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The Writer’s Room

Stage II

The Studio at Stage II affords MTC the opportunity to present thrilling new work in a way which invites audiences into the artistic process. MTC’s producing history in Stage II includes early works from many playwrights who, over time and with many productions across MTC’s campus of venues, became part of the fabric of MTC. The Studio at Stage II will be a place for artists to work and for audiences with an appetite for risk, adventure and bold theatricality to meet that work.

Lynne Meadow (Artistic Director, Manhattan Theatre Club), Barry Grove (Executive Producer, MTC), Mandy Greenfield (Artistic Producer, MTC), Jason Eagan (Artistic Director, Ars Nova) and Renee Blinkwolt (Managing Director, Ars Nova) are pleased to announce the participants for The Writer’s Room a new program to commission, develop and support playwrights in the process of creating new work for the stage.

The Writer’s Room Commissions:

  • Adam Bock & Justin Levine
  • Rachel Bonds
  • Thomas Bradshaw
  • Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig
  • Jackie Sibblies Drury
  • Samuel D. Hunter
  • Sharyn Rothstein
  • Pig Pen Theatre Company

The Writer’s Room is a multi-year partnership between MTC and Ars Nova drawing on each organization’s strengths and areas of expertise to create a unique, collaborative developmental program for advancing new works from commission through production.

MTC and Ars Nova will jointly select playwrights or writing teams to receive Writer’s Room commissions. The commissioned writers will then come together to participate in a program designed to offer extensive developmental support. The Writer’s Room will encourage artistic risk taking in an environment that is supportive and sustaining.

The Writer’s Room is part of The Studio at Stage II – Harold and Mimi Steinberg New Play Series, a new initiative where bold, new work meets bold, new audiences.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Lynne Meadow and Executive Producer Barry Grove, MANHATTAN THEATRE CLUB has become one of the country’s most prominent and prestigious theatre companies. Over the past three decades, MTC productions have earned a total of 18 Tony Awards and six Pulitzer Prizes, an accomplishment unparalleled by a New York theatrical institution. MTC has a Broadway home at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre (261 West 47th Street) and an Off-Broadway theatre at New York City Center – Stage I (131 West 55th Street). Since January 2011, Mandy Greenfield (Artistic Producer) has taken the lead in programming and execution at MTC’s Off-Broadway home. Renowned MTC productions include Venus in Fur; Master ClassGood PeopleThe Whipping Man;Time Stands StillThe Royal FamilyRuinedThe American Plan; Come Back, Little ShebaBlackbirdTranslations;Shining CityRabbit HoleDoubtProofThe Tale of the Allergist’s WifeLove! Valour! Compassion!A Small Family BusinessSylviaPutting It TogetherFrankie and Johnny in the Clair de LuneCrimes of the Heart; and Ain’t Misbehavin.’


(Jason Eagan, Artistic Director; Renee Blinkwolt, Managing Director) is committed to developing and producing theater, comedy, and music artists in the early stages of their professional careers, through its myriad of ongoing programs that include: Play Group, Ars Nova’s emerging writers’ collective, Commissioning and Artists-in-Residence programs, its annual festival of All New Talent (ANT Fest), summer music marathon 54/10, a Summer Artist Retreat, the Uncharted series which jumpstarts new musical theater projects, the Out Loud play reading series, a Project Residency program that allows unique projects to get up on their feet, and its world premiere Mainstage Productions. Past Mainstage Productions include: The Lapsburgh Layover; Be a Good Little WidowNow Circa Then; the Drama Desk nominated musical Bloodsong of Love; the pirate puppet rock odyssey Jollyship the Whiz-Bang;boom, which went on to be the most-produced play of the 2009-2010 season; and Freestyle Love Supreme featuring Tony Award winner Lin-Manuel Miranda. Each year, the company serves more than 500 artists and at least 150 evenings of entertainment make it onto the Ars Nova stage.


