Palm Beach Dramaworks Presents

the Perlberg Festival of New Plays

January 3-7, 2024

(Wednesday, October 25, 2023) West Palm Beach, Fla. – New name, same popular event! The Perlberg Festival of New Plays, formerly the New Year/New Plays Festival, ushers in 2024 at Palm Beach Dramaworks with readings of five stimulating scripts that are still in development. Hosted by The Dramaworkshop, the company’s lab for developing new plays, the sixth annual festival runs from January 3-7, and kicks off with PBD Producing Artistic Director William Hayes interviewing Academy Award-winning actress Estelle Parsons (January 3) and acclaimed playwright Mark St. Germain (January 4). 

The plays chosen for the 2024 festival are Proximity by Harrison David Rivers (3pm Friday, January 5), Stockade by Andrew Rosendorf (7:30 pm Friday, January 5), Color Blind by Oren Safdie (3pm Saturday, January 6), Everything Beautiful Happens at Night by Ted Malawer (7:30 pm Saturday, January 6), and Little Row Boat by Kirsten Greenidge (3pm Sunday, January 7). The scripts continue to develop under the auspices of The Dramaworkshop leading up to the festival, and are read onstage in front of an audience.   

The festival recently received an unprecedented gift of $500,000 from its executive producers, Diane and Mark Perlberg. “It’s a game-changer,” said Hayes, “assuring the festival’s future for years to come and enabling continued growth.” The name of the event was changed to acknowledge the Perlbergs’ generosity. 

Diane and Mark Perlberg

“The development and production of new works is the lifeblood of theatre,” said Mark Perlberg. “There’s been a lot written lately about the many theatres throughout the country that are struggling. These unsettling times make it more difficult for playwrights to get their work out into the world. But PBD is zealous about nurturing and producing new plays, and the festival has proved to be an invaluable experience for artists and audiences alike. Diane and I recognize its potential to have a great impact on theatre throughout the country, and are delighted to assist in whatever way we can.”

The inclusion in the 2024 festival of onstage interviews with theatre luminaries is one indication of the growth made possible by the Perlbergs’ gift. Parsons appeared at PBD in My Old Lady (2014) and has originated numerous roles in new plays over her decades-long career. PBD helped develop St. Germain’s script for Freud’s Last Session and produced its Southeastern premiere (2011). A feature film based on the play, starring Anthony Hopkins, will be released in December.

Estelle Parsons

Mark St. Germain

Tickets for the festival are on sale now, and can be purchased online at [email protected], or by calling the box office at 561.514.4042 x2. Tickets are $20 per play, or $75 for all five plays by using the code FESTIVAL. The interviews with Parsons (January 3 at 7pm) and St. Germain (January 4 at 4pm) are $10 each for those with tickets to any play reading, $20 each for interviews only.


Diane and Mark Perlberg are the executive producers of the Perlberg Festival of New Plays. The associate producers are Penny Bank and Sandra and Bernie Meyer. The festival is sponsored in part by the Maurer Family Foundation. Bruce Linser is the director of The Dramaworkshop.    

The Plays:  


by Harrison David Rivers

Friday, January 5 at 3pm

Newly divorced and sheltering at home with her two children at the height of the pandemic, Ezra hasn't been touched by another adult in eight months. At a virtual PTA meeting, she is introduced to the charismatic Irie, another single parent, and their immediate attraction causes Ezra to reconsider the limits of her Covid bubble.


by Andrew Rosendorf

Friday, January 5 at 7:30pm

Five years after the end of WWII, a group of gay soldiers gathers for a reunion on Fire Island. They are met by an outsider with a surprise that will cause them to question whether history is best left in the past. At a time when “security risk” is government code for “homosexual,” it will take courage for them to step out of the shadows and confront their present and future.


by Oren Safdie

Saturday, January 6 at 3pm

In 2009, a jury was tasked with selecting an architect to design the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. This play is a fictionalized account of how that panel of diverse people and ideas may have come together – or been pulled apart – in making its decision, and in so doing, challenges the audience to consider the state of our current civil discord.


by Ted Malawer

Saturday, January 6 at 7:30pm

Ezra is a successful children’s book writer. Nancy is his longtime editor. They are always on the same page, until someone new threatens to disrupt their friendship and influence Ezra’s next book. Set in 1980s Manhattan, this play explores the legacy of an artist, the meaning of intimacy, and the stories we tell ourselves to survive.


by Kirsten Greenidge

Sunday, January 7 at 3pm

When 14-year-old Sally Hemings travels to Paris as nursemaid to her half-sister’s young daughter, the world appears to have opened much wider than Thomas Jefferson’s post-revolutionary Virginia plantation on which she was born. It is not until Sally’s brother James, also in France as he trains to be a chef de cuisine, points out the peculiarities of their circumstances that Sally begins to question the kindnesses their “master” has extended to them. 

