October 23 - November 10, 2019

A Free Celebration of New Work

Now in its 16th year, Goodman Theatre presents its New Stages Festival–an annual celebration and discovery of new work by some of the country's finest established and emerging playwrights.

Since New Stages Festival's 2004 inception, more than 80 plays have been produced as a developmental production or staged reading. Join us for a first look at these exciting new works. Full line-up below.

The 2019 New Stages Festival has closed.

All workshop productions and staged readings are free!

Goodman Members get access to tickets starting Friday, September 6 at 10am.

Tickets are available to the general public Friday, September 13 at 10am.

Workshop Productions
  • Dave Harris


    By Dave Harris, Directed by Monty Cole

    October 23 - November 9

    Tanya is determined to break her son out of death row—or die trying. She'll need guns. She'll need to get her hair done. She'll need to save her son; but at what cost? This explosive tragicomedy challenges notions of motherhood, justice and generational trauma. Recommended for mature audiences.


  • Rajiv Joseph

    In the Sick Bay of the Santa Maria

    By Rajiv Joseph, Directed by Robert O'Hara

    October 26 - November 10

    It’s 1492, and the Santa Maria sets sail towards a dangerous New World. In the ship’s dank and diseased belly, a young man with visions of sea monsters and the voice of an angel seeks counsel from a grotesque old physician. But nothing can prepare them for the freedom and salvation—and the prison and damnation—that lies dead ahead. Recommended for mature audiences.


  • Sandra Delgado

    (the) FAIR
    A Fantastical Time-Traveling Exposition Through Chicago's Future, Its Past and The Now

    Created by Sandra Delgado and Sojourn Theatre Company

    Saturday, November 9 at 1pm and 5pm in the Alice Center

    Set in 2033—100 years after Chicago’s last World’s Fair—this new performance piece invites artists and audiences to envision their ideal future Chicago, and identify who and what in the city’s past deserves to be remembered. Designed to appear in community spaces around the city.

Staged Readings
  • Charlayne Woodard

    The Garden

    Written and Directed by Charlayne Woodard

    Saturday, November 9 at 10:30am

    Claire Rose spends her days in upstate New York, quietly tending her vegetable garden as lovingly as she would nurture a child. When her newlywed daughter, Cassandra, arrives from Seattle hoping to know why mother missed her wedding, she uproots the grief Claire Rose thought was long buried—and now must confront. Recommended for mature audiences.

  • Calamity West

    Engines and Instruments of Flight: A Fantasia in Three Acts by Calamity West

    By Calamity West, Directed by Kimberly Senior

    Saturday, November 9 at 2pm

    Calamity West is thinking about writing a new play. A fantasia. She imagines that it is set in 1986, and in it, The Playwright is writing his next play. Or, rather, struggling to write it. After an ugly breakup with his boyfriend, The Playwright is left to face his own creative inertia. Caught inside a maelstrom of secrets, lies, and ghostly premonitions, he begins to find inspiration for his new work ... but his own "gay fantasia on national themes" starts to look a little too familiar for his friends' tastes. In writing a play that might just make it big, The Playwright must untangle the conflicting responsibilities that come with being an artist and being a friend. Recommended for mature audiences.

  • Zayd Dohrn

    The Humanities

    By Zayd Dohrn, Directed by Niegel Smith

    Sunday, November 10 at 10:30am

    Lincoln University is under fire after a prominent professor invites a divisive political provocateur to deliver a speech on campus. As long-simmering tensions rise to the surface, students and faculty must pick a side. How far should higher education go to challenge students—and who is harmed in the process? Recommended for mature audiences.

  • Charlayne Woodard


    By Cheryl L. West, Directed by Henry Godinez

    Sunday, November 10 at 7:30pm

    A passionate and immersive call to action inspired by the life of civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer, whose courage and grit challenge us with the simple question, how ‘woke to the vote’ are we nearly sixty years later? Performed and sung by E. Faye Butler, this electrifying rally defines what it means to be a true revolutionary.