New Work

A passionate commitment to developing the classics of tomorrow.

The Goodman has a distinguished history as a leader in the development of new work for the American theater. Plays developed and/or produced at the Goodman have gone on to become integral parts of the American theater repertoire, including Marvin's Room by Scott McPherson, Seven Guitars by August Wilson and Spinning Into Butter by Rebecca Gilman. In April 2009, Lynn Nottage's Ruined became the first Goodman-commissioned play to win the Pulitzer Prize in Drama.

New work development at the Goodman is a multi-tiered process composed of a variety of public and in-house programs designed to be flexible to the needs of each new project and to embrace a diverse group of artists at different stages in their careers. Our new work initiatives include  a commissioning program, the Goodman's Playwrights Unit, the annual New Stages Series, developmental workshops and productions of world-premiere plays each season.

New Stages
Playwrights Unit
World Premieres

New Stages

The New Stages series is an annual celebration of new work that plays an important role in cultivating new plays for the Goodman stage. Established in 2004, the series originally featured concert readings of six new works, providing playwrights an opportunity to work with a director, a dramaturg and a company of actors to develop the play, while also offering audiences a first look at the work and a unique insight into the playwriting process. In the fall of 2011, the Goodman expanded the program, renaming it New Stages Amplified. This revamped series included three workshop producitons alongside three concert readings. After each performance, talkbacks with members of the artistic team were held to encourage dialogue between audiences and artists. The New Stages Series is sponsored in part by the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation.

New Stages: December 7 - 22, 2013 

New Stages: December 8 – 23, 2012

New Stages Amplified: October 13 – November 20, 2011

  • Dartmoor Prison by Carlyle Brown
    Directed by Chay Yew 
  • Chicago Boys by Kathleen Tolan
    Directed by Ann Filmer 
  • Ask Aunt Susan by Seth Bockley
    Directed by Joanie Schultz 
  • Smokefall by Noah Haidle
    Directed by Dexter Bullard 
  • Two Lakes, Two Rivers by Laura Jacqmin
    Directed by Megan Shuchman 
  • Teddy Ferrara by Christopher Shinn*
    Directed by Evan Cabnet 

January 14 – 23, 2011

  • Reverb by Leslye Headland
    Directed by Stuart Carden 
  • The Convert written and directed by Danai Gurira*
  • Picked by Christopher Shinn
    Directed by Joanie Schultz
  • Black n Blue Boys/Broken Men by Dael Orlandersmith*
    Directed by Chay Yew 
  • Comm Comm written and directed by Seth Bockley
  • Chicago Boys by Kathleen Tolan
    Directed by Kimberly Senior 

December 11 – 20, 2009

  • Rain (later a part of The Trinity River Plays) written and directed by Regina Taylor*
  • The Color of Desire by Nilo Cruz
    Directed by Wendy Goldberg 
  • Bugs of the Pigs in the Lions by Kia Corthron
    Directed by Chuck Smith 
  • Yasmina's Necklace (El collar de Yasmin) by Rohina Malik
    Directed by Henry Godinez 
  • Mary by Thomas Bradshaw*
    Directed by Robert Falls 
  • Dartmoor Prison by Carlyle Brown
    Directed by Marion McClinton 

September 12 – 21, 2008

  • Pa's Hat: A Liberian Legacy by Cori Thomas
    Directed by Chuck Smith
  • The Safe House by Keith Josef Adkins
    Directed by Hallie Gordon 
  • Household Spirits by Mia McCullough
    Directed by Meghan Beals McCarthy 
  • Without by Sean Graney
    Directed by Lisa Portes 
  • Marie Antoinette by David Adjmi
    Directed by Jackson Gay 
  • The Long Red Road by Brett C. Leonard*
    Directed by Dexter Bullard 

