New Works Initiative

Since its inception in 1995, Barrington Stage (BSC) has produced 32 new works, 18 of which have moved on to New York and major regional theatres around the country. BSC believes that new work is the heart and soul of theatre. If theatre is to thrive and create meaningful and new experiences for audiences, then it is vital to support playwrights and their visions of the world we live in.

BSC’s New Works Initiative takes a two-pronged approach – PlayWorks, spearheaded by Artistic Director Julianne Boyd and Director of New Play Development Branden Huldeen, supports the creation of new plays while our acclaimed Musical Theatre Lab, overseen by Tony Award-winning composer/lyricist William Finn and Artistic Director Julianne Boyd develops new musicals. In both of these programs, BSC seeks artists whose unique voices speak to our audiences with relevant new plays and musicals. BSC hopes our new work will ask questions of the world we live in – questions that may not have answers but will begin a dialogue between the artists and our audiences.

A New Works Commission will allow a playwright or a composer/lyricist team to be nurtured and supported in the following ways:

  • From the beginning of the process: an outline of the story the writer wants to tell
  • To the writing of the play or musical: 1-2 years
  • To the first unveiling of the project: a staged reading
  • To the workshop: not all work needs a workshop but we must make one available to a writer who needs to see his/her work “on its feet” before making revisions
  • To the full production.

Please join us in supporting Barrington Stage’s New Works Initiative.

New Play/Musical Commissions

Want to make an impact on the future of American theatre by funding a new play/musical commission? Please contact the BSC Development Office at 413-997-6110.


In 2000 Barrington Stage began producing new plays with Suzanne Bradbeer’s Full Bloom but it wasn’t until 2003/2004 that our new works gained momentum with the world premieres of Mark St. Germain’s Ears On A Beatle, followed by his The God Committee in 2004, both of which moved Off Broadway.

In 2009, Mark St. Germain’s Freud’s Last Session secured our place in the development of new plays because of its tremendous success with both critics and audiences.  It ran more than 10 weeks on BSC’s Stage 2, becoming the longest running play in BSC’s history. It later moved to New York where it played Off Broadway for more than two years.

  • Hannah Pixley (1997)
  • Full Bloom (2000)
  • Love and Happiness (2001)
  • Ciao! (2001)
  • Ears on a Beatle (2003)
  • The God Committee (2004)
  • Fuente (2005)
  • Freud’s Last Session (2009)
  • Best of Enemies (2011)
  • Dr. Ruth, All the Way (2012)
  • Muckrakers (2013)
  • Scott and Hem in the Garden of Allah (2013)
  • Dancing Lessons (2014)
  • Engagements (2015)
  • American Son (2016)
  • The Chinese Lady (2018)
  • Well Intentioned White People (2018)

“I wouldn’t have written half the plays I did without knowing that there would be a theater that would seriously consider them and not just become part of a leaning tower on an Artistic Director’s desk.

Knowing that you have an artistic home is just as important as having a home to live in. A place to take comfort in, a place that provides continuity and a sense of ownership gives all of us a base to recharge our dreams.

Barrington Stage has supported my work for eighteen years. It’s a theatre that deserves the same crucial support and encouragement.”

-Mark St. Germain, (Scott and Hem in the Garden of Allah; Dr. Ruth, All the WayThe Best of Enemies, Freud’s Last Session, Dancing Lessons)

Musical Theatre Lab

BSC’s commitment to new work is also seen in the acclaimed Musical Theatre Lab (MTL). MTL was created after BSC workshopped and premiered William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin’s The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (2004). It was in response to musical theatre writers not having a home to develop their shows.

MTL is a place for young musical theatre writers to develop their work on all levels: from staged readings to workshops to full productions. Since its creation in 2006, 11 world premieres and 6 workshops of new musicals have been produced, and many have moved on to New York and around the country.

MTL World Premieres

  • The Burnt Part Boys (2006)
  • Funked Up Fairy Tales (2007)
  • The Mysteries of Harris Burdick (2008)
  • See Rock City and Other Destinations (2008)
  • Pool Boy (2010)
  • The Memory Show (2010)
  • Mormons, Mothers and Monsters (2011)
  • The Black Suits (2012)
  • Southern Comfort (2013)
  • The Golem of Havana (2014)
  • Romance in Hard Times (2014)
  • Presto Change-O (2016)
  • Broadway Bounty Hunter (2016)
  • The Royal Family of Broadway (2018)

MTL Workshops

  • Travels with My Discontent (2006)
  • Disorder: A Mother/Daughter Vaudville (2006)
  • The Mysteries of Harris Burdick (2007)
  • My Scary Girl (2008)
  • The Black Suits (2012)
  • Romance in Hard Times (2014)

MTL Readings

  • Watt?!? (2008)
  • Poolside at the Hotel Bel-Air (2009)
  • Memory is the Mother of All Wisdom (2009)
  • The Suicide: A Musical Comedy (2012)
  • Presto Change-O (2014)
  • Butterflies (2017)
  • Fall Springs (2018)


“Musicals, when they are good, soar. But what seems effortless is only achieved through a painstaking, exacting developmental process that asks and answers the hardest questions about what any musical is meant to be. Few people understand the complexity of the process because they don’t see the work being developed. They don’t see the talent of the unproduced.

My job as the Artistic Producer of BSC’s Musical Theatre Lab (MTL)  is to find the best new musical theatre writing I can. After that, developing it and producing it in a simple, straightforward way will illuminate what needs to be done to insure its successful completion. Some of the pieces may need a workshop, others a simple, full production but I guarantee you all will need to be nurtured in a different way so they can become what they’re meant to become.”

– William Finn (Falsettos, …Spelling Bee)