COMMISSIONING AND DEVELOPMENT:
Ars Nova commissions and develops new work with an eye for artists that work with nontraditional creative processes and projects that often combine generative artists across multiple disciplines to collaboratively create a piece of theater. Our adventurous, process-driven environment allows commissioned projects to develop organically and in an artist-focused way by committing to these groundbreaking, form-defying projects for the long haul over several years. Ars Nova’s mission-driven affinity for hybrid works that combine music, comedy and theater makes us a natural home for devised theater pieces with complicated creative structures. And, because these pieces often cannot be made in traditional ways, we have embraced a flexible development process to help nurture these unique pieces from the beginning stages on to a full production.
Our current commissions are….
Kevin Armento & Sammy Miller; Liza Birkenmeier; nicHi douglas in collaboration with Starr Busby & Jerome Ellis; James & Jerome; Antoinette Nwandu; The Mad Ones; On The Rocks Theatre Co.; Zack Zadek
KEVIN ARMENTO’s plays include Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally (Drama Desk Nomination, Stage Edinburgh Award), Good Men Wanted (New York Stage and Film), Companion Piece (Pleasance Theatre), and killers (Tom Noonan’s Paradise Factory), and upcoming plays include Balls (co-written with Bryony Lavery, 59E59 Theaters / One Year Lease), Playing Hot (Pipeline Theatre) and Devil with the Blue Dress (Bunker Theatre, London). Work has been produced and developed with Arena Stage, Ars Nova, Cape Cod Theatre Project, Dixon Place, The Flea, Johnny Mercer Writers Colony, The New Ohio and Stages Repertory Theatre, and he is an alum of The Working Farm at SPACE on Ryder Farm, Artist-in-Residence at The Drama League and Play Group and Makers Lab at Ars Nova.
SAMMY MILLER A native of Los Angeles, Grammy nominated drummer Sammy Miller has become known for his unique maturity and relentless focus on making music that “feels good” as a drummer, singer and bandleader. Upon completing his Master’s at The Juilliard School, Sammy formed his ensemble, The Congregation. As a band they are focused on sharing the power of community through their music—joyful jazz.
LIZA BIRKENMEIER is mostly a writer but occasionally a performer. She is currently collaborating on an interactive piece that will premiere at 3LD in 2017. Her plays have been seen or heard at Ars Nova, New Georges, Lincoln Center Directors Lab, Dixon Place, CATCH, Prelude NYC, University Settlement, Rattlestick, The San Francisco Playhouse, City Theater, The Classic Coin Laundry and elsewhere. She is a member of the Emerging Writers Group at the Public Theater, a Playwrights Realm Writing Fellow and a New Georges Affiliated Artist. She was in the 2014-2015 Play Group at Ars Nova and was a recent MacDowell Colony Fellow. She received her MFA at Carnegie Mellon under Rob Handel.
NICHI DOUGLAS in collaboration with STARR BUSBY & JEROME ELLIS
nicHi douglas is a Brooklyn-based performer, choreographer, director, playwright and activist. She has performed all over New York and the country as a freelance actor/dancer in addition to performing nationally with The Dance Cartel and literacy-focused children’s theater company The Story Pirates. She currently teaches Movement & Choreography and Performance Symposium at NYU/Tisch – Playwrights Horizon Theater School studio. Recent stage credits: A Time Like This: Music for Change (Carnegie Hall, Stage Director), Runaways (City Center/Encores! Off-Center and The Delacorte/Public Theater, Associate Director & Associate Choreographer), Primer for a Failed Superpower (Roulette, Choreographer), BLACK GIRL MAGIC SHOW! (Ars Nova ANT Fest and JACK, Director/Choreographer/Playwright), they told us not to pray (Playwrights Horizons Downtown, Director & Choreographer) and Girl From the North Country (The Public Theater, Associate Choreographer). Upcoming: Last Stop on Market Street (Atlantic Theater Company, Choreographer) and where love lies fallow (The Shed, Director/Choreographer/Playwright).