The Playwrights: 

HARRISON DAVID RIVERS is an award-winning playwright, librettist, and television writer based in St. Paul, Minnesota. His plays include we are continuous (Williamstown Theatre Festival, Geva Theatre Center, New Conservatory Theatre Center), the bandaged place (Roundabout Theatre, NYSF), and This Bitter Earth (NCTC, Penumbra, About Face, Theater Alliance, Richmond Triangle Players, The Road, InterAct, TheatreWorks Hartford, Seattle Public, Blank Page), among others, and the musicals Five Points with Douglas Lyons and Ethan Pakchar, We Shall Someday with Ted Shen, and I Put a Spell on You with Nubya Garcia. His television credits include One of Us Is Lying (Peacock), The Nevers (HBO), and Wytches (Amazon). Harrison is a recipient of McKnight, Jerome, and Van Lier Fellowships; residencies with the Siena Art Institute, NYTW, Williamstown, Geva, and Duke University; and commissions from Roundabout, Transport Group, Penumbra, Geva, La Jolla Playhouse, and Minnesota Opera. He sits on the board of directors of The Movement Theatre Company and the Playwrights’ Center. MFA: Columbia University

ANDREW ROSENDORF Plays have been produced or developed at La Jolla Playhouse, MCC Theater, KC Rep, Signature Theatre, Florida Stage, the National New Play Network (NNPN), Unicorn Theatre, American Theater Company, Nashville Rep, City Theatre, Geva Theatre, Actor’s Express, Curious Theatre Company, and Local Theater Company. He is the recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award; a Venturous Theater Fund grant; a MAP Fund grant; and a NNPN Rolling World Premiere for Refuge, which he co-created with Satya Jnani Chávez. He is an alum of the Goodman Theatre’s Playwrights Unit and NNPN’s playwright-in-residence program, and has been a fellow of SPACE on Ryder Farm, Tofte Lake Center, VCCA, and MacDowell. At the Playwrights’ Center, he was both a McKnight and Jerome Fellow, as well as a Core Writer. He is an associate artist with Local Theater Company and currently in development on a television pilot with Amblin.

OREN SAFDIE attended the Graduate School of Architecture at Columbia University before turning his attention to writing. He had a hit Off-Broadway (2003) and in London (2006) with Private Jokes, Public Places, which sent shock waves through the architecture community and was named one of the top ten new plays of the decade by The Wall Street Journal. His next play, The Last Word, was produced Off-Broadway and starred two-time Emmy winner Daniel J. Travanti. Other New York productions include Gratitude, Unseamly, West Bank, UK, Jews & Jesus, False Solution, The Bilbao Effect, and La Compagnie. Five of these shows were New York Times Critics’ Picks, and La Compagnie was developed into a half-hour pilot for CBS. Oren scripted the film You Can Thank Me Later, starring Ellen Burstyn; the Israeli film Bittersweet; and most recently The Man Who Saved the Internet with a Sunflower, directed by Emil Ben-Shimon. He teaches playwriting at St. Olaf College.

TED MALAWER Work includes the musical Only Gold, which had its world premiere at MCC Theater (Outer Critics Circle and Off-Broadway Alliance nominations, Outstanding Musical), and plays commissioned and developed by T Magazine, Atlantic Theater Company, NYTW, Magic Theatre, Pioneer Theater Company, and others. Ted co-wrote the adaptation of the novel Red, White & Royal Blue, which debuted as the No. 1 film worldwide on Amazon Prime, and received a WGA nomination for Halston. A former Lila Acheson Wallace Fellow, Ted has written five YA novels published by Penguin Random House. He is a graduate of Columbia University and Juilliard, where he studied in both the playwriting and vocal arts divisions.

KIRSTEN GREENIDGE Plays include Feeding Beatrice: A Gothic Tale, Common Ground Revisited, and Our Daughters, Like Pillars. Kirsten’s work often examines the relationship between race, class, gender, and history. Her notable awards and recognitions include a Mellon Foundation/HowlRound Fellowship, a PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award (honoring an American playwright in mid-career), a Sundance Institute/Time Warner Storytelling Fellowship, several Edgerton Foundation New American Play Awards, a Lucille Lortel nomination, a commission from the Big Ten Theatre’s Consortium New Play Initiative, a Cleveland Play House Roe Green Award and residency, an Improper Bostonian Award as Best Playwright, and an Obie Award for Milk Like Sugar. A native of Boston, Kirsten attended Wesleyan University and the Playwrights Workshop at the University of Iowa. She is chair of Theatre Arts and co-chair of Performance at the School of Theatre at Boston University. Kirsten lives in central Massachusetts with her children, husband, mother, historian sister Kerri Greenidge, and occasionally her novelist sister Kaitlyn Greenidge in a house the family has named Gwendolyn.

Palm Beach Dramaworks is a professional, nonprofit theatre company founded in 2000 and located in the heart of downtown West Palm Beach. Each season, the award-winning company produces five mainstage shows and offers a wide variety of programs for students at the theatre and in schools. Committed to fostering the future of theatre, PBD has become a hub for playwrights in Florida and around the country to nurture their work through initiatives including The Dramaworkshop and the Perlberg Festival of New Plays. PBD is a member of Theatre Communications Group, Florida Professional Theatres Association, the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, and NNPN.

The Don & Ann Brown Theatre is located in the heart of downtown West Palm Beach, at 201 Clematis Street. For ticket information contact the box office at (561) 514-4042, or visit

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Jennifer Sardone-Shiner

Marketing Consultant

(561) 891-7278

[email protected]

Palm Beach Dramaworks - 201 Clematis Street West Palm Beach FL 33401 - 561.514.4042