Reading of ‘Men On Boats’ by Jaclyn Backhaus

Reading of ‘Men On Boats’ by Jaclyn Backhaus

Guest Curator Program curated by A. Rey Pamatmat

Guest Curator Program curated by A. Rey Pamatmat

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; 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.

2018/19 Readings To Date

The Experiment *
Written by Lisa Kron
Directed by Leigh Silverman
Puppetry by Dan Hurlin
May 28-30 and June 4-5, 2019

The Feast
Written by Deborah Stein
Directed by Adam Greenfield
May 6 and 13, 2019

SuperLab: Bodies They Ritual
Written by Angela Hanks
Directed by Jeremy Bloom
March 11-15, 2019

Musical Theater reading: Erik Hermansonn’s Soul *
Book and Lyrics by Nathan Tysen
Music and Lyrics by Chris Miller
Directed by Kent Nicholson
March 4-8, 2019

Musical Theater reading: Row
Book by Daniel Goldstein
Music and Lyrics by Dawn Landes
February 25-March 1, 2019

SuperLab: King Philip’s Head Is Still On That Pike Just Down the Road
Written by Daniel Glenn
Directed by Caitlin Ryan O’Connell
February 15-19, 2019

Wives *
Written by Jaclyn Backhaus
Directed by Margot Bordelon
January 31-February 6, 2019

Sarah DeLappe Untitled Commission *
Written by Sarah DeLappe
Directed by Lila Neugebauer
January 28-February 1, 2019

Musical Theater reading: Alice Bliss *
Book by Karen Hartman
Lyrics by Adam Gwon
Music by Jenny Giering
December 4, 2018

The Care and Feeding of Adults *
Written by Hannah Bos and Paul Thureen
Developed and directed by Oliver Butler
November 5–9, 2018 

Guest Curator Series: Return to Blueprint (Excerpt) 
Written by Tokala Two Elk as told to J. Dawn Jones
Directed by JJ Lind
Performed by Tokala Two Elk
November 6, 2018

Guest Curator Series: Where We Belong 
By Madeline Sayet
Directed by Mei Ann Teo
November 6, 2018

Guest Curator Series: Stand-Off At HWY #37 
By Vickie Ramirez
Directed by Ryan Victor Pierce
November 1, 2018

Guest Curator Series: How I Ended Up On Craigslist 
By Stephanie V. Shay Mitchell
Directed by Brett Hecksher
November 1, 2018

By Kate Attwell
Directed by Margot Bordelon
October 22–26, 2018 

SuperLab: We Are Radios
By Chana Porter
Music by Ted Hearne
Directed by Adam Greenfield
October 8–12, 2018 

If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka
By Tori Sampson
Directed by Leah C. Gardiner
October 1–5, 2018

Heroes of the Fourth Turning
By Will Arbery
Directed by Danya Taymor
September 20, 2018

Ann, Fran, and Mary Ann *
By Erin Courtney
Directed by Taibi Magar
September 17–21, 2018

Blinding  *
By Jen Silverman
Directed by Saheem Ali
September 10–14, 2018

3 Farids
By Ramiz Monsef
Directed by Pirronne Yousefzadeh
August 15–20, 2018

*  denotes Playwrights Horizons commission
◊ the 2018-19 Guest Curator is Emily Johnson

Past readings

2017/18   2016/17  2015/16  2014/15  
2013/14  2012/13   2011/12   2010/11


Support for the New Works Lab is generously provided by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Dorothy Strelsin Foundation, and the Rodgers and Hammerstein Foundation.