Primary Stages

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Primary Stages was founded in 1984 by Casey Childs as a New York State non-profit theater company with the mission of producing new plays and fostering the artistic development of emerging and established playwrights. In 2004, Primary Stages moved from its 99-seat home of 17 years at 354 West 45th Street to the 199-seat theater at 59E59 Theaters. In 2014, the company moved to The Duke on 42nd Street until 2016 and the Cherry Lane Theatre became the home for all Primary Stages productions.


For over 30 years, Primary Stages has given life to more than 130 new plays, many of them world premieres, by writers such as Horton Foote, A.R. Gurney, Tanya Saracho, Romulus Linney, Donald Margulies, Kate Hamill, Christopher Durang, Terrence McNally, Danai Gurira, Nikkole Salter, John Patrick Shanley, Mac Wellman, Sharon Washington, Lee Blessing, and David Ives.

Primary Stages' 9th season included the world premiere of All in the Timing by David Ives, the most produced play in the United States during the 1995/96 season.[1]

In 2008, Primary Stages was honored with the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Body of Work, which encompasses much more than the plays produced for the stage. Primary Stages supports playwrights and develops new works through commissions, workshops, readings and two flagship programs: The Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group, and The Marvin and Anne Einhorn School of Performing Arts (ESPA). Through these programs, Primary Stages advocates for artists, helping them make important – and often transformative – connections within the theater community.

Current season 2018/19[edit]

  • Final Follies by A.R. Gurney
  • Downstairs by Theresa Rebeck
  • God Said This by Leah Nanako Winkler
  • Little Women by Kate Hamill, based on the novel by Louisa May Alcott [2]


Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group[3]

Primary Stages is host to the Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group, which brings together six to eight emerging playwrights each season to create new plays for the American theater. These playwrights attend weekly meetings in the fall and spring, where they bring new pages to each session and receive feedback on their works in progress. At the end of the season, Primary Stages presents the first public reading of these plays in The Dorothy Strelsin Fresh Ink Readings Series.

Since its inception, over 45 full-length plays have been written in the group, many of which have been produced by prominent local and national theaters including Long Wharf Theatre, Blue Light, South Coast Repertory, The New Group, New York Stage and Film, Cherry Lane Theatre, and Primary Stages.

Current members:

  • Sofia Alvarez
  • Courtney Baron
  • Josh Levine
  • Cheri Magid
  • Rogelio Martínez
  • Molly Smith Metzler
  • Janine Nabers
  • Matthew Paul Olmos
  • Mat Smart

Past members:

Primary Stages Einhorn School of Performing Arts (ESPA)[4]

The Primary Stages Marvin and Anne Einhorn School of Performing Arts (ESPA), formerly the Primary Stages School of Theater, is an interdisciplinary institution.

ESPA offers a series of intensive classes in acting, playwriting, and directing taught by industry professionals that include PS staff members along with working professionals such as: Joshua Harmon, Winter Miller, Richard Topol, Judy Gold, Rogelio Martínez, Edwin Sanchez, and Morgan Jenness. Previous faculty members include Lucy Thurber, Julia Jordan, Brooke Berman, Sarah Ruhl, Jessica Hecht, Tanya Barfield, Cusi Cram, and Judith Light. The school is run by the Primary Stages Associate Director of Education, Sarah Matteucci.

Acting classes have included: Television Acting, Advanced Scene Study, Auditioning Techniques, Acting the Song, On-Camera Auditioning and Solo Performance.

Playwriting classes have included: The First Draft, The Rewrite, Comedy Writing, Fundamentals of Playwriting, and Television Writing.

Notable actors who have appeared with Primary Stages[edit]

Production history[edit]

Broadway Transfers[edit]

Primary Stages has seen three Broadway transfers with its productions of In Transit in 2016, Bronx Bombers in 2014, and Dividing the Estate in 2008.


  1. ^ "Theatre Communications Group - Top Ten Plays in American Theatre". July 22, 2002. Archived from the original on May 21, 2016. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  2. ^
  3. ^ [1] Archived November 27, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ "Marvin and Anne Einhorn School of Performing Arts". Primary Stages. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  5. ^ "Previous Seasons". Primary Stages. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  6. ^ "Primary Stages Theatre Credits". Broadway World. Retrieved December 22, 2011.