Shondaland stars' 23 Hour Play Festival
When you get the casts of TV’s biggest shows together in one room, there’s a lot more that breaks loose than just all hell: There’s Jack Falahee receiving psychic readings from Guillermo Diaz, Utkarsh Ambudkar smelling Jamie Lynn Sigler’s tail, and Aja Naomi King getting relationship help from Justin Bieber…as played by Paul Adelstein, and written by Lena Dunham.
Such was the case of theatrical possibilities at IAMA Theatre Company’s 23-Hour Play Festival on Sunday, a one-night-only evening of plays that had been conceived, written, directed, rehearsed, and performed in front of a live audience (including Shonda Rhimes herself!) in just 23 hours. Or, 22, since the ugly head of daylight savings presented itself as a forgotten surprise to the company.
EW tasked the group’s co-founder and co-artistic director Katie Lowes (of Scandal fame) with the job of on-the-hour, every-hour selfies of her cast throughout the entire weekend process. Here are those results.
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Pretty Little Liars star Ian Harding and the participants gather at the Atwater Village Theatre for a pre-show meet and greet, where pizza and beer flow and instructions are served to the cast.
Co-artistic director Katie Lowes introduces the event and drops the bomb: It’s actually daylight savings’ time, and the 23-hour play festival just became the 22-hour play festival.
The participants, pulled from shows like How to Get Away With Murder, Scandal, and The Mindy Project, await their assignments, which will randomly pair two famous actors with a writer, a director, and two IAMA company members. They then powwow with their groups to discuss strengths and talents that may help guide the writers.
Katie Lowes and Paul Adelstein check in before the night shift hits.
12 a.m. — or, 1 a.m.
Playwright Jon Caren (Melrose Place, 10 Things I Hate About You) demonstrates the misery of the writers: They’ll be up until 7 a.m. writing a brand new play. He’ll ends up writing The Chase, a surreal comedy set in a Los Angeles dog park.
Actor and IAMA founding member Adam Shapiro cannot sleep.
Former Scandal favorite Dan Bucatinsky — here tasked with writing a play for Grey’s Anatomy’s Kelly McCreary and Glee’s Jenna Ushkowitz — takes a nap halfway through his rough draft.
Lowes cannot sleep. And if she could, she would still have to wake up to take a selfie for EW.
Utkarsh Ambudkar arrives early at the theater in Silverlake, California. He’ll end up starring alongside Lowes and Jamie Lynn Sigler in Caren’s dog play.
Bananas and coffee with co-artistic director Stefanie Black, Shapiro, and Scandal star Guillermo Diaz, who will play a free-spirited psychic.
IAMA producing director Cymbre Walk offers morning instructions to the sleepy ensemble, 12 hours before showtime.
Joey McIntyre — yes, from New Kids on the Block — rehearses for his piece, which co-stars three IAMA company members as a tragically serious improv troupe.
The festival’s only all-male group — Kevin Daniels, Ian Harding, and Adam Shapiro (not pictured: Dean Cechvala) — meets with director Aaron Ginsburg to discuss Jason Lew’s gay dramedy, Over & Back.
Papa Pope himself, Scandal’s Joe Morton, lends his Emmy-winning talents to the festival opener, playing a family friend who helps cover up a murder in Emergency Contact (co-starring Young & Hungry’s Aimee Carrero).
Find rehearsal space if you can get it! Paul Adelstein rehearses on the guitar while Aja Naomi King talks through a scene from Lena Dunham’s club-set relationship comedy. Adelstein plays Justin Bieber, who dishes advice to a pair of feuding lesbians (King and Margaux Susi).
Huckleberryquinn moonlight as thespians between Scandal serial torture.
The cast of The Chase and director Noah Bean get their dog on.
Writer Louise Munson’s Never Lost stars How to Get Away with Murder’s Jack Falahee and IAMA company member Sarah Utterback as a couple whose sparring over TV-viewing habits attracts the attention of fellow restaurant diners Guillermo Diaz and Melissa Osborne.
The sun goes down while Aja Naomi King, Jamie Wollrab, and Margaux Susi rehearse Lena Dunham’s Justin Bieber is Having a Hard Day, Too.
Kelly McCreary and Amy Rosoff — dressed as society women who crash a cocktail party — star in Dan Bucatinsky’s Tarred & Feathered.
Jenna Ushkowitz, who plays a high-end chef in Tarred & Feathered, finds solace in the dressing room.
The ladies of IAMA get stage-ready.
Showtime! A casual 22 hours later.