2016 Chicago New Work Festival


The Chicago New Work Festival is development oriented. Each invited playwright is be paired with a director, and the playwright-director team will be assigned a week of the festival to workshop the play, with a staged reading at the end of the week. The 2016 festival will be held from Jan. 11 to Feb. 6, 2016 at the Berger Park Coach House Theater.

Tickets: $10

Visit here purchase tickets: https://www.artful.ly/store/events/8100

January 16, 2016 at 12pm

Blue Over You by Dan Noonan

directed by Pat Henderson and featuring Colin Reeves

Where’s Mitzi? What happened to Mitzi?! Francis, an enchanting high school drama teacher, comes home to discover that his wife, Mitzi, is missing. Did she leave because of his infantile behavior, has she run off with the hunky maintenance man, or is something much darker at work here? Join this song-and-dance man as he tries to find Mitzi and woo her back.

About the Playwright

Dan's PictureDan Noonan is a native of the Chicagoland area and currently resides in Evanston. Dan’s play Set Up was produced by TheatreBAM Chicago in Lakeview and was highly recommended by both the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Reader. Set Up was also produced at the Alleyway Theatre in New York. Dan’s play Out Among the Dragons was produced by After Midnight in Evanston and was also highly recommended by both the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Reader. Out Among the Dragons was workshopped by Victory Gardens Theatre and was a part of Stage Left’s Leapfest. Dan has had staged readings of his plays at several Chicago theaters: The Goodman Theater, Victory Gardens Theatre, Chicago Dramatists, Steep Theater, Stage Left and Circle Theater. Dan has won the Neil Simon New Play Competition; the Maxim Mazumdar Playwrighting Competition; and the Agnes Nixon Playwrighting Competition. Dan was a finalist in the Dayton  Playhouse FutureFest, the Henrico Theatre One-Act Playwrighting Competition and the SART Repertory Theatre Playwrighting Festival and was a semifinalist in the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Playwright’s Conference, Ukiah Comedy Playwrighting Competition and the Chesterfield Screenwriters Competition. Dan has a B.A. in theater and political science from Boston College and a M.A. in theater from Northwestern University.


January 16 at 3pm

Mr B’s Legacy by Pat Curtis

directed by Scott Ozaroski

The best of intentions pave Sam Blondsky’s personal road to hell. Against the advice of both his sister and his principal, newbie teacher Sam embarks on a one-man crusade to rescue a favored student (Jesse) from an abusive homelife. Sam feels his childhood experiences in foster care render him uniquely qualified to intervene on Jesse’s behalf, but no one else—including Jesse—agrees. Undeterred, Sam will stop at nothing to achieve his goal.

headshot 1About the Playwright

PAT CURTIS is a Network Playwright at Chicago Dramatists. Her full-length play, Joint Attention, was produced by Three Cat Productions at the Berger Park Coach House Theatre in Chicago in October/November, 2013.  Her ten-minute comedy, Sibling Ribaldry, was produced by Second City in October/November, 2012. In addition to playwriting, Pat is an avid theater-goer who believes that life’s joyous little epiphanies are more likely to happen in a theater than anyplace else on earth.


January 23 at 12pm

Sunset Artists of the American West by Shualee Cook

directed by Bec Willett

Things are coming to a close inside Leah Connors’ house in Tucson, Arizona. Her marriage to Aaron is on a downhill slide, her ailing grandmother Anna waits for the end in in the guest room, and her younger sister Becky arrives home from years spent in church ministry in the midst of a major crisis of faith. As the sisters keep vigil during Anna’s final days, Becky starts to have strange dreams where she interviews the Native American kachina spirits that have painted the Tucson sunset every evening since the dawn of time – and these ancient beings seem to have different ideas of just what is coming to an end in the lives of these three women, and what those endings might mean.

