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. Ulmann – 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.

Exact dates to come. Check back soon!

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.” 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.

NEXT ACT! 2023 Cast List

Saturday June 10th

Location: theREP (251 N. Pearl St., Albany NY
11am – Story Hour at theREP; as regularly scheduled on the 2nd Saturday of the month.
Storyteller: Barbara Howard

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

Location: Proctors, Addy Theatre (432 State St., Schenectady, NY)
3 p.m. – NEXTGEN: “If These Hands Could Sing” by Jesse Hampsch
Director: David Girard
Stage Manager: KD McTeigue

Abraham Johnson: Ethan Botwick*
The Conductor: Kevin Craig West*
Stage Directions/Waiter: Ellen Cribbs
Stacy Hoffman: Shannon Rafferty*
Jean: Kim Wafer

5 p.m. – FIRST 15: Be a Literary Manager
Director: Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill
Stage Manager: Shayne David Cameris*

“Floating Naked With Piranhas (How I Learned to Love Working At Amazon)”
Playwright: Rich Rubin

Bill: Jovan Davis*
Stage Directions: Tony Pallone*
Ensemble #1: Bianca Stinney

Playwright: Hope Villanueva

Eden: Inga Ballard*
Stage Directions: Sue Caputo*
Lizzie: Taylor Hoffman*
Alicia: Bianca Stinney

“One Good Tree”
Playwright: Bob Barnett

Sandy Kaufman: Sue Caputo*
David Onley: Logan Esposito
Stage Direction Reader: Taylor Hoffman*
Wellington Fisk: Tony Pallone*
Naveen Amin: Levin Valayil*

“The Docent”
Playwright: Donna Kaz

Edna Gregory: Sue Caputo*
Stage Directions: Logan Esposito
Eddie Gregory: Taylor Hoffman*
Charles Calder: Tony Pallone* 

Off Stage Voice: Bianca Stinney

“Rosie is Red And Everybody is Blue”
Playwright: John Spellos

Rosie: Inga Ballard*
Chris: Jovan Davis*
Stage Direction Reader: Levin Valayil*

Sunday June 11th at theREP

Location: theREP (251 N. Pearl St., Albany, NY)
2 p.m. – New Voices: Young Playwright Contest Finalist Reading
Director: Dennis Schebetta
Stage Manager: KD McTeigue

“The Horror Backstage”
Playwrights: Madelyn McMann, Fallon Greenaway & John Kunz (Coxsackie-Athens HS)

Mary: Sivan Adler
Michael: Jovan Davis*
Mitch: Logan Esposito
Jack: George Franklin*
Stage Directions: Ben Katagiri
Alexandria: Maddy Montgomery
Melissa: Isabel Sanchez
Mr. Cooper: Oliver Wadsworth*

“Ups and Downs; Open and Close”
Playwrights: Jack Bruno, Noelle Abushqeir & Hannah Richards (Coxsackie-Athens HS)

Mime: Shayne David Cameris*
Maryanne: Cate Damon*
Lenny: Jovan Davis*
Bobo the Clown: Logan Esposito
Jared: George Franklin*
Stage Directions: Colin Gioia
Joe: Ben Katagiri
Julie: Isabel Sanchez
Mike: Oliver Wadsworth* 

“The Shove”
Playwrights: Natalie Deso and Ava McTiernan (Guilderland HS)

Max: Sivan Adler
Stage Directions: Shayne David Cameris*
Alex: Jovan Davis*
Dylan: Logan Esposito
Hannah: Liesel Gerstenberger
Theo: Colin Gioia
Charlotte: Maddy Montgomery

“The Midnight Train”
Playwrights:  Abigail Kennedy & Chiara Cenci (Coxsackie-Athens HS)

Server: Sivan Adler
Lucas/Man with Briefcase: Shayne David Cameris*
Mom: Cate Damon*
Train Conductor: Logan Esposito
Anonymous: George Franklin*
Old Woman: Liesel Gerstenberger
Alice: Isabel Sanchez
Stage Directions: Oliver Wadsworth*

“The Masquerade Dance”
Playwright: Emily Ramm (Coxsackie-Athens HS)

