2022-2023 Season

Playfest 2022-’23

Three winning short plays, written and directed by young adults in the SYT Studio Feb. 10-19, 2023.

Written by:
Chris Brattin
Max Mendoza
Spencer Wareing

About This Production

Spotlight continues its annual showcase of new one-act plays by the winners of its summer contest for young playwrights. One show, under 90 minutes, will present all three of these very different stories. The cast of these three plays may experience playing multiple featured roles.

  • “I Never Would’ve Guessed”

    Five teens, and one suspicious stray cat, meet around the fire on the last night of summer camp—a hilarious take on how secrets among friends are rarely secrets. Written by Chris Brattin. Directed by Owen Donsker.

  • “The 7 AM Bus”

    Bo unravels the mystery of crazy events during a long wait at a bus stop—an absurdist, Twilight Zone-style lesson in valuing every minute we might have. Written by Max Mendoza. Directed by Jazlynn Damasco.

  • “Boarding for Neverland”

    Atticus and Kylie’s chance meeting at the airport as children forges a lifelong bond—a moving experience of friendship sustaining all trials and transformations. Written by Spencer Wareing. Directed by Lyda Armistead.

Directors’ Notes

From the playbill:

Playfest is the first time I have been able to direct a show at Spotlight Theater, and I had an amazing time.

Working with these kids has been so rewarding, and seeing them grow throughout this process from a different perspective has been eye opening for me. There is so much to learn from directing that I can add to my own acting, and I hope they all learned a little from me too!

Seeing three new shows be brought to life is something different than being a part of a usual musical or play put on by other theaters. There’s something about being the first group to put your mark on a show that separates this experience from others. Creating characters with no previous inspiration has been a key part of this process for everyone involved, always discussing and asking questions about the script to find details we missed last time. Being able to do this with a room full of talented actors has lifted everyone up together.

I’m so proud of everyone for their work on Playfest this year.

Owen Donsker, Director of “I Never Would’ve Guessed”

When Kenny asked me if I was interested in directing Playfest, I immediately said yes. However, I was scared out of my mind and I had no idea what to expect.

I am so glad I agreed to do this, as this learning experience has been nothing short of wonderful. I could not have asked for a better cast, crew, and set of directors to do this with. “The 7AM Bus” has been so fun to direct.

The brilliant Max Mendoza has written such an amazing script that encompasses humor mixed with a thought-provoking message at the end. The cast has developed such amazing backstories to make their performance more authentic and I am so proud of them. I have seen so much growth in every single one of these actors on stage and I am so thankful for them for making this experience so amazing.

I hope you all enjoy “The 7AM Bus”!

Jazlynn Damasco, Director of “The 7AM Bus”

I am so excited for you to see Playfest!

From the first day to now, the actors have grown so much. This experience was a learning experience for all of us, and I couldn’t have asked for a better cast to learn with.

“Boarding for Neverland” is a beautifully written show that allowed the cast to grow as actors and me to grow as a director. I am so unbelievably proud of the cast for the depth they achieved when discussing the show and performing. Please feel free to ask the actors about the show afterwards, you will be blown away at the amount of thought and soul they put into the characters.

Thank you to Spencer Wareing for trusting me with the show. Thank you to Kenny and
Spotlight for funding this original program that gives teens and kids the opportunity to gain experience in the industry. Finally, thank YOU for coming to support Spotlight Youth Theatre.

Enjoy the show!

Lyda Armistead, Director of “Boarding for Neverland”


“Boarding for Neverland”
AtticusOwen Morris
Younger AtticusElla Ellis
Kylie to KipBella Cucchetti
Younger KylieJay Schwab
Narrator / ParentEmma Denny
Arthur / AnnouncerKate Donick
EnsembleDakota Boyce
Hunter Schneider
“I Never Would’ve Guessed”
JamieDakota Boyce
Mary BensonKate Donick
Mari BensonJay Schwab
CharlieHunter Schneider
GarrettOwen Morris
BruceElla Ellis
“The 7AM Bus”
BoEmma Denny
SageJay Schwab
Bus Attendant / Delivery PersonOwen Morris
Piano PlayerBella Cucchetti
EnsembleDakota Boyce
Kate Donick
Ella Ellis
Hunter Schneider

Production Team

Role(s)Team Member(s)
Director, “Boarding for Neverland”Lyda Armistead
Director, “I Never Would’ve Guessed”Owen Donsker
Director, “The 7AM Bus”Jazlynn Damasco
Stage ManagerLyda Armistead
Scenic DesignLyda Armistead
Owen Donsker
Jazlynn Damasco
Costume DesignZoey Waller
Lighting DesignAnthony Rozzen
Sound DesignOlivia Martinez
Properties ArtisansVicki Grossman
Kenny Grossman
Technical CoordinatorJosh Hontz
Lighting & Sound Board OperatorElsie Donsker