directors in theatre seats

New Works Initiative

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 Montclair State University 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 2020-21 NEW WORKS INITIATIVE ARTISTS-IN-RESIDENCE

THE NAMES WE GAVE HIM

Ellen McLaughlin, playwright | Peter Foley, composer | Lisa Rothe, director 

The Names We Gave Him: Loosely based on a true story, this is a musical about an amnesiac veteran of the First World War, the doctor who treated him, and the many women who, in denial of their grief, claimed him as their lost beloved. The piece explores the agony of war for both the soldiers and the families they leave behind, the distorting power of loss and the insistence of love. What is a country’s identity in the aftermath of such devastation? What is a self without memory?


Ellen McLaughlin has worked extensively in regional, international and New York theater, both as an actor and as a playwright. Plays and operas include, Tongue of a Bird, Iphigenia and Other Daughters, Trojan Women, Infinity’s House, Helen, Oedipus, The Persians, Penelope, Ajax in IraqPericles, Septimus and Clarissa, Blood Moon, and The Oresteia.  Producers include The Public Theater, National Actors’ Theater, Classic Stage Co., New York Theater Workshop, The Guthrie, The Intiman, The Mark Taper Forum, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Actors’ Theater of Louisville, Orlando Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare Theatre, DC, Prototype, and The Almeida Theater in London. Acting work includes originating the part of the Angel in Angels in America, playing the role in workshops and regional productions through its original Broadway run.
She is the recipient of the Writer’s Award from the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund as well as other honors, including the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, The Helen Merrill Award for Playwriting, and grants from the NEA. She has taught in several programs, including Yale School of Drama, Princeton and Bread Loaf School of English. She has taught playwriting at Barnard College since 1995.


Peter Foley’s theater work includes music and lyrics for The Hidden Sky, music for “To Sing” in Songs From an Unmade Bed, scores and songs for several plays including Much Ado About Nothing at Shakespeare Festival of New Jersey, and several musicals in development, including The Names We Gave Him.He received the Richard Rodgers Award, Stephen Sondheim Award, Jonathan Larson Foundation Award and an NEA grant for The Hidden Sky, and The Names We Gave Him was a Richard Rodgers Award finalist. As lyricist, he created the English translation for the published edition of Kurt Weill’s Zaubernacht. He has received commissions from the Public Theater and Signature Theatre (VA), and his songs have been performed at Lincoln Center’s American Songbook, the New York Festival of Song, NYC’s Symphony Space and many other venues.
He served as Music Assistant on Sting’s The Last Ship, and as Associate Music Director for the recent workshop of Elvis Costello’s A Face in the Crowd. Healso composed music for seven seasons of the Emmy-nominated PBS series, Art21.


Lisa Rothe is a NYC-based freelance theater director, coach and educator. She was nominated for SDC’s Joe A. Callaway Award for Direction for Hold These Truths by Jeanne Sakata, starring Joel De La Fuente. This production has toured the country and won Theatre Bay Area Awards for Outstanding Direction, Performer and Production.
Recent directing work has been seen at The Guthrie Theatre, Kansas City Repertory Theater, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Irish Repertory Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse, Theatreworks/ Silicon Valley (nominated for 8 Bay Area Critics Circle Awards), Two River Theater, People’s Light and Playmakers Repertory Theatre. Most recent productions: Steel Magnolias at the Guthrie Theatre; Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Fun Home at Kansas City Repertory Theatre.Lisa is the Director of New Works at Kansas City Repertory Theatre, co-Artistic Director of The Actor’s Center in NYC, a recent co-President of the League of Professional Theatre Women, a Usual Suspect with New York Theatre Workshop, member of the National Theater Conference, an Artistic Affiliate and former Audrey Fellow with New Georges, and a Drama Leagueand Fox Fellow alum. She was also the Director of Global Exchange at The Lark for over five years, providing expanded opportunities for playwrights, aimed at advancing new work to production, both nationally and globally.  www.lisarothe.com


2021-22 NWI Submission Announcement:

2021/2022 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 2021 Developmental Workshop culminating in a staged reading in Montclair, New Jersey (two to four-week rehearsal period).

