NEXT ACT! New Play Summit


NEXT ACT! Is an expansion of Capital Repertory Theatre’s (theREP) commitment to the development of new work and directly reflects the theatre’s mission, “to create meaningful theatre generated from an authentic link to the community.” At the same time, the weekend-long summit is designed to complement the Upper Hudson Valley’s rich diverse populations, and has been doing that for the past 10-years!

NEXT ACT! New Play Summit, a joint venture between Capital Repertory Theatre and Proctors, is an annual showcase of new plays designed to shed light on new play development.

The summit brings playwrights, directors, actors, and audience members together for a series of workshops and readings, where multiple new full-length plays are given readings.

The Summit was founded on the goal to find a play that theREP wants to produce – furthering the theatre’s commitment to the development of new work. To date, theREP has selected one play to produce as a World Premiere from every single Next Act! New play Summit.

The public is invited to attend and provide feedback during all events.

Officially formed in the fall of 2012, the NEXT ACT! New Play Summit is made possible by a generous legacy gift from Samson O.A. Ullmann – a professor of English at Union College (from 1957-92).

Among a variety of additional events are:
theREP’s New Voices: Young Playwright Contest Reading, that features readings of six or more ten-minute plays by Capital Region Playwrights aged 13-19.

The NextGen Reading, an event that includes two or more short (15-30minute plays) by writers aged 19-25. theREP works in collaboration with UAlbany and their Fresh Acts Festival for this event.

The First 15: Be a Literary Manager, a popular event where the audience acts as literary manager to assess a submission using the same criteria theREP’s actual reading committee uses.

A Synopsis Clinic, hosted by Dramatist Guild Member, Aoise Stratford, this clinic aims to provide playwrights with the most effective way to write a synopsis of their play so that Literary Manager, Artistic Directors and Agents WANT to read the play.

Stage2Screen, an event curate with two Capital Region Film Companies, Poorductions and Frosted Lens, Stage2Screen shows how some plays progress – or have another life – by becoming screenplays.

The submission process for the 2024 summit has closed. Stay tuned for Summit 2024 info and 2025 submission info in the fall of 2024.


Playwrights selected for the summit will be notified in late March 2024.

No less than two plays will be selected to have readings (with an eye towards a potential future production) during the annual summit, which will take place in late April/early May 2024.

Capital Rep is a professional LORT D theatre, established in Albany in 1981.

*If you are looking for theREP’s Young Playwright Contest please visit our School Page HERE.

APRIL 15-20

View the full program here. 

Monday, April 15
7:30 p.m. – Main Reading of “All the Emilies in All the Universes” by Ian August
Enjoy a reading of the number one script that came through the submission process for the summit and give feedback to help theREP see what audiences think and ultimately weigh in on what script(s) theREP might produce as a World Premiere.

Play synopsis: Emilie struggles with the devastating loss of her stillborn child in four distinct parallel timelines. But when an unexpected bend in the space / time continuum brings these four grieving Emilies together, they realize that infinite possible realities means that somewhere, somewhen, their lost son was born alive. Emilie, Emilie, Emilie, and Emilie vow to travel through infinite dimensions, risking permanent erasure from the multiverse, to find the baby boy they thought they’d lost forever. “All the Emilies in All the Universes” is a play about coping with grief, the act of pursuing self-acceptance, and finding the truth hidden in yourself in the ever-expanding multiverse around you.

Wednesday, April 17
NEW EVENT! 6-7 p.m. – Page to Stage: “Consider the Sparrow”
Experience this 25-minute short film based on the play “The God Game” by Suzanne Bradbeer, NEXT ACT’s very first summit winner and world premiere production! Panel discussion following the film with: Suzanne Bradbeer, Jeremy Folmer, Ann Hamilton, Laurence Lau and Eliza Foss. Panel Discussion moderated by Ben Katagiri.

Film synopsis: Differences in faith can be hard enough in a marriage yet Tom and Lisa have made it work for twenty years. But when estranged friend Matt arrives presenting the opportunity of a lifetime and the only condition is a lie about God, well, what’s an American politician to do?

7:30 p.m. – “Unreconciled” by Jay Sefton & Mark Basquill
“Unreconciled” is the true story of an adolescent actor cast as Jesus in a school play directed by a parish priest. The story chronicles a survivor’s journey as he confronts his past and discovers the courage to use his voice. This 80-minute piece is a  poignant and at times humorous exploration of family, place, and the meaning of reconciliation. 

Friday, April 19
5 p.m. – NextGen: “Turn to the Bean” by Peter Chansky
You’ll listen to one short (30-60 minute play) by a playwright aged 19-25. theREP works in collaboration with UAlbany and Temple University for this event.

