Columbia Stages



April 17 – May 11, 2013

The Pershing Square Signature Center 480 West 42ndSt., New York
Horace Mann Theatre West 120th St. and Broadway, New York

March 27, 2013 – Columbia Stages is proud to present NEW PLAYS NOW, the annual festival of new plays by emerging artists from the MFA Theatre Program at Columbia University School of the Arts. NEW PLAYS NOW will run from April 17 to May 11 and will feature original works by Paulina Barros, Keith Boynton, Talya Chalef, Angelica Chéri, Pei-Chieh Chiang, Paola Lázaro Muñoz, Alessandra Most, Christina Quintana, Torrey Townsend, and Zhao Binghao.

Performances are held at The Pershing Square Signature Center, 480 West 42nd Street, New York, NY or Horace Mann Theatre, 120th St. and Broadway, New York, NY. All performances are free and open to the public.


Original Work by the MFA Playwriting Class of 2013
Presented by Columbia University School of the Arts Theatre

APRIL 17 – MAY 11, 2013
The Pershing Square Signature Center, 480 West 42nd St, New York
Horace Mann Theatre, West 120th St. and Broadway, New York

Tickets: All performances are free and open to the public
Reservations may be made via email:

Paulina Barros

May 9 at 2:30pm and 8pm, May 10 at 2:30pm
The Pershing Square Signature Center

This is my time. It's mine and it's yours. This is what it feels like. Fall madly in love, fall from a great height, fall incurably ill. What are the odds of these happening to you? Our universe is an infinite number of particles moving haphazardly like dust specks in a sunbeam: colliding, connecting and breaking apart again. One thing is certain, it will not stop. It never does. Enjoy the ride.

Paulina Barros was born and raised in Mexico City. After getting her BA in communication, she studied screenwriting at the Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica, Mexico's National Institute of Fine Arts Film School. During 2007 and 2008, she held a fellowship for Playwriting at the Fundación para las Letras Mexicanas, where she started her career in theatre. In September 2010, Paulina moved to New York to pursue her MFA degree in Theatre at Columbia University School of the Arts. Her plays The Tide and Washing Away have received full productions in New York City. She is infinitely grateful to each and every one who has made these last three years what they've been.

Mentor: Paul Lazar

Keith Boynton

May 6 and May 11 at 8pm, May 7 at 2:30pm
The Pershing Square Signature Center

In this stylish wartime noir, a cynical private detective is assigned to protect a beautiful Jewish refugee on the run from the horrors of the Nazi advance. Can a man who specializes in tracking unfaithful spouses adapt to the world of international espionage?

Keith Boynton is a Brooklyn-based playwright and filmmaker. His works for the stage include Trinity (produced at the Abingdon Theatre, NYC), The Quotable Assassin and Walls (both produced at Altered Stages, NYC), and The Improbable Tragedy of Dr. Ivan Roshashonnavich, which was performed at a benefit by Sam Waterston, Laura Linney, Liam Neeson, and Meryl Streep. His latest feature film, Chasing Home, screened at the Tucson Film and Music Festival, the New York City Independent Film Festival, and the Gotham Screen Film Festival (opening-night film). Some of his film work can be seen at . The New York Times called him “a talent worth watching,” but they said some mean stuff too.

Mentor: Craig Lucas

Talya Chalef

April 17, 18 and 19 at 8:30pm, April 20 at 3:30pm and 8:30pm
Horace Mann Theatre, West 120
th St. and Broadway, New York

A Polish woodcarver, Chaim Chalef, escapes from Auschwitz by using his art. Jude narrowly escapes the sky falling on her head. And Gilbert escapes to the stars. Three almost autobiographical stories told through installation, projection, movement and poetic text, immerse an audience in a timeless tale of choice, love and life.

Talya Chalef is an award-winning independent theatre-maker/director working in multidisciplinary visual performance work. She grew up in Cape Town and lived in Melbourne, where she devised and directed new performance works: Site (2006), In Other Words (2007-Melbourne and 2009 Argentina—both nominated in the Victorian Green Room awards) and Eyton Rd (2009, Melbourne and ITC, Cape Town). Her current projects in development include: Port Cities NYC, an international site-specific performance event and IKEA NYC, an audio performance in collaboration with Melbourne composer Kelly Ryall. Talya is a Columbia University Dean's fellow, the biennial 2012 Dame Elizabeth Murdoch Travel Fellow, an Ian Potter Cultural Scholar and the recipient of numerous grants through the Besen Family Foundation and its trustees, whom she thanks dearly. Visit "L'CHAIM" on Facebook.

