Angels First Flight Festival Returns for Its Fifth Year!

Angels Theatre Company presents the 5th annual FIRST FLIGHT FESTIVAL – July 17 – 28 in UNL’s Studio Theater located on the first floor of the Temple Building, 12th & R Streets in Lincoln.

Performance dates & times: (Details at
Flight A – July 17, 19, 25 @ 7:30 PM, July 21 @ 2 PM + July 27 @ 4 PM
Flight B- July 18, 20, 21, 26 @ 7:30 PM + July 27 @ 8 PM
Flight C – July 23, 24 @ 7:30 PM + July 28 @ 2 PM

Tickets are available online or at the Studio Theater Box Office 1 hour prior to the start of each Flight.
General Admission is $15 per Flight or $30 for a Festival pass.
OLLI members receive a $5.00 discount.

The First Flight Festival is a glorious celebration of the collective energy of theatre making!

This festival is premiering 26 new short plays (each under 20 minutes) written by local playwrights who are members of Angels Play Writing Collective. There’s more information about the playwrights later in this story.

What you need to know is that it’s impossible to cram 26 plays into any one performance so the Festival is divided in FLIGHTS. If you’re scratching your head at this point imagine each little play growing wings and flying off into the world! Get it – Angels, wings, flight!!

This festival is remarkable in that it includes about 80 people. If you are shaking your head saying “NO WAY”, Judy Hart is here to say “WAY!” The Festival is a year-long project that starts with an idea that grows into text on a page, which blossoms into a script, that is painstakingly edited and read and reread, and then is selected, cast, rehearsed, and ultimately served up simply to a happy audience.

A very cool part of the Festival is the post-performance chats with the playwrights, which happen after each Flight performance. You can actually ask the playwright what they want the audience to know from seeing their play?

If you still wonder why such a festival exists in Lincoln, Nebraska, call Judy Hart at      402-474-2206 or reach her via email at

Here are the plays by Flight:
Cruel to be Kind by Paula Ray
The Wave by Paul Burrow
Coffee with Ed by Stephen Enersen
Sing Daisy For Me by Cecilia Burkhart
The Male Brain Deconstructed by Paul Burrow
Shall We Dance by Brigid Amos
The Beast by David Chapelle
In N Out Cafe by John Burkhart
Knock 3 Times by Andy Dillehay
Closing Time by David Chapelle
The Way It Is by Charisa Ramsey

Humpty Dumpty by Stephen Enersen
A Slight Misunderstanding by Stephen Enersen
Just a Drill by Jillian Carter
Wheelchair Karma by Brian Bornstein
The Bereaved Widow by Judy Rae
Blue Screen of Death by Robin Buckallew
Swipe Left by David Chapelle                                                                                                            A Cool Margarita by David Chapelle                                                                                       Make My Decision for Me by Brian Bornstein                                                                         Two Pink Lines by Jillian Carter

@Studly Superhero by Robin Buckallew
Tax Evasion in Dogtown by Robin Buckallew
It’s a Worryful Life by Linda Howard Cooke
A Good Plan by Robin Buckallew
Blue Screen of Death by Robin Buckallew
Playbill, Play Ball by Linda Howard Cooke
The Male Brain Deconstructed by Paul Burrow

Who are the playwrights?
Andy Dillehay is delighted to participate in First Flight Festival for the 3rd time! Last year, three of his pieces took flight (TENDERLY, A Continual Feast, and A Rainy Thursday Afternoon). As an actor, Andy has appeared in Angels in America, Cabaret, The SantaLand Diaries, and King o’ the Moon.
Brian Bornstein recently retired from UNL after 19 years and is in the process of relocating to Durham, North Carolina, after doing a stint at the National Science Foundation in Alexandria, Virginia. He is enormously grateful to the Angels Play Writing Collective for letting him continue to participate in the Festival and for providing such a unique and supportive artistic community. Special thanks to Judy, Jillian, and Tony, and to Tim for suggesting that the wheelchair story might make a good play. And as always, thanks to Christie, first reader extraordinaire.
Brigid Amos is celebrating her fourth First Flight play, previous entries being Kitchen Garden (2015), Bernice’s Birthday (2016), and Our Daughter Katie (2017). In 2018, Angels Theatre Company produced her play Losing the Ring in the River, based on the book of poetry by Marge Saiser. Brigid is the author of the historical novels West from the Cradle and A Fence Around Her.
Cecelia Burkhart is a graduate of UNL Theatre Department, and her biggest thrill in life is acting. This is her fifth year with the First Flight Festival where she has acted, directed, and written plays. “At this time in my life, I marvel at the amazing adventure I’ve had with the Angels Theatre Company!”
Charisa Ramsey is beyond thrilled to have her first play included in this amazing festival. She is a fledgling playwright excited to continue her partnership with Angels Play Writing Collective. She wants to thank YOU for supporting this festival, and everyone involved.
David Chapelle is a writer, actor, and director living in Lincoln, Nebraska, with his lovely wife, Alicia, and perky pup, Benji. This summer he is fortunate enough to have seven scripts running simultaneously.
Jillian Carter would never write if it weren’t for the Angels Play Writing Collective keeping her accountable, her kids and friends giving her hilarious material, and Judy Hart’s constant encouragement. She thanks her casts and directors for making her plays come alive, including her daughter, Penny Carter, who inspired and performs in Just a Drill, and her husband, Tony Heffner, for listening to every excruciating draft.
John Burkhart is retired. A former producer/director at Mahoney State Park, he has penned 20 melodramas. This is his first comedy effort for the Festival. “To organize over 80 people and produce all of these plays each season makes Judy Hart a genius, but don’t tell her I said that!”
Judy Rae has had poems and stories published in literary journals and anthologies. She wrote, staged, and directed her first play when she was nine. This is her first year as a member of the Play Writing Collective and with the First Flight Festival.
Linda Cooke is the author of two (soon to be three) published plays for young actors, all
through Brooklyn Publishers. This is her first Angels production. “My works have been
performed by dozens of schools around the country, but I rarely get to see those performances. Seeing these scripts realized on stage through Angels is a real treat for me.” Linda and her husband Dave live in Hastings with their beautiful beagle Bluebelle.
Paul Burrow is a professor emeritus in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UNL. In addition to writing short plays, he enjoys performing with the Lincoln Early Music Consort on a variety of period instruments. This is his third FFF estival.
Paula Ray is a psychologist in private practice who believes story-telling has the power to change lives. Paula is an active member of Angels Theatre Company as a playwright, director, and performer, and is working on a collaborative project to bring the stories of marginalized members of the community to the stage in 2020. Paula thanks Tim Scholl for skillfully bringing Cruel to be Kind to life with a superb cast of young actors.
Robin Buckallew received her MFA in playwriting from UNO in December, 2014. Her work has been produced in the First Flight Festival every year, and in New York City, though so far off Broadway you can’t even see the lights. Robin is not ashamed to use fantastical and unscientific elements in her writing to tell stories about the weirdness of the world, and the even weirder world she imagines. She is a college Biology instructor who lives in Hastings, NE with her husband, Fritz, her two cats and her dog, all of whom support her in her many enterprises.
Stephen Enersen is a retired freelance business writer turned playwright. His produced works include a published comedy, lower case (by Dramatic Publishing), and nine  previous First Flight Festival plays. Father of four and grandfather of two, Steve enjoys basking in the shadow of his talented wife, Julie.

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