New Works Now

Jenni Putney & Gordon Clapp in Trick or Treat. Copyright 2016 Rob Strong

Every January, Northern Stage presents New Works Now, a showcase for the development of new plays. The Northern Stage artistic and administrative staffs work together throughout the summer and fall to curate a festival that features both nationally renowned and locally relevant talent. New Works Now includes plays and musicals alike, and all projects speak in some way to our audiences in Vermont and New Hampshire

New Works Now 5.0
January 19-21, 2018

Made possible by the Pussycat Foundation, Mike and Barbara Gerling, The Joyful Living Fund of the Vermont Community Foundation, The Norwich Inn, The Quechee Inn at Marshland Farm, Residence Inn by Marriott, Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn & Suites Express, and the entire Northern Stage family of supporters.

Mark your calendars for our fifth annual New Works Now, a show case for the development of new plays. Inaugurated in 2014, New Works Now first blossomed with Orwell in America, which progressed through the first New Works play reading process to Northern Stage’s main stage in 2015, and an Off-Broadway run at 59E59 Theaters in 2016. Local playwright Marisa Smith’s Mad Love was workshopped in the 2014 New Works Now festival, followed by a main stage production at Northern Stage in 2016, and continued on to the New Jersey Repertory Company. Last season’s main stage world premiere, Trick or Treat, first presented in New Works Now 2016, will be seen Off- Broadway in 2019. Only Yesterday (initially workshopped in NWN 2015) will premiere on our main stage in February 2018.

Readings are FREE. Seats are reserved, so book today! Box Office: 802-296-7000

Friday, January 19, 7:30 PM
It’s Fine, I’m Fine.

by Stephanie Everett
Directed by Akiba Abaka

“What could be more futile, more insane, than creating inner resistance to something that already is?”
– Eckhart Tolle

“To really love something, it’s hard to do. Especially something that doesn’t give you the feelings that make you want to love it. When you love your brain, it’s not like when you love your girlfriend. You don’t get the same thing back.”
– Kevin Pearce (Vermont native, former pro snowboarder, and founder of the Love Your Brain foundation)

In 2016, a young soccer player was knocked in the head for the third time in as many years. The consequence: chronic traumatic brain injury and the resulting isolation, pain, and confusion. This brave, vulnerable, and timely one-woman show is a window into the tumult of modern-day adolescence, made increasingly difficult by the unseen repercussions of concussions. For the first time in the history of New Works Now, Northern Stage is proudly featuring the work of one of our students: Stephanie Everett is a Dartmouth ’19 and a Northern Stage Fall ’17 E-term Student. This workshop and reading is made possible by the Pussycat Foundation’s BOLD Women’s Leadership grant and all of Northern Stage’s family of donors.

Run time: Approximately 45 minutes, no intermission.

Saturday, January 20, 7:30 PM
The Coup

Libretto by Rebekah Greer Melocik
Music by Jacob Yandura
Story by Rebekah Greer Melocik and Victor Lesniewski
Directed by Stephen Brackett

“Maybe music will save the world. I think that all people who love art, who teach art, and all of you, should burn with the obligation to save the world.”
-Shinichi Suzuki

“I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you different.”

– Kurt Vonnegut

The creative minds that brought you The Last Queen of Canaan (NWN 2014, NAMT 2015) now offer The Coup, a new musical which brings terrifying possibilities before our eyes and ears. When he was young, Gabriel dreamt of a revolution that would turn his post-climate change wasteland into a thriving utopia. But Gabriel’s rise to power failed to bring change and now it’s his blood that the people want. A lush rock fable about the disconnects in our political system, The Coup features the largest cast seen at New Works Now and includes live music. Made possible by the generous support of the Pussycat Foundation’s BOLD Women’s Leadership grant and Northern Stage’s donors.

Run time: Approximately 90 minutes, no intermission.

Sunday, January 21, 2:00 PM
Jane Burgoyne

by Robert Moulthrop
Directed by Stephen Brown-Fried

“There’s resonance in the history of this house, this room. And if I choose to sit another moment and wallow in the verdant ooze of my own past at this particular waterhole that’s now being forsaken, then that’s what I am going to do.”

– Jane in Jane Burgoyne

Jane Burgoyne, her daughter Katherine, and granddaughter Allison are packing up the last of Jane’s belongings before she moves to an independent living facility. Jane’s own past allows her a sympathetic and nuanced understanding of Allison’s illness and depression, an understanding that is viewed with suspicion and envy by Katherine, whose relationships with both women are both complex and adversarial. As Jane’s material life is dismantled, she begins to move toward an independent, clear-eyed decision about her future, about what kind of person she might be when everything else is removed. Jane Burgoyne, a moving exploration of the intergenerational relationship between three women, is revelatory, empathetic, and gracious. This workshop and reading is made possible by the generous support of Mike and Barbara Gerling, The Joyful Living Fund of the Vermont Community Foundation, and Northern Stage’s family of donors.

Run time: Approximately 90 minutes, no intermission.

