national playwrights conference

Wendy C. Goldberg, Artistic Director

The O’Neill’s founding program presents eight new works this summer season by a broad mix of brand new, mid-career, and established artists. The plays were chosen from 1,429 plays received through the O’Neill’s open submissions process. Each new play undergoes the O’Neill’s signature development process and is presented in staged readings featuring award-winning casts and creative teams. 

july 5 at 8:15pm   •

LIGHTNING by Beth Henley

about the writer


Benjamin Benne’s plays include at the very bottom of a body of water, q u e r e n c i a: an imagined autobiography about forbidden fruits, and #nowall. He’s been the recipient of a 2017-18 McKnight Fellowship in Playwriting and 2016-17 Many Voices Fellowship at The Playwrights’ Center, as well as the Robert Chesley/Victor Bumbalo Playwriting Award. His plays have been finalists for the Princess Grace Award, Ingram New Works Lab, Blue Ink Playwriting Award, National Playwrights Conference, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Headwaters New Play Festival, and Austin Playhouse Festival of New American Plays, as well as runner-up for the National Latino Playwriting Award and semifinalist for the P73 Playwriting Fellowship. His work has been developed/produced by The Playwrights Realm’s Scratchpad Series, The Lark’s Playwrights’ Week, Two River Theater, Pillsbury House Theatre, Teatro Milagro, Seattle Repertory Theatre, A Contemporary Theatre, Annex Theatre, Forward Flux, Umbrella Project, and Parley, among others. Most recently, Benjamin's work was featured on 50 Playwrights Project's Best Unproduced Latin@/x Plays 2018 list. He was born and raised in Los Angeles County and currently resides in Minneapolis, MN. www.benjaminbenne.com




about the new play


Nearly 18 years ago, Alma crossed the border between Mexico and the United States, pregnant with a child and great dreams for the life ahead of them. Now it’s December 2, 2016, Alma has been studying for her citizenship test while her daughter, Angel, studies for her SATs. But since the election, Alma has been having haunting nightmares about elephants and spider webs. And on the eve before Angel’s test, Trump’s voice is blaring from the television when Alma comes home early to discover that Angel isn’t at home studying.




cast & creative team


Director: Elena Araoz Dramaturg: Catherine Rodríguez Scenic Designer: Lawrence Moten Lighting Designer: Christian DeAngelis Cast: Cynthia Bastidas, Andrea Morales





#NOWALL by Benjamin Benne

july 6 & 7 at 7:15pm   •

about the writer


Benjamin Benne’s plays include at the very bottom of a body of water, q u e r e n c i a: an imagined autobiography about forbidden fruits, and #nowall. He’s been the recipient of a 2017-18 McKnight Fellowship in Playwriting and 2016-17 Many Voices Fellowship at The Playwrights’ Center, as well as the Robert Chesley/Victor Bumbalo Playwriting Award. His plays have been finalists for the Princess Grace Award, Ingram New Works Lab, Blue Ink Playwriting Award, National Playwrights Conference, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Headwaters New Play Festival, and Austin Playhouse Festival of New American Plays, as well as runner-up for the National Latino Playwriting Award and semifinalist for the P73 Playwriting Fellowship. His work has been developed/produced by The Playwrights Realm’s Scratchpad Series, The Lark’s Playwrights’ Week, Two River Theater, Pillsbury House Theatre, Teatro Milagro, Seattle Repertory Theatre, A Contemporary Theatre, Annex Theatre, Forward Flux, Umbrella Project, and Parley, among others. Most recently, Benjamin's work was featured on 50 Playwrights Project's Best Unproduced Latin@/x Plays 2018 list. He was born and raised in Los Angeles County and currently resides in Minneapolis, MN. www.benjaminbenne.com




about the new play


Nearly 18 years ago, Alma crossed the border between Mexico and the United States, pregnant with a child and great dreams for the life ahead of them. Now it’s December 2, 2016, Alma has been studying for her citizenship test while her daughter, Angel, studies for her SATs. But since the election, Alma has been having haunting nightmares about elephants and spider webs. And on the eve before Angel’s test, Trump’s voice is blaring from the television when Alma comes home early to discover that Angel isn’t at home studying.




cast & creative team


Director: Elena Araoz Dramaturg: Catherine Rodríguez Scenic Designer: Lawrence Moten Lighting Designer: Christian DeAngelis Cast: Cynthia Bastidas, Andrea Morales





july 11 & 12  at 8:15pm   •

LOCKDOWN by Cori Thomas

about the new play


A writer and a prison inmate embark on an unexpected journey to the realities of long term incarceration and grief, as they work together to craft a statement for his upcoming parole hearing. Lockdown was commissioned by Rattlestick Playwrights Theater through the Toulmin Foundation, and inspired by Cori Thomas’ experiences getting to know and working alongside a number of men currently serving life sentences at San Quentin State Prison.




