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New Work | Goodman Theatre

New Work

A passionate commitment to developing the classics of tomorrow.

The Goodman has a distinguished history as a leader in the development of new work for the American theater. Plays developed and/or produced at the Goodman have gone on to become integral parts of the American theater repertoire, including seminal works by David Adjmi, Edward Albee, Luis Alfaro, Carol Burnett, Lydia Diamond, Rebecca Gilman, Lucas Hnath, Quiara Alegría Hudes, David Henry Hwang, David Mamet, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Scott McPherson, Arthur Miller, Richard Nelson, Dael Orlandersmith, David Rabe, José Rivera, Stephen Sondheim, Regina Taylor, Tennessee Williams, August Wilson, Karen Zacarías, and Mary Zimmerman. In April 2009, Lynn Nottage's Ruined became the first Goodman-commissioned play to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

New work development at the Goodman is a multi-tiered process comprising a variety of public and in-house programs designed to be flexible to the needs of each new project and to embrace a diverse group of artists at different stages in their careers. Our new work initiatives include  a commissioning program, the Goodman's Playwrights Unit, the annual New Stages Festival, Future Labs, developmental workshops, and productions of world-premiere plays each season.

New Stages Festival
Playwrights Unit
Future Labs
World Premieres

New Stages Festival

The New Stages Festival is an annual celebration of new work that plays an important role in cultivating new plays for the Goodman stage. Established in 2004, the series originally featured concert readings of six new works, providing playwrights an opportunity to work with a director, a dramaturg and a company of actors to develop the play, while also offering audiences a first look at the work and a unique insight into the playwriting process. In the fall of 2011, the Goodman expanded the program, renaming it New Stages Amplified. This revamped series included three workshop productions alongside three concert readings. After each performance, talkbacks with members of the artistic team were held to encourage dialogue between audiences and artists.

December 1 - 19, 2021

  • Nightwatch by Max Yu
    Directed by Chay Yew
  • Layalina by Martin Yousif Zebari
    Directed by Sivan Battat
  • Hummingbird by Jo Cattell
    Created by Daria Tsoupikova, Sai Priya Jyothula, Andrew Johnson, Arthur Nishimoto and Lance Long at the Electronic Visualization Laboratory in the University of Illinois of Chicago.
  • Fires, Ohio by Beth Hyland
    Directed by Marti Lyons
  • Your Name Means Dream by José Rivera
    Directed by Audrey Francis
  • Watching the Watcher by Dael Orlandersmith
    Directed by Neel Keller

October 23 – November 10, 2019

  • Incendiary by Dave Harris
    Directed by Monty Cole 
  • In the Sick Bay of the Santa Maria by Rajiv Joseph
    Directed by Robert O’Hara 
  • (the) FAIR: A Fantastical Time-Traveling Exposition Through Chicago’s Future, Its Past and The Now created by Sandra Delgado and Sojourn Theatre Company 
  • The Garden written and directed by Charlayne Woodard 
  • Engines and Instruments of Flight: A Fantasia in Three Acts by Calamity West by Calamity West
    Directed by Kimberly Senior 
  • The Humanities by Zayd Dohrn
    Directed by Niegel Smith 
  • Fannie (The Music and Life of Fannie Lou Hamer) by Cheryl L. West*
    Directed by Henry Godinez

September 19 - October 7, 2018

  • There's Always the Hudson by Paola Lázaro-Muñoz
    Directed by Jess McLeod
  • Felons and Familias by Sandra Delgado
    Directed by Marcela Muñoz
  • graveyard shift by korde arrington tuttle*
    Directed by Danya Taymor
  • The Wizards by Ricardo Gamboa
    Directed by Azar Kazemi
  • Between Covers by Sarah Schulman
    Directed by Wendy C. Goldberg
  • Birthday Candles by Noah Haidle
    Directed by Vivienne Benesch
  • Cressida on Top by Paula Vogel
    Directed by Shana Cooper

September 20 - October 10, 2017

  • Lottery Day by Ike Holter*
    Directed by Lili-Anne Brown
  • Continuity by Bess Wohl
    Directed by Annie Tippe
  • Twilight Bowl by Rebecca Gilman*
    Directed by Erica Weiss
  • How to Catch Creation by Christina Anderson*
    Directed by Jess McLeod
  • Eden Prairie, 1971 by Mat Smart
    Directed by Henry Wishcamper
  • POSTNATION conceived and directed by Mikhael Tara Garver
  • The Untranslatable Secrets of Nikki Corona written and directed by Jose Rivera
  • We're Only Alive for A Short Amount of Time written and performed by David Cale*
    Arranged by Matthew Dean Marsh
    Directed by Tony Speciale

