Olathe Civic Theatre New Works Playwright Competition 3/2 and 3/3/18

Over my 41st birthday Adoption of Grief won the OCTA NWPC. I was shocked as I swore other plays and musicals would win. What I learned is to work hard on stories that are personal and have heart. Another thing I learned is that I’m not a one hit wonder, I can tell more than one story. It’s also important to have a mentor, and I’ve made Phil Kinen mine. My writing gets better with every work I do with him as director.

March 2nd and 3rd. 8pm. Olathe Civic Theatre. Tickets here:


Adoption of Grief – Cast

Director: Phil Kinen

Playwright: Jessie Salsbury

Playing role of Desiree Nichols: Tobi Omodehinde

Playing role of Amanda Lipsig: Denise Saylor

Stage Direction Reader: Davida Eubank

Phil Kinen bio

Philip Kinen is excited to be working with Jessie Salsbury again. He has directed two readings of her script “Route 84 House Fire”, the ten-minute version for the Midwest Dramatist Conference and the one act version for Speak Out. Phil is a long-time theatre producer, playwright, and director. His most recent projects have been presenting his original works focusing on the character of Huck Finn throughout various stages of his life during the Kansas City Fringe Festival. Phil especially enjoys working with playwrights in coaching and directing their original work. Phil is also the staging director for the Heartland Men’s Chorus.

Jessie Salsbury bio

Jessie Salsbury is a member of the Dramatists Guild and lives in Gardner, Kansas. She has participated in numerous local play readings and new work development. Most recently, her play “Route 84 House Fire” was featured in the 2017 Midwest Dramatist Center conference, Barn Players 6×10 10-minute Play Festival and Speak Out. She is a playwright for 365 Women a Year: A Playwriting Project and her work can be found on the New Play Exchange. She would like to especially thank Phil Kinen, Andy Garrison and the Actor Training Studio, and OCTA for allowing local playwrights this opportunity.

Adoption of Grief Play Synopsis

An African-American college student seeks answers after her sister unexpectedly dies, having left behind notes indicating that the decedent’s daughters are to be adopted into the same white family that her son was secretly adopted by years before. The student must discover the reasons why her sister would trust her children to an unknown white woman, uncovering the difficulties of interracial adoption and dealing with society’s view of an “acceptable” family.

Tobi Omodehinde Bio

Tobi Omodehinde, born in Lagos, Nigeria, now resides in Kansas City. Tobi discovered her love for Acting at the age of 8. She got involved in Kansas City film by taking classes at the Actor Training Studio. She is signed with Exposure, and has done local commercials, as well as local independent films. Her most recent projects include Below The Fold, Distortion, Siloam, and Beginnings from an end.

Denise Saylor Bio

Denise is excited to be debuting at OCTA after 10 years of acting in the St. Louis area. She moved from Kansas City to St. Louis after receiving her BFA in Theatre, with a minor in Music, from Stephens college. Her St. Louis acting credits include Playing for Time, Dancing at Lughnasa, Macbeth and Wake up Cameron Dobbs. Additionally, Denise is a proficient improve performer, working with Jest Murder Mysteries, Playback Troupe, and Not Quite Right. She is an RVT at Bluepearl Specialty Vet Hospital. Denise is thrilled to be back in KC with her husband Dan, their two dogs, and to be finally near the rest of her family.

Davida Eubank – Bio

In high school, Davida was an active participant in Debate, Forensics and Theater, as well as local historical society tours and re-enactments. In her adult life, those experiences have translated to the ability to speak comfortably in public (professionally or not) as well as, in a “full circle” kind of way, the pursuit of self-employment through an event production company formed with her partner, Graham. On a side note from the playwright- Davida’s input on writing and gramatical structure have been invaluable and strengthened the script tremendously.

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