21st Century Voices

American Stage New Play Festival

Click Here for more information on how to submit to the 2019 New Play Festival

4 Days | 5 Plays | Live Staged Readings

American Stage is proud to continue our commitment to 21st Century Voices with a New Play Festival featuring live staged readings of five new plays from five exceptional up-and-coming playwrights from all over the United States.

A committee comprised of a diverse cross-section of community members worked with our producing artistic director to read, evaluate and discuss hundreds of new play submissions from Tampa Bay and beyond. The selected works will be featured in staged readings and workshops and will provide audiences the opportunity to contribute to the plays’ development through audience talk-backs with the Creative Team and Producing Artistic Director Stephanie Gularte following each play reading.

Individual Tickets: $10 per reading
All-Access Pass: $40 General Public | $30 American Stage Subscribers & Act 1 Club Members

LENI & JOSEPH by Jacob Marx Rice
Thursday, January 11 | 8pm | Book Now

Friday, January 12 | 8pm | Book Now

POSTLINGUAL by Brooke Downs
Saturday, January 13 | 3pm | Book Now

GROUP by Alex Rubin
Saturday, January 13 | 8pm | Book Now

GOOD BAD PEOPLE by Rachel Lynett
Sunday, January 14 | 3pm | Book Now

January 11 – 14, 2018

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Buy All-Access Pass

Click on the tabs below to learn more about each of this year’s play selections and playwrights.

by Jacob Marx Rice

Leni Riefenstahl is a dancer, actor, and perhaps Germany’s most influential director. Joseph Goebbels is the charmingly brutal Minister of Propaganda, intent on consolidating power for the Nazi Party. When the ambitious minister hires the even more ambitious filmmaker to shoot the greatest propaganda movie ever made, it will pull two brilliant and dangerous minds into one of most productive, powerful, and deeply antagonistic relationships in the history of film. Leni & Joseph explores the wild true story of two giants as they flirt, fight, and shape the lives and deaths of millions.

About the Playwright

Jacob Marx Rice‘s work has been produced and developed at The Flea Theater, Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, The New Ohio, Atlantic Theatre Stage 2, and others. His play series The Suicidal Comedies – consisting of Chemistry, Coping, and Cracks – has been produced around the country and has won the Kennedy Center’s Jean Kennedy Smith Playwriting Award, the Excellence in Playwriting Award and FringeFAVE at the NY Fringe Festival, Producer’s Pick at the Cincinnati Fringe Festival, and Producer’s Encore Pick at the Hollywood Fringe. Jacob was a 2017 Playwright Observer at the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, is a member of The Shelter, and is currently an MFA candidate at NYU for Dramatic Writing.

by Tess Light

21st century newlyweds Allie and Maggie have just moved into an old house that’s been in the family for generations, where Vesta, a young bride-to-be (and frustrated intellectual) of the 19th century lives with her parents. Through the quantum vagaries of time, Allie and Vesta become visible to one another, past and future co-existing in a small parlor room. While multiple souls echo across time, resonating with alternate versions of themselves, Allie teaches Vesta of modern female emancipation, changing the lives of both women in the process.

About the Playwright

Tess Light lives and works in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Distinctions include winner of the 2017 Julie Harris Playwriting Award (“Billy Joel Holds the Key to the Afterlife,” semi-finalist for the 2015 Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center’s National Playwrights Conference (“To Conceive Gods”), Winner of the 2015 Arts & Letters prize for Drama (“Expectant Pause”), and Winner of the 2012 New Play Contest at Theatre Conspiracy (“Tower of Magic”). Find her on the New Play Exchange: Click Here.

by Brooke Downs

Alexa, a home shopping host, is at the top of her field and ready to take the leap into network broadcasting. After routine wisdom teeth extraction, she wakes up deaf. (It can happen—inspired by a true story.) Now Alexa faces many choices which will change—or end—her life. Does she get a cochlear implant when she’s just reacted so drastically to surgery? Would it be better to learn American Sign Language? Can she continue her career in television or should she find another path?

Everyone has a different opinion from her brother, who wants the implant right away for her network audition, to her more cautious husband. Alexa must sort through everyone’s beliefs, including her own, as a speech pathologist leads her to see that silence is a wonderful way to learn to communicate.