The Dual

by Jack Neary

Accompanying the staged readings is the third annual Thirsty Theater, a pop-up theater experience in White River Junction. This year, the world premiere of the ten-minute play The Dual by Jack Neary (Northern Stage: Trick or Treat) will be performed by Emmy winner Gordon Clapp and Northern Stage favorite Susan Haefner. No tickets are required for this event, which is scheduled for the following times:

The Filling Station: Friday, January 19, 9:00 PM (arrival to the Filling Station at 8:45 PM recommended)

Thyme : Saturday, January 20 at 6:30 PM (dinner reservations no later than 6:00 PM recommended)

World Premiere Plays at Northern Stage

In 2013, the leadership team of Northern Stage made a commitment to the development of new work for the American theater. To create is to be alive, to be vibrant, and a laboratory environment for Northern Stage would serve to enrich the theater experiences of our audiences and artists. The development of new work in regional theaters is considered a risky proposition. Companies often stay away from new work because of the unpredictability of sales, lack of title recognition, and inability to predict audience response to a piece that has not been vetted. However, Northern Stage’s Leadership Team recognized that theaters who create work in addition to producing a broad spectrum of already-produced theater make a more profound difference in the power of theater to change lives. Northern Stage, as the major LORT regional theater in the states of Vermont and New Hampshire, is now committed to ushering in new work with the involvement of our audiences who are hungry for daring and impactful theater. New Works Now, our festival held each January, has served as a guiding light for our company and has helped rebrand Northern Stage as a bold and visionary theater for our complicated times.

History of Fostering and Producing New Work at Northern Stage

New Works Now was launched in 2014 in the middle of Carol Dunne and Managing Director Eric Bunge’s first season with Northern Stage. The first festival attracted small audiences, but our talk backs and superb audience response proved that our unique audiences were willing to try out new work in a collaborative environment. New Works Now attracts submissions from all over the country and brings plays to packed houses. All readings are free and open to the public.

In 2016, Northern Stage added Thirsty Theater to the New Works Now festival. A guerilla-theater, community outreach project, Thirsty Theater brings new 10-minute plays into area restaurants and businesses in order to bring theater into the lives of our community members. Playwrights Marisa Smith and Elisabeth Gordon were featured during NWN Thirsty Theater in 2016 and 2017.

Perhaps the most profound effect of New Works Now has been the success of Northern Stage’s three full world premiere productions since the festival’s founding. Orwell in America by Joe Sutton played on Northern Stage’s main stage in March of 2015 followed by an Off–Broadway run in October of 2016 at 59E59 Theaters in New York City, where it garnered acclaim in the New York Times from theater critic Ken Jaworoski: “As the title character, (Jamie) Horton delivers perhaps the finest performance I’ve seen Off Broadway this year.” Mad Love by Marisa Smith enjoyed its world premiere on Northern Stage’s main stage in January 2016, followed by a run at New Jersey Repertory Company in the fall of 2016. Jack Neary’s Trick or Treat, from 2015’s New Works Now festival premiered at Northern Stage in March 2017. Bob Stevens’s Only Yesterday, from last year’s festival comes to the Northern Stage main stage in January 2018.

Northern Stage does not know what the future holds in the creation of new work. However, with your support, we can seek out and nurture artist whose voices should be heard. We cannot wait to see what we bring you next!

“How wonderful that Northern Stage is a research and development lab for the next generation of classics!” – Alex Trow, Actor

A Note to Playwrights

We do not generally accept unsolicited scripts, but if you would like to send a resume and current electronic copy of manuscript to Amanda Rafuse (, we’d be delighted to add you to the list of playwrights under consideration for inclusion in our new play development programs. Please DO NOT mail physical copies of manuscripts.

The selection process for New Works Now has become highly competitive, as we have only 3 spots, and a great many plays/playwrights under consideration each year. If your work is in alignment with Northern Stage’s vision and mission, we will consider including it as a possible selection for our New Works Now festival.

Please do not hesitate to contact Amanda if you have any questions.

Past Productions

New Works Now 4.0: December 2016 – January 2017

Yesterday (later titled Only Yesterday) by Bob Stevens
Portugal by Elizabeth Heffron
She Exits, Laughing by Marisa Smith
Piece Of by Tasha Gordon-Solmon
Thirsty Theater: Runway Lounge by Elisabeth Gordon
Thirsty Theater: Polar Bear Swim by Marisa Smith

New Works Now 3.0: January 2016

Letting Go by Joe Sutton
The Standby Lear by John W. Lowell
The Calamity by Christopher Wall
Trick or Treat by Jack Neary
Thirsty Theater: Welcome to the Beekman Arms by Marisa Smith
Thirsty Theater: The Dog Walker by Elisabeth Gordon

New Works Now 2.0: January 2015

Here Today (later titled Only Yesterday) by Bob Stevens (World Premiere, Northern Stage 2018)
The Land Where the King is a Child by Henri De Montherlant, adapted by Wayne Lawson and Julian Sancton
The Last Queen of Canaan, book by Harrison Rivers, lyrics by Rebekah Greer Melocik, music by Jacob Yandura

New Works Now 1.0: January 2014

Mad Love by Marisa Smith Krauss (World Premiere: Northern Stage January 2016, NJ Repertory Production, fall 2016)
The Reluctant Lesbian by Kate Mulley
Orwell in America by Joe Sutton (World Premiere: Northern Stage 2015, Off-Broadway Transfer: 59E59 Theaters, 2016)


 Photo credit: Top of page, and above at left: Rob Strong; above at right: Heidi Reynolds