was created in 1986 by Harold Steinberg to promote and advance American Theater as a vital part of our culture by supporting playwrights, encouraging the development and production of new work, and providing financial assistance to theater companies across the country. Since its inception, the Trust has awarded over $65 million to more than 100 not-for-profit theater organizations. The Steinberg Playwright awards – the “Mimi” awards – were first awarded in 2008 to honor artistic excellence and nurture its continuing development. Given in alternate years, these two awards, by far the most generous of their kind, acknowledge playwrights in two categories: the Steinberg Distinguished Playwright award celebrates the recipient’s entire body of work, and their exceptional, singular contribution to the American theater, while the Steinberg Playwright award recognizes exceptional artistic potential in early and mid-career playwrights. The Trust has also collaborated with the American Theatre Critics Association to create and fund the Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award, presented annually during the Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville.

ADAM BOCK is a 2012 Guggenheim Fellow. Recent productions of his plays include Phaedra at Shotgun Players (San Fran) and A Small Fire at Playwrights Horizons (NYC). His musical adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s novella, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, was produced by the Yale Repertory Theatre. His play The Receptionist received its world premiere at Manhattan Theatre Club (NYC) and the subsequent Los Angeles production featured Megan Mullally. Adam’s comedy The Drunken City was produced at Playwrights Horizons. His other works include The Thugs (Obie Award), Swimming in the Shallows (3 BATCC Awards, Clauder Award), Five Flights (Glickman Award), The Typographer’s DreamThe Shaker Chair, and Three Guys and a Brenda (Heideman Award). His plays have been produced in New York City and regionally in Connecticut, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle. Internationally, he has been produced in Montreal, Greece, Toronto, London, and Edinburgh, among others. Bock is currently working on new play commissions for South Coast Repertory and Portland Center Stage. He is a New Dramatist member playwright.

RACHEL BONDS’ plays have been developed or produced by Ars Nova, New Georges, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Roundabout Underground, Manhattan Theatre Club, New York Stage & Film, The McCarter, The Arden, and DC’s Studio Theater, among others. She recently completed a four-month residency at Philadelphia’s Arden Theatre, where her play At The Old Place was produced in July of 2013, directed by Ed Sobel. Her other plays include Anniversary, winner of the 2012 Sam French Short Play Festival; The Noise, developed at New Georges, Ars Nova, and Two River; Michael & Edie, named a NY Times Critic’s Pick in 2010; Swimmers, featured as part of New York Stage & Film’s 2013 Powerhouse Reading Series and Roundabout Underground’s Reading Series; and Five Mile Lake, part of MTC’s [email protected] Series, McCarter’s Lab Festival, and a Finalist for the O’Neill Playwrights’ Conference in 2013. She is an Alum of EST’s Youngblood, Ars Nova’s Play Group, and New Georges’ The Jam, and was the Fr. William Ralston Fellow at the 2011 Sewanee Writers’ Conference. She is currently working on commissions for Studio Theatre, MTC/Ars Nova’s The Writer’s Room, South Coast Rep, and The Atlantic Theater Company. Bonds is a graduate of Brown University.

