commissioned artists

Lileana Blain-Cruz

Lileana Blain-Cruz’s theatre work includes Dominique Morisseau’s Pipeline at Lincoln Center, Salome at Governor's Island, Suzan Lori-Parks’ Death of the Last Black in the Whole Entire World at Signature, War at Yale Repertory Theatre and Lincoln Center Theatre, Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again at Soho Rep, Red Speedo at New York Theatre Workshop, a new translation of The Bakkhai at Fisher Center at Bard College, Much Ado About Nothing at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Christina Anderson’s Hollow Roots at the Under the Radar Festival, Project Realms at La Sala, A Guide to Kinship and Maybe Magic with choreographer Isabel Lewis and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins at Dance New Amsterdam. She was one of the co-artistic directors of the 2011-2012 Yale Cabaret and is a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab. Education: Princeton University, MFA in directing, Yale School of Drama. (As of July 2017)


Carl Cofield is a New York-based director and actor, and serves as the Associate Artistic Director of the Classical Theatre of Harlem. He directed the award-winning world premiere of One Night In Miami (Huffington Postbest of L.A. 2013, NAACP, L.A. Drama Critics Circle, and others) for Rogue Machine Theater and the Denver Center Theatre, for which he received the Los Angeles NAACP award for Best Director. Other directing work includes: Disgraced for The Denver Center, Henry IV part 2 for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, A Raisin In the Sun for Two River Theater Company, and The Mountaintop for Cleveland Play House. Carl’s New York directing credits include: AntigoneThe Tempest, and Macbeth for the Classical Theatre of Harlem, the 50th anniversary of Dutchman for the Classical Theatre of Harlem/National Black Theatre, The Balcony for The New School, Better Than Yellow for 48 Hours In Harlem, The Seven by Will Power at the Connelly Theatre, A Midsummer Night’s Dream for NYU, 1001 for Columbia University, and The Tuskegee Airman Project for CUNY York College. He assisted Molly Smith in the world premiere of Camp David by Laurence Wright at Arena Stage. He directed the reading of Camp David for President and First Lady Carter at the Carter Center retreat in Vail, Colorado. Upcoming: Twelfth Night for Yale Repertory Theatre, One Night In Miami for Miami New Drama. As an actor, he has performed at Studio Theatre, The Manhattan Theater Club (Ruined), Berkeley Rep, Alliance, Arena Stage, The Shakespeare Theater, Intiman, Actors Theater of Louisville, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Milwaukee Rep, Alabama Shakespeare, The McCarter, The Acting Company, and many others. (As of January 2019)


Sarah DeLappe's play The Wolves (Playwrights Realm, New York Stage and Film, Clubbed Thumb/Playwrights Horizons Theater School, Great Plains Theater Conference) was a recipient of the American Playwriting Foundation’s inaugural Relentless Award and a finalist for the 2016 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Sarah has been a resident artist at Sitka Fellows Program and SPACE on Ryder Farm. An alum of Clubbed Thumb's Early Career Writers Group, she is currently a member of the Ars Nova Play Group and the New Georges Audrey Residency. Sarah has received an EST/Sloan commission and a spot on The Kilroys' 2015 List. Sarah is working toward her MFA in playwriting at Brooklyn College. (as of January 2018)


James Fritz’s first full-length play, Four Minutes Twelve Seconds premiered at Hampstead Theatre Downstairs in 2014 and was nominated for an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre before transferring to Trafalgar Studios in 2015; James won the "Most Promising Playwright" prize at the Critics Circle Theatre Awards 2015, on the heels of its production. His other plays include Ross & Rachel ("a virtuosic piece of writing"—Time Out) which opened to critical acclaim at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015, Parliament Square which won a Bruntwood Prize in 2015 and premiered at the Royal Exchange Theatre in 2017 before transferring to the Bush Theatre, and The Fall which he wrote for the National Youth Theatre’s 60th anniversary season in 2016. In 2017 his radio play Comment Is Freereceived both the Imison and the Tinniswood Awards at the BBC Audio Drama Awards, which is the first time that a single writer has won both awards the same year. (As of January 2019)


