New Works Initiative

Department of Theatre and Dance

New Works Initiative

The New Works Initiative at Montclair State University

THE NEW WORKS INITIATIVE (NWI) is an Artist-in-Residence program and developmental platform in the Department of Theatre and Dance in Montclair State University’s College of the Arts. NWI’s mission is to bring together established and emerging playwrights, composers, choreographers, theatre-makers, and professional directors with MSU theatre students to explore adventurous theatrical works.

The New Works Initiative is made possible through the generous support of Bob and Holly Gregory.


Announcing the New Works Initiative 2017–18 Artists-in-Residence:

Featuring a new commissioned play by Jeff Talbott
Directed by Wes Grantom

jeff talbott

Jeff Talbott’s play The Submission was the inaugural recipient of the Laurents/Hatcher Award and was produced off-Broadway by MCC Theater; it went on to receive the Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award for New American Play.  The Gravedigger’s Lullaby will receive its world-premiere production in March 2017 off-Broadway with TACT at Theatre Row.  Three Rules for the Dragon and A Public Education were both finalists for the O’Neill Playwrights Conference.

His plays (including iElliotAll the Stars in the Midnight Sky and How to Build a City) have received workshops and readings at MCC Theater, Premiere Stages, Chicago Shakespeare, Pioneer Theatre, TACT, Crowded Outlet and Route 66.  He writes musicals with composer Will Van Dyke.  Their work includes:  Imagine Harry (NAMT Festival of New Musicals), Wintersong (Goodspeed’s Johnny Mercer Writers Colony) and the just-completed Seven Broken Hearts.  They have released an EP (A View of the River) and a single (A New Year, recorded by Annaleigh Ashford), both available on iTunes or wherever digital music is sold.  Jeff is a member of TACT and graduated with honors from the Yale School of Drama.


wes grantom

Wes Grantom (Director) is thrilled to develop brand new work with Jeff Talbott after collaborations on four of this other plays.  Recent directing credits include Toxic Avenger by David Bryan and Joe DiPietro at Pittsburgh CLO, Lone Star Spirits by Josh Tobiessen with Crowded Outlet, Eager to Loseby Matthew-Lee Erlbach at Ars Nova, The Cloud by Matt Moses, The Steadfast by Mat Smart, Mineby Bekah Brunstetter for Slant Theatre Project.

Wes has a number of Broadway credits as resident and associate director, working alongside James Lapine, Emma Rice, John Rando, Anthony Page and Rufus Norris. He is a recipient of multiple Drama League Fellowships, a member of Lincoln Center Directors Lab, a graduate of the University of Evansville and the Artistic Director of Crowded Outlet, based in Queens.


NWI Submission Announcement:

2018/ 2019 NWI Artist-in-Residence: Seeking a playwright, theatre maker/deviser, composer/ lyricist or choreographer for a new full-length work in progress that has been partially developed but not yet fully produced. Potential commissions will also be considered. Artistic collaborators may apply as a team. NWI is particularly seeking stories and voices from under-represented communities in the theatre.
Fall 2018 Developmental Workshop culminating in a staged reading at a New York City theatre (2 - 4 week rehearsal period).
Spring 2019 Full Production in the main stage department season, venue and budget appropriate for the demands of the piece (minimum 4 week rehearsal period).
Venues include:
Alexander Kasser Theatre, a state of the art 500-seat proscenium theatre
Memorial Auditorium, a 988-seat proscenium theatre
L. Howard Fox Theatre, a flexible black box
Artist(s) Fee to be determined by the scope of the project.
Preferable minimum of 10 performers.
Age appropriate roles for undergraduate actors.
Innovative form and content.
Submissions of complete or in-progress works: 
Please submit proposal, artist's statement, resume and/or CV, project description, cast breakdown, and a sample of the work (video, text, or other format). All submissions will be curated by the NWI Committee.
Submissions for commissioned works:
Please submit an artist’s statement, resume and/or CV, detailed project concept and description for the proposed work including projected cast size, and a representative complete work (text or video). Evidence of other produced work or work in development appreciated but not required.
Send submissions to Andi Stover:

People got it together to write the Constitution, so why can't two student action groups get a single sentence on paper to form a charter? Finding the right words can be the hardest thing in the world. Two stories. One story. Their story. Our story. A thorny comic drama about getting things started.

New York Workshop Reading
Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Full Production
L. Howard Fox Theatre
Department of Theatre and Dance
April 2018