Primary Stages is committed to supporting playwrights at all stages of their careers and providing an artistic home where they can hone their craft and develop their latest works.
An integral part of this initiative is our Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group, which has been fostering the creation of new works by emerging playwrights for nearly 20 years. Throughout its history, the Group has helped launch the careers of over 40 writers and supported the creation of close to 150 new plays. Led by our artistic staff, the Group is composed of eight up-and-coming writers who participate in the program for a three-year cycle. This multi-year commitment provides writers with the security of an artistic home and enables our staff to form intimate relationships with these artists and give them the personal attention they need to advance their work. Our 2016/17 Group will meet on a weekly basis from September through April, giving writers the opportunity to discuss their current projects and offer each other constructive feedback in a supportive environment. The goal for each writer is to complete a new play by the end of the spring session, which is then given a public reading in our Fresh Ink Reading Series. The group members also receive a week long retreat at Bennington College. Our 2016/17 Group members include Jon Caren, Ryan King, Josh Koeingsberg, Rehana Lew Mirza, Cheri Magid, Caroline McGraw, Mat Smart, Susan Soon He Stanton, and Leah Nanako Winkler.
We also provide artistic and financial support to playwrights through commissions, readings and workshops. Over the course of our history, Primary Stages has commissioned 20 new works, which have gone on to be produced on our stage and by other theater companies across the country. We are currently in the process of completing a co-commission of Tanya Barfield’s play Chat with Geva Theatre. Tanya is an alumnus of our Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group and we co-produced her play The Call with Playwrights Horizons in 2013.
JON CAREN Published plays include Need to Know, The Recommendation and Catch The Fish (DPS). The Morning The Sun Fell Down (MTC’s 7@7) was recently
adapted as a feature. He’s written pilots for FOX, CBS and most recently served as Executive Story Editor for Neflix’s new drama Gypsy. Graduate of the Juilliard
Playwright’s Program and Vassar College.
RYAN KING is originally from Austin, TX. He’s a member of the 2016 Working Farm @ SPACE and a former member of the 2014-2015 Clubbed Thumb Early Career Writers Group. He’s been developed by Cape Cod Theatre Project, Naked Angels, Clubbed Thumb, Colt Coeur, Theater of NOTE, and others.
JOSH KOENIGSBERG is a Drama Desk-nominated playwright and screenwriter. His plays include Al's Business Cards, Dance Lessons, and The Mnemonist of Dutchess County - all published by Samuel French - as well as Herman Kline's Midlife Crisis and Charlatan starring award-winning mentalist Vinny DePonto. His television credits include the Emmy-winning Netflix seriesOrange Is The New Black. B.A. Bard College, M.F.A. Columbia University
REHANA LEW MIRZA’s plays include: Soldier X (Ma-Yi; Brooklyn College); Lonley Leela (LPAC); Barriers (Desipina; Asian American Theater Co.); and Neighborhood Watch (NNPN/InterAct Commission). 2016 recipient of a Lilly Award, shared National Playwrights Mellon residency with Mike Lew at Ma-Yi,
and Rita Goldberg Playwrights’ Workshop Fellow at The Lark. www.rehanamirza.com
CHERI MAGID writes about sex and intimacy. And she writes for kids. (She tries her best not to mix these two things up.) She was the Tennessee Williams
playwright in residence at Sewanee University of the South 2015-16 and is working on a play commission for the Southern Foodways Alliance.
CAROLINE V. McGRAW’s work has been produced/developed at companies such as Lesser America, New Georges, Washington Ensemble Theatre,
Naked Angels, Second Stage, Rattlestick, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Studio 42, IAMA, Ars Nova ANT Fest, Portland Center Stage’s JAW Festival, Wordbridge, and
SPACE on Ryder Farm, among others. She is Page 73's 2016/17 Tow Foundation Playwright-in-Residence. She is working on a commission from Yale Rep. MFA: Yale
School of Drama Playwriting.
MAT SMART recently won the 2015 Equity Jeff Award for Best New Work in Chicago for The Royal Society of Antarctica (Gift Theatre), which was first developed in
the Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group at Primary Stages. Other plays include: Naperville (Slant Theatre Project, Theater Wit), Samuel J. and K. (Williamstown
Theatre Festival, Steppenwolf), and The Hopper Collection (Magic Theatre, Huntington).
SUSAN SOON HE STANTON's plays include Takarazuka!!!, Cygnus, and Today Is My Birthday. She is a two-time Sundance residency recipient, an alumni of the Public’s Emerging Writers Group, SoHo Rep Writer-Director Lab, and Women’s Project Lab. Her plays have been produced by Clubbed Thumb, East West Players, and more. https://susanstanton.wordpress.com/
LEAH NANAKO WINKLER's plays include Kentucky (Kilroys List, World Premiere: EST/Page 73, West Coast Premiere:East West Players November 2016),
Two Mile Hollow, Death For Sydney Black and more. She is an alumnus of Youngblood and a Time Warner Foundation Fellow of the 2016-2018 Lab at the Women’s Project Theater. www.leahwinkler.org