September 28 – October 8, 2007

  • Ruined by Lynn Nottage*
    Directed by Kate Whoriskey 
  • Ghostwritten by Naomi Iizuka*
    Directed by Lisa Portes 
  • Spirits to Enforce by Mickle Maher
    Directed by Greg Allen 
  • Chasing Manet by Tina Howe
    Directed by Jason Loewith 
  • Two Echoes by Noah Haidle
    Directed by Dado 
  • Gas for Less by Brett Neveu*
    Directed by Dexter Bullard 

September 25 – 30, 2006

November 1 – 6, 2005

  • Six Postcards by Lisa Dillman
    Directed by Steve Scott 
  • Crippled Sisters by Susan Nussbaum
    Directed by Karen Kessler 
  • Sam's Coming by Kia Corthron
    Directed by Henry Godinez 
  • Palmer Park by Joanna McClelland Glass
    Directed by Chuck Smith 
  • Get What You Need by Jessica Goldberg
    Directed by Carolyn Cantor 
  • Vigils by Noah Haidle*
    Directed by Dexter Bullard 

March 22 – 26, 2005

  • My Buddy Bill by Rick Cleveland
    Directed by Bill Payne 
  • A Change in the Weather by Ron Hutchinson
    Directed by Steve Scott 
  • The Frugal Repast by Ron Hirsen
    Directed by Joe Grifasi 
  • Sweet Water Taste by Gloria Bond-Clunie
    Directed by Mignon McPherson-Nance 
  • Elliot, A Soldier's Fugue by Quiara Alegria Hudes
    Directed by Ann Filmer 

January 21 – 25, 2004

  • Floyd and Clea Under The Western Sky, Book and Lyrics by David Cale, Music by Jonathon Kreisberg and David Cale*
    Directed by Rick DesRochers 
  • BFE by Julia Cho
    Directed by Lynn Ann Bernatowicz
  • Mariela in the Desert by Karen Zacarías*
    Directed by Chris Garcia Peak 
  • Softly Blue by Shepsu Aakhu
    Directed by Mignon McPherson-Nance 
  • Cheech, Or the Chrysler Guys Are In Town by Francois Letourneau, translated by Rick DesRochers
    Directed by Sean Graney 
  • Heritage by Brett Neveu
    Directed by Geoffrey Scott 

*Received Goodman Theatre world premieres.


With the belief that new plays are the lifeblood of the theater, the Goodman is committed to supporting and nurturing playwrights. For the last 20 years, Goodman Theatre commissions have been awarded to a diverse group of both emerging and established talents. With the inception of the Ofner Prize in 2000 and the Playwrights Unit in 2010, the Goodman has expanded and deepened its support of Chicago-based playwrights. Named for the late David Ofner, a Goodman trustee who served as chairman of the Board of Trustees from 1983 to 1985, the Ofner Prize is a $5,000 commission awarded biennially to an emerging Chicago playwright. Past winners include Carson Grace Becker, David Barr III, Brett Neveu, Tanya Saracho and Seth Bockley.

