Soundings Reading Series

The Soundings Reading Series is designed to test a fairly well-developed play in front of an audience. Authors have five hours of rehearsal with professional actors and a director, and a public reading of the play with guided feedback from the audience.  All readings are followed by a discussion with the author, director, and Artistic Director John Pietrowski.

These readings permit Writers Theatre to connect with its community of patrons and artists to:

  • gain audience insight into the play
  • continue the exposure of the audience to the creative process
  • give our audience experiences with diverse narrative forms.

Writers Theatre  presents around 10 of these readings per year. Plays presented will be a mix of new submissions and continued relationships with writers whose work has been developed at WTNJ in the past.

 

Soundings 2018 Calendar and Readings

Dreyfuss Theatre | Fairleigh Dickinson University | Madison NJ 07940

All readings take place at 7:00 PM

To make reservations and for more information, click on individual titles.

 

Week 1

Soundings Reading Series 2018

January 2 (Tu)
January 2 (Tu)
January 2 (Tu)
The Patriot
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Joe Sutton
The Patriot
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Joe Sutton
Joe Sutton
Joe Sutton
West Orange, NJ
January 2 (Tu) 7 PM

9:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Post-Reading Discussion
9:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Post-Reading Discussion

Join us for a post reading discussion of the play. Afterward you can leave comments in our post-show discussion form.

January 3 (W)
January 3 (W)
January 3 (W)
Like Saltwater
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Pia Wilson
Like Saltwater
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Pia Wilson
Pia Wilson
Pia Wilson
Brooklyn, NY
January 3 (W) 7 PM

A bipolar, African-American woman is locked in a room with her husband's childhood friend, would-be lover, and now priest, Richard while her husband John is dying in their bedroom.

Pia Wilson is a 2017 NJPAC Stage Exchange commissioned playwright, 2017 resident with the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's Process Space program, 2015 Sundance fellow, and a recipient of the 2014 Sarah Verdone Writing Award. She is a 2012-2013 resident with LMCC's Workspace program, a member of the 2008 Emerging Writers Group at The Public Theater, and a 2009 playwriting fellow with the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. She is also a member of The Passage Theatre Play Lab and a member of the 2009 Project Footlight team of composers and librettists.

9:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Post-Reading Discussion
9:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Post-Reading Discussion

Join us for a post reading discussion of the play. Afterward you can leave comments in our post-show discussion form.

January 4 (Th)
January 4 (Th)
January 4 (Th)
Nichiiwad
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Hal Corley
Nichiiwad
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Hal Corley
Hal Corley
Hal Corley
Summit, NJ
January 4 (Th) 7:00 PM

On a raw November morning, a woman returns to what appears a scorched earth bomb site, the devastating aftermath of a late-autumn tornado that leveled her small Illinois river town. Her home’s contents scattered forever, her two brothers must coax her away from the wreckage, adapt their strategy in response to Corrie’s quicksilver defense mechanisms. Freed from her protective asylum, will Corrie finally accept the help she’s long needed for her deteriorating mental state, or take a final stand against her equally wounded family amid the ruins of so much lifelong struggle?

Hal Corley has developed his plays with major companies (Seattle Rep, Syracuse Stage, Walnut Street, Premiere Stages, Atlanta's Alliance, SF's NCTC, Adirondack Theater Festival, New Conservatory Theatre of SF). Three full-length scripts are published by Samuel French. His "Treed" is published by Playscripts in Great Short Plays Volume 10, his "Dolor" is published in Applause's Best American Short Plays, 2014-2015, and 30 of his one-acts have been produced in 18 states sand Canada. He recently won HRC Showcase and Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation awards for his play "Married North," and has three times been a semifinalist in the O'Neill Competition.

9:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Post-Reading Discussion
9:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Post-Reading Discussion

Join us for a post reading discussion of the play. Afterward you can leave comments in our post-show discussion form.

January 5 (Fr)
January 5 (Fr)
January 5 (Fr)
Hurricane Colleen
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Tammy Ryan
Hurricane Colleen
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Tammy Ryan
Tammy Ryan
Tammy Ryan
Pittsburgh, PA
January 5 (F) 7:00 PM

Six months after their sister Colleen has died of cancer, sisters Maggie and Rosemary rent a beach house in Melbourne to have a memorial and scatter Colleen’s ashes. The family reunion is interrupted when a tropical depression forming in the Caribbean suddenly turns into a hurricane and is heading their way. Though they fall within the “cone of uncertainty,” the sisters and their partners decide not to evacuate. As the strong winds and rain bands begin, strange encounters with wildlife signal something more is going on, both between the sisters and with Mother Nature as they struggle to ride out the storms both outside and inside.

