FST Playwright Collective
New plays are the lifeblood of FST. As Sarasota’s contemporary theatre, we are committed not only to producing the best new plays of today, but also to investing in the creation of the best new plays of tomorrow.
Part of our New Play Development Program, Florida Studio Theatre’s Playwright Collective is a select network of artists dedicated to supporting playwrights at various stages in their careers as they develop new works for FST’s stages.
Florida Studio Theatre provides Collective members with the opportunities, resources, and creative feedback they need to develop their new plays all the way from inception to production. Throughout the process, these artists receive support from FST’s resident Artistic Team.
Playwright Collective members give back to the FST community by serving as guest teachers with the FST School, participating in FST Forums, and mentoring early career playwrights.
“New plays matter because they speak to the contemporary consciousness.
New plays matter because without them we would only have old plays.
New plays matter because they lead to diversity of thought.
New plays matter because they lead to refreshing new ideas.
New plays matter because they capture the spirit of the day.
New plays matter because they speak to the issues of our day.
New plays matter because they are NOW.”
-Richard Hopkins, Producing Artistic Director
Playwright Collective Members
Jason Odell Williams
Mark St. Germain
Honor Killing was actress Sarah Bierstock’s first play, and its WORLD PREMIERE ran for eight weeks at Florida Studio Theatre (FST) to full capacity audiences. It received its second production at Athena Project in Denver, CO. Honor Killing was read at WAM Theater in West Stockbride, CT, as part of the Fresh Takes Series. In 2017, it was one of three plays featured in the New Works Reading Series at the Athena Theater, FST’s Sarasota Festival of New Plays, and the PROJECT W Festival at the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York City (InProximity Theater). Sarah received an award for 2nd Runner up for The Woodward International Playwriting Prize at the University of New Hampshire earlier in 2017, where two readings of Honor Killing were conducted both at the University of New Hampshire and the 3S Artspace in Portsmouth, NH. Honor Killing received Honorable Mention for the Bridge Initiative Playwriting Contest: Playwright of the Year Award, was a Finalist for the 2017 Ashland New Play Festival, a Semi-Finalist for the Bay Area Playwrights Festival (2017), a Semi- Finalist for the Premier Stages 2017 Play Festival, a Semi-Finalist for the Id Theaters 2017 Playwriting Conference, a Finalist for the Hudson River Artists Playwriting Award (2017), 1 of 29 in final consideration for the PlayPenn New Play Development Conference (2017), a Semi-Finalist for 2016 Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, a Semi-Finalist for Stage Left Theatre’s Playwriting Residency (Chicago, 2017), and was part of The John Drew Theater Lab at Guild Hall (East Hampton, NY). Sarah was honored to be commissioned by Center Stage (Baltimore) to participate in the “My America: She” project. Her second play, Mothers & Daughters (MAD), was workshopped at Florida Studio Theatre as part of the NNPN's Women in Playwriting Festival (Spring 2019).
Deborah Brevoort is the award-winning author of plays, musicals, and opera librettos. She is best known for The Women of Lockerbie, which is produced internationally. Her plays, which have been produced at theatres across the US, include: Blue Moon Over Memphis, a Noh Drama about Elvis, The Poetry of Pizza, The Blue-Sky Boys, The Comfort Team, The Velvet Weapon, Into the Fire, and Signs of Life. Her latest, My Lord, What a Night, will open at Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC after a rolling world premiere at the Contemporary American Theatre Festival, and Orlando Shakes. A two-time winner of the Frederick Loewe Award in Musical Theatre for Coyote Goes Salmon Fishing, with Scott Richards, and King Island Christmas with David Friedman. Her latest is Crossing Over, an Amish hip-hop musical with Stephanie Salzman. She has written the librettos for seven operas, which have been produced at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fort Worth Opera, Opera Colorado, and others. Her plays are published by Applause Books, Samuel French, DPS, and No Passport Press. She teaches at Columbia University and NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program.
