NJPL Residency Plays and Playwrights


And Every Creeping Thing by Eric Craft

In the beginning, the angels are hard at work designing and managing logistics for Creation, but in the Department of Beasts, an unbalanced food chain threatens to destroy the world before it even starts. One little angel’s passion project may just hold the key to saving Creation, and the creatures that may just be the world’s secret hope. Bugs. In this office comedy of biblical proportions, corporate politics clash with spiritual and artistic fulfillment in a story from before time itself.

Headshot of Eric Craft. He is smiling at the camera.

Eric Craft is a playwright, director, actor, educator, and floral designer proudly based in New Jersey. He has written two full-length plays and a full-length musical, The Blank Page, for which he wrote the book and lyrics and self-produced out of college. His play And Every Creeping Thing was produced virtually by the Hold Space Theatre Collective and was a finalist at The Shawnee Playhouse new works festival. He has multiple one-act plays and monologues which he developed and directed while teaching at The Allegra School of Music and Arts in Hillsborough, New Jersey, including his plays Finding the Root and The Struggle Bus. Other one-acts include The Edge of Infinity, which received a staged reading with the Chaotic Good Collective, and Whoa There, Grandma, which was a featured finalist of The Summit Playhouse’s Summer 2020 bake-off. He holds a B.A. in Theatre Studies from Montclair State University.

Come Rain, Come Hurricane by Edwin Rivera-Arias

“I survive Hurricane Flora, Batista, the zafra, el calabozo, y el paredon. I survive anything.” So says feisty old Cubano, Don Berto Remedios, who awakes one rainy morning to discover that he’s been robbed of the $9,000 he was hoping to take back with him to his homeland paradise. And the thief, a young Boricua with dreams of his own, is closer to him than he ever could have imagined.
Laced with sparkling humor and resonant emotional drama, Come Rain, Come Hurricane explores the bonds (and bounds) of friendship; working-class Latino families; and the agony of forced migration. Who can stand tall when the storms ring down and lives are blasted to pieces?

Headshot of Edwin Rivera-Arias. He is looking at the camera with a confident expression.

Edwin Rivera-Arias‘ first play, In the Palace of the Planet King, was produced in 2019 at the Wild Project in NYC as part of the Downtown Urban Arts Festival, where it won second prize for Audience Favorite. He was a Norman Mailer Fiction Fellow and a recipient of the Willapa Bay AiR residency.

Dining on the Truck-Side, Or The Untold Story of the Turnpike Greats by Ravin Patterson

Mistrust, misgivings, and the American Dream. Oh, my. Dining on the Truck-side, or the Untold Story of The Turnpike Greats is a tale about unlikely heroes struggling to overcome the challenges of their often dysfunctional and determined existence, one hour at a time.

Headshot of Ravin Patterson. She is looking at the camera with a confident expression.

Ravin Patterson is a playwright, actor and producer. Her one-act play, Monk and the Man, was accepted into the 2016 New York International Fringe Festival. Buddy (2020) and The Butterfly Effect (2021), both one-acts, were commissioned by Nomad Theatrical Company, with The Butterfly Effect also sponsored by The Working Theater. She has had many other plays run in festivals with The Acting Studio New York’s, Chelsea Rep Lab. Ravin also co produced a web series streaming on Amazon Prime, called SPACE AVAILABLE. She was raised in Penns Grove, NJ, went to Salem Community College and holds a BA in Communications: Radio/TV/Film from Rowan University. www.ravinpatterson.com

The Golden Door by Lia Romeo

What does it mean to be an American, and how much is it worth giving up? In 1902, an Italian peasant girl is detained at Ellis Island. In 2047, an American teenager tries to cross the border into Canada to escape a country ravaged by disease. The Golden Door explores immigration through the ages, and asks what truly makes America great.

Headshot of Lia Romeo. She is looking to the right with a confident expression.

Lia Romeo is a playwriting fellow at the Juilliard School. Her play The Forest was developed at the O’Neill Playwrights Conference, and was scheduled for a NNPN rolling world premiere (cancelled due to COVID-19). Her play Sitting and Talking, starring Dan Lauria and Wendie Malick, premiered at Mile Square Theatre, and has subsequently been presented by Laguna Playhouse, New Jersey Rep, Seven Devils New Play Foundry, and other companies. Other plays have been produced off-Broadway at 59E59 and regionally . Four of her plays have been recognized by the Kilroys List. She was the winner of City Theatre’s National Short Playwriting Award, and has been a nominee or a finalist for the Heideman Award, the L. Arnold Weissberger Award, the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the Kesselring Prize, and the Steinberg Award. Her plays are published by Broadway Play Publishing, Playscripts, Dramatists Play Service, and Smith & Kraus. She is the associate artistic director with Project Y Theatre Company, and she teaches playwriting at Primary Stages/ESPA and in the M.A. program in creative writing at Fairleigh Dickinson University. She earned her B.A. from Princeton and her M.F.A. in playwriting from Rutgers/MGSA.

Un Hombre by Stephen Kaplan

Un Hombre is a modern-day golem story about Rebecca Wolfson, a recently widowed single mother, who makes a clay man that comes to life and serves as a Bar Mitzvah and Spanish tutor for her 12-year-old son. As mother and son get wrapped up in the distractions that this seemingly perfect solution to their problems offers, the clay man begins questioning his own existence and purpose, forcing all three to confront the truths they’ve all been avoiding.

Headshot of Stephen Kaplan. He is smiling at the camera.