Spring 2022 Full Production in the main stage department season, venue and budget appropriate for the demands of the piece (minimum four-week rehearsal period).

Venues include:

  • Alexander Kasser Theatre, a state of the art 500-seat proscenium theatre
  • Memorial Auditorium, a 988-seat proscenium theatre
  • Howard Fox Theatre, a flexible black box
  • Performance Studio Theatre with flexible seating for immersive productions

Artist(s) fee to be determined by the scope of the project.

Criteria:

  • 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.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: December 1, 2020

Send submissions to msu.nwi@gmail.com


2019 – 20 New Works Initiative

How to Mourn the Dead: A Tragedy in Flux
by Eric Marlin
Directed by Ilana Khanin

Two bros watch the dissident Antigone buried alive on national television, captivated by her martyrdom. A chorus of women, Antigones throughout the ages, observe, debate, and dispense with the men, to tell their own stories. A large-scale, explosively theatrical investigation of the allure of spectacle, the dangers of myth making, and the ease with which suffering becomes co-opted for personal profit.

NEW WORKS INITIATIVE 2019 – 20 ARTISTS-IN-RESIDENCE

Eric Marlin

Eric Marlin was featured in the January 2020 issue of American Theatre magazine’s Role Call: People to Watch by Amelia Merrill
As a part of his residency with Montclair State University’s New Works Initiative, he’ll present his play How to Mourn the Dead: A Tragedy (in flux) at Montclair February 20-23, with direction by Ilana Khanin.
While the forms of his work vary, Marlon says he can trace the “core concerns“ of his writing to a quote from Anne Carson, a translator of Greek tragedians: “Why does tragedy exist? Because you are full of rage. Why are you full of rage? Because you are full of grief.” Marlon says that this combination of “deep thinking and deep feeling” is the source of his new work, adding that he is “endlessly inspired by the new generation of writers who fearlessly explore their own rage and grief.

Marlin has been produced and developed by the Ars Nova ANT Fest, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Dixon Place, Samuel French, HOT! Festival, Play Date @ Pete’s, Exquisite Corpse Company, PTP/NYC, Tennessee Williams Festival, Wildclaw Theatre, Metro Arts Initiative, Buffalo United Artists, and Left Coast Theatre. Winner of the Samuel French OOB Short Play Festival and shortlisted for the Berliner Festspiele Stuckemarkt. Finalist for the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference and SPACE at Ryder Farm. Co-founder of the Healthy Oyster Collective, with whom he has created three original works.

He has worked as a stage manager and producer for the Bushwick Starr, New Georges, the Women’s Project, Red Bull Theatre, CTown, PTP/NYC, the Public Theater, the New Ohio Ice Factory Festival, & PRELUDE. MFA: Iowa Playwrights Workshop. BA: Bennington College. www.ericmarlin.com

Ilana Khanin

Ilana Khanin is a New York based director. Directing: Ars Nova ANT Fest, HERE, Theaterlab, Exquisite Corpse Company/ Governors Island, Joust Theater Company, Samuel French, Center at West Park, Primary Stages, The Brick, The Tank, Dixon Place, Atlantic Stage 2, among others. She has worked as an associate for Lila Neugebauer, Lee Sunday Evans, Annie-B Parson.

She has worked on productions at Brooklyn Academy of Music, Old Vic (London), Deutsches Theater (Berlin), Canadian Stage (Toronto), Carolina Performing Arts, Playmakers Rep, La MaMa, WP Theater, Bushwick Starr, Clubbed Thumb, New York City Players, and Big Dance Theater. M.A. in Performance Studies and B.F.A. in Directing from NYU. www.ilanakhanin.com


2019 – 20 NWI INCUBATOR PROJECT

GREY LADY
by Kate Mulley
Directed by Dara Malina

Grey Lady is, simply told, a love story and a story about a woman discovering her vocation. When Nantucket native Cady Hood learns that her husband has died on the battlefield in Antietam she disguises herself as a man to fight with the Massachusetts 20th Regiment. There she meets two men who change the course of the war for her. One, Ralph Lewis, awakens a deep sexual longing that she has never experienced before. The other, Nathan Hayward, teaches her how to be a nurse and eventually possibly even a surgeon. As the Civil War rages on, the consequences of Cady’s decision to go to war deepen and her safety and her secret are threatened.