José Casas is a playwright and Assistant Professor who heads the Playwriting Minor in the Department of Theatre & Drama at the University of Michigan. His plays/books include Flint, the vine, antonia, and 14. His plays, la ofrenda and somebody’s children, were awarded both the Bonderman National Playwriting Award and the American Alliance for Theatre & Education (AATE) Distinguished Play Award. His book, Palabras del Cielo: An Exploration of Latina/o Theatre for Young Audiences was awarded the AATE Distinguished Book Award.
Jeffrey Couchman is co-author (with Scott Alan Evans) of the play Three Wise Guys, based on Christmas stories by Damon Runyon, which premiered Off-Broadway at the Beckett Theatre. He has written the book and lyrics for two musicals: Battleship Potemkin, based on Eisenstein’s classic film, and Blood and Fire, about the beginnings of the Salvation Army in Victorian London. He has written screenplays for Imagine Films, Warner Bros. TV, and other studios. His fiction has appeared in many literary journals. He is author of the book The Night of the Hunter: A Biography of a Film (selected by the Financial Times of London as a Best Book of the Year) and editor of an annotated edition of two film scripts by James Agee, The Night of the Hunter and The African Queen: First and Final Screenplays (University of Tennessee Press). Couchman teaches screenwriting at the College of Staten Island.
Sean Daniels is a Director, Playwright, Husband, Artistic Director, and most exhaustingly, the father to a toddler. As a writer, he has been produced commercially Off-Broadway by Tony Award Winner Tom Kirdahy, and at Arizona Theatre Company, Actors Theatre of Louisville, City Theatre, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, and Dad’s Garage. His play, The White Chip, was a New York Times Critics Pick and is in talks to return when theater does. As a director, he has directed at theaters such the Manhattan Theatre Club (Off-Broadway), The Kennedy Center in Washington DC, to the West End in London. Sean has been named “one of the top fifteen up & coming artists in the U.S., whose work will be transforming America’s stages for decades to come” & “One Of 7 People Reshaping And Revitalizing The American Musical” by American Theatre Magazine. He is the Artistic Director of Arizona Theatre Company, where he first fell in love with a theatre as a kid, though he is a native Floridian, having gone to high school and college there (Go Noles!).
Thomas Gibbons has a long association with InterAct Theatre Company in Philadelphia, which has premiered nine of his plays: Pretending to America, 6221, Axis Sally, Black Russian, Bee-luther-hatchee, Permanent Collection (NNPN Continued Life of New Plays Fund), A House With No Walls (NNPN Continued Life of New Plays fund), Silverhill, and Uncanny Valley (NNPN Continued Life of New Plays Fund). Other plays include The Exhibition and Homer. His plays have also been seen at the National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, Off-Broadway at 59E59 Theatre, Off-off-Broadway at Blue Heron Theatre, Contemporary American Theater Festival, Northlight Theatre, Florida Stage, Unicorn Theatre, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, New Repertory Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company, Center Stage, Kirk Douglas Theatre/Center Theater Group, Aurora Theatre, Roundhouse Theatre, San Diego Rep, and many others. He is the recipient of seven playwriting fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Roger L. Stevens Award from The Fund for New American Plays, the Barrie and Bernice Stavis Playwriting Award, the NAACP Theatre Award, two Barrymore Awards for Outstanding New Play, and a Pew Fellowship in the Arts.
Jaqueline Goldfinger is a playwright and dramaturg. She grew up in the rural South and is primarily known for her work in the Southern Gothic genre. She has also written original plays across genres as well as adapted classic literature for the stage. She is an Affiliated Artist at New Georges and The Lark Playwright’s Center. She is a member of the writers’ labs at Azuka Theatre and The Barrow Group. She won the Yale Drama Prize, Smith Prize, Generations Award, Brown Martin Award, Barrymore Award, and Philadelphia Critics Award. She's been nominated for the Weissberger Award, Blackburn Prize, and Foote Prize.
