Seven New Plays Slated To Appear In 16th Annual New Stages Festival At Goodman Theatre

Seven New Plays Slated To Appear In 16th Annual New Stages Festival At Goodman Theatre

This fall, Goodman Theatre presents its New Stages Festival-a free annual celebration and discovery of new plays by some of the country’s finest established and emerging playwrights, now in its 16th year. Audiences experience a first look at seven new works-including two fully staged developmental productions (performed in repertory) Incendiary by Dave Harris and In the Sick Bay of the Santa Maria by Rajiv Joseph.

In addition, four staged readings are presented during the last weekend of the festival (November 8-10) including The Garden by Charlayne Woodard; Engines and Instruments of Flight: A Fantasia in Three Acts by Calamity West; The Humanities by Zayd Dohrn; and Fannie by Cheryl L. West-plus a special work-in-progress showing, (the) FAIR created by Sandra Delgado and Sojourn Theatre Company. The 16th annual New Stages Festival runs October 23 – November 10 in the 350-seat Owen Theatre; free reserved tickets will be made available to the general public on September 13; call 312.443.3800, visit or the box office (170 N. Dearborn). For more information about “Industry Professionals Weekend,” visit


“Over the past 16 years, our New Stages Festival has become a quintessential laboratory for new plays. Each season we invite some of America’s most inventive storytellers to develop work, which often goes on to be produced at the Goodman and around the nation,” said Artistic Director Robert Falls. “This season, we’re proud to present seven works-in-progress that represent a wide variety of styles and viewpoints. I welcome Chicago audiences to join us for this exciting lineup.”

Since New Stages’ inception, more than 80 plays have been produced as a developmental production or staged reading. More than 60% of all plays developed in New Stages have received a world premiere production at the Goodman or another leading U.S. theater. The Goodman’s 2019/2020 season features the world premiere of Korde Arrington Tuttle’s Graveyard Shift, which originated in New Stages in 2018.

The Goodman is grateful for the generosity of its New Work sponsors, including: Pritzker Pucker Family Foundation and the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, Major Support of New Play Development; Ruth D. and Ken M. Davee New Works Fund, Major Support of New Work; Shaw Family Supporting Organization, Support of New Work; The Glasser and Rosenthal Family, Support of New Work Development; and The Joyce Foundation, Principal Support for Diverse Artistic and Professional Development.


About the 2019 New Stages Festival Lineup

Written by Dave Harris
Directed by Monty Cole
A Developmental Production; appears in repertory (October 23 – November 9)

Tanya is determined to break her son out of death row-or die trying. She’ll need guns. She’ll need to get her hair done. She’ll need to save her son; but at what cost? This explosive tragicomedy challenges notions of motherhood, justice and generational trauma.

In The Sick Bay of the Santa Maria
Written by Rajiv Joseph
Directed by Robert O’Hara
A Developmental Production; appears in repertory (October 26 – November 10)

It’s 1492, and the Santa Maria sets sail towards a dangerous New World. In the ship’s dank and diseased belly, a young man with visions of sea monsters and the voice of an angel seeks counsel from a grotesque old physician. But nothing can prepare them for the freedom and salvation-and the prison and damnation-that lies dead ahead.

The Garden
Written and Directed by Charlayne Woodard
A Staged Reading: Saturday, November 9 at 10:30am


Claire Rose spends her days in upstate New York, quietly tending her vegetable garden as lovingly as she would nurture a child. When her newlywed daughter, Cassandra, arrives from Seattle hoping to know why mother missed her wedding, she uproots the grief Claire Rose thought was long buried-and now must confront.

(the) FAIR
A Fantastical Time-Traveling Exposition Through Chicago’s Future, Its Past and The Now
Created by Sandra Delgado and Sojourn Theatre Company
A Work-in-Progress: Saturday, November 9 at 1pm and 5pm

Set in 2033-100 years after Chicago’s last World’s Fair-this new performance piece invites artists and audiences to envision their ideal future Chicago, and identify who and what in the city’s past deserves to be remembered. Designed to appear in community spaces around the city.

Engines and Instruments of Flight: A Fantasia in Three Acts by Calamity West
Written by Calamity West
Directed by Kimberly Senior
A Staged Reading: Saturday, November 9 at 2pm

Calamity West is thinking about writing a new play. A fantasia. She imagines that it is set in 1986, and in it, The Playwright is writing his next play. Or, rather, struggling to write it. After an ugly breakup with his boyfriend, The Playwright is left to face his own creative inertia. Caught inside a maelstrom of secrets, lies and ghostly premonitions, he begins to find inspiration for his new work … but his own “gay fantasia on national themes” starts to look a little too familiar for his friends’ tastes. In writing a play that might just make it big, The Playwright must untangle the conflicting responsibilities that come with being an artist and being a friend.


The Humanities
Written by Zayd Dohrn
Directed by Niegel Smith
A Staged Reading: Sunday, November 10 at 10:30am

Lincoln University is under fire after a prominent professor invites a divisive political provocateur to deliver a speech on campus. As long-simmering tensions rise to the surface, students and faculty must pick a side. How far should higher education go to challenge students-and who is harmed in the process?

Written by Cheryl L. West
Directed by Henry Godinez
A Staged Reading: Sunday, November 10 at 7:30pm

A passionate and immersive call to action inspired by the life of civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer, whose courage and grit challenge us with the simple question: how ‘woke to the vote’ are we nearly sixty years later? Performed and sung by E. Faye Butler, this electrifying rally defines what it means to be a true revolutionary.