2018 New Play Development Conference

PlayPenn is proud to announce our 2018 Conference Playwrights and Plays

Bruise & Thorn by J. Julian Christopher

Executive Producer: Elizabeth Anton
Associate Producers: Ashford Wealth Advisors, Steve Engelmyer and Lisa Wershaw, Philip Hawkins and Ronnie Kurchner-Hawkins

Director: Jesse Jou
Dramaturg: Chelsea Philips
Stage Manager: Kelly O’Rourke
Featured Actors: Sergio Mauritz Ang, Taysha Canales, Fernando Contreras, Aubie Merrylees, and Damien Wallace
Intern: Rosie Alger

Bruise and Thorn work at a busted-up old laundromat in Jamaica, Queens. Bruise dreams of becoming a chef. Thorn dreams of changing the face of Hip Hop with his unabashed Queerness. When finances become strained, they get caught up in an illegal cockfighting ring led by their boss, Mrs. Gallo, sending them on a magical ride to make their dreams come true and get the hell out of Jamaica. Bruise & Thorn is an authentic look at a Nuyorican street family, not through bloodline, but rather the social and economic indicators that naturally selects them to one another.

J. Julian Christopher: Acting MFA (The Actors Studio Drama School at the New School). Awards: The 2009 Public Theater Emerging Writers Group Fellowship, 2015 Queens Arts Council Grant, and The 2014 Best New Work Motif Award. Plays include, Locusts Have No King (INTAR), Animals Commit Suicide (First Floor Theater), Nico was a Fashion Model (LAByrinth) and Man Boobs (The Public Theater). Julian received honors for Best Devised Work & Best Direction at The 49th Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in 2017 for his production of anOTHER. He is an Executive Producer and Writer of the hit web series, Bulk- The Series.

You, the Fire, and Me by Sevan K. Greene

Executive Producer: Joseph Zebrowitz, MD
Associate Producers: Ashford Wealth Advisors, Nancy Boykin and Dan Kern, The Chatham Foundation

Director: Ed Sylvanus Iskander
Dramaturg: Maura Krause
Stage Manager: Alec E. Ferrell
Featured Actors: Anthony Mustafa Adair, Susanne Collins, and Marcus Barainyak
Intern: Eric Moore

Tommy, Jules, and Omer are tired of their worlds, their countries, their governments, and their families. They’re tired of being invisible. They’re tired of being disenfranchised. They’re tired of being no one. They’ve found a supportive family with one another and found the solution to their problems: Joining a terrorist organization. A coming-of-age story for a new generation, You, the Fire, and Me asks how far you would go to have your voice heard and to finally be seen as someone rather than just anyone.

Sevan K. Greene is an award-winning NYC and London-based actor-playwright. His NY work includes The Public Theater, The New York Theatre Workshop, The New Group, The Culture Project, New York Stage and Film, New York Musical Theatre Festival. London: The Bush Theatre, Arcola Theatre, Theatre503, Tamasha, Rich Mix, The Shubbak Festival. He is an alumni of The Public Theater’s Emerging Writing Group, Rising Circle’s inaugural INKTank Lab, The Bush Theater’s Inaugural Emerging Writers Group. He has been shortlisted and a finalist for the Princess Grace Award, Papatango Playwriting Prize, Sundance Theatre Lab, O’Neill Festival. www.sevangreene.com.

Dimenticar by Mattie J. Hawkinson

Executive Producers: Richard and Laura Vague
Associate Producers: The CHG Charitable Trust, Catherine and Steve Schifter, Wendy and Lawrence White

Director: Ed Sobel
Dramaturg: Clare Drobot
Stage Manager: Kelly O’Rourke
Featured Actors: David Ingram, Jenna Kuerzi, Charlotte Northeast, Francesca Piccioni, Michaela Shuchman, and William Zielinski
Intern: Alex Barnett

A loving father of three daughters has gone missing on his way to work. His car is found at the bottom of the river and the circumstances of his death don’t add up. The local police think he ran away, but nobody knows why. People crack under pressure all the time, but sometimes they do it in the most remarkable ways. This play asks, “Why would you ever leave your family? And if you did dare to leave home, what would bring you back again?”

