New Works Festival


John Weidman, Pia Zankel and Scott Schwartz            Panel Discussion
Photos by Michael Heller

BAY STREET THEATER NEW WORKS FESTIVAL took place April 25-27 The Festival was produced in Association with SPACE on Ryder Farm.

"The New Works Festival far surpassed my expectations. I was blown away by the quality and acting of the two works I saw, Fight Call and The May Queen. It was incredibly engaging and stimulatiing, and I loved the interaction with the playwrights and directors afterwards. This is the most exciting thing Bay Street could be doing, in my opinion, celebrating theater-in-the-making, and I'm looking forward to the next!" - April Gornik

The three day festival will included readings of new plays by some of New York’s most exciting emerging playwrights. The focus of the festival was  to give the playwrights a chance to hear their works in development in front of an audience and to give the audience at Bay Street and East End Community a chance to experience cutting edge voices in the theater. Each reading was followed by a talkback with the audience. The plays in the festival will be Fight Call by Jess Brickman, The May Queen by Molly Smith Metzler, and The Orchard Play by P. Seth Bauer.


There was also an Artist Interact – a panel discussion with the authors, led by award winning writer John Weidman, which explored what it means to be a playwright working today, and the way in which new work is created and developed in the theater. The panel was followed by a cocktail reception at Bay Street where the audience met the writers and other artists involved with the readings.


John Weidman has written the books for a wide variety of musicals, among them Pacific Overtures (Tony nomination, Best Book), Assassins (Tony Award, Best Musical Revival), and Road Show, all with scores by Stephen Sondheim; Contact (Tony nomination, Best Book; Tony Award, Best Musical), co-created with director/choreographer Susan Stroman; Happiness, score by Scott Frankel and Michael Korie, directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman; Take Flight and Big (Tony nomination, Best Book), scores by Richard Maltby Jr. and David Shire; and the new book, co-authored with Timothy Crouse, for the Lincoln Center Theater/Roundabout Theatre revivals of Cole Porter’s Anything Goes (Tony Awards, Best Musical Revival; Olivier Award, Best Musical Production). Since his children were pre-schoolers, Weidman has written for Sesame Street, receiving more than a dozen Emmy Awards for Outstanding Writing for a Children’s Program. From 1999 to 2009 he served as President of the Dramatists Guild of America.


The Bay Street New Works Festival was co-curated by Scott Schwartz, Artistic Director at Bay Street Theater, and Emily Simoness, Executive Director at SPACE on Ryder Farm.

Scott Schwartz, Artistic Director at Bay Street says, "I am pleased to open the 2014 season at Bay Street with our first annual Bay Street New Works Festival. We are deeply committed to new work at Bay Street, to helping develop the classics of tomorrow, and to giving our audience the chance to see theater you can’t see anywhere else."



Public funding provided by Suffolk County