The Kilroys Launch List of Industry-Recommended New Plays By Women

By: Jun. 16, 2014

The Kilroys, an independent LA-based band of female playwrights and producers, have released THE LIST, the results of the first annual industry survey of excellent new plays by female-identified playwrights.

The Kilroys formed in 2013 out of a shared desire to create positive solutions to the long-standing issue of gender-inclusivity on American stages. Their first national initiative, THE LIST, was published today on their website, THE LIST is a tool for producers committed to ending the systemic underrepresentation of female voices[*] in the American theater.

American theater professionals have long expressed an urgent desire to address the undeniable gender disparity on our stages. And yet the problem persists: Regional surveys routinely show significant bias towards production of plays by male authors. In three widely-discussed surveys of plays produced in the 2012-2013 season, only 10.5% on Broadway, 21% in Washington, D.C., and 22% in Los Angeles were written by women.

Using The Black List (Franklin Leonard's yearly publication listing Hollywood's favorite unproduced screenplays) for inspiration, The Kilroys surveyed 127 influential new play leaders to compile a mighty brain trust. Their responses showcase the abundance of excellent new work being written by women today: These experts identified more than 300 plays as among the best work they had encountered in the past year.

THE LIST comprises the 46 most recommended plays from this survey. In order to be eligible, a play must have been 1) unproduced or have had only a single professional production; 2) by an author who identifies as female; and 3) among the most excellent seen or read by the industry professional within the previous twelve months. The invited responders included Artistic Directors, Literary Managers, Professors, Producers, Directors, and Dramaturgs who had read or seen at least 40 new works in the last year. Each expert recommended three to five plays. To ensure unbiased results, responses were anonymous. All identifying information of recommenders was tracked separately from their recommendations in the survey software. The members of The Kilroys did not vote. The complete lists of nominees and recommenders are available at

The Kilroys believe THE LIST will be an important resource for theater leaders in season planning, bringing us one step closer to finally achieving our common goal of gender-inclusive production on American stages.

The Kilroys are a gang of LA-based female playwrights and producers committed to gender inclusivity in the American theater. They are creating positive initiatives to achieve field-wide change while working independently to advance the artistic and professional goals of their members.

Founded in 2013, The Kilroys are named after the iconic graffiti "Kilroy Was Here" that was first left by WWII soldiers in unexpected places, a playfully subversive way of making their presence known.

The Kilroys are Zakiyyah Alexander, Bekah Brunstetter, Sheila Callaghan, Carla Ching, Annah Feinberg, Sarah Gubbins, Laura Jacqmin, Joy Meads, Kelly Miller, Meg Miroshnik, Daria Polatin, Tanya Saracho, and Marisa Wegrzyn.

Zakiyyah Alexander is a bicoastal playwright who sometimes writes television. Plays include 10 Things to do before I die (Second Stage Uptown), The Etymology of Bird (Providence Black Rep), and Sweet Maladies (Rucker Theater). Currently developing the musical GIRL shakes loose her skin (Joe's Pub) with Sonia Sanchez and Imani Uzuri. An alumni of New Dramatists, the Women's Project, CTG Writers Lab, and EST's Youngblood. Past commissions: Second Stage, Philadelphia Theater Company, Humana Festival Children's Theater Company. Education: Yale School of Drama. Television writing credits include Grey's Anatomy.

Bekah Brunstetter's plays include The Oregon Trail (The O'Neill) Be A Good Little Widow (The Old Globe, Ars Nova,Collaboration) House of Home (Williamstown Theater Festival, Rough Reading Series), and OOHRAH! (Atlantic Theater, Steppenwolf Garage/ Livewire Productions), She was a New York New Voices Fellow through the Lark Play Development Center and is an alumna of the Women's Project Writer's Lab, the Ars Nova Play Group, and the Playwright's Realm. She is currently a story editor on ABC Family's Switched at Birth, a member of the CTG Playwright's group, and writing a new play for South Coast Repertory. BA UNC Chapel Hill; MFA in Dramatic Writing from the New School for Drama.