Mattie J. Hawkinson: Writing credits include TYA productions in New York and Chicago and a co-adaptation of The Three Musketeers in Philadelphia at Quintessence.  As an actor, Mattie has participated in new play development at the National Playwrights Conference five times. She’s also worked on new plays at Victory Gardens, Chicago Shakespeare, Cleveland Playhouse, Lookingglass, and the Ensemble Theatre of New York. Some other acting credits include Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, the Goodman, Steppenwolf, Manhattan Theatre Club, Milwaukee Rep, Denver Center, Centerstage, Cincinnati Playhouse, Northlight, and Indiana Repertory. Assistant directing credits at the Irish Repertory, the Arden, and Philadelphia Theatre Company.

The Garbologists by Lindsay Joelle

Executive Producer: Jan Rothschild
Associate Producers: Suzanne Hilser-Wiles and Brannon Wiles, Gayle and David Smith, Dr. R.J. Wallner

Director: Kimberly Senior
Dramaturg: Alexandra King
Stage Manager: Alec E. Ferrell
Featured Actors: Angelica Jackson and Steven Rishard
Intern: Chisara Achilefu

Danny’s a white, conservative, proud union member of the DSNY. Marlowe’s the Black, liberal, ivy-educated newbie who just joined his sanitation route. When they find something on the curb too valuable to throw away, they’ll be forced to reevaluate in each other what they mistook for trash.

Lindsay Joelle is a playwright, lyricist, and librettist. Plays include Trayf (Theater J—NEA grant, Penguin Rep), The Garbologists, and A Small History of Amal, Age 7. She is the 2018 NNPN writer-in-residence with Curious Theatre and received an EST/Sloan Commission, Rita Goldberg Award, Irving Zarkower Award, Anne Freedman Grant, and Kilroys List Honorable Mention. Her plays have been finalists for the Eugene O’Neill NPC, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Leah Ryan’s FEWW, JAW Festival, JPP, Blue Ink Award, Ingram Lab, UMass Lab, and Soho Rep Lab. New Georges and Lark-affiliated artist, alumna of the BMI Workshop, Columbia University (BA), Hunter (MFA).  

Kids Drop (Off) by Dominic Taylor

Executive Producer: Willy Holtzman
Associate Producers:  Nancy Boykin and Dan Kern, Marta and Bill Kiesling, Moira and Ken Mumma

Director: Paul Meshejian
Dramaturg: Michele Volansky
Stage Manager: Debby Lau
Featured Actors: Jared Delaney, Maia DeSanti, Fenton Li, Jessica Johnson, Lindsay Smiling, and Julianna Zinkel
Intern: Emily Wanamaker

A group of parents have a collective “staycation” while their first graders are on a field trip. They get together because all parents need a moment of tension release. This day of relief is broken when Ado, the mother of a child that died a month ago, arrives. This play asks; how we can take care of ourselves and each other at the same time?

Dominic Taylor is presently commissioned by Ensemble Studio Theatre and the Sloan Foundation to work on a play about Ernest Everett Just. His play Hyper Hero is recently published by Playscripts.com. It will join Personal History and Wedding Dance on this imprint. His play Upcity Service(s) is published by Broadway Play Publishing. He is the former Associate Artistic Director of Penumbra Theatre. He is an alum of New Dramatists and a Usual Suspect with New York Theatre Workshop. He holds a Bachelors’ and a M.F.A. from Brown University. He is a Professor at UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television.