Past Goodman Theatre commissions include

  • 1988: Riverview: A Melodrama with Music by John Logan
  • 1991: Book of the Night by Louis Rosen and Thom Bishop
  • 1993: Seeking the Genesis by Kia Corthron
  • 1995: Synergy by Keith Reddin
  • 1995: Another Midsummer Night by Arthur Perlman and Jeffrey Lunden
  • 1996: Black Star Line by Charles Smith
  • 1997: Spinning Into Butter by Rebecca Gilman (Scott McPherson Award)
  • 1999: Boy Gets Girl by Rebecca Gilman
  • 1999: Blue Surge by Rebecca Gilman (Prince Prize)
  • 2000: By the Music of the Spheres by David Barr and Carson Becker (Ofner Prize)
  • 2001: Floyd and Clea Under the Western Sky by David Cale and Jonathan Kreisberg
  • 2002: Dollhouse by Rebecca Gilman
  • 2003: Heritage by Brett Neveu (Ofner Prize)
  • 2004: Ghostwritten by Naomi Iizuka (Joyce Award)
  • 2005: Our Lady of the Underpass by Tanya Sarracho (Ofner Prize)
  • 2005: Ruined by Lynn Nottage
  • 2005: A True History of the Johnstown Flood by Rebecca Gilman
  • 2007: Diagram of a Paper Airplane by Carlos Murillo (Ofner Prize)
  • 2007: Dartmoor Prison by Carlyle Brown
  • 2008: Stage Kiss by Sarah Ruhl
  • 2009: CommComm by Seth Bockley (Ofner Prize)
  • 2009: Mary by Thomas Bradshaw (Prince Prize)
  • 2010: American Wee-Pie by Lisa Dillman (Playwrights Unit)
  • 2010: Ask Aunt Susan by Seth Bockley (Playwrights Unit)
  • 2010: Two Lakes, Two Rivers by Laura Jacqmin (Playwrights Unit)
  • 2010: Mecca Tales by Rohina Malik (Playwrights Unit)

 Artists currently under commission

Playwrights Unit

Goodman Theatre’s Playwrights Unit is an exciting program designed to support and develop new work by Chicago playwrights. Over the course of a season, a group of four commissioned writers meet bimonthly with members of the Goodman’s literary staff to develop and workshop their plays-in-progress. The experience culminates with concert readings of each of the new plays. The Playwrights Unit is a collaboration with Chicago Dramatists. Plays developed in the Unit have gone on to receive readings and workshop productions in the New Stages series, as well as full productions at the Goodman.

2015/2016 Playwrights Unit

  • Kristiana Rae Colón
  • Sandra Delgado
  • Jenni Lamb
  • Calamity West

2014/2015 Playwrights Unit

2013/2014 Playwrights Unit

2012/2013 Playwrights Unit

2011/2012 Playwrights Unit

2010/2011 Playwrights Unit

World Premieres at the Goodman

Through its world class productions of new plays, the Goodman plays a vital role in the shaping of the American theater canon. In the past two decades, Goodman Theatre has premiered the work of some of the country's most notable playwrights and composers, creating exhilarating pieces for the stage that have gone on to productions around the country and internationally.

Complete list of Goodman Theatre world premieres since 1980 (in alphabetical order):

