Reading of Jerry Lieblich's ‘D Deb Debbie Deborah’. Photo of Paul Niebanck, Brooke Bloom, Birgit Huppoch, and director Oliver Butler.

Reading of Jerry Lieblich's ‘D Deb Debbie Deborah’. Photo of Paul Niebanck, Brooke Bloom, Birgit Huppoch, and director Oliver Butler.

Reading of ‘Men on Boats’ by Jaclyn Backhaus

Reading of ‘Men on Boats’ by Jaclyn Backhaus

Reading of ‘God is a Good God’ by Miki Johnson.

Reading of ‘God is a Good God’ by Miki Johnson.

Reading of ‘Iowa’ by Jenny Schwartz

Reading of ‘Iowa’ by Jenny Schwartz


New Works Lab

Playwrights Horizons premieres six new American plays and musicals every season. Beyond the marquee lights and behind the scenes, our Literary Department helps scores of playwrights to develop their voices and their new work at all stages of the writing process through a series of programs collectively known as the New Works Lab.

The Lab’s central purpose is to provide writers with developmental opportunities, affording them the time and space to collaborate on unfinished projects and hear their work aloud. In permutations ranging from one-day readings to extensive, week-long workshops, each process is structured to meet the needs of the individual playwright and unique project. Readings are closed to the public, allowing the author to evaluate and revise his or her work in a pressure-free environment.

The New Works Lab also encompasses a range of the Literary Department’s ongoing activities that allow them to discover and support new American writers. Playwrights Horizons is one of the only leading American theaters with an open submission policy, accepting scripts from any playwright — regardless of whether they’re known to us or have been produced on our stages before. Our staff reviews nearly 1,000 submissions each season (and every submission receives a written response); awards three to five new play commissions each season; and attends readings and productions of new work in New York and throughout the country.

SuperLab is a unique new play development collaboration between Playwrights Horizons and downtown new play powerhouse Clubbed Thumb. In 2010, noticing a significant overlap in the writers supported by both theaters, Playwrights Horizons Director of New Play Development Adam Greenfield and Clubbed Thumb Producing Artistic Director Maria Striar conceived of a co-curated series of play laboratories to support the creation of bold, risk-taking new works by living American playwrights and bridge the perceived gap between New York’s “uptown” and “downtown” theater sensibilities, methodologies and artist rosters, expanding the range of experience and opportunity for all. Initially supported by funds granted to Clubbed Thumb by Metlife/Theatre Communications Group’s A-ha! Program, created to foster creative thinking and action among its member theaters, SuperLab has since become a regular part of both theater’s new play development programs, with between four and six week-long, process-driven play labs each season. SuperLab readings are noted in the readings lists below.

To read our submission guidelines, click here. And keep your eye on this page and future bulletins for updates on our ongoing activities.

Read what New Works Lab participants are saying about the program.


2015/16 Readings to date

Rancho Viejo*
By Dan LeFranc
Directed by Daniel Aukin
June 22 – 24, 26 – 27, 2016

Writer Army
in residence at Playwrights Horizons
June 6 – 12, 2016

Men on Boats
By Jaclyn Backhaus
Directed by Will Davis
May 10 – 11, 2016

By Christina Anderson
Directed by Lucie Tiberghien
May 2, 2016

SuperLab: Flood City
By Gabrielle Reisman
Directed by Will Davis
April 15 – 20, 2016

Rancho Viejo*
By Dan LeFranc
Directed by Daniel Aukin
April 18, 2016

American Boobs*
By Jenny Schwartz
Directed by Anne Kauffman
March 23 – April 1, 2016

Nostalgia is a Mild Form of Grief
By Jerry Lieblich
Directed by Lee Sunday Evans
March 22 – 25, 2016

Musical Theater reading: Bella: An American Tall Tale
By Kirsten Childs
Directed by Robert O'Hara
March 14 – 18, 2016

The Last Tiger in Haiti
By Jeff Augustin
Directed by Joshua Kahan Brody
March 7 – 11, 2016

The Orphan's Club
By Sofia Alvarez
Directed by Oliver Butler
February 24 – 26, 2016

SuperLab: Cute Activist
By Milo Cramer
Directed by Morgan Green
February 1 – 5, 2016

The Experiment*
By Lisa Kron
Directed by Leigh Silverman
January 20 – 29, 2016

Musical Theater reading: In the Corner of Your Mind* 
(formerly Saturday Night at the Estate)
Book by Keith Glover
Music by Josh Schmidt
Lyrics by Keith Glover and Josh Schmidt
January 18 – 29, 2016

Writer Army
in residence at Playwrights Horizons
January 3 – 10, 2016

Rancho Viejo*
By Dan LeFranc
Directed by Daniel Aukin
December 15 and 18, 2015

By Danai Gurira
Directed by Rebecca Taichman
December 11, 2015

The Storytellers*
By Ann Marie Healy
Directed by Rebecca Taichman
November 30 – December 4, 2015

Musical Theater reading: String
Book by Sarah Hammond, music and lyrics by Adam Gwon
Directed by Lisa Peterson
November 2 – 22, 2015

SuperLab: One of the Women
By Mary Elizabeth Hamilton
Directed by Danya Taymor
November 9 – 13, 2015

Indian Summer
By Gregory S. Moss
Directed by Carolyn Cantor
November 4, 2015

SuperLab: The Apocryphal Tragedy of King Michael
By Eric John Meyer
Directed by Robert O’Hara
October 26 – 30, 2015

SuperLab: Going Out and Coming Back
By Alexander Borinsky
Directed by Ken Rus Schmoll
October 5 – 9, 2015

The Only Girl in the Hot Tub
By Ariel Stess
Directed by Kip Fagan
September 28 – 30, 2015

I Will Be Gone
By Erin Courtney
Directed by Kip Fagan
September 21, 2015

The Profane
By Zayd Dohrn
Directed by David Schwimmer
September 17, 2015

Musical Theater reading: Days Like Today
Book by Laura Eason, music and lyrics by Alan Schmuckler
Inspired by the work of Charles L. Mee
Directed by Sam Pinkleton
September 13 – 16, 2015

* denotes Playwrights Horizons commission


Past readings

2014/15  2013/14  2012/13  2011/12  2010/11


Lead support for the New Works Lab is generously provided by the Time Warner Foundation.

Support is also provided by the Jerome Foundation, the John Golden Fund, the Dorothy Strelsin Foundation, and the Rodgers and Hammerstein Foundation.