JAMES & JEROME (James Harrison Monaco & Jerome Ellis) are a music and storytelling duo based in New York, creating hyper-literary live-music narrative spectacles for theaters and other spaces. Their electronic music concert and art lecture Ink, which premiered in January 2019 as part of Under The Radar Festival, was the first ever co-presentation by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Public Theater. In addition to The Met and Under The Radar, their works have been presented at venues such as Lincoln Center, La MaMa, MASS MoCA, the Kimmel Center and Ars Nova’s ANT Fest (2013). They are also New Writers in Residence at Lincoln Center Theater. jamesandjerome.org
ANTOINETTE NWANDU is a New York-based playwright. Her Jeff-award winning play, Pass Over, will have its New York debut at LCT3 in June. A filmed version of the Steppenwolf production—directed by Spike Lee—will have its world premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Her play Breach: a manifesto on race in america through the eyes of a black girl recovering from self-hate will have its World Premiere at Victory Gardens in February. Antoinette’s work has been supported by the Sundance Theater Lab, Space on Ryder Farm, Ignition Fest, the Cherry Lane Mentor Project, the Kennedy Center, Page73, PlayPenn, Southern Rep, The Flea, Naked Angels, Fire This Time and The Movement Theater Company. Honors include the Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award, the Negro Ensemble Company’s Douglas Turner Ward Prize, a Literary Fellowship at the Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference and spots on the 2016 and 2017 Kilroys lists. Antoinette is a MacDowell Fellow, a Dramatists Guild Fellow and an Ars Nova Play Group alum. She is currently under commission from Echo Theater Company, Colt Coeur and Audible.Antoinette Nwandu’s commission is supported by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.
ON THE ROCKS THEATRE CO. is a California born, New York-bred company comprised of longtime collaborators Christopher Ford and Dakota Rose. Through rigorous blending of humor and heart, camp and poignancy and with a rich visual aesthetic drawing on a wide range of mid-century Americana, ON THE ROCKS create wholly original work that tells the stories of imperfect characters making their way in uncertain worlds. With a recurring crew of performers, musicians and dancers, they have made McBeth (2010), Wolfert (2015), The White Stag Quadrilogy (2016), FRED (2017) and their annual holiday bar pageant, Edelweiss (2017 & 2018).
THE MAD ONES are a New York City-based company dedicated to creating visceral, ensemble-driven, highly detailed theatrical experiences that examine and illuminate American nostalgia. Since 2009, we’ve created four full-length plays (and a host of short plays), which have received significant accolades and critical praise, including multiple New York Times Critics’ Picks, Five Star Time Out New York reviews, a Drama Desk nomination and multiple New York Innovative Theatre Awards. The Mad Ones are Co-Artistic Directors Marc Bovino (performer/writer), Joe Curnutte (performer/writer), Lila Neugebauer (director/writer), Stephanie Wright Thompson (performer/writer); Associate Director Michael Dalto (performer/writer/music director); Company Members Ásta Bennie Hostetter (costume designer), Mike Inwood (lighting designer), Laura Jellinek (set designer), Sarah Lunnie (dramaturg) and Stowe Nelson (sound designer). themadones.org
Co-Artistic Directors Marc Bovino (performer/writer), Joe Curnutte (performer/writer), Lila Neugebauer (director/writer),
Stephanie Wright Thompson (performer/writer); Associate Director Michael Dalto (performer/writer/music director);
Company Members Ásta Bennie Hostetter (costume designer), Mike Inwood (lighting designer), Laura Jellinek (set designer),
Sarah Lunnie (dramaturg) and Stowe Nelson (sound designer).
ZACK ZADEK Composer/lyricist, playwright and songwriter with Warner/Chappell, Zack Zadek has been named by Playbill as “A Contemporary Musical Theatre Songwriter You Should Know”, was a MacDowell Fellow and VCCA Fellow and is a 2019 Dramatist Guild Fellow. Zack won the Weston New Musical Award for his book, music and lyrics to DEATHLESS (dir. Tina Landau) which received its world premiere at Goodspeed Musicals in 2017. His work has been developed and presented at The Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, The 5th Avenue Theatre, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, The Lark, Arena Stage, Goodspeed Musicals, Weston Playhouse, Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival, Legacy Theatre, NYMF, The Mitten Lab and in the UK at the London Theatre Workshop and Edinburgh Fringe. He is a two-time finalist for the Kleban Prize as a librettist and a lyricist, a three-time Jonathan Larson Grant Finalist, a resident of the Working Farm @ SPACE on Ryder Farm and SigWorks @ Signature Theatre, KSF Artists of Choice finalist and winner of the inaugural NMI/Disney Imagineering New Voices Award. Other pieces include The Crazy Ones (dir. Sam Buntrock/Hunter Bird), The Role of a Lifetime (dir. Jerry Mitchell) and 6 (dir. Sheryl Kaller/Max Friedman). Upcoming projects include Store Brand (dir. Jaki Bradley) being developed by The Civilians and current commissions from Mike Bosner Productions, Jill Furman Productions, Arena Stage and Ars Nova. He is currently a writer-in-residence with The Orchard Project Greenhouse and The Civilians.