7:30 p.m. – New Voices: Young Playwright Contest Top 6
This event features readings of 10-minute plays by Capital Region playwrights aged 13-19. This year’s plays are:
“Morning Ritual” by Frederick Durocher, Jr.
“The Sampling Party”
by Dorian Harding
“Day Nine”
 by Eleonora Catalano
Gotham Isekai” by Haley Jones & Eren Slatcher-Burby
“The Secrets Within” by Claire Hubert, Danielle Deering and Payton Slater
“Tackled” by Georgia O’Dell, Alexia Strom-Warren, and Angeleena VanSlyke


Saturday, April 20
4 p.m. – First 15 Be a Literary Manager
This popular event encourages the audience to act as literary managers to assess a submission using the same criteria as theREP’s reading committee. This year’s plays are:
“Eleanor and Dolly” by Jenny Stafford
“The Steel Man” by Cary Gitter
“The Mallard” by Vincent Delaney
“Castling” by Anthony T. Goss
“Barb Goldfarb Didn’t Make It” by David A. Gregory

NEW EVENT! 7:30 p.m. Poetry Slam hosted by D. Colin
Surround yourself with the powerful artistry of guest slam poets including dynamic performer D. Colin. A Capital Region local since 2007, D. Colin has performed for The Moth, PBS, Write About Now, NPR and has toured both nationally and abroad. As a competing poet, she is currently ranked 12th from the Womxn of the World Poetry Slam 2023. Poets include: Tarishi MIDNIGHT Shuler @13thmidnight, EL @timber_mayhem, Courtney Symone @symonesees, Olivia Hadams @liviyvpoetry, Adonis Richards @lucidvoicesmovement, Brendon @Balanc3, Yexandria Diaz @yasss_yex, GodIs Tymani Rain @godistymanirain, Sheldon Alexander @shelxander, Laney Jade @laneytheepoet and Luis “L-Majesty” Pabon @lmajesty1.

Playwrights of the Winning Submission of Next Act! New Play Summit 13 

Main Reading

Ian August’s plays include: “All the Emilies in All the Universes” (Runner Up, Judith Royer Award; Selection, PlayPenn 2022), Zero (Winner, 2020 Ashland New Plays Festival; Semi-Finalist 2020 BAPF), Everything You Can Do (to Make the World a Better Place) (Selection, Catalyst: A Theatre Think Tank 2020; Semi-Finalist Blue Ink Prize), The Excavation of Mary Anning (Selection, 2019 Powerhouse Theater; 2018 Ashland New Plays Festival; 2018 DVRF New Playwright Program), Brisé (Selection, 2019 Great Plains Theatre Conference; Finalist, 2019 Seven Devils Playwrights Conference; Finalist, 2020 Lark Playwrights Week), Donna Orbits the Moon (Scripps Ranch Theatre; Tiny Dynamite Productions; NJ Repertory Company; Utah Contemporary Theatre), Interviewese (Winner, Garry Marshall Theatre New Works; Finalist, B Street Theatre New Comedy Fest), The Goldilocks Zone, (Passage Theatre Company; Semi-Finalist, 2015 O’Neill Conference), and Missing Celia Rose (NYC Summer Play Festival; Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s “Playfest 2009″; Bermuda Musical and Dramatic Society). Mr. August’s newest YA play, Stay Safe!, premiered at the 75th Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August, 2022. He is a founding member of the American Theatre Group’s Playwrights Lab, and a graduated member of PlayPenn’s playwriting lab, The Foundry. Several of Mr. August’s plays have been published by Sam French Inc., Smith and Kraus, and Pipeline / Applause Books. He was a 2019 Playwright in Residence at the William Inge Center for the Arts in Independence, Kansas, and a recipient of a 2021 Independent Artist Fellowship from the NJ Council for the Arts. Mr. August lives at a boarding school with one husband and four cats.

“All the Emilies in All the Universes” has received two staged readings as part of PlayPenn’s 2022 New Play Development Conference. It was also the runner-up for the 2023 Judith Royer Excellence in Playwriting Award, and a semi-finalist for the 2023 Orlando Shakespeare Theatre PlayFest conference, as well as the 2024 Blue Ink Playwriting Award.

New Voices: Young Playwright Contest 

“Morning Ritual” by Frederick Durocher, Jr.

Frederick is a senior at Schenectady high school. He has been acting since 4th grade and started screenwriting in high school. He wrote two short plays for the 2023 Schenectady high school student written plays, “Tying the knot” and “One and a half stars.” He has also written several short films for school. He was also nominated for best supporting actor last year at the Proctors high school theater awards for the role of Orin in “Little Shop of Horrors.” Currently he is writing, directing and acting in the 2024 Schenectady high school student written plays which are premiering at the end of May. He is also co running a student run Sketch comedy night with fellow amazing screenwriter Ashley Zeissler which will have a one night showing on May 3rd. He is also part of the SCSD musical theater at Proctors and a part of the theater company “Blue Roses.” Finally, he is going to SUNY Purchase for screenwriting. He would like to thank everyone who’s supported him, from his family to fellow Blue Roses members. He would like to give special shoutouts to his older sister Mary for helping him get into writing and his screenwriting teacher Mr. Muste who has always helped him push himself beyond what he thought he could do.

