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The six finalists for the 2017 NewWorks@TheWorks Reading Series have been selected! The following plays will receive staged readings at Playhouse on the Square/Circuit Playhouse:

ELEANOR TUESDAY by Tom Lavagnino

It’s 1930.  A small-town Alabama Mayor attempts to broker a meeting between Eleanor Roosevelt (soon to be “First Lady”) and the acclaimed African-American scientist George Washington Carver (the “smartest man in Macon County”), but he finds his plan challenged — socially, politically, and (finally) personally — every step of the way.

READING DATE: September 23rd, 2:00 PM

SAFEKEEPING by Rob Zellers

Joe and his young brother Robert live off the grid in a run-down, inner-city neighborhood.  Robert suffers from a painful, degenerative disease.  Joe is an artist who makes miniature constructions of magical worlds created from found objects.  They are in perfect control in a world of their own construction until Marianne, a young, energetic therapist enters their lives.  Safekeeping is about the power of the life spirit and the affirmative role art can play in our lives.

READING DATE: September 24th, 7:00 PM

NIGHT MOTHS ON THE WING by Kimberly Kalaja

Civilization has broken down; everything is scarce, thousands have disappeared, and rebel factions fight the national army. When rebel General Victor Maylor is arrested and secretly delivered to an unofficial prison camp, he expects to be executed…but chief interrogator Michael Shaw does not want him dead–not yet. Shaw wants information and will do whatever he needs to get it. But while the men relentlessly engage in a battle of wills, are they blind to a more elusive enemy that could destroy them both?

READING DATE: September 25th, 7:00 PM

THE MEMORY BOX by Laura King

On the day of her mother Franny’s funeral, Lydia returns to Franny’s house to settle her affairs. When she opens her mother’s memory box, Lydia is transported from the realities of her own marriage and motherhood to Franny’s life during World War II. As Lydia journeys through the past, she searches for the strength to face the future.

READING DATE: September 30th, 2:00 PM


Four years ago, Kate and Howard parted ways; he brokenhearted, she determined to find her true self. Yesterday, Howard found Kate again: as the tender transgender drifter Mike. Now, Howard will do anything to win back the heart he covets, even if the love of his life is no longer the girl he knew.

READING DATE: October 1st, 7:00 PM


His entire life, Percy Nelson has fought to provide safety and security for his family only to feel as if it is all slipping away when he is diagnosed with a debilitating disease. The Miraculous and the Mundane is the story of a southern African-American family who find their lives turned upside down when the patriarch falls ill, and ties of kinship start to fray.

READING DATE: October 2nd, 7:00 PM

The NewWorks@TheWorks Playwriting Competition provides an outlet for new playwrights to showcase their work and have a chance to see their play produced on a professional level. A panel of local directors, actors, and designers will review all submitted scripts and select six to receive staged readings. After the six readings have been presented, Playhouse on the Square will select two that will receive full productions.  The playwright(s) of each play will be flown to Memphis to take part in the rehearsals and the development of the new work. Along with these fully mounted productions, the two winning works will each be awarded a prize of $750. They will receive world premieres in the upcoming season at Playhouse on the Square’s third performance space, TheatreWorks.

These were the guidelines and rules for the 2017 – 18 competition:

  1. The submission must be written in the English Language.

  2. The submission must be an original, full-length play or musical that is unpublished.

  3. The submission must begin with a title page that includes the work’s name and the playwright’s name, address, telephone number, and email. Also, include a character list and scene breakdown if applicable. NOTE* If submitting a musical please, include a score and demo.

  4. Submissions that have been previously produced or published will not be accepted. A play that is scheduled for a professional production at the time of submission will also not be accepted.
  5. The manuscript must be easy to read. It must be typed in no less that 12-point type and page numbered.

  6. The cast for the play or musical must be limited to no more than 10.

  7. The script may have more than one author. Also, the playwright(s) may include a brief biography, but it is not necessary.
  8. Each playwright is limited to one submission per year. There will be no revisions accepted once a script has been submitted. Revised plays that have been previously submitted to the competition may be submitted again.

  9. There will be no written or oral critique given on scripts submitted. We will notify the playwrights whose plays have been selected for readings. The six plays selected for readings will be announced on our website.
  10. Please send the manuscript to Playhouse on the Square, New Works Competition, 66 S. Cooper St., Memphis, TN 38104

  11. In order to qualify for the 2017 – 2018 competition, the script must be submitted no earlier 
than January 1, 2017 and must be post marked no later than May 30, 2017.
  12. Please include a self-addressed, stamped postcard for receipt of the manuscript to be acknowledged. Also include a self-addressed, stamped envelope for the play to be returned, should it not be selected for the competition. Any play without a self-addressed, stamped envelope will be recycled if not selected for the competition.
  13. There is a $15 entry fee for the competition, which must be paid along with the submitted script.  PLEASE NOTE – Members of the Dramatists Guild need only pay $10.  Only check and money order will be accepted.  Any script submitted without the entry fee will not be considered. Please make checks payable to Playhouse on the Square
  14. Do not send the only copy of a manuscript. All scripts will be handled with care, but Playhouse on the Square will not be responsible for any loss or damage to your manuscript.

For questions, contact Jordan Nichols, Director of New Works, at

About Playhouse on the Square

Playhouse on the Square is Memphis’ only professional resident theatre. Now in its 47th season, Playhouse on the Square remains committed to its mission to produce a challenging and diverse repertoire of theatrical work, to provide a nurturing artistic home where artists can practice their craft and share their talent, and to make all productions available through access, outreach, & education. For more information, visit or call 901-725-0776.

Looking for other ways to get involved with NewWorks@TheWorks? Click here!