Kate Hamill is an actor/playwright. Wall Street Journal Playwright of the Year, 2017. Her work includes her play Pride & Prejudice at Primary Stages / HVSF (in which she originated role of Lizzy (Nominee, Off-Broadway Alliance Award), Sense & Sensibility at Bedlam (originated role of Marianne. Winner, Off-Broadway Alliance Award; Nominee, Drama League Award); Vanity Fair at the Pearl Theatre (originated the role of Becky Sharp; Nominee, Off-Broadway Alliance Award), Mansfield Park at Northlight (originated role of Mary Crawford), Little Women at Primary Stages and the Jungle, Dracula at Classic Stage Company (originated role of Renfield) Emma, and Scarlet Letter (both upcoming). Her plays have been produced off-Broadway, at A.R.T., the Guthrie, Seattle Rep, PlayMaker’s, Folger, OSF, Trinity Rep, Pittsburgh Public, Dorset Theatre Festival, Shakespeare Theatre of DC, Dallas Theater Center, Kansas City Rep, Long Wharf, A.C.T. & others; upcoming productions at the Old Globe, Denver Center, Cygnet, McCarter Theatre, & more. She is currently developing a new adaptation of The Odyssey, a Christmas play called Scrooge for Senate; several original plays (Prostitute Play, The Piper - O’Neill NPC Finalist); and In the Mines (a folk musical with music by The Bengsons). Kate is one of the most-produced playwrights nationwide for 3 seasons running (2017-2020). www.kate-hamill.com
Kenneth Jones’ play Alabama Story was a 2016 nominee for the Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award and a 2014 Finalist in the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference. By Fall 2020, it will have been seen in at least 34 cities around the nation since its 2015 premiere by Pioneer Theatre Company. Other plays: Two Henrys (two-time Semi-Finalist in the O’Neill NPC, developed by Pioneer Theatre Company, Hudson Stage Company, Red Mountain Theatre, Pacific Resident Theatre); Hollywood, Nebraska (developed in Off-Broadway’s NewTACTics New Play Festival; Lab Series at Actors Theatre of Indiana; Wyoming Theater Festival); Circa 1976, or Somewhere in the Suburbs of a Swing State Shaped Like a Mitten (O’Neill NPC Semi-Finalist); and Ten Minutes on a Bench. Musicals: It Happened One Christmas, co-conceived with Karen Azenberg (Pioneer Theatre, 2015); Naughty/Nice, with composer Gerald Stockstill (published by stagerights.com); Voice of the City, with composer Elaine Chelton (developed by York Theatre Company and Human Race Theatre Company). He is a member of the Dramatists Guild, BMI and The BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop (Advanced). He writes about his work and advocates for other theater makers at ByKennethJones.com.
Rachel Lynett is a queer Afro-Latinx playwright. Her recent credits include Apologies to Lorraine Hansberry as a semifinalist for the O'Neill Theatre Conference, Rich B*tch as a semifinalist for the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, and commissions with Theatre Lab and Florida Studio Theatre. Her plays have been featured at Barrington Stage Company, Theatre Lab, Theatre Prometheus, Unicorn Theatre, Jobsite Theatre, Laughing Pig Theatre Company, Capital Repertory Theatre, Teatro Espejo, the Kennedy Center Page to Stage Festival, Theatresquared, Equity Library Theatre, Chicago, Talk Back Theatre, Stage Left, American Stage Theatre Company, and Orlando Shakespeare Theatre.