About the Playwright

Brooke Downs has an MFA in Creative Writing from Brigham Young University. She now teaches a variety of writing and literature courses there.

by Alex Rubin

In a quiet New Jersey beach town, four women are about to have a very unusual reunion. Kari, Rachel, Janet, and Joy are the 1988 graduates of a center for teenagers with eating disorders. Thirty years later, their lives have taken vastly different directions, but there is still one secret that unites them…

About the Playwright

Alex Rubin is a New York-based writer for stage, TV, and film. Alex’s plays and songs have been produced in readings and concerts at The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Theater for the New City, Primary Stages, The Steinhardt School at NYU, Temple University, Hofstra University, 54 Below, The Davenport Theater, Peter Schneider Productions, Wide Eyed Productions, The Rep Group, Little Black Dress INK, Acadia University, Lama Theater Co.’s Fest of the Best, Samuel French OOB Festival, Renegade Theatre Festival, and more.
She has had residencies at SPACE on Ryder Farm and The National Winter Playwrights Retreat and is a BMI Musical Theatre Workshop lyricist. Alex was a semi-finalist for the 2015 Davenport Songwriting Competition, The O’Neill Summer Conference, and Red Women’s Theatre Award. She was a finalist for ESPA Drills, Sanguine Theatre Co.’s Project Playwright, the Jane Chambers Award, Wide Eyed Productions’ Reading Series,and AACT NewPlayFest. She is the 2013/14 Big Vision Empty Wallet Playwriting Fellow, a member of The Creators program and a member of the 2nd Annual Playwrights Collective Writers Group. Alex is the winner of the Francis Ford Coppola Award and The 85th Annual Writers Digest Award in Playwriting. This year, her work will be featured at The Drama League’s Directorfest under thedirection of fellow Ilana Ransom Toeplitz and in William Street Rep’s Lab Series.

by Rachel Lynett

June returns to home to a family in crisis. Her brother, Amiri, has recently been shot and killed by a police officer. Her father is missing, her mother, Miriam, has locked herself in her bedroom as a response, and her sister, Audre, has gone into overdrive of “everything is fine, everything is fine.” Now it’s up to June to find a way to protect her brother’s legacy while deciding whether she can finally confront long buried issues between herself and her surviving family.

About the Playwright

Rachel Lynett is an Arkansas-based playwright and theatre artist. Her recent playwriting credits include Good Bad People as part of Jackalope Theatre Company’s CIRCLE UP, Downstage Left Residency with Stage Left for her play, Well-Intentioned White People (2017), Well-Intentioned White People as a part of 2017 Orlando Shakespeare New Play Festival, honorable mention for the 2017 Kilroys for her play, Well-Intentioned White People, and a workshop production of Abortion Road Trip produced by Theatre Prometheus as part of Capital Fringe where it won Best Comedy. Her play, Abortion Road Trip, presented by Theatre Prometheus, was also a part of the 2017 Kennedy Center Page to Stage Festival. Other recent credits include her play Abortion Road Trip credited as a semifinalist for The Bridge Initiative 2017, Choosing You as part of the CulturalDC Source Festival 2016, Breathe Me In as a semi-finalist for the O’Neill Playwright’s Conference 2016, and Breathe Me In as a finalist for the Kernodle Play Award (2016). She currently works as the company manager at Arts Center of the Ozarks, the managing director of Arkansas Theatre Collective, and is a AIE rostered teaching artist through Arkansas Arts Council.

Playwrights Welcome Logo

Playwrights Welcome
Playwrights Welcome is a new program developed for Dramatists Guild of America Members by Samuel French along with Dramatists Play Service, Dramatic Publishing, Music Theatre International, Playscripts and Rodgers and Hammerstein. The goal is simple: to provide free access to theatre for playwrights, composers and lyricists. We are invested in the success and artistic health of our industry’s writers, and by extension the vibrancy of the American theatre. We’re also aware that attending theatre is an integral part to how writers learn their craft and grow as artists.

We are proud to take part in Playwrights Welcome, which offers available tickets to professional playwrights on the day of a performance, free of charge. To receive a ticket through Playwrights Welcome at American Stage, call or come to the box office on the day of the show. You must present your current valid DGA membership card to pick up your ticket, one ticket per member.

For more information on this national program, and to learn which theaters around the country are involved, please visit samuelfrench.com/playwrightswelcome.