Primary Stages Announces 2024 Fresh Ink Reading Series And Playwriting Cohort

All readings are free and open to the public and will be held at 3pm in Theater A at 59E59 Theaters.

By: Feb. 28, 2024
Primary Stages Announces 2024 Fresh Ink Reading Series And Playwriting Cohort
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PRIMARY STAGES has announced programming for the 2024 Fresh Ink Reading Series, the first opportunity to hear brand new plays from the playwrights in the Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group.

All readings are free and open to the public and will be held at 3pm in Theater A at 59E59 Theaters (59 E 59th Street, New York, NY 10022). Advance reservation is required and can be made here.

Primary Stages also announced the 2023-34 Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group members. They include Benjamin Benne, Oscar A. L. Cabrera, Fedna Jacquet, Eric Micha Holmes, Jonathan Norton, Madhuri Shekar, and Calamity West.

“Our current cohort of seven writers continues DSNAWG's legacy with remarkable creativity and dedication. This year, building upon the success of our 2022 Creative Access Program, we welcomed three playwrights nominated by The National Black Theater and Latinx Playwrights Circle, and are deeply grateful to our partner theaters for introducing us to such incredible artists,” said Erin Daley, Primary Stages Artistic Director. “I am so proud of all the work the writers have done, not only as artists but as a supportive community, and am thrilled to share these seven brand new plays with the world.”

Primary Stages is committed to supporting playwrights at all stages of their careers and providing an artistic home where they can hone their craft and develop their latest works. An integral part of this initiative is the Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group, which has been fostering the creation of new works by emerging playwrights for 28 years. Throughout its history, the Group has helped launch the careers of over 60 writers and supported the creation of over 165 new plays. The last five years have seen 27 productions of plays developed in the Group. Notable titles include The Seven Year Disappear by Jordan Seavey, Hatef*ck by Rehana Lew Mirza, We The Invisibles by Susan Soon He Stanton, Eden Prairie by Mat Smart, God Said This by Leah Nanako Winkler, Amerikin and Proof of Love by Chisa Hutchinson, and Queen of Basel by Hillary Bettis.

Led by Primary's artistic staff, the Group is composed of seven up-and-coming writers who participate in the program for a three-year cycle. This multi-year commitment provides writers with the security of an artistic home and enables the staff to form intimate relationships with these artists and give them the personal attention they need to advance their work. The Group meets on a weekly basis from September through April, giving writers the opportunity to discuss their current projects and offer each other constructive feedback in a supportive environment. The goal for each writer is to complete a new play by the end of the spring session, which is then given a public reading in the Fresh Ink Reading Series.


By Eric Micha Holmes

Wednesday April 3 at 3pm

Skybox, an Afro-surrealist satire, introduces Quincy Delacourt, a star professional basketball player at the height of his powers who shocks the sports world by announcing his retirement and disappearing. A year later, after a series of profane and oracular tweets, Quincy reemerges to play for The Valkyries, a struggling franchise in desperate need of his talent. As negotiations proceed, the mysterious circumstances surrounding Quincy's disappearance are revealed, blurring truth and projection, delusion and ecstasy, the mundane and the mythic. 

this man i call mi primo

By Benjamin Benne

Thursday April 4 at 3pm

Sean and Nathanael are cousins, born just a few weeks apart in 1988. Every year, they visit the same beach in Southern California (first as children, then as adults) to swim in the ocean, eat carne asada, and witness how their lives, their bodies, and the natural world around them have changed year after year. Spanning 10 billion years in the life of the earth, Benjamin Benne's Seattle Rep 20x30 Commission is a theatrical meditation on human and ecological transformation, intimacy between men, and the cycles of life and death that shape our existence. 

A Good Goodbye

By Oscar A. L. Cabrera

Friday April 5 at 3pm

Sam and Gus, inseparable friends from their Columbia days, find themselves isolated in a pandemic-ravaged NYC. As the city grapples with uncertainty, Sam's apartment provides solace. But when Gus receives an unexpected call—one that eerily echoes his late father's voice—it all changes. We are left with a play that questions what can be replicated in a world where echoes linger and memories intertwine.

Malcolm X and Redd Foxx Washing Dishes At Jimmy's Chicken Shack In Harlem.

By Jonathan Norton

Tuesday April 9 at 3pm

1943. Two young Harlemites—Little and Foxy—form a friendship over leftover fried chicken and dirty dishwater. But a long hot summer of heartbreak, betrayal, and racial uprisings moves them closer to the men they will become and farther from each other. Commissioned by TheatreSquared.