TAMMY RYAN is a playwright and librettist whose work has been performed across the United States and abroad. She was awarded the Francesca Primus Prize by the American Theater Critics Association for her play Lost Boy Found in Whole Foods (Premiere Stages/Playwrights Theater of New Jersey) in 2012. Her play Molly’s Hammer premiered at The Repertory Theater of St. Louis in 2016 and was nominated for the St. Louis Theater Critics Circle Award, the ATCA Steinberg Award as well as the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Other plays include Soldier’s Heart (Pittsburgh Playhouse/Premiere Stages), Tar Beach (Luna Stage/nominated for Susan Smith Blackburn Prize), and The Music Lesson (Florida Stage/Carbonell Award/American Alliance of Theater in Education Distinguished New Play Award.) Hurricane Colleen was first developed at Theatre Lab's 2017 New Play Festival in residence at Florida Atlantic University. Ryan's work has been supported by the Sewanee Writers Conference, Hambidge Center, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and a LaMama Umbria Playwriting Residency. She lives in Pittsburgh where she teaches playwriting at Duquesne University and Carnegie Mellon University. For more information: www.tammyryan.net.

9:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Post-Reading Discussion
9:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Post-Reading Discussion

Join us for a post reading discussion of the play. Afterward you can leave comments in our post-show discussion form.

January 6 (Sa)
January 6 (Sa)
January 6 (Sa)
And Their Sons, Too...
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Seth Rozin
And Their Sons, Too...
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Seth Rozin
Seth Rozin
Seth Rozin
Philadelphia, PA
January 6 (Sa) 7:00 PM

Joe Koehler was an almost godlike figure as the longtime head coach of a storied college football program, until news broke that he failed to properly deal with the predatory sexual behavior of one of his assistants, and he died of a sudden heart attack. Two years later, his wife of 51 years, and his younger son are just beginning to get their lives back together when the family lawyer arrives with news of the continuing investigation. Picking up where Arthur Miller’s classic, ALL MY SONS, leaves off, AND THEIR SONS, TOO… asks us to consider the human price we pay for needing our heroes to be saints and our villains to be pure evil.

9:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Post-Reading Discussion
9:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Post-Reading Discussion

Join us for a post reading discussion of the play. Afterward you can leave comments in our post-show discussion form.

January 7 (Su)
January 7 (Su)
January 7 (Su)
Encounters
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Yasmine Beverly Rana
Encounters
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Yasmine Beverly Rana
Yasmine Beverly Rana
Yasmine Beverly Rana
Teaneck, NJ
January 7 (Su) 7:00 PM

Encounters is a collection of ten-minute plays between saviors, friends, and eternally optimistic want-to-be lovers. The evening's fleeting moments include Leaf Cutters, a finalist in Miami’s City Theatre’s National Short Play Contest and At The Barre presented at Luna Stage’s New Moon Short Play Festival.

Yasmine Beverly Rana received a 2015 Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and was one of six finalists for the 2015 Francesca Primus Prize (THE WAR ZONE IS MY BED). Her plays have been developed and performed at theaters including Miami's City Theatre, Luna Stage, Writer’s Theatre of New Jersey, La MaMa Theatre, Halcyon Theatre of Chicago, New Stages Performing Arts Center in the Berkshires, Write-Act Repertory Theatre in Los Angeles, Nora’s Playhouse where Yasmine was a founding member, among others. Her writing is published in numerous journals and anthologies including The University of Chicago Press and Seagull Books’ In Performance series publication of The War Zone is My Bed and Other Plays.

She received her BFA and MFA in Dramatic Writing from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America. In addition to being a playwright, Yasmine is a New Jersey public high school educator, Registered Drama Therapist, and Licensed Creative Arts Therapist.

9:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Post-Reading Discussion
9:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Post-Reading Discussion

Join us for a post reading discussion of the play. Afterward you can leave comments in our post-show discussion form.

Week 2

Soundings Reading Series 2018

January 8 (M)
January 8 (M)
January 8 (M)
Memoirs of a Forgotten Man
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
D.W. Gregory
Memoirs of a Forgotten Man
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
D.W. Gregory
D.W. Gregory
D.W. Gregory
Silver Spring, MD
January 8 (M) 7:00 PM

9:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Post-Reading Discussion
9:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Post-Reading Discussion

Join us for a post reading discussion of the play. Afterward you can leave comments in our post-show discussion form.

