That is one of the things that makes it different from let's say, a movie, or a painting. It is friggin' alive. Continually affected by the instant feedback of a live audience. That is the essence of the awesomeness of the theatre. It's alive!


Yes, just a script. 

The script is eventually given to a director who, with a set designer, costume designer, lighting designer, and actors, bring the script to life, often, but not always, with the help of a playwright. So a playwright doesn't write a play. The playwright draws a map which the director, designers and actors interpret and bring to life on stage.

This process of interpreting a playwright's map is called DEVELOPMENT. And a script is not a play until it goes through this process.

This past spring, I worked with four playwrights developing four short plays in a class  I called "Page to the Stage." In this class, I worked with these playwrights step by step as they wrote their "scripts", and then we cast, and I, with the collaboration of the actors and the playwrights, directed and developed their scripts, transforming them into 4 amazing short plays in full production at Manhattan Rep which were quantumly richer, funnier and more dramatic than the original words on paper. It was an incredible experience for all and it illustrated the IMPORTANCE of development for playwrights.

A play is not written.


So I have been thinking about this a lot. And as we celebrate our 9th year on 42nd St presenting new work (August 17), moving forward we are going to be focusing more on development and how we can help more playwrights get their work off the page and into this development process.

First off,  we will be offering our new play development HIRE MANHATTAN REP series where playwrights from ALL OVER THE WORLD can literally hire Manhattan Rep to develop one of their plays for four performances. We will cast, direct, and DEVELOP it with the playwright (digitally and by phone if necessary) over 6 weeks which means, cutting, rewriting, trying new things, and transforming the script into a brand new collaborated production.  For more info on this program - click here.

Secondly, we are going to be presenting more of what I call “EVENTS" where we freely offer playwright/producers an opportunity to present their short plays (25 minutes or less) for two performances at Manhattan Rep. We run the sound and lights and essentially curate an exciting evening of theatre. There are no Manhattan Rep based fees in any way for the playwright/producers. Our intention is to run one of these Events every month, (except for the months we are running our One Act Play Competitions,) so playwright/producers can try out an idea or characters for a longer play, or simply see if their dramatic or comedic conception will work in front of a live audience. Getting characters off the page is soooooooo important in the development of a play, short or long. 

Thirdly, we are going to be offering more playwright development programs, like the above mentioned Page to the Stage class, not only for short plays but for full length plays so that new or un-produced playwrights can, with our guidance and insight, develop their plays over time for full production at Manhattan Rep.  Plus, we will be offering One on One Playwriting Mentoring, for first time playwrights.

Lastly, we are going to limit our full-length play series to brand new never produced before plays that we can be "hands on" with, that we can collaborate with, that we can help "develop" engaging the playwright/producers in a more essential way. We are going to give constructive feedback on the play, the direction, the acting choices and more. Talk about where the play can go from here etc and etc. So presenting your play at Manhattan Rep will be not only fun, but instrumental in the on-going development and process of bringing your play to the next level of production, on the road to Broadway.  

For more information on our new development focus, (with more to come), please click here!

The last thing I want is for Manhattan Rep to be is a FESTIVAL HOUSE, where a Festival producer CRAMS in as many plays as possible into any given time frame with limited tech time offered and often no dress rehearsal. 

We are not interested in putting up a McFestival. It's not happening here.

I am super excited about Manhattan Rep's more focused direction as a resource for unbridled theatrical creativity in New York City. If you have any ideas or suggestions about anything that we can do here, please drop me a line at: manhattanrep@yahoo.com.

It's time to bring your play to life.

With best regards,


Ken Wolf

Artistic Director

Manhattan Repertory Theatre