Tha Chink-Mart by Ray Yamanouchi

Executive Producers: Carol Baker and Mark Stein
Associate Producers: Seth Koch, VMD and Barbara Bellman, Howard T. and Mary Jane Rosenfield, June and Steve Wolfson

Director: Lisa Dring
Dramaturg: Gina Pasale
Stage Manager: Debby Lau
Featured Actors: Anthony Mustafa Adair, Tyler Elliott, Eston Fung, Leigha Kato, Daniel Kim, and Levana Wang
Intern: Amy Boehly

In a small, suburban town in Long Island, New York, five Asian American teenage friends battle through high school—where they’re marked as Asians—and their ethnic home fronts—where they’re too American. Finding solace only among each other, they attempt to define for themselves what it means to be an Asian in America… for better or for worse.

Ray Yamanouchi was born in Queens, raised on Long Island, and received a BA in film and theatre from Hunter College in Manhattan. His plays include It’s Our Kitchen (Semi-finalist, Iati Theater Cimientos 2017), Tha Chink-Mart (Semi-finalist, Princess Grace Award 2016), Impact (Semi-finalist, National Playwrights Conference 2017), and The American Tradition (Finalist, New Light New Voices Award 2017). He has developed work with WT Theatre, Mission to (dit)Mars, The Blank Theatre, Rising Circle Theater Collective, and Ars Nova. You can find him online @NotoriousYAMs and as the host of RE:, a talk show about theatre in NYC .

Additional Conference Offerings:

A reading of Joan, a work-in-progress by Stephen Belber.

Director: Melia Bensussen
Dramaturg: Michele Volansky
Featured Actors: Kevin Bergen, Jamie Branagh, Suli Holum, and Julianna Zinkel


Joan is a play about the entire life of a woman named Joan.


Stephen Belber’s plays have been produced on Broadway and in over 25 countries. He was an Associate Writer on The Laramie Project, (subsequently made into an HBO movie), and co-writer on The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later. He has written and directed two feature films, (Management, starring Jennifer Aniston and Woody Harrelson, and Match, starring Patrick Stewart), and written the movies Tape (directed by Richard Linklater), Drifting Elegant, and the forthcoming O.G., starring Jeffrey Wright. Television credits include Rescue Me, Law & Order SVU, and pilots for HBO, F/X, The History Channel, ABC and Fox.

A reading of Down in the Holler by Foundry playwright Val Dunn.  

Director: Elaina DiMonaco
Dramaturg: Hallie Martenson
Featured Actors: Brandi Burgess, Hannah Gold, Maggie Johnson, and Hannah Van Sciver

Deep in a holler of the Shenandoah Valley, Juniper prepares to spend a perfect life in a perfect cabin with her perfect partner, Blake. Until Maeve appears. Telling tall tales and crooning high lonesomes, Maeve beguiles Juniper return to Gin – a past self who once lived and loved in this here house. As Juniper attempts to exorcise her pursuit of passion and maintain the stable life she’s created with Blake, Down in the Holler witnesses a collision of class and queerness, ultimately asking how we reconcile who we were and who we thought we would become.

Val Dunn is a Philadelphia-based playwright who creates plays, performance art, and rituals. She is a member of the Foundry and Writers on the Rocks with whom she has developed A Shock of Wheat, I Know the Wind for the Things It Touches, and Down in the Holler (semifinalist, Bay Area Playwrights Festival). Val’s work has been supported by the Orchard Project, Centrum, Juniper Productions, The Bearded Ladies Cabaret, Azuka’s Spotlight Series, SANDBOX, and Philly Plays @ the Drake. Upcoming: The Misandrist Mitch McConnell Torture Porn Play (Philadelphia Fringe Festival 2018). B.A. Washington College

The Foundry is PlayPenn’s professional development and membership program for emerging Philadelphia-area playwrights.

"My head is still spinning from the wonderful plays I saw last week. The characters jump in and out of my memory and get me a little dizzy. I'm the guy who told you I shall plan my summer vacations around PlayPenn for the foreseeable future."

-William Clovis, patron