The details haven’t been completely worked out, but at least four playwrights will have a shot at Broadway that they didn’t have before. The Nederlander Organization has linked up with the Roundabout Theater Company to commission four plays a year from established writers, who will be paid $15,000 each (about $5,000 above the going rate for commissions from nonprofit theaters).
The plays will be given staged readings in the Laura Pels Theater, the Roundabout’s new second space at the Criterion Center, after which that company (a nonprofit Broadway group) or Nederlander (Broadway’s second-largest theater owner) could mount a full production.
Overseeing the project are Scott Ellis, Nederlander’s director-in-residence; Roundabout artistic director Todd Haimes; Nederlander vice president James L. Nederlander (“Jimmy Jr.”); and Elizabeth I. McCann, an independent producer with strong ties to the Nederlanders. They expect to announce the first quartet in this “New Play Initiative” on Feb. 15. Just think: If Shubert and its resident director, James Lapine, and Jujamcyn and its resident director, Jerry Zaks, followed suit, there could be 12 new American plays a year in the Broadway pipeline.