September 21 - October 9, 2016

  • Blue Skies Process by Abe Koogler
    Directed by Henry Wishcamper
  • Support Group for Men by Ellen Fairey*
    Directed by Kimberly Senior
  • The King of Hell’s Palace by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig
    Directed by Tea Alagć
  • Amy and the Orphans by Lindsey Ferrentino
    Directed by Scott Ellis
  • florissant & canfield by Kristiana Rae Colón
    Directed by Monty Cole
  • And Moira Spins by Kirsten Greenidge
    Directed by Vanessa Stalling

October 28- November 15, 2015

  • Mother Road by Octavio Solis
    Directed by Juliette Carrillo
  • Objects in the Mirror by Charles Smith*
    Directed by Chuck Smith
  • King of the Yees by Lauren Yee*
    Directed by Joshua Kahan Brody
  • Red Wine Leftists: 1977 by Rebecca Gilman
    Directed by Wendy C. Goldberg
  • The Amateurs by Jordan Harrison
    Directed by Oliver Butler
  • On the Exhale by Martín Zimmerman
    Directed by Marti Lyons
  • Lady in Denmark by Dael Orlandersmith*
    Directed by Chay Yew

October 29 - November 16, 2014

  • Feathers and Teeth by Charise Castro Smith*
    Directed by Henry Godinez
  • The Magic Play by Andrew Hinderaker*
    Directed by Halena Kays
  • Carlyle by Thomas Bradshaw*
    Directed by Benjamin Kamine
  • Women Laughing Alone with Salad by Sheila Callaghan
    Directed by Kip Fagan
  • Ugly by Tracey Scott Wilson
    Directed by Leigh Silverman
  • Acquainted with the Night by Keith Reddin
    Directed by Henry Wishcamper

December 7 - 22, 2013 

December 8 – 23, 2012

October 13 – November 20, 2011

  • Dartmoor Prison by Carlyle Brown
    Directed by Chay Yew 
  • Chicago Boys by Kathleen Tolan
    Directed by Ann Filmer 
  • Ask Aunt Susan by Seth Bockley*
    Directed by Joanie Schultz 
  • Smokefall by Noah Haidle*
    Directed by Dexter Bullard 
  • Two Lakes, Two Rivers by Laura Jacqmin
    Directed by Megan Shuchman 
  • Teddy Ferrara by Christopher Shinn*
    Directed by Evan Cabnet 

January 14 – 23, 2011

  • Reverb by Leslye Headland
    Directed by Stuart Carden 
  • The Convert written and directed by Danai Gurira*
  • Picked by Christopher Shinn
    Directed by Joanie Schultz
  • Black n Blue Boys/Broken Men by Dael Orlandersmith*
    Directed by Chay Yew 
  • CommComm written and directed by Seth Bockley
  • Chicago Boys by Kathleen Tolan
    Directed by Kimberly Senior 

December 11 – 20, 2009

  • Rain (later a part of The Trinity River Plays) written and directed by Regina Taylor*
  • The Color of Desire by Nilo Cruz
    Directed by Wendy Goldberg 
  • Bugs of the Pigs in the Lions by Kia Corthron
    Directed by Chuck Smith 
  • Yasmina's Necklace (El collar de Yasmin) by Rohina Malik
    Directed by Henry Godinez 
  • Mary by Thomas Bradshaw*
    Directed by Robert Falls 
  • Dartmoor Prison by Carlyle Brown
    Directed by Marion McClinton 

September 12 – 21, 2008

  • Pa's Hat: A Liberian Legacy by Cori Thomas
    Directed by Chuck Smith
  • The Safe House by Keith Josef Adkins
    Directed by Hallie Gordon 
  • Household Spirits by Mia McCullough
    Directed by Meghan Beals McCarthy 
  • Without by Sean Graney
    Directed by Lisa Portes 
  • Marie Antoinette by David Adjmi
    Directed by Jackson Gay 
  • The Long Red Road by Brett C. Leonard*
    Directed by Dexter Bullard 

September 28 – October 8, 2007

  • Ruined by Lynn Nottage*
    Directed by Kate Whoriskey 
  • Ghostwritten by Naomi Iizuka*
    Directed by Lisa Portes 
  • Spirits to Enforce by Mickle Maher
    Directed by Greg Allen 
  • Chasing Manet by Tina Howe
    Directed by Jason Loewith 
  • Two Echoes by Noah Haidle
    Directed by Dado 
  • Gas for Less by Brett Neveu*
    Directed by Dexter Bullard 

September 25 – 30, 2006

  • The Brothers Size by Tarell Alvin McCraney
  • Our Lady of the Underpass by Tanya Saracho
    Directed by Andrea Dymond
  • Massacre (Sing to Your Children) by José Rivera*
    Directed by Chuck Smith
  • Till (later re-titled The Ballad of Emmett Till) by Ifa Bayeza*
    Directed by Derrick Saunders
  • Ameriville by UNIVERSES
    Directed by Chay Yew

