First Stage Residency


Supporting directors at the very beginning of a new project, the FIRST STAGE RESIDENCY provides creative and contemplative space for an initial exploration or investigation of an idea, concept, and/or early pages for a new play, musical, performance piece, or devised work.  

The piece should not have been previously workshopped or developed elsewhere.  (If your project has been developed elsewhere already, we recommend you consider the NEXT STAGE RESIDENCY instead.)  The First Stage Residency may not include a public performance, reading, or open rehearsal.

The FIRST STAGE RESIDENCY includes10 hours for rehearsal and experimentation in the Stewart F. Lane/Bonnie Comley Studio Lab at The Drama League Theater Center in Tribeca.

If you have questions about which residency is most appropriate for your project, please call (212) 244-9494 to discuss options in depth.  We are happy to speak with you!





Lauren Adleman – Conversations with ELIZA

LAUREN Z. ADLEMAN is a Brooklyn-based theater director with an affinity for stories exploring the nature of personal identity. Directing credits include the premiere productions of Aeneas Sagar Hemphill's Black Hollow (Signature/Columbia); Kaela Mae-Shing Garvin's Ambition: the female American serial killer musical (Ars Nova/ANT Fest); and Matthew Minnicino's Malefactions (Chinatown Soup). Lauren is currently developing Emily Zemba's On Loss and Mice and Monsters and Love (The Drama League, Exquisite Corpse, upcoming LPAC Rough Draft Festival 2018) and A.P. Andrew's On the Ascent (Pipeline, Crashbox). Her sound installations and experiments have been experienced in Brooklyn and Berlin. 2017 Lincoln Center Directors Lab Alum. 2017 Drama League Rough Draft Resident. 2015-2016 Playwrights Horizons Robert Moss Directing Fellow. Currently, Lauren is the Associate Director to Rachel Chavkin on the national tour of Small Mouth Sounds by Bess Wohl. www.laurenza.me

Conversations with ELIZA

In 1964, a MIT professor and his team of graduate students programmed the first chatterbot, ELIZA, to repeat non-directional phrases back to its user, mimicking a psychologist. Stunningly, the users extensively divulged their personal fears and desires to the computer program; finding emotional release despite knowing the fabricated mechanics behind it all. Today, technology is intimately woven into our everyday lives, but are these helpful networks making us more lonely? "Conversations with ELIZA" explores one of the first pieces of programming that won over humans' hearts and minds to spark a greater conversation about our modern society's reliance on technology.


Adrian Alea -  Dreaming in Cuban

Adrian Alexander Alea is a director and producer based in New York City of Cuban decent. Under the tutelage of Lear deBessonet and Benny Medina, his recent assistant directing credits include: A Midsummer Night's Dream (The Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park), Kill Move Paradise (National Black Theater), Venus (by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks at the Signature Theatre), Alice By Heart (musical workshop at MCC), The Odyssey (Public Works, SDCF Observer), The Songs of Eli Bolin, and The Columbia University Song Book (54 Below).

Before returning to NYC, he was a management associate for The Medina Company. His main projects included Jennifer Lopez’s Las Vegas Residency: All I Have and the "Ain't Your Mama" music video. He holds a BA from Columbia University and a forthcoming MS from Northwestern University.

Dreaming in Cuban

Dreaming in Cuban is a multi-generational story about the del Pino women, who are bitterly divided over the Cuban Revolution. Celia is onboard with the Revolution, much to the dismay of her daughter Felicia, who cannot find any sense of belonging on the island. Lourdes, in Brooklyn, is opening a second Yankee Doodle bakery but openly battling Pilar, who wants nothing more than to return to Cuba and visit the grandmother she lost as a baby. Before long, they converge anew on the island with wildly unexpected consequences. Dreaming in Cuban explores how we love during a time of great political divisiveness.

Collaborators: Conceived and Directed by Adrian Alexander Alea

Adapted by Cristina García

Produced by Zuzy Martin Lynch & Adrian Alexander Alea

Based on the novel Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina García


Catherine Andre – Max Schiller’s Dead

Catherine Andre is a NYC-based director committed to shaping heightened texts into visceral, immediate performances. Her work emboldens female characters and interrogates our shared human condition. A graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy and Princeton University, her recent directing credits include Mud (Fornés), Dream Play (Strindberg), Macbeth and HAIR (Rado/Ragni). Assisting credits include Peter Pan (Bedlam), GURLS (McCarter Theatre Lab), Elektra and Red Noses (Lewis Center for the Arts). Upcoming projects include The Recruiting Officer, As You Like It and Lungfish, a queer-environmental retelling of The Little Mermaid by Miles Carey. She is a Visiting Artist at Princeton University.

