New Play Commission & Development

50 Workshops. 19 Commissions.

29 Home Grown Premieres.

Ritu Comes Home , 2014

Ritu Comes Home, 2014


Development assistance can range from a one day workshop and reading to a series of meetings and workshops over two or three years.

The Dangerous House of Pretty Mbane , 2015

The Dangerous House of Pretty Mbane, 2015

New Play Commissions

A new, previously or substantially unwritten play is commissioned and aided in it's development with the hope that the script will leave our process ready for production.


Past Commission and Development Awards Recipients

New Play Commissions


by Gabriel Jason Dean

Premiered at InterAct in 2019

In 1984, USAID and the CIA commissioned the University of Nebraska's Center for Afghanistan Studies to create textbooks for Afghan schoolchildren. The textbooks are filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings -- talk of jihad and drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers, and mines – subtle, coercive propaganda meant to stimulate resistance against the U.S.S.R. Inspired by these true events, Heartland unfolds as an emotional journey through love and loss, an examination of culpability and, ultimately, a meditation on the power of forgiveness.  


Neighborhood Watch
by Rehana Lew Mirza

National New Play Network Commission

Paul is a liberal family man. He wants to welcome his new neighbor “Mo,” but he can’t help wondering about him. What are all the wires for? What is he really doing with that fertilizer? And why does his daughter keep hanging out at Mohammad’s house? A comedy about stereotypes, family values and what it really means to be a part of the “Neighborhood Watch.”

by Idris Goodwin

When a local Doctor is murdered, the officers assigned to investigate find themselves on either side of a widening ideological rift. Was the Doctor a champion of underserved, indigent women or a venal killer? How do you uphold the law when you don’t agree with it? How do you fight for justice when you don’t really know what it looks like? An ideological cat and mouse game tangled up in a classic who-done-it.


The Puppet Play (Working Title)
by Reina Hardy

Sam is a jobbing puppeteer in his mid-twenties, looking for a steady gig in the field he loves. When he gets a chance to work on a foreign edition of the most respected kid’s show on television, he jumps on it – even if it does mean spending twelve months in a plague-ridden, post-civil-war kleptocracy. Sam follows Imogen, a warm-hearted, steel-willed producer, on her quest to bring children a vision of a better world, but their project faces government censorship, terrorist attacks, and nagging questions of cultural imperialism. Can Sam and Imogen get their show on the air? Can shows on the air help kids on the ground? Are we ever really going to get to that beautiful street?


The Dangerous House of Pretty Mbane
by Jen Silverman

National New Play Network Commission, Premiered at InterAct in 2014

A mystery, a haunting, a love story. Noxolo is living the immigrant’s dream. She has a football scholarship to a university in London. She can hold her girlfriend’s hand on the street and dance all night without fear, but her heart is in South Africa, in the safe house of Pretty Mbane, where lesbians find refuge from the rape and murder that can come from anywhere or anyone, even their own families. When the World Cup comes to South Africa, the world comes with it. All eyes are focused on the biggest party in the nation’s history, so only Noxolo knows that Pretty has gone missing. She leaves the safety of London and follows her heart back to her homeland and her first love.


The Buddy System
by Laura Jacquin

In the middle of Mirabel’s dissertation defense on the evolution of the shopping mall in the United Arab Emirates, two boys – one American, one Emirati  – suddenly appear: One of them is bleeding, they need to use this mall bathroom to hide in, and by the way, does she know where they can buy bandages? The boys’ cell phones are ringing and Mirabel’s thesis advisor has had just about enough, and what are any of them supposed to do here, anyway? A play about Arab-American relations and the marriage of Western culture and Islamic law that asks the question: can America and the U.A.E. ever truly be “buddies,” or is it a doomed partnership?

by Adriano Shaplin

A transgender graduate student living in the year 2033 accidentally melts the circuitry of time when he writes a bad paper about the Pharaoh Akhenaten. This foray into the ancient past sparks a troubling exploration of gender in an imagined American future.


