TheatreWorks believes in supporting local and national writers in the earliest stage of development through our recently launched Commissioning Program.

Support our Commissioning Program through the Susan Fairbrook Playwright Fund

From playwright Rajiv Joseph:
“Susan Fairbrook was a woman who loved the theatre, but especially loved playwrights. She was curious and passionate about the process of writing a play. I was always so moved by her interest in my work, and how it transformed from thoughts in my head to words on a page to action on a stage. She was deeply respectful of that mysterious and hard-to-pin down concept of development. Plays do not erupt from a playwright with a few strokes of the pen. They are wrestled with, for years. They are torn up, thrown away, and resurrected. The experience of writing a play is scary, frustrating and, if you’re lucky, worth every last minute. What Susan was interested in doing in her life, and what the Susan Fairbrook Playwright Fund will continue to do, is offer playwrights the time, resources, and encouragement to keep writing. What a simple, but profoundly important idea.”


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Happy Pleasant Valley: An Asian American Senior Sex Scandal Murder Mystery Musical

Music, Book, and Lyrics by Min Kahng

Vlogger “Self-Made” Jade Kim is in hot water for making ageist remarks on her channel. When she learns that her grandmother June is about to get kicked out of Happy Pleasant Valley Senior Apartments, Jade gladly comes to the rescue—in order to record and broadcast her heroine-ism, saving her reputation. What Jade doesn’t count on is the cause of June’s eviction threat: her “active-living” sex life, which seems to be killing the men she sleeps with. June swears that she and her libido are bring framed, and enlists Jade’s help in tracking down the real murderer.

Happy Pleasant Valley seeks to explode the myth that the enjoyment of sex stops after a certain age, and will explore themes of generation gaps, ageism, and finding connection and relevance in the digital age—all with a little bit of good old-fashioned murder thrown in.

MIN KAHNG is an award-winning Bay Area playwright and composer whose works include The Four Immigrants: An American Musical Manga, which debuted in TheatreWorks’s 2016 New Works Festival and received a hit production at TheatreWorks in 2017 that won seven San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards, including “Entire Production – Bay Area.” Kahng’s other works include The Song of the Nightingale, Inside Out & Back Again, and Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. Kahng also wrote the NEA-funded project Story Explorers, an original musical for young audiences with autism. Kahng has participated in the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, Berkeley Rep's Ground Floor Summer Lab, and TheatreWorks' New Works Festival. He has been a Guest Artist at Harvard University, Stanford University, UC Berkeley, San Jose State University and The San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Kahng is a Resident Playwright at Playwrights Foundation, a member of Theatre for Young Audiences USA's Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Task Force, and a proud member of the Dramatists Guild. 



How to Build a Revolution

Book by Lynn Rosen and Pia Wilson
Music and Lyrics by Paula Cole
Directed by Giovanna Sardelli

Three dynamic icons of second wave feminism — Betty Friedan, Helen Gurley Brown, and Flo Kennedy — battle internal and external forces that threaten their crusade for equality in this rousing and irreverent new rock musical from singer-songwriter Paula Cole and playwrights Lynn Rosen and Pia Wilson.

LYNN ROSEN (Book) is a playwright and TV writer. She was just named a 2022 Visionary Playwright by Theater Masters. Her plays have been produced at many theatres including: TheatreWorks Silicon Valley's New Works Festival (Man and Beast directed by Giovanna Sardelli, The Imperialists), San Francisco Playhouse, New Georges, Women's Project (Apple Cove, directed by Giovanna Sardelli), Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Centerstage Baltimore, Studio Theatre D.C., and Working Theater, among others. She is a resident playwright at New Dramatists and is currently commissioned by Theater Masters, Red Bull Theater, and TheatreWorks for How to Build a Revolution. Rosen co-wrote/co-created the award-winning comedic web series Darwin, directed by Emmy-winner Carrie Preston and Greg Ivan Smith, which was named one of the "Top Ten Best Web Series of 2015" by Paste Magazine. She is also creator/writer of comedic web series Hot Air. Rosen recently sold a pilot to a major network, one to a network, and has more in the pipeline.

PIA WILSON (Book) has been a Newark Creative Catalyst grant recipient, Traveling Master for Dramatist Guild Foundation, resident with the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Sundance fellow, and member of the 2008 Emerging Writers Group at The Public Theater. Her plays have been produced by AD Players, Crossroads Theatre, Workspace Collective, Drew University, Adelphi University, Horse Trade Theater Group, and The Fire This Time play festival. Her fiction podcast, If I Go Missing, the Witches Did It, starring Gabourey Sidibe, won a Webby Award for Best Scripted Fiction podcast and was listed as one of the Best New Podcasts of 2021 by Variety and Mashable. In television, Pia was a staff writer for National Geographic's Genius: Aretha and BET’s Sacrifice.
Photo Credit: Joseph Moran


PAULA COLE (Music and Lyrics) rose to prominence in the early 1990s when Peter Gabriel, upon hearing Paula’s debut album Harbinger, invited her to tour the world with “Secret World Live”. Harbinger became a critical success and established Cole’s solo career.