THOMAS BRADSHAW‘s plays have been produced at regional theaters, in New York City as well as in Europe. In 2012, the Flea Theater successfully produced his play Job and in 2011, his play Burning ran to rave reviews at The New Group/NYC and the Goodman Theater produced his play Mary, which they had previously commissioned. His playThe Bereaved, produced by Partial Comfort, was named one of the Best Plays of 2009 by Time Out New York and was a New York Times Critic’s Pick. The Bereaved was subsequently produced at The State Theater of Bielefeld in Germany and presented in Berlin. In 2008, two of his plays premiered in New York: Southern Promises, at Performance Space 122 in September, and Dawn, at The Flea Theater in November, and both were listed among the Best Performances of Stage and Screen for 2008 in The New Yorker. His plays PurityProphetStrom Thurmond is Not a Racist, and Cleansed were produced in New York. A German translation of Dawn was presented at Theater Bielefeld in Germany in October 2008 and published by Theater der Zeit in that same month. Bradshaw received his MFA from Mac Wellman’s playwriting program and is Professor of Playwriting at Northwestern University. He has been featured as one of Time Out New York’s ten playwrights to watch, as one of Paper Magazine’s Beautiful People, and Best Provocative Playwright by the Village Voice. He has received fellowships from the Lark Play Development Center, Soho Rep. (Streslin Fellow), and New York Theater Workshop. He was the Playwright in Residence at The Soho Theatre in London in February 2009, where he wrote The Ashes. Thomas Bradshaw has received commissions from Soho Theatre (London), the Goodman Theater, Soho Rep. (New York), the Flea Theater, Theater Bielefeld (Germany), and Partial Comfort Productions. He is currently working on commissions from the Goodman Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, and the Foundry Theatre as well as developing a television series for Harpo and HBO. He is the recipient of a 2009 Guggenheim Fellowship, the 2010 Prince Charitable Trust Prize, and the 2012 Award from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts.

FRANCES YA-CHU COWHIG’s play The World of Extreme Happiness was recently produced at the National Theatre in London. Her other plays have been produced by Trafalgar Studios 2 (West End), Crowded Fire, Page 73 Productions, Interact Theatre, Borderlands Theatre and the Contemporary American Theatre Festival. Awards her plays have received include the Wasserstein Prize, the Yale Drama Series Award, an Edinburgh Fringe First Award, and the Keene Prize for Literature. She is currently under commission from Manhattan Theatre Club, Seattle Rep and the Goodman Theatre. Frances received an MFA in Writing from the James A. Michener Center for Writers at UT Austin, a BA in Sociology from Brown University, and a certificate in Ensemble-Based Physical Theatre from the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre. Her work has been published by Yale University Press, Glimmer Train, Methuen Drama, Samuel French and Dramatists Play Service. Frances was born in Philadelphia, and raised in Northern Virginia, Okinawa, Taipei and Beijing.

JACKIE SIBBLIES DRURY is a Brooklyn-based playwright. Her play We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as South West Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915 had its its world premiere at Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago and its New York premiere at Soho Rep in Fall 2012. Jackie’s work has been featured at PRELUDE’11, The Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Victory Gardens 2010 Ignition Festival, American Theater Company’s 10 x 10 Festival, and The Magic Theatre’s Virgin Play Festival. Jackie received a 2012-13 Van Lier Fellowship at New Dramatists. She was a member of the 2011-12 Soho Rep Writer/Director lab, a 2010-12 New York Theater Workshop Emerging Artist of Color Fellow, and member of The Civilians’ R&D Group. She was the dramaturg and contributing writer for Zero Cost House, a collaboration between Pig Iron Theatre Company and Japanese playwright Toshiki Okada. Jackie is a NYTW Usual Suspect and a MacDowell Colony fellow and is on committees to organize classes for Pataphysics Playwriting Workshops and The Public School New York. She is a graduate of Brown’s MFA playwriting program, where she received the David Wickham Prize in Playwriting. Her play Social Creatures was commissioned by Trinity Repertory Theater Company in Providence RI and premiered there in March 2013. Jackie is the inaugural recipient of the 2012-14 Jerome New York Fellow at the Lark Play Development Center.