Etched in Skin on a Sunlit Night
by Kara Lee Corthron

Premiered at InterAct in 2012

A black American painter living in self-imposed exile with her Icelandic husband and bi-racial daughter becomes entranced by Barack Obama and begins to yearn for her native land. Her private longings and buried secrets explode when a mysterious stranger appears in her studio, her husband gives their daughter a copy of the Icelandic children’s classic Tiu Litlir Negrastrakar (Ten Little Niggers) and Iceland becomes the Ground Zero of the financial crisis.

Ritu Comes Home 
by Peter Gil-Sheridan

Premiered at InterAct in 2014

Brendon and Jason – a 30-something gay couple – proudly sponsor a child from Bangladesh through a program of monthly payments and occasional correspondence. One day, in the midst of their consumption-driven, middle-class American life, the now 15 year-old Ritu suddenly appears in their living room. Brendon and Jason are forced to confront the reality of their token generosity and reframe their priorities as they try to form a new kind of family in this globalizing world.


When We Go Upon The Sea
by Lee Blessing

Premiered at InterAct in 2009, moved off-Broadway to 59E59th Street Theater.

A new play by the Tony Award-nominated author of Going To St. Ives and Whores (produced by InterAct in 2002 and 2005, respectively). Set in the future at a four-star hotel in The Hague, When We Go Upon The Sea reveals an introspective yet defiant George W. Bush on the eve of his international war crimes trial.

Some Other Kind of Person 
by Eric Pfeffinger

Premiered at InterAct in 2013

A dark satire about a corporate American bureaucrat who has built a life out of not having an effect of any kind on anybody, ever — until, on a routine outsourcing trip to Cambodia, he decides to rescue an underage sex worker from her plight.  By buying her.

The Dalai Lama Isn’t Welcome Here
by Elaine Romero

A drama that chronicles the tragic and complicated interconnection between a Chinese family scrambling in the new economy and the American family who lost their only child because of a contaminated Chinese toy.

Development Awards


The Special Education of Miss Lorna Cambonga
by Boni Alvarez

Lorna Cambonga is ecstatic about her lucrative new job offer, a position teaching science in a Los Angeles high school, but is torn about having to leave her ten year-old son behind in the Philippines. When she arrives her world is turned on its head. She is thrown into a Special Ed class and faced with outrageous housing, exam, and visa fees. The gleaming dream she was sold at her recruitment meeting is very different from South Central. Her new life is quickly becoming a quagmire that may leave her and her son separated and destitute.

by James Christy

In the not too distant future drought and genetic manipulation have brought America into crisis. Food is outrageously expensive and many people are only surviving through government sponsored cooperative farms.  But agribusiness wants them closed and the Supreme Court is split. Starvation is a very real possibility. The nation could be plunged into chaos.  At this nexus point are a struggling journalist, his crusading food-rights wife and an aging Supreme Court Justice.  How much will they compromise to save the future?


by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig

The Road to Eden
by Sean Christopher Lewis

Premiered at InterAct in 2011

A former Guantanamo detainee dying of cirrhosis of the liver journeys to the flower shop owned by his U.S. Army Interrogator to demand half her liver as reparation for the damage she wreaked on his body and soul. She has no memory of him or any of her time in the service, but they reawaken dangerous passions in each other.

Western Iowa. A house is being transformed into a museum to commemorate the passing of Brigham Young through Iowa on his legendary trip to Salt Lake City. However, the wife of the man behind the project is keeping secrets, one of which has drawn an immigrant Mexican man into their lives. He has secrets of his own, dangerous secrets that her son Jason is parceling out late at night. A play about borders and belief. Where we set our lines, our flags and our Gods.


by Tom Coash

Premiered at Portland Stage in 2014

When the American University in Cairo bans the wearing of burkas on campus, Intisar, an African-American Muslim student doing a year abroad, and Samar, her Egyptian roommate, discover that cross-cultural friendships in a post-9/11 world requires courage, understanding and new kinds of faith. From the author of Cry Havoc, premiered by InterAct in 2003.

Little Lamb
by Michael Whistler

Premiered at InterAct in 2009

A drama that explores the challenges faced by an adoption agent who helps a gay couple find a baby, only to find herself torn between her progressive social beliefs, her Christian faith, and her African American heritage. From the author of PHIDIAS8, showcased by InterAct in 2002.