NNPN to Support 15 Productions in 4 New NNPN Rolling World Premieres

Feb 21, 2017

Washington, D.C. - National New Play Network, the country's alliance of nonprofit theaters that champions the development, production, and continued life of new plays, announces four Rolling World Premieres: Halftime with Don by Ken Weitzman, Doublewide by Stephen Spotswood, The Arsonists by Jacqueline Goldfinger, and Building the Wall by Robert Schenkkan. The four plays will receive a total of 15 NNPN RWP productions, with each play seeing at least three distinct productions in a discrete 12-month period.

In an NNPN Rolling World Premiere, the Network provides production support to the playwright and the partnering theaters, including assistance with the creation and the contracting of the premiere agreement, collaborative interactions between the theaters, and travel and housing funds for the playwright to further develop the play in each city.


Halftime with Don by Ken Weitzman will Roll through Core Members New Jersey Repertory Company (Long Branch; June 22-July 30, 2017), Phoenix Theatre (Indianapolis, IN; October 25-November 19, 2017), and B Street Theatre (Sacramento, CA; dates TBA). Halftime with Don was a finalist for the 2015 National Showcase of New Plays and is NNPN’s 65th Rolling World Premiere.

Retired NFL player Don Devers has had more surgeries than he can count, experiences violent outbursts, and relies on Post-It notes to offset his struggle with traumatic brain injury. Just when things seem their darkest, Ed, a desperate longtime fan, arrives at his doorstep. With the help of Don’s daughter Stephanie and Ed’s wife Sarah, both pregnant and plotting from the sidelines, the fan and his hero discover they may be able to help one another in a way that neither of them could possibly expect.


Doublewide by Stephen Spotswood will Roll through Associate Members Florida Repertory Theatre (Ft. Myers; April 11-May14, 2017), Vermont Stage (Burlington; January 24-February 11, 2018), and Williamston Theatre (MI; March 22-April 22, 2018). Doublewide was a finalist for the 2016 National Showcase of New Plays and is NNPN’s 66th Rolling World Premiere.

Jim Starkey's version of the American Dream is a modest one: to build a home on his one-acre plot of land, replacing his doublewide trailer with something his daughter, Lorelai, can eventually inherit. When a highway expansion project threatens that plan, Jim finds himself reluctantly thrust into the public eye. Meanwhile, Lorelai is trying to discover what she wants her own future to look like. Will it look like her parents' or something very different? And will the world let her have a choice in the matter? When a tragic accident throws a shadow over the family's future, Jim is left to wonder what happened to his now-broken dream, while Lorelai is left to build her own future out of the pieces.


The Arsonists by Jacqueline Goldfinger will Roll through Associate Members Azuka Theatre (Philadelphia, PA; May 3-21, 2017), Know Theatre of Cincinnati (OH; September 22-October 14, 2017), as well as Core Member Perseverance Theatre (Anchorage/Juneau, AK: January 12-21/May 11-June 3, 2018). (An additional Associate Member has joined the partnership, but requests to be withheld until they are ready to announce their full season.) The Arsonists is the runner-up for the 2016 Leah Ryan Prize, and was nominated for the Blackburn Prize and Weissberger Award. It was presented to the NNPN Membership at the 2015 National Showcase of New Plays and is NNPN’s 67th Rolling World Premiere.

The Arsonists is a lyrical Southern Gothic tale inspired by Electra about a father-daughter arson team and the eternal bond between parent and child.


Building the Wall by Robert Schenkkan will Roll, with the support of Paul Prokop, through Core Members Fountain Theatre (Los Angeles, CA; March 18-May 21, 2017), Curious Theatre Company (Denver, CO; April 4-19, 2017), and Borderlands Theater (Tucson, AZ; September 27-October 15), as well as Associate Members Forum Theatre (Washington, DC; April-May 2017) and City Theatre (Miami, FL; September 27-October 8, 2017). Mr. Schenkkan and the Rolling World Premiere partnering theaters have received international attention in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and on the BBC Newshour for their rapid artistic response to the current administration and the political climate it foments. It is NNPN’s 68th Rolling World Premiere.

It’s the very near future, and the Trump administration has carried out his campaign promise to round up and detain millions of immigrants. Now, a writer interviews the supervisor of a private prison as he awaits sentencing for carrying out the federal policy that has escalated into the unimaginable. This riveting, harrowing and illuminating drama delivers a powerful warning and puts a human face on the inhuman, revealing how when personal accountability is denied, what seems inconceivable becomes inevitable.