SAMUEL D. HUNTER’s recent plays include A Bright New Boise (2011 Obie Award for playwriting, 2011 Drama Desk nomination for Best Play; original production by Partial Comfort Productions in NYC, second production at Woolly Mammoth Theater Company), The Whale (recently at Playwrights Horizons, upcoming at Victory Gardens and South Coast Repertory, original production at the Denver Center), A Permanent Image (commissioned and produced by Boise Contemporary Theater), Jack’s Precious Moment (Page 73 Productions at 59E59), Five Genocides (Clubbed Thumb at the Ohio Theater), Norway (Phoenix Theatre of Indianapolis; Boise Contemporary Theater). He has active commissions from MTC/Sloan, LCT3, Seattle Rep, South Coast Rep, and Playwrights Horizons. His plays have been developed at the O’Neill Playwrights Conference, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, PlayPenn, Ojai Playwrights Conference, the Lark Playwrights Workshop, Juilliard, LAByrinth, Rattlestick, Seven Devils Playwrights Conference, 24Seven Lab and elsewhere. Internationally, his work has been translated into Spanish and presented in Mexico City and Monterrey, and he has worked in the West Bank with Ashtar Theatre of Ramallah and Ayyam al-Masrah of Hebron. At Ashtar, he co-wrote The Era of Whales which was performed in Ramallah and Istanbul. Awards: 2011 Sky Cooper Prize, 2008-2009 PONY Fellowship from the Lark, two Lincoln Center Le Compte du Nuoy Awards, and others. He is a core member of the Playwrights Center, a member of Partial Comfort Productions, is an alum of Ars Nova’s Play Group, and will be a resident playwright at Arena Stage in 2013. A native of northern Idaho, Sam lives in New York City. He holds degrees in playwriting from NYU, The Iowa Playwrights Workshop, and Juilliard.

JUSTIN LEVINE. Writing: Bonfire Night (book, music, and lyrics), Tell Me Tomorrow (music and lyrics), Jump Jim Crow (music and lyrics), Naked Radio (music and lyrics), Death by Vaudeville (co-creator). Musical Direction/Orchestration: Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (Broadway and the Public), Murder Ballad (MTC), Here Lies Love (Public, by David Byrne), The Robber Bridegroom (Roundabout), Love’s Labour’s Lost (Public), Like Water For Chocolate (Sundance). BFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Currently teaches at Playwrights Horizons Theater School.

SHARYN ROTHSTEIN’s plays include All The Days and The Invested, Queen Bee (Ars Nova Out Loud reading),March (workshopped at the Bay Area Playwright’s Festival and a finalist for the Yale Drama Series Competition), Camp Monster (Williamstown Theatre Festival), Neglect (Ensemble Studio Theatre), For Abigail Who Drowns Men (New Georges workshop), and A Good Farmer (3Graces Theatre Co.), among others. Rothstein is a member of the 2011-2012 Ars Nova Play Group and Ensemble Studio Theatre. Her drama The Invested will be published next year in New Playwrights: The Best Plays of 2013 by Smith & Kraus. In addition to playwriting, Sharyn is currently working on an hour-long drama pilot for Bravo. She holds an MFA in dramatic writing from NYU and a Masters in Public Health from Hunter College, with a concentration in Urban Health.

PIGPEN THEATRE CO. (Alex Falberg, Ben Ferguson, Curtis Gillen, Ryan Melia, Matt Nuernberger, Arya Shahi and Dan Weschler) began creating their unique theatrical fables – a blend of live music, shadow play, puppetry, and narrative storytelling – as freshman at the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama in 2008. They have since produced their original plays Off-Broadway and at regional theaters around the country – earning them Critic’s Picks from The New York Times, Time Out New York, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Boston Globe, and many more, ranking them in the top theatrical events of 2011, 2012, and 2013. They were also the first group to win the NYC Fringe Festival’s top honor for a play two years in a row in 2010 and 2011. Their plays include: The Nightmare Story, The Mountain Song, and The Old Man and The Old Moon. Their debut indie-folk album, Bremen, was featured by American Songwriter American Songwriter and was named #10 Album of the Year in The Huffington Post’s 2012 Grammy preview. Their follow up EP, The Way I’m Running, was released on October 8, 2013, and was premiered by American Songwriter. PigPen is thrilled to be working with Writers House, one of the world’s leading young adult literary agencies, to develop their debut children’s novel. They are currently on tour as a band and a theatre company. “It’s like watching child geniuses at play,”(The New Yorker). “A Redmoon spectacle multiplied by a Decemberists concert. It’s tough to shake the notion that you’re in at the launch stage of a group that could soon escape orbit,” (Time Out Chicago).