Announcing the Boston New Works Finalists

Moonbox Productions is thrilled to announce that it has selected eleven original plays by local playwrights for its 1st Annual Boston New Works Festival.  Moonbox will host the New Works Festival during the 2021/2022 theater season.

For the past year Moonbox Productions has pivoted from normal operations and launched this new initiative dedicated to the cultivation of new works by local artists. A request for proposals went out in the fall of 2020.  Moonbox received more than sixty-five play proposals from local playwrights.  A diverse panel of judges choose the eleven original theatrical pieces that will be part of this first festival and for the next year the submissions will go through an extensive workshop process that will culminate in staged productions.


David Beardsley author of Cursetown

It is 1975 in Boston, and school busing is stoking racial tensions.  William, a community-minded black law student, and Fitzy, a bigoted white man from South Boston, confront each other in a bar during the dramatic sixth game of the Boston-Cincinnati World Series. After this initial meeting, William has little reason to be gracious – but when their paths cross again just before the ’78 Sox-Yankees playoff game, William’s unexpected kindness sparks an unlikely friendship. William and Fitzy’s friendship – and their love of baseball – evolve across thirty years of heartbreaking Red Sox near-misses… but will it be a match for the systemic racism that defines the city they call home?

David Beardsley (he/him/his) lives in Boston and is thrilled to be developing Cursetown with Moonbox Productions. His other full-length plays are Holy and Unruly (Finalist, Ashland New Plays Festival; Semifinalist, Bay Area Playwrights Festival) and Tiny Empty Nest. David is a member of the Playwrights’ Collective at New World Theatre (Londonderry, New Hampshire) and Write On! (CentaStage, Boston). He serves on the Board of Playwrights’ Platform, a collaborative for Boston-area playwrights. He is a member of The Dramatists Guild of America.



Kathleen Cahill and Michael Wartofsky authors of Late, A New Musical

First day back. School was closed, but now it’s open again. Billie is hiding in the supply closet – her refuge – preparing the speech she’s going to make at the school assembly.  Her friends are outside the door, telling her she needs to hurry up, it’s starting. But what is “it”? The assembly? Or the memory of that day? … A day in the life of Billie, Charlotte, Makala, Jake, Katie, Vernell, Ryan, Autumn and Cole. An ordinary American day for nine ordinary American kids. Only some survived.  Late was written as a way to express the writer’s heartbreak about the murder of American school children through gun violence.

Kathleen’s awards include three Edgerton Foundation Awards, the Jane Chambers Playwrighting Award, two Connecticut Commission on the Arts Playwrighting Awards, a Massachusetts Artists Foundation Award, a Rockefeller Grant, a National Endowment for the Arts New American Works Grant, a Drama League Award, and a Pulitzer Prize nomination. She was a DGF Travelling Master in 2019. Her produced musicals include Friendship of the Sea (North Shore Music Theatre) Dakota Sky (Olney Theatre) an opera, Clara, a comic opera cabaret, Fatal Song (most recently Utah Opera)  and a short opera, The Better Man, (Utah Opera). Her new play ONE STONE, won first prize at last summer’s  Mad Cow Theatre Women’s Playwrights Festival.

Michael Wartofsky is a Songwriting Professor at Berklee College where he established an undergraduate minor in Musical Theater Writing and won a Distinguished Faculty Award in 2018.  His 2019 album All the Possibilities: Broadway Sings Wartofsky on Yellow Sound Label features twelve breathtaking Broadway voices interpreting his original songs.  Composer of Car Talk: The Musical!!! and Cupcake (Boston, 2012); music/lyrics for The Man in My Head starring Darius de Haas (NYC 2006); and music for Friendship of the Sea (North Shore Music Theater, 2003).  MFA from the NYU Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program


Kevin Cirone author of The Good Deli

Julia is working as a comedian in Boston when she receives a frantic summons from her stepmom – her estranged father is on his deathbed. She rushes to his side, only to find him seemingly the same wise-ass curmudgeon he always was – only now he’s obsessed with the Italian deli the family visited when Julia was a child.  When her father’s health takes another turn for the worse, Julia and her brother Max set out on a quest to find the deli and give their father the sandwich of his dreams. Fighting the desire to flee her family with the help of a former priest, Julia embarks on a road trip with her family, trying to reconnect with her father while they search for the memory of a mysterious deli that may not even exist.