“The Sampling Party”by Dorian Harding

“Day Nine” by Eleonora Catalano

Eleonora is an avid story teller and has known she wanted to be a writer ever since she had a crazy dream one night and thought, that would make a really good book . She’s written several short stories, though not nearly as many as she wants. She currently attends Augustine Classical Academy as a junior, and is now very grateful for the grammar classes that were once the bane of her existence. Other than writing stories, her hobbies include reading stories, acting out stories, and telling her animals she loves them very much.

“Gotham Isekai” by Haley Jones & Eren Slatcher-Burby

Haley Jones Is a 16 year old, in their Junior Year at Guilderland High School. Their hope is to be a dramatic writer and novelist upon graduating from college.



“The Secrets Within” by Claire Hubert, Danielle Deering and Payton Slater

“Tackled” by Georgia O’Dell, Alexia Strom-Warren, and Angeleena VanSlyke


“Turn to the Bean” by Peter Chansky

Peter Chansky is a Philadelphia-based playwright currently enrolled in the MFA in Playwriting program at Temple University. His work explores the existential foundations of identity and performance through heightened realism bordering on the absurd. His short film “We’re All Fine” was awarded at Couch Film Festival, Mindfield Film Festival, and NYLIFF. His play “The Baby Shower” has been performed at 61 Local and Wild East Brewing Co. in Brooklyn, NY. His short play Camouflage premiered at the 48th Annual Samuel French OOB Short Play Festival. He received his undergraduate degree in Philosophy and Theater from Trinity College in Hartford, CT.

The First 15

Jenny Stafford (Playwright) is an award-winning playwright, bookwriter and lyricist whose works have been heard on Broadway and beyond. Her works include “The Homefront” (Village Theatre Originals, Beta Series), “Secret Hour” (Capital Repertory Theatre, The Public Theatre), “Extended Stay” (Florida Festival of New Musicals, Rhinebeck Writer’s Retreat), “Prodigy” (CCU, CDP, Two Rivers, Indiana University), “The Artist and the Scientist” (CAP21), “Awakening,” “Beating a Dead Horse” (Bloomington Playwrights Project), “The Goree All-Girl String Band” and “Eleanor and Dolly.” Her work has been featured at Lincoln Center, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Joe’s Pub, Ars Nova, 54 Below, Prospect Theatre, Barrington Stage, and elsewhere. Awards include the 2017 Reva Shiner Comedy Award, the Paulette Goddard Award, and multiple ASCAP Plus Awards. Three-time finalist status for the Kleban Prize for Musical Theatre, and a finalist for the McKnight Fellowship, the PEN Writing for Justice Fellowship, the Yale Institute for Music Theatre, the Eugene O’Neill Musical Theatre Conference, and the Ronald M. Ruble New Play Competition. Nominee for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Artist in Residence at the Rhinebeck Writer’s Retreat, Goodspeed Musicals, Johnny Mercer Writers Colony. Dramatists Guild member; MFA NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

“The Steel Man” by Cary Gitter

Cary Gitter is the playwright-in-residence at Penguin Rep Theatre in Stony Point, New York. His plays include “Gene & Gilda” (upcoming, George Street Playhouse; Penguin Rep); “The Virtuous Life of Joseph Andrews” (Penguin Rep), adapted from the Henry Fielding novel; and “The Sabbath Girl” (off-Broadway, 59E59 Theaters; Penguin Rep; Invisible Theatre; Theatre Ariel; published by Stage Rights). His musicals include “The Sabbath Girl” (upcoming, 59E59; Penguin Rep) and “How My Grandparents Fell in Love” (upcoming, New Jersey Repertory Company), both written with composer/co-lyricist Neil Berg. He is a three-time O’Neill semifinalist, a two-time Jewish Plays Project finalist, and a finalist for the Arts Council of Rockland’s Literary Artist Award, and he was an artist-in-residence at the James Stevenson Lost and Found Lab. Two of his short plays have been recorded for the acclaimed podcast Playing on Air, and his work is published in anthologies from Applause Books and Smith & Kraus. BFA, MA: NYU.