Quill Knox: Jovan Davis*
Lonny Beckett: George Franklin*
Mr. Craven: Ben Katagiri
Roxy Sorland: Isabel Sanchez
Stage Directions: Oliver Wadsworth*

“Mending Broken Hearts”
Playwrights: Karthik Nair and Isabella Wu (Guilderland HS)

Stage Directions:  Sivan Adler
Jonathan: Shayne David Cameris*
Ava: Liesel Gerstenbergr
Steve: Colin Gioia
Rob: Ben Katagiri

“Zero Gravity Woes”
Playwrights: Nathaniel Burke and Chloe Tyson (Guilderland HS)

Stage Directions: Cate Damon*
Skylar: Liesel Gerstenberger
Dylan: Colin Gioia
Jesse: Maddy Montgomery

“Enemies to Lovers”
Playwrights: Sophie Duerr & Sean Halligan (Guilderland HS)

Angelina: Cate Damon*
Waiter: George Franklin*
Stage Directions: Colin Gioia
James: Ben Katagiri
Boss: Oliver Wadsworth*

YPC Workshop Leader: Jenny Stafford


Monday June 12th
Location: theREP (251 N. Pearl St., Albany, NY)

5 p.m. – “Henry Johnson: The Lost Hero in the Studio Theatre
by Rachel Lynett
with Dramaturgical and Historical Research by Eunice Ferreira
Director: Susan Spain
Stage Manager: Kate Kern
Sound Designer: Chad Reid

Henry: (Henry Johnson): Jeremiah Packer*
Ensemble 2: Leon Pintel*
Ensemble 1: Calvin Thompson*
Stage Directions: Kevin Craig West*

7:30 p.m. – “GRIEF AT HIGH TIDE” on the MainStage
by Richard Willett
Director: Margaret E. Hall
Stage Manager: Shayne David Cameris*

Christopher Larsen: Whit K. Lee*
Roy Phelps: Kevin McGuire*
Stage Directions: Sheilah London Miller
Doug Windsor: Michael Pemberton*
Jennifer Evers: Angelique Powell
Nancy Windsor: Eileen Schuyler*

*Denotes a member of Actors’ Equity Association

Check back here for tickets for the NEXT ACT! New Play Summit 13 events!


Stay in the know

Playwrights of the Winning Submission of Next Act! New Play Summit 11




Mark Rigney (Playwright, YARTSY ON DIVISION) is the author of 
Deaf Side Story: Deaf Sharks, Hearing Jets and a Classic American Musical (Gallaudet), and his stage plays have been produced in twenty-three U.S. states (including off-Broadway) plus
Australia, Austria, Hong Kong, Nepal, and Canada. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild and a past winner of the John
Gassner Playwriting Award, the Maxim Mazumdar New Play Prize, and the Panowski Playwriting Award (twice). Additional
published work is available from Playscripts, Inc., Next Stage Press, ArtAge, Heartland, Applause, and multiple editions
of Smith & Kraus’s The Best Ten-Minute Plays. Over seventy of his short stories have found print,
in venues ranging from literary (Witness, The Best of the Bellevue Literary Review) to fantasy and horror (Lightspeed, Tales from the Magician’s Skull, Cemetery Dance). When not adding to his extensive collection of antique brewery items, he maintains lively outposts at his
website,, and at
the New Play Exchange.



Ajene D. Washington (Playwright, THREE MOTHERS) is an award-winning playwright, director, actor
and set designer that resides in Bronx, New York. He received a B.S. degree in Speech and Drama from Lincoln University
and a M.A. from Northern Illinois University. He has directed many plays and readings, such as Adam, American Menu, Slapped, Family Night, The Old Settler, and many others. His plays have received readings and performances in New York, California, Arkansas, Missouri
and Nashville, Tenn. He received the BRIO award from the Bronx Council of the Arts for playwriting in 2012 and
2020. His play, I Can See, a Raging Revolt was a finalist in the TRUSpeak festival. The Arkansas
Repertory Theatre selected his play, Almost September for its “Voices at the River” series. He received an
AUDELCO Award for Best Director and Best Set Design, also a nomination as Best Actor. He received a nomination for Best
Set Design by Lucille Lortel committee. Ajene is a member of AEA, SAG, SSDC, AFTRA, Black Theatre Network and The
Dramatist Guild.