In addition to Halftime with Don, Ken’s previous productions include, among others, The Catch (The Denver Center Theatre Company), Fire in the Garden (Indiana Repertory Theatre), The As If Body Loop (Humana Festival), Arrangements (Atlantic Theatre Company). Hominid (Out of Hand Theatre/Theatre Emory/Oerol Festival Netherlands.) Plays-in-progress include Spin Moves (New Harmony Project, Theatre Lab), and seal boy (Keen Company, Lark, Playwrights Center). Ken received The L. Arnold Weissberger Award for Playwriting for Arrangements, TCG Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award for The Catch, the Fratti/Newman Political Play Contest Award for Fire in the Garden, and South Coast Repertory’s Elizabeth George Commission for an Outstanding Emerging Playwright. Organizations who have commissioned his work include the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Arena Stage, the Alliance Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Theatre Emory, Out of Hand Theatre, and South Coast Repertory Theatre. Ken is a Core Writer at the Playwrights Center in Minneapolis and served for six years as a board member for The New Harmony Project. He received his MFA from University of California, San Diego and has taught at UCSD, Emory University, Indiana University (head of MFA in Playwriting) and, currently, at Stony Brook University. kenweitzman.com


Stephen Spotswood is a DC-based playwright, educator, and journalist, and received his MFA in Playwriting from Catholic University in 2009. Other produced works include: Girl in the Red Corner (The Welders); The Last Burlesque (Pinky Swear Productions); Walking The City Of Silence And Stone (Forum Theatre); In The Forest, She Grew Fangs (defunkt Theatre, Washington Rogues); We Tiresias (Best Drama, Capital Fringe Festival 2012); When the Stars Go Out (Bright Alchemy Theatre); Sisters of Ellery Hollow; The Resurrectionist King (Active Cultures Theatre); Off A Broken Road (Imagination Stage); and A Cre@tion Story for Naomi (Bright Alchemy). He is part of Forum Theatre’s artist ensemble and a member of the current generation of The Welders playwrights' collective. playwrightsteve.com


Jacqueline Goldfinger's work has been produced and developed by theaters including The Kennedy Center, La MaMa, FringeArts, Orlando Shakespeare, Finborough (Vibrant '16), New Georges, Barrington Stage, Vermont Stage, Perseverance Theatre, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Capital Stage, Acadiana Rep, The Arden, Seattle Public, Azuka, Manhattan Theatre Works, The Blank, InterAct, and Flashpoint. She has worked on public art projects with Reading Terminal Market, Missing Bolts, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art. She is a New Georges Affiliated Artist with a 2016-17 Audrey Residency. Her work has been supported by the Emerson Stage Residency, Drama League First Stage Residency, YADDO, NEA ArtWorks, The Independence Foundation, National New Play Network, The Lark, and PlayPenn, among others. She's been recognized by the Barrymore Awards, Brown Martin Award, Leah Ryan Prize, McNally Award, Philadelphia Critics Awards, The Kilroys, and nominated twice for both the Weissberger Award and the Blackburn Prize. She holds an M.F.A. from the University of Southern California and a B.A. from Agnes Scott College. She is represented by Abrams Artist Agency (amy.wagner@abramsartny.com). jacquelinegoldfinger.com


In 2014, All The Way, Part One of his “LBJ Plays,” won the Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics, Drama League, Kennedy Prize, and the ATCA/Steinberg Awards for Best Play and broke two Broadway box office records. Robert has since adapted All The Way as a feature film for HBO, produced by Steven Spielberg and starring Bryan Cranston. Robert’s previous Broadway experience was the Pulitzer Prize-winning epic, The Kentucky Cycle, which also won the LA Drama Critics Award, and was nominated for the Tony, Drama Desk, and the Outer Critics’ Circle Awards. Other plays include Hanussen (2017 Denver Summit Theater Festival), Shadowplay, Lewis and Clark Reach the Euphrates, By the Rivers of Babylon, Handler, The Marriage of Miss Hollywood and King Neptune, Heaven on Earth, Tachinoki, Final Passages, The Devil and Daniel Webster, The Dream Thief, A Single Shard, and The Great Society, Part Two of the LBJ Plays, anticipated in New York in 2018. His musical, The Twelve, had its world premiere in Denver in 2015 and won the Henry Award for Best New Play/Musical. Films: Hacksaw Ridge (2016. Nominated for 6 Academy Awards); The Quiet American. Television: Robert was nominated for two Emmys and won a WGA Award for his work on the HBO/Tom Hanks/Steven Spielberg miniseries, The Pacific. Other television work includes The Andromeda Strain, Crazy Horse, and Spartacus. robertschenkkan.com


The New Jersey Repertory Company is a professional, non-profit theater founded in 1997 by SuzAnne Barabas (Artistic Director) and Gabor Barabas (Executive Producer). Located in Long Branch, New Jersey, the theater's primary mission is to develop and produce new plays and to make a lasting contribution to the American stage. In addition, it also seeks to achieve the following: to be a catalyst for the redevelopment and revitalization of its surrounding community, to build and encourage young audiences and inspire interest in theater arts among young people, and to nurture the work of writers from diverse backgrounds and build diverse audiences. njrep.org


