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December 1 - December 2

Festival of New Theatre

The Festival of New Theatre is a celebration of the theatrical imagination, an exciting glimpse into the creative process, and YOUR opportunity to contribute to the future of theatre in Rochester and around the world. During the Festival, you’re invited to take a glimpse into the writers’ studios as they work on new ideas, tell new stories and explore new forms. Your part in it all is crucial – writers can’t fully understand the impact of their work without hearing an audience’s response. And because the readings of new plays are presented concert-style – with actors at music stands, facing the audience – the budget for the set, costumes and other effects is limited only by your imagination! Take a look at what we have in store this year:

This Year’s Lineup

Tuesday, October 30 at 7pm

Just Like Sisters

By Jay Hanagan

Directed by Jean Gordon Ryon

As Jolie and Echo head to Gettysburg, South Dakota to reconnect with their mother, they are jolted by the news that she has passed away. Now they’re tasked with gathering her belongings and sorting her will. They’re about to find out just how much their mother has left behind for them, and to answer the question: Just what makes a family?


Friday, November 2 at 7pm

Rochester Bake-Off

Back by popular demand: a creative experiment, the outcome of which can never be predicted! Geva will present a challenge to several playwrights to write something inspired by Rochester-area visual artists.


Saturday, November 3 and Sunday, November 4 at 3pm

Young Writers Showcase

Six short plays by Rochester-area writers, ages 13-18, are presented in fully staged productions by local theatre artists.

The Inevitable Choice by Tali Beckwith-Cohen

Seasonal Sorrow by Samantha Dickson

Reprise by Victoria Graziano

Broken Vase by Blake Lombardo

Just Like That by Mina Stevens

The Strife of the Critical by Salma Marte Vélez


Monday, November 5 at 7pm

Before Evening Comes

By Philana Omorotionmwan

Directed by Jennifer L. Nelson

With his 13th birthday around the corner, Totome is excited to meet “the butcher” and finally become a man. His mother, however, is determined to keep him whole for just a little while longer. Before Evening Comes explores the fate of black boys and men in a dystopian future inspired by the United States’ myths of the black male body as either a commodity or a threat.


Friday, November 9 at 7pm 

The Color Girl

By Elyzabeth Wilder

Directed by Hana Sharif

Henry is in love with Shirley, the Kodak color girl.  With her fair skin and light eyes, she is the basis on which all photographs are color balanced. But when Gloria asks for his help after the disappearance of an African-American student, Henry begins to question how we perceive light, color, and beauty.  The Color Girl provides a look at who is seen and who is invisible, and how science and technology play a role in manipulating the narrative. 


Sunday, November 11 at 7pm

On That Day in Amsterdam

By Clarence Coo

Directed by Kareem Fahmy

Two young men, an American backpacker and a Syrian refugee, meet in a gay club in Amsterdam and spend the next day together knowing their paths will never cross again. As they visit the former homes of Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and Anne Frank, they discover the meaning of love, art, and escape in the context of Europe’s current migrant crisis.


Saturday, December 1 at 7pm

The Author’s Voice: Lila Rose Kaplan

Join playwright Lila Rose Kaplan (The Magician’s Daughter) in a conversation about his work.  In conversation with Geva’s Literary Director Jenni Werner, Lila Rose will share stories about her craft and inspirations, as well as read excerpts from three of her plays, including a scene from The Magician’s Daughter which Geva will premiere in January, 2019.


Sunday, December 2 at 7pm

The Magician’s Daughter

By Lila Rose Kaplan

Directed by Shelley Butler


The Magician Prospero and his daughter Miranda dazzle their audiences until the day Miranda quits.  This funny bittersweet play dives deep into the ups and downs of a father-daughter relationship.   Viewer discretion advised if you have a father or a daughter (or know anyone who does).

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Clarence Coo | Playwright - ON THAT DAY IN AMSTERDAM

Clarence Coo is a recipient of a 2017 Whiting Award and the 2012 Yale Drama Series Prize. His plays include The Birds of Empathy, Beautiful Province (Belle Province), People Sitting in Darkness, and The God of Wine. His work has been developed at the Atlantic Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, New York Theatre Workshop, and the Bay Area Playwrights Festival. He has received fellowships from the Dramatists Guild, the Rita Goldberg Playwrights Workshop at the Lark, NYFA, and the Playwrights Realm. He received his MFA in Playwriting at Columbia University. Currently he is a resident playwright at New Dramatists, a member of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab, and the manager of academic administration of Columbia’s M.F.A. Writing Program.