“The Mallard” by Vincent Delaney

Vincent Delaney’s plays have been produced, commissioned and developed at the Guthrie, Humana Festival, Florida Studio Theatre, LAByrinth, New Harmony Project, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Florida Stage, the Children’s Theatre Company, the Magic, Woolly Mammoth, Shakespeare and Company, Pittsburgh Public, the Lark, PlayLabs, Capital Rep and Orlando Shakes, among many others. “Las Cruces” won the New Play Festival from Premiere Stages. “Foreclosure” and “The Ansel Intimacy” were featured in the same festival. “The War Party” was developed through the National New Play Network, and had simultaneous world premieres at Seattle Public Theatre and Philadelphia’s InterAct. It was selected to the New York International Fringe Festival. “Fire Station 7” was commissioned by Seattle Children’s Theatre, where it had its world premiere. “99 Layoffs” premiered at ACT Theatre and Radial Theatre Project, and was produced at Orange Theatre in Amsterdam; the script was a nominee for the ATCA Steinberg Award. “The Sequencwe,” commissioned by the Guthrie, has been produced around the country and in Japan, Canada, Australia and the UK. “Ampersand” won the Reva Shiner Comedy Award from the Bloomington Playwrights Project. Other awards include McKnight and Bush Fellowships, Core Membership at the Playwrights Center, the Heideman from Actors Theatre of Louisville, and a Jerome Commission. Publications: Applause Books, Smith and Kraus, Samuel French, Heineman, Dramatics Magazine, Theatre Forum, and Vince is a proud alum of the Seattle Rep Writers Group and a two-time Gregory nominee.

“Castling” by Anthony Goss

Anthony Goss is a former “hooper” turned actor and writer based in New York City. He most recently appeared in the Gamm theatres production of “TopDog/UnderDog” and the Actors Shakespeare Projects Seven Guitars, for which he won the Elliot Norton Award for best lead actor. He next can be seen at the Huntington Theatre Company in the play “Toni Stone,” directed by Lydia Diamond. His play “Out of Bounds” is a current semi-finalist with the Eugene O’neill playwrights conference. He is a current resident writer with Liberation theatre company for which he continues to develop the play “Castling.”

“Barb Goldfarb Didn’t Make It” by David Gregory

Hailing from Fairbanks, Alaska, David is an actor and writer currently based out of New York. He wrote the scripted podcast “Powder Burns” which starred John Wesley Shipp, Robert Vaughn, and Edward Asner, winning a Voice Arts Award and a nomination at Austin Film Festival for their inaugural Fiction Podcast prize. His plays have been performed and supported by The Bechdel Group, Urban Stages, Last Frontier Theater Conference, Le Petit Théâtre du Vieux Carré, Shawnee Playhouse, Manhattan Rep, and Bobby Moresco’s The Actor’s Gym in New York. He’s played recurring characters on “The Good Fight,” “Insatiable,” “Constantine” and “Deception;” and was a series regular on ABC’s “One Life to Live.”


Page to Stage

“Consider the Sparrow” by Suzanne Bradbeer (Playwright and Screenwriter)

Produced plays include: “The God Game” (Pulitzer nomination and over a dozen productions including the co-premiere at theREP and Gulfshore Playhouse); “Confederates” (TheatreWorks Silicon Valley–seven Bay Area Critics Circle nominations including Best Production); “Naked Influence” (Capital Repertory Theatre); “Shakespeare in Vegas” (TheatreWorks–Silicon Valley Play Festival starring Patrick Page and Karen Ziemba; Houston’s 4th Wall Theatre, Dreamcatcher Rep/PTNJ); “Full Bloom” (Barrington Stage – Elizabeth Osborn New Play nomination from the American Theatre Critics Association; Hudson Stage, etc.). Honors include: NYFA Fellow, Lark Fellow (and featured writer), the Ashland New Plays Festival, the Berrilla Kerr Foundation Grant, the Coe College Playwriting Prize, a grant from the Wyoming Arts Council, and the BMI Foundation’s Harrington Award. Suzanne was twice the winner of the NEXT ACT! New Play Summit at theREP, twice an Honorable Mention for the Kilroy’s List and was the silver prize winner for the Hart New Play Initiative. Publications: Playscripts, Samuel French, Applause Books, the Connotation Press, HowlRound, multiple Smith & Kraus anthologies.

Panel discussion following the film with: Suzanne Bradbeer, Jeremy Folmer, Ann Hamilton, Laurence Lau and Eliza Foss

Panel Discussion moderated by Ben Katagiri

New Play Development – Workshop Performance

“UNRECONCILED” by Jay Sefton and Mark Basquill

Jay Sefton (Playwright/Performer) is an actor and licensed mental health counselor, originally from Philadelphia, and currently based in Easthampton, Massachusetts. Selected theatre credits include: “Unreconciled” (Writer/Performer, Chester Theatre Company),What the Constitution Means to Me” (WAM Theatre/Berkshire Theatre Group and theREP, Albany), “Honor Killing,” “Paradise” (WAM Theatre, Fresh Takes Reading Series), “The Lady Slipper,” “Million Dollar Quartet,” “Outside Mullingar” (The Majestic Theater), “Two Rooms” (Silverthorne Theatre Company), “The Most Mediocre Story Never Told” (Writer/Performer), “A Life in the Theatre,” “Dark Rapture” (Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre), “King Lear” (Theatricum Botanicum, Los Angeles). Jay is the recipient of the LA WEEKLY Award for Best Solo Performance for “The Most Mediocre Story Never Told.” Film/TV: “The Wire,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Shield,” “Summerland,” “Providence.” He is a member of Actors’ Equity and SAG-AFTRA.

