Development History

2020 Residencies

we have to hold hands
by Kait Kerrigan

we have to hold hands is a family drama told through magical realism. Imogene and Lila are sisters growing up in the shadow of their mother’s debilitating schizophrenia and their grandmother’s enabling denial, but in their mother’s art studio is a painting so beautiful and other-worldly that it’s as if you could enter it and if you could, perhaps you could find a way to reknit this family tapestry. While Lila has given up on such childish fantasies, Imogene is young enough that she dares to hope, and even to step into her mother’s beautiful terrifying world – but will she ever return? Does she even want to?

Kait Kerrigan is an award-winning bookwriter, lyricist, and playwright. Off-Broadway: THE MAD ONES (fka THE UNAUTHORIZED AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF SAMANTHA BROWN), HENRY AND MUDGE, both written with composer Brian Lowdermilk. Kerrigan’s plays include FATHER/DAUGHTER (Theatreworks New Works, Weston New Works), DISASTER RELIEF (Page 73’s Page 2, IAMA), IMAGINARY LOVE (World Premiere – Hapgood Theatre), and TRANSIT (Chautauqua Theatre Company’s New Works). Other musicals include EARTHRISE (lyrics), world premiere at the Kennedy Center in July 2019; ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER, & FRIENDS (lyrics), currently on its second national tour with TheatreworksUSA; THE BAD YEARS (book and lyrics); REPUBLIC (book and lyrics) directed by Michael Arden. Other musicals included IRENA (book and lyrics) with composer Megan Cavallari, and THE OTHER KIND (book) with singer/songwriter Rachael Cantu. Her work has been developed by Goodspeed, La Jolla, Aurora, Theatreworks/Silicone Valley, Chautauqua Theatre Company, Lark Play Development, Primary Stages, Weston Playhouse, and others. Awards: Kleban (libretto-writing), Larson (lyric-writing), Theatre Hall of Fame Most Promising Lyricist. Alumna of Dramatists Guild Fellowship, Page 73’s I-73, Barnard College, BMI Musical Theatre Writing Workshop, and ASCAP/Disney Workshop. Co-founder of the digital sheet music start-up NewMusicalTheatre.com. @kaitkerrigan on all social media.

Allies
by Michael J. McGoldrick

So a Christian, a Liberal, and a Black guy walk into a corporate conference room….what seems like the premise of a joke ends up being much more when a company initiative asking employees to wear a rainbow-colored badge in support of LGBTQ+ rights sets off a chain of events that threatens to destroy the company. Allies is a biting, satirical look at the tangled intersection of religion, progressivism, and capitalism in today’s culture.

Michael John McGoldrick’s play THE MOMENT AFTER was a Finalist in City Theatre’s National Award for Short Playwriting Contest in 2019. This play was also a National Finalist in the Gary Garrison MFA Ten-Minute Play Competition sponsored by KCACTF in April 2018, and it was also selected for the Theater Masters National Playwriting Festival in 2018. McGoldrick’s one-act play THE NEW PASTEUR was awarded “Best Overall Play” in Acadia University’s 26th Annual MiniFest. His full-length play WOLF AND BADGER was a finalist in the 2018 Trustus Theatre Playwrights Festival. His play CHILDREN OF PHILADELPHIA was a finalist in the 2015 Maxim Mazumdar New Play Competition sponsored by the Alleyway Theater in Buffalo. His play BY THE SHORES OF ALLUVTOOMEY was a finalist in Playhouse on the Square’s NewWorks@TheWorks 2nd Annual Playwriting Competition. His 10-minute play THE CHINESE LIFE FORCE was a People’s Choice Winner (Black Show) in the 12th Annual InspiraTO Festival in Toronto, Canada. His other plays have received staged readings from New Jersey Repertory Company, The Monarch Theater, Sundog Theater, Strange Dog Theater, Now and Then Creative Company, The Jersey City Theater Center, Permafrost Theater Collective and The Theater Project. He is a member of the American Renaissance Theater Company in Manhattan. He earned a Master of Fine Arts in Dramatic Writing from Arizona State University in May 2018.

A Perfect Existence
by Lesley Scammell

Five souls—two couples and one dog—are brought together by coincidence, loss, and radishes. As they pursue the possibility of connection in A Perfect Existence, they are forced to question their own perceptions of reality, the mysteries of the heart, and how to navigate a random and often cruel world.

Lesley Scammell received a fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts for her first play, MAKE ME AN ANGEL and spent the next three years writing for several theatre companies; Garter Lane Arts Center, Waterford, Ireland; Bluebarn Theatre in Omaha, NE and Circle Rep in Seattle, WA before returning to New York to do an MFA in Playwriting at The Actors Studio Drama School at The New School.

