Only his closest friends and family knew what he was doing, and dreaming, in retirement, and he swore them to secrecy. But he stuck to it, day after day, week after week, month after month, even taking courses for it at UCLA. He entered this contest along with 200 other hopefuls, and the entries were kept anonymous and judged just on their merits. It’s the classic story of the wannabe who suddenly becomes a player. Or, in this case, a playwright. You see, retired New York Times Hollywood correspondent Bernie Weinraub this week won the NYC Stellar Network’s competition, 2006 PLAYS IN PROGRESS, an opportunity for emerging playwrights to gain exposure among top theater industry professionals. So Bernie will have a reading of what is described as his “compelling and beautifully written” work, Accomplices, at NYC’s Atlantic Theater on July 31st produced by the Stellar Network, and cast with professional actors, and directed by Ian Morgan of The New Group. After the reading, leading industry panelists will analyze the business, commercial and artistic aspects of the play; discuss the work’s artistic merits, commercial viability, and design issues; and finally advise what steps the writer can take to further his career as a playwright. Last year’s Play in Progress (Nicola Behrman’s Wasps In Bed) is becoming a fully produced Off-Broadway production this fall. Bernie’s play — based on research, documents, books, interviews and, of course, his own imagination — is the true story of a group of men who came to the United States in 1940 to alert the country to the unfolding horror of the slaughter of Jews taking place in German-controlled Europe. The plot revolves around the indifference and bigotry they encountered. “Accomplices‘ clever theatrical structure and timely message allows us to consider the future while examining the past,” said the announcement about his winning entry. Sincerest congratulations to Bernie Weinraub, who once belonged to Hollywood and now belongs to the theatuh