Max Schiller’s Dead

In Schillers Dead, a man sick to his soul finds himself in a strange hospital that threatens to destroy - or perhaps reveal - his true nature. Director Catherine Andre and playwright Aida Garrido will take this new play inspired by the works of Ionesco, Beckett and Kafka and explore it with a female ensemble, lending new voices and bodies to an overwhelmingly male tradition of absurdist theater.

Collaborators: Aida Garrido


Joe Barros – Only  Us

Joe Barros is a director and an award-winning choreographer with an emphasis on new work development. Broadway: Gigi (associate director). Off-Broadway: Bastard Jones, Cagney (associate director), A Taste of Things to Come (associate director; York Theatre Company, Bucks County Playhouse, Broadway in Chicago), Hard Times  (NY Innovative Theatre Award nominee, Best Choreography), Charlotte’s Web (Theatreworks USA), I Married Wyatt Earp (59E59 Theatres), King Kong (workshop), NYMF, NAMT, and Broadway For All. Regional/Int'l: Beaches (Drury Lane), Goodspeed, DC’s Signature Theatre, Music Academy International (Italy), Michigan State University, The Hartt School, and more. Artistic Director: New York Theatre Barn (www.nytheatrebarn.org). Joe is developing a musical about Ryan White, the teenage hemophiliac who became the poster child for AIDS in the 1980’s (with an all-teenage cast), and Mommie Dearest with writers Christina Crawford and David Nehls. Joe recently produced the new musical Sam’s Room, inspired by real stories of nonverbal teens who find a way to communicate. www.joebarros.com

Only Us

With Cheeyang Ng and Eric Sorrels, Joe is developing a 2-person musical that both celebrates the tradition of romance in musical theatre and grapples with issues in today’s gay community. Only Us explores the 20-year journey of two gay men from different cultures whose paths inevitably diverge, sometimes despite their efforts. One is white and from the deep South, while the other is a second generation Asian American. As an audience, we see their star-crossed story through a series of vignettes that are not chronological. Joe and his collaborators are interested in exploring the inherent consequence of accepting homosexuality as a growing part of the mainstream.

Collaborators: Only Us Book/Music/Lyrics by Cheeyang Ng & Eric Sorrels


Daniella Caggaiano – Brewsters

DANIELLA CAGGIANO is a freelance director and native New Yorker. She was named one of The Interval's “Women to Watch” in 2016 and is a current MTC Directing Fellow as well as an alum of Labyrinth’s Ensemble Workshop and the Lincoln Center Directors Lab. She has directed at Joe's Pub, The Flea, Dixon Place, Ugly Rhino, Musical Theatre Factory, Merkin Concert Hall, The Kraine, Le Poisson Rouge, HERE, FringeNYC, and 54 Below among others. Recent assisting includes Erin Markey's Rainbow Caverns (dir. Ellie Heyman), (Not) Water (dir. Daniella Topol), Tumacho and All The Ways To Say I Love You (both dir. Leigh Silverman). MFA The New School for Drama, BA Sarah Lawrence College www.daniellacaggiano.com


Brewsters centers on the Rosendale Sisters, three women in 15th century England who own and operate a successful pub. When a prominent businessman decides he wants in on the business of beer, he tries a myriad of tactics to force his way in-- including naming them as witches. Contextualized in this story, this play examines fear of women in power, political misogyny, and the resilience of the female spirit.


