The 60-year-old organization dedicated to the development of professional playwrights has engaged the following writers, who will spend 20 minutes writing a play based on an idea by a bidder: Adam Bock (Obie for The Thugs, Soho Rep; The Receptionist, MTC), writing a song with composer Todd Almond; Eisa Davis (Pulitzer finalist for Bulrusher); Marcus Gardley (Dance of the Holy Ghost, Yale Rep); Jason Grote (1001, P73); Sarah Hammond (Green Girl, Summer Play Festival); Daniel Alexander Jones (Bel Canto, Actors Express); Ellen Maddow (Obie for Painted Snake in a Painted Chair, The Talking Band); Donald Margulies (Pulitzer winner for Dinner with Friends, Obie for Sight Unseen, MTC); Melanie Marnich (A Sleeping Country, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park; HBO's "Big Love"); Suzan-Lori Parks (Pulitzer winner for Topdog/Underdog; Master Writer Chair, Public Theater); and Sarah Ruhl (Pulitzer finalist for The Clean House; Eurydice at Second Stage).
The evening begins with an auction, where bidders compete for the chance to commission a playwright. The highest bidder for each work sits down for a brief conference with the playwright to discuss the details of their commission. The writer then has exactly 20 minutes to complete the work. The evening culminates with the presentation of 12 new works by a company of 12 actors and three directors.
Their plays will be read by a cast that includes Lynn Cohen ("Sex and the City"), Tony winner Jim Dale ("Pushing Daisies," Barnum, Joe Egg), Yvette Ganier, Sue Jean Kim, Keith Randolph Smith, Robbie Sublett (Chicago Shakespeare's Amadeus), Ed Vassallo, Chris Wells, and a company of four other actors.
Directing the plays will be Sarah Benson (Blasted, Soho Rep), Kip Fagan and Tamilla Woodard.
The proceeds from the evening will benefit the resident playwrights of New Dramatists. In keeping with the current economic climate, the theme of the evening will be "Nocturnal Commissions: A Stimulus Package." Nocturnal Commissions will take place at New Dramatists, 424 West 44th Street (between 9th and 10th Avenues) on March 9. Doors open at 6 PM, with the new play auction beginning at 6:30 PM, a buffet dinner at 8 PM, and the performance of commissioned works at 9 PM. New Dramatists' artistic director Todd London is the evening's auctioneer, and actor/comedian Nancy Giles serves as the Mistress of Ceremonies for the performance.
Admission to the evening is $125. Space is extremely limited. Call Cara Scarmack at (212) 757-6960, ext. 16 or email CaraScarmack@newdramatists.org to purchase tickets.