Jay D. Hanagan | Playwright - JUST LIKE SISTERS

Jay D. Hanagan’s plays have either won competitions or been featured in numerous festivals from Alaska to Florida,Hollywood to Boston and New York City. He has been internationally produced as well, having works presented in Canada, the United Kingdom and even Hong Kong. His one act play “Last Laugh” was recently presented at a U.S. Army base in Vincenza, Italy. His full-length play “Softly Sara Falls” was produced off-off Broadway. He has also received meritorious achievement awards for playwriting from the Theatre Association of New York State for “Willie’s Kitchen”, “Keeping Faith” and a collection of one act plays. One of his prize-winning full-length plays, “First Kisses”, has also been translated into Estonian and Chinese and has been professionally produced in those countries. It is currently being translated into Spanish for a Mexico City production. Please note that Jay’s commitment to the theatre is so all engrossing, that he has even taken to spelling “theatre” with ‘re’ at the end, instead of ‘er’. His web page is woefully out of date! Jay is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America, Inc.

Lila Rose Kaplan | Playwright - THE MAGICIAN'S DAUGHTER

Lila Rose Kaplan’s plays shine light on the stories we don’t tell about women.   Her heroines live in heartfelt comedies, bittersweet dramas, and musicals for young people.   Her plays include  The Villains’ Supper Club, Jesus Girls, Home of the Brave,   1 2 3 – a play about abandonment and ballroom dancing, We All Fall Down, Wildflower, Bureau of Missing Persons, and Biography of a Constellation.  Her musicals for young people include:  The Light Princess, The Pirate Princess, and The Magic Fish.   Productions include: A.R.T., South Coast Rep, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, New Victory Theatre, Second Stage, San Francisco Playhouse, Neighborhood Productions, Know Theatre, and Perishable Theatre.  Development includes:  Huntington Theatre, Trinity Rep, Arena Stage, Kennedy Center, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Center Theatre Group, Theatreworks, PlayPenn, and The Lark.  Awards: National Science Award in Playwriting and The International Women’s Playwriting Award.   Fellowships:  Huntington Playwriting Fellowship, Playwrights’ Realm Writing Fellow, Old Vic/New Voices Exchange, and the Shank Fellowship.  Residencies: The Orchard Project, Space on Ryder Farm, New Rep Next Voices,  Harvard Business School, and the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics.   B.A. with Honors in Playwriting: Brown University.  M.F.A. in Playwriting: UC San Diego.   Coming up next:  The Magician’s Daughter premieres at Geva Theatre Center in January 2019.   Lila Rose lives in Cambridge with her marine biologist and her curious daughter.  www.lilarose.org

Philana Imade Omorotionmwan | Playwright - BEFORE EVENING COMES

Philana Imade Omorotionmwan is a 2018-19 Playwrights’ Center Jerome Fellow. Her plays include Before Evening Comes, Fireflies, Strong Face, or Misogynoir, and The Defiance of Dandelions. A semifinalist for the 2017 Relentless Award and a two-time Heideman Award finalist, Philana has developed her plays with BAPF, Br!nk, La MaMa, and the Athena Project. She is originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, earned a B.A. in English at Stanford University, and completed an M.F.A. in Playwriting at OU in 2018. philanaplays.weebly.com

Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder | Playwight - THE COLOR GIRL

Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder’s plays include Gee’s Bend (Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Denver Center, KC Rep, Arden, among others), Fresh Kills (Royal Court/London), The Furniture of Home (ASF), The Flag Maker of Market Street (ASF), and White Lightning (ASF, Triad Stage ‘19). Provenance (B Street Theatre, Little Fish), Everything That’s Beautiful (New Conservatory Theatre), Santa Doesn’t Come to the Holiday Inn (Ensemble Studio Theatre, NYC), among others. She has received commissions from Denver Center (The Bone Orchard), Baltimore Center State (My America, Too project), and the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, as well as the Sloan Foundation. Her latest play, The Light of the World, will be workshopped at the Southern Writers’ Festival at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival this fall. She is the winner of the Osborn Award given by the American Theatre Critics’ Association and was a staff writer for the CBS show, Love Monkey. Elyzabeth is currently the Tennessee Williams Playwright-in-Residence at Sewanee: The University of the South where she teaches playwriting. Proud NYU/Youngblood alum.  www.wilderwriting.net