In 1996, Paula Cole released her self-produced, second album This Fire. It was incendiary, a double-platinum smash. The first single, “Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?” catapulted to the Top 10. Cole was nominated for 7 Grammy Awards and was the first woman to be nominated as Producer of the Year with no collaborators. Her second single, the anthemic “I Don’t Want to Wait” dominated charts for a year and then lived again as the well-loved theme-song for Dawson’s Creek.

She was a seminal figure in the formation of the first Lilith Fair, and has performed the world over, for troops in the Persian Gulf with the USO, for small town audiences across America, for worldwide theatergoers, for benefits and charities.

Over her career, Cole has released eleven albums, most of them from her independent label, 675 Records. Cole’s latest recording is a collaboration with Grammy-winning artists Jason Isbell and John Paul White.




Music and Book by Chris Miller
Book and Lyrics by Nathan Tysen
Based on the short story "Eric Hermannson's Soul" by Willa Cather

Featured in the 2019 New Works Festival

In a small prairie schoolhouse at the turn of the last century, the leader of a religious sect persuades Elin Hermannson, wildest fiddler on the Nebraska frontier, to renounce sin and destroy her violin. Two years later, visiting Manhattan socialite Margaret Elliott encounters the now taciturn Elin and vows to save her from her ascetic existence and reawaken her passion for music. Margaret's undertaking proves more dangerous than she thought, as both her and Elin’s lives are forever changed. 

Revival is a co-commission between TheatreWorks Silicon Valley & Playwrights Horizons

CHRIS MILLER (Book, Music) Tuck Everlasting (Broadway 2016): The Burnt Part Boys (Playwrights Horizons/Vineyard Theatre, Lucille Lortel Nominee Best Musical 2011), Fugitive Songs (Drama Desk Award Nominee Outstanding Revue 2008, all have cast albums available at iTunes and Amazon.  Television: Sesame Street, Elmo’s World & The Electric Company. Upcoming: the book, music & lyrics for Ravello (Signature Theatre (VA) American Musical Voices Project), April Twilights, a song cycle for soprano & orchestra using the poetry of Willa Cather, The Goats, a commission for producer Barbara Whitman & Grove Entertainment and with Tysen, Dreamland, for the Educational Theater Association & Concord Theatricals. Proud Graduate of Elon University and NYU.


NATHAN TYSEN (Book and Lyrics) TheatreWorks: Tuck Everlasting. Broadway & West End: Amélie (with composer and co-lyricist Dan Messé, Olivier & Grammy nominations), Tuck Everlasting (with composer Chris Miller; Outer Critics & Drama League nominations). Regional: Paradise Square (Berkeley Rep). Off-Broadway: The Burnt Part Boys (Playwrights Horizons & Vineyard Theatre; Lucille Lortel nomination), Fugitive Songs  (Drama Desk nomination), Stars of David.  TV/Digital: A Killer Party, "Sesame Street," "Elmo's World" and "The Electric Company." Awards from the Kleban, Ebb, Rodgers, and Larson foundations.  Writer/director for Lovewell Institute, creating original musicals with young adults.  MFA NYU Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, BFA Missouri State University.  Husband to writer Kait Kerrigan, father to Lucy & Tess.


 Other Commissioned Artists


IDRIS GOODWIN is an award winning scriptwriter, breakbeat poet, educator and director of The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College. He was recently named a 2021 United States Artist Fellow. In addition to Can I Kick It?, he’s had several publications from Haymarket Books including Inauguration co written with nico wilkinson, Human Highlight: Ode To Dominique Wilkins, and the play This Is Modern Art. He’s appeared on Nickelodeon, HBO Def Poetry, Sesame Street, NPR, BBC Radio, and the Discovery Channel.  His plays include And In This Corner Cassius Clay, How We Got On, Hype Man and Jacked!
Photo Credit: Idris Goodwin



GEETHA REDDY Play’s include A Mahābhārata (Ubuntu) Far, Far Better Things (Shotgun Players/ TheatreFirst), Hela (with Lauren Gunderson, TheatreFirst), Safe House (SF Playhouse), Blastosphere (with Aaron Loeb, CentralWorks). Geetha’s plays Me Given You, Girl in a Box, and On a Wonderverse were part of the Playwright’s Foundation’s ‘In the Rough’ reading series. Safe House and On a Wonderverse were featured in the Bay Area Playwrights Festival. Commissions include: TheatreWorks, SFPlayhouse,  Ubuntu Theatre Project, Shotgun Players, Crowded Fire, the Gerbode Foundation, and PlayGround (3). Her short film Obit appeared at LA Shorts, NY Indie Fest, Bend Film Festival, the GI Film Festival and many others. Geetha is a member of the Dramatist’s Guild, and alumni of the Resident Playwright at the Playwright’s Foundation.




Works and artists we have commissioned in the past include:
  • The Sparrow and the Birdman by Chris Smith and Raquel Bitton
  • Molly’s Delicious(co-commission with Playwright’s Horizons) music by Chris Miller, lyrics by Nathan Tysen, and book by Craig Wright, based on Wright’s play
  • Ernest Shackleton Loves Me (co-commission with La Jolla Playhouse) music by Brendan Milburn, lyrics by Valerie Vigoda, book by Joe DiPietro