Sgt. Hank Cole's Drama Club of Algona

By Calamity West

Wednesday April 10 at 3pm

After being captured by Americans during WWII, a group of young foot soldiers from the German army are transported to a P.O.W. Camp in Algona, Iowa where they are recruited to join a Drama Club led by Sgt. Hank Cole. Inspired by actual events, Calamity West's newest play explores the traumas of war, the cycle of violence perpetuated by global imperialism, and the magic of theater.

Uncle V

By Fedna Jacquet

Thursday April 11 at 3pm

Abby (dutiful girl next door) and her Uncle V (failed college basketball star) have dedicated their lives to the family's B&B on Martha's Vineyard, but when Abby's father (the illustrious film director Tyson P) and his beautiful wife Jasmine (ex-childhood star) move in, shit hits the fan. What happens when this upper-class black family and their close neighbors are forced to actually deal with each other and worse...themselves? Chaos, dangerous love liaisons, hilarious shade, and most importantly real conversations are on the menu. Will this family choose to heal together, or will they let deep-seated trauma break them apart? This is black Uncle Vanya on the Vineyard.

The Little Clay Cart

By Madhuri Shekar

Friday April 12 at 3pm

When the high-born Charudatta falls in love with the wealthy courtesan Vasantasena, the consequences ripple out into his marriage, his friendships, the city, and even the kingdom as a whole. A joyful and curious take on a 5th century Indian play about love, loyalty, and being a Good Person.

The Fresh Ink Readings Series is made possible, in part, through the generous support of The Dorothy Strelsin Foundation, The Ellen M. Violet and Mary P.R. Thomas Foundation, and public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.


Primary Stages is an Off-Broadway not-for-profit theater company dedicated to inspiring, supporting, producing. and sharing the art of playwriting. We operate on the strongly held belief that the future of American theater relies on nurturing playwrights and giving them the artistic support needed to create new work. Last year, we proudly returned to 59E59 Theaters as their Resident Off-Broadway Theater Company with our productions of Judy Gold's Yes, I Can Say That!; Jiehae Park's peerless; Clarence Coo's On That Day in Amsterdam and Karen Hartman's New Golden Age, and this fall produced Theresa Rebeck's critically-acclaimed Dig. Since our founding in 1984, we have produced more than 135 new plays, including Theresa Rebeck's Poor Behavior and Downstairs; Kate Hamill's Pride and Prejudice and Little Women; Billy Porter's While I Yet Live; Charles Busch's The Confession of Lily Dare and The Tribute Artist; Sharon Washington's Feeding the Dragon; Leah Nanako Winkler's God Said This; In Transit by James-Allen-Ford, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Russ Kaplan, and Sara Wordsworth (on Broadway in 2017); Horton Foote's Dividing the Estate (two Tony nominations); Donald Margulies' The Model Apartment (1995 premiere and 2013 revival); David Ives' All in the Timing (original 1993 production and 2013 revival); Tanya Saracho's Fade; Michael McKeever's Daniel's Husband; A.R. Gurney's Black Tie; Terrence McNally's Dedication or the Stuff of Dreams; Conor McPherson's St. Nicholas (which marked the playwright's U.S. debut); and Danai Gurira and Nikkole Salter's In the Continuum (which went on to tour the U.S., Africa, and Scotland). Our productions and artists have received critical acclaim, including Tony, Obie, Lortel, AUDELCO, Outer Critics' Circle, Drama League and Drama Desk Awards and nominations. Primary Stages supports playwrights and develops new works through commissions, workshops, readings, and our education and training programs: The Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group, the Marvin and Anne Einhorn School of Performing Arts (ESPA), the Echoes Writers Group, the Free Student Matinee Program, and the Primary Stages Off-Broadway Oral History Project. Through these programs, Primary Stages advocates for our artists, helping them make important—and often transformative— connections within the theater community.

ABOUT 59E59 Theaters

59E59 Theaters was established by the Elysabeth Kleinhans Theatrical Foundation in 2004 to grant professional space and expertise to non-profit theater companies premiering their work in New York City. Under the leadership of Val Day, Artistic Director, and Brian Beirne, Managing Director, 59E59 Theaters presents a year-round curated program of Off Broadway plays and musicals that are nurtured and supported through highly-subsidized rental rates as well as production, ticketing, FOH, marketing, and press support. For more information visit

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