Mentor: Taylor Mac

Angelica Chéri

May 8 and May 11 at 2:30pm, May 10 at 8pm
The Pershing Square Signature Center

“By their fruits they will be known.” The back yard of 798 Ruby Place is both a fortress and battlefield for the Seed family. Will newfound romance get the best of the beloved matriarch, or will a prophecy left by her late husband be enough to save her little birds from harm? Only the apple tree knows. Ruby Place Nest on the Ground is Part Two of Angelica Chéri's series, The Prophet's Cycle: Abraham's Seed.

A native of Los Angeles, CA, Angelica Chéri wrote, directed and produced her first full-length play Solitaire at the age of 16. She then went on to obtain a BA in Theater from UCLA and is now a candidate for an MFA in Playwriting from Columbia University. Her plays have received readings and workshop productions at Ensemble Studio Theatre-LA, and here in NYC at Columbia. The workshop production of her play The Yin and the Yang was very well received, and it is now available for premiere. Also a poet, Angelica has performed in many cafés and lounges both in New York and Los Angeles. Her piece Then and Again was published in the first issue of SPOOK, a new literary magazine. Interested in writing for the screen, Angelica wrote and directed a short film, Papers and Plastics, which is currently in post-production. She is also writing a pilot for original one-camera sitcom Hair Ties. Most recently, Angelica ahs take up lyric writing, with a new musical in the works titled The Dubious Darla Davenport. She is also associate producer of the criticaly acclaimed Fire This Time Festival.

Mentor: Lynn Nottage

Pei-Chieh Chiang
How I Come from Being a Doctor to an Insect Doctor

April 30 at 8pm, May 1 and May 4 at 2:30pm
The Pershing Square Signature Center

After leaving medical school, Sheng went to many different countries to learn how to heal other kinds of lives. As Sheng's patients become smaller and smaller, his views on the world, medicine, and life become greater and greater. Finally, he accidentally becomes a dermatologist after his insect patient bites him.

Pei-Chieh Chiang is an actress, playwright and director born in Taipei, Taiwan. She refers to herself as having the “mixed blood of the Netherlands, Taiwan and America.” She came to New York for the first time at 11 years old and has travelled to Japan, Nottingham, London, Edinburgh, Nice, Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague and Vienna. Her playwright-directing credits include: A Lover's Discourse 2, ADvertisement, Three One-Man Shows, The Criminals of Cultural Mimicry Tetralogy, I –Seoul, I Love You, Musical–The Criminals of Cultural Mimicry, Tetralogy II, My “Goodness”!!??, Juliet 40, Mantid, The Criminals of Cultural Mimicry Tetralogy III, and “French” Emilie's Fabulous World. Her acting credits include: A Servant of Two Masters, All in the Timing, Emma, Headless in Los Angeles, Life and Times of Robert Wilson, e Play XD, Prophet's Apartment, A Study in Art and Love, The Man Who Turned into a Cloud, Michael Jackson and 80s. Pei is currently an intern for Dramatists Guild of America.

Paola Lázaro Muñoz

April 25 at 2:30pm, April 28 at 2:30pm and 8pm
The Pershing Square Signature Center

Sex, intimacy and honesty went mud wrestling and are trying to get clean, but they just keep Olympic-diving into it. Contigo explores how two people, Tigo and Dena, bare all and desperately venture through all possible means of salvation in order to seek change and resuscitation after trauma. The play is partly based on a massacre that occurred in the town of Florida, Puerto Rico on New Year's Day, 2011. May those who passed away rest in peace, and may those who survived, live in it.

Paola Lázaro-Muñoz was born and raised in crispy-fresh San Juan, Puerto Rico and, at the age of 17, moved to funky-fresh New York City. She holds a BFA in Dramatic Writing from SUNY Purchase College and is currently in her final semester of the MFA Playwriting program at Columbia University School of the Arts. Her plays include: Status Stated, Rich Port, El Tío Sam and Contigo. Paola is the recipient of the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts Entertainment Scholarship Award (2010-2011) for the pilot episode of her TV show, Trópico, currently in development. Her short films include: Used, Así Se Dice Aquí, Speechless and 8:90 p.m. (screenplay).

Mentor: Steven Adly Guirgis

Alessandra Most
PRIVATE POLICY a circus in two acts

April 26 at 8pm, April 27 and April 29 at 2:30pm
The Pershing Square Signature Center

Susan, a Senator's wife, finds herself in the center of a media tailspin as she navigates the allegations of her husband's violent affair. As she tries to maintain normalcy for her family, she quickly realizes that a life in politics holds much more treachery underneath the surface than she thought. In a public life, can a marriage and family ever prevail over the media?

