Createtheater & Prism Stage Company Reveal The 2023 New Works Festival Awards

The annual New Works Festival ran from May 23rd to June 11th at Theater Row.

By: Jun. 27, 2023

New York, NY - CreateTheater, under the artistic direction of Off-Broadway producer Cate Cammarata in association with The Prism Stage Company, have announced the 2023 New Works Festival Awards from their annual New Works Festival that ran from May 23rd to June 11th at Theater Row (410 West 42nd Street).

"This year we concentrated on producing quality readings," Cammarata said. "I'm also proud that for the first time we were able to partially subsidize each participant in the festival. We had work that was developed in-house and was ready for production, presented off-Broadway and attended by producers, general managers, casting directors and artistic directors. The point of development is to get the work in front of a NYC industry audience when it's ready, and we were able to successfully achieve this in an extremely cost-effective way."

The 2023 New Works Festival featured six readings - four new musicals and two new plays - from writers across the country who had developed their work in-house through CreateTheater's resident writer company, The Expert's Theater Company (ETC). The productions in the festival were The Bone Harp (book and lyrics by Laura Stratford, music by Heidi Joosten, directed by Kevin Halpin, music direction by Jeff Cox); The Happier Trail (written by P.H. Lin, directed by Steve Marsh); Jungle Jim (music & lyrics by Danny K. Bernstein, libretto by Marilyn Campbell-Lowe, story and characters by Grandpa Stevee, story adapted for the stage by CPA Theatricals, directed by Joe Barros, Larry Little, Lead Producer, Timothy O'Connell, Associate Producer, Nicholas Reinhart, Assistant Producer); Maladies (written by Chris Sherman, directed by James A. Rocco, Associate Director: Tari Kelly); The Yellow Stocking Play (music by Steven M. Alper, lyrics by Sarah Knapp, book by D. W. Gregory, directed by Owen Thompson, music direction by Timothy Splain, produced by Tequila Talking Theatrical); and Bullet Points (written and directed by Larry Daggett, music direction by Jonathan K. Parks). There was also a new format to present new works in the pipeline by the company, the FIRST 15 MINUTES MUSICAL FESTIVAL, which featured the first 15 minutes of new musicals in development by ETC members Larry Little, Ed Levy, Joel Krantz and Cheryl Kemeny.

"THE YELLOW STOCKING PLAY was a hilarious romp with some beautiful, melodious moments of passion lit up by the Shakespearean low comedy antics of Sir Toby Belch played brilliantly by Alyse Alan Louis," said Ed Levy, a Librettist-Lyricist and one of the festival adjudicators. "MALADIES dug deep into the process of two strangers bravely facing their secrets as they get to know each other. As a musical writer of LUCY/BLUEBEARD, participating in the First 15-Minute Musicals Festival [within the larger CreateTheater New Works Festival] gave us an incredible opportunity to put the critical first 15 minutes of our show in front of a New York audience at an off-Broadway theater. The experience, and what we learned from it, was priceless!"

Another adjudicator, playwright David Quang Pham, agreed. "CreateTheater's 2023 New Works Festival Reading Series featured musical writing teams from various parts of the country from Seattle to Chicago to New York along with casts from college students to professionals. The musicals told stories about productional plights set in the Shakespearean era to musicals about gun violence set in modern times, and includes a time traveling play. As a dramaturg and musical writer in the audience, the festival personally helped me recognize the shared culture of writers and what the American theatre canon is shaping itself to be."

Judith Estrine, Artistic Director of Prism Stage Company and co-producer of the festival, said "I was delighted with the breadth and variety of CreateTheater's 2023 New Works Festival Reading Series. and the unique stories they brought to the stage. THE HAPPIER TRAIL by Pat Lin tickled my funny bone with one actor's personification of a wise old horse, and MALADIES by Chris Sherman moved me to tears with the juxtaposition of a wisecracking Italian mother and her painful secret. Kudos to all for a job well done. Looking forward to June 2024!"

Neal Rubenstein, a five-time TONY-nominated Broadway producer and member of The Experts Theater Company, also found much of the new work promising. "Cate Cammarata, and her organization ETC, has done a phenomenal job! By filling a gap caused by the recent pandemic and departure of NYMF, presenting six new works - a mix of plays and musicals - she has allowed playwrights the opportunity of having their works seen by audiences, extremely important when feedback is so necessary at this point of development. BRAVO!"

The 2022 New Works Festival awards are:

Best Actor in a Play or Musical


Best Actress in a Play or Musical


Best Supporting Actor in a Play or Musical


Best Supporting Actress in a Play or Musical

Janet Aldrich (BULLET POINTS)

Best Director in a Play or Musical

Joe Barros (JUNGLE JIM)

Best Book of a Musical


Best Musical Score

BULLET POINTS (music by Larry Daggett)

Best Musical - (tie)

BULLET POINTS (Book, Music, Lyrics by Larry Daggett)

THE YELLOW STOCKING PLAY (Book by D.W. Gregory, Music by Steven M. Alper, Lyrics by Sarah Knapp with additional lyrics by D.W. Gregory & William Shakespeare)

Best Play

MALADIES (by Chris Sherman)

Best TYA Production

JUNGLE JIM (Book by Marilyn Campbell-Lowe with story and characters by Grandpa Stevee, Music & Lyrics by Danny K. Bernstein, story adapted for the stage by CPA Theatricals)

For more information about CreateTheater, The Experts Theater Company and the New Works Festival, go to or to the Festival's homepage at

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