Kevin Cirone (he/him/his) is a professional actor and emerging playwright from the Boston area who has worked hard to entertain audiences in New England, New York and beyond. Works include THE GOOD DELI (Finalist, B Street Theater New Comedies Festival, Finalist FutureFest 2020), CREATIVE LICENSE, A NEW MUSICAL, (Official Selection, New York International Fringe Festival), WHISKEY NEAT (Official Selection, Boston Theater Marathon), and FOR TIME (Official Selection, Boston Theater Marathon).


Kai Clifton author of Queens

Queens is a story about four queer black men living in New York City. Through storytelling that combines poetry, rhythm, and song, we follow Sky, Bobbi, Alex, and Adrienne as they discover all the juiciness adulthood has to offer: from careers to friendship, love, and sex. Amid it all, they fight for their masculinity, confronting societal pressures without apology.

Kai Clifton is a Boston based Artist. He has been doing theatre since he was 8 and started doing professional theatre at the age of 12. Kai is also a trained musician, and has been training his vocal instrument since he was very young. His specialty is Musical Theatre, Jazz, Gospel/Spiritual music and Classical music. He even went to Italy to to train with professional opera singers when he was a junior in high school. His writing journey began with creative writing, having one of the very first poems they ever wrote for a competition published in the 6th grade. Slowly he started writing more, and more turning poems into plays. Kai has written 3 full length pieces and hopes to create more. He is a loud activist for Black lives, queer lives, and young people and you can expect to see that evident in all of his work.


David Coleman author of Sister School

“I hate this school!” echoes through the halls of the Victoria School for Girls, one of the oldest single-gender institutions in America.  Can a new student, a returning alum, and the head of school change the narrative to show us that single-gender schools are relevant?  And will they be open to recognizing other genders?  Sister School explores the world of an all-girls high school whose time may just be up and the girls who will sing their way into the hearts of all who have ever asked the question, “is this the place for me?”

David Freeman Coleman (he/him/his) – Associate Professor of Theater at Boston Conservatory, Director of Choral Music at the Dana Hall School, Minister of Music at Greater Framingham Community Church, and Lecturer of Music at Tufts University.   Past music direction credits include CHOIR BOY (SpeakEasy Stage – 2020 Eliot Norton Award Nomination for Outstanding Music Direction), MISS YOU LIKE HELL (Company One/A.R.T.).  Performances at the White House, the Vatican, Carnegie Hall.  Recipient of Thomas Dorsey Award from New England Conservatory.  2013 recipient of 2 New England Urban Music Awards. Work with Mariah Carey, Ryan Gosling, Audra McDonald, Patti Labelle, Bobby McFerrin, and Phish.


Catherine Giorgetti author of Rocky Relationships

As tides shift and waves crash, they push and shove the rocks on the beach into new and unexpected places. As  we descend to see life through the rocks’ ever-shifting perspective, we gain a new insight into the ways in which we, too, drift in and out of each other’s’ lives.

Catherine Giorgetti (she/her/hers) is a student at Northeastern University double majoring in Theatre and History and minoring in Playwriting. Originally from Framingham, MA, Catherine has been growing her love of theatre since middle school. She is interested in playwriting, dramaturgy, directing, and acting, and loves using theatre as an explorative and storytelling tool. Catherine is an Ambassador for New Repertory Theater and a College Ambassador for HowlRound Theatre Commons. She loves her family and friends, reading, watching movies, and experimenting with special effects makeup.


Surrey Houlker author of For the Fish

It’s 1974, and we’re somewhere deep in rural America. Thirteen-year-old Susanna goes fishing with her uncle every Sunday, and it’s an almost-religious respite for the two of them. But Susanna’s fierce attachment to animals, absolute disdain for her first name, and estrangement from the men in her life keep her precariously perched between normality and disaster. As the year draws to a close, Susanna and her uncle draw closer, bonded by an understanding very few in their town will ever share. This play is an invitation to take a step back from urban “liberal utopias” and a step towards queerness in the footnotes of America.

Surrey Houlker (she/her/hers) is a Boston-based actor and educator with a deep love for clam chowder and Kevin Kline. A recent Emerson College graduate with a BFA in Theatre Education & Performance, she has worked as a Box Office Manager with ArtsEmerson and with The CORE Org, Tiverton Public Schools, and Ivy Street School. Acting credits include: ‘Love & Information’, ‘Girl in the Machine’, ‘Twelfth Night’ (Emerson College); ‘Hysteria’ (Neo-Political Cowgirls). In her everyday, human life, Surrey also likes to paint and go for long walks. She is so thankful and EXCITED to be able to share ‘for the fish’ with you all!


