Rough Draft

Rough. Collaborative. Lively.

Rough Draft allows directors to explore the earliest developmental stages of working on a new play, musical or devised project in a one-day residency in The Drama League Theater Center’s Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley Studio LabRough Draft is designed for directors with an interest in a brief, focused artistic exploration that includes direct engagement with an invited audience. 

Rough Draft is a process. It begins with up to eight hours of collaborative exploration of a conceptual approach to a play and is immediately followed by an informal and lively showing of the work done that day, inviting the audience into a conversation as creative partners.

Rough Draft is not a play reading. It's a moment for a director and his or her collaborators to joyfully dive into the work and make discoveries about a directorial approach to a theatrical work. It’s a lab for a director who wants to investigate an idea with his or her collaborators in a lively, informal setting and share it with an invited community.

Application Information

Rough Draft Applications are accepted on an annual basis. Stay tuned for information about 2018 applications. 

If you have any questions, please email residency@dramaleague.org

All Rough Draft Tickets $5.00 | Rough Draft Season Pass $40.00


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March 24, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.

Pin* and the Blue Fairy

Artist-in-Residence: Adin Walker

Written by noah kat baus
Directed by Adin Walker

Pin* and the Blue Fairy is written by noah kat baus in collaboration with director/choreographer Adin Walker. The project was previously produced at Dixon Place with OUTLIERS Theatre Co. Pin* and the Blue Fairy is a new play based on Collodi’s T”he Adventures of Pinocchio” that examines the wooden puppet’s journey to become a proper boy through the eyes of a contemporary trans teenager named Blue. As Blue attempts to find their own path, they turn to Pin’s tale, and their stories intertwine in a search for understanding, transformation, and personal truth.

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April 10, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.

Johnny and the Devil’s Box

Artists in Residence: John Hurley and Jennifer Jancuska

Written by Douglas Waterbury-Tieman
Directed by John Hurley
Co-Directed and Choreographed by Jennifer Jancuska

There is powerful dramatic potential in the tangible excitement that folk music and dance awaken in an audience. Johnny and the Devil’s Box focuses on a young fiddle player whose skill is so great he invokes the jealousy of Lucifer himself.  Inspired by the myths of fiddlers’ dealing with the Devil, the piece takes a hard look at the association between a virtuoso’s egotism and hellish temptation.  Told largely through American folk inspired music, the show is built to stir the audience’s urge to get up and dance

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April 21, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.

Discouraging Stories for Lonely People

Artist in Residence: Gregg Wiggans

Book and Lyrics by Evan Enderle
Music by Avi Amon
Directed by Gregg Wiggans

By some magical means or fate, we are drawn to the middle of the woods on a dark fall night where a band of outcasts tells us of a gnat who falls in love with a beast, a boy’s tongue that is lost in sap for a decade, of a milkmaid who learns to fly…  These tales are warnings for the forlorn: Never tread in the deadly land of Love. These are Discouraging Stories for Lonely People.

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May 26, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.


Artist in Residence: Melinda Hall

Written by Diana Burbano
Directed by Melinda Hall

In a future Colombia controlled by the very wealthy, the brilliant, mad Ingrid Bolivar collects young women and turns them into weapons.

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July 17, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.

On Loss and Mice and Monsters and Love

Artist in Residence: Lauren Z. Adleman

Writer Emily Zemba
Director Lauren Z. Adleman

Relationships are hard. Mouse infestations are even harder.

Join Claire and Hugh as they balance both: expertly avoiding emotional baggage, navigating painful interactions with over-the-top exes, and concealing small furry corpses in strategic hiding places. But as the body count rises, Clare and Hugh struggle to ignore the secrets between them (that and the overpowering stench of rotting flesh). Is romance the greatest exterminator of them all? Or is this one infestation that won't be contained...

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July 31, 2017 at 7:0 p.m.

The Tragedy of Recognition

Artist in Residence: Sam Underwood

Written by Ben Holbrook
Directed by Sam Underwood
Fundamental Theater Project

The Tragedy of Recognition is a modern-day Greek tragedy, which explores the politics of gender and sexuality within the context of the pursuit of Fame, and ultimately, the sacrifices that comes with. Adopting a Greek Theatre structure including Chorus “We The People”, and incorporating a multitude of styles of verse, multimedia, movement and a fluid sense of time, Tragedy seeks to provide an intimate story with far reaching, universal implications. What is ‘Celebrity’ to us now?

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August 7, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.


Artist in Residence: Natalie Novacek

Co-Created and Dramaturgy by Madilynn Garcia
Directed by Natalie Novacek

Margaret is a creative editing of William Shakespeare’s War of the Roses tetralogy (Henry VI, parts 1-3 and Richard III) that focuses on Margaret d’Anjou’s journey from meek princess to fierce warrior, strategist, leader, and finally lone, mad women. This bold reframing of political history spanning three generations gives focus to the women who made great impact, but held little agency. Margaret provides thrilling opportunities for meaty female roles, new female narratives, and a strong feminist perspective using only Shakespeare’s original text.

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September 11, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.


Artist in Residence: Alex Tobey

Co-Collaborators: Moss Madigan, Dan Giles and Alex Tobey

Baal is a poet.  Baal is a murderer.  Baal has an insatiable appetite.  Baal drinks too much.  Baal likes a boy.  Baal is afraid.  Bertolt Brecht’s first play, written when he was 20 years old, tells the story of a provocative and daring young artist trapped by his own ambitions, hungry for new experiences, and a never ending desire to conquer it all.  And then he dies.

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October 13, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.


Resident Artist: Victoria Crutchfield

Scenic Design by Bryce Cutler
Lighting Design by Mary Ellen Stebbins
Sound Design by Eric Sluyter
Ensemble: Alison Cheeseman and Stewart Kramer
Directed by Victoria Crutchfield

Dreamer. Loser. Lover. Liar. Trader. Historian. Prophet. Troll.

Deep down, who is Peer Gynt? Is he somebody at all?

In this spare version of Ibsen’s epic drama about a lost soul’s fantastical quest to find himself, the ensemble works together to portray Peer (or is it Peter?) and the people he meets, invents, and becomes.

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November 30, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.

The Triumphant

Resident Artist: Kareem Fahmy

Co-Deviser, Composer David Dabbon
Co-Deviser, Performer Ahmad Maksoud
Co-Deviser, Director Kareem Fahmy

The Triumphant is a new investigative theatre piece that tells the untold of gays and lesbians living in Egypt today. Devised by a collective of New York-based Egyptian-American theatre artists of various disciplines, the piece adapts an “interview theatre” model inspired by The Civilians to examine the lives, loves, challenges, and triumphs of being homosexual in one of the world’s largest Muslim countries.




Friday June 3, 2016
Directed by Sarah Plotkin 
In Memphis, Tennessee we meet the first all-girl’s radio station, WHER. It’s 1968 and they play “music for women”, broadcasting from their studio, the Doll Den. But with the sanitation workers on strike, protesters in the street, and the garbage piling up all around them, the pristine glass box that is their studio shatters under the weight of realization. Everyone wears a facade, some are just thicker than others.
Friday May 27, 2016
Written by Fernanda Coppel and Tatiana Suarez-Pico
Directed by Estefania Fadul
Brooklyn-born Lulu, Mickey, and Bella want to be superstars, but they also want to go to college, and date, and go crazy because that's what you do when you're 18. When Lulu's mom decides to go back to her native Colombia for mysterious reasons, Lulu's world is turned upside down. Mickey and Bella come to Lulu's aid, but soon they're facing problems of their own. Rokera is about growing up and growing tough in the face of adversity; a transformative rock musical.
Friday April 29, 2016

Written by Molière. Translation by Richard Wilbur
Directed by Louisa Proske
Is it possible, without a single cell phone or projected computer screen on stage, using a 350 year old text as a gateway drug, to make a theatre piece that cuts to the heart of a society that has chosen popularity (measured in followers, retweets, views and likes) as its ultimate God? If the minuet was the perfect expression of courtliness in Molière’s age, what would our perverse, delicious, orgasmic social dance look, sound, and feel like? And can Alceste, nauseated critic of this unleashed dance, meaningfully unplug himself from the flood of images? This Rough Draft will take baby steps towards answering these enormous questions …..

Friday March 4, 2016

Directed by Marlo Hunter
Music by Derek Gregor
Words by Sam Carner
Story by Sam Carner, Derek Gregor and Marlo Hunter
Five New Yorkers are caught in a twisted love affair... with the city. This unique musical takes us through their poignant and hilarious journeys to seize their own potential and the possibilities the city dangles before them.


Friday February 5th, 2016

Directed by Danya Taymor
Lila’s sick of it. Waiting tables. Making zilch. Not agood man in sight. But a pig and a promise just came crashing through the roof.And now a handsome huckster named Budd wants to sweep her away on the adventureof a lifetime. Just help him run a con. Just give these stingy drifters whatthey’ve always had coming. At one dumpy diner, deep in the recesses of theempty American West, Lila and Budd scam their way into serving upevery hungry acolyte’s dream. Or so they think.


Friday January 22nd, 2016

Directed by Whitney White
GREAT HILL MOUTH is the story of Sarah Meyers, a mother to be, and what happens as she spirals into a psychological process of dreaming and desire at the center of which is her absent lover Alton.  At the heart of the play is the unanswerable question of why we make families today. 


Friday December 18th, 2015

Directed by Jessica Bauman
There are almost 60 million refugees in the world right now. Maybe what’s happening in the Forest of Arden is their story. The daughter of a good and gentle leader who has been overthrown in a coup must run away or be killed. She dresses as a man to protect herself while she searches for safety. In a world of political instability where brother is plotting to kill brother, all kinds of people are trying to escape danger and make a life in the woods. This AS YOU LIKE IT stays firmly rooted in Shakespeare’s text while expanding the play’s resonance for the world we live in right now.


Friday November 20, 2015

Directed by Austin Regan
Austin Regan adapts and directs a reimagined Pericles, the bard's greatest adventure story. Journey with us in a world of dirty little secrets, lost loves, tragic shipwrecks, and lots and lots of pirates -- with an all-original score by Regan and Christy Altomare


Friday October 30th, 2015

Directed by Leanora Lange
Part dance party, part sporting event, part bloody tragedy, PENTHESILEAS questions what we know of the Amazon queen and raging Achilles as they face off on a wild hunt for victory on the battlefield of love. 


Friday June 19th, 2015

By Abby Rosebrock
Directed by Stephanie Ward
Inspired by research on twenty-first-century independent farming, SINGLES IN AGRICULTURE offers glimpses into a rural landscape where social isolation and economic exploitation intensify the hopes, anxieties, and losses that we all sign up for when we search for love.


Friday, May 1st, 2015

Directed by Katherine Carter
Tryell Johnson sits on Death Row for the double-murder of two undercover detectives. Mara Hernandez is a fresh-faced corrections officer, newly appointed to the night watch. Together, this unlikely pair, form an intense bond and make a pact to have a baby. A dark twist on the “boy-meets-girl” and inspired by the unfolding true story of Ronnell Wilson and Nancy Gonzalez, Blind Crest forces us to ask, "what is the value of a human life, and at what cost are we willing to fight for it?"


Friday, April 10th, 2015

Directed and Conceived by William Steinberger
Romeo and Juliet are two teens madly in love - and madly trying to fight off the zombie infection that has compromised their families. Can young love survive in the face of such insurmountable odds? Biting and, well, biting, "Undead Romeo and Juliet" is an inquiry into the marriage between contemporary and canonized art and High and Low Culture. 


Friday March 13th, 2015

Adapted by Lavinia Roberts and Irene Kapustina
from Fyodor Dostoyevsky's novel
Set in St. Petersburg in 1846, Poor People offers an episodic narrative, intertwining symbolism, surrealism, and realism. The play tells the story of Makar Devushkin, a middle-aged clerk, who despite his poverty remains a human with an endearingly bumbling, optimistic outlook and humor. Through the prism of aesthetic distance Poor People reflects the challenges of economic disparity of our time and asks the question: What does it take to remain human in inhumane conditions?


Friday February 20th, 2015

Directed by Evan Yionoulis
Taking as its springboard the still-unfolding story of the young man accused of being the mastermind behind Silk Road (the illicit eBay of the “dark web," through which millions of dollars worth of illegal narcotics were bought and sold), THE DREAD PIRATE PROJECT will explore the nature of identity, the elusive quest for 21st century anonymity, and the deceptively thin membrane between the digital and natural worlds.

Friday January 30th, 2015

Written by Frank Wedekind. Translated by Stephen Spender
Adapted and Directed by Lauren Keating 

Wedekind's epic, monstrous and personal tragedy presented for the first time by an all-female company. Lulu travels from Berlin to Paris to London, in an increasingly desperate bid for survival and self-determination.


Friday December 19th, 2014

Adapted by David Koteles
Directed by Jason Jacobs
A wound that never heals. A weapon that never fails. A war that never ends. An ancient play reimagined for our times. Can there be peace for a nation that turns its own citizens into enemies?


Friday November 21st, 2014

Written and directed by Gama Valle 
In a far away forest two sisters dedicate their lives to the creation of crowns full of fading lights. They share a perfect and balanced life until the apparition of a strange blue bird changes the course of their journeys.


Friday October 24, 2014

Conceived and directed by Melissa Crespo
Choreography by Stephanie Card
THE GUN PLAY is a new devised piece exploring gun culture in the United States, The Gun Play. "You think you know, but you have no idea. An honest look at the part we play in our own destruction".


Tuesday September 16th , 2014

Directed by Hannah Ryan, THE BIG ANNOUNCEMENT is a new play about the meaning of life in the womb.


Friday August 29th, 2014

Conceived and Directed by Paul Stancato
Book by Larry Tobias

Music and Lyrics by Chris Blisett and Matt Uremovich 
Conceived and directed by Paul Stancato, BASQUIAT is a new musical about the triumphant and tragic life of painter Jean-Michel Basquiat in the 1970s and early 1980s. Set in NYC’s East Village, "Basquiat" explores the life and times of the "genius child", while transporting the audience into a time where art, punk, rock, new wave, jazz and rap were forming what we know today as "pop culture".


Friday June 6th, 2014

Devised by Rebecca Holderness with a company of women artists from around the USA considers the architecture of desire. Based in erotic literature and art, scientific research and personal experience, it explores what turns women on. As work of theater it observes the voyeuristic relationship between the performer and the audience.

Devised and directed by Rebecca Holderness
Collaborators: Kate Kohler Amory, Kathleen Hickey, Fly Steffens, Sarah Weber Gallo


Thursday May 22nd, 2014

Directed by Reginald L. Douglas 
Written by Josh Wilder
Directed by Reginald L. Douglas, LEFTOVERS  takes us to present-day, inner-city Philadelphia where an abnormally huge dandelion has grown through the sidewalk in front of the house of Jalil and Kwamaine, two brothers who are waiting for the arrival of their nonexistent father. A poignant, poetic, gritty play full of family, magic, and Cliff Huxtable, Leftovers tells the story of the brothers as they figure out their journey to manhood without their father and discover the reality of their dreams. We will use the residency to explore the relationship between text and physicality in this play, with particular emphasis on exploring what happens when magic and dreams collide in the play’s second act and epilogue.


Wednesday April 16th, 2014

Directed by Morgan Green, Shoot the Freak by Lancelot Hamelin is a multi-media play brushing with magical realism and rock concert. It follows the story of a young French couple and their roommate, cohabiting a bare bones Brooklyn apartment, struggling to create a “new design for living” or a way to reconcile their disparate identities and desires in their claustrophobic menage a trois. As immigrants and aspiring artists, all three roommates feel like freaks, but only one of them actually works at Coney Island’s weirdest attraction, the now defunct “Shoot the Freak” game.

Directed by Morgan Green
Written by Lancelot Hamelin
Music by David Baloche
Creative Team: Nick Benacerraf, Marika Kent , Ray Sun  


Friday March 14th, 2014

Spanning 80 years and moving between Poland and America, Tadeusz Slobodzianek's epic play Our Class follows ten classmates – five Catholic, five Jewish – as their lives take dramatically unexpected turns in a country torn apart by invading armies, first Soviet, then German, then Soviet again. Director Cosmin Chivu will explore themes and ideas for a future production in this revealing evening of exploration. 

Director: Cosmin Chivu
Playwright: Tadeusz Slobodzianek
Translator: Ryan Craig


Friday February 28th, 2014

And She Would Stand Like This is Trojan Women" meets "Paris is Burning", Jennie Livingston’s seminal documentary on Harlem ball culture. Set in a hospital waiting room in the midst of a mysterious plague, the play explores the complicated issues of gender, sexuality, health, family and motherhood.

Directed by David Mendiza╠übal 
Written by Harrison David Rivers


Friday January 24th, 2014

Our inaugural Rough Draft recipient, Jesse Geiger directs Dr. Darling And The Lost Boys Of Bushwick, a contemporary rock musical loosely inspired by the story of Peter Pan. It recasts Wendy, Peter and the Lost Boys as Brooklyn 20-somethings lost in a video- game and pop-culture infused fantasia of their city. They battle an X-Box villain, Hook, and wander through the rites of passage (and gentrification) on the way to adulthood.

Written and Directed by Jesse Geiger 
Composer/Lyrics: Nathan Leigh 
Produced by Elizabeth R. English