See it from the start

Attracting theaterlovers from across the country, TheatreWorks’ New Works Festival is the artistic highlight of the summer. An extraordinary opportunity to experience new plays and musicals in their early stages of development, the Festival has launched many new works onto TheatreWorks’ stage and on to productions nationally. The acclaimed Fly By Night and Emma came to life in the Festival, as did Broadway’s Memphis, off-Broadway’s hit Striking 12, the off-Broadway play Equivocation, winner of the 2009 Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award, and The North Pool, winner of the Will Glickman Award for Best New Play to Premiere in the Bay Area in 2011. For two glorious weeks in August audiences applauded, debated, and helped shape five new shows for America’s future, while sharing fine wines with their authors in the starlit courtyard of the Lucie Stern Theatre.

The 2014 New Works Festival took place August 9-17, including:



An Illustrated Musical

Norman Rockwell's america

Book by Lynne Kaufman
Music & Lyrics by Alex Mandel

From belittled illustrator to ballyhooed artist, from whimsical covers to unforgettable images of the Civil Rights Movement, Norman Rockwell captured America’s heart by discovering its soul. This is his story—and ours.

Lynne Kaufman is the author of twenty full-length plays, three novels, and dozens of short stories. Her play, Our Lady of the Desert, was seen in TheatreWorks’ 1989/90 season. Since then, her work has been performed at theatres across the country including Magic Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, Actors Theatre of Louisville, and Abingdon Theatre in NYC.

Alex Mandel composed songs for Pixar’s Academy Award-winning film, BRAVE: “Touch the Sky” & “Into the Open Air.” He is Musical Director for NPR’s Snap Judgment LIVE. He has scored several films, including East Side Sushi (Cinequest Audience Choice Award). He’s released albums with The Echo Falls & The Fingers. This is his first musical.

8/9 @ 8pm • 8/13 @ 8pm • 8/16 @ 4pm


A Provocative Political Drama
By Rajiv Joseph

From the author of The North Pool and Broadway’s Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, this stimulating drama probes the mysterious 2010 crash of a Polish airplane, uncovering 90 years of lies, infidelity, war, secrets, and love.

Rajiv Joseph’s The North Pool was developed and produced at TheatreWorks under the direction of Giovanna Sardelli. Rajiv wrote for the Showtime series Nurse Jackie for seasons 3 and 4. He also served for three years in the Peace Corps in Senegal, West Africa.

8/10 @ 2pm • 8/16 @ 8pm


A Big-Top Folk Musical
THE Disappearing man
Music, Lyrics, & Book by Jahn Sood

A ramshackle circus wows the hinterlands in 1936, but backstage its bright-light attractions prove dark and depleted. Purveyors of dreams, makers of magic, these center-ring survivors grasp at change, but the trapeze may be just out of reach.

Jahn Sood writes musicals, plays and songs for all purposes in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. He is proud to be a founding member of Musical Theatre Factory, a new theatre arts collective based in New York City. For more, check out Jahn’s latest record Arts & Crafts on iTunes, or visit

8/10 @ 8pm • 8/14 @ 8pm • 8/17 @ 12pm


Love Bites
By Melissa Ross

The love lives of bugs fascinate two 30-something researchers at New York’s Museum of Natural History, but their own conflicted love affairs are under the microscope in this hilarious, edgy, and explicit look at love in our times.

Melissa Ross’s play Thinner Than Water has received productions in NYC and Chicago and is included in “New Playwrights—Best Plays of 2011.” Her new play, Of Good Stock, will receive its world premiere at South Coast Repertory in 2015. She is a graduate of the Juilliard School and a member of Labyrinth Theater Company.

8/12 @ 8pm • 8/16 @ 12pm


A Test of Tradition

Tokyo fish story

By Kimber Lee

Generations, gender, and tradition collide as a Sushi Master struggles to preserve ancient artistry in a society obsessed with change. In pursuit of perfection, a brilliant protégé, eager apprentices, and the master himself have much to learn.

Kimber Lee’s plays include fight, different words for the same thing (2014 World Premiere CTG/Kirk Douglas Theatre, dir. Neel Keller), and brownsville song (b-side for tray), which premiered at the 2014 Humana Festival and has upcoming productions at LCT3, Long Wharf, and Philadelphia Theatre Company. She is a Lark Playwrights Workshop Fellow (2013/14), Ma-Yi Writers Lab, and recipient of 2014 Ruby Prize, 2013/14 PoNY Fellowship, and 2014/15 Aetna New Voices Fellowship.

8/15 @ 8pm • 8/17 @ 8pm


Journey of a Lifetime

One woman show

Written & Performed by Shakina Nayfack
Features new takes on some classic covers and original songs by Joe Iconis (NBC’s Smash), Julianne Wick Davis (Southern Comfort), Nikko Benson, Sam Salmond, & Joel Waggoner

For our most adventurous theatregoers, this darkly funny and powerful musical chronicles the misadventures of a transgender artist now on the brink of reassignment surgery. Told with a cabaret edge, it is a story of surviving the 90s with determination and pride.

Shakina Nayfack is a theatre director, choreographer, producer, and performance artist. Her autobiographical One Woman Show has played Joe’s Pub, 54 Below, and Sophie’s in NYC. It is the flagship project of her high profile KickStartHer campaign to crowd-source funds for gender confirmation surgery. @shakeenz 

8/15 @ 10:30pm


Meet the festival artists

The Festival’s featured playwrights and composers share their anecdotes and insights into creating brave new works for the American Theatre. Bring your questions and become a part of the conversation with writers who are shaping the theatre landscape of tomorrow.

8/17 @ 4pm


EL CALAMAR  Sunday, August 10

BLAST OFF TRUCK  Tuesday, August 12

HONGRY KONG  Wednesday, August 13

GRILLAZ GONE WILD  Thursday, August 14

MOGO BBQ  Friday, August 15

SAJJ MEDITERRANEAN  Saturday, August 16

CURRY UP NOW  Sunday, August 17

View past Festivals