January 9 (Tu)
January 9 (Tu)
January 9 (Tu)
Teach
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Donna Hoke
Teach
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Donna Hoke
Donna Hoke
Donna Hoke
East Amherst, NY
January 10 (W) 7:00 PM

Ten years ago, Ken and Chris were teacher and student with a questionable relationship. Now, as principal and teacher, a suspiciously high grade prompts Ken to grill Chris until the young teacher is forced to confront the past--as well as the present.

Resident playwright at Road Less Traveled Productions, Donna’s work has been seen in 40 states and on five continents. Plays include THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR (Princess Grace semi-finalist), SAFE (winner of the Todd McNerney, Naatak, and Great Gay Play and Musical Contests), BRILLIANT WORKS OF ART (2016 Kilroys List), and ELEVATOR GIRL (O’Neill finalist). Donna is also a New York Times-published crossword puzzle constructor; author of Neko and the Twiggets, a children's book; and founder/co-curator of BUA Takes 10: GLBT Short Stories. She has received an Individual Artist Award from the New York State Council on the Arts to develop HEARTS OF STONE, as well as an Artie Award for Outstanding New Play (SEEDS). For three consecutive years, she was named Buffalo's Best Writer by Artvoice—the only woman to ever receive the designation.

Donna Hoke serves on the Dramatists Guild Council and also as Western New York regional representative. In addition, she is a blogger, and moderator of the 10,000+-member Official Playwrights of Facebook. Recent speaking engagements include Citywrights, Kenyon Playwrights Conference, the Dramatists Guild National Conference, Chicago Dramatists, and a live Dramatists Guild webinar. Her commentary has been seen on #2amt, howlround, The Dramatist, the Official Playwrights of Facebook, the soon-to-be-published Workshopping the New Play, and at donnahoke.com.

9:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Post-Reading Discussion
9:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Post-Reading Discussion

Join us for a post reading discussion of the play. Afterward you can leave comments in our post-show discussion form.

January 10 (W)
January 10 (W)
January 10 (W)
Wolf at the Door
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Richard Dresser
Wolf at the Door
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Richard Dresser
Richard Dresser
Richard Dresser
Hastings-on-Hudson, NY
January 9 (Tu) 7:00 PM

Nine tenants, a shady landlord, and one run-down apartment building all come together in this story of neighbors and gentrification. Keith, an often-passive resident, involves himself in his building's Tenants Association: a motley crew of young and old, well-to-do and not, and Americans and Norwegians alike. In the face of Dr. Muldge, their wealthy yet distant landlord, they swear to hold their ground in the face of apartment renovations that seem to good to be true.

RICHARD DRESSER’S plays have been produced in New York, regional theater, and Europe. They include ROUNDING THIRD, which started in Chicago, appeared off-Broadway and has had hundreds of productions. It was recently made into a film starring John C. McGinley and Garret Dillahunt for release in 2016. BELOW THE BELT and GUN-SHY, both started at the Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville before moving off-Broadway. BELOW THE BELT was made into the film “Human Error” directed by Robert M. Young which appeared at Sundance. His trilogy of plays about happiness in America includes AUGUSTA (working class), THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS (middle class), and A VIEW OF THE HARBOR (upper class). Other plays are: THE LAST DAYS OF MICKEY & JEAN, SOMETHING IN THE AIR, THE DOWNSIDE, ALONE AT THE BEACH, WONDERFUL WORLD, and BETTER DAYS, plus many short plays. A new play, TROUBLE COMETH, about two executives locked in an existential struggle against an impossible deadline premiered at the San Francisco Playhouse in the spring of 2015 and another new play, CLOSURE, premiered in the summer at New Jersey Repertory Theatre in Long Branch, starring Wendie Malick and Gary Cole. Other projects include the book for a musical, JOHNNY BASEBALL (lyrics by Willie Reale, music by Robert Reale), about the Curse of the Red Sox, which premiered at A.R.T. in Cambridge, and moved on to the Williamstown Theatre Festival. A new bluegrass ghost musical, THE HOLLER (also with the Reale brothers) was workshopped at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. He recently finished “PUBLIC SPEAKING: Three short films starring Treat Williams.” He has also worked extensively in television. He created the web series “Life Coach” for AMC starring Cheri Oteri. He is a former member of New Dramatists and twice attended the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference. He currently teaches at Rutgers and is on the board of the Writers Guild Initiative, which does writing workshops with veterans and caregivers among other groups.

9:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Post-Reading Discussion
9:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Post-Reading Discussion

Join us for a post reading discussion of the play. Afterward you can leave comments in our post-show discussion form.

