EMAIL TO A VOLUNTEER 6/21: “You’ll work with us on crew for week one: rehearsals 6–10 (earlier if you’re avail). Did I mention this is a volunteer position? Don’t worry, they all are!”
Between 2003 and 2006, the Blitz had a guardian angel. The late Craig A. Mueller, a retired airline pilot, bought 500 tickets for students to see the festival. His annual donation helped the Fritz break even. Mueller died last September. Without his contribution, the festival cannot continue. Advertisements announce that this year’s will “absolutely, probably” be the last Fritz Blitz.
“It’s most likely quittin’ time,” says Daniels, “for several reasons. In a way, we’ve moved on. Bryan [Bevell]’s gone. Candis [Paule, casting director] has a busy career and growing family. And I live in L.A. But if it were financially feasible, are you kidding? We’d love to continue.”
Daniels is — and is not — resigned to ending the festival. Keeping busy, he confessed, hasn’t blocked an impending sense of loss, the size of which he can’t yet fathom.
“It’s a tragedy,” says Ginger Harris. “I can’t imagine that the most important new-works festival around could just die! Duane gave so many their first chance, especially young people who can really write, like Kevin [Armento]. He does dialogue like Mamet and scenes like Orton. And he’s 22! Kim Porter won a McDonald [Marianne McDonald Outstanding Playwright Award] in 2005 for Munched. For a theater community to call itself healthy, it needs big equity houses and community theaters and experimental companies AND places for new plays to develop! But if the Blitz dies, who’s going to stage urgent work like this?”
EMAIL FROM DANIELS TO STAFF 7/28: “The Blitz has been with us a good long while. Producing a hundred and something shows every August since 1994, you really get to know a lot about the people you work with. It all begins when a playwright gets inspired. Pen to paper. Paper to artist. Somebody has to start the process. The Fritz Blitz is a tribute to all of those hundred and something somebodys.”