Kate Mulley

Kate Mulley is a playwright, librettist/lyricist, producer, dramaturg and founding member of Vox Theater. Her plays and musicals have been developed and performed on four continents at theaters including Hayes Theatre Company, Luna Stage, Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center, Dixon Place, the Flea, Theatre503 and the Soho Theatre. Kate has been an Artist-in-Residence at Arteles Creative Center, a Playwriting Fellow at Shanghai Theatre Academy, and a Tennessee Williams Scholar at the Sewanee Writers Conference. She graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in Theater and History, received an MA in Writing for Performance at Goldsmiths College, London, and an MFA in Playwriting from Columbia University. She currently lives in New York.
Dara Malina

Dara Malina is a director of theatre, performance, opera and film. She devises radical performance experiments, develops new plays, directs opera films, and reinvents classic works. Recent projects: INFINITE MEAT (New Georges Jam/Dixon Place); Sophie Treadwell’s MACHINAL (Pace University); THE CYMBELINE PROJECT (Rutgers University). In 2019, she developed an opera adaptation of Clarice Lispector’s THE PASSION ACCORDING TO G.H.  with composer Lacy Rose under the mentorship of Mabou Mines Resident Artist Program. She has collaborated with playwrights at Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Tank, Dixon Place, JACK, The Flea, Chez Bushwick, New Ohio, and Rattlestick. Next, she is directing MEASURE FOR MEASURE with LIU-Post. MFA Theatre Directing, Columbia University. Member: New Georges Jam, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Commitment Experiment Performance Collective. daramalina.com

2020-21 NWI Submission Announcement:

2020/2021 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 2020 Developmental Workshop culminating in a staged reading in Montclair, New Jersey (two to four-week rehearsal period).

Spring 2021 Full Production in the main stage department season, venue and budget appropriate for the demands of the piece (minimum four-week rehearsal period).

Venues include:

  • Alexander Kasser Theatre, a state of the art 500-seat proscenium theatre
  • Memorial Auditorium, a 988-seat proscenium theatre
  • Howard Fox Theatre, a flexible black box

Artist(s) fee to be determined by the scope of the project.

Criteria:

  • 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.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: December 1, 2019

Send submissions to msu.nwi@gmail.com


2018 – 19 New Works Initiative

woman greeting sunrise

DAUGHTERS OF THE REBELLION
by Guadalís Del Carmen
Directed by Melissa Crespo
Even though Katya and Fanya are sisters raised in the same rich and aristocratic home, their experiences are worlds apart. With their country on the cusp of a revolution, the sisters take separate paths to fight for their country’s future. Having the odds against them, both make drastic choices that will forever change their relationship. With one sister sacrificing her life and the other sacrificing her livelihood, the fate of their beloved country ultimately lays in their hands.

Guadalís Del Carmen featured in June 2018 in The Theatre Times article: “AFRO-LATINX, FRONT AND CENTER: AN INTERVIEW WITH GUADALíS DEL CARMEN.”

NEW WORKS INITIATIVE 2018 – 19 ARTISTS-IN-RESIDENCE

Currently based in NYC, Carmen’s first play, Blowout, was produced by Aguijón Theater in 2013. In 2014, she was one of eight early career playwrights to be chosen to form El Semillero, a playwright writing group curated by ALTA (Alliance of Latino Theater Artists) in residency at Victory Gardens Theater. My Father’s Keeper was developed through El Semillero and was a semi-finalist in Quick Silver Theater Company’s 2018 Playwrights of Color Summit.