about the writer


Cori Thomas’ plays include: Lockdown; When January Feels Like Summer; LIBERIAN LEGACY TRILOGY: Pa’s Hat, Flight 109, In The Beginning; Citizens Market; The Ballad of Ella May; My Secret Language of Wishes; The Princess, The Breast, and The Lizard; The Unusual Love Life of Bedbugs and Other Creatures; The Hair Play; Waking Up; His Daddy; our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor. Developed and produced: Sundance Institute, City Theatre Company (Pittsburgh), Goodman Theater, Page 73 Productions, Playwrights Horizons, Lark Play Development Center, Ensemble Studio Theatre, GTTR, Pillsbury House Theatre, Mixed Blood Theatre, Mosaic Theatre Co, Central Square Theatre, Penumbra Theatre, Passage Theatre, Working Theater, Playwrights Realm, New Federal Theatre, New Georges, New Black Fest. Commissions: Rattlestick Playwright’s Theatre, South Coast Rep, Sloan Foundation, Pillsbury House Theatre, Central Square Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre, New Black Fest, The Slavery Project, The Working Theater. New Dramatists Resident, Fellow at Sundance, MacDowell, Bogliasco Foundation, and Baryshnikov Center Fellow. Playwrigh-in-Residence at Yale through Page 73 Productions. Awards and Honors: Inaugural Italian American Playwrights Project pick ( When January feels Like Summer) will be translated into Italian and published. American Theater Critics Association 2011 Osborn Award— When January Feels Like Summer; Edgerton Foundation New Play Award; 2016 Horton Foote Playwriting Prize Finalist; 2 time Theodore Ward Prize Winner. When January Feels Like Summer—Dramatic Publishing Company. Upcoming: World Premiere 2019 Lockdown at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater Co; Writer - Audible Original Content Series “The Walls”; “untitled” feature Film for HBO Films. Cori is a founder of the non-profit organization www.pashatfoundation.org which does work with former male child soldiers in Liberia, West Africa. She is represented by Leah Hamos at The Gersh Agency lhamos@gersh.com.




cast & creative team


Director: Kent Gash Dramaturg: Ignacia Delgado Scenic Design: Lawrence Moten Lighting Design: Raquel Davis Cast: John Earl Jelks, Andy Lucien





RUTH by Enid Graham

july 13 & 14  at 7:15pm   •

about the writer


Benjamin Benne’s plays include at the very bottom of a body of water, q u e r e n c i a: an imagined autobiography about forbidden fruits, and #nowall. He’s been the recipient of a 2017-18 McKnight Fellowship in Playwriting and 2016-17 Many Voices Fellowship at The Playwrights’ Center, as well as the Robert Chesley/Victor Bumbalo Playwriting Award. His plays have been finalists for the Princess Grace Award, Ingram New Works Lab, Blue Ink Playwriting Award, National Playwrights Conference, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Headwaters New Play Festival, and Austin Playhouse Festival of New American Plays, as well as runner-up for the National Latino Playwriting Award and semifinalist for the P73 Playwriting Fellowship. His work has been developed/produced by The Playwrights Realm’s Scratchpad Series, The Lark’s Playwrights’ Week, Two River Theater, Pillsbury House Theatre, Teatro Milagro, Seattle Repertory Theatre, A Contemporary Theatre, Annex Theatre, Forward Flux, Umbrella Project, and Parley, among others. Most recently, Benjamin's work was featured on 50 Playwrights Project's Best Unproduced Latin@/x Plays 2018 list. He was born and raised in Los Angeles County and currently resides in Minneapolis, MN. www.benjaminbenne.com




about the new play


Nearly 18 years ago, Alma crossed the border between Mexico and the United States, pregnant with a child and great dreams for the life ahead of them. Now it’s December 2, 2016, Alma has been studying for her citizenship test while her daughter, Angel, studies for her SATs. But since the election, Alma has been having haunting nightmares about elephants and spider webs. And on the eve before Angel’s test, Trump’s voice is blaring from the television when Alma comes home early to discover that Angel isn’t at home studying.




cast & creative team


Director: Elena Araoz Dramaturg: Catherine Rodríguez Scenic Designer: Lawrence Moten Lighting Designer: Christian DeAngelis Cast: Cynthia Bastidas, Andrea Morales





ENDLINGS by Celine Song

july 18 & 19  at 8:15pm   •

about the new play


On the island of Man-Jae in Korea, three elderly women spend their dying days diving into the ocean to harvest seafood with nothing but rusty knives. They are “haenyeos”—“sea women”—and there are no heiresses to their millennium-old tradition. Endlings is a real estate lesson from the last three remaining “haenyeos” in the world: Don’t Live On An Island. Unless it is the island of Manhattan.




