Long Wharf Theatre is a renowned incubator of new works. For fifty-five years, our audiences have experienced groundbreaking plays before anyone else. Our stage has been a launchpad for the careers of many emerging playwrights whose plays were produced HERE FIRST.

New Works Festival is a yearly invitation to join us behind the curtain, as we workshop new plays by rising playwrights. These playwrights know that we are committed to offering our resources and platform to advance our mission of producing innovative new work HERE FIRST.

Dream Hou$e by Eliana Pipes explores gentrification and the American dream. In a neighborhood where longtime residents are pushed out in favor of newcomers with privilege, how can two sisters determine their responsibility to those that were HERE FIRST?

The Merit System by Edwin Sánchez explores affirmative action and self-worth. How does it feel for those who weren’t HERE FIRST to navigate spaces that offer conflicting messages on whether they’re welcome?

Along with Dream Hou$e and The Merit System, audiences for New Works Festival will experience ancillary music and culinary programming, including a jam session led by Paul Bryant Hudson.


Friday, December 4 

  • 7:00 PM–7:30 PM: Jam Session with Paul Bryant Hudson and local artists [RESCHEDULED to 7:00 PM Saturday]
  • 7:30 PM–9:30 PM: The Merit System by Edwin Sánchez (Live Performance) 

Edwin Sánchez (he/him) is a playwright who’s work includes, La Bella Familia, Trafficking In Broken Hearts, I’ll Take Romance, Diosa, Unmerciful Good Fortune, Icarus, and Barefoot Boy With Shoes On. His work has been produced regionally throughout the United States as well as Brazil, Russia and Switzerland. Among his awards are the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays (CLEAN), three New York Foundation for the ArtsPlaywriting/Screenwriting Fellowships, the Princess Grace Playwriting Fellowship, the Daryl RothCreative Spirit Award and the AT&T On Stage New Play Award. He is on the advisory artist committee for NYFA and teaches playwriting at Wesleyan University. His novel, Diary of a Puerto Rican Demigod is available through Amazon. His play Unmerciful Good Fortune is currently under option with Esperanza Films.

Tatyana-Marie Carlo (ella/she) is a proud Puerto Rican director from Miami FL who received her MFA in Directing from Brown. Former Artistic Director of Micro Theater Miami and former Associate Director of Seminole Theatre in Homestead, FL. She has directed a diverse body of work including: Fade by Tanya Saracho, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot by Stephen Adly Guirgis, She Kills Monsters by Qui Nguyen, Real Women Have Curves by Josefina Lopez, References to Salvador Dali Make me Hot by Jose Rivera, Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris, and several bilingual adaptations of Shakespeare by Kufa Castro and Orlando Hernandez. Most recently she directed the virtual play Subliminal by  Ren Dara Santiago. She has directed plays and/or taught at Brown University, SUNY Purchase, UNC Chapel Hill, New World School of the Arts, and Emerson College. 2019 Matt Harris Directing Fellow at Williamstown Theater Festival.

Chris Waters (he/him) returns to Long Wharf Theatre to act as stage manager for New Works Festival after working on 2018’s Office Hour. Chris has worked internationally with the Shanghai Children’s Art Theatre, Off-Broadway at The Public Theater, and regionally at American Conservatory Theater, Aurora Theatre Company, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, California Shakespeare Theater, The Curran Theatre, Magic Theatre, Santa Cruz Shakespeare, and Z Space. Favorite productions include Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, The Great Leap, Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations, Hand to God, King Lear, Orlando, and A House Tour of the Infamous Porter Family Mansion with Tour Guide Weston Ludlow Londonderry. Waters holds an MA in theater management from UC Santa Cruz.

Alfredo Antillon (he/him) is a Los Angeles native currently working on his MFA in Acting at Brown/Trinity Rep. His Credits include Sweat, Fade,Much Ado About Nothing, A Christmas Carol, Macbeth, Summer and Smoke,  Someone Like Me,  and Jay, Jay and E and The Zigzag Sea.

Vanessa Elise (she/her)  is a multidisciplinary artist who holds a BFA in Theatre from New World School of the Arts. Some previous stage credits include: Miami Motel Stories: Little HavanaandMiMo, Lipstick, Real Women Have Curves , Wrongful Death… , Collective Rage, Waiting for Waiting for Godot, Diego and Drew, Clark Gable Slept Here, and Church. Her original one woman show, Noise: An Interruption was chosen to be performed by New York’s United Solo Theatre Festival off- Broadway in November 2015. Elise was honored with a Silver Palm for Outstanding New Talent and a Carbonell nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her work in Wrongful Death… and Clark Gable Slept Here. She has credits in film and TV, which include the award-winning M3.769. Elise is a proud board member of the South Florida Theatre League.