Nick Malakhow author of Affinity Lunch Minutes

Ben and Jasmine are the only two Black teachers at Penn Valley, a private Ouaker school. Passionate Jasmine is always pushing boundaries, while “agreeable” Ben, the Diversity Dean, has worked his way up the school’s ranks by never making waves. When a racially-charged disciplinary decision ignites divisions at the school, Jasmine and Ben’s collegial relationship – and friendship – will be tested.

Nick Malakhow (he/him/his) is a Dominican and Ukrainian writer and theater educator based in Boston. His full-length work includes Seeing Eye (developed with Victory Gardens, Fresh Ink, finalist for the 2019 O’Neill NPC), A Picture of Two Boys (developed with Abingdon Theatre, Skylight Theatre, the Quarantine Series), and Grit (developed with Playhouse on Park, Theatre@First). Nick was a Company One Playlab Unit member for C1’s 2019 season. He grew up in the diverse town of Teaneck, New Jersey. BA: Swarthmore College, MA: Emerson College


Mary ElizaBeth Peters author of Jonathan

Jonathan is a young man with autism working at a big-box store the week before Christmas – but as the holiday season heats up, his personal aspirations are at odds with the reality of how he is treated.  Will Jonathan push to keep his job, or give up?  Will his employer help him succeed, or get rid of him? Jonathan confronts what we really believe in America: about adults with disabilities, about employment, and about the creature comforts of a retail economy.

Mary ElizaBeth Peters (she/her/hers) is a playwright, director, teaching artist, and access/ inclusion advocate, board member of StageSource, and currently works as an inclusion-based drama teacher for the Boston Public Schools. She holds a Masters Degree in Theatre Education from Emerson College and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Performance Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has worked with American Repertory Theatre, the Huntington, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Actors Theatre, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, and New Repertory Theatre, among many others. Beth is currently publishing a book, Don’t Let Them Kill You, about her experiences with chronic illness.


Gabby Simone Preston author of Silt

Silt is an impossible conversation about unconscious racial violence and how it changes relationships. In an imagined world without accountability, both author and audience confront reality together. Will they – and will the characters – choose acknowledgement or ignorance? Silt offers a challenging and cathartic experience of racial conflict that is at once poetic and disturbing.

Gabby is an artist with interests in performance, writing, new media and sound, who mostly grew up in the DC area and then grew up a bit more in Boston. Gabby aspires to be a teaching artist, to start a performance collective, to design a children’s museum, and to become a master gardener. Gabby thinks often about rising waters, enjoys both trying and failing to predict the future, and mostly makes work about race, gender, & how trapped we don’t have to be.


Rebecca Wright and Kelvyn Koning authors of The Prince and the Painter

In this new fantasy musical, the Hero’s Journey meets the brilliance and queerness of the Jazz Age. After its magic disappears, the country of Fidan is crumbling. Ylber Sassoun, a rebellious young artist, unwittingly holds the key to its survival – but he’s busy trying to outrun his own terrible secret. As he struggles, he befriends a movie starlet, her fiancée, and a strange, serious boy.  Will Ylber and his friends be able to untangle the mystery of the vanished magic before their country – and perhaps reality itself – collapse around them?

Rebecca Wright (she/her) is a writer for both stage and page, based in Portland, OR. She is creating her first musical, The Prince and the Painter, in partnership with Kelvyn Koning. The Prince and the Painter is being developed by Moonbox Productions for the 2022 season. Awards include: Finalist, Moonbox New Works Competition; Second Place, Fusion Magazine Short Story Competition. Rebecca completed a Master of Music in Vocal Pedagogy at the Boston Conservatory, and her goal as a writer is to amplify both queer representation and joy on the musical theater stage.

Kelvyn Koning (he/they) specializes in composing for choir and theatre and in performing as a countertenor and pianist. He completed his Master of Music in Composition from the Boston Conservatory at Berklee and has been commissioned to write pieces for Zeeland HS, Batesville HS, the Da Camera Singers, Quorum, and the Oriana Consort. He is currently the music director at First Baptist Church of Melrose and teaches at the All Newton Music School. Kelvyn is a founding member of the Nightingale vocal ensemble and an accompanist at Boston Latin School and Boston Conservatory. It is Kelvyn’s goal to foster empathy, healing, and social justice for individuals and communities through music.