November 1 – 6, 2005

  • Six Postcards by Lisa Dillman
    Directed by Steve Scott 
  • Crippled Sisters by Susan Nussbaum
    Directed by Karen Kessler 
  • Sam's Coming by Kia Corthron
    Directed by Henry Godinez 
  • Palmer Park by Joanna McClelland Glass
    Directed by Chuck Smith 
  • Get What You Need by Jessica Goldberg
    Directed by Carolyn Cantor 
  • Vigils by Noah Haidle*
    Directed by Dexter Bullard 

March 22 – 26, 2005

  • My Buddy Bill by Rick Cleveland
    Directed by Bill Payne 
  • A Change in the Weather by Ron Hutchinson
    Directed by Steve Scott 
  • The Frugal Repast by Ron Hirsen
    Directed by Joe Grifasi 
  • Sweet Water Taste by Gloria Bond-Clunie
    Directed by Mignon McPherson-Nance 
  • Elliot, A Soldier's Fugue by Quiara Alegria Hudes
    Directed by Ann Filmer 

January 21 – 25, 2004

  • Floyd and Clea Under the Western Sky, Book and Lyrics by David Cale, Music by Jonathon Kreisberg and David Cale*
    Directed by Rick DesRochers 
  • BFE by Julia Cho
    Directed by Lynn Ann Bernatowicz
  • Mariela in the Desert by Karen Zacarías*
    Directed by Chris Garcia Peak 
  • Softly Blue by Shepsu Aakhu
    Directed by Mignon McPherson-Nance 
  • Cheech, Or the Chrysler Guys Are in Town by Francois Letourneau, translated by Rick DesRochers
    Directed by Sean Graney 
  • Heritage by Brett Neveu
    Directed by Geoffrey Scott 

*Received Goodman Theatre world premieres.


Playwrights Unit

Goodman Theatre’s Playwrights Unit is an exciting program designed to support and develop new work by Chicago playwrights. Over the course of a season, a group of four commissioned writers meet bimonthly with members of the Goodman’s literary staff to develop and workshop their plays-in-progress. The experience culminates with concert readings of each of the new plays. Plays developed in the Unit have gone on to receive readings and workshop productions in the New Stages Festival, as well as full productions at the Goodman.

2021/2022 Playwrights Unit

2020/2021 Playwrights Unit

2019/2020 Playwrights Unit

2018/2019 Playwrights Unit

2017/2018 Playwrights Unit

  • Isaac Gomez (Wade)
  • Nigel O'Hearn (The Woyzeck Experiment)
  • Sam Collier (A Hundred Circling Camps)
  • Ricardo Gamboa (The Wizards)
  • Kristin Idaszak (Three Antarcticas)

2016/2017 Playwrights Unit

2015/2016 Playwrights Unit

2014/2015 Playwrights Unit

2013/2014 Playwrights Unit

2012/2013 Playwrights Unit

2011/2012 Playwrights Unit

2010/2011 Playwrights Unit


Future Labs

Future Labs is a series of workshops and public presentations of bold, imaginative works written and directed by Black, Indigenous, Latinx, AAPI, SWANA and other artists of color. This program is curated by Associate Director of Education & Engagement Quenna L. Barrett, Director of New Works Jonathan L. Green, Videographer Alberto Mendoza, Producer Malkia Stampley, and a large, cross-departmental team of Goodman staff holding intersectional identities.

2022 Future Labs

2021 Future Labs



With the belief that new plays are the lifeblood of the theater, the Goodman is committed to supporting and nurturing playwrights. For the last 40+ years, Goodman Theatre commissions have been awarded to a diverse group of both emerging and established talents. With the inception of the Ofner Prize in 2000 and the Playwrights Unit in 2010, the Goodman has expanded and deepened its support of Chicago-based playwrights. Named for the late David Ofner, a Goodman trustee who served as chairman of the Board of Trustees from 1983 to 1985, the Ofner Prize was a $5,000 commission awarded biennially from 2000-2009 to an emerging Chicago playwright. Past winners include Carson Grace Becker and David Barr III (By the Music of the Spheres), Carlos Murillo (Diagram of a Paper Airplane), Brett Neveu (Heritage), Tanya Saracho (Our Lady of the Underpass) and Seth Bockley (CommComm). 

Past Goodman Theatre commissions include (in alphabetical order):

 Artists currently under commission include:


World Premieres at the Goodman

Through its world class productions of new plays, the Goodman plays a vital role in the shaping of the American theater canon. In the past 40+ years, Goodman Theatre has premiered the work of some of the country's most notable playwrights and composers, creating exhilarating pieces for the stage that have gone on to further productions around the country and internationally.

Complete list of Goodman Theatre world premieres since 1980 (in alphabetical order):