NNPN Announces Thirteen Productions of Three Rolling World Premieres

Jul 28, 2014

(Photo from Olney Theater Center's Rolling World Premiere of COLOSSAL by Andrew Hinderaker. Photo by Stan Barouh features Joseph Carlson, Michael Patrick Thornton, and James Whalen.)


WASHINGTON, DC - The NATIONAL NEW PLAY NETWORK (NNPN), the country’s alliance of non-profit theaters that champions the development, production, and continued life of new plays, announces its 44th, 45th, and 46th Rolling World Premieres: Nathan Alan Davis’ Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea, Andrew Hinderaker’s Colossal, and William Missouri Downs’ Women Playing Hamlet will receive a total of 13 productions through the Network’s Continued Life of New Plays Fund in the 2014/15 season.

Dontrell, Who Kissed The Sea will begin its Rolling World Premiere at Skylight Theatre (Los Angeles, CA, January 31 - March 1, 2015), followed by performances as Phoenix Theatre (Indianapolis, IN, April 9 – 26, 2015), Theater Alliance (Washington, DC, May 6 – 31, 2015), Cleveland Public Theatre (Cleveland, OH, May 21 – June 6, 2015), and Oregon Contemporary Theatre (Eugene, OR, May 15 – June 7, 2015).

Colossal will open at Olney Theatre Center (Olney, MD, September 3 – 28, 2014), and continue its Rolling World Premiere at Mixed Blood Theatre (Minneapolis, MN, October 10 – November 9, 2014), Dallas Theater Center (Dallas, TX, April 2 – May 3, 2015), Company One (Boston, MA, July 17 – August 16, 2015), and Southern Rep (New Orleans, LA, August 18 – September 16, 2015).

Women Playing Hamlet begins its Rolling World Premiere at Unicorn Theatre (Kansas City, MO, March 7 – 29, 2015), Gamut Theatre (Harrisburg, PA, March 13 – 29, 2015), and New Theatre (Miami, FL, March 22 – April 19, 2015).



Eighteen-year-old Dontrell Jones the Third decides that it is his duty and destiny to venture into the Atlantic Ocean in search of an ancestor lost during the Middle Passage. But his family is not at all ready to abandon its prized son to the waters of a mysterious and haunting past.  Blending poetry, humor, wordplay and ritual, Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea explores the lengths and depths we must go in order to free ourselves from history’s wrongs.


Nathan Alan Davis is a playwright from the Midwest whose chosen influences include Hip Hop, classical tragedy and Sufi poetry. Plays include Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea (NNPN Rolling World Premiere, 2015), The Art of Bowing (L. Arnold Weissberger Award nominee) and The Wind and the Breeze (Lorraine Hansberry Award winner). These works and others have been produced, presented or developed at Baltimore CENTERSTAGE, San Diego REP, Source Festival, Chicago Dramatists, the Kennedy Center and Indiana University. In 2014/15 he joins the Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program at Juilliard. Other honors include: Jerome Fellowship finalist, Heideman Award finalist and Bay Area Playwrights Festival finalist. Nathan received his MFA from Indiana University in 2014 and holds a BFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Cleveland Public Theatre’s mission is to nurture compassion and raise consciousness through ground-breaking performance and life-changing education programs. CPT produces 10+ adventurous shows a year, mostly world premieres, with a strong emphasis on bold aesthetics and extraordinary approaches to theater. CPT celebrates equity with a diverse season, typically with 50% or more plays by women. CPT is known for devising works with professional ensembles and is a member of the network of ensemble theaters. CPT engages communities in creating original work through Teatro Publico de Cleveland and its education programs that serve residents of public housing, low-income youth and homeless adults in transition. http://www.cptonline.org/


The Phoenix Theatre is Indiana’s only professional contemporary theatre, and has presented productions to challenge and entertain the Indianapolis community for 31 years. An Equity house, the Phoenix presents the Midwest and Indiana premieres of many popular Broadway and Off-Broadway plays, and has presented more than 91 world premieres since its inception. The Phoenix Theatre is a core member of the National New Play Network and is supported by the Indiana Arts Commission, the Arts Council of Indianapolis, and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as local corporate and foundation funders and more than 400 individual donors.


Oregon Contemporary Theatre’s mission is to create bold entertainment that challenges expectation, inspires curiosity, encourages dialogue and supports positive change. OCT produces 7 to 8 engaging productions a year, featuring the best new plays and reimagined classics performed in an enticingly intimate theatre in Eugene, Oregon. Since its founding in 1992 OCT has produced over 130 productions, including numerous world premieres. OCT is committed to providing a supportive and nurturing environment for emerging theatre artists and arts administrators to grow their craft. OCT is proud of its leadership in the economic revitalization of Downtown Eugene where we opened our permanent new home in 2013 with the generous support of local and state government, regional foundations and more than 300 individual donors.


