For playwright Lezlie Revelle of Shawnee, stories come first

06/03/2014 6:10 PM

06/03/2014 6:11 PM

Lezlie Revelle of Shawnee has a passion for storytelling.

The 43-year-old is an accomplished singer, songwriter and performing artist who records under the local label Enneagram Records. But Revelle has recently been getting a lot of attention for her work as a playwright.

Revelle’s play titled, “Wayne” will be featured during a professional play reading at 8 p.m. Friday at the Uptown Arts Bar at 36th Street and Broadway as part of the monthly First Friday event. The play is about a young woman who uses a séance to conjure her childhood imaginary friend so she can ask him why he left.

It’s one of four plays being presented by Potluck Productions. The organization showcases scripts by local up-and-coming female playwrights through professional readings and staged productions.

The evening will also mark Revelle’s directorial debut. She will direct the play reading, which will be done by two local actors. She also will perform a 30-minute set of original music at 7:15 p.m. before the actors take the stage. The event will give Revelle an opportunity to indulge in all of the creative pursuits that that she’s come to adore.

“My first love is telling stories and I tell the stories in the way it needs to be told,” Revelle said. “Some need to be told in plays, some in songs. I try to be as true to the story as I can and tell it in the way it needs to be told.”

Revelle’s telling of stories through plays has brought her national attention as well. Her full-length play “Black Ice” was selected for inclusion in the 2013 Midtown International Theater Festival in New York City. And her play “New Chili” won Best of Show at the 2013 April Short Play Lab in New York City.

Revelle submits plays to festivals all over the country. She considers it exciting and the ultimate compliment to receive attention for her work in a city that has become synonymous with theater.

“It’s an interesting place to be as a playwright,” Revelle said. “Kansas City has a wonderful theater scene, but being produced in New York, it lends validity to it. It is exciting to be produced in two theater towns.”

Mary Beth Gordon is one of the five female producers behind Potluck Productions. After producing so many of her plays, Gordon asked Revelle to join her organization.

“She has really good writing, and in particular really good dialogue,” Gordon said. “You get really pulled into it; it’s the raw stuff of life. She’s just a really good writer and she is very talented.”

Revelle has a day job that allows her to work on her playwriting. She works part-time as an office manager.

When she’s not on the job or creating music and plays, she can be found working with young people at Olathe Northwest High School. Revelle is a playwright-in-residence for Robin Murphy’s advanced repertory class. There, she works year-round with students drafting a play that they will rehearse and eventually perform.

“I work within a tight framework, so it makes my writing better,” Revelle said. “It is invaluable what I have gained from working with these students.”

It’s all great practice for a woman who hopes to have a show produced one day on a main stage and not just at a festival.

“I want what every playwright wants, for your play to be the main stage show and have a several year run,” Revelle said.

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