Premiere Stages At Kean University Announces Semi-Finalists For 2023 Play Festival

The Play Festival panel and literary staff reviewed 701 submissions before choosing the 40 Semi-Finalists.

By: May. 05, 2023
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Premiere Stages At Kean University Announces Semi-Finalists For 2023 Play Festival

Premiere Stages, the professional theatre company in residence at Kean University, has announced the 2023 Premiere Play Festival Semi-Finalists.

The Play Festival panel and literary staff reviewed 701 submissions before choosing the 40 Semi-Finalists. From those 40 Semi-Finalists, four Finalists will be chosen in May for public readings. Those readings will be held June 8-11, 2023 at Enlow Recital Hall (215 North Avenue, Hillside, NJ 07205). One finalist will be awarded a full production in Premiere Stages' 2024 season.

"We are so pleased to recognize a diverse mix of compelling new plays in our 2023 semi-finalist pool, including some playwrights who have submitted to Premiere for the first time", stated Producing Artistic Director John J. Wooten. "Selecting only four finalists for development from this outstanding group will be difficult."

40 Semi-Finalists for the 2023 Premiere Play Festival

  • Killer by Steve Apostolina
  • and thou shalt be healed by Benjamin Benne
  • M-Theory by Jami Brandli
  • The Reservoir by Jake Brasch
  • #BecklandisCancelled by Alicia Carroll
  • The Seekers by Jeesun Choi
  • backstroke boys by Xavier Clark
  • Hotel Limbo by Alice Cohen
  • The Fertile River by Vincent Terrell Durham
  • Mercutio Loves Romeo Loves Juliet Loves by Gina Femia
  • Stay Up and Keep Rolling by Maximillian Gill
  • Order My Steps by Kathryn Grant
  • Motherland by Allison Gregory
  • Sunny Days by Reina Hardy
  • Invasive Species by Tori Keenan-Zelt
  • Sisters by Matthew Libby
  • Uhuru by Gloria Majule
  • The High Priestess by Andrew Martini
  • Flowers for Men by Christian Mendonça
  • For the People by Carol Mullen
  • Pearl Dust from a Gun by Esmé Maria Ng
  • La Potencia by Mel Nieves
  • Diversion by Scott Organ
  • Saturday Mourning Cartoons by Iraisa Ann Reilly
  • Jesus Plays Basketball on a Hot Night in Iraq by Tyler Rivenbark
  • Color Boy by Esperanza Rosales Balcárcel
  • Stockade by Andrew Rosendorf
  • Confirmation by Madeline Rouverol
  • Take My Hand and Wave Goodbye by Tammy Ryan
  • An Interpretation of Anna by Natalie Sacks
  • The Caldera by Sarah Saltwick
  • Labor by TyLie Shider
  • Who's Yehoodi? by Jerry Slaff
  • Breakfalls by Gina Stevensen
  • Brother Johnny's Homestyle BBQ by Parade Stone
  • Into the Side of A Hill by James Anthony Tyler
  • The Halal Brothers by Alaudin Ullah
  • The Matriarchs by Liba Vaynberg
  • Come to Me, Cling to You by Stephanie Kyung Sun Walters
  • Luminescence by Emily Welty

In the eighteen seasons since its founding, the Premiere Play Festival has received over 7,200 submissions and developed more than eighty plays. Multiple plays produced at Premiere have been honored by the American Theatre Critics Association, selected for agency representation, and/or been published by Concord, Dramatists Play Service, Dramatic Publishing Company, Playscripts, and Broadway Play Publishing. A number of Play Festival winners and finalists have subsequently been produced in New York, internationally and at regional theatres across the country.

Premiere Stages offers affordable prices, air-conditioned facilities and free parking close to the theatre. Premiere Stages also provides free or discounted tickets to patrons with disabilities. All Premiere Stages facilities are fully accessible spaces, and companion seating is available for patrons with disabilities. Assistive listening devices and large print programs are available at all times; publications in alternate formats are available with advance notice. Please call 908-737-4077 for a list of sign-interpreted, audio-described or open-captioned performances. For more information, please visit Premiere Stages online at

Premiere Stages is made possible in part through funding from W. John Bauer and Nancy Boucher, The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, Carole Shaffer-Koros and Robert Koros and ExxonMobil Foundation, The Dubose and Dorothy Heyward Foundation, The Northfield Bank Foundation, The Hyde and Watson Foundation, The Union Foundation, E.J. Grassmann Trust, The New Jersey Theatre Alliance, Investors Foundation, The Union County HEART Grant and through the generous support of individual patrons and local organizations. Discover Jersey Arts is our marketing partner. Visit for more information about other arts programming happening around the Garden State.

Premiere Stages is committed to producing topical plays and interactive programs that reflect people of all ethnic and racial backgrounds, national origins, nationalities, ancestry, religious groups, gender expression or identities, sexual orientation, political beliefs, ages, abilities and disabilities.

Created in 2004, Premiere Stages is the professional Equity theatre in residence at Kean University. Through its unique partnership with Kean, Premiere's play development programs, educational initiatives, and professional development opportunities actively embrace the university's academic curriculum while expanding the scope, accessibility, and prestige of the professional programming on campus. For more information, please visit Premiere Stages online at

Founded in 1855, Kean University is one of the largest metropolitan institutions of higher education in the region, with a richly diverse student, faculty and staff population. Kean continues to play a key role in the training of teachers and is a hub of educational, technological and cultural enrichment serving more than 16,000 students. The University's six colleges offer more than 50 undergraduate degrees, seven doctoral degree programs, and more than 70 options for graduate study leading to master's degrees, professional diplomas or certifications over a full range of academic subjects. With campuses in Union, Toms River, Jefferson and Manahawkin, New Jersey, and Wenzhou, China, Kean University furthers its mission by providing an affordable and accessible world-class education. Visit


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