Jackson Gay most recently directed Three Sisters at Studio Theatre. She is a founding member of New Neighborhood and the Director of Artistic Programming for Fuller Road Artist Residency. Recent projects include Lucy Thurber's Transfers at New York Stage & Film; Much Ado About Nothing adapted with Kenneth Lin at Cal Shakes; Jen Silverman's The Moors at Yale Rep; These Paper Bullets! —Rolin Jones's adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing with music by Billie Joe Armstrong—at the Atlantic Theater, Geffen Playhouse, and Yale Rep; Rolin Jones' s The Jammer (Atlantic Theater Company); and The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow (Atlantic and Yale Rep). (as of April 2017) 


James Ijames is a Philadelphia-based performer and playwright. His plays have been produced by Flashpoint Theater Company, Orbiter 3, Theatre Horizon (Philadelphia, PA), The National Black Theatre (New York City), Ally Theatre (Washington DC) and have received development with PlayPenn New Play Conference, The Lark, Playwrights Horizons, Clubbed Thumb, Villanova Theater, The Gulfshore Playhouse, The Wilma Theater, Azuka Theatre, and Victory Garden. James is the 2011 F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Artist recipient, and he also received two Barrymores for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play for Superior Donuts and Angels in America and one Barrymore for Outstanding Direction of a Play for The Brothers Size with Simpatico Theatre Company. He is a 2011 Independence Foundation Fellow, a 2015 Pew Fellow for Playwriting, the 2015 winner of the Terrance McNally New Play Award for WHITE, the 2015 Kesselring Honorable Mention Prize winner for ....Miz Martha and a 2017 recipient of the Whiting Award. James is a founding member of Orbiter 3, Philadelphia’s first playwright producing collective and a mentor for The Foundry. He received a BA in Drama from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA and a MFA in Acting from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. James is Assistant Professor of Theatre at Villanova University and resides in South Philadelphia. (As of January 2019)


Abe Koogler's plays include Advance Man; Blue Skies Process; Kill Floor, which premiered at Lincoln Center Theater with a regional premiere at American Theater Company; and Fulfillment Center, which premiered at Manhattan Theatre Club. Koogler is a recipitent of the Kennedy Center's Paula Vogel Award and Williamstown Theatre Festival's Weissberger Award. He is under commission from Manhattan Theatre Club and Studio Theatre. He was a Michener Fellow at UT-Austin and is an alum of Juilliard's Playwrights Program. (As of April 2017)

Kate Mulvany

Kate Mulvany is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter. Kate has had two new plays premiere in 2019, her adaptation of Friedrich Schiller’s Mary Stuart (STC) and her original work The Mares (Tasmanian Theatre Company). In 2018 Kate's adaptation of Ruth Park’s The Harp in the South (STC) premiered to much acclaim. The play was recently nominated for a Helpmann award for Best New Australian Work and won the Sydney Theatre Award for the same category. In 2017 Kate’s play The Rasputin Affair (Ensemble Theatre) was nominated for an AWGIE award. Her adaptation of Craig Silvey’s Jasper Jones premiered at Barking Gecko followed by productions at Belvoir Street, MTC, QT and STCSA. Her autobiographical play The Seed (Belvoir St Theatre) won the Sydney Theatre Award for Best Independent Production. With Kate performing in the play, it received great critical success, toured nationally and is being developed into a feature film. Co-written by Kate and Anne-Louise Sarks Medea (Belvoir St Theatre) was produced in 2012. The play won several awards including an AWGIE and five Sydney Theatre Awards and has been produced in Poland, London and Basel. Other works include; Masquerade (based on the book by Kit Williams), The Danger AgeBlood and BoneThe WebSomewhere (co-written with Tim Minchin for the Joan Sutherland PAC) and Storytime, which won Kate the 2004 Philip Parsons Award. Kate is also an award-winning stage and screen actor with credits with many of the major Sydney theatre companies and in many television dramas and films.