January 11 (Th)
January 11 (Th)
January 11 (Th)
Redux
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Rob Zellers
Redux
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Rob Zellers
Rob Zellers
Rob Zellers
Pittsburgh, PA
January 11 (Th) 7:00 PM

JOHN and CHUCK have not seen each other since completing their two tours of duty in the Vietnam War. During their time in-country they were subject to fierce jungle combat and horrific atrocities. Now, in 2017, they have very contrasting memories of their experiences, reflected in starkly different ways of coping and the different paths each has traveled since. Their reunion brings many painful recollections and recriminations before they are finally able to craft a truce based on the bond that was forged in the jungle crucible of Southeast Asia forty-five years earlier.

Rob Zellers’ plays have been developed at Pittsburgh Public Theater, Pittsburgh Playhouse, Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, The Lark, PlayPenn, New Harmony Project, Youngstown Playhouse, Accessible Theatre Company of Boston, and Carnegie Mellon and Wake Forest Universities. He is co-author of The Chief, the most successful play in Pittsburgh Public Theater’s history, published by University of Pittsburgh Press and made into a feature film. Other plays: Harry’s Friendly Service, premiered Pittsburgh Public Theater 2009, Edgerton Award; Mr. Wheeler’s, premiered Pioneer Theatre Company’s 2015 Play-by-Play Series. Currently in development: Smokey Hollow, Something to Live For: The Billy Strayhorn Story, Safekeeping, and The Happiness They Seek.

Rob was the Education Director at Pittsburgh Public Theater for over 25 years where he established numerous successful theater education programs to serve the Pittsburgh community. He is the recipient of Pittsburgh’s Tapestry Award in the Arts, Pittsburgh New Works Lifetime Achievement Award, and proud member of The Dramatists Guild.

9:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Post-Reading Discussion
9:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Post-Reading Discussion

Join us for a post reading discussion of the play. Afterward you can leave comments in our post-show discussion form.

January 12 (F)
January 12 (F)
January 12 (F)
Ghost Story
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Lia Romeo
Ghost Story
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Lia Romeo
Lia Romeo
Lia Romeo
Hoboken, NJ
January 12 (F) 7:00 PM

Lydia’s just looking for a one-night stand, and so she’s met a cute guy at a bar and brought him back to her apartment. But now things keep getting in the way. Like the fact that they could hardly be more different (she’s forty, he’s twenty-eight; she’s black, he’s white; she’s a New Yorker and he’s from the Midwest). And the fact that he’s still not over his ex. And the fact that her apartment might very well be haunted. A play about ghosts – both literal and otherwise – and the ways we try to move forward.

Lia Romeo’s plays have been produced at 59E59, Project Y Theatre Company, Unicorn Theatre, HotCity Theatre, Stillwater Theatre, Renegade Theatre Experiment, Forward Flux Productions, New Origins Theatre Company, Jersey City Theater Center, Porch Light Productions, and Xpressions Performing Arts Network, and have been developed at the Lark, San Francisco Playhouse, Abingdon Theatre, Writers Theatre of New Jersey, Orlando Shakes, New Jersey Rep, Kitchen Dog Theatre, and elsewhere. She has been nominated for the American Theatre Critics’ Association’s Steinberg Award for best new play and the New York Innovative Theatre Award for outstanding full-length play. She has been recognized by the O’Neill (finalist), the Heideman Award (finalist), and the Kilroys List (honorable mention). She was the National New Play Network Playwright-in-Residence at Writers Theatre of New Jersey, and she is currently a member of the Project Y Playwrights Group and a company member at InViolet Theater. She is also the associate artistic director at Project Y Theatre Company and the new play coordinator at Jersey City Theater Center. She is the author of a novel, Dating the Devil (BelleBooks), and a humor book, 11,002 Things to Be Miserable About (Abrams Image), which has sold over 35,000 copies worldwide. Her work is published by Playscripts and Smith and Kraus, and she teaches in the graduate creative writing program at Fairleigh Dickinson University. BA: Princeton; MFA: Rutgers.

9:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Post-Reading Discussion
9:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Post-Reading Discussion

Join us for a post reading discussion of the play. Afterward you can leave comments in our post-show discussion form.

January 13 (Sa)
January 13 (Sa)
January 13 (Sa)
The Excavation of Mary Anning
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Ian August
The Excavation of Mary Anning
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Ian August
Ian August
Ian August
Lawrenceville, NJ
January 13 (Sa) 7:00 PM

Amidst the groaning cliff sides and sandy shores of southern England, fossil hunter Mary Anning combs the earth for glimpses of the ancient past. Armed with only her determination, her lucky hammer, and her erstwhile companion, Tray, Mary uncovers secrets that redefine science and religion and philosophy. But 19th century geology is a nobleman’s game, and Mary’s discoveries are buried beneath the rubble while the stars of her male counterparts grow ever brighter. The Excavation of Mary Anning is a historical fantasia about things that come from the earth and things that go to the earth, and one woman’s quest to reclaim her legacy in a society that refuses to acknowledge her worth.

