AUGUST 12 & 13, 2023

Join us for our 2-day festival of new plays. Celebrate the 2023 Blue Ink Award recipient Kristoffer Diaz and featured finalists Audrey Cefaly, Victor Lesniewski, and Gloria Majule. Festival passes are officially sold out! Individual tickets can be purchased HERE or by calling (773) 654-3103. Pay-what-you-can and industry tickets, subject to availability, should be requested via Refreshments and beverages will be served. All readings take place at our administrative office – 4809 N. Ravenswood Ave, Suite 221. Free parking is available.  For more information, read our program  and Backstage Guide (downloadable pdf).

Limited seating capacity – this festival will sell out!

1:00 PM – THINGS WITH FRIENDS by Kristoffer Diaz + reception  [SOLD OUT – wait list only]
4:00 PM – COLD SPRING by Victor Lesniewski

1:00 PM – UHURU by Gloria Majule
4:00 PM – TROUBLE (at the Vista View Mobile Home Estates) by Audrey Cefaly  [NEARLY SOLD OUT.]


About the Plays

THINGS WITH FRIENDS   (winner of 2023 Blue Ink Award)
by Kristoffer Diaz
directed Dexter Bullard
Saturday, Aug 12 at 1:00pm

featuring Karen Aldridge, Manny Buckley, Sandra Delgado, Maya Hlava, Steve Key^, & Flaco Navaja

Manhattan. Burt and Adele are hosting a dinner party. Steak is on the stove. The George Washington Bridge has collapsed into the Hudson. Kristoffer Diaz has written a play about it. I’ve already said too much.

To request a perusal script, please contact

Kristoffer Diaz is a playwright, librettist, screenwriter, and educator. His play The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. Other full-length titles include Welcome to Arroyo’s, Reggie Hoops, Hercules, and The Unfortunates. His work has been produced, commissioned, and developed at The Public Theater, Dallas Theater Center, Geffen Playhouse, ACT, Center Theatre Group, The Goodman, Second Stage, Victory Gardens, and Oregon Shakespeare Festival, among many others. Awards include the Guggenheim, Jerome, Van Lier, NYFA, and Gail Merrifield Papp Fellowships; New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award; Lucille Lortel, Equity Jeff, and OBIE Awards; and the Future Aesthetics Artist Regrant, among others. As a screenwriter, Kristoffer has developed original television pilots for HBO and FX, written for the first season of Netflix’s GLOW, and adapted the musical Rent for FOX. Kristoffer teaches playwriting at New York University. He is an alumnus of New Dramatists and a member of its Board of Directors, and the current secretary of the Dramatists Guild Council.


by Victor Lesniewski
directed Marti Lyons
Saturday, Aug 12 at 4:00pm

featuring Audrey Billings^, Helen Joo Lee, Jessie Mueller, & Josh Odor

After a teenager accuses his baseball coach of sexual assault, four parents attempt to deal with the response of their close-knit community while the ramifications resound through their own relationships.

To request a perusal script, please go to his New Play Exchange (NPX) page.

Victor Lesniewski‘s plays include The Fifth Domain (World Premiere CATF), Couriers and Contrabands (World Premiere TBG Theatre NYC, Critic Howard Miller’s Best of Off & Off-Off Broadway List), Cloven Tongues (World Premiere The Wild Project NYC), Where Bison Run (NY Times Profile), Khardal (Berkeley Rep’s The Ground Floor), and The Hunt for Benedetto Montone (ANPF).  He has developed work at Roundabout Theatre Company, New York Theatre Workshop, Ars Nova, Geva Theatre Center, SF Playhouse, Playwrights’ Arena, Pioneer Theatre Company, Northern Stage, Palm Beach Dramaworks, Benchmark Theatre, and La Mama Umbria.  Victor is proud to sit on The Dramatists Guild’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Access Committee.


by Gloria Majule
directed by Manny Buckley^
Sunday, Aug 13 at 1:00pm

featuring Kevin Duvall, Luke Halpern, Katie MacLauchlan, & William Anthony Sebastian Rose II

Mshale, a Mount Kilimanjaro tour guide, dreams of marrying a white woman and moving to the West. Sprite doesn’t like white people and sets out to decolonize what he deems “his mountain”. Henry and Frannie are white missionaries who claim to be Tanzanian. As the four journey up to the roof of Africa, the looming ghost of colonialism dictates who gets to reach the peak, and who gets left behind.

