The Redhouse Arts Center

A New Three Theatre Complex at City Center

New Works Festival

New Works Festival dirfinal

2021 New Works Festival Winners and Show Information

“We had a lot of great submissions this year, and we could have gone with several of them. I was really impressed with how well crafted the submissions were, plus they all had something important to say. The ones we chose stood out not only in how well they told a story, but their uniqueness.”
- Hunter Foster

Esmeranda’s Gift (Or How to Make a Crossword Puzzle and Solve
Your Life.), By Donna Hoke, Directed by Hunter Foster


Show Description:

“The Puzzlemaker has been hired to make a crossword puzzle–for their ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend. Do they use their puzzlemaking powers for good–or evil? “

Performance of Esmeranda’s Gift (Or How to Make a Crossword Puzzle and Solve
Your Life.)

 February 12 at 7PM (on Facebook Live and Youtube)

Repair of the World, By Paul Sambol, Directed by Temar Underwood


Show Description:

“REPAIR OF THE WORLD follows a typical morning in the life of David, a man in his mid 50’s working in the admissions office of a drug clinic. As we witness his attempts to assist, we come in direct contact with the flip side of The War on Drugs. Not the statistics, not the platitudes, but the anonymous and the unseen facing individual wars against addiction. In a job where empathy is all you’ve got to work with, eventually you have to ask yourself: What is empathy? Is it part of the basic human package? Or is it something we learn? Is it like an endless well you can tap into? Or does it burn out under enough pressure? Is it possible for somebody’s emotional pilot light to get snuffed out? And if that’s the case, how much time and rehabilitation does it take to get it back?”

Performance of Repair of the World

 February 13 at 7PM (on Facebook Live and Youtube)

About the Cast of New Works

Gretchen Martino, The Puzzlemaker in Esmeranda’s Gift

Gretchen Martino is thrilled to be returning to the Redhouse stage for /Romeo and Juliet/! Recent Redhouse credits include /Rent/, /Once Upon a Mattress/, and /A Charlie Brown Christmas/. Other credits include /Love’s Labour’s Lost/ (Maria) and /Macbeth/ (Witch) at Shakespeare in Delaware Park, /Puffs/ (Hannah track) with Rarely Done Productions, /The Man Who Came to Dinner/ (Maggie), /Cabaret/ (Kit Kat Girl), and /The Laramie Project/ (Romaine). She has performed on Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Lines and is a proud graduate of the BFA Musical Theatre program at Fredonia State University. She can also be seen in Redhouse’s upcoming production of /Fun Home/!

John Bixler, David in Repair of the World

John was last seen at the RedHouse in I’m Not Rappaport (with Fred Grandy, Ted Lange and former RedHouse Artistic Director and Co-Founder Laura Austin). Other shows at the RedHouse include Almost Maine, On Golden Pond, La Cage aux Folles, Macbeth (2014 SALT Award – Best actor), and The Baltimore Waltz. Other shows include Music Man, Man of La Mancha (with Terrance Mann) and Guys and Dolls (CRT). John travelled to Alaska to tour the Endurance with Split Knuckle Theatre Co. He can be seen on YouTube with Steve Hayes in Tired Old Queen at the Movies. John graduated magna cum laude with a BFA in Performance from Ohio University.

About the Playwrights

Donna Hoke, Playwright, Emeranda’s Gift

Donna’s work has been seen in 47 states and on five continents, including at Barrington Stage, Barrow Group, Celebration Theatre, Gulfshore Theatre, Queens Theatre, The Road, Writers Theatre New Jersey, Phoenix Theatre, Atlantic Stage, Purple Rose, Skylight, Pride Films and Plays, New Jersey Rep, Hens and Chickens (London), The Galway Fringe Festival, and Actors Repertory Theatre of Luxembourg. Plays include BRILLIANT WORKS OF ART (Kilroys List), ELEVATOR GIRL (O’Neill and Princess Grace finalist), SAFE (winner of the Todd McNerney, Naatak, and Great Gay Play and Musical Contests), and TEACH (Gulfshore New Works winner). She has been nominated for the Primus, Blackburn, and Laura Pels prizes, and is a three-time winner of the Emanuel Fried Award for Outstanding New Play (SEEDS, SONS & LOVERS, ONCE IN MY LIFETIME). An ensemble playwright at Road Less Traveled Productions, she has also received an Individual Artist Award from the New York State Council on the Arts to develop HEARTS OF STONE, and, in its final three years, Artvoice named her Buffalo’s Best Writer—the only woman to ever receive the designation. She is also an author, blogger, crossword constructor, and former Dramatists Guild Council member and New York Regional Rep who now serves as Western New York Ambassador.

Paul Sambol, Playwright, Repair of the World

Paul has had scripts developed in workshops throughout New York, including Manhattan Punch Line, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and BMI’s Librettist Workshop. Seventeen of his plays were produced at Mill Mountain Theatre in Roanoke, Virginia, including THE STRAIGHT MAN, winner of the Norfolk Southern New Play Competition. Two of his ten-minute plays, THE VOICE ON THE TAPE and COLLOQUY, were named finalists at Actors Theatre of Louisville. SO NICE TO COME HOME TO was named a finalist at the Streisand Festival of New Jewish Plays and Phoenix Theatre in Indianapolis. THE VINEGAR SYNDROME received a reading at Long Beach Playhouse in California as part of their New Works Festival. Two of his plays, CORKY BUSH and BADINAGE, were given readings at The Last Frontier Theatre Conference in Valdez, Alaska, winning the Yukon Pacific Playwrights Award and an Audience Choice Award. CORKY BUSH was given a reading at the Soho Theatre in London’s West End and produced at A.C.T. in Anchorage where it was chosen Best New Play, Best Director, and Best Actress by Anchorage Public Radio. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild.

2019/20 New Works Festival Winners

Trophy Room | By Mike DiSalvo


In a warehouse that houses the products made from the world’s most endangered animals, 3 security guards prepare for the arrival of an extremely rare and valuable piece; and in the process confront the fears and prejudices that lie just below the surface. They come to learn that the animals lining the shelves of the warehouse might not be the only endangered species present.

Bisland & Bly | Lyrics by Marialena DiFabbio & Susannah Jones | Music by Marialena DiFabbio | Book & Additional Music by Susannah Jones


In November 1889, Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland set off in opposite directions on a history-making race around the globe to beat Phileas Fogg’s fictional record from Around the World in Eighty Days. Though a world apart, Nellie and Elizabeth found themselves on a journey that would change and connect their lives forever. With a score inspired by American folk and classical musical theatre, Bisland & Bly is the story of two remarkable and remarkably different women who dared to persist in the pursuit of their dreams.

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