Ysmael Reyes (he/him) is a NY based Actor from NJ. A son to Dominican parents, Ysmael has worked on stage and on screen in both English and Spanish. He trained at the the Maggie Flanigan Studio.

Elia Saldana (she/her) originated the role of Victoria in Karen Zacarías’s  Destiny of Desire (Arena Stage, Goodman Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, South Coast Repertory, Cincinnati Playhouse). Other credits include FADE,  Ella Enchanted,  Ivy + Bean: The Musical ;  The Mother of Henry,  A Mexican Trilogy (Latino Theater Company);  Family Planning (Chalk Repertory – Ovation Award Nominee);  Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story (Theatre League Regional Tour); and workshops of the musicals American Mariachi (DCPA), and Like Water for Chocolate (New York Stage and Film). Her TV and film credits include: Jane the Virgin, Criminal Minds, The Cleveland Show, Street Level, The LeBrons, Echoes (Best Actress – Nosotros Film Festival). She her B.A. in Theatre, UCSD.

  • 9:30 PM–10:00 PM: Post-show Conversation with Edwin Sánchez and Director Tatyana-Marie Carlo

Saturday, December 5

  • 1:00 PM–2:30 PM: Strength Within Me Brunch and Panel Discussion

Alisa Bowens-Mercado (she/her) is the CEO of Rhythm Brewing and the first Black woman in the state to become a craft beer brewer. Her Rhythm Lager is inspired by her grandmothers, who both enjoyed drinking Miller Lite beers. The beer is currently sold in and around Greater New Haven.

Heather LaTorra (she/her) is the President & CEO of Marrakech, Inc. In 1985, Heather obtained an internship at Marrakech, Inc. through her course of study at Southern Connecticut State University, and years later she has advanced to serve as the President and CEO. When Heather began her career at Marrakech there were about 35 staff working to support 50 people with developmental disabilities and other barriers to independence and opportunity. Today Marrakech employs over 750 staff state wide to support over 1,000 people. Outside of Marrakech, Heather has served as an adjunct faculty member at Southern and has also held classes at the University of Bridgeport’s IDEAL program. Heather currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Workers Compensation Trust, The Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce, Milestones Behavioral Health and is Treasurer of the Soroptimist International, Greater Hartford Chapter.

Marina Marmolejo (she/her) founded DreamKitApp after graduating from the Yale School of Public Health and an anti-poverty advocate that is changing how we engage with communities experiencing homelessness. Marina is courageously innovating in a space that has seen very little innovation over the last decade. She believes homeless agencies are overworked and understaffed, and the current antiquated systems cannot adapt to the rapidly changing needs of folks experiencing homelessness. Marina sees the power of technology, real-time data, and human-centered design to create sustainable solutions for this vulnerable and incredibly resilient population.

Shana Schneider (she/her) is
the founder of FitStyle by Shana and the creator of the Fitstyle Your LIfe approach to fitness that brings fitness into everyday life. By using habit forming principles, your schedule and your living spaces, she shows you how to find opportunities for movement and exercise that fit your life. As a fitness educator and author, Shana has been featured in national magazines, websites and fitness blogs and is seen regularly on WTNH News 8. Prior to working on Fitstyle by Shana full time, she worked for over a decade holding several leadership positions at Yale University. Shana holds a B.A. from Yale University.

  • 7:00 PM–7:30 PM: Jam Session with Paul Bryant Hudson and local artists 
  • 7:30 PM–9:30 PM: Dream Hou$e by Eliana Pipes (Pre-Recorded Performance) 

Eliana Pipes (she/her) is a playwright, actor, and filmmaker. She’s the 2019 recipient of the Academy Gold Fellowship for Women and the Leah Ryan Fund Prize for Emerging Women Writers, and a member of the 20/21 Dramatist Guild Foundation Fellowship cohort.  Her work has been developed or presented at the Playwright’s Realm Scratchpad Series, NNPN/Kennedy Center MFA Playwright’s Workshop, Ars Nova ANT Fest, San Diego Rep New Latinx Plays Festival, Two River Theater Crossing Borders Festival, Kitchen Dog Theater New Works Festival, The Fire This Time Festival, and the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Festival. She received a BA in English from Columbia University, and has just completed the coursework on an MFA in Playwriting from Boston University. 