To request a perusal script, please contact

Gloria Majule is a playwright from Dodoma, Tanzania presently residing in Seattle, WA. She seeks to tell stories that bring multiple black voices together from across the world, and are accessible to black audiences no matter where they are. She writes plays about Africans and the African diaspora. Gloria is an inaugural recipient of Atlantic Theater Company’s Judith Champion Launch Commission, and is the 2023 winner of the Leah Prize from the Leah Ryan Fund. Her plays have been developed at Vassar’s Powerhouse Theater, The New Group, Premiere Stages, Great Plains Theater Commons, A is For, Alliance Theater, Westport Country Playhouse and Aye Defy. She graduated summa cum laude from Cornell University with a BA in Performing & Media Arts and Spanish, and holds an MFA in Playwriting from Yale School of Drama.


TROUBLE (at the Vista View Mobile Home Estates)
by Audrey Cefaly
directed by Elyse Dolan^
Sunday, Aug 13 @ 4:00pm

featuring Amelia Hernandez, Ann James, Mackenzie Jones^, De’Jah Jervai, & Stephanie Shum

Trouble is a portrait of fierce women in the small (fictional) mill town of Litman, Alabama. The play centers around struggling ex-mill worker Euba on the eve of her “unwanted” birthday party, which her mother Bernie (against Euba’s express wishes) is intent on hosting, Also in the mix are mill workers Lila (8-months pregnant) and Fin (Euba’s best friend), along with YoYo, a local security officer. As the birthday hour approaches, Euba is visited by a raven, sending her spiraling in search for answers to the untimely death of her father. This all-female drama traverses the landscape of family ties, mental illness, addiction, and the trials and tribulations of motherhood.

Audrey Cefaly‘s plays include The Gulf (Edgerton, Lammy, Charles MacArthur Nominee), Alabaster (NNPN Record-Breaking RWP, Kilroys, Calicchio Prize, and Pulitzer-Prize Nominee), Maytag VirginThe Last Wide Open, The Story of Walter, Tell Me Something Good, and Love is a Blue Tick Hound. Cefaly is a Dramatist Guild Foundation Traveling Master. She is published by Concord Theatricals and her plays have been produced by Cincinnati Playhouse, Florida Studio, Florida Rep, City Theatre, Penobscot Theatre, Gulfshore Playhouse, Merrimack Rep, Signature Theatre, Barter Theatre, Vermont Stage, and countless others. Her play Alabaster received an 10-city Rolling World Premiere, the largest in NNPN history.

^Ensemble members and Artistic Affiliates of American Blues Theater

About the Blue Ink Award

The nationally-renowned Blue Ink Award was created in 2010 to support new work. Since inception, we’ve named 13 Award winners, 129 finalists, and 203 semi-finalists. Nearly $10,000 in cash and prizes will be distributed to playwrights in 2023. Each year American Blues Theater accepts worldwide submissions of original, unpublished full-length plays. The winning play will be selected by Artistic Director Gwendolyn Whiteside and the theater’s Ensemble. Cash prizes are awarded to finalists and semi-finalists too.  All proceeds of the administrative fee are distributed for playwrights’ cash prizes.

Submissions for the 2024 Blue Ink Award open August 1, 2023. All submissions must be received by American Blues Theater by August 31, 2023 at 11:59pm. Playwrights may only submit one (1) manuscript each year for consideration.

Learn more >

We wish to express our gratitude to the Performers’ Unions:
through Theatre Authority, Inc. for their cooperation in permitting the Artists to appear in this program.
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