about the writer


Celine Song is a member of the Public Theater’s 2016-2017 Emerging Writers Group, a member of Ars Nova’s 2014-2015 Play Group, a member of the Orchard Project's inaugural NYC Greenhouse 2018, and a Playwrights Realm 2017-2018 Writing Fellow. Her play Endlings was a part of the 2017 Kilroys list and a semifinalist for P73 playwriting fellowship. Tom & Eliza was a semifinalist for the American Playwriting Foundation's 2016 Relentless Award. Celine has been awarded residencies, fellowships, and commissions from: MTC/Sloan, Sundance, the Millay Colony for the arts, the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the Edward F. Albee Foundation. Celine was an IATI Theater 2015 Cimientos Playwright and a 2014 & 2016 Great Plains Theatre Conference Playlab Playwright. Her plays include The Feast (MAP Theater in Seattle, New Court Theatre in LA, Shelterbelt Theatre in Omaha, Red Theater Chicago), Family (Signature Theater, Potomac Theater), Tom & Eliza (Ars Nova, JACK, Theatre503), and Endlings (The Public, Echo Theater, OSF Black Swan Lab). She holds an MFA from Columbia.




cast & creative team


Director: Sammi Cannold Dramaturg: Ignacia Delgado Scenic Design: Carolyn Mraz Lighting Design: Brian Lilienthal Cast: Lori Tan Chinn, Jiehae Park, Matt da Silva, Andy Talen, Virginia Wing, Jo Yang, Ryan Rosenheim, John DeSilvestri, Robert Duffley





july 20 at 7:15pm & july 21 at 3:15pm   •

THE FOREST by Lia Romeo

about the new play


Juliet is losing her marriage. Her mother Pam is losing her memory. And there’s a mysterious forest growing in and around their living room. A play about grief, weird love, and what to do when there aren’t any right answers.




about the writer


Lia Romeo’s plays have been produced at 59E59, Project Y Theatre Company, Unicorn Theatre, HotCity Theatre, Stillwater Theatre, Renegade Theatre Experiment, Forward Flux Productions, New Origins Theatre Company, Jersey City Theater Center, Porch Light Productions, The Skeleton Rep, MCS Theater, and Xpressions Performing Arts Network, and have been developed at the Lark, San Francisco Playhouse, Orlando Shakes, Abingdon Theatre, and elsewhere. She has been nominated for the ATCA/Steinberg Award for best new play and the NYIT Award for outstanding full-length play, and has been recognized by the O’Neill (finalist), the Heideman Award (finalist), and the Kilroys List (honorable mention). She was a 2018 Individual Artist Fellowship winner in playwriting from the New Jersey State Council for the Arts, and was the National New Play Network Emerging Playwright-in- Residence at Writers Theatre of New Jersey. She is currently a member of the Project Y Playwrights Group and a company member with InViolet Theater. She is also the associate artistic director at Project Y Theatre Company and the new play coordinator at Jersey City Theater Center. She is the author of a novel, Dating the Devil (Amazon bestseller, optioned by ABC Family), and a humor book, 11,002 Things to Be Miserable About (sold over 35,000 copies worldwide). Her plays are published by Playscripts and Smith & Kraus. She earned her B.A. from Princeton University and her M.F.A. in playwriting from Rutgers/MGSA, and she teaches in the graduate creative writing program at Fairleigh Dickinson University.




cast & creative team


Director: Melia Bensussen Dramaturg: Carrie Chapter Scenic Designer: Carolyn Mraz Lighting Designer: Christian DeAngelis Cast: John Concado, Sam Lilja, Maryann Plunkett, Makela Spielman,





SLAVE PLAY by Jeremy O. Harris

july 25 & 26  at 8:15pm   •

about the new play


The old South lives on at the MacGregor Plantation—in the breeze, in the cotton fields...and in the crack of the whip. It’s an antebellum fever-dream, where fear and desire entwine in the looming shadow of the Master’s House.




about the writer


Jeremy O. Harris is a theatre artist currently residing in New Haven, CT by way of Los Angeles, CA. As a playwright, his full-length plays include Xander Xyst, Dragon: 1, "Daddy", WATER SPORTS; or insignificant white boys, and Slave Play (winner of the 2018 Kennedy Center Rosa Parks Playwriting Award and the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award). His work as a writer and director has been presented or developed by Pieterspace, JACK, Ars Nova, The New Group, New York Theater Workshop, Performance Space New York, and Playwrights Horizons. His work as an actor has been seen at About Face Theatre, The Goodman, and most recently on HBO’s High Maintenance. He is a 2016 MacDowell Colony Fellow, an Orchard Project Greenhouse artist, resident playwright with Colt Coeur, and is under commission from Lincoln Center Theater and Playwrights Horizons. Jeremy is currently in his second year at the Yale School of Drama.