About the Playwright

IMG_4039Shualee Cook is a Californian writer currently in self-imposed exile in the Midwest. Shualee’s play “An Invitation Out” received its world premiere at Mustard Seed Theatre in April, 2015. Her play, “Tempest In A Teapot” was the inaugural entry in R-S Theatrics’ New Works Workshop Series of public readings in June, 2015. “The Geography of Nowhere’ won the Mustard Seed Theatre New Play Contest, and received a staged reading in April, 2012. A 45 minute workshop production of “Osgood Rex”, an original musical, premiered at the 2012 Saint Louis Fringe Festival, where it was voted Audience Favorite. Her short play “The Music of the Goddess” was produced as part of First Run Theatre’s Spectrum 2010 Festival of Short Plays. She was recently announced as the 2015 Emerging Artist honoree for the Saint Louis Visionary Awards. She has also been a finalist for the 2016 Goodman Theatre Playwrights Unit, Inkwell Theatre’s 2014 play development program and Endstation Theatre’s 2014 Summer Residency.


January 23 at 3pm



January 30 at 12pm

The Void Dance by Scott Cooper

directed by Scott Ozaroski

The Void Dance is the story of Emma, a woman whose evangelical husband has disappeared, leaving her with a teenage son whom she believes has a special destiny.

About the Playwright

Scott Carter Cooper HeadshotScott Carter Cooper is a playwright, director, actor, singer and producer who has worked with such organizations as Steppenwolf, The Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chicago Dramatists, CityLit, Circle Theater, Theo Ubique, Bailiwick Repertory, and many long lost companies over the past thirty years.  He holds a BFA from Drake University and an MA from DePaul University.


January 30 at 3pm

The Friend’s Table by Dennis Fisher

directed by Elyse Dolan

It’s August of 1985 and the staff of an American school in Bavaria wake up to the news that terrorists have exploded a car bomb on a military base. Their plan to make a profit off of bureaucratic bungling is at risk and they must adapt quickly. Things don’t go well.  Things get broken. Ideals, insects, people.

About the Playwright

dennisDennis Fisher is an educational technologist who dabbles in the creative arts, composing electronic music and writing plays. His play JUDGMENT DAYS is currently in production at the Morris Theater Guild. He is a member of the Chicago Dramatists and has had his work read and performed there. THE FRIEND’S TABLE is based on his experience as an educator on an American military base in Germany. 


February 6 at 12pm

What I Learned at the Movies by Michael Rychlewski

directed by Dylan Roberts

On a Sunday night in 1984 a recently divorced alcoholic father waits for his daughter to come see his favorite film of all time on the night before she is to leave for college. This night is the final installment in a year-long Sunday evening film adventure they have shared, an adventure not without its problems since he has not been the most attentive of fathers as she was growing up. While waiting for her he ushers the important people in his life on and off the stage, entertains the audience with his cinematic education and regales them with stories of now-vanished Chicago movie houses. As the night wears on and she doesn’t appear to be coming, he hits the bottle and gradually sinks into hallucinations, summoning ghosts of his unresolved past. 

About the Playwright

Mike White HatMichael Rychlewski is high-school English teacher in Chicago. His theater work has been performed at The Via Festival in Paris, the Rhino Fest in Chicago, Second City (Best of the Tens winner), the American Theater Company (Big Shoulders Competition winner) and thesideproject (Annual Storytelling Festival.) He had readings this last summer of two new plays: 1989 at Theater Wit and Chops at The Greenhouse. Chops will receive a full production at Theater Wit this coming summer..


February 6 at 3pm

Southwest Moody & Gibbs by Katie Grotzinger

directed by Bec Willett

After his girlfriend breaks up with him and leaves their popular YouTube gaming channel, Moody spends his days depressed and reading toxic internet comments until his remaining partner and butch lesbian best friend, Gibbs drags him out to a swingers’ club where he is forced to come to terms with his relationship issues. Meanwhile, Gibbs herself is set on completing a long, overdue objective – getting laid.

About Playwright

Katie Grotzinger has been fortunate enough to have four one-acts produced (“The Terrorists Have Miss Connecticut,” “The Insanity of Dr. Viikberg: Mad Estonian Scientist,” “Bubblegum B.’s Mysteries,” and “Helen Reddy Would Be Ashamed.”) More recently, her first full-length play “The Patron Saint of Dead Dogs” has appeared in Pride Films & Plays’ 2015 LezPlay Playwriting Festival. She is currently earning her MFA in Screenwriting at DePaul University.