New Voices: Young Playwright Contest Winners




Jordan Moses (Playwright of UNEXPECTED LOVE) Loudonville Christian School  




NextGen Playwright




MJ Johnson (Playwright, ALETHEIA) is a lifelong resident of the Capital District and is absolutely
thrilled to have the opportunity to work with theREP for the first time. Two of their previous plays, Face the Music and
Sixty Seconds to Midnight, have been featured as part of UAlbany’s FRESH ACTS festival (2021 and 2022). They have also
worked within the theater as a designer with recent credits including Projection Designer for A DREAM PLAY at UAlbany,
Video Designer for CLOUDS at Columbia University, and Technical Director for UNCENSORED 2021 at MCC Theater. They are a
2022 UAlbany graduate with a BA in Theatre and in History.

The First 15 Playwrights




Lisa Dellagiarino (Playwright, COME AGAIN) Virginia-born and Chicago-based, Lisa is an associate
member of the Saint Sebastian Players Theater Company, a member of the Dramatists Guild, and President of the Board of
Arts For All, a NYC-based nonprofit bringing the arts to in-need youth communities. She has a BFA in Film & TV from
NYU and two kids who are disappointed that she doesn’t write plays about dinosaurs.  



Rich Rubin (Playwright, POWER OF BABEL) 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.



Cris Eli Blak (Playwright, BROWN BODIES ON A BLUE EARTH) is an award-winning playwright whose
work has garnered him the Christopher Hewitt Award in Fiction, a Pushcart Prize nomination and honors and
recognition from The Negro Ensemble Company, Kairos Italy Theater, Austin Film Festival, Barrington Stage Company,
TEDxBroadway, and Ignition Arts. His work has been performed around the world, from Off-Broadway, London, Canada and
Ireland. He is developing new work with Derby City Playwrights and Et Alia Theater Company and is currently under
commission by Rattlestick Theater, American Stage and La Lengua Teatro en Español/AlterTheater Ensemble. He was the
resident playwright at Fosters Theatrical Artists Residency, is currently the playwright-in-residence at Paterson
Performing Arts Development Council, is the recipient of the Michael Bradford Residency from Quick Silver Theatre
Company and was in the inaugural class of fellows for the Black Theatre Coalition/Broadway Across America; and was
shortlisted for the Alpine Fellowship Theatre Prize. He continues to strive to create work that reflects the world
that we live in, with all of its different and diverse colors, creeds and cultures.



Lynda Crawford (Playwright, THE NONESSENTIALS) Crawford’s plays include Night Shadows—Or, One
Hundred Million Voices Shouting, On Women Festival, Space at Irondale, Brooklyn, NY, March 2020; KP 1968 (with Peter
Reich), Fenimore Arts Museum, Cooperstown, NY, 2020, and HB Studio’s Coming Apart Together Reading Series, June 2020;
The Rewrite, EAT, 2019, and The Hive, Provo, Utah, 2019; Stars Out of Balance, staged reading, Planet Connections
Festivity 2018; Whitewashed, 365 Women a Year Festival, Florida State University, October 2017; The Audit, HB
Playwrights Theatre, June 2017, and Emerging Artists Theatre’s New Work Series, October 2015; Rojo Verde, recipient of
the Greener Planet Award, Planet Connections Festivity 2017; Familiar Strangers, Planet Connections Festivity 2016;
Pillow of Tears, Women Playwrights International 2015, University of Cape Town, South Africa; Strange Rain, FringeNYC
2013, awarded Overall Excellence in Playwriting. Lynda’s other writings have appeared in newspapers, journals, and the
book, Titters: The First Collection Of Humor By Women (Macmillan). Lynda received an MFA in playwriting in 2001 from
Brooklyn College. She is a member of HB Playwrights Forum and K/Q Playwrights. Several plays are available to read at
the New Play Exchange.



Susan Spain (Playwright, GROUP) Is excited to participate in this year’s First 15 Event at Capital
Repertory Theatre, where she was last seen last year in Night Vision by Dominique Morisseau as part of the 8:46 streamed
event. Susan is an award-winning actor, director and writer who has appeared Off Broadway and regionally, and has
narrated over 100 audio books, receiving an Earphones