New Play-Reading Festival

New_Play_RGB_300About the New Play-Reading Festival:

Did you ever wonder how new plays are chosen for production? Here’s your chance to find out–and, if you wish, participate in the process!

In our New Play-Reading Festival, four brand-new plays for young audiences, chosen from  over 100 submitted works, will be read by professional and community artists in a casual setting. Following each reading, the entire family can participate in discussion of the work with our professional team. One of the four plays will be selected to become a fully mounted production in 2020! Bring the family for this unique theatre event!

Meet Our 2018 – 2019 Finalists


BACK COVER by Emily Hageman

Thursday, April 18th at 7:30PM

Kean University (1000 Morris Avenue, Union, NJ)

Zella Fry Theatre in the Bauer Boucher Theatre Center

Vaughn Eames Hall 

The unexpected divorce of Madison’s parents relocated her to New York City–a place that she has vowed to loathe. Through incredible coincidence, Madison finds a shoebox full of letters belonging to a young woman named Jessica. A connection is formed that will forever change the course of Madison’s life. Narrated by Madison’s older self, Back Cover is a story of loss, courage, humanity, and the painful–but wonderful–experience of growing up.

About the playwright:

Emily Hageman is a music and theater educator currently residing in Sioux City, Iowa.  Her plays have seen production with Heartland Theatre Company, A Light in Dark Places, the Red Eye 10s International Playfestival, Eden Prairie Players, Midwest Dramatists Convention, Cone Man Running Productions, and Theatre Evolve.  Her plays are being constantly workshopped by the magnificent high school and middle school actors at Siouxland Christian School. Emily’s passion in life is writing plays for young (and young at heart) actors and actresses. She enjoys challenging them, making them think deeply, and tell stories with truth and beauty.

Philip Kaplan

BUNNYBOY by Philip Kaplan

Saturday, April 27th at 4:00PM

Stanhope United Methodist Church ( 2 Ledgewood Avenue, Stanhope — Steps from The Growing Stage)

Through a series of accidents, Peter, a sixth grader, develops superpowers and becomes Bunnyboy. Now what?  Peter and his friends, Skip and Karen, discover it’s complicated being a superhero – there’s no manual.  And when Bunnyboy has to face an actual super villain, the Animal Master, is he up for the task?  And will he get his homework in on time?

About the playwright:

Philip J. Kaplan is the author of HOLLYWOOD MUSICALS: BEST, WORST AND MOST UNUSUAL.  He has also been published in three volumes of Best Ten Minute Plays (Smith and Kraus).  Full Length plays include, THE BEST DAY OF YOUR LIFE, Vintage Theatre (2019), THE CUPCAKE CONSPIRACY (w/ C.J. Ehrlich), Rover DramaWerks (2015), Florentine Players (2017),  I, VERMIN: A HOLLYWOOD SUCCESS STORY, NY Fringe Festival (2002), and EXTREMELY HOT IN CLEVELAND.   Website:

Claudia Haas

DEAR ANNE, FROM NINA by Claudia Haas

Saturday, April 27th at 7:00PM

Stanhope United Methodist Church (2 Ledgewood Avenue, Stanhope — Steps from The Growing Stage)

In February 1940, a young girl in Iowa pulled the name of a pen pal out of a hat. The name was Anne Frank. They had a brief correspondence before the Nazis invaded The Netherlands. The play chronicles the coming of age of four girls during 1940-1942 as the world comes crashing in around them. In Iowa, Nina and Jeannie strive to become “citizens of the world.” In Amsterdam, Anne and Margot try to navigate a world that doesn’t want them. The play is based on newspaper accounts and memories of the Iowa family.

About the playwright:

Claudia focuses on theatre for young audiences and inter-generational audiences. She was an O’Neill Conference semifinalist for her 9/11 play Making Some Noise. Her plays have seen over 1100 productions in all fifty states as well as on five continents. Her youth plays have been developed through the Bonderman Symposium (now called “Write Now”), Purple Crayon Players at Northwestern University, the Playwrights-in-our-Schools grant and the Old Miner’s Children’s Playwriting Contest at Utah Valley University. Honors include winner of the Aurand Harris Memorial Playwriting Award, Anna Zornio Playwriting Competition, AATE’s Unpublished Play Reading Project, University of Central Missouri’s Children’s Playwriting Competition, East Valley Children’s Theatre Playwriting Competition, Jackie White Memorial Playwriting Contest and others. Fifty of her plays are published. She is a member of the Dramatist Guild of America, the Playwright’s Center of Minneapolis and the American Alliance for Theatre Education. Her website is:

RESONANCE, MT by Dara Silverman & Jaren Feeley

Sunday, April 28th at 2:00PM

Historic Palace Theatre (Home of The Growing Stage)

Dara Silverman

This musical is set in the small Montana town of “Resonance” where the miners dig up sound, not coal, from the earth.  The people of Resonance are proud and profuse with their resource, which gives them language, poetry and music, but they also use it wastefully. When an accident at the mine forces the town’s people to reckon with their dwindling resource, Junior, an opinionated 7 and ¾ year old, and Gordon, their (Junior uses gender-neutral pronouns) mysteriously mute best friend, decide to go on an adventure to save the day.

About the playwright:

Dara Silverman is the Artistic Director of Agile Rascal Theatre, a company that tours innovative new plays with environmental themes on bicycles.  Additionally, her play, Purple Beastly was a finalist for the Jewish Plays Project and Black Thursday was a Finalist at the Association for Theatre in Higher Education.  Another play, Cess Pool and Lil’ Tina was published by Smith and Kraus, Inc.  She has received residencies from  the Santa Fe Art Institute, The Lookout Arts Quarry and AIRIE in the Everglades.  A bit of a nomad, your best bet is to find Dara in Oakland, California, where she is often lives, works, and rides her bicycle just about everywhere.


Some of the Past New Play-Reading Finalists include:
John Henry (2018 WINNER, 2019 Main Stage Production) by Elise Forier Edie
Boy Sees Flying Saucer (2017 WINNER, 2018 Main Stage Production) by Mike Czuba 
The Box of Stories (2016 WINNER, 2017 Main Stage Production) by J. S. Puller
The Book of D (2015 WINNER, 2016 Main Stage Production) by Cody Daigle-Oriens
And Then Came Tango (2014 WINNER, 2015 Main Stage Production) by Emily Freeman
The Secret Life of Hubie Hartzel  (2013 WINNER, 2014 Main Stage Production) by Susan Rowan Masters
City of Ember (2013) by Merissa Stewart
What We Lost Along the Way (2013) by Corrine Esme Glanville
Julie of the Wolves (2013) by Brian Guehring
With Two Wings (2012 WINNER, 2013 Main Stage Production) by Anne Negri
Lizzie Bright and Buckminster Boy (2012) by Joan Cushing
Convivencia (2012) by R. N. Sandberg
Theatre For Your Mother – The Little Red Riding Hood Show (2012) by Russell Davis