Lila Neugebauer’s 2018 production of The Waverly Gallery marked her Broadway debut. Her recent Off Broadway credits include Edward Albee’s At Home at the Zoo, Annie Baker’s The Antipodes, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ Everybody, Edward Albee’s The Sandbox, María Irene Fornes’s Drowning, Adrienne Kennedy’s Funnyhouse of a Negro, and A.R. Gurney’s The Wayside Motor Inn at Signature Theatre; Sarah DeLappe’s The Wolves at Lincoln Center and Playwrights Realm; Zoe Kazan’s After the Blast andAbe Koogler’s Kill Floor at LCT3; Tracy Letts’s Mary Page Marlowe at Second Stage Theater; Peace for Mary Frances with The New Group; and Carson McCullers’s The Member of the Wedding at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. She is a co-Artistic Director of the ensemble The Mad Ones, with whom she has written and directed: Samuel & Alasdair: A Personal History of the Robot WarThe Essential Straight and Narrow, and Miles for Mary (which also played at Playwrights Horizons). She is the recipient of the Obie Award, Drama Desk Award, and Princess Grace Award winner. (As of January 2019)


Qui Nguyen is a playwright, TV/film writer, and co-founder of the OBIE Award-winning Vampire Cowboys of New York City. His work, known for its innovative use of pop-culture, stage violence, puppetry, and multimedia, has been called "Culturally Savvy Comedy" by the New York Times, "Tour de Force Theatre" by Time Out New York, and “Infectious Fun” by Variety. His plays include Vietgone (South Coast Rep, Oregon Shakespeare Company, Manhattan Theatre Club, Seattle Rep, Studio Theatre), She Kills Monsters (The Flea, Buzz22 Chicago/Steppenwolf, Company One); Begets: Fall of a High School Ronin (Waterwell); War is F**king Awesome (Sundance); Krunk Fu Battle Battle (East West Players); Bike Wreck (EST); Trial By Water (Ma-Yi Theater); Aliens vs Cheerleaders (Keen Teens); Soul Samurai; The Inexplicable Redemption of Agent G (Ma-Yi Theater & Vampire Cowboys); and the critically acclaimed Vampire Cowboys productions of Six Rounds of Vengeance, Alice in Slasherland; Fight Girl Battle World; Men of Steel; and Living Dead in Denmark. Nguyen is under commission for South Coast Rep/Manhattan Theatre Club, The Atlantic, Studio Theatre, and Oregon Shakespeare Festival. For television, he's written for Peg+Cat (PBS) and the upcoming SYFY thriller, Incorporated. He's currently a writer for Marvel Studios. (As of June 2018)


Eric Ruffin is a director and educator. His Off Broadway work includes Gutta Beautiful at the New Federal Theatre, and The Bear at HERE Arts Center. Regionally, his work includes A Raisin in the Sun at Crossroads Theatre; Topdog/Underdog and My Children! My Africa at Luna Stage; Public Ghosts/Private Stories at George Street Playhouse; 2-2 Tango at Studio 2ndStage; Black Nativity at Theatre Alliance; The Piano Lesson at The African Globe; Waiting to be Invited at The Black Theatre Troupe; In the Red and Brown WaterOff the Leash, Radio Golf, Sarafina!Venus, and Passing Strange at Howard University; Old Settler at African Continuum Theatre Company; and New Kid at Imagination Stage. He has received the New York Drama League Directing Fellowship, a Folger Theatre Acting Fellowship, and the Princess Grace Grant for Dance. He currently serves on the faculty of Howard University and Duke Ellington School of the Arts. He holds a BFA from Howard University and an MFA from Rutgers University. (As of January 2019)


Steph Del Rosso is a playwright, television writer, and educator. Her play Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill received its world premiere at The Flea Theater in 2018 and will be published by Dramatists Play Service, Inc. Her work has been developed or produced by Soho Rep, Clubbed Thumb, JACK, New York Stage and Film, The Lark, Seven Devils Playwrights Conference, Ojai Playwrights Conference, Colt Coeur, SPACE on Ryder Farm, the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, and others. Her play 53% Of is the second-place recipient of the Paula Vogel Award in Playwriting, presented by the Kennedy Center. She is a 2018 Theater Masters Visionary Playwright, and an alum of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab and Clubbed Thumb’s Early Career Writers’ Group. She is currently pursuing her MFA in Playwriting at UC-San Diego, where she studies with Naomi Iizuka. (As of January 2019)