Lesley’s plays have been seen at The Shooting Gallery, Show of Strength Theatre in Bristol, England, Blue Barn Theatre in Omaha and Circle Rep in Seattle. Her plays have had readings and workshops at Luna Stage, The Shooting Gallery, MCC, New Dramatists, The Great Plains Theatre Conference and Fallen Angel Theatre Company in New York City. THE GERMAN LULLABY, a short film for which she wrote the screenplay, aired on the BBC Film Network, received Best Short film awards in the following festivals: 2008 International Film Festival, England; 2008 Reelheart International Film Festival, Toronto; Silver Award Best Short International Filmmakers; Honorable mentions in New York Downtown Short Film Festival 2008; and Accolade Awards 2007. She has been a finalist for EST’s Marathon, a Jerome Fellowship, and a Princess Grace Award. She recently attended the 2017 Great Plains Theatre Conference with A PERFECT EXISTENCE.

Lesley is a 2018 recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship from the New Jersey
Council on the Arts. A PERFECT EXISTENCE was shortlisted for the 2019 Theatre503 Playwriting Award, and was a finalist for the 2018 Henley Rose Playwriting Competition.

The Incels
by Ruth Zamoyta

Tom spends his days taking photos of random women on bridges. Derrick tries to attract women using his hunting skills. Pat has traded in companionship for philosophy and wants to help others do the same. The Incels follows these three men as they discover each other in an online community, and invites us to explore the contemporary subculture of “involuntarily celibate” men in all of its complexity.

Ruth Zamoyta received a NJ State Council on the Arts artist fellowship for Playwriting in 2018. Her plays THE CAREGIVERS and THE FENCERS were semifinalists for the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, and THE CAREGIVERS was given special consideration for the Relentless Award. Her play THE INCELS was originally developed through the INKubator program at Art House Productions in Jersey City, NJ, in 2019. Her short comedies have been produced by Mile Square Theatre in Hoboken, NJ, and Secret Theatre, NYC. Ruth holds degrees from Columbia University, NYU, and St. John’s University. She’s a member of Dramatists Guild of America and the International Centre for Women Playwrights, and is the Director of Development at South Orange Performing Arts Center. She lives in Millburn, NJ, with a teenager, a cat, a fish, and a few houseplants. ruthzamoyta.com


2019 Fall Residency

We Victorians
by Matthew Cole Kelly

A 21-year old assistant brings a sexual harassment suit against a respected white-glove attorney. A bedroom is transformed into an Intergalactic Court of Justice to try the Greek gods for acts of rape against mortals and to decide whether their monuments – the constellations – should be ripped from the heavens. Oh, and it’s raining cattle in Manhattan. Queer empowerment and old-school privilege collide in this radical interrogation of power in the Me Too Era, blurring distinctions between reality and myth, between the past and the present, and between victimization and liberation.

Matthew Cole Kelly is a queer New Jersey-based playwright, librettist, lyricist, and screenwriter whose work has been nominated for over a dozen awards. His plays and musicals have been developed by Abingdon Theatre (HOMEGROWN BEGINNINGS), Luna Stage (THE PLASTIC CITY), Metropolitan Playhouse (RUSSIAN TEA), the Theatre Lab (THE PLASTIC CITY), HRC Showcase Theatre (THE PLASTIC CITY), Talk Back Theatre (THE PLASTIC CITY), Loose Change Productions (THE GODS OF THE OZARKS), Occupy Wall Street (TURQUOISE AND CLOVES), the Makor Steinhardt Center (PASTRAMI APPARITIONS), Turn Park Art Space (THE SEA GOD’S SONG), and Art Center Live (ON THE NATURAL FORM). This summer, his play THE GODS OF THE OZARKS will receive a full production by Ireland’s AboutFACE Theatre while his opera AMI & TAMI is being translated into Italian for a winter production at the Teatro Coccia di Novara.

Matthew’s plays have been nominated as finalist or semifinalist for the Abingdon Theatre’s Christopher Brian Wolk Award (HOMEGROWN BEGINNINGS), the Bloomington Playwright Project’s Woodward/Newman Drama Award (HOMEGROWN BEGINNINGS), the College of Charleston’s Todd McNerney Playwriting Award (THE PLASTIC CITY), the Association for Theatre in Higher Education’s Award for Excellence in Playwriting (for both THE PLASTIC CITY and THE GODS OF THE OZARKS), the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Playwrights Conference (THE PLASTIC CITY), ScreenCraft’s Stage Play Contest (THE GODS OF THE OZARKS), and the Shakespeare in the Berg Award (PUTIN AT THE RITZ). His original screenplay GROUP THERAPY has been nominated as semifinalist in ScreenCraft’s Comedy Screenplay Competition while his screenplay TRANSFAT has been nominated as finalist or semifinalist in the Cannes Screenplay Contest, the Richmond International Film & Music Festival, the WeScreenplay Diverse Voices Competition, ScreenCraft’s Comedy Screenplay Competition, the Los Angeles International Screenplay Competition, the Creative World Awards, the Emerging Screenwriter Awards, and the ISA Fast Track Fellowship. 

Matthew studied playwriting at Brown University under the tutelage of Paula Vogel before earning a PhD in Sociomedical Sciences and History from Columbia University. He is a member of the Dramatist Guild and the BMI Lehman Engel Advanced Librettist Workshop.

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