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An Update from the New Dramatists Board Reopening Committee

Dear Friends of New Dramatists,

We’re writing with an update about our continued monitoring of Covid-19 pandemic concerns, which is keeping our beloved Church building closed for the time being. We are elated by the news of multiple effective vaccines and increased vaccine supply. President Biden’s assertion that we may start to find moments of much-needed personal relief in the summertime – if Americans continue to be careful and practice effective mitigation – makes us truly hopeful. We’re also very aware, however, of the troubling news that virus variants are quickly spreading in the US, including one specific to the New York City area, which seems to be more contagious, and scientists fear it may be partially resistant to current vaccine protection. President Biden’s stated hope for a gradual return to a little more normalcy, largely relates to our private lives and is reliant upon the vast majority of Americans continuing to practice effective mitigation. The issues that face us, as we chart the course for New Dramatists as a workplace and employer, remain quite complex. We do not know for certain what our 2021 operating liability insurance will look like, but we’ve received enough initial guidance to expect that communicable disease exclusion riders will remain in place. In the coming weeks, it’s also expected that OSHA will issue emergency Covid-19 workplace standards, which will add new Covid-19 regulations for workplaces like ours. The CDC’s mitigation guidelines are still quite robust and specific about the risk of contracting Covid-19 from indoor spaces. And, it’s unfortunately still the case that our lovely, unventilated building with no HVAC system, remains classified as a high-risk indoor space for any size gathering or daily work. Given all these factors, while we cheer on the daily announcements of positive news, we are not yet at a point when we can begin to plan a building reopening.

Lyricist Benjamin Scheuer and Co-Librettists Melissa Li and Kit Yan Win 2021 Kleban Prize

View the 2021 virtual awards ceremony hosted by Tony winners and Kleban board members, Richard Maltby, Jr. and Maury Yeston, with musical performances by this year's recipients.

Lyricist Benjamin Scheuer and co-librettists Melissa Li and Kit Yan have been selected as the winners of the 31st annual Kleban Prize for Musical Theatre. While the award celebrates the artists' career work overall, all three winners recently created works that center the transgender community and experience. Click here to read the full announcement on Playbill.

New Dramatists administers the Kleban Prize in Musical Theatre on behalf of the Kleban Foundation.

Introducing "Active Listening," a New Dramatists podcast!

We are pleased to announce the launch of Active Listening, a New Dramatists podcast series produced by ND residents Melisa Tien and Karinne Keithley Syers. Active Listening invites the resident playwrights to experiment with story, intimacy, and immediacy through sound experiences.

The first season of the podcast features work by ND residents Ariel Stess, Aurin Squire, J. Julian Christopher, Ken Urban, Kirk Wood Bromley, Mary Elizabeth Hamilton, Mashuq Mushtaq Deen, Matthew Freeman, Matthew Paul Olmos, Melisa Tien, and MJ Kaufman.

Active Listening, made possible with the support of the Venturous Theater Fund, is available here on our website, as well as on Apple podcasts, Stitcher, and wherever you listen to podcasts!  We hope you'll lend us your ears!

Thank You For An Amazing Nocturnal Commissions 2020!

We wish to extend a heartfelt thanks to all the wonderful people who made our first ever digital version of Nocturnal Commissions a rousing success!  We are grateful for the beautiful, beautiful work that took place over the course of the four days of Nocturnal Commissions and culminating in what we all witnessed on Thursday, October 29 during the livestreamed event. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and we surpassed our goal with 156 gifts; 156 households comprised our viewing audience!  While we all wish we were together at the old church, this digital platform granted us the opportunity to extend the writing pool to reflect our national reach. We had writers based in LA, Oregon, New Jersey, and from multiple boroughs of New York City, performed by actors from all over the country and in Canada AND we were able to expand our audience beyond the limits of our building capacity bringing together many people from far and wide.

Pictured:  our 2020 Nocturnal Commissionies: (top row, left to right): Octavio Solis, David Adjmi, Jennifer Haley; (middle row, left to right):  Aditi Brennan Kapil, Mfoniso Udofia, MJ Kaufman; (bottom row, left to right):  Mike Lew, Will Arbery, Madhuri Shekar.  Read on for our full letter of gratitude to all the generous people who made this magical event possible.

New Dramatists Closed To The Public Until Further Notice; Admissions On Pause

New Dramatists is electing to extend our pause of facility operations and programs, and will be closed to the public until further notice.  We are also suspending admissions for a full season, and extending the residencies of all 51 current resident playwrights for a full year to compensate for lost time and access to our resources during quarantine.  Read our full statement on changes we are making in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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