NEW WORK DEVELOPMENT
American Blues Theater develops the classic plays and musicals of tomorrow. More than 65% of our theatrical events are world and Chicago premieres. Our new play development consists of a variety of programs – including world and Chicago premieres, the nationally-recognized Blue Ink Award for playwriting, the annual Ripped Festival of new short-plays, and development of new full-length plays and musicals. American Blues Theater does not accept unsolicited scripts.
BLUE INK AWARD for playwriting
The nationally-renowned Blue Ink Award for playwriting 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 was 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Each year American Blues Theater accepts worldwide submissions of original, unpublished full-length plays.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. The 2023 winning playwright receives a monetary prize of $2,500. 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 for playwriting open August 1, 2023.
Send any questions to Associate Artistic Director Elyse Dolan – ElyseD@AmericanBluesTheater.com.
2024 Semi-finalists, finalists, and the award winner will be notified January – March 2024.
Read about the 2023 BLUE INK AWARD WINNER, FINALISTS, & SEMI-FINALISTS.
2024 SUBMISSIONS OPEN
2023 BLUE INK AWARD to KRISTOFFER DIAZ
Things With Friends
Featured Finalists: Audrey Cefaly (Trouble), Victor Lesniewski (Cold Spring), Gloria Majule (Uhuru).
Finalists: Amanda L. Andrei (Mama, I wish I were silver), Kimberly Dixon-Mays (When Given a Choice, Bleed), Emma Gibson (LUMIN), Keiko Green (Hells Canyon), Monet Hurst-Mendoza (Blind Crest), Deepak Kumar (House of India), Matthew Libby (Sisters), Tlaloc Rivas (DIVISIDERO), Nia Akilah Robinson (The Great Privation: How to flip ten cents into a dollar), Elaine Romero (Hoverland), Marcus Scott (There Goes The Neighborhood), SEVAN (You, The Fire, and Me), Liba Vaynberg (The Matriarchs), LaDarrion Williams (Bridging the Gap).
Semi-finalists: Jaisey Bates (Real Time remix), Cris Eli Blak (Brown Bodies on a Blue Earth), Brendan Bourque-Sheil and Madison Smith (Dogrose Patrol), Laura Maria Censabella (Beyond Words), Aaron Coleman (Tell Me I’m Gorgeous at the End of the World: The Last Gay Play), Nelson Diaz-Marcano (When the Earth Moves, We Dance), Ramón Esquivel (¡O Cascadia!), Gina Femia (lisa; a fantasia), Alyssa Haddad-Chin (Off-White; Or the Arab House Party Play), Darrel Alejandro Holnes (Franklin Ave), Jessica Kahkoska (In Her Bones), M.J. Kang (The Battle of Saratoga), Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj (stop killing black people), Zizi Majid (They Came In The Night), Eric Marlin (and come apart), Josie Nericcio (619 Hendricks), Peter Pasco (Yoli, Alfredo, y la vida), Jason Gray Platt (Homeowners), Audley Puglisi (The Misplaced Saints), Andre R. Hogan II (The Hot Wing Special), Iraisa Ann Reilly (Saturday Mourning Cartoons), Lia Romeo (Greek Tragedy), Phillip Christian Smith (Riverside Drive), Jonathan Spector (Best Available), Gina Stevensen (Breakfalls), Steven Strafford (The Model Congressman), Ellis Stump (Once on Rumspringa), Caridad Svich (Joan of the Dockyards), James Anthony Tyler (Into the Side of a Hill), Hope Villanueva (Brackish), Mary Weems (Crack the Door for Some Air), Deborah Yarchun (Great White).
PREVIOUS BLUE INK AWARD WINNERS
2022 – The Reapers on Woodbrook Avenue by Mardee Bennett
2021 – Refugee Rhapsody by Yussef El Guindi
2020 – Recent Unsettling Events by Andrea Stolowitz
2019 – Alma by Benjamin Benne | world premiere American Blues Theater, Chicago, 2022; Center Theater Group, L.A., 2022
2018 – Welcome to Matteson! by Inda Craig-Galván
2017 – Hype Man by Idris Goodwin | world premiere Company One, Boston, 2018
2016 – The Wind and the Breeze by Nathan Alan Davis | world premiere Cygnet Theatre, San Diego, 2018
2015 – Other Than Honorable by Jamie Pachino | world premiere Geva Theatre Center, NY, 2017
2014 – Comden Mall Community Activists by Douglas Post
2013 – Graveyard of Empires by Elaine Romero | world premiere 16th Street Theater, Chicago, 2015
2012 – American Myth by Christina Telesca | world premiere American Blues Theater, Chicago, 2014
2011 – American Home by Stephanie Walker | world premiere, Pasadena, CA, 2017
THE RIPPED FESTIVAL
Chicago’s Original – Est. 2009
HISTORY – Our Ripped: The Living Newspaper Project began in 2009 with a series of staged readings of short plays based on the 1930s WPA era program “The Living Newspaper” and Federal Writers’ Project, enabling artists such as Ralph Ellison, Susan Glaspell, Zora Neale Hurston, Eugene O’Neill, Studs Terkel, and Richard Wright. Since our inaugural 2009 launch, we’ve presented 21 events and utilized 610+ artists that feature short plays ripped from today’s headlines.
In 2013, we expanded our staged readings into the sold-out, one-night-only, annual event – The Ripped Festival. All proceeds of these annual events benefit our free arts education program, including “The Lincoln Project” in Chicago Public Schools. In addition, we showcase short plays from CPS students who’ve completed our course.
Due to the 2020-2021 pandemic and industry shutdown of live events, we presented The Ripped Festival as an online library, featuring 30 short plays throughout the month of June. Selected scripts were used during a theater course at the University of California – Berkeley.
Our annual festival cultivates new material and allows audiences to discuss topical issues together. American Blues Theater provides community service and raises awareness through creative collaborations. The following organizations have been supported by Ripped events since its inception in 2009: AgrAbility, American Indian Chicago, Chicago Public Schools, Greater Chicago Food Depository, Illinois Farm Bureau, Lincoln Park Community Shelter, NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, No Kid Hungry, University of Chicago’s Urban Education Teachers Program, and more.
2022 THE RIPPED FESTIVAL ONLINE LIBRARY
2021 THE RIPPED FESTIVAL ONLINE LIBRARY
SIGN UP FOR BLUES NEWS:
Subscribe to our monthly newsletter for performance updates, special offers, information about our artists, and exclusive events!