New American Voices

New Play Development at Queens Theatre

New American Voices (NAV), Queens Theatre's new play development program, is dedicated to supporting writers who represent the rich cultural diversity of the evolving populations of the borough of Queens, New York City and the United States.  Since its inception in 2002, approximately 100 new works have received Play Readings, Showcases and Full Productions on Queens Theatre's three stages (click here for a full list). Audiences have the unique opportunity to participate directly in the development process through post-show discussions with the playwrights, directors and actors.

Unlike many New York City play development programs, which present Play Readings to industry "insiders," New American Voices’ audiences are a diverse and dedicated group of theatergoers who cross ethnic, economic, and generational lines. Many writers whose early drafts or premiere productions of their work were presented through NAV have gone on to prominent careers in theatre, including Kristoffer Diaz, Qui Nguyen, Heather Raffo, Rajiv Joseph, Saviana Stanescu, Caridad Svich, Cori Thomas, Thomas Bradshaw, Lloyd Suh, Yusef El Guindi and Lauren Yee.

All readings are free of charge, but reservations are strongly encouraged.

Director of New Play Development: Rob Urbinati is a freelance director and writer based in New York City. He has directed at The Public Theater, Culture Project, Abingdon Theatre, Classic Stage Company, Pearl Theatre, New York University and theatres and universities across the country. He is Director of New Play Development at Queens Theatre, a position he has held since 1998. Rob’s plays include Mama’s Boy, Hazelwood Jr. HighMurder On West Moon Street and Death by Designpublished by Samuel French. UMW: University of Mostly WhitesThe Queen Bees and Cole Porter’s Nymph Errant are published by Steel Springs Stage Rights. His book, Play Readings: A Complete Guide for Theatre Practitioners is published by Focal Press/Routledge. His plays have received over 200 productions worldwide. Rob is a member of the Dramatists Guild and the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers.

Associate Literary Manager: Lisa Garza has over 20 years of  theater experience in Houston, Texas. Directing credits include Ten Little IndiansMousetrapA Company of Wayward SaintsMoon Over Buffalo, On Golden Pond, A Streetcar Named DesireThe Miracle WorkerDriving Miss DaisyCome Blow Your Horn, Tally’s Folly, CrownsWest Moon StreetThe Quiltmaker’s GiftDeath By Design (world premiere), A Lesson Before DyingThe 39 StepsOur TownThe Beaux StratagemThe Foreigner, Freud’s Last SessionThe Woman In Black, and Sylvia. She also has over 50 scenic design credits, including Peter Pan (winner of AACT 2015 National Competition), A Christmas Carol, and Bonnie and Clyde (both winners of Broadway World Houston Best Scenic Design in 2016 and 2019 respectively.) She also serves as a lead volunteer in the Technical Arts Resources Department at Salem Lutheran Church in Tomball, Texas.

Previous Associate Literary Managers: Nastaran Ahmadi, Vincent Carlson-Brown, Wesley Cromwell, Mashuq Mushtaq Deen, Adrianna Dufay, Janet Gupton, Melissa Maxwell, Michael Phillips, Tom Rowan, Dana Smith, Greg Thorson, David Wintersteen, Cary Wong

Cast of Strong Face reading

New American Voices Submission Policies

Queens Theatre is committed to providing opportunities for all writers, regardless of age or experience. We do not require that a writer has representation, or that scripts are submitted through an agent. However, we only accept submission of plays which respond directly to our NAV Series intentions and values. At this moment in time, we are not sure when the Theatre will reopen for onsite, indoor performances. Any submission will be considered for a Virtual Reading, an outdoor performance at Queens Theatre in 2021, or an indoor Reading or Performance when the Theatre reopens.

New American Voices Mission Statement

NAV accepts submissions of unpublished plays, giving preference to unproduced work by underrepresented voices. We are particularly interested in plays which reflect contemporary issues from various perspectives including race, culture, language, disability, nationality and gender. We accept full-length plays only, at least 70 minutes. Currently, we are looking for plays with small casts (2-4), solo shows and cabaret acts. No childrens shows, and please, one play per writer.

Submission Details

Email a letter of inquiry, synopsis, cast breakdown, resume and developmental/production history to Director of New Play Development Rob Urbinati at In the subject line, please include the following: “NAV Submission” and the title of the play. Please do not send scripts in this first step. Page samples may be requested following an email inquiry. For solo shows or cabaret act where the writer is also the performer, a video recording of selections from the play will also be requested.

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