  • 2666 adapted by Robert Falls and Seth Bockley
  • All the Rage by Keith Reddin
  • Another Midsummer Night by Jeffrey Lunden and Arthur Perlman
  • Another Word for Beauty by José Rivera
  • Ask Aunt Susan by Seth Bockley
  • Bad Moon by Rick Cleveland (American Blues Theatre production)
  • Bal by Richard Nelson
  • The Ballad of Emmett Till by Ifa Bayeza
  • Big Time by Keith Reddin (Remains Theatre production)
  • Black Snow by Keith Reddin
  • Black Star Line by Charles Smith
  • Blue Surge by Rebecca Gilman
  • Book of the Night by Louis Rosen and Thom Bishop
  • Bounce by Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman
  • Boy Gets Girl by Rebecca Gilman
  • Brutality of Fact by Keith Reddin
  • By the Music of the Spheres by Carson Grace Becker and David Barr III
  • Carlyle by Thomas Bradshaw
  • Chinglish by David Henry Hwang
  • The Comedy of Errors, based on the play by William Shakespeare, featuring The Flying Karamazov Brothers
  • Cry, the Beloved Country based on the novel by Alan Paton (adapted by Frank Galati) with music by Kurt Weill and lyrics by Maxwell Anderson
  • The Disappearance of the Jews by David Mamet  
  • Dollhouse by Rebecca Gilman
  • The Dreams of Sarah Breedlove by Regina Taylor
  • Drowning Crow by Regina Taylor
  • Dwarfman, Master of a Million Shapes by Michael Weller
  • Edmond by David Mamet
  • El Nogalar by Tanya Saracho
  • Electricidad by Luis Alfaro
  • Eliot Loves by Jules Feiffer
  • Feathers and Teeth by Charise Castro Smith
  • Finishing the Picture by Arthur Miller
  • A Flea in Her Ear by George Feydeau (adapted by Frank Galati)
  • Floyd and Clea Under the Western Sky by David Cale and Jonathon Kreisberg
  • Frank’s Home by Richard Nelson
  • Galileo Galilei by Mary Zimmerman and Philip Glass
  • Gas for Less by Brett Neveu
  • Gem of the Ocean by August Wilson
  • Gertrude Stein: Each One as She May adapted by Frank Galati
  • Ghost on Fire by Michael Weller
  • Ghostwritten by Naomi Iizuka
  • The Gift Horse by Lydia R. Diamond
  • Gorilla by Shel Silverstein
  • Griller by Eric Bogosian
  • The Happiest Song Plays Last by Quiara Alegría Hudes
  • High Holidays by Alan Gross
  • Hollywood Arms by Carrie Hamilton and Carol Burnett
  • Hotline by Elaine May
  • A House Not Meant to Stand by Tennessee Williams
  • The House of Martin Guerre by Leslie Arden and Anna Theresa Cascio, music and lyrics by Leslie Arden
  • Hurlyburly by David Rabe
  • Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol by Tom Mula
  • Journey to the West adapted by Mary Zimmerman
  • The Jungle Book adapted by Mary Zimmerman
  • The Long Red Road by Brett C. Leonard
  • Luna Gale by Rebecca Gilman
  • Magnolia by Regina Taylor
  • The Man Who Had Three Arms by Edward Albee
  • Mariela in the Desert by Karen Zacarías
  • Marvin's Room by Scott McPherson
  • Mary by Thomas Bradshaw
  • Massacre (Sing to Your Children) by José Rivera
  • Mill Fire by Sally Nemeth
  • Millennium Mambo by Regina Taylor, Kia Corthron, Adrienne Kennedy, Suzan-Lori Parks and Ntozake Shange
  • Moonlight and Magnolias by Ron Hutchinson
  • The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci adapted by Mary Zimmerman
  • Odyssey adapted by Mary Zimmerman
  • On the Open Road by Steve Tesich
  • Oo-Bla-Dee by Regina Taylor
  • A Perfect Analysis Given by a Parrot by Tennessee Williams
  • Riverview: A Melodrama with Music by John Logan
  • Ruined by Lynn Nottage
  • The Shawl by David Mamet
  • Schoolgirl Figure by Wendy MacLeod
  • Seeking the Genesis by Kia Corthron
  • Seven Guitars by August Wilson
  • She Always Said, Pablo adapted by Frank Galati  
  • Silk adapted by Mary Zimmerman  
  • Sin by Wendy MacLeod  
  • Smokefall by Noah Haidle
  • Some Problems for the Moose Lodge by Tennessee Williams  
  • The Spanish Prisoner by David Mamet  
  • The Speed of Darkness by Steve Tesich  
  • Spinning Into Butter by Rebecca Gilman  
  • Stage Kiss by Sarah Ruhl  
  • Still Life by Emily Mann  
  • Teddy Ferrara by Christopher Shinn
  • The Three Moscowteers by Paul Magid (from Alexander Dumas), featuring The Flying Karamazov Brothers  
  • The Ties That Bind by Regina Taylor  
  • The Trinity River Plays by Regina Taylor 
  • A True History of the Johnstown Flood by Rebecca Gilman  
  • Turn of the Century by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice  
  • The Upstairs Concierge by Kristoffer Diaz
  • Vigils by Noah Haidle
  • The Visit by Terrence McNally, John Kander and Frank Ebb
  • War Paint by Scott Frankel, Michael Korie and Doug Wright
  • Wings by Jeffrey Lunden and Arthur Perlman
  • The World of Extreme Happiness
  • by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig