Next Draft Series


This monthly staged reading series continues Three Cat Productions commitment to new work and is meant to be an extension of the Chicago New Work Festival.  The reading series is held on the third Monday of each month at the Berger Park Cultural Center first floor.  The series is free and open to the public.

Up Next:

2018 Upcoming Readings

May 21, 2018

She Lights the Fire by Kathleen Dugan, Directed by Jeri Frederickson
Seventeen years ago Maeve lost her son, Zaki, in a mass shooting that took place on the Muslim holy day of Eid Al-Adha.  In response, she went on a calculated killing spree, shooting politicians, lobbyists and gun manufacturers that she felt were personally responsible for the death of her son.   Maeve is about to be executed for her crimes and confronts family, friends and enemies as she navigates the questions of love, being a mother and the repercussions of her choices and actions.

About Kathleen Dugan

Kathleen Dugan’s play She Lights the Fire made it into the second round of the Austin Film Festival’s inaugural playwriting competition.  No Harm Can Come to a Girl on a Shelf was read as a staged reading at Chicago Dramatists.  She has several acting credits on stage and in independent films and graduated from the Theatre School at DePaul University with a B.F.A in playwriting. She teaches hot yoga and lives with her husband and two children in Chicago’s Albany Park.

June 18, 2018
Late to the Riots by Helen Valenta, directed by Aaron Mays
New York City, 1969. Jack and Bobby are a happy couple, except Jack flirts, Bobby drinks and neither are happy with the state of the world for gays. And then one night Jack decides he’s had it with the world–he throws a brick and the Stonewall Riots begin, setting into motion the gay rights movement. But will Bobby be able to join the growing revolution?

About Helen Valenta

Helen Valenta is a Network Playwright at Chicago Dramatists. She has had work appear at The Artistic Home Theater, Chicago Dramatists, Starlite Players, Three Cat Productions and Small Fish Radio. Two of her plays have been featured in Polarity Ensemble Theatre’s Dionysos Cup Festival (2011 and 2014). She has an MA in writing, and her poetry has appeared in many small journals. Her radio play, ‘We are all foreigners here’ was on the BBC’s commended list.   


July 16, 2018
The Vultures by Mark Ridge
When the will is read, Hunter West is named as the sole heir, on the condition that he doesn’t suffer from an insanity curse that has plagued the family. If Hunter is declared of unsound mind, a second envelope of the will must be opened, and it will designate an alternate heir. As the night progresses and the storm rages, Hunter’s sanity comes into question and one of the group goes missing. Who will ultimately inherit the fortune? Will it be the charming realtor, the handsome male model, the dimwitted nail technician, the bitter old woman, the gay hairdresser, or the mild mannered accountant?

About Mark Ridge

Mark Ridge holds theatre degrees from Vincennes University and The University of Evansville, where he won the campus playwriting competitions for two consecutive years. He is currently an Actors’ Equity Membership Candidate, a proud member of the Pee Wee Herman Fun Club and a member of The Dramatists Guild of America. As a playwright, he has been inspired by Tennessee Williams (for his brilliant use of language), Neil Simon (for his brilliant use of humor), and Penny Sycamore (who wrote plays simply because a typewriter was delivered to her home by mistake). Mark’s plays include RUSSIAN ROULETTE, OUT WITH A BANG, SOMETHING STRANGE IS HAPPENING AT THE C.C.&C., YOUR CHEATIN’ HEART & MY FRIDAY NIGHT BLUES and BESTSELLER. His recent works include EUPHORIA and KILLING KITTENS, which was produced by Theatre on the Square in Indianapolis and given a staged reading by La Strada Ensemble Theatre in New Jersey as part of the 2015 Pride Month Rainbow Reading Series. His musical parody 43rd Street, was given a staged reading by Three Cat Productions in Chicago and is was a finalist in The Shawnee Playhouse Original Playwriting Competition in 2017. In addition, discussions are underway for a full production in 2019 with a company in Canada.

August 20, 2018

Want by Shayne Kennedy, Directed by Jeri Frederickson
“Want” is an adaptation of Frank Norris’ late 19th century novel, “McTeague,” a piece of literature I’ve held dear since first encountering it at as an undergrad (Thanks, Dr. Zacharias!) and have continued to revisit over the last 25 years. Sometimes, I find in it a condemnation of humanity at its worst and greediest. In other readings, I’ve discovered a mournful prayer for people’s inability to connect with one and another. Moving the action from the late 1800s to 2008 allowed me to explore the resonance and timelessness of Norris’ themes.

About Shayne Kennedy

Shayne Kennedy is a Chicago-area playwright whose work has been produced in her hometown, as well as in parts around the Midwest. Her play, “Agreed Upon Fictions” was workshopped in Stage Left’s Leapfest in 2012 and went on to enjoy a Jeff-recommended run at Berwyn’s 16th Street Theatre in the fall of 2014. Her short play, “Blood Harmony,” premiered in Omaha, Nebraska in 2015 and was nominated for a TAG Award for Best New Work. This fall, her full-length play, “Handled,” will premiere at Creighton University. Shayne works as an Audio Describer at cultural venues around Chicago. She is the mother of three, and a knitter, and sings in a family band.


September 17, 2018
Metadata by Amy Crider
Directed by Julie Heeren
Ada, just out of college with a BA in Psychology, lands an intriguing new job: studying human behavior on Facebook and social media.  Relating to her weird, lonely boss is half the battle.  When they create a political action group on Facebook to study its members, things take a disturbing turn.  Just who is Bob, their mysterious boss?  And are they the actual subjects of this experiment?

About Amy Crider
Amy Crider got her BA in theater from Goddard College, but didn’t have the opportunity to return to theater again for twenty-five years, starting with the comedy writing program at Second City, and joining Chicago Dramatists in 2010.  Since then, she has had twenty-five staged readings in Chicago, Columbus, Minneapolis, Ann Arbor, and New York.  She’s been a semifinalist for the O’Neill, Seven Devils, and the Princess Grace Award, and in 2012 attended the LaMaMa International Playwrights Retreat in Spoleto, Italy.  Recently she produced her play Leda, donating the ticket proceeds to Mercy Corps.  (See  Her website is

October 15, 2018
Home is Where by Pat Curtis
Directed by Scott Ozaroski
Seventeen-year-old Caitlin has bounced from foster-home to shelter to foster-home for ten long years. She now finds herself in the home of a newly licensed single foster-mother in the tony Chicago suburb of River Forest. She’s unprepared for such verdant, affluent surroundings and is certain she’ll never fit in. But there’s something about her first-time, single foster-mother, Mickey, whom her caseworker refers to as a “hot mess,” that makes Caitlin feel right at home. Past and present collide and launch Caitlin into a future she had never imagined.

About Pat Curtis

Pat Curtis is a Chicago playwright. Her full-length drama, Joint Attention, was produced by Three Cat Productions at the Berger Park Coach House Theatre 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 life’s joyous little epiphanies are as likely to occur in a theater as anyplace else on Earth.



November 19, 2018
Paid In Full by Neil Connelly
Directed by Pat Henderson
In a city like Chicago, it helps to know a guy, or a gal. Favors make the world go round, and rules can be more like guidelines, as long as you have a favor in your pocket. Freddy, rising graffiti artist and co-owner of Abuelita’s diner, is struggling to keep either of his professions afloat, and he’s not having much luck with the gatekeepers in Chicago. As he begs, steals, and borrows to get up in the neighborhood, Freddy bends and breaks rules that aren’t always applied evenly. Freddy, and all the folks at Abuelita’s, must ask themselves who they know, who knows them, and where the favor lies, because in Chicago, favors must be paid in full.

About Neil Connelly
Neil is a founding member of Under the Rug Theatre Company, which produced his play RIDE in the spring of 2016. Neil was a semi-finalist for the Downstage Left Playwright Residency at Stage Left Theatre, and was a member of The Writers’ Room with The New Colony. Neil is currently an RAC Group Member with Chicago Dramatists. When he is not busy writing plays, Neil can usually be found shouting encouragement while pulling his hair out at a DePaul basketball game.


December 17, 2018 
Riverview by Rolfe Sick
To grow up in the Carnival world is to know fantasy, excitement, the magical and make believe of the “Midway,” the high flying Ferris Wheel, and the heart stopping Parachute—and then there’s the grease, the sweat, body odor, the unshaven mixed with a little lawlessness amid the boom of the huckster. It’s Riverview, Chicago, 1955. The Berger brothers can’t seem to make it work—three generations of family business seem to be doomed to failure—a stubborn German father, a city of payoffs, a post war generation that’s changing the definition of living. If you can guess the weight of the midway guests, you can guess what happens when two desperate TWIN sisters secretly share the secretary’s job—and attentions of unsuspecting brothers in a Tunnel of Love, and a roller coaster of romance. It’s brother vs. brother, father against sons, and career vs. love—until one tragic ride delivers a message of life’s reality: a merry-go-round can’t go on forever.

About Rolf Sick

Have you ever ridden a freight train West, say Chicago to Denver, or raced a thundering ice boat across Lake Geneva? Or had the exhilaration of watching a”chef to be” create the finest haute cuisine of her life, because you taught her? Well, now you know what drives engaging works from Rolfe Sick.

Rolfe is a native of Chicago and a Chicago Dramatist Network playwright with two full length plays and several short 10 minute works. He is member of the Dramatists Guild and offers his plays on the New Play Exchange.

To see a list of our previous Next Draft Readings,  please visit this link.