Playwrights’ Center Announces 45th Anniversary Season

Sun Mee Chomet and Megan Burns in ENCYCLOPEDIA by Core Writer Rachel Jendrzejewski, part of the 2015-16 Ruth Easton New Play Series at the Playwrights’ Center. Photo by Paula Keller.

Sun Mee Chomet and Megan Burns in ENCYCLOPEDIA by Core Writer Rachel Jendrzejewski, part of the 2015-16 Ruth Easton New Play Series at the Playwrights’ Center. Photo by Paula Keller.

Since its founding in 1971, the Playwrights’ Center has been imagining theater forward. For decades it has been one of the nation’s most important organizations for developing new plays and launching the careers of playwrights.

The Center will celebrate its 45th year all season long, including with a conversation series called #Theater2060 discussing how theater will change over the next 45 years.

The following plays by Playwrights’ Center Core Writers will be featured in the 2016-17 season of staged readings:

PLAYLABS (October 17-23):
• “The Remains” by Ken Urban
• “West of Central” by Christina Ham
• “we, the invisibles” by Susan Soon He Stanton

• “Wink” by Jen Silverman (December 5 & 6)
• “queens” by Martyna Majok (January 9 & 10)
• “Eden Prairie, 1971” by Mat Smart (February 6 & 7)
• “The Sea & The Stars” by Harrison David Rivers (March 6 & 7)
• “Minneapolis/St. Paul” by Lee Blessing (April 3 & 4)

These readings are the most public components of the play development work at the Playwrights’ Center, where more than 70 plays are workshopped each year. PlayLabs and the Ruth Easton New Play Series give Core Writers intensive workshop time with collaborators to hone their scripts and
see the work on its feet in front of two different audiences. The readings feature top local and national actors and incorporate design elements, giving audience members a unique and immediate way to experience new work and a chance to be part of the creative process.

“This season’s playwrights provoke a wide range of questions through a series of very diverse storytelling lenses. They are all asking vital questions about our past and future,” says Playwrights’ Center Producing Artistic Director Jeremy B. Cohen. “To support their artistic visions, we’re gathering incredible collaborators for these workshops. For example, PlayLabs will bring in actor Maulik Pancholy from ‘30 Rock’ and ‘Weeds’ to star in Ken Urban’s play. I can’t wait to share these great new works with Twin Cities audiences.”

All season events are free and take place at the Playwrights’ Center, located at 2301 E Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis’ Seward neighborhood.

PLAYLABS, October 17-23, 2016

The PlayLabs new play festival is now in its 33rd year, and is increasingly becoming a must-attend event for theater leaders and fans both locally and from around the country. In addition to the three plays by Core Writers featured in the festival, audiences are invited to a showcase of scenes by the 2016-17 playwriting fellows, a #Theater2060 conversation with manifestos from socially-engaged playwrights, and a party celebrating the theater community.

PlayLabs 2016 will feature:

“The Remains” by Ken Urban
Monday, October 17 and Saturday, October 22 at 7 p.m.
Director: Jeremy B. Cohen
Cast includes: Maulik Pancholy*, Sue Scott*, Bob Rosen*, Mo Perry*

“West of Central” by local playwright Christina Ham
Tuesday, October 18 and Friday, October 21 at 7 p.m.
Director: Hayley Finn
Dramaturg: Michael Kinghorn
Design consultant: Dan Dukich
Cast includes: Juanita Jennings*, Shawn Hamilton*, James A. Williams*, Thomasina Petrus*, Mark Benninghofen*

“we, the invisibles” by Susan Soon He Stanton
Wednesday, October 19 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, October 22 at 1 p.m.
Director: Dámaso Rodriguez
Dramaturg: Wendy Weckwerth
Design consultant: Joel Sass
Cast includes: Kurt Kwan*, Sara Ochs, Nathan Keepers*, H. Adam Harris*, Adia Morris*, Angela Lin*
*Member of Actors’ Equity

On Sunday, October 23, the Playwriting Fellows Showcase is at noon and the #Theater2060 conversation is at 2:30 p.m.

“‘we, the invisibles’ is much larger in scope and more deeply personal than anything else I have written,” says Core Writer Susan Soon He Stanton. “PlayLabs is providing the first opportunity to explore this play with an audience. I am particularly excited to share the true-life stories of immigrants in Minneapolis, a city where so many people share a similar experience.”

PlayLabs tickets are available at

RUTH EASTON NEW PLAY SERIES, December 2016 – April 2017

The Ruth Easton New Play Series is entering its 12th year. Plays recently seen in the Ruth Easton New Play Series that have full productions this theater season include George Brant’s “Marie and Rosetta,” running Off-Broadway now at Atlantic Theater, and Carlyle Brown’s “Finding Fish,” which opens October 8 at the Illusion Theater in Minneapolis.

The 2016-17 Ruth Easton New Play Series will feature “Wink” by Jen Silverman, “queens” by Martyna Majok, “Eden Prairie, 1971” by Mat Smart, “The Sea & The Stars” by local playwright Harrison David Rivers, and “Minneapolis/St. Paul” by Lee Blessing.

“The inspiration for ‘Eden Prairie, 1971’ is rooted in the three years I spent living in Minneapolis—from reading old war letters at the Minnesota Historical Society to kayaking at Tofte Lake Center to shopping at Lunds,” says Core Writer Mat Smart. “It will be a joy to workshop this play in the place that sparked it.”

For more information on the Ruth Easton New Play Series, please visit And for more information on the Playwrights’ Center, please click here.

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