mystery coverOWENSBORO, KY (6/13/12) – The eagerly awaited fourth year of Owensboro’s highly-acclaimed, award-winning event, the International Mystery Writers Festival, will take place June 14-17, 2012. “RiverPark Center is pleased to join the Commonwealth of Kentucky to return the International Mystery Writers’ Festival to Owensboro/Daviess County and the entire state,” commented David Renshaw, Chair, RiverPark Center Board of Directors.
 
In years past, the festival has hosted an unprecedented array of best-selling authors, internationally known actors, and successful TV writer/producers including: Gene Hackman, Mary Higgins Clark, Josh Hutcherson, Sue Grafton, Anthony E. Zuiker (creator of CSI), Rene’ Balcer (creator of Law and Order: Criminal Intent), William Link (co-creator of Columbo and Murder She Wrote), and dozens of others who actively participated in workshops, panel discussions, and retrospectives of their work. And, the new plays “discovered” at the Festival by up-and-coming writers in 2008 and 2009 have gone on to win multiple Edgar Awards from the Mystery Writers of America, which are considered worldwide as the Oscar of Mystery Writing.
 
This year’s festival is sure to be as exciting, ground-breaking, and celebrity-packed as previous years. The Festival received hundreds of play submissions from authors around the world. From those submissions, three works were selected in February to debut during the four-day festival, which will include two live radio theatre productions presented in the Jody Berry Cabaret Theatre at RiverPark Center and one full-length stage play.
 
As in years past, the committee was overwhelmed by the quality of submissions – both from established writers and new talent. “The submitted works were simply amazing! Our readers were quite impressed and were able to recommend some outstanding possibilities for the Festival stages” said Roxi Witt, Festival Producer and RiverPark Center General Manager. The chosen plays include Michael Walker’s Absolutely Dead, which will be fully staged and performed in Cannon Hall; Donald Drake’s Lost at Sea, showing in Berry Theatre; and Max Allen Collins’ Encore for Murder, also showing in Berry Theatre. The casts of these productions, all of which will be staged by professional directors, will include well-known faces and regionally celebrated talent.
 
Max Allen Collins is the author of Road to Perdition, the acclaimed graphic novel, which was the inspiration for its Academy Award winning film adaptation. Other works by Collins include his Shamus Award-winning Nathan Heller historical novels and indie films such as Mommy, a Lifetime movie of the Week, and Mike Hammer’s Mickey Spillane, a documentary.
 
Also joining this year’s festival is author Michael Walker. Walker is a published poet and the author of eight full- length scripts. He has been an actor and director in professional theatre for 30 years including seven years as the Artistic Director of the Summer Theatre at Mt. Holyoke, four years as Associate Producer and then Producing Artistic Director of Foothills Theatre Company in Worcester, MA, and one year as the Managing Director of the Hampshire Shakespeare Company.
 
mystery 1The third and final playwright joining the 2012 festival is Donald Drake. Drake has had productions and readings in Philadelphia, New York City, San Francisco, Vienna (Austria) and several other cities and has won several competitions, including a staged reading at the O’Neill Theater Center’s National Playwrights Conference.
 
“We are looking forward to producing a fully-staged production on Cannon Hall’s stage, as well as the popular Live Radio Theatre. We hope our friends and neighbors from throughout the community and region will come and help us with these exciting shows,” said Festival Producer and RPC General Manager Roxi Witt.
 
In addition to the stage and live radio productions, the Festival will showcase film and television mysteries, along with the talent behind them, in the “Writers Reel” programs on Thursday and Saturday. The featured films will include David Breckman’s Murder in Kentucky and writer/director Lee Goldberg’s Bumsickle, the sequel to his acclaimed short film Remaindered, both of which were produced in Owensboro using local talent in front of, and behind, the camera.
 
The movies will be shown on RiverPark’s giant 40 x 20 foot outdoor movie screen and will be introduced by Goldberg, a two-time Edgar Award nominee whose many TV writing and/or producing credits include SeaQuest, Diagnosis Murder, Hunter, Spenser: For Hire, Nero Wolfe, Monk and The Glades. He is also the author of The Walk, Watch Me Die, Successful Television Writing, the Diagnosis Murder and Monk series of original mystery novels, and Amazon’s ground-breaking The Dead Man, the best-selling, monthly series of original ebooks. As a TV development consultant, he has worked for production companies and broadcasters in Germany, Spain, Sweden, and the Netherlands.
 
“There is nothing like Owensboro’s mystery festival anywhere else in the U.S, which is why it attracts some of the biggest names in books, television and the stage. And the festival’s success discovering, and producing, one Edgar Award-winning play after another isn’t just astounding, it’s unprecedented,” says Lee Goldberg. “It’s an honor for me to be part of the Festival again.”
 
mystery 2Booksignings and author workshops will once again be a key part of the Festival, giving fans and aspiring authors an up-close and personal look into the creative process of writing best-selling mysteries. It also serves a terrific educational component to the festival for English, drama, and journalism students to learn the craft from awarded authors.
 
Festival officials are thrilled with the timeliness of this year’s event, as it falls on the same weekend as two other very popular and complementary events: Friday After 5, and the Owensboro-Daviess County’s Convention and Visitors Bureaus Bourbon and Jazz Festival.
 
“We hope visitors will come in to town early, see productions with the Mystery Festival, enjoy Friday After 5, attend events associated with the Bourbon Festival and then end with another Mystery! What a vacation – hope to see you here!” said RPC Board of Directors vice Chair Jeff Danhauer.

Purchase Your Ticket
The festival begins tomorrow, June 14 – 17 at the RiverPark Center in Owensboro. Ticket prices will range from $21.50 - $30.00 or (58.50 for “MAX PACK). Master classes and special guest presentations will be offered during the festival at no charge. Group discounts available for groups larger than 20. For more information about the Festival or to reserve tickets, Visit the box office, call (270) 687-2787, or log on to www.newmysteries.org.
 
Casey Piscitelli
SurfKY News
Information provided by Travis Estes, Director of Sales and Marketing, RiverPark Center

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