Primary Stages

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

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 Duke on 42nd Street became the home for all Primary Stages productions.


For over 30 years, Primary Stages has given life to more than 100 new plays, many of them world premieres, by writers such as Horton Foote, A.R. Gurney, Willy Holtzman, Julia Jordan, Romulus Linney, Donald Margulies, Christopher Durang, Terrence McNally, John Henry Redwood, John Patrick Shanley, Mac Wellman, 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 2015/16[edit]

  • Informed Consent by Deborah Zoe Laufer
  • Perfect Arrangement by Topher Payne
  • The Body of An American by Dan O'Brien
  • Exit Strategy by Ike Holter [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 where students may hone their skills and develop their careers in a nurturing and collaborative environment. Having housed over 2,000 students, the school provides extensive opportunities for emerging artists, professionals, and lifelong learners to collaborate with working professional artists while building strong relationships within the New York theater community.

ESPA offers a series of intensive classes in acting, playwriting, and directing taught by industry professionals that include PS staff members Casey Childs (Founder and Executive Producer of Primary Stages), Andrew Leynse (Artistic Director), Michelle Bossy (Associate Artistic Director), Elliot Fox (Managing Director), along with David Laundra and Linda Laundra, Judy Gold, Tanya Barfield, Cusi Cram, Stephanie Klapper, Blair Singer, Rogelio Martínez, Edwin Sanchez, Lucy Thurber and Morgan Jenness. Previous faculty members include Julia Jordan, Brooke Berman, Sarah Ruhl, Constance Congdon, BH Barry, and Kim Wield. The school is run by Tessa LaNeve.

Acting students work closely with playwriting students to help create and foster new American plays. Learning how to work on a play in development is a key component to becoming a successful actor. A balance of studying pieces by emerging writers and collaborating on works-in-progress allows actors to hone their skills while keeping them on their toes. Acting classes have included: Television Acting, Advanced Scene Study, Auditioning Techniques, Acting the Song, On-Camera Auditioning and Solo Performance.

Core playwriting classes provide students with the tools necessary to complete a first draft through writing exercises, workshopped readings and insight from working playwrights. Small classes of 6-8 offer an intimate setting and the opportunity to have new work read aloud each week. Classes are for all skill levels, from first time writers to those who have hit a road block with their current piece. Playwriting classes have included: Face the Blank Page and Write, The Rewrite, Comedy Writing, Adaptation, Experimental Theater, the Web Series and Television Writing. There are also several online writing classes offered.

With classes designed for directors and non-directors alike, the directing department offers a series of programs throughout the year to build your confidence behind the table and expand your way of thinking about performance. Classes include Collaborations, Workshops, Circuit Training, as well as concentrations in Film and Stage directing. ESPA is open to all artists, in all stages of their careers.


Over the years, the company has received considerable critical acclaim and numerous theater and literary awards and nominations, including Obie, AUDELCO, Outer Critics Circle, Lucille Lortel, Drama League and Drama Desk Awards. The Fourth Wall, All in the Timing, The Old Settler, Missing/Kissing, The Model Apartment, Scotland Road, You Should Be So Lucky, The Stendhal Syndrome, Sabina, Dividing the Estate and In The Continuum are among the many plays brought to national attention by Primary Stages.

In 2009, Primary Stages received its first Tony Nomination for Dividing the Estate by Horton Foote.

Notable actors who have appeared with Primary Stages[edit]

Production history[edit]


  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. 

External links[edit]