David Mendizabál (he/him) is a director/designer, one of the Producing Artistic Leaders of the OBIE-Award winning The Movement Theatre Company, and Associate Artistic Director of The Sol Project. Select directing credits include: Don’t Eat the Mangos (Magic Theatre/Sundance/Sol) On The Grounds of Belonging (Long Wharf Theatre), the bandaged place (NYSAF), Then They Forgot About The Rest (INTAR), The Maturation of an Inconvenient Negro, or iNegro (Cherry Lane Mentor Project), And She Would Stand Like This, Look Upon Our Lowliness, and Tell Hector I Miss Him (Atlantic / Drama League Nomination). He is a member of the inaugural Soho Rep Project Number One Residency and Ars Nova Vision Residency. Alumnus of The Drama League Directors Project, LAByrinth Intensive Ensemble, NALAC, artEquity, and Lincoln Center Directors Lab. David was a participant in the TCG Leadership U: One-on-One program, where he was the Artistic Associate at Atlantic Theater Company 2017-2018.

Amandina Altomare (she/her)(AEA) is a proud performer with the USO Show Troupe which entertains military and veterans around the world. Her Off Broadway credits include: Class Act, Knock It Off, FatAsses, the Musical, STIFF; and favorite regional credits include: The Hunchback of Notre Dame (The Hillbarn Theatre), Xanadu, Gypsy featuring Leslie Uggams, A Funny Thing…, and A Chorus Line (Connecticut Repertory Theatre), and The House of Bernarda Alba (The Arscht Center). Her film/TV credits include: Little America (Apple TV+). She earned her BFA and MT from the University of Miami. @iam_amandina www.amandinaaltomare.com

Cher Alvarez (she/her) is beyond thrilled to be collaborating for the first time with Long Wharf Theatre. This story has truly resonated with her and she is humbled to share these beautifully threaded words with everyone. She is a proud graduate of Webster Conservatory where she earned her B.F.A. in Musical Theatre. She has proudly played on the stages of Steppenwolf Theatre, The Goodman Theatre, Writers’ Theatre, Drury Lane, and American Players Theatre. TV credits include: Chicago PD, Shameless, and Soundtrack. She hopes you enjoy this virtual reading. Be kind! Light and love.

Jacqueline Correa (she/her) as regional theatre credits that include: The Crucible, Murder on the Orient Express (Resident Ensemble Players), JQA (Arena Stage), Native Gardens (Guthrie Theater & Arena Stage), Macbeth (Arkansas Rep), The Women of Padilla (Two River Theater), Brick City (Premiere Stages), Hamlet (Guthrie/The Acting Company), Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead (Guthrie/The Acting Company), Confluence (Guthrie Theater), On the Verge (CATF), American Tet (CATF), Macbeth (Pennsylvania Shakespeare Theater) Other stage credits include: Peter Pan directed by Mark Lamos, The Cradle Song directed by Jonathan Bank and The Gardens of Anuncia produced by The Public Theater.

Film credits include War Words, The Dog Days, and Once a Year. She holds an MFA from the Professional Theater Training Program at The University of Delaware.

GARCíA (they/them) is a queer pen clicker, sandwich eater, actor and artivist born and raised in the depths of South Side Chicago. They got their start as a performer after joining a local youth ensemble with Free Street Theater where they collaborated on productions that examined racial, social, and economic disparity within their city’s communities. They are best known for their breakout role as ‘Jake Rodriguez’ in Netflix’s Tales of The City (2019), opposite Laura Linney, Ellen Page & Olympia Dukakis. They recently guest-starred on Freeform’s Party of Five (2020) as ‘Matthew’ and were nominated for a Lucille Lortel award in Bess Wohl’s Continuity (dir. Rachel Chavkin, 2019) for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play. They are currently earning their BFA at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Everything they do they do with love.

  • 9:30 PM–10:00 PM: Post-show Conversation with Eliana Pipes and Director David Mendizábal

Sunday, December 6

  • 1:00 PM–2:30 PM: Panel conversation about new play development with artistic directors Jacob G. Padrón, Stephanie Ybarra, Hana Sharif, and Robert Barry Fleming