New Play Development
At Constellation, we are deeply committed to new work. In fact, at least 50% of the shows in each theatrical season are new, unpublished plays. This bold commitment ensures that the development and production of original pieces of theater will remain an integral part of our artistic mission. The creation of new works affords Constellation a platform to expose our local audiences to relevant, original stories. Also, by engaging new and diverse artistic voices, new works serve to further Constellation’s mission of diversity and inclusion, and foster greater empathy in an increasingly fractured society.
This Season’s Constellation Originals
Click on a poster below to learn more about the show!
Current New Play Commissions
Through new work commissions, playwrights are engaged to develop a new play that speaks directly to the needs and experiences within the Bloomington community, or that promote underheard voices in the broader theatrical community.
Alex Gold: Stuck on Repeat
This theater for young audiences show was commissioned for the 23/24 season and is geared specifically to middle school audiences. It was developed in response to the need for social-emotional learning opportunities at Bloomington schools following the disruption of schooling caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Alex Gold: Stuck on Repeat will be performed April 26 – May 12, 2024 at the Waldron Auditorium.
Manuel vs. Statue of Liberty
An Undocumented Musical Comedy
A finishing commission of the musical Manuel vs. Statue of Liberty, a musical comedy about immigration reform laws and their impact. Written by David Davila, winner of the 2022 National New Play Network Smith Prize for Political Theatre, the finishing commission includes a public reading and financial support to create demo tracks of the music to showcase the script to potential future producers.
About the Show: Manuel vs. the Statue of Liberty is an award winning musical comedy about undocumented immigrants and what it means to be American. Manuel is as American as Taco Salad and student debt, but if he wants to go to college himself he’ll have to risk coming out as an undocumented immigrant. That could be extra tricky now that new immigration reform laws require all so-called-illegal immigrants to fight the Statue of Liberty (a genderqueer rock n’ roll version of the American icon) in a real life high stakes boxing match for their green-cards. Is Manuel brave enough or even crazy enough to take on the two-hundred and twenty-five ton mammoth of copper and steel? This raucous musical comedy leaps from Latin rhythms to rap and hip-hop to glam rock to soaring Broadway ballads as our hero navigates a treacherous world where any stranger could become an enemy, and even baby Jesus can be deported.
Constellation’s annual new play competition, the Woodward/Newman Award, started in 2010 with support of Joanne Woodward, Newman’s Own, and the Newman Family. Each year, playwrights submit their plays to be read by Constellation’s Woodward/Newman reading committee. The winning playwright receives $3,000 and a full production of their script in Constellation’s next season. With over 2,000 submissions each season, the Woodward/Newman Award is one of the only playwriting competitions in the United States with no entry fees and an ongoing submission process. Click here to learn more and submit!
2022-2023 Winner: American Fast by Kareem Fahmy
2023-2024 Winner: Webster’s B!+@# by Jacqueline Bircher
A National Impact
The goal of Constellation’s new works program is to establish Constellation as a launching pad for plays and musicals that have promise for further production in prominent regional theaters, and even in off-Broadway and Broadway venues. Constellation aims to be a consistent contributor to the canon of American theater, garnering national attention as a hub of creative activity.
Upcoming Productions of Constellation Originals:
The Life and Slimes of Marc Summers
Originally developed and produced at Constellation, this show is heading to Off-Broadway February 14 – June 2, 2024. The show is written by Alex Brightman and Drew Gasparini, features the entire original Bloomington creative team, and is directed by Constellation’s Artistic Director Chad Rabinovitz! Read more about the show in this Playbill.com article!