Estefania Fadul – Untitled Latinidad Project

Estefanía Fadul is a Colombian-born, New Hampshire-raised, NYC-based director and producer. Recent projects include AN OCTOROON (Queens College), the world premiere Spanish-language musical ÓYE OYÁ (Milagro), FAR AWAY (Williamstown Theatre Festival), THE HOUSE OF THE SPIRITS (SUNY Purchase), CELL (Drama League DirectorFest), EL LAUREL DE APOLO and ASI VAN LOS FANTASMAS DE MÉXICO (Repertorio Español). She has also developed new plays and musicals at The Drama League, Hi-Arts, Everyday Inferno, Barton Booth, Columbia University, NYU, Fresh Ground Pepper, and Rising Circle Theater Collective, among others. Estefanía is a 2017 recipient of the O’Neill/NNPN National Directors Fellowship and the Foeller Fellowship at Williamstown. She is an alumna of the Drama League Directors Project and the Van Lier Fellowship at Repertorio Español. Estefanía is a member of the Civilians R&D Group, the New Georges JAM, the Latinx Theatre Commons Steering Committee, and the Lincoln Center Theatre Directors Lab. BA: Vassar College. www.estefaniafadul.com

The Untitled Latinidad Projet

The Untitled Latinidad Project will bring together a group of Latinx artists- a mix of people raised in the U.S. and throughout Latin America- into a devised exploration of Latinx identity on an international level. What does it mean to be “Latinx/o/a” for people of different countries, races, and cultures? Can we find a common language indicative of our varied experiences in today’s increasingly globalized world?


Peter Kuo - Gay Chinese Gold Rush Play

Peter J. Kuo is a New York based theatre director, producer, writer, and educator focusing on raising visibility of marginalized communities. He is a co-founder of Artists at Play, an LA theatre collective for Asian Americans where he directed their inaugural production of Lauren Yee's Ching Chong Chinaman (Backstage Critic's Pick), and Michael Golamco's Cowboy Versus Samurai; as well as readings of Boni Alvarez's Marabella, Beau Willimon's The Parisian Woman, and Donald Margulies' Dinner with Friends. He has served as a director and assistant director at South Coast Repertory, Geffen Playhouse, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, East West Players, HB Studios, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, and The Play Company. This May, he graduates with his MFA in Directing from The New School for Drama where he directed Lauren Yee’s In a Word, Christopher Chen’s MUTT: Let’s All Talk About Race!, and an adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Two Gentle(wo)men of Verona.

Gay Chinese Gold Rush Play

A collaboration with playwright Madhuri Shekar. Gay Chinese Gold Rush Play is an exploration of early Chinese male immigrants who were unable to bring their wives or families to American. Where did these men find outlets for sexual comfort? Without their wives, did these men have an opportunity to explore a different sexual identity? How were these men interacting with White Americans, Native Americans, Black Americans, Latinx Americans, and other oppressed communities? How did early Chinese immigrants live in their identities beyond defending their existence in America? Additional explorations of chorus in narrative storytelling found in writers such as Luis Alfaro, Elizabeth Wong, or Suzan Lori-Parks.


Charles Quittner – The Pitchforks

Charles is a Brooklyn-based shuga pie from Miami, Florida facilitating theatre as a director and producer. He’s brought to life dozens of explorations of classics and new works with a focus on queer visibility, organic melodrama, and ensemble story magic. His directing credits include Toxic if Swallowed by Chris Tyler (Ars Nova; Irondale; AmericaAF; The LGBT Center), It’s Cymbeline (Shuga Pie Supreme @The Brick), Everyday Afroplay by Daaimah Mubashshir (JACK), Bottom of the Scrum by John Budge (Dixon Place), & Charmander the Stray by Dan Giles (JACK; Exponential Festivall). As a creative producer, he founded the Envelope Ensemble for exploring myth and tragedy in Bushwick and directs The Loading Dock’s Forklift program for new play development.

Charlesquittner.com & @cquitty on instagram.


by Andrew Kramer

Directed by Charles Quittner

The camera zooms in and you know exactly where we’re at. 
EXT. a shitty roadside motel. 
Then, we hold on a tight shot: INT. a group of old friends reuniting to escape wife and life. But as the sun sets, the heat rises and old ghosts begin to walk among the living. But then the director yells cut. 
A tender love-letter and violent indictment to horror movies and the people who love (and make) them.