Emily Schwend's plays include Utility (The Amoralists in New York City, Orange Tree Theatre in London, Interrobang Theatre Project, 2016 Yale Drama Series Award, 2017 IT Award for Outstanding Premiere Production of a Play), The Other Thing (Second Stage Theatre Uptown), Take Me Back (Walkerspace), South Of Settling (Steppenwolf's Next Up Rep), and Splinters (CUDC Source Festival). She was a 2016-2017 Radcliffe Institute Fellow at Harvard University and the inaugural 2014 Tow Foundation playwright-in-residence at Second Stage Theatre. She is a frequent contributor to Christine Jones’s Theatre for One booth. She is the recipient of a Bogliasco Fellowship, a MacDowell Fellowship, the ACT New Play Award, the David Calicchio Emerging American Playwrights Prize, the Lecomte du Nouy Prize, and the Heideman Prize. Her work has been commissioned by Studio Theatre in DC, the Ensemble Studio Theatre through the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Old Vic in London. She is a proud alumna of the playwriting programs at Juilliard and Tisch. (As of January 2019)


past Commissions


Rachel Bonds is a playwright and performer currently living in Brooklyn. Her plays have been developed by New Georges, Ars Nova, Ensemble Studio Theatre, LaMaMa, The Flea, Playwrights Horizons, The Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Williamstown Theater Festival, Gotham Stage Company, Chicago’s American Theater Company, McCarter Theatre, Roundabout Underground, The Arden, and Manhattan Theatre Club. She is an Affiliated Artist with New Georges, a member of EST’s Youngblood, a 2010-12 member of Ars Nova’s Play Group, and a Playwriting Mentor in the PEN American Center’s Prison Writing Program. She was an Associate Artist in Residence at The Atlantic Center for the Arts and the Father William Ralston Fellow at the 2011 Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Rachel is a graduate of Brown University.


Mike Donahue's recent productions include the world premieres of Rachel Bonds’s The Wolfe Twins (Studio Theatre) and Swimmers (Marin Theatre Company), Matthew Lopez’s The Legend of Georgia McBride (Mcc and Denver Center Theatre Company) Lauren Feldman’s Grace, or The Art of Climbing (Denver Center Theatre Company); Jen Silverman’s Collective Rage (Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company and MCC), The Roommate (Actors Theatre of Louisville and Williamstown Theatre Festival), Phoebe in Winter (Clubbed Thumb), The Hunters (Cherry Lane Mentor Project); Annie Baker’s adaptation of Uncle Vanya with Campbell Scott (Weston Playhouse); Ethan Lipton’s Red-Handed Otter(Playwrights Realm); Shostakovich’s Moscow, Cheryomushki with new libretto by Meg Miroshnik (Chicago Opera Theatre); and Assassins, Henry IV & V (co-director), and A Number (Playmakers Rep, 2011/12 Distinguished Guest Artist). Donahue is a recipient of a Fulbright to Berlin, the Drama League Fall Fellowship, The Boris Sagal Fellowship at Williamstown, and the Inaugural Opera America Director-Designer Showcase Award. He is an alumnus of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab and was the Artistic Director of the Yale Summer Cabaret for two seasons. Donahue is a graduate of Harvard University (Louis Sudler Prize for Artistic Excellence) and the Yale School of Drama (MFA). (As of August 2018)


Vivienne Franzmann was a drama teacher in London for twelve years. She left teaching in 2009 to pursue writing after receiving the 2008 Bruntwood Playwriting Competition for Mogadishu. Mogadishu was also winner of the George Devine Award in 2010 and opened at the Royal Exchange theatre in Manchester in January 2011. She is currently under commission to Clean Break, Channel 4, and Radio 4. She was awarded the Pearson Playwright Bursary for the Royal Court, which started in 2012. Her latest play, The Witness, premiered at the Royal Court in 2012. (As of January 2015)


Mary Elizabeth Hamilton has developed work with Page 73, New Georges, and Ensemble Studio Theater. The recipient of the Iowa Arts Fellowship and the Provost's Writing Fellowship, she has participated in Play Penn, Youngblood, I-73, and New Georges’ The Jam. Her plays have been finalists for The O'Neill, The Lark Pony Fellowship, The Yale Drama Series, The Princess Grace Award, and New Dramatists. Mary holds her MFA in Playwriting from The University of Iowa and is currently attending the Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program at Juilliard. (As of June 2016) 


