Forwarding Kansas City as a major national center for the development and production of new works, our OriginKC: New Works Program offers playwrights the financial, creative, and artistic resources required to develop vital, diverse, theatrical work, including our popular Monday Night Playwright Series events in the Spencer Theatre Donor Lounge. Step into the world of a new play as it’s being built, and meet fantastic playwrights whose work electrify stages across the country! Supporting hot local and national playwrights, Monday Night Playwright Series brings to life script-in-hand readings of future hit shows. All events are FREE and open to the public – all are welcome!

The Monday Night Playwright Series is supported by:
This project is supported in part by the City of Kansas City, Missouri Neighborhood Tourist Development Fund.

Rick and Barbie Dierks

Past Readings: 2019/20 Season

Buried Roots by Michelle Tyrene Johnson (Local KC Playwright)
Directed by Sidonie Garrett

Jaime McBride, an African-American woman college professor, studies and teaches genealogy. She has improperly used her resources to find out about her biological family. And without knowing that a blood tie exists, someone walks into Jaime’s life, which causes Jaime to question her life choices, her concept of family, and to figure out if it’s possible to re-plant an old family tree.


#ROYCE by Darren Canady (Local KC Playwright)
Directed by Martin Damien Wilkins

Darnell, Cam, and Bruce are three queer black men with a deep friendship that goes back years and has sustained them over time, distance, and the instability of life’s vicissitudes. But when Bruce’s lover is killed in a murky encounter with police, the fallout tests the trio’s bond, forcing each man to confront the colliding complexities of race, sexuality, geography, violence, and male intimacy.


Black River Falls by Bryn Magnus

It’s Thanksgiving weekend, 1978. An ominous feeling about his younger sister Laurie compels Gary to come back early from a hunting trip. He thinks she is reeling from the Jim Jones Purple Kool-Aid horror which is disrupting the quiet anarchy of local Dousman teens. But his return is too late to disrupt shocking acts of violence closer to home. It seems that everyone in their lives are ineffectually struggling to gather up their own shattered pieces, leaving each of them to seek transcendence on their own terms.

Note: This play depicts candid, realistic sexual situations between teenagers, as well as sexual language and profanity true to the characters of all ages portrayed within the story.


Dinosaur(s) by James Still

Two adult siblings share one profound thing: a violent childhood trauma they both survived and have since gone on to very different lives. While the siblings sustain an undeniable and troubled connection through the years, that event from childhood continues to shape their lives in contrasting ways. After losing touch for a couple of years, the sister and brother find themselves on a road trip traveling back to the rural setting of their childhood. Before they reach their destination, a series of mishaps strands them in a small town in the Flint Hills of Kansas where they are unexpectedly caught up in the lives of three locals each of whom have developed their own ways of coping with a quickly changing world. DINOSAUR(S) is a play about hard-fought love, about the unexpected people that shake us up, and about the supernatural in the ordinary.


Murder Girl by Heidi Armbruster
Directed by Lisa Rothe

The State of Wisconsin has the highest per capita of both Supper Clubs and Serial Killers. Brother and sister, Eric and LeeAnn, inherited their Supper Club in the woods of Wisconsin after their mother’s death. Family are the people you’d kill for or the people you’d like to kill. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference.


Village of Vale by John McGrew (Music/Lyrics), Jonathan Karpinos (Book/Lyrics) & Joseph Varca (Book/Lyrics)
Directed by Lisa Rothe

An ageless Traveler with nothing but a desire for vengeance and a pair of magical glasses becomes caught up in the stories of an obsessed bookkeeper, a cursed woodsman, and a haunted widow. The Village of Vale blends dynamic storytelling, music, art, and puppetry to create a timeless world where secrets lurk behind every door, and knowledge can lead to salvation or ruin.


FLOOD by Mashuq Mushtaq Deen

An apartment on the 19th floor. Esther has been waiting for Darren to finish his amazing-fantastic-wonderful project for a while now. The kids don’t call enough, and when they do, they seem full of accusations. All she wants — it’s not too much to ask, is it? — is to sit and have some tea with her husband, someday, when he’s done with building his masterpiece. Meanwhile, outside their apartment, the waters are rising, rising, rising…


Previous Readings

Mermaid by Andrew Rosendorf
Directed by Chip Miller

When 9-year old Everett Berger tells the family that she’s a girl – having been gender assigned boy at birth — the Berger family’s good liberal values are put to the test. A lyrical, thought provoking meditation on gender identity, McKnight Fellow recipient Andrew Rosendorf brings us a profoundly moving play on one family’s journey to support their child.