Ian August is a NJ based playwright and lyricist, whose works have been performed across the U.S., as well as in Canada, Australia, the UK, South Korea and Bermuda. His full-length plays include: The Goldilocks Zone, (Passage Theatre Company), Donna Orbits the Moon (NJ Repertory Company, Utah Contemporary Theatre; Barbour Memorial Playwright Award, 2010), Missing Celia Rose (NYC Summer Play Festival; Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s “Playfest 2009″; Bermuda Musical and Dramatic Society), Submitted by C. Randall McCloskey (2011 NY Intl. Fringe Festival), Natural History (2009 NY Intl. Fringe Festival),The Aisling (2009 Heiress Productions New Play Series Award), The Moor’s Son, Interviewese, The Excavation of Mary Anning, Displaced, and Cobbler. Mr. August’s works have been published by Sam French Inc., The Pitkin Review, Smith and Kraus Publishing and the One-Act Play Depot. Mr. August is a founding member of the Princeton-based Witherspoon Circle and is a former member of the Philadelphia playwriting workshop, The Foundry.

9:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Post-Reading Discussion
9:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Post-Reading Discussion

Join us for a post reading discussion of the play. Afterward you can leave comments in our post-show discussion form.

January 14 (Su)
January 14 (Su)
January 14 (Su)
The Real Story
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Bob Clyman
The Real Story
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Bob Clyman
Bob Clyman
Bob Clyman
Montclair, NJ
January 14 (Su) 7:00 PM

9:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Post-Reading Discussion
9:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Post-Reading Discussion

Join us for a post reading discussion of the play. Afterward you can leave comments in our post-show discussion form.

January 15 (M)
January 15 (M)
January 15 (M)
Branwell (and the other Brontës): an autobiography edited by Charlotte Brontë
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Stephen Kaplan
Branwell (and the other Brontës): an autobiography edited by Charlotte Brontë
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Stephen Kaplan
Stephen Kaplan
Stephen Kaplan
Bogota, NJ
January 15 (M) 7:00 PM

The Brontë siblings (Charlotte, Branwell, Emily and Anne) had incredibly vivid imaginations that allowed them to create such masterpieces as Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. However, it is in their own private fantasy worlds, first invented when they were children, that they find their most inspired outlets. With a clear set of rules, they escape to these worlds whenever fancy pleases them. But when reality threatens to crash in, the siblings start changing the rules in order to avoid the inevitable and fight to keep their cherished worlds alive. Though set in the past, Branwell (and the other Brontës): an autobiography edited by Charlotte Brontë is about how, throughout time, we tell stories that can unite us all together in our humanity.

Stephen Kaplan grew up in Northridge, CA (home of the ’94 earthquake) and wrote his first play, And Jack Came Tumbling After (Old Globe Theatre, EST, HERE/Lincoln Center Theatre’s American Living Room Series) when he was 15. Selected awards, commissions and productions: Branwell (and other Brontës) (Semi-Finalist: O’Neill); Community (Finalist: Seven Devils; Road Less Traveled National Residency, Semi-Finalist: Premiere Stages, March Forth Productions); Exquisite Potential (NJ Playwrights Contest, Dezart Performs, Across the Generations New Jewish Play Festival, finalist: Woodward/Newman Award, semi-finalist: Seven Devils); A Real Boy (This Is Water Theatre and semi-finalist: PlayPenn, Ashland New Play Festival, Dayton Playhouse FutureFest and MTWorks’ Newborn Festival); una casa/a home (finalist: Landing Theatre’s New American Voices Reading Series, Route 66 Theatre’s New Play Development Program); For Unto Us (published by DPS; Productions: Barrington Stage Company 10x10 Festival, MiniFest - Acadia Theatre Company, Luna Stage New Moon Short Play Festival, QueerShorts); In Mrs. Baker’s Room (Commission: Abingdon Theatre Company, Father Hamblin Award for Outstanding Playwriting, Center for Spiritual Living Playwriting Festival, Theatre Southwest); The Seventh Son (semi-finalist: Ronald M Ruble New Play Festival). Many of his plays are published on Indie Theatre Now and DPS. He is the New Jersey Regional Representative for the Dramatists Guild. www.bystephenkaplan.com

9:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Post-Reading Discussion
9:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Post-Reading Discussion

Join us for a post reading discussion of the play. Afterward you can leave comments in our post-show discussion form.