Sheila Callaghan's plays have been produced and developed with Soho Rep, Playwright's Horizons, South Coast Repertory, Clubbed Thumb, The Lark, Actor's Theatre of Louisville, New Georges, The Flea, Woolly Mammoth, Boston Court, and Rattlestick, among others. They include Scab, Crawl Fade to White, Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake), We Are Not These Hands, Dead City, Lascivious Something, Kate Crackernuts, That Pretty Pretty; or, the Rape Play, Fever/Dream, Everything You Touch, Roadkill Confidential, Elevada, and Women Laughing Alone With Salad. Sheila is an affiliated artist with Clubbed Thumb, a member of 13P, and an alumni of New Dramatists. Marie Claire named Callaghan one of "18 Successful Women Who Are Changing the World " and Variety named her one of "10 Screenwriters to Watch".

Carla Ching was born and raised in LA, but is a sometimes New Yorker. Plays include Fast Company (South Coast Rep, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Edgerton New Play Award),The Sugar House at the Edge of the Wilderness (Ma-Yi Theatre Company), TBA (2g), The Two Kids Who Blow Shit Up and big blind/little blind. Alum of Lark Playwrights Workshop, The Women's Project Lab, the Ma-Yi Writers Lab and former artistic director of 2g. Member of New Dramatists and the CTG Writers' Workshop. She's working on a Crossroads Commission for South Coast Rep and is a staff writer on USA Network's Graceland.

Annah Feinberg's play The Beautiful Beautiful Sea Next Door was produced at part of Ars Nova's ANTFest and by EBE Ensemble. Her play Numismatics was a finalist for Clubbed Thumb's Biennial commission, who produced her short play Mucus Radius in their Summerworks festivities. She has served in artistic and literary capacities for The Civilians, LCT3, ICM, MTC, Steppenwolf, Northlight, TimeLine, and 13P. Annah has an MFA in Dramaturgy from Columbia University and a BFA in Theater Studies from the University of Illinois. She is currently the assistant to Julia Louis-Dreyfus on HBO's Veep and contributes to The Scout Network.

Sarah Gubbins' plays include Fair Use, In Loco Parentis, The Drinking Problem, The Kid Thing (Jeff Award and Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award), fml: how Carson McCullers saved my life, I am Bradley Manning, A Sense of Things and Cocked. Her plays have been produced at the Steppenwolf Theatre, Actor's Express, Next Theater, About Face Theater and Chicago Dramatists among others. And developed at the Public Theater, New York Theater Workshop, and the O'Neill Theatre Center among others. Fellowships: Carl J. Djerassi Playwriting and Jerome. She's a member of CTG's Playwrights' Workshop, The Playwrights' Union, an Artistic Associate at About Face Theatre and a Core Writer at The Playwrights' Center. M.F.A. from Northwestern University.

Laura Jacqmin is a Chicago-based playwright and TV writer. Plays: January Joiner (Long Wharf Theatre), Ski Dubai (Steppenwolf Theatre), Look, We Are Breathing (Sundance Theater Lab; upcoming Rivendell Theatre), Two

Lakes, Two Rivers (O'Neill National Playwrights Conference, Royal Court Theatre's International Residency), Dental Society Midwinter Meeting (Chicago Dramatists/At Play, remounted 16th Street Theater and Theater on the Lake), Do-Gooder (16th Street Theater), Ghost Bike (Buzz22 Chicago) and more. Awards: 2008 Wasserstein Prize, two NEA Art Works Grants, ATHE-Kennedy Center David Mark Cohen Playwriting Award, two MacDowell Fellowships. BA Yale University, MFA Ohio University. She's currently a story editor on Netflix's Grace & Frankie.

