Chicagoans Philip Dawkins, Nambi E. Kelley, Elaine Romero and Martin Zimmerman appointed to Goodman Theatre’s Second Annual Playwrights’ Unit


Chicago, IL – Goodman Theatre proudly announces the roster for the second annual Playwrights’ Unit, a season-long residency program designed to nurture Chicago’s most promising playwrights. The four writers, selected by Artistic Director Robert Falls, Director of New Play Development Tanya Palmer and the Goodman’s artistic team, are Philip Dawkins (The Homosexuals, Dead Letter Office), Nambi E. Kelley (The Blue Shadow, Xtigone), Elaine Romero (Ponzi, The Dalai Lama is Not Welcome Here) and Martín Zimmerman (White Tie Ball, The Making of a Modern Folk Hero).The writers will develop new plays over the course of the residency, which culminate in final readings in Spring 2012. The Playwrights’ Unit is part of the Goodman’s ongoing initiatives to commission and develop new plays.

“It’s exciting to build or deepen our relationship with these talented Chicago playwrights,” said Director of New Play Development Tanya Palmer. “In selecting four very different writers with different levels of experience and approaches to their work, we also hope to create a vibrant and challenging writers group—so that the playwrights can benefit from the support that the Goodman will provide over the course of the season, as well as from each other.”

The New Stages Amplified series includes work developed during last season’s inaugural Playwrights’ Unit: Laura Jacqmin’s Two Lakes, Two Rivers (November 7) and Seth Bockley’s Ask Aunt Susan (November 10 – 20). In addition, Carlyle Brown’s Dartmoor Prison (October 13 – 23), a Goodman Theatre commission, and Kathleen Tolan’s Chicago Boys (October 27 – November 6) appeared as staged readings in previous New Stages series. For tickets, reservations and more information about New Stages Amplified, visit

New Play Development at the Goodman

Over the last 16 years, the Goodman has awarded commissions to both emerging and established writers to ensure the production of new American works for the stage. The Goodman’s commitment to women playwrights, in particular, has fueled the success of some of the most talented living writers today, including Rebecca Gilman, Sarah Ruhl and Lynn Nottage. Other writers currently under commission at the Goodman are Kristoffer Diaz, Joyce Award-winner Quiara Alegería Hudes, Itamar Moses, Dael Orlandersmith and Tracey Scott Wilson. With the establishment of the Ofner Prize in 2000—a biennially awarded commission to an emerging Chicago writer, named for former Goodman Chairman the late David Ofner—the Goodman made an additional commitment to supporting promising local writers. Past winners include David Barr, Carson Grace Becker, Seth Bockley, Brett Neveu, Carlos Murillo and Tanya Saracho.

The Goodman’s New Stages Series has provided the first look at nearly 50 new plays, many of which have gone on to receive world premiere productions at the Goodman. Others have been produced at theaters across the country, including Manhattan Theatre Club, Playwrights Horizons, New York’s The Public Theater, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, American Theatre Company and Geffen Playhouse. A complete list of these productions is available upon request. This season’s New Stages Amplified series is supported in part by The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation and the Goodman Theatre Scenemakers Board. New work development at the Goodman was instituted by the Lester and Hope Abelson Fund for Artistic Development, and is supported in part by generous grants from the Harold &

Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust and The Glasser and Rosenthal Family. The Davee Foundation is a Major Contributor to Research and Development for New Work; The Joyce Foundation provides principal support for Artistic Development and Diversity Initiatives; and Prince Charitable Trusts is the leading contributor to the Goodman’s New Works Endowment Fund. The Sara Lee Foundation is the 2011/2012 Owen Season Sponsor.