Shelley Butler | Director - THE MAGICIAN'S DAUGHTER

Shelley Butler’s recent productions include the world premiere of Lucas Hnath’s A Doll’s House, Part 2 at South Coast Repertory, Human Error by Eric Pfeffinger for the Denver Center Theatre Company and the Japanese premiere of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical at the Imperial Theatre in Tokyo. She has developed over two dozen new plays and musicals at companies including Ars Nova, Primary Stages, E.S.T., WP Theater, Yale Repertory Theatre, Hartford Stage, South Coast Repertory, Denver Center Theatre Company, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Geva, New York Stage and Film, Dallas Lyric Stage, PlayPenn, New Dramatists, the Lark, New Georges, Dixon Place, The Playwright’s Realm and Keen Company. Ms. Butler is the recipient of a Drama League Fall Directing Fellowship, a current Drama League Directing Resident, a 2005 Director’s Guild of America Trainee, a member of SDC, the Lincoln Center Directors’ Lab, the WP Directors Lab and a New George’s affiliated artist. She spent two seasons as artistic associate in charge of new play development for Hartford Stage and three seasons as artistic associate for Great Lakes Theater Festival.  Upcoming: Fruiting Bodies, Ma-Yi Theater Company


Kareem Fahmy is a Canadian-born director and playwright of Egyptian descent. He was a 2017-2018 National Directors Fellow with The O’Neill Theater Center and the National New Play Network. He has directed and co-conceived a number of world premiere productions including James Scruggs’s 3/Fifths (3LD, New York Times Top 5 Must-See Shows), Sevan K. Greene’s This Time (Sheen Center, New York Times Critics’ Pick), and Victor Lesniewski’s Couriers and Contrabands (TBG Theatre). Other credits: Adam Kraar’s Alternating Currents (world premiere, Working Theater), Bess Welden’s Refuge*Malja (world premiere, Portland Stage), Rohina Malik’s The Mecca Tales (NY premiere, Voyage Theater Company), Nikkole Salter’s Indian Head (world premiere, Luna Stage). Kareem’s work as a playwright has been developed and produced at Atlantic Theater Company, Noor Theatre, Rising Circle Theater Collective, The Lark, and Fault Line Theatre. He is currently adapting the seminal Egyptian novel The Yacoubian Building for the stage. Kareem has developed plays with New York Theatre Workshop (where he is a Usual Suspect), MCC, Atlantic Theater Company, Second Stage, Soho Rep, New Dramatists, The Lark, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Sundance, The Civilians, Silk Road Rising, Pioneer Theatre Company, and Berkeley Rep. He is a founder of Maia Directors, a consulting group for organizations and artists engaging with stories from the Middle East and beyond. MFA: Columbia University. www.KareemFahmy.com

Jennifer L. Nelson | Director - BEFORE EVENING COMES

Jennifer L. Nelson is a Washington D.C.-based theatre professional who has dedicated her artistic life to representing human dignity, justice and good humor. She been an actor, director, playwright, administrator and professor. Her professional career began with twenty-some years as an actress with the Living Stage Theatre at Arena Stage.  Following that, she transitioned into directing and teaching. During that time, she served 12 years as Producing Artistic Director of the African Continuum Theatre Company. Following that she went on to a seven year tenure as Artistic and Legacy Project Advisor at Ford’s Theatre.   She is also an award-winning playwright: her play Torn from the Headlines took a Helen Hayes Award for Most Outstanding New Play.  Currently “semi-retired,” she freelances as a director and consultant. Her most recent productions were The Gospel at Colonus for AvantBard Theatre; and Milk Like Sugar for Mosaic Theater Company where she served two years as an Associate Artist.   Amidst her work as an artist, she is proud to have served as President of the League of Washington Theatres and on the Board of the Theatre Communications Group (TCG).

Jean Gordon Ryon | Director - JUST LIKE SISTERS

JEAN GORDON RYON serves as New Plays Coordinator at Geva Theatre Center where, among other duties, she produces the Regional Writers Showcase and the Young Writers Showcase. She was dramaturg for 1776, John Bull’s Other Island, That Was Then, Shear Madness, The Underpants, The Clean House, Almost Maine, The Music Man, Company, Perfect Wedding, The 39 Steps, Last Gas, Wait Until Dark, Little Shop of Horrors and Geva’s current production of A Christmas Carol, and she has contributed dramaturgical research and written program articles for several other productions. Ms. Ryon holds a degree in drama from Tufts University and a master’s degree in Arts Administration from Goucher College. Her most recent directing credits in the community include Grace and Glorie, Master Class, Blithe Spirit, Pride’s Crossing, and The Gin Game for Blackfriars and The Chosen and The Immigrant for JCC’s CenterStage. For RCP’s Irish Players, she has directed Philadelphia, Here I Come; Juno and the Paycock; Da; Translations; Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me; Waiting for Godot; The Kings of the Kilburn High Road; Dancing at Lughnasa; Faith Healer; The Hostage; Love in the Title; The Cripple of Inishmaan; Dublin Carol and A Moon for the Misbegotten for RCP’s Shakespeare Players she has directed Romeo and Juliet and Much Ado About Nothing. Ms. Ryon is also the Artistic Director of The Geriactors, a traveling troupe of mature actors.