Ike Holter is a 2017 winner of the Windham-Campbell Prize, one of the highest awards for playwriting in the world. Holter is a resident playwright at Victory Gardens Theater, and has been commissioned by The Kennedy Center, The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, South Coast Rep and The Playwrights’ Center. His work has been produced at the Steppenwolf Garage, The Philadelphia Theater Company, Off Broadway at Barrow Street and Cherry Lane, The Lily Tomlin Center in L.A, True Colors in Atlanta, Forward Theater in Wisconsin, Water Tower Theater in Dallas, 3oaks in Michigan, and Jackalope, Teatro Vista, A Red Orchid, and The Inconvenience in Chicago. His show Hit the Wall played Off Broadway at The Barrow Street Theater after a critically acclaimed four-month run in Chicago. His new play Exit Strategy recently enjoyed two sold-out runs at the Jackalope Theatre and will premiere in New York at Primary Stages in 2016. Holter was named Best Emerging Playwright by Chicago Magazine and the 2014 Chicagoan of the Year by the Chicago Tribune. (As of June 2017) 


Clare Lizzimore is a playwright and an Olivier-Award winning director. Her first play, Mint (2013), was produced at the Royal Court's Open Court Season and long-listed for the prestigious Bruntwood Prize. Her first radio play was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2014, her new radio play The Rage was broadcast in 2016. She is currently under commission with the Royal Court Theatre and the Almeida Theatre. As a director, she has worked extensively in new writing, and her latest production—Bull by Mike Bartlett—won the 2015 Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in An Affiliate Theatre for its production at The Young Vic; it premiered at Sheffield Theatres and also toured to 59E59 in New York. Other recent directing credits include One Day When We Were Young (Paines Plough); Lay Down Your Cross and On the Rocks (Hampstead Theatre); Pieces of Vincent (Arcola Theatre); Faces in the Crowd, War and Peace, and Fear and Misery (Royal Court Theatre); Jonah and Otto (Royal Exchange); and Tom Fool (Glasgow Citizens Theatre and the Bush Theatre, nominated for four CATS Awards). Lizzimore’s directing awards include the Channel 4 Theatre Directors Award and the Arts Foundation Theatre Directing Fellowship. (As of October 2015).  


Aaron Posner was the founding Artistic Director of Philadelphia’s Arden Theatre and is an Associate Artist at the Folger Theatre and Milwaukee Rep. He has received numerous awards as a director and playwright including a Theatre Bay Area Award, three Barrymore Awards, an Outer Critics Circle Award, The John Gassner Award, and six Helen Hayes Awards as a director or playwright. His plays include My Name is Asher Lev; The Chosen; Stupid Fucking Bird; Life Sucks (or the Present Ridiculous); Who Am I This Time? (And Other Conundrums of Love); Sometimes a Great Notion; A Murder, A Mystery & A Marriage (with James Sugg); and many others. Posner has directed more than 150 productions at major regional theatres across the country. Posner, from Eugene, Oregon, is an Eisenhower Fellow, a graduate of Northwestern University, and lives in the DC area with his wife, actress Erin Weaver, and his daughter Maisie. (As of February 2017) 


Heidi Rodewald was co-composer of the musical Passing Strange, which transferred from The Public Theater to Broadway in 2008 where it was nominated for seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Original Score, and Best Orchestrations. Passing Strange won a Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Musical, the 2008 Obie Award for Best New American Theater Piece and Best Ensemble, and was made into a film by Spike Lee. Rodewald joined The Negro Problem in 1997 and since then has worked alongside Stew, performing, producing, arranging, and composing. She is currently working on a new musical, Against You, a free adaptation of Antigone set in the 1960’s with librettist, Donna Di Novelli. 


Stew wrote the book and co-wrote the music and lyrics to Passing Strange, for which he received the 2008 Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical, and four other Tony nominations including Best Musical. He is also a two-time Obie Award winner for Passing Strange (Best New Theater Piece and Best Ensemble). Stew leads a band called The Negro Problem (TNP), which created the song cycles “Making It” (St. Ann’s Warehouse) and “Brooklyn Omnibus” (Brooklyn Academy of Music). Stew is a member of The Sundance Institute Alumni Advisory Board and was Artist-in-Residence at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. (As of March 2015)