Skylight Theatre Company is about discovering, developing and producing new, exhilarating theater while nurturing and educating the artists who create it. We are a vibrant and expanding family of artists giving voice to original perspectives of today's world. In 2013, LA Weekly named Skylight's productions of Years to the Day, Open House and Sexting to their list of the Top Ten Plays of the Year. In 2011, our first year as a company dedicated to developing new plays, our production of Hermeticaly Sealed made the LA Times annual list of Top Ten Plays and Mad Women moved from Los Angeles to New York! Since then plays developed by Skylight have played Chicago, New York, and Paris, as well other local venues. Since 2011 Skylight Theatre Company has presented works from more than 170 writers as part of 92 staged readings, 19 World Premiere productions and 29 workshop presentations.


Theater Alliance's mission is to develop, produce, and present socially conscious, thought-provoking work that fully engages our community in active dialogue. A catalyst for innovation and diversity, Theater Alliance is among DC’s pre-eminent theater companies, one that consistently produces thought provoking and socially pertinent work, successfully uniting audiences of all backgrounds through the power of creative presentation and participation. Theater Alliance was founded in 1993 with the distinct goal of producing work that would illuminate the experiences, philosophies and interests of DC’s diverse populations. That goal was furthered when Theater Alliance moved from its home at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop to become the sole theater-in-residence at the H Street Playhouse.



Performed in four 15-minute quarters with a half-time show, featuring a dance company, a drum corps, and a fully-padded cast, Colossal is an epic event that simultaneously celebrates and attacks our nation's most popular form of theater: football.

A star football player–a pro prospect, one of the most graceful runners in the world, and a man in love with a teammate–struggles to move forward in the wake of a catastrophic spinal cord injury. With full contact choreography, this play about love, ability, and extraordinary feats of strength tackles definitions of masculinity and the male body as a vehicle for language, violence, and silent expression through dance, football, and disability.


Andrew Hinderaker is a Resident Playwright of Chicago Dramatists, an ensemble member of the Gift Theatre in Chicago, and a three-time Jeff Award Nominee. His plays include: I Am Going to Change the World, Dirty, Kingsville, and Suicide, Incorporated, which premiered at the Gift in 2010 and was subsequently produced Off-Broadway at the Roundabout Theatre. Hinderaker’s newest play, Colossal, featuring a dance company, a drumline, and a fully-padded football team, was the recent recipient of multiple awards from the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Hinderaker’s plays have been produced/developed by Manhattan Theatre Club, the Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf, the Araca Group, the Alliance Theatre, Mixed Blood, No Rules, Victory Gardens, Rattlestick, Stage Left, and several others. He currently holds commission from the Roundabout Theatre Company and Marc Platt Productions, and recently completed his M.F.A. in Playwriting at the University of Texas in Austin. Hinderaker is a member of the 2013-2014 Playwrights’ Unit at the Goodman Theatre.


Olney Theatre Center, now in its 76th season, is an award-winning, nonprofit, Equity theatre. Located just north of Washington, D.C. in arts-rich Montgomery County, Maryland, Olney Theatre Center offers a diverse array of professional productions year-round. Olney Theatre Center is situated on 14 acres in the heart of the beautiful Washington-Baltimore-Frederick "triangle," within easy access of all three cities. Olney Theatre Center is home to the National Players, America's longest-running touring company and led by Artistic Director Jason Loewith. For more information please visit www.olneytheatre.org.


Mixed Blood Theatre has invited the global village into its audience and onto its stage for its unique brand of provocative, inclusive, and predictably unpredictable theatre since 1976. With programming in its historic firehouse in Minneapolis, in satellite venues throughout the Upper Midwest, and in the national workplace, Mixed Blood leads audiences to a much larger world, using relevant and entertaining theater to spawn a ripple effect of social change. Winner of numerous awards for its human rights and artistic accomplishments, Mixed Blood pays positive attention to differences and champions access. The company annually serves 75,000 people through its mainstage season of new plays, a regional tour of 5–7 shows, and On The Job, a series of customized productions addressing workplace inclusion. In 2011, Mixed Blood launched Radical Hospitality, providing no-cost access to mainstage productions for all.  For more information, visit mixedblood.com.


The premiere professional theatre of the Gulf South, Southern Rep Theatre produces award-winning programs that are engaging, educational, and mad accessible for audiences of every socioeconomic background. Under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director, Aimée Hayes, Southern Rep Theatre's Mainstage Season work includes bold World and Regional Premieres as well as the best of Broadway, off-Broadway, and classic plays. Southern Rep Theatre's Lagniappe Series and "School to Stage Pipeline" of Arts Education Programs reflect the company's ongoing commitment to new play development by providing resources for students and burgeoning theatre professionals and supporting a more diverse theatre community. Now embarking on its 28th Season, Southern Rep Theatre continues to build on its unique position as a New Orleans' community leader, creative force, and important resource for contemporary American theatre.


