars who composed the music. You can hear some of their music and songs at So go to their web site and listen…send me a comment. I am interested in hearing from you. Please forward this posting to your friends and invite them to join you at this ALTERNATIVE THEATRICAL EVENT! This show will help you bend your mind…think… “the bastard love-child” of  Bowie…think… The Breeders…think… William S. Burroughs…thinktheater. This summer get saved by EELWAX JESUS!

Ed Herendeen