Inspired by The Kilroy’s annual list of the most recommended unproduced new plays by cis female and Trans playwrights in the American theatre, the 50 Playwrights Project made a call in Fall 2018 for unproduced plays by playwrights who identify as Latinx. We received 85 submissions, from which the committee chose the top 8 unproduced plays. Each playwright on the list receives a one-year membership into the Dramatists Guild of America.
The 50PP List is a tool for producers who are committed to updating the narrative of the American theatre to include more Latinx voices. Latinx stories are systematically underrepresented on U.S. stages despite the robust artistic production by Latinx writers. The 50 Playwrights Project encourages theatre-makers to seek out the plays on our list and commit to equity, diversity, and inclusion in their theatre organizations.
To learn more about the 50 Playwrights Project, click here.
*Selection Committee Below
The 50PP List 2019
Alma (or #nowall) by Benjamin Benne
Nearly 18 years ago, Alma crossed the border between Mexico and the United States pregnant with a child and great dreams for the life ahead of them. Now it’s December 2, 2016, Alma has been studying for her citizenship test while her daughter, Angel, studies for her SATs. But on the eve before Angel’s test, Alma comes home early to discover that Angel isn’t at home studying. A real-time, two-hander about an undocumented parent and U.S. citizen child’s differing visions of the “American Dream.”
Alma (or #nowall) received a reading at Wild Atlas in 2017 and has been workshopped at The Playwrights’ Center in 2017, Seattle Repertory Theatre in 2017, the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in 2018, and Theatre Battery in 2018. Alma (or #nowall) is the 2019 Blue Ink Playwriting Award Winner. Alma (or #nowall) was a finalist for the Goodman Theatre’s Playwrights Unit in 2017, a semi-finalist for the Princess Grace Playwriting Fellowship in 2017, a selection for the National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in 2018, a finalist for the Bay Area Playwrights Festival at Playwrights Foundation in 2018, and a semi-finalist for Page 73’s P73 Playwriting Fellowship in 2018.
To read Alma (or #nowall), contact Benjamin Benne via the New Play Exchange.
Bees and Honey by Guadalís Del Carmen
Meeting young, at pivotal moments in their lives, Manuel and Johaira fell in love and got married. Although both were raised in the “hood,” each had different perspectives on how their experiences affected their choices. Johaira, a smart young lawyer, has always been an independent spirit that gets things done. Manuel, is an entrepreneur on the rise with a mechanic shop that is on the cusp of expansion. Both have ambitions and dreams that they hope to achieve together. Johaira lands a career defining case that rocks her confidence and has her questioning her husband’s will to adopt a more feminist way of thinking. But when Manuel’s mother falls ill, he has little choice but to care for her, adding more tension to things at home. When tragedy strikes, their love for each other is tested.
Bees and Honey has received readings at The Sol Project’s SolFest in 2018 and San Diego Repertory Theatre’s Latinx New Play Festival in 2018.
To read Bees and Honey, contact Guadalís Del Carmen via the New Play Exchange.
Bruise & Thorn by J. Julian Christopher
Bruise and Thorn work at a busted up old laundromat in Jamaica, Queens. Bruise dreams of becoming a chef and Thorn of changing the face of Hip Hop with his unabashed Queerness. When finances become strained, they get caught up in illegal activities sending them on a magical ride to make their dreams come true and get the hell out of Jamaica. Bruise & Thorn is an authentic look at a Nuyorican street family, not through bloodline, but rather the social and economic indicators that naturally selects them to one another.
Bruise & Thorn has been developed through a PlayLab residency at Pipeline Theatre Company in 2017 and a reading at PlayPenn in 2018. Bruise & Thorn was a semi-finalist for the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Playwrights Conference in 2018, a winner at PlayPenn’s New Play Development Conference in 2018, a finalist for Rising Circle Theater Collective’s INKTank in 2018, a semi-finalist for the In-Progress New play Reading Series at Unicorn Theatre in 2018, a finalist for the Playwrights Foundation’s Bay Area Playwrights Festival, a semi-finalist for the 2018 Pemiere Play Festival at Premiere Stages in 2018, and a finalist for the Playwrights Realm’s Playwrights Fellowship in 2019.
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To read Bruise & Thorn, contact J. Julian Christopher via the New Play Exchange.
Los DREAMERS by Mónica Sánchez
Scoobi is an undocumented-law-student-love-child of the Zapatista rebellion of 1994. Petra, her mother, a former revolutionary is also undocumented. Dylan O’Reilly, is Scoobi’s ticket to citizenship. This odd trio navigates personal and political borders on the heels of Scoobie’s marriage of inconvenience to Dylan. Oh yes, Roko, the soldier-ghost of Scoobi’s soulmate is hanging out too.
