New Play Initiative

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Key Elements

Roundabout's New Play Initiative is comprised of four key elements.


Roundabout Underground

Produced in our intimate 62-seat Black Box Theatre, the Roundabout Underground initiative gives emerging playwrights the opportunity to debut their full productions with the significant artistic and financial resources of Roundabout. In addition, Roundabout Underground writers receive a commission for a future play. After their Roundabout Underground experiences, playwrights have gone on to be produced in hundreds of theatres across the country and around the worlds. These playwrights have also returned to Roundabout, as with Stephen Karam’s Sons of the Prophet and The Humans, Joshua Harmon’s Significant Other, and, coming in 2017, Steven Levinson’s If I Forget and Meghan Kennedy’s Napoli, Brooklyn.

Visit Roundabout Underground to learn more.  

New Play Commissions
Roundabout believes it is critically important to support theatre artists at all steps of the creative process, from inception to completion. Roundabout commissions playwrights at various stages of their careers, allowing them time to work on a new project while still being able to support themselves financially. During the current season, we have 14 projects in various stages of the commission process.

New plays and musicals are given focused artistic development during a period of readings, workshops, and edits that can last anywhere from a few months to several years. At these readings and workshops, the playwright has the opportunity to hear their words come to life with a team of actors, while Roundabout has a chance to share the work with potential collaborators. Roundabout donors are given the exclusive opportunity to take part and give feedback at some of these readings through our Friends of Roundabout Playreading series. Learn more about how to be invited.

World Premieres/New York Premieres
In today's artistic climate, many opportunities exist for playwrights to develop and workshop their work. Roundabout goes a step further by committing to produce World premiere and New York premiere productions. By introducing these artists to a wider audience, Roundabout lays the foundation for these new plays to enjoy future productions. 

Roundabout’s work with new and emerging playwrights and directors, as well as development of new work, is made possible by Katheryn Patterson and Tom Kempner. 

We gratefully acknowledge the Roundabout Leaders for New Works: Alec Baldwin, Linda L. D'Onofrio, Peggy and Mark Ellis, Jodi Glucksman, Sylvia Golden, Judith and Douglas Krupp, K. Myers, Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater, Lauren and Danny Stein, Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, Yolanda R. Turocy, Lori Uddenberg, and Xerox Foundation.

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