OU Master of Liberal Studies graduate Mary Crescenzo, an award-winning playwright, writer, poet and blogger for The Huffington Post, had one of her plays staged this summer.Planet A, a social drama about Alzheimer’s disease,was staged at the Shades Repertory Theater in Haverstraw, NY and the Carlotta K. Petrina Cultural Center in Brownsville, TX.
Planet A was inspired by Crescenzo’s work as an arts facilitator in Tulsa working with Alzheimer’s patients using watercolor, music, and movement. It was staged in June as part of a benefit for the Alzheimer’s Association.
“It reveals, through an artistic endeavor, a world that most people fear and misunderstand,” Crescenzo said. “It creates awareness and shines a light on the dignity of those with this incurable disease.”
Her next play, Let it All Hang Out, is scheduled to open in coming months. It questions one of the last taboos for women by placing an active older woman at the center of the action and having her reveal a secret.
Crescenzo has received numerous awards and acknowledgments for her work, including: the 2012 Playwright Festival award, Edward Hopper House Art Center, Nyack, New York for The Tram; 2010 semi-finalist in the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Works Center National Playwrights Conference; winner of the 2010 James J. Nicholson Political Poetry Prize sponsored by The Pelham Library; and 2010 winner of the Annual Greenburgh Poetry Contest, Greenburgh, New York. She is also the recipient of several Lifetime Arts, Inc. Creative Aging Grants.
Crescenzo currently lives in Peekskill, NY working as a playwright, writer, poet, Jazz singer, and teaching artist of older adults. She is also an active advocate for the use of theatre and the arts in teachings for those later in life.
Update: The College of Liberal Studies was renamed the College of Professional and Continuing Studies in 2017.