Los DREAMERS received a reading at INGENIO Milagro in 2017. The play received honorable mention for the Kennedy Center Latinx Playwriting Award in 2018 and the Rose Parks Playwriting Award in 2018. Los DREAMERS was a semi-finalist for the Bay Area Playwrights Festival in 2018.
To read Los DREAMERS, contact Mónica Sánchez via the New Play Exchange.
Milton, MI by Paz Pardo
Leah’s got writer’s block, Amber’s got ambition, Jake’s got it all (including your regular fear of slugs). Jake and Leah were hot-shot young poets when they left NYC for Jake’s professorship at Milton Tech, but now Leah’s working admin as Jake’s career skyrockets. So when fresh-faced Amber shows up, it’s only a matter of time before things get sticky. A play about threesomes, poetry, and slugs.
Milton, MI has been developed at the Latinx Theatre Commons Carnaval of New Latinx Work in 2018 and the New Theater Festival at the University of Texas in 2018. The play was a finalist for the Playwrights Foundation’s Bay Area Playwrights Festival in 2016.
To read Milton, MI, contact Paz Pardo via the New Play Exchange.
Our Dear Dead Drug Lord by Alexis Scheer
Our Dear Dead Drug Lord follows a gang of girls who do normal teenage things: fall in love, experiment with drugs, worship Pablo Escobar…okay, maybe not so normal. Suspended high above reality in a treehouse in Florida, the girls try to resurrect the spirit of Pablo. But are they just messing with each other, or could they actually be messing with a higher spirit?
Our Dear Dead Drug Lord has had readings at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Brown Swan Lab in 2018, the Latinx Theatre Commons’ Carnaval of New Latinx Work in 2018, and McCarter Theatre Center in 2019. The play has been workshopped at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2017 and Off the Grid Theatre Company in 2018. Our Dear Dead Drug Lord was a semi-finalist for the American Playwriting Foundation’s Relentless Award in 2018 and a finalist for the Bay Area Playwrights Festival in 2018.
To read Our Dear Dead Drug Lord, contact Alexis Scheer via the New Play Exchange.
Shoe by Marisela Treviño Orta
In the sixteen years since her father left, Marta has felt trapped in her family’s double-wide in Texas. She gave up college and stayed home to take care of her siblings and mother. Just as a secret online relationship reignites Marta’s dreams and curiosity about the world outside, her siblings each decide they will do anything it takes to escape their home lives – even if it means leaving Marta behind.
Shoe has received readings at True Colors Theatre Company in 2017, Milagro in 2017, the National New Play Network in 2017, and the Latinx Theatre Commons Carnaval of New Latinx Work in 2018. Shoe was workshopped at the Iowa Playwrights Workshop New Play Festival in 2018. Shoe was a semi-finalist for the Eugene O-Neill Playwrights Conference in 2018, a semifinalist for the Judith Royer Award for Excellence in Playwriting in 218, and a finalist for the Alliance Theatre’s Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition in 2019.
To read Shoe, contact Marisela Treviño Orta via the New Play Exchange.
Torera by Monet Hurst-Mendoza
Childhood friends Elena Ramírez and Tanok Cárdenas come from different worlds, but share one dream: to become matadors in Mexico’s bullfighting circuit. Elena’s mother, Pastora, is the live-in housekeeper for her childhood confidant, renowned rejoneador, Rafael Cárdenas. Though class and gender divide this household, Pastora raises Tanok and Elena side by side, while keeping a watchful eye on her daughter’s budding interest in bullfighting from Rafael’s young protégé. As Elena and Tanok grow, she proves a much more skilled fighter than Tanok, and what began as child’s play is now a vocation. Determined to rise to the top of this sport on her own merits, Tanok agrees to help Elena achieve her dreams by training her away from the prying eyes of their parents. But when legacy, tradition, and family secrets collide, who will rise and who will fall?
Torera has received readings at The Public Theater in 2017 and Westport Country Playhouse in 2018. Torera was a semi-finalist for Premiere Stages’s Premiere Play Festival in 2018, a semi-finalist for Barrington Stage Company’s Burman New Play Award in 2019, a semi-finalist for the Artemisa Fall Festival in 2018, and a finalist for the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center National Playwriting Conference in 2018.
To read Torera, contact Monet Hurst-Mendoza via the New Play Exchange.
Selection Committee: Jazmyn Arroyo, Tatyana-Marie Carlo, Adrian Centeno, Stephanie Diaz, Iyvon Edebiri, Colby Frederick, Nadia Guevara, Tara A. Houston, Chloe Loos, Sarah Marsh Krauter, Rebecca Martinez, Alexandra Meda, Antonio Miniño, Megan Monaghan Rivas, Jade Power Sotomayor, Susan Russell, Michele Shaul, Jen Shook, Gina Sandi-Diaz, Alejandra Venancio, and Michael Weems.