Mark Basquill (Playwright) was raised in South Philadelphia and practices clinical psychology in Wilmington, NC, where he helps veterans recover from the wounds of war, often using writing to promote healing. Recent essays, stories, and poems can be found in “Cirque: A Literary Journal for the North Pacific Rim;”Consequence Forum;” and “Snapdragon: A Journal of Art and Healing.” Mark has also written two full-length dramas about his own family’s unfinished struggles to heal from impact of childhood clergy abuse. Each play was produced locally and well-received.

Stage Managed by Kate Kern*
Technician: Wynn MacKenzie

Poetry Slam hosted by D. Colin

D. Colin is a multidisciplinary artist in poetry, visual and theater. Her poems have appeared in Trolley Literary Journal, Jaded Ibis Press, Porter Gulch Review, and forthcoming in Eco Theo Collective. She is the author of two poetry collections, Dreaming in Kreyol and Said the Swing to the Hoop. She is a NYS Writers Institute Fellow and Cave Canem alumna and has performed for The Moth, PBS, NPR among others both nationally and abroad. She has competed at the National Poetry Slam and the Womxn of the World Poetry Slam among others. She is currently working on a forthcoming body of work including poetry and visual art to be released in 2025. 

NEXT ACT! 2024 Cast List

Please note: All NEXT ACT! casts are done in alphabetical order.

7:30 p.m. Monday, April 15 

“All the Emilies in All the Universes” by Ian August
Directed by Margaret E. Hall
Stage Managed by Shayne D. Cameris* and Kate Kern*

Cast in alpha order:
Emilie (Black): Kathleen Carey
Jeff: David Girard*
Emilie (Yellow): Diaka Kaba Hill*
Stage Directions: Tony Pallone
The Presenter: Yvonne Perry*
Emilie (Red): Shannon Rafferty*
Emilie (Blue): Eliana Rowe*

Wednesday, April 17

6 p.m. “Consider the Sparrow” by Suzanne Bradbeer
Panel Discussion with: Suzanne Bradbeer, Jeremy Folmer, Ann Hamilton, Laurence Lau and Eliza Foss
Panel Discussion moderated by Ben Katagiri

7:30 p.m. “Unreconciled” by Jay Sefton and Mark Basquill
Directed by James Barry
Stage Managed by Kate Kern*
Technician: Wynn MacKenzie

Cast: Jay Sefton*

Friday, April 19

5 p.m. NextGen: “Turn to the Bean” by Peter Chansky
Directed by Kevin McGuire
Stage Managed by Caspian O’Keefee

Jo: Lancelot Douglas
Liz: Kitt LaPaix
Stage Directions: Kitt La Paiz & Tony Pallone
Jeff: Tony Pallone
Daniel: Matthew Winning*
Becca: Nicole Zelka

7:30 p.m. Young Playwright Contest: Top 6
Directed by Yvonne Perry
Stage Managed by Regina Derosiers

 Each Cast is in alpha order:

Morning Ritual by Frederick Durocher, Jr. (Schenectady HS)
Stage Directions: Sadrina Renee*
Jen: Isabel Sanchez
Allen: John Martinez Soliz
Thai: Otto Vaval
Lacy: Jewel Winant

The Sampling Party by Dorain Harding (Shenendehowa HS)
Albert Cavendish: Rich Lounello*
Vera Cavendish: Sadrina Renee
Stage Directions: Isabel Sanchez
Mr. Wells: Dennis Schebetta*
Chauncey: Miles Wilkie*

Day Nine by Eleonora Catalano (Augustine Classical Academy)
Narrator/Colin Ashwood: Rich Lounello*
Jaquelyn Pace: Sadrina Renee
Claire Barlow: Isabel Sanchez
Eddy Douglas: Dennis Schebetta*
Ryan Reeves: John Martinez Soliz
Stage Directions: Jewel Winant
Mia Barlow: A Doll

“Tackled” by Georgia O’Dell, Alexia Strom-Warren, and Angeleena VanSlyke (Coxsackie-Athens HS)
Lenard: Khamani Ambrose
Mateo: Jake Bell
Principal Nancy: Sadrina Renee
Stage Directions: Dennis Schebetta*
Football Player 1: John Martinez Soliz
Football Player: Otto Vaval
Alan: Miles Wilkie*
Heidi: Jewel Winant