cast & creative team


Director: Robert O’Hara Dramaturg: Aaron Malkin Scenic Designer: Carolyn Mraz Lighting Designer: Brian Lilienthal Cast: Antoinette Crowe-Legacy, James Cusati-Moyer, Mikeah Ernest Jennings, A.Z. Kelsey, Chalia La Tour, Irene Sofia Lucio, Annie McNamara, Jesse Pennington,





july 27 & 28  at 7:15pm   •

MARVEL-OUS MONICA; IN WICH MONICA LEWINSKY IS A SUPERHERO HELL-BENT ON REVENGE by Sarah Tuft

about the new play


As Monica Lewinsky rehearses for her TED Talk, her PTSD keeps getting in the way, sending her spinning, literally, into an alternate universe. Will Marvel-ous Monica rescue The Pretty Young Coed from the Lecherous Professor? Will she learn the secret of Nasty-Woman, the mighty matriarchal superhero? And finally, will Monica be able to give her talk by making peace with her traumatic past? Combining humor, fantasy, and verbatim theater, Marvel-ous Monica offers an overdue #MeToo look at the slut-shamed young woman at the center of a notorious political scandal.




about the writer


Sarah Tuft’s plays have been developed, read and/or produced at theaters in 19 states and abroad including Geffen Playhouse, The Public Theater, Vineyard Theatre, Toledo Repertoire Theatre, EST’s Lexington Center, IAMA Theatre Company directed by Thomas Sadoski, Monster Box Theatre, Naked Angels’ Tuesdays@9, Sundog Theatre, and 24Hour Plays at BAM with actors Billy Crudup, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Edie Falco, James Gandolfini, Neil Patrick Harris, Samuel L. Jackson, Melissa Leo, Tony Shalhoub, and Kathleen Turner. Plays include Marvel-ous Monica; In Which Monica Lewinsky Is a Superhero Hell-Bent On Revenge (2018 Last Frontier Theatre Conference PlayLab, 2017 Austin Film Festival Playwriting Competition, 365 Women a Year); 110 Stories; Awesome Big Somebody; Patti Smith, P.I.; and Shoot Me. 110 Stories is published by Playscripts. Awards include 2018 HUMANITAS Play LA Workshop finalist and a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship. Sarah has blogged for HuffPost, Indiewire Women and Hollywood, and The New York Times. A member of the Dramatists Guild and Antaeus Playwrights Lab, Sarah teaches dramatic writing at SF Creative Writing Institute.




cast & creative team


Director: Giovanni Sardelli Dramaturg: Tanya Palmer Scenic Designer: Carolyn Mraz Lighting Designer: Christian DeAngelis Cast: Betsy Aidem, David Wilson Barnes, Catherine Curtin, Angel Desai, Scott Drummond, Jenny Mudge, Remy Zaken





about sarah delappe


Sarah DeLappe's debut play The Wolves (The Playwrights Realm/NY Stage & Film/Lincoln Center Theater) was a co-winner of the Relentless Award and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, and the Yale Drama Series Prize. Other honors include the Page One Fellowship at the Playwrights Realm and the Sky Cooper New American Play Prize. Fellowships and developmental support include The MacDowell Colony, The Ground Floor, LCT3 Playwright in Residence, Ars Nova Play Group, Clubbed Thumb, SPACE on Ryder Farm, and Sitka Fellows Program. She holds an MFA from Brooklyn College.




about j.t. rogers


J.T. Rogers’s plays include Oslo (Lincoln Center Theater, then Broadway; National Theatre, London, then West End); Blood and Gifts (Lincoln Center Theater; National Theatre); The Overwhelming (National Theatre, then UK tour with Out of Joint; Roundabout Theatre); White People (Off Broadway with Starry Night Productions); and Madagascar (Theatre 503, London; Melbourne Theatre Company). For Oslo he won the Tony, New York Critics, Outer Critics, Drama Desk, Drama League, Lortel, and Obie awards. He has been twice nominated for London’s Olivier Award, for Oslo and as coauthor of The Great Game: Afghanistan. His works have been staged throughout the United States and in Germany, Canada, Australia, and Israel, and his essays have appeared in the New York Times, American Theatre, the Guardian, and the New Statesman. He is a Guggenheim fellow and has received three NYFA fellowships in playwriting. Rogers is a member of the Dramatist Guild, where he is a founding board member of the Dramatists Legal Defense Fund. He is an alum of New Dramatists and holds an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.





 

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