Alessandra Most's plays include Refrigerator Mother, Sevens: A Play in Eight Scenes, The Incomplete Ones, One Thousand Days, Fit To Print, Notes in the Sand, and The Canoe Play. She is currently penning numerous new plays, pilots, and musicals, and co-authoring the comedic pilot, Gains and Losses, with actor/comedian Krista Worby. Alessandra was on the casting team for Chicago: The Musical (Broadway, UK, and Tour Productions), La Cage Aux Folles (Longacre Theatre) and numerous productions at Playwrights Horizons, The Huntington Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, and The Women's Project. Alessandra is currently a member of the Public Relations staff at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. She proudly holds a BA in Dramatic Literature from Barnard College.

Mentor: Marsha Norman

Christina Quintana

May 2 and May 5 at 2:30pm, May 4 at 8pm
The Pershing Square Signature Center

Divide and Hail Mary. Abigail Bauer, a New Orleans native and resident, must confront the clash between the life she's created with her long-term girlfriend in one parish and her life as a widowed Catholic school teacher in another.

Christina Quintana is a Brooklyn-based playwright and New Orleans transplant. Her plays have been developed, produced and workshopped in New York City, Santa Fe and New Orleans, with companies including The Movement Theatre Company, Williamstown Theatre Festival and Southern Rep Theatre. GUMBO, a new full-length musical, with book and lyrics by Quintana and music by Brett Macias, received a developmental reading this March at the Riverside Theater in New York City. SCISSORING was recently chosen as a finalist for the 2014 Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition. The Gay Play was featured in Outworks 2012 at LSU Department of Theatre. The Recession Club was nominated for “Best Overall Production of a Staged Reading” in the Planet Connections Theatre Festivity. Quintana is currently developing The Next Thing, a site-specific collaboration with the New York-based Extant Arts Company.

Mentor: Tina Landau

Torrey Townsend

April 24 at 2:30pm, April 25 and April 27 at 8pm
The Pershing Square Signature Center

“Don't you ever wish that you could like... That you could like just be like... Completely well and happy? No, I mean think about it. Like here we are. In the Twenty-First Century. Like obviously someone would have figured it out by now. You know?” Someone joins a cult. Moral implications that disturb, infuriate, and complicate relationships.

Torrey Townsend is a young playwright whose work has been produced at Rattlestick Theater, Gene Frankel Theater, The Tank and Dixon Place. Plays include: Did You Ever Watch The Wonder Years? directed by Craig Lucas, where schmaltzy TV shows are the fodder for a blind date from hell; Shitbird, a look at class and race and war in which a teenage girl joins the Marines, in a world of extreme sex, violence and confusion; Brief Hours and Weeks, an intricately woven tale about the search for authentic companionship; and Modern Day, a story of the 'hood' told with urgency and force—alert, savage, real, charged. He assistant directed for Sam Gold on The Flick at Playwrights Horizons.

Mentor: Annie Baker

Zhao Binghao

May 3 at 2:30pm and 8pm, May 5 at 8pm
The Pershing Square Signature Center

Kurukulla is a play that takes place at a funeral service: a flirtatious conversation between a man and a woman who shared an intimate past. Through the course of flashbacks, they both come to the realization they they still cannot deal with the problem of love.

Zhao Binghao is a bilingual writer and translator from China. He is the author of
Solid Geometry, Hopscotch, Summers in 1926, and more. His plays in Chinese include The Trial, Microcosmos and Death Penalty. Currently he is creating a new radio series, Follies, for AM774 (Radio Beijing). His translation of Nick Yu's The Captain will be workshopped by LARK in March.

Mentor: David Henry Hwang

About New Plays Now and Columbia Stages:

New Plays Now is the annual festival of new plays by emerging artists from the MFA Theatre Program at Columbia University School of the Arts. Presented annually, these productions are a laboratory for students' dramatic experimentation and a glimpse – for theatre-goers – of what's next. Columbia Stages is the producing arm of the Oscar Hammerstein II Center for Theatre Studies at Columbia University School of the Arts. Columbia Stages presents annually a season of graduate actor and director productions as well as a festival of new plays by emerging playwrights. The 2012-2013 season marks the first in which Columbia Stages productions are presented in Off-Broadway venues downtown, including 3LD, The Connelly Theater, and La MaMa. Taught by a faculty of internationally renowned creators, practitioners, producers and scholars, the Theatre Program at Columbia University School of the Arts provides students with the foundation for a career in professional theatre, with programs in Acting, Directing, Playwriting, Dramaturgy, Stage Management, and Theatre Management & Producing.
For more information about the Columbia University School of the Arts Theatre Program visit

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