Joy Meads is the Literary Associate and Artistic Engagement Strategist at Center Theatre Group, where her dramaturgy credits include Forever by Dael Orlandersmith, Marjorie Prime by Jordan Harrison, The Royale by Marco Ramirez, and A Parallelogram by Bruce Norris. Previous to CTG, Joy was Literary Manager at Steppenwolf Theatre Company and Associate Artistic Director at California Shakespeare Theater, where she ran the theater's New Works/New Communities program. Joy has also worked with Portland Center Stage, the O'Neill, South Coast Rep, Chicago Dramatists, The Playwrights' Center, Native Voices at the Autry, NYTW, and Campo Santo + Intersection for the Arts.

Kelly Miller is the Literary Director of South Coast Repertory, the Co-Director of the Pacific Playwrights Festival, and the director of SCR's CrossRoads Commissioning Project. She has dramaturged over 20 world premiere productions and new play readings at SCR. She has worked at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Williamstown Theatre Festival, and as the Literary Manager of Long Wharf Theatre and Playscripts, Inc. Kelly has also worked as a consultant for the O'Neill, PlayPenn, The Playwrights' Center, the Public Theatre, Huntington Theatre Company, and Berkeley Rep. In 2008, she co-founded Creative Destruction, a company dedicated to the development of new work.

Meg Miroshnik's plays include The Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls (Yale Rep 2014; Alliance 2012), The Tall Girls(Alliance 2014), The Droll, and Old Actress. Fairytale Liveswas the 2012 Kendeda Award winner and a Susan Smith Blackburn Prize finalist. Her work has been developed by the O'Neill, Pacific Playwrights Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, CTG Writers' Workshop, McCarter Theatre Center, Lincoln Center Directors Lab, the Kennedy Center, Chicago Opera Theater, and the Moscow Playwright and Director Center, among others. She has commissions with South Coast Rep, Steppenwolf, and Yale Rep. She is the winner of a 2012 Whiting Award and holds an MFA in Playwriting from Yale School of Drama where she studied under Paula Vogel.

Daria Polatin: Plays include In Tandem, Guidance, That First Fall, D.C., A Fair Affair, and The Luxor Express, inspired by her father's life growing up in Egypt. Works produced at The Kennedy Center, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Naked Angels, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Cape Cod Theatre Project, and in London, Hong Kong, and Los Angeles. Daria wrote and directed the short film "Till It Gets Weird," which premiered at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood. Residency with London's Royal Court Theatre, alumna of Youngblood, M.F.A. Columbia University. Kennedy Center/A.C.T.F. Best One-Act Play. Daria currently lives in Los Angeles and works on the Starz original series Flesh and Bone.

Tanya Saracho was born in Sinaloa, México and is a playwright who writes for television (HBO's Looking, Girls and Devious Maids) PLAYS PRODUCED AT: 2nd Stage (July '14), Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Goodman Theater, Steppenwolf Theater, Teatro Vista, Fountain Theater, Clubbed Thumb, Next Theater, Teatro Luna and 16th Street Theater. PLAYS INCLUDE: Mala Hierba; Hushabye; The Tenth Muse; Song for the Disappeared; Enfrascada; El Nogalar; a musical adaptation of The House on Mango Street; Our Lady of the Underpass; Kita y Fernanda, and Quita Mitos. IN DEVELOPMENT WITH: HBO. CURRENTLY COMMISSIONED BY: Goodman Theater, Steppenwolf Theatre, Two Rivers Theatre, Denver Theater Center, and South Coast Rep.

Marisa Wegrzyn's plays include Mud Blue Sky, Hickorydickory, The Butcher of Baraboo, Diversey Harbor, Ten Cent Night, Psalms of a Questionable Nature, Killing Women, lots of short plays, etc. Produced at Steppenwolf Theatre, Second Stage Uptown, Baltimore CENTERSTAGE, Actors Theatre of Louisville Humana Fest, A Red Orchid Theatre, MOXIE Theatre San Diego, Chicago Dramatists (resident playwright), Theatre Seven of Chicago (founding member). TV: Mind Games on ABC, The Mentalist on CBS. She's been commissioned by Yale Repertory Theatre and Steppenwolf Theatre, and she received the 2009 Wendy Wasserstein Playwriting Prize for Hickorydickory. and @howdymarisa on Twitter.

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