About the Writers in the Playwrights’ Unit

A graduate of Loyola University, Chicago, Philip Dawkins’ plays are published through Playscripts, Inc. In 2011, his play The Homosexuals (Jeff Nomination, Best New Work – Play) premiered at About Face Theatre, directed by Bonnie Metzgar. His play Miss Marx or The Involuntary Side Effect of Living appears in Steppenwolf’s First Look Series, and Failure: A Love Story is part of the Lark Play Development Center’s 2011 Playwright’s Week. Other credits include: Dead Letter Office (Dog and Pony Theatre), Cast of Characters (Theater Three, NY; Drip Action, UK), Yes to Everything! (Chicago, NY, CA, DC), Perfect (the side project); Ugly Baby (Chicago Opera Vanguard/Strawdog Theatre Company), A Still Life in Color (T.U.T.A.) and The Man With a Shattered World (Ethington Theatre, AZ). With artistic partner, Eric C. Reda Philip, Dawkins is a founding member of Chicago Opera Vanguard. Philip teaches playwriting at Northwestern University and Kung Fu to children through Rising Phoenix Kung Fu.

Raised in Chicago and a product of the Chicago Public Schools, Nambi E. Kelley is an award-winning playwright and actress. Recent playwriting honors include Dramatists Guild Writers Intensive Playwright 2011; Goodman Theatre/Ellen Stone Belic Institute Fellowship Recipient; La MaMa Playwrights Symposium Playwright-In-Residence in Spoleto, Italy under the tutelage of Lisa Kron and Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage; and The Friends Fellowship (Ragdale Foundation). She was also honored at the Black Ensemble Theatre for her contributions in playwriting.

Kelley also serves as a Chicago Dramatists Playwright-In-Residence and MPAACT Playwright-In-Residence, Chicago. Most recently, Kelley’s play, The Blue Shadow, was produced by Lifeline Theatre and published into an illustrated version for children. Kelley’s Xtigone was presented at La MaMa as part of a new plays festival (featuring Kelley in the title role), and received a workshop production at Cal State University East Bay that was a finalist for the The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts College Theatre Festival 2011. Upcoming projects include Xtigone at San Francisco’s African American Shakespeare Co (Spring 2012) and performing in her adaptation of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying for the Singapore Arts Festival (Summer of 2012). Kelley guest lectures at Lake Forest College, has a BFA from The Theatre School at DePaul University and an MFA in interdisciplinary arts from Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont.

Elaine Romero is the winner of the Theatre Communications Group/Pew National Theatre Artists in Residency Grant and the TCG/NEA Theatre Residency Program for Playwrights, and has had plays presented at the Alley Theatre, New Theatre and Actors Theatre of Louisville, among others. Recent commissions include Magic Theatre/Sloan Foundation (Walk into the Sea, Sundance Playwrights Retreat and Goodman Theatre’s Latino Theatre Festival), InterAct Theatre Company (The Dalai Lama is Not Welcome Here), NNPN/Kitchen Dog Theater (KDT, Ponzi), Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Alley Theatre and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Publishers include Samuel French, Playscripts, Vintage Books and Simon and Schuster. Outside the United States, her plays have been produced in Australia, Panama and Toronto. Ponzi won the Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award. Her plays have been read at KDT, Goodman Theatre and Florida Studio Theatre. Readings of her plays are scheduled at Teatro Vista, Queens Theatre and Arizona Theatre Company. Romero recently taught screenwriting, playwriting and television writing at Northwestern University.

Martín Zimmerman is a multi-ethnic, bilingual playwright whose work “spans a wide variety of styles, but always aspires to a seamless unity of aesthetic and story.” His plays include White Tie Ball, The Making of a Modern Folk Hero and Seven Spots on the Sun, and have been produced or developed at The John F. Kennedy Center, The Playwrights’ Center, Alliance Theatre, Primary Stages, Seven Devils Playwrights

Conference, Theatre Row, Borderlands Theater, the Source Festival, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, The Gift, Red Tape, The University of Texas at Austin and Duke University. A recipient of the Carl Djerassi Playwriting Fellowship, the National New Play Network’s Smith Prize and a Core Apprenticeship at The Playwrights’ Center, Zimmerman has been a finalist for the Kendeda Competition, the Jerome Fellowship, the Heideman Award and the Bay Area Playwrights Festival.