Guadalís’ play, Tolstoy’s Daughters, was part of UrbanTheater Company’s 2015 R.A.W. (Real Aggressive Writing) Series. Tolstoy’s Daughters went on to be selected as a finalist in Quick Silver Theater’s Playwrights of Color Summit which culminated in a public staged reading in Geneva, NY in June 2016. In 2017, Tolstoy’s Daughters would go on to be selected as one of 50 Playwrights Projects Best Unproduced Latino/a Plays and received an Honorable Mention in the Kilroys List. Her play, Anacaona and Yemayá Taught Me… was a semi-finalist in The Playwrights Realm’s 2017-2018 Writing Fellowship and was originally written through The Brooklyn Generator. Guadalís has written for the One Minute Play Festival Chicago and NYC, CastandLoose Live! Not So Buenos Aires at Joe’s Pub, and Black Lives, Black Words Chicago. Guadalís is also a Seattle Public Theatre’s 2017 Emerald Prize nominee.

Melissa Crespo is a NYC based director of theater, opera and film. Recent credits include: mj kaufman’s eat and you belong to us (NYU Tisch), Vid Guerrerio’s ¡Figaro! (90210) (The Duke on 42nd Street & LA Opera), Karen Zacarías’ Destiny of Desire (Garden Theatre), Stupid Fucking Bird (NSKI, Norway), The ABC Talent Showcase and Tar Baby written and performed by Desiree Burch with Dan Kitrosser and winner of the Scotsman Fringe First at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Upcoming: World Premiere of Nathan Louis Jackson’s Brother Toad (Kansas City Repertory Theatre), In the Blue Hour by Martina Potratz and Pedro Pan: The Musical by Rebecca Aparicio & Stephen Elkins. Melissa is an alum of the Drama League Director’s Project, Allen Lee Hughes Directing Fellow at Arena Stage, Van Lier Directing Fellow at Second Stage Theatre and a current Time Warner Directing Fellow at the Women’s Project Theatre. She received her MFA in Directing from The New School for Drama. http://www.melissacrespo.com

New Works Initiative 2017 -18:

World Premiere of a new commissioned play by Jeff Talbott

Directed by Wes Grantom

chalkboard reading civics and humanities for non-majors

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.

Department of Theatre and Dance
L. Howard Fox Theatre

  • Wed, April 18 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Thu, Apr 19 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Fri, Apr 20 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Sat, Apr 21 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Sat, Apr 21 – 8:00 p.m.
  • Sun, Apr 22 – 2:00 p.m.
Cast of Civics and Humanities for non-majors
Cast of CIVICS AND HUMANITIES FOR NON MAJORS making their own charter in the rehearsal room.

Critics rave about Jeff Talbott’s recent premiere /i/ at the Pioneer Theatre:

“Talbott’s script is sharp and perceptive, savvy about the ways that technological advances inevitably come with consequences… While it might be unfair to say too much to a potential viewer about what “i” is about, it’s the kind of thought-provoking theater that’s exactly right for the kind of person who’s willing to turn themselves over to the artists.”

City Weekly, Scott Renshaw

“Subtle and witty commentary on how the world interacts with technology and the possibilities and dangers of its evolution serve as an intriguing lead to the story, but the intense and emotional dialogue about the complexities of human relationships is what really connects the audience to her story and gives it meaning. Compelling…”i” offers a big truth for audiences to walk away with.”

Deseret News, Aubrey Eyre

“i” is a complete delight… Surprising for its originality and intriguing for its structure, “i” is deeply gratifying theater.”

Broadway World, Blair Howell

“Gripping… “i” defies genre labeling and yet feels familiar; it is engaging and thought-provoking… The most moving, accurate and impassioned portrayal of absolute heartache that I have ever seen on a stage… It isn’t every day a new play makes you really consider some heavy and heady questions, and it’s even rare when questions are posed without an agenda. “i” asks a lot, but it never tells you what you should think or how you should feel.”

Utah Theatre Bloggers, Megan Crivello

 


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 received 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.  www.jefftalbott.com


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, Mine by 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.