Untitled New Play by Bianca Leigh

From dating, to grandchildren, to late night conversations over junk food, Bianca Leigh’s new play interweaves the lives of three trans women who find connection in the triumphs and struggles of daily life. Last seen at KCRep in the OriginKC: New Works Festival’s Man in Love, Bianca Leigh offers a hilarious, moving, and important look at how we create family.

Handprints by Greta Ogelsby

You’ve loved Greta Ogelsby’s tour-de-force performances in KCRep’s A Raisin in the Sun and Fences, and now you can come hear her take the stage for a night with her own incredible story of growing up in a Holy Roller family. Oglesby weaves images of her childhood with breathtaking original songs, and playful storytelling that will have you laughing and crying in one breath.

Damascus by Bennett Fisher

When Lloyd, a stranded white kid, begs Hassan, a Somali American airport shuttle driver, to take him across state lines to catch a rerouted flight, the two wary companions set out on a heart-pounding journey through the Midwestern winter. Victory Garden’s outgoing Artistic Associate Bennett Fisher, brings us a high-stakes, road-rage thriller that delves full-force into the misguided politics of terrorism.

Untitled New Play by Nathan Louis Jackson

Stay tuned for a new play hot-off-the-presses by KCRep’s Mellon Foundation Playwright in Residence, Nathan Louis Jackson.

the ripple, the wave that carried me home by Christina Anderson

Over three generations, the Collen family fights to integrate public pools in a Kansas town. It is a battle that defines them, almost destroys them, and changes them forever. Weaving a powerhouse fugue of voices and memories, Christina Anderson (Man in Love), offers a love letter to her hometown of Kansas City through both searing honesty and buoyant transcendence.

Playwright Slam
Co-hosted by Nathan Louis Jackson and Marissa Wolf

The Playwright Slam brings together Kansas City’s artistic community for a night of theatre revelry in which everyone is invited to participate. The public is invited to bring a 1-3 page script that will be read out loud by actors chosen from the audience.

The Misdirection of Mr J’s Chil’ren by Jennifer Baker
Directed by Sidonie Garrett

Investigating the mystery of her grandfather’s disappearance, a young Black woman confronts a white man about their families’ buried history. With a fresh voice in the Kansas City scene, Baker offers a powerful story of loss and redemption.

FRIDA…A Self-portrait by Vanessa Severo

Experience an exhilarating ride into the world of artist Frida Kahlo’s passionate, tumultuous life. KCRep’s Fox Fellowship Resident Actor, Vanessa Severo, brings a raw, breathtaking immediacy to the portrait of this luminary artist.

Laid to Rest by Donnetta Lavinia Grays

When his fatal shooting stirs a community into fevered protest, Vanda’s son Clarence becomes yet another hashtag in the ongoing fight against police brutality. Grays takes us into a riveting world of a community’s response to violence and a mother’s journey of activism and healing.

Redwood by Brittany Allen
Directed by Chip Miller

When Meg and Drew–a perfectly happy interracial couple–discover that their families were once connected as slaves and masters in antebellum Kentucky, they’re forced to acknowledge ghosts. A hip-hop dance class Greek chorus and opinionated, long-dead ancestors appear to guide the couple as they decide how ancient grievances ought to affect their modern relationship. Allen, part of the Ensemble Studio Theatre’s Youngblood collective, brings us a time and space-bending dramedy of manners gone very far South.

Unreliable by Dipika Guha

Gretchen is a lawyer who represents terrorist suspects. Or is she? Her mother says she’s a secretary. And she might be falling in love with one of her clients. Did we mention lives are on the line? Playwright Dipika Guha, currently under commission at Manhattan Theatre Club and South Coast Rep, brings us a wild ride with this funny, moving absurdist play that keeps the audience guessing.

Click by Jacqueline Goldfinger
Directed by Marissa Wolf

This fast, bright, dizzying epic play follows a group of college students involved in a frat rape that goes viral. As we spin forward in time over 15 years, the characters create virtual reality identities that blur time and space. Goldfinger, 2017 Yale-Horn Drama Prize for Emerging Playwright, offers a Sherlock and Moriarty like heart pounding thriller you won’t want to miss.

Black Butterflies by Darren Canady
Directed by Lauren Spencer

Following the life of three teenage girls in juvenile detention, Black Butterflies offers a searing, beautiful look at resilience and humanity from within a broken education and justice system. Award winning Kansas City playwright Darren Canady, offers a riveting drama that will leave you breathless.


Script Submission Policy:

Unfortunately, due to the volume of scripts received, we are unable to accept or to respond to unsolicited submissions.  We have strong relationships with new play development centers across the country and we strongly encourage you to pursue relationships directly with these organizations, including Mid-West Dramatists Center (KC), Playwrights’ Center (MN), The Lark (NY), Playwrights Foundation (SF).