The Theatre By The Bay Original Plays Festival, running all day on Sunday, should be a playgoers delight, offering a half- dozen works that have been expanded, revised or written specifically for the event, including dramas, a children’s musical and a fable that borders on operetta.
The pieces will be performed with scripts in hand. Some works will be staged, while others will be read by actors seated informally across the stage.
“For the longest time I wanted to broaden the work we do,” said the group’s producer-director, Lawrence Bloom, who organized the event.
Bloom’s own contribution to the festival, scenes from a drama-in-progress called “Dreamer’s Lullaby,” takes on a “Twilight Zone” feel while relating the tale of a special train and one man’s desire to hop on board.
Bloom wrote the two-act play, produced in 1964, while he was a freshman in college. Now, he has taken the title and “started from scratch,” he said, but kept the basic concept.
“I’ve had 50 years to think about it,” Bloom said.
For Michael Chimenti, preparation on his piece, “Johnny and the Thinking Machine,” also harkens back to his college days.
“Being an actor, I was always on the lookout for a new piece to perform,” he said. During that time he was introduced to a short story called “Ickitwick,” a fantasy about a little boy who encounters a machine with a heart.
“This would make an adorable show for kids,” he thought, and it’s been on his bucket list ever since.
A few years ago, Chimenti was involved in a community theater production where he met Frank Sanchez, a young musician with a shared interest in playwriting. Together, they began to adapt “Ickitwick” for the stage.
When the show has its first public performance on Sunday, the audience will include the original story’s writer, Phyllis Holliday, who is flying in from California for the occasion.
“I told her the idea and she said, ‘You have my blessing,’ “ Chimenti said.
Thomas Newby Jr. turned to another author for his inspiration, setting the words of several Shakespearean sonnets to music.
Written for a graduate program in lieu of a conventional term paper, Newby’s compositions formed the basis of what became “A Shakespeare Cabaret,” which he will perform in a robust baritone at the festival.
“I’ve wondered what I could do with this,” Newby said. “It’s been lying dormant on a shelf for 39 years.”
A full-length musical, “KATrina,” will cap the event beginning at 7:30 p.m.
“KATrina,” under Bloom’s direction and featuring a cast of 10, is a fable about cats. The festival’s most ambitious work, it required six weeks of rehearsal leading up to opening night.
The other works to be performed are “Every Time I Fall Back,” a drama by Jenifer Badamo, and “Can E-Mail Keep Us Together?” by Stanley William Hathaway.
Many faces familiar to Theatre By The Bay audiences will be seen on-stage throughout the festival.
Frequent Theatre By The Bay leading man John Canningfinds “the newness of the ideas and the music exciting. Most of the plays I’ve been involved with are shows that are known commodities.” And being denied movement on stage brings extra challenges. “The sentiments and meanings of the text have to come through the way the lines are said,” he said.
Bloom’s son, Steven, a professional actor, makes a return appearance for this production.
“Doing a reading for a new piece is a really organic process. It evolves in a different way. The actors and the director and the playwright are all exploring at the same time. There’s no standard to measure against,” he said.
When: Aug. 19 at 1 p.m.
Where: Bay Terrace Jewish Center, 13-00 209 St., Bayside
Tickets: $10, (718) 428-6363