One of the leading regional theaters in the country, Dallas Theater Center (DTC) performs to an audience of more than 120,000 North Texas residents annually. Founded in 1959, DTC is now a resident company of the AT&T Performing Arts Center and presents its Mainstage season at the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre, designed by REX/OMA, Joshua Prince-Ramus and Rem Koolhaas and at its original home, the Kalita Humphreys Theater, the only freestanding theater designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Kevin Moriarty and Managing Director Heather M. Kitchen, DTC produces a seven-play subscription series of classics, musicals and new plays and an annual production of A Christmas Carol; extensive education programs, including the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award-winning Project Discovery, SummerStage and partnerships with Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Arts and Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts; and community outreach efforts including leading the DFW Foote Festival and recent collaborations with the Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Public Library, Dallas Holocaust Museum, North Texas Food Bank, Dallas Opera, and Dallas Black Dance Theater. Throughout its history, DTC has produced many new works, including The Texas Trilogy by Preston Jones in 1978, Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men, adapted by Adrian Hall, in 1986, and recent premieres of FLY *by Rajiv Joseph, Bill Sherman and Kirstin Childs; *Fly by Night by Kim Rosenstock, Michael Mitnick and Will Connolly; Giant by Michael John LaChiusa and Sybille Pearson; The Trinity River Plays by Regina Taylor; the revised It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s Superman by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Charles Strouse and Lee Adams; Give It Up! (now titled Lysistrata Jones and recently on Broadway) by Douglas Carter Beane and Lewis Flinn; Sarah, Plain and Tall by Julia Jordan, Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin; and The Good Negro by Tracey Scott Wilson.



Women Playing Hamlet is a comedy about the tragedy of modern life. Four women play twenty roles (including all the males roles) in this comedy about Jessica an actress from Minnesota who has been cast to play Hamlet in New York. After accidentally interrupting a production of Hamlet starring Patrick Stewart, not only does Jessica think Mr. Stewart is stalking her, but she also faces an uphill battle through a maze of self-important humanities professors, Freudian psychiatrists and a Minnesota mother, only to discover that she doesn’t understand Hamlet or herself. The search for identity is the theme as Jessica takes on her emotional baggage and existential overload, as well as her self-doubt and disdain for Danish fondue. There is no need for the audience to have seen or even understand Hamlet in order to follow Jessica’s comic search to find her unique self in this fast moving pageant. 


William Missouri Downs - after earning an MFA in acting from the University of Illinois and an MFA in screenwriting from UCLA, Bill wrote for several NBC television shows and sold/optioned movies to Imagine and Filmways. Bill’s first love was always the theatre so he left Hollywood, moved to Wyoming and began writing plays. He was a finalist at the Eugene O’Neill, won a Rolling Premiere from the National New Play Network and published seven plays with Samuel French, Playscripts and other publishers. In addition he has won a dozen writing awards and published four books on the art of theatre. His plays have been produced by Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, the Wisdom Bridge Theatre in Chicago, the New York City Fringe Festival, The InterAct Theatre in Philadelphia, The San Diego Rep, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The Berkeley Repertory Theatre, the Salt Lake City Acting Company, the Actors Theatre of Charlotte, the International Theatre Festival in Israel, the Stadt Theater Walfischgasse in Austria, the Detroit Rep, the Durban Performing Arts Center in South Africa, and over 100 other theatres worldwide. 


Unicorn Theatre, a founding member of NNPN, enhances Kansas City by developing and producing professional, provocative new plays. We create opportunities for the advancement of emerging and established actors, directors, playwrights, designers, technicians and administrative staff. With over 300 plays produced, Women Playing Hamlet will be Unicorn Theatre’s 60th World Premiere and will be presented as part of our 41st Season.  Artistic Director Cynthia Levin, who has been with the theatre for 35 years, will direct the production.


Gamut Theatre is the combined company of Popcorn Hat Players Children’s Theatre and Harrisburg Shakespeare Company. Our mission is to tell classic stories in new and exciting ways for the entertainment and enlightenment of children and adults alike. Over our 21 year history, Gamut has been recognized by the press and the public for the quality of our productions, the breadth of our programs, our reach into all segments of the community, and our ability to keep classic stories relevant and alive. Gamut is a member organization of the Shakespeare Theatre Association, Theatre Communications Group, and the National New Plays Network.


New Theatre is a multi-cultural theatre producing a season of Nouveau Classic works, blending classics and new works, which speak to and about a diverse contemporary audience by stimulating, provoking, challenging, and entertaining since 1986. Entering their 29th Season, New Theatre has flourished under the energetic Artistic Direction of Ricky J. Martinez and Managing Director, Eileen Suarez refining its focus on works which speak of social/religious/humanistic interests, relevant issues of discrimination based on race, gender and sexual orientation, the immigrant's plight, the role of youth in our community, and for stories from the heart and for the soul which celebrate the mosaic that makes up our South Florida community.