The Phoenix Theatre is Indiana's only professional contemporary theatre, and has presented productions to challenge and entertain the Indianapolis community for over 33 years. The Phoenix strives to expand the community’s exposure to diverse topics and start conversations that lead to positive change; produce vital, engaging plays that deepen and expand our views of a shared humanity; and stimulate conversation and promote diversity via intimate, engaged, and wide-ranging theater. Additionally, the Phoenix aims to move the political bent of the community from the right to the center via theater, and create intimate theatre so powerful and engaging it sparks and leads Indiana’s cultural conversation. This year, the Phoenix announced its Capital Campaign, "Phoenix Rising," to raise 8.5 million dollars to build a new home and state-of-the-art arts center in downtown Indianapolis. The new building will be home not only to the Phoenix, but to other local guest theatre companies. phoenixtheatre.org 


B Street Theatre is a non-profit, professional theatre company producing primarily new work for adults, families, and children. The two-theatre playhouse on B Street in Midtown Sacramento, California is home to the Mainstage Series, B3 Series and Family Series, each created to feature intimate, quality theatre for audiences year-round. Recognized as one of the nation’s top professional theatres, B Street Theatre has produced more than 100 new plays, 60 of which are world, national, West Coast or regional premieres. B Street Theatre was originally founded in 1986 by brothers Timothy and Buck Busfield for the purpose of bringing the excitement of live performance to children through the B Street Theatre School Tour. This educational outreach program serves over 200,000 students in Northern California annually. Buck Busfield still serves as the Theatre’s Producing Artistic Director. B Street Theatre programs include the Mainstage Series, B Street Theatre Family Series and Family Series Student Matinees (for school field trips), the B3 Series, B Street School Tours, Sketch Comedy, B Street Acting Conservatory and Studio for Young People, and the B Street Theatre Internship program for pre-professional and post-college training. B Street Theatre has produced over 250 professional productions since 1986. 2016 marks B Street’s 30th anniversary season. bstreettheatre.org


Celebrating 19 years of Award-Winning Regional Theatre, Florida Repertory Theatre is a fully professional theatre company that The Wall Street Journal has repeatedly called "One of America's Top Repertory Companies!" Florida Rep produces a wide variety of comedies, dramas, musicals, and new works and brings more than 80,000 people to the Fort Myers River District annually. In addition to its work on stage as a regional theatre company, Florida Rep has very active and vital education department that reaches over 27,000 young people every year. Florida Rep began nurturing playwrights and new works in 2014, and is now planning its 4th annual PlayLab Festival of New Plays. The NNPN Rolling World Premiere of Doublewide is the third play Florida Rep has chosen from its reading festival to receive a world premiere or second production. In 2015, Split in Three by Daryl Lisa Fazio received its world premiere and in 2016 Florida Rep gave a regional premiere to The Dingdong by Mark Shanahan. floridarep.org


Vermont Stage is Burlington's only year-round, professional theatre company. Founded in 1994, the company has produced over 100 shows and is known for staging the most prestigious, adventurous, and entertaining plays emerging nationally; fulfilling the city's need for a vibrant, innovative, theatre with productions created by and for members of its community. vermontstage.org 


The Williamston Theatre’s mission is to produce professional theatre that excites and engages our audiences while challenging us all to explore our lives. This mission statement is supported by the following objectives: to be an integral part of the cultural fabric of Michigan; to pursue innovative collaboration in every aspect of our work; to establish a home for Midwest artists; to engage audiences of diverse ages, cultures, and economic backgrounds. williamstontheatre.org 


Azuka Theatre gives voice to the people whose stories go unheard. Located in Philadelphia, Azuka Theatre was founded in 1999 by a group of young artists participating in the Arden Theatre Company's nationally recognized Professional Apprentice Program. Azuka Theatre has built a reputation for accessible, thought-provoking, and socially conscious theater and been hailed as "a company to watch" and a "major player on the Philadelphia alternative theatre scene," by Philadelphia Weekly. azukatheatre.org 


The Know showcases unexpected voices, new works, and plays that embrace the inherent theatricality of the live experience. Know Theatre seeks to be a place where artists and audiences feel welcome to take artistic risks, creating work that is cutting edge and accessible. knowtheatre.com 