Noam Shapiro – Quick, Change

Noam Shapiro is a New York-based director, the Producing Artistic Director of Three Hares, and a Founder/Co-Artistic Director of Lyra Theater. He is a 2017-2018 Manhattan Theatre Club Directing Fellow, a member of the 2017 Lincoln Center Directors Lab, a 2017- 2018 SDCF Directing Observer, and an alumnus of 24 Hour Plays: Nationals. Recent credits: The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (Lyra Theater), It Takes a Village (The Tank/The Brick), Women Scouts (Ensemble Studio Theatre), Emerson Loses Her Miand (NY Winterfest). Noam has developed work with EST, The Barrow Group, The Brick, The Tank, Dixon Place, and #Serials at the Flea. He has also enjoyed assisting directors at Ensemble Studio Theatre, The New Group, Keen Company, The Pearl Theatre, and Transport Group. Upcoming: Jack Spagnola’s Little League (Horse Trade Theater Group/Frigid Festival) and Laura Winters’s Gonzo (The LaGuardia Performing Arts Center/Rough Draft Festival). noamshapiro.com

Quick, Change

Quick, Change explores power imbalances in the American theater, the repercussions of ‘networking,’ and the way people use and dispose of others. Gabriel Fox, a famous actor nearly past his prime, finds himself making a comeback as Richard III at a prominent summer-stock theater. As Fox pursues a secret and questionable relationship with his twenty-one-year-old dresser Annie, he grows increasingly connected to the power-hungry Richard, only to find that his own behavior will no longer go unchallenged. Drawing from Shakespeare’s play, yet firmly grounded in the present, Quick, Change is a biting look at our culture at a tipping point. Principal Collaborators: Ali Viterbi, Playwright


Illana Stein – The White Rose

Illana Stein is a NYC-based director. Credits include Off-Broadway: Theatre for a New Audience: Associate Director on Tamburlaine the Great directed by Michael Boyd and Pericles directed by Trevor Nunn.  Assisting credits at Signature Theatre and Pearl Theatre Company.  Other NY credits: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Queens Players), Stop Kiss (Sanguine Theatre Company), or what she will (FringeNYC ’12, directing award), Matthew Portraits (Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Festival), and staged readings with Hunter College MFA, NYU Gallatin School, Youngblood Bloodworks, and New Dramatists.  Regionally, she has assisting and associate credits with American Repertory Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Yale Repertory Theatre, Hangar Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, and Cincinnati Shakespeare Company.  Most recently she directed the regional premiere of A Lost Leonardo by David Davalos at Amphibian Stage Productions. She is in the directing company of New York Madness and member of the 2012 Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab.  www.illanastein.com

The White Rose

The White Rose project is an intimate and resonant portrait of resistance, faith and conviction in the darkest of times.  Using personal letters, coded correspondences, and diaries, this newly devised two-character drama is inspired by the true story of siblings Sophie and Hans Scholl, German students who led a covert resistance movement against The Nazi regime until they were caught by the Gestapo and executed for treason on February 22, 1943. This project is co-conceived by Illana Stein, Deborah Yarchun, and Sean Hudock.


Sarah Wansley – Iphigenia

Sarah Elizabeth Wansley is a New York-based director. She develops new plays and musicals and highly theatrical adaptations of classic works. Recent projects include Godspell at Fordham University, Cry Eden co-created with Patrick Barrett and Tommy Crawford at Access Theater, Out at Sea by Slawomir Mrozek at the Drama League's Directorfest, PlayGround at NYU/Tisch and Outer Banks by Stephen Foglia at Signature Theatre. She has directed new work at The Flea Theater, EST / Youngblood, the La Jolla Playhouse's Without Walls Festival, the McCarter Theatre's Youth Ink Festival, Luna Stage, and Pipeline Theatre Company. She is a 2017 Access Theater Artist-in-Residence, a New Georges Affiliated Artist, a 2015 Drama League Directing Fellow and a member of the 2011 Lincoln Center Director's Lab. Sarah received her MFA in Directing from UCSD and a BA in English Literature from Columbia University (summa cum laude). She is an Adjunct Lecturer at Fordham University.


A re-imagining of Iphigenia et Aulis in a rural American town governed by Christian evangelicalism and a blue collar military tradition. When apocalyptic squalls ground the air force fleet, Agamemnon makes the unthinkable choice to sacrifice his daughter for the return of calm skies. As Clytemnestra fights for her daughter’s life, Iphigenia shocks the town by volunteering for the slaughter. Iphigenia’s radical turnaround raises the question: what is the value of a woman’s body, voice, and choice in a fundamentalist society? Iphigenia is a new play with music set in a Southern Gothic world.

Collaborators: Jessica Kahkoska (playwright) and Tommy Crawford (composer).