Primary Stages Writer’s Group, Fall 2015


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 2014/2015 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 2014/2015 Group members include Sofia Alvarez, Cheri Magid, Caroline McGraw, Rehana Mirza, Matthew Paul Olmos, Melissa Ross, Mat Smart, and Adam Szymkowicz.

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.

SOFIA ALVAREZ is a playwright and screenwriter. Her plays include Between Us Chickens (SCR, EST LA), Life Drawing, The Fish Bowl, NYLON, Friend Art, The Orphan’s Club and Corpse Pose. She is a member of the Primary Stages Dorothy Streslin New American Writer’s Group and is an alumna of the Ars Nova Playgroup, New Georges’ Jam, and the Royal Court Young Writer’s Program in London. Her television credits include MAN SEEKING WOMAN (FXX) and the first season of SIRENS (USA). She has served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts. Education: Bennington; Juilliard.

Jon CarenJON CAREN‘s plays include NEED TO KNOW (Rogue Machine World Premiere 2015, Colt Coeur Play Hotel 2015) THE RECOMMENDATION (Ground Up 2015, IAMA 2014, The Flea 2013, Old Globe 2012, Craig Noel Award for Best New Play, L.A Ovation Best Play, NAACP nomination), THE MORNING THE SUN FELL DOWN (MTC 7@7), LET ME GO (Rattlestick Fest, JPP), CATCH THE FISH (Most Outstanding Play, NY Fringe) and THE VENERABLE RAMAN GUPTA (Flea First Look, Sundance Finalist, New Group New Works Lab) and the forthcoming THE HOUSE THAT JAKE BUILT. His work has been developed at theaters across the country including MTC, Roundabout Underground, EST, Rattlestick, New Group, Williamstown, Ars Nova, Pasadena Playhouse, Keen Company, Colt Coeur, Woodshed, Berkshire Playwright’s Lab, The Poor Theater, Rogue Machine, IAMA, The Elephant as well as developmentally at The Lark, NYSAF, Jewish Plays Project, Partial Comfort and in Sam French OOB Fest and The Old Vic in London He is a MacDowell Colony Fellow, a Dramatist Guild Fellow, A NYSAF Founder’s Award Winner, a two time recipient of a Fellowship to SPACE @ Ryder Farm, a two-time Lecomte du Nouy award winner and a recipient of the Theater Publicus Prize for Dramatic Fiction. Additionally, he was a finalist for the Laurents/Hatcher Award and a nominee for the Otis Guerney New American Playwright’s Award. In TV, Jonathan has written pilots for FOX, CBS, Wind Dancer Productions and worked as a staff writer. He is a graduate of The Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwright’s Program at The Juilliard School and Vassar College where he studied mythology and religion. He originally hails from Los Angeles where he splits time like an insane person.

BOO KILLEBREW is a playwright, actress and co-founder of CollaborationTown Theatre Company. Boo is a Lila Acheson Playwriting Fellow at The Juilliard School, an alumni of the 2013 Emerging Writers Group at The Public, a recipient of the 2013 NYFA Fellowship, an alumni of TerraNova’s Groundbreakers, and an Affiliated Artist and Kitchen Cabinet Member with New Georges. In December of 2014, Boo sold a television pilot, Aim High, to The Sundance Channel. Her plays include Miller, Mississippi; Romance Novels for Dummies, Days Like Diamonds, The Play About My Dad, and The Momentum (NYC Fringe Festival Excellence Award for Overall Production of a Play; GLAAD Media Award Nominee). Her work has been presented at The Roundabout Theatre, The Public Theater, Williamstown Theater Festival, The Atlantic, New York Theater Workshop, New Georges, Clubbed Thumb, The Huntington Theatre Co., 59e59 Theatres, The New Ohio, The Labyrinth, and Boston Playwright’s Theatre. Boo was an Edward F. Albee Foundation Fellow, an Artist in Residence at NYFA, Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center, The New York Theater Workshop, The MacDowell Colony, Williamstown Theater Festival, and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Boo has received two New York Innovative Theater Awards for acting and has been nominated multiple times for both playwriting and acting. She is the recipient of two Fringe Excellence Awards and The Bette Davis Foundation Award. Boo is a teaching artist with The Roundabout Theatre Company.

CAROLINE V. McGRAW’s plays include BelievelandUltimate Beauty Bible, The Bachelors, Tall Skinny Cruel Cruel Boys, The Vaults, Debut Track One Chord One Verse One (or, The Shed), The King is Dead and Baby No More TImes (a pop musical co-written with Mary Birnbaum and Melissa Lusk.) Her work has been produced and developed all around the country, including the Cherry Lane Theatre by Young Playwrights Inc., New Georges, the Yale Cabaret, Washington Ensemble Theatre, WordBRIDGE Playwrights Laboratory, AracaWorks, The Intiman Theatre Festival/One Coast Collaboration, Naked Angels, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Washington National Opera/The Kennedy Center, Second Stage, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Studio 42, Page 73, Ars Nova ANT Fest, and the Yale School of Drama, among others. SHe has been in residence at Portland Center Stage’s JAW Festival, Wordbridge Playwrights’ Lab, and SPACE on Ryder Farm. Her feminist pop spectacular …baby no more times, co-created with Melissa Lusk and Mary Birnbaum, was seen at New George’s Jam on Toast and Ars Nova’s ANT Fest, and will pop up again in late 2014. She is an alum of the New George’s Jam and Interstate 73, and a member of the Civilians 2014-15 R&D Group. Caroline was the 2013 Page 73 Playwriting Fellow. She is a graduate of the Playwriting MFA program at the Yale School of Drama, where she studied under Paula Vogel. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, she lives in Brooklyn.