“The Secrets Within” by Claire Hubert, Danielle Deering and Payton Slater (Coxsackie-Athens High School)
Amir: Khamani Ambrose
Cole: Jake Bell
Stage Directions: Sadrina Renee
Elijah: John Martinez Soliz
Enzo: Otto Vaval

Gotham Isekai” by Haley Jones & Eren Slatcher-Burby (Guilderland High School)
Flash: Jake Bell
Barbara Gordon: Sadrina Renee
Daunis Fontaine: Isabel Sanchez
Jason Todd: John Martinez Soliz
Stage Directions: Miles Wilkie*


Saturday, April 20

4 p.m. First 15: Be a Literary Manager
Directed by Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill
Stage Managed by Caspian O’Keeffe

Each Cast is in alpha order.

“Eleanor and Dolly” by Jenny Stafford
Jana: Aaliyah Al-Fuhaid
Claire: Jocelyn Khoury
Ellie: Isabel Sanchez
Stage Directions: Godswill Utionkpan

“The Steel Man” by Cary Gitter
Stage Directions: Aaliyah Al-Fuhaid
Jake Gellert: Ethan Botwick*
Leo Gellert: David Bunce*

“The Mallard” by Vincent Delaney
Davis – Ethan Botwick*
Gillian – Jocelyn Khoury
Stage Directions – Hayes Fields
Freya – Benita Zahn*

“Castling” by Anthony T. Goss
Dujuan – Hayes Fields
Byron – Michael Lake
Stage Directions – Isabel Sanchez
Justin – Godswill Utionkpan

“Barb Goldfarb Didn’t Make It” by David A. Gregory
Paula – Jocelyn Khoury
Stage Directions – Michael Lake
Barb – Benita Zahn*

6 p.m. – Cocktail Party

7:30 p.m.—Slam Poetry Contest
Emcee’d by D. Colin
Featured Poets:
Tarishi MIDNIGHT Shuler
Courtney Symone
Olivia Hadams or Liv
Adonis Richards
Brendon or Balanc3
Yexandria Diaz or Yex
GodIs Tymani Rain
Sheldon Alexander
Laney Jade or Laney TheePoet
Luis “L-Majesty” Pabon

*Denotes a member of Actors’ Equity Association

Don’t miss any of this year’s Summit events! Get your tickets now here.

Stay in the know

Playwrights of the Winning Submission of NEXT ACT! New Play Summit 12


Richard Willett (winning script of the 2023 Summit) is the author of the plays “Triptych,” “Random Harvest,” “The Flid Show” and “Tiny Bubbles,” which have been presented off-off-Broadway and at theaters across the country. Honors include an Edward F. Albee Foundation Fellowship and a Tennessee Williams Scholarship. His play “A Terminal Event” (Julie Harris Playwriting Award from the Beverly Hills Theatre Guild and finalist for the Woodward/Newman Drama Award) received its world premiere at the Victory Theatre in Los Angeles in June 2022; “9/10” is scheduled for a world premiere in New York in 2023; and he is developing a one-woman show about Ingrid Bergman with actress Annemette Andersen and director Henning Hegland in New York, London and Copenhagen. Richard is also an optioned screenwriter who has twice been in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Nicholl Fellowships Top 50 and a finalist for both the Sundance Feature and Episodic Labs. He was also a finalist for the Cynosure Diversity Screenwriting Awards, the Stage 32 Diverse Voices Springboard and won the Lonely Seal Film Festival award for the best script with a disabled lead character. He lives in Los Angeles.

Rachel Lynett (she/they) (On-The-Go! Commission Script) is a queer Afro-Latine playwright, producer, and teaching artist. Their plays have been featured at San Diego Rep, Magic Theatre, Mirrorbox Theatre, Laboratory Theatre of Florida, Barrington Stage Company, Theatre Lab, Theatre Prometheus, Florida Studio Theatre, Laughing Pig Theatre Company, Capital Repertory Theatre, Teatro Espejo, the Kennedy Center Page to Stage festival, Theatresquared, Equity Library Theatre, Chicago, Talk Back Theatre, American Stage Theatre Company, Indiana University at Bloomington, Edgewood College, and Orlando Shakespeare Theatre. Their plays “Last Night” and “HE DID IT” made the 2020 Kilroy’s List. Rachel Lynett is also the 2021 recipient of the Yale Drama Prize for their play “Apologies to Lorraine Hansberry (You Too August Wilson),” and the 2021 recipient of the National Latinx Playwriting award for their play “Black Mexican.” 