Stephen Kaplan’s recent productions include a NNPN Rolling World Premiere of Tracy Jones (Winner: Chameleon Theatre; Finalist: B Street New Comedies Festival, ScreenCraft Stage Play Contest, Trustus Playwrights Festival) and Branwell (and other Brontës): An Autobiography Edited by Charlotte Brontë at Loft Ensemble (Semi-Finalist: O’Neill). Other plays have been produced off-Broadway at 59E59 and regionally around the country. He is a 2021 Individual Artist Fellowship winner in playwriting from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and his plays have also been finalists for Seven Devils and the Woodward/Newman Award and semi-finalists for PlayPenn and FutureFest and been published by Dramatists Play Service. He earned his BFA from NYU – Playwrights Horizons Theatre School and his MFA from Point Park University. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild and serves as Northeastern Regional Representative on the DG National Council. For more information visit www.bystephenkaplan.com

The Cousins (Rhymes with Dozens) by Benjamin V. Marshall

A new play revolving around two cousins who lived in Newark’s Central Ward during the tumultuous year of 1967: Miriam, who moved away years ago, and Delores, who has stayed and grown more embedded in the neighborhood and in her own recollections of the past; ‘Things they don’t put in those history books.’  When Miriam’s son asks his Aunt Delores to help him with a historical documentary he is filming, she is forced to confront whether she is holding on to the past, or if the past is holding on to her.

Due to the early stage of development of this play, the goal of this Residency will be a strong first draft of the play, not a production-ready draft.

Benjamin V. Marshall’s plays have earned recognition from HBO New Writers Workshop., New York’s Theatre for a New City, Chicago’s public radio station WBEZ and in play festivals from Alaska to Australia. Born of mixed raced heritage in Newark NJ, he earned a BA from Kean University and an MFA from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, after studying playwriting at Hunter University. In addition to early work as a musician and a journalist, he taught English in Middle Eastern countries for five years. Marshall has published poetry, fiction, and essays in several literary magazines, including Art and Understanding, Callaloo, Jonathon, Bloom and Nimrod. The one act Extended Play was just published in the 2021 edition of The Best New Ten-Minute Plays (Applause Books).
A member of the Dramatists Guild, The Playwrights Center in Minneapolis, and the Ninth Floor in NYC. As a Professor at Middlesex County College in NJ, he specializes in African American Literature, Creative Writing and Playwriting. The school recently awarded him as Scholar of the Year for his creative work. He also teaches playwriting at Wagner College in Staten Island, NYC.
Awards: Five Playwriting fellowships from NJ State Council on the Arts, Fellowships from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, VCCA, NEH, and the Robert Chesley/ Victor Bumbalo Foundation, and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation. Recently he received the Bauer-Boucher Award and the Stanley Drama Award for Incident at Willow Creek. Recently: White Gloves (L.B. Williams Festival New Circle Theatre) Beasts and Cakes (A.D. Players, Houston) and Benedictions on the Escapes. (Fresh Fruit Festival and online.)

The Selection Committee

Sandrine Dupiton

Sandrine is a lover of stories. When not being called on for her incisive and strategic thought leadership, she creatively applies the wisdom of the mythical and mundane to design unique experiences where individual’s stories are held in deep listening/healing space. For her full bio, please read here.

Emily Dzioba

Emily (she/her) is a new play dramaturg and arts administrator based in Jersey City. She is an Associate Dramaturg and Director of the Storyteller Studio at The NJPL. For her full bio, please read here.

Erin Gruodis-Gimbel

Erin is a writer, actor, and dramaturg in the NJ area. She’s worked with Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, Alliance Theater, Everyman Theater, No Exit Theater Collective, Walking Shadow Readers Theater, and is the founding Artistic Director of the Enemy of the People Collective.

Bonnie Georgette Hamlett

Georgette received her Master’s degree in Theater Studies at Montclair State University. Originally from North Carolina, she has worked as a new play dramaturg in both her home state and New Jersey.

Cheryl Katz

Cheryl is a Co-Founder of The New Jersey Play Lab. She has been developing and directing new plays for over 30 years. For her full bio, please read here.

James Kenna

James (he/him) is a dramaturg, writer, and educator. He has called many theaters artistic homes such as Steppenwolf Theatre Company, The Hangar Theatre, Vivid Stage, and The 52nd Street Project.

Alexis Krysten Morgan

Alexis is a playwright, educator, and advocate who desires to use her art to create healing spaces for communities of color and for people with disabilities. As an African-American woman who has worked with students with special needs for fifteen years, she seeks to address issues faced by these communities throughout her productions. Currently, she is a Playlab writer with TC Squared Theatre Company, a dramaturgy apprentice at The New Jersey Play Lab, and a student at The Barrow Group.

Elizabeth Moyer

Elizabeth has a background in theatre and a B.A. from Montclair State University in theatre studies. She is based in Baltimore and is currently working to master the skills of dramaturgy.

Kaitlin Stilwell

Kaitlin is a Co-Founder of The New Jersey Play Lab. She is a dramaturg and educator at Montclair State University. For her full bio, please read here.


Hiatus year due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.


we have to hold hands by Kait Kerrigan

Headshot of Kait Kerrigan. She has long brown hair, and is looking to the camera with a confident expression.

Allies by Michael John McGoldrick

Headshot of Michael John McGoldrick. He is wearing large glasses, and is smiling at the camera.

A Perfect Existence by Lesley Scammel

Headshot of Lesley Scammel. She has shoulder length wavy brown hair, and is smiling at the camera.

The Incels by Ruth Zamoyta

Headshot of Ruth Zamoyta. She has shoulder length blonde hair, and is looking at the camera with a warm smile.


We Victorians by Matthew Cole Kelly

For more information on previous Residency plays, please visit our Catalogue of Plays.

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