Perseverance Theatre’s mission is to create professional theatre by and for Alaskans. We value community engagement, cross-cultural collaboration, professional rigor, and regional voice. The theatre was founded in Juneau, Alaska in 1979 by Molly Smith, and today is led by Executive Artistic Director, Art Rotch. Perseverance Theatre has grown over 38 years into Alaska’s largest professional theatre, serving over 25,000 artists, students, and audiences annually. The theatre prioritizes education and training programs for youth and adults, providing learning opportunities across the state, including at the University of Alaska Southeast. Perseverance has an established actor-in-residence program and beginning in 2016, a new playwright-in-residence funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon foundation. At Perseverance Theatre, we believe theatre-going creates community. It fosters empathy, builds relationships, cultivates our ability to interact with each other, and in so doing better equips us all to work out problems and create more vital and just communities. In the upcoming 2017-2018 season, Perseverance Theatre is producing musical, contemporary, and world premiere productions in Juneau and Anchorage. ptalaska.org 


The Fountain Theatre is one of the most successful intimate theaters in Los Angeles, providing a creative home for multi-ethnic theater and dance artists. The Fountain has won over 225 awards, and Fountain projects have been seen across the U.S. and internationally. Recent highlights include being honored for its acclaimed 25th Anniversary Season in 2015 by Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Los Angeles City Council; the 2014 Ovation Award for Best Season and the 2014 BEST Award for overall excellence from the Biller Foundation; the inclusion of the Fountain’s Citizen: An American Lyric in Center Theatre Group’s upcoming Block Party at the Kirk Douglas Theatre; and the naming of seven Fountain productions in a row as “Critic's Choice” in THe Los Angeles Times. fountaintheatre.com


The mission of Curious Theatre Company is to engage the community in important contemporary issues through provocative modern theatre. Now celebrating 20 years of bringing thought-provoking theatre to Denver, Curious Theatre Company’s rich history showcases our commitment to playwrights with gutsy things to say. Over the last ten years, 66% of Curious plays have been written by playwrights of color, LGBTQ playwrights, or female playwrights – an unparalleled distinction in our region. We are proud to produce plays that challenge and enrich our lives through different viewpoints and storytelling styles. Curious has been named Best Theatre Season by Westword seven times and was honored four times with Best Year by a Theatre Company by the former Denver Post Ovation Awards. Our incredible Company and the artists who work with us have earned hundreds of awards through their tireless effort to bring relevant, contemporary theatre to the Front Range. “No guts, no story” embodies the ethos of Curious Theatre Company. Established in 1997 by a vanguard Artistic Company that has since grown to 27 professional actors, designers, and directors at its core, Curious brings the best new theatre to Denver, producing thought-provoking plays designed to challenge ideas, stir emotions, and leave audiences thinking and talking for days. curioustheatre.org 


Borderlands Theater is a professional theater company recognized nationally and internationally for the development and production of theater and educational programs that reflect the diverse voices of the U.S./ Mexico border region. Its mission is to champion the development and production of new plays while producing plays by established playwrights whose work resonates with the diversity of its audiences, partnering with regional civic organizations to foster diversity in play development and productions, and producing diverse and quality programs for youth. borderlandstheater.org 


Forum Theatre produces adventurous, relevant, and challenging plays from a diversity of voices that inspire discussion and build community - and that are accessible, affordable, and entertaining. Since Forum Theatre’s inception, it has aimed to be both the home for stories that provoke discussion and the place to host that discussion. Forum’s plays are a conversation with the audience, and they tell stories about who we are as a local, national, and global community. forum-theatre.org 


City Theatre is an award-winning professional theater company founded in Miami, FL in 1996, that is dedicated to the development and production of new works, and programming that entertains, informs, and resonates with its diverse audiences. It is the only theatre in the nation producing ten minute plays and musicals year round and for all ages, including its signature SUMMER SHORTS FESTIVALS featuring work by well-known and exciting new writers culled from its City Theatre National Award for Short Playwriting Contests, SHORTS GONE WILD featuring original LGBTQ plays by regional and national playwrights, the CITY SHORTS “Best of the Fest” winter regional tour into local community venues, and the SHORT CUTS in-school tour bringing original commissioned work to 25,000 students annually. City Theatre is unique in South Florida for its long standing commitment towards playwrights and their educational and professional development, including its reading series designed to inform and invest audiences in the process of new play development; the NextGen Project; a student mentoring initiative to identify and support the Next Generations of South Florida playwrights; and CityWrights, a year-round series of workshops, readings, panels and a Weekend Convening bringing together regional and national dramatists and theatre industry leaders for artistic collaboration and professional opportunities. City Theatre selects opportunities to produce full-length plays it feels are timely, exciting and impactful to its community and audiences. In 2016, City Theatre was honored by the Carbonell Committee with the prestigious Bill Von Maurer Award, which recognizes significant contributions to South Florida theater development by an individual or group, for the company’s dedication to the short form play and fostering new play development. citytheatre.com