Eunice Ferreira (Dramaturg & Historian, Henry Johnson) is a scholar artist whose research, teaching, and directing focus on and amplify stories and artists of the global majority. She brings her experience in diversity efforts, cultural competencies, dramaturgy, and antiracist theatre practices to her work in and out of the classroom, often sharing in organizational settings and as a guest scholar artist at other institutions. She has produced, directed, and choreographed a variety of plays and musicals, including the multilingual premiere of The Orphan Sea by Caridad Svich. As a dramaturg, she most recently worked on the development of a new musical and created materials for the longest-running theatre troupe from Cabo Verde, West Africa. She has published in U.S. based and international journals, including the first English translation (with Christina S. McMahon) of a play from Cabo Verde. Her forthcoming books include her monograph Crioulo Performance: Remapping Creole and Mixed Race Theatre (Vanderbilt Press) and Applied Theatre and Racial Justice: Radical Imaginings for Just Communities (Routledge), co-edited with Lisa L. Biggs (Brown University). She is President of the Black Theatre Association, member-at-large for focus groups on the governing council for the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, and board member of several arts and civic organizations including The Orchard Project, MIT Catalyst Collaborative, and Greatest Minds. She is Associate Professor of Theater at Skidmore College and spent the 22-23 academic year as a MLK Visiting Professor in Music & Theater Arts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She invites you to follow @BIPOCTheatre, her Instagram teaching account to center and amplify BIPOC theatre artists and scholars.

New Voices: Young Playwright Contest Winners


Nathaniel Burke (Co-Playwright, “Zero Gravity Woes”) is a tenth grader at Guilderland high school. Nathaniel runs Cross Country and Track, and is also a Nordic Skiier. He plays double bass and electric bass in orchestra and a jazz band. In his spare time, Nathaniel likes to do carpentry and mountain biking.



Sophie Rose Duerr (Co-Playwright, “Enemies to Lovers”) is a junior at Guilderland High School. She loves to read and write, with this being her first play, and she is super excited to hear the play read aloud during the summit. Creative is where she shines. Sophie has a passion for art and music and plays bass guitar in her High School Pep band.




Chloe Tyson (co-Playwright of “Zero Gravity Woes”): is a 10th grade student at Guilderland High School. She enjoys dancing, reading, writing, listening to music and hanging out with her friends.





Jack Bruno (Co-Playwright, “Ups and Downs; Open and Close”): a queer student from Coxsackie-Athens High school. I enjoy writing and reading. I’m hoping to study law in the future.







ABIGAIL  KENNEDY (Playwright, “The Midnight Train”): currently attends Coxsackie-Athens High school. She participates in multiple clubs such as National Honor Society, Spanish clubs and tennis. She enjoys literature and crafting. In her free time, she helps care for the animals at her family’s farm. When Abigail graduates, her plan is to study abroad in Italy.




CHIARA  CENCI (Co-Playwright, “The Midnight Train”): is currently a junior in High School at Coxsackie-Athens. She is involved in several clubs and going into the New Visions Program next year. Chiara is passionate about art and in her free time she enjoys doing arts and crafts.





ISABELLA WU (co-Playwright, “Mending Broken Hearts”): is a sophomore at Guilderland High School. She runs cross country and plays the cello. She spends her free time on Spotify.






Natalie Deso is a sophomore at Guilderland High School. She’s loved theatre and writing ever since she was little and her my dream to become a bestselling novelist when she’s older. 






NextGen Playwright


Jesse Hampsch is a composer, lyricist, conductor and playwright from Northern Idaho. He holds his Bachelor’s in Music Composition and Master’s in Choral Conducting from the University of Idaho. He recently completed the first year of Temple University’s MFA in Musical Theatre Collaboration. “If These Hands Could Sing” is Jesse’s first full play, and it draws heavily on his experience as a choral conductor, as well as the effect his mentors have had on him. He is honored and excited to have his play read at theRep!


The First 15 Playwrights


Robert Barnett (Playwright, “One Good Tree”) Mr. Barnett’s work has been produced or developed at Yale Rep, Victory Gardens, Walnut Street Theater, Mark Taper Forum, Ashland New Plays Festival, the Sundance Playwrights Lab, and the New York Fringe Festival. His plays include Sleeping With the Dead, A God By Another Name, One Good Tree, Colors at Sunset, Summer Crossing, The Hiroshima Daughter, Olympic Notions & Supply, and Symphony Pastorale. He also wrote the libretto for the opera Crazy Nora based on his radio drama. As Danceteller’s Playwright in Residence, Mr. Barnett collaborated on Before Forever, a dance performance work that toured Russia and Lithuania. He is the recipient of three L.A. Dramalogue Awards, a Pennsylvania Arts Council Fellowship, and a Yaddo arts residency. He is a graduate of the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale where he was a swimming, singing frog in the world premiere of Stephen Sondheim’s musical adaptation of Aristophanes’ The Frogs.