Jason Odell Williams
Jason Odell Williams is a writer and producer originally from Columbia, Maryland. He has been nominated for an Emmy Award, an Off-Broadway Alliance Award, and an L.A. Ovation Award. Two of his plays, Handle With Care and Church & State, are published by DPS and have won two Henry Awards and 3 Theatre Bay Area Awards. Together, those two plays have had over 100 regional productions across the US and Canada. Jason was the winner of the 2012 Hudson Valley Writers Workshop contest and his work has been named as a Semi-Finalist for the 2019 and 2020 National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, a Finalist for the 2018 InterAct Theatre Company’s New Play Award, and a Semi-Finalist for PlayMaker Rep’s 2020 Thomas Wolfe Playwriting Competition. Other plays include: Division Street (CenterStage at the JCC); Someone Else (NC Stage); and Baltimore in Black & White (cell theatre). Upcoming productions of The Whole Shebang and On The Market (theaters to be announced soon). He lives in Manhattan with his wife and writing partner, Charlotte Cohn, their daughter, and rescued dog.
Sandy Rustin is an actress and award-winning playwright recently named to the Broadway Women’s Fund’s inaugural “50 Women to Watch” list. Her comedy, The Cottage, is in development for an upcoming Broadway production directed by Jason Alexander. Sandy’s critically acclaimed adaptation of the cult-hit film, CLUE, is slated for a 2021 National Tour. Sandy's adaptation of MGM’s film, Mystic Pizza, is expected to premiere in early 2021. She is currently developing a new musical revue for Disney Theatrical and a new live experience for Disney Cruises. Both are expected to hit stages in 2021. Sandy created and wrote the Book & Lyrics for Mattel’s American Girl Live, a musical that toured 47 cities in the U.S. Last season, Sandy (and collaborator, Sarah Saltzberg), gave a “thorough feminist scouring” (NY Times) to Rogers & Hart’s I Married an Angel, which they adapted for NYC’s City Center’s Encores! Her sketch comedy musical, Rated P … For Parenthood, opened Off-Broadway at the Westside Theatre, was optioned for TV development with ABC Studios, and is available for licensing through Broadway Licensing. Sandy’s play, Struck, enjoyed critically acclaimed productions at NJ REP and Theatre Raleigh. Her play, Houston, was the recipient of the New American Musical Award, and Sandy’s comedy, Elijah, recently won "Best Play" in the Midwestern Jewish Plays Project. Sandy currently has an original television series in development with MarVista. Sandy is the Founding Co-Artistic Director of Midtown Direct Rep and an advocate for the Meredith Cowden Foundation. She is a Northwestern University graduate and a member of ASCAP, SAG, AEA, and the Dramatists Guild, and is represented by Abrams Artists. This season, Sandy is working on The Suffragette’s Murder, a commission as part of Florida Studio Theatre’s Suffragist Project, in addition to a new scientific comedy, Colliding. www.sandyrustin.com
Mark St. Germain
MARK ST. GERMAIN (Playwright) Mark has written the plays Freud’s Last Session, Dancing Lessons, Best of Enemies, Relativity, and, with John Markus, The Fabulous Lipitones, all seen at FST. Other plays include Ears on a Beatle, Camping with Henry and Tom, The God Committee, and Out of Gas on Lover’s Leap. Mark wrote the perennial musical, The Gifts of the Magi, with composer Randy Courts and Stand By Your Man, The Tammy Wynette Musical, for Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. Television work includes writer/consultant for The Cosby Show and Dick Wolfe’s Crime and Punishment. He co-wrote Carroll Ballard’s film Duma, as well as produced and directed the documentary My Dog, An Unconditional Love Story with Richard Gere, Glenn Close, and others. Mark wrote the award-winning children’s book, Three Cups. He is an Associate Artist at the Barrington Stage Company in the Berkshires.
FST's PLAYWRIGHT COLLECTIVE IN THE NEWS
December 28, 2020 I Sarasota Herald-Tribune I A year of ingenuity in the arts
October 27, 2020 I American Theatre Magazine I Seven Writers Join FST's Playwight Collective
October 26, 2020 I Broadway World I FST's Playwright Collective More Than Doubles in Size, Developing New Work for Sarasota's Contemporary Theatre
September 26, 2020 I Maryland Theatre Guide I 'A Quick 5' with Jason Odell Williams
ARTICLES & PLAYWRIGHT INTERVIEWS