REHANA LEW MIRZA’s recent full-length plays include: Soldier X (2012 NYSCA Commission; Lark Development Center Studio Retreat); Lonely Leela (workshops with LPAC, Magic Theatre, HERE, New Georges, 2G);Barriers (productions at HERE and Asian American Theater Company; readings at Rasik Arts, Toronto, and Asian Arts Center, Philadelphia); A Distant Relation (reading at Ma-Yi Theater); Particles of Pakistan (E.S.T. Sloan commission); and if it’s sad i don’t want to see it (reading at Queens Theater in the Park, 2G).  Awards include: a 2013 NNPN commission via InterAct Theater, 2013 Tofte Lake Emerging Artist residency, 2009/2010 Indo-American Arts Council playwright residency with The Lark Development Center, 2008-2010 TCG Future Leader fellowship with New Georges, NBC Short Film Festival Audience Award, John Golden Award, P2 for a Cause Grant, Leopold Schepp fellowship, and a LMCC artist grant. Her plays have been published with the Alexander Street Press, indietheaternow, and the New York Theatre Review. She was the co-director of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab from 2011-2013. MFA: Playwriting, Columbia University. BFA: Dramatic Writing, NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

MATTHEW PAUL OLMOS is a three-time Sundance Institute Fellowship/Residency recipient, New Dramatists Resident Playwright, Princess Grace Awardee in Playwriting, Ensemble Studio Theatre lifetime member and was named by Sam Shepard as the inaugural recipient of the La MaMa e.t.c.’s Ellen Stewart Emerging Playwright Award. He’s been a Baryshnikov Arts Center Resident Artist, Dramatists Guild Fellow, two-time INTAR Theatre H.P.R.L. playwright, New York Theatre Workshop fellow; Primary Stages Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers playwright, terraNOVA Collective playwright, Rising Circle Collective playwright, and a two-time Resident Artist at Mabou Mines/Suite, mentored by Ruth Maleczech. His work has been produced nationally and in México; also in Spanish, as well published by NoPassport Press and Samuel French.

MAT SMART is a Core Writer at the Playwrights’ Center, where he was a McKnight Advancement Grant and two-time Jerome Fellowship recipient. His play, Samuel J. and K., premiered at Williamstown Theatre Festival and featured Owiso Odera and Justin Long (subsequent productions include Steppenwolf for Young Adults and Passage Theatre). Other plays: The Hopper Collection(Magic Theatre and Huntington Theatre Company), The 13th of Paris (City Theatre, Seattle Public Theatre, Horizon Theatre, Public Theatre of Maine, Warehouse Theatre and LiveWire in Chicago) andThe Bebop Heard in Okinawa (O’Neill Playwrights’ Conference). Current works-in-progress include Tinker to Evers to Chance(PlayLabs) and The Steadfast (workshops at Asolo Rep and ATC in Chicago), which is a commission from the painter Steve Alpert. Previous commissions include South Coast Rep and Huntington. Co-founder of Slant Theatre Project in NYC. MFA: UCSD. After three years in Minneapolis and a stint working as a janitor at McMurdo Station in Antarctica, Mat recently moved back to NYC.

SUSAN SOON HE STANTON SUSAN SOON HE STANTON is originally from the consonant-free town of Aiea, Hawai‘i. Her work has appeared at Clubbed Thumb, East West Players, Playwrights Horizons, Kennedy Center, The Flea, Washington Ensemble Theater, Honolulu Theater For Youth, Joe’s Pub, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Kumu Kahua, and others. Writing groups and residencies include Sundance Institute’s Theater Lab, Public Theater’s Emerging Writers Group, Playwrights Center Corewriter, SoHo Rep Writer-Director Lab, The Women’s Project Lab, Hedgebrook, and MaYi Playwrights Lab. Awards and honors include Van Lier Fellowship at The Lark Play Development Center, Southern Rep’s Ruby Prize Runner-up, Susan Glaspell Prize Finalist, a Susan Smith Blackburn nomination, Kilroy’s finalist, and a NET Partnership Grant with Satori Group. Commissions from Kumu Kahua, Honolulu Theater for Youth, New Sounds Theater, and Second Generation.

Plays include Takarazuka!!!, Today Is My Birthday, SEEK, The Things Are Against Us, Cygnus, The Underneath, Furball, and more. She is a writing consultant for Disney Creative Entertainment. She received a Feature Film Development Grant and Screenwriting Award from the Sloan Foundation, and a Leviathan Lab Film Production Grant. BFA: NYU Tisch, MFA: Yale School of Drama.