Donna Kaz (Playwright, “The Docent”) is a multi-genre writer and the author of “UN/MASKED, Memoirs of a Guerrilla Girl On Tour.” Her plays/musicals have been produced at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Harlem Stage, Lincoln Center, Women’s Arts International Festival, City of Women Festival, Northeast Theatre Ensemble, ARTC and Live Girls Theatre. Kaz has received the Jerry Kaufman Playwriting Award, Henley Rose Playwriting Award and the Yoko Ono Courage Award for the Arts. She is currently a 2023 Winterthur Research Fellow.

Rich Rubin (Playwright, “Floating Naked with Piranhas”) Rubin’s plays have been staged throughout the U.S. as well as in Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Mexico. Full-length plays include Picasso in Paris  (winner, Julie Harris Playwright Award); Swimming Upstream (winner, Todd McNerney Playwriting Award; finalist, Reva Shiner Comedy Award);  Caesar’s Blood (finalist, Oregon Book Award, finalist, Ashland New Play Festival); Shakespeare’s Skull (winner, Portland Civic Theatre Guild New Play Award); Left Hook (finalist, Woodward-Newman Drama Award; semifinalist, O’Neill Conference); Assisted Living (winner, Neil Simon Festival New Play Award); One Weekend in October (winner, Playhouse Creatures Emerging Playwright Award; semifinalist, O’Neill Conference); Cottonwood in the Flood (winner, Fratti-Newman Political Play Award); Costa Rehab (finalist, Oregon Book Award); September Twelfth (finalist, Oregon Book Award; finalist, Playwrights First Award); Marilyn/Misfits/Miller (finalist, Julie Harris Playwright Award; semifinalist, O’Neill Conference); Kafka’s Joke (finalist, Woodward International Playwriting Prize; semifinalist, Jewish Plays Project); and Class Act (semifinalist, O’Neill Conference). Member: Dramatists Guild, New Play Exchange and Portland’s Nameless Playwrights and LineStorm Playwrights.

John Spellos started his professional writing career with screenplays; his first script, “Café Zoe” was a finalist at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowships and the Sundance Filmmakers Lab. This caught the attention of legendary Broadway producer Robert Whitehead and his wife, 4-time Tony-winning actress Zoe Caldwell, whom he eventually worked with on the project. His first stage play, “Feet of Clay” received an Off-Off Broadway workshop production produced by The Barrow Group.

After a long absence from writing to produce and direct documentaries, he returned to writing in 2021. First, with a unique, one-man play, “A Falling Away”, currently in development, then followed that with his new play, “Rosie is Red And Everybody is Blue.” “Rosie” was the play selected from theREP’s 2023 Next Act! New Play Summit to receive further development with the theatre, and ultimately provided with this world premiere production. He’s currently at work on his new stage play, “Dashing and Clashing through the Holidays”.

Hope Villanueva (Playwright, BUZZ) is a current resident of the Washington, DC area where she is an AEA Stage Manager by day and playwright by night. The Veils, a full-length play about a female Marine coming home to get married, was produced as part of the Women’s Voices Theatre Festival 2018. The Veils previously received a reading at the Kennedy Center, an audio podcast recording, The Black and Latino Playwrights’ Conference 2016, at Texas State University, at the Discovery New Play Festival at Ball State University in and The Kitchen Dog New Play Festival in 2017. The Head That Wears the Crown, was a part of the 2018 Kennedy Center Page to Stage Festival and received a developmental production in 2019 by Ally Theatre Company. It tells the story of high school queen bees who do the unthinkable to one of their own. The play was also featured as a “Play That’s Filling Me Up” on The Subtext podcast, hosted by Brian James Polack and American Theatre. Ms. Villanueva was selected as an O’Neill Conference 2021 Finalist for The QoL Mandate, a story of bodily autonomy spun on its head and Mexican American identity. It was digitally produced during the pandemic the New Works Virtual Festival to benefit the Actors’ Fund. The QoL Mandate was previously developed by NextStop Theatre as a part of their New Play Festival in summer 2019 and was read by The Quarantine Players of NYC in 2020. Set in Bangkok, her movement driven work about grief, Her, Across the River, was produced by Rapid Lemon in Baltimore, MD. Previously it was workshopped by DC’s Avant Bard, INKubator podcast, and The Women’s Theatre Festival’s Occupy the Space 2020. Brackish tells the story of a Vietnamese American family coping with an ever-shifting definition of home. Written during the pandemic, Brackish was produced to packed houses in Southern California in the summer of 2022.mMost recently, BUZZ, a play about women scientists hunting murder hornets has been selected for presentation at 2023 The Valdez Theatre Conference in Alaska. Several of her short plays are published by YouthPlays, including Tidal and Anatomy, and she has several ten-minute plays included in the Code Red Playwrights series, a collaboration of writers responding to gun violence in America. Ms. Villanueva is the current literary manager for Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor, NY and is pursuing her second master’s degree in Lesley University’s Writing for Screen and Stage program. She is working on her first TV pilot and is represented by IPEX Artists’ Agency.