New Play Development at MTC Update
  • 2023-10-09

New Play Development at MTC Update



MTC hosts
NNPN Playwright in Residence JC Lee
for 2012-13 Season;
NNPN presents MTC commission
Lasso of Truth by Carson Keitzer
at National Showcase of New Plays

MILL VALLEY–This season, Marin Theatre Company [MTC] continues its mission to develop American playwrights and new American plays through the support of the National New Play Network [NNPN], the country’s alliance of nonprofit theaters that champions the development, production and continued life of new plays. Based in Mill Valley, California, MTC, a 46-year old mid-sized professional nonprofit theater, is currently hosting NNPN Playwright in Residence JC Lee. On November 29-December 2, 2012, MTC will have its commissioned play Lasso of Truth by Carson Kreitzer presented as part of NNPN’s National Showcase of New Plays at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, DC.


For the 2012-13 Season, JC Lee joins MTC’s artistic staff as Playwright in Residence. A recent graduate of the Juilliard School, Lee was a 2011-12 writing fellow at Playwrights Realm and is the founding artistic director of the Pennsylvania-based Omicron Theatre Project. Locally, Sleepwalkers Theatre in San Francisco produced his plays The Nature LineInto the Clear Blue Sky and This World Is Good and Magic Theatre presented Wicked Fox (directed by MTC’s former producing director Ryan Rilette) as part of its “Asian Explosion 2012” staged reading series. Produced in Philadelphia by Azuka Theatre, the world premiere of Lee’s Pookie Goes Grenading, which was read as part of the 2010 Bay Area Playwrights Festival, begins previews on October 31. While in residence at MTC, Lee will continue to develop his plays CraneLuce and Wicked Fox and begin work on a new musical based on the life of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, which he is developing through intensive collaboration with MTC’s dramaturg Margot Melcon.

NNPN established the Playwrights in Residence program in 2007 to support emerging playwrights as they graduate from MFA programs with season-long residencies at NNPN member theaters. The playwrights participate in the artistic and administrative life of the theater, and, in turn, the theaters help develop the playwright’s work and provide them with advice and support as they embark on their professional careers. An NNPN member since 2008, MTC has provided an artistic home to playwrights Steve Yockey (2009-10) and Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig (2010-11), who also won the company’s 2010 David Calicchio New American Playwright Prize. MTC workshopped and presented free public staged readings of plays in development by both playwrights through its New Works reading series and also produced the world premiere of Yockey’s suburban horror morality play Bellwether during its 2011-12 season.


On September 25, 2012, NNPN announced that a committee of artistic, managing and literary leaders from across the country had selected Carson Kreitzer’s Lasso of Truth and seven other new plays to be produced of its National Showcase of New Plays. Commissioned in 2009-10 by MTC with the support of NNPN’s Commission program, Lasso traces the origin story of the comic book character Wonder Woman through the life of her creator William Marston, an early 20th-century psychologist and inventor of the systolic blood pressure lie detection test. MTC has partnered with Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, where Krietzer is a Core Writer, to develop the play.

Based in Minneapolis, Kreitzer is a graduate of Yale University and the Michener Center of the University of Texas at Austin, an associated artist with Clubbed Thumb and a member of the Workhaus Collective and the Dramatists Guild. Her play The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer, which received its Bay Area premiere at Custom Made Theatre Company, won the Rosenthal New Play Prize, the American Theatre Critics’ Steinberg Citation, the Stavis Award and is published in Smith and Kraus’ New Playwrights: Best Plays of 2004. Her other work includes Self Defense or Death of Some SalesmenThe Slow DragValerie Shoots AndyHeroin/e (Keep us Quiet)FreakshowDead Wait and Take My Breath Away.

Now in its tenth year, NNPN’s Showcase is a traveling new play festival that presents the country’s best unproduced plays in staged reading format to an intimate gathering of theater professionals. The event is an opportunity for dozens of production-ready new plays to be viewed by artistic directors, literary managers, literary agents, publishers and independent producers from around the country. To date, 91 plays have been showcased, of which more than 80% have received full productions both within and outside of NNPN’s network of theaters. Among the other playwrights whose works were selected this year are Christina Anderson (Magic Theatre’s 2011-12 NNPN Playwright in Residence), Peter Sinn Nachtrieb (whose play boom received its Bay Area premiere at MTC in 2009) and Steve Yockey.


Founded in 1967, MTC has a long legacy of producing new plays. Over the past dozen years, new play development became a central component of MTC’s artistic and education programs. Producing its first West Coast premiere (Moonchildren) in 1973 and world premiere (The World of Art Hoppe) in 1974, MTC has produced 21 world premieres (including three for young audiences), four new translations of classic work, one US premiere, 15 west coast premieres, 28 staged readings, numerous Bay Area premieres and countless workshops – nearly two-thirds of which were completed in the last six years alone. This season, MTC is producing two Bay Area premieres Annie Baker’s Circle Mirror Transformation (August 2012, in co-production with Encore Theatre Company) and Matthew Lopez’s The Whipping Man (March and April 2013, in co-production with Virginia Stage Company).

Now in its sixth year, MTC’s two new play prizes – the Sky Cooper New American Play Prize and the David Calicchio Emerging American Playwright Prize – were established in 2007 to celebrate the work of the American playwright and to encourage the creation of bold, powerful new voices and plays for the American stage. Past winners include Bill CainSharr WhiteSamuel D. HunterZayd DohrnA. Zell WilliamsFrances Ya-Chu CowhigEmily SchwendMartín ZimmermanAndrew Dolan and Meghan Kennedy.

MTC offers playwrights workshops and public staged readings as part of its New Works reading series.

Now in it’s fourth year, the Marin Young Playwrights Festival [MYPF] celebrates the work of teen playwrights and encourages a focus on playwriting in Bay Area high schools. Each fall, teens who live in Marin are encouraged to submit original ten-minute scripts to the festival. Local teens perform the eight finalist plays at the annual festival, at which MTC’s Artistic Staff serve as judges and select one winning script. The winner receives a staged reading with professional actors and a professional director at MTC in conjunction with the company’s New Works reading series.


Marin Theatre Company is the Bay Area’s premier mid-sized theater and the leading professional theater in the North Bay. We produce a six-show season of provocative plays by passionate playwrights from the 20th century and today in our intimate 231-seat proscenium theater. We are committed to the development and production of new plays by American playwrights, with a comprehensive New Play Program that includes at least one premiere each season, two nationally recognized annual playwriting awards, new play readings and workshops by the nation’s best emerging playwrights and a National New Play Network Playwright in Residence. Our numerous education programs serve more than 6,000 students each year. Founded in 1966.


The National New Play Network (NNPN) is the country’s alliance of non-profit professional theaters that champions the development, production, and continued life of new plays.  Since its founding in 1998, NNPN has commissioned eighteen playwrights, provided nearly twenty MFA graduates with paid residencies, and supported over 100 productions nationwide through its innovative Continued Life of New Plays Fund, which creates “Rolling World Premieres” of new plays. Hundreds of artists have gained employment through these efforts in the 24 regions of the country where NNPN Core Member Theaters are located. NNPN receives substantial support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, the Shubert Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.  The Network is comprised of a relatively small group of Core Members, who pioneer and implement collaborative new play strategies, and a growing group of Associate Members, who disseminate the Network’s programs and strategies nationwide.

Sasha Hnatkovich, Communications Director
(415) 388-5200, ext. 3313 | email

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