New Play Development
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Stackner Cabaret
November 8, 2019 - January 12, 2020
A Musical That Has Made Millions Laugh
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Quadracci Powerhouse
November 12 - December 15, 2019
A Milwaukee Rep Classic Returns
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Pabst Theater
November 26 – December 24, 2019
Milwaukee's Holiday Tradition!
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General Operating New Play Development Education/Community Engagement Production Support

New Play Development

Every play in the world was once a new play.

We are proud to boast that since 1958, we have produced more than 150 world premiere productions on our stages. As such, the Rep has created the John (Jack) D. Lewis New Play Development Program, named in honor of past Milwaukee Rep Board member John D. Lewis for his passionate belief in the transformational power of the theater. Our goal is to produce new works – both commissioned by The Rep and works by emerging playwrights that have been commissioned by other theaters but not yet performed – that appeal to modern audiences and have the potential to transfer to cities across the nation, reinforcing The Rep as a leader in new play development. Learn more about New Play Development.

Some of the new works commissioned by The Rep include:

The Nerd, 1981

The Foreigner, 1983 

Hula Hoop Sha-Boop, 1991

Work Song, 2000

Grafton City Blues, 2008

Liberace!, 2010

Five Presidents, 2015

American Song, 2016

A Christmas Carol, 2016

One House Over, 2018

You can’t have a titanic classic, you can’t have a groundbreaking work that pushes society forward, and you certainly can’t have a well-loved favorite—unless you have a new play first.

See Your Impact




Commission a new work in the Stiemke Studio.




Support the full developmental workshop for a new work in the Stackner Cabaret.




Provide travel and housing for a playwright during one week of rehearsal.




Research and develop one new play for the Quadracci Powerhouse.




Allow Rep staff to travel to national new work festivals to scout emerging playwrights.




Provide a stipend and transportation for an actor during one week of a developmental workshop.




Purchase enough paper to print 120 new play scripts for consideration.