The OOB Festival is judged by a different panel each night, featuring top playwrights and industry professionals. Festival participants have the opportunity to make invaluable industry connections and gain lasting notoriety. Many participants have begun career-defining relationships or even been picked up by agents during previous Festival Weeks.   Past judges have included notable members of the theatre industry including: Theresa Rebeck, Tina Howe, Marsha Norman, Mac Wellman, Israel Horovitz, Doug Wright, Anne Kaufman, Christian Parker, Ken Rus Schmoll, Emily Morse, Adam Greenfield, Susan Westfall, and many more.   The judges for the 2017 Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival were:


Rachel Bonds – Rachel Bonds’ plays have been developed or produced by South Coast Rep, Ars Nova, Manhattan Theatre Club, McCarter Theatre, Roundabout Underground, Atlantic Theater Company, Studio Theatre, New Georges, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, SPACE on Ryder Farm, Williamstown Theatre Festival, and New York Stage & Film, among others. Her plays include: Curve of Departure (Upcoming South Coast Rep, Studio Theatre); Five Mile Lake (South Coast Rep, McCarter, Weissberger Award); The Wolfe Twins (Studio Theatre, Kilroys List 2015); Swimmers (Marin Theatre Co., Sky Cooper Prize, Kilroys List 2014); Sundown/Yellow Moon (Ars Nova/WP); Alma (Atlantic Theatre Company commission); Firecracker (Kilroys List 2016); At The Old Place (La Jolla); Michael & Edie (NY Times Critic’s Pick, 2010); Winter Games (Actors Theatre of Louisville, Heideman Award); and Anniversary (EST, Sam French OOB Festival Winner). She is an Alumna of the EST’s Youngblood, Ars Nova’s Play Group and SPACE on Ryder Farm’s Working Farm Writers’ Group.  She was the 2016 Tow Foundation Playwright in Residence at Ars Nova.  Current commissions include The Geffen and McCarter.  Bonds is a graduate of Brown University.

John Clinton Eisner – John Clinton Eisner co-founded The Lark in 1994 as a community of theater professionals dedicated to the playwright’s vision. He has grown The Lark into an award-winning “think tank for the theater,” with local, national, and global reach. He divides his time between working directly with playwrights and creating strategies with artistic leaders in the United States and abroad to advance new plays into the repertoire. He has collaborated with partner theaters, literary agencies, and funders to develop multiple-production “pipelines” for new plays. Worked for Denver Center, Williamstown, Colonial Theatre, O’Neill Center, Roundabout, Johnson-Liff Casting and National Theater of the Deaf. Co-founded Westerly Shakespeare in the Park. Service: National Theatre Conference; Shakespeare Theatre Association of America; TheatreForum; Transport Group; NoPassport; Immigrant Artists and Scholars in New York; Lortel Awards Committee. Education: BA from Amherst College; MFA from National Theatre Conservatory. He lives in New York City with his wife Jennifer Dorr White and two children, Hannah and Jake.

James Hindman – As a writer: most recent include Multiple Family Dwelling (New Jersey Rep.), Popcorn Falls (Theatre Nova), The Bikinis (Long Wharf Theatre), By The Numbers (SCF Theatre), The Gorges Motel (NYFringe Festival 2016). Off Broadway; Pete ‘n’ Keely (Outer Critics Award nomination, two Drama Desk nominations), A Christmas Survival Guide, The Audience (Transport Group, Drama Desk nomination), Being Audrey (Transport Group, NEA Grant recipient) and The Drama Department (Terrence McNally Award finalist).  Member: Dramatist Guild of America. As an actor: B’way and tours:  Mary Poppins, The Scarlet Pimpernel, 1776, City of Angels, A Grand Night For Singing, Once Upon A Mattress, Falsettos, Dancing at Lughnasa. Television and Film: Oceans 8, Iron Fist, recurring role on Public Morals produced by Steven Spielberg, Guest Star: Madam Secretary, House of Cards, Henry’s Crime, The Sopranos, Rescue Me, The Blacklist.  Representation: Abrams Artist Agency.

Ciera Iveson – Ciera Iveson is the New Works Director at the National Alliance for Musical Theatre.  She produces the Festival of New Musicals and oversees all of the New Works and Festival programs for NAMT. Prior to NAMT, she was the Festival Producer for the Village Originals Festival of New Musicals and Associate Production Manager at Village Theatre in Issaquah, WA.  In addition to musical theatre producing, she also worked in Seattle developing contemporary performance pieces and new plays with On the Boards and The Town Theatre.

Abigail Katz – Abigail Katz serves as Director of New Play Development for Atlantic Theater Company where she has been on the artistic staff since 2009.  In 2014 she expanded Atlantic’s play development program by creating the Amplified Reading Series and Launch Commission for early career writers. Prior to her time at Atlantic, Abigail was Literary Associate and Dramaturg for The Civilians, where she worked on productions Brooklyn at Eye Level, This Beautiful City (The Vineyard Theatre) and Paris Commune (The Public Theater). She was also Producer for Voice & Vision, a company devoted to developing women theater artists. She has taught in the MFA program at Columbia University School of the Arts, the New School College of Performing Arts, SUNY Stony Brook/Southampton and Atlantic Theater Company’s Professional Conservatory program. A native New Yorker, Abigail received her MFA in dramaturgy from Columbia University School of the Arts.

Emily Morse – Currently the Artistic Director of New Dramatists and third time judging for the Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival, Emily Morse’s 26-year career encompasses performing, directing, playwriting, dramaturgy, devising, producing, arts administration, curating and artistic consulting at theatres and companies of all sizes. She joined the staff full-time in July 2001 and since then, has partnered on the building of new programs including, PlayTime, Full Stage, USA, The Jerry A. Tishman Playwrights Creativity Fund, Venturous Theatre Fund’s The Bucket List Project, the Opportunity Fund and The Lilly-Ruhl Fund, among others. Emily serves on the Advisory Board for PlayPenn and on the Board of the John Golden Fund. She has served on numerous new play development panels, including her Playwright Leadership panel presented during the 2012 Humana Festival, the TCG inaugural Leadership University Program, and on a 2016 NYFA Artist Fellowship grant committee for Playwriting and Screenwriting. In May 2010, in recognition of her stature as a playwright advocate and significant contributions as a dramaturg, Emily received an inaugural Lilly Award for Advocacy. A graduate of Temple University, Emily lives in Brooklyn with her family.

Andrew Leynse – Andrew Leynse is currently in his 14th season as Artistic Director at Primary Stages. He has produced, managed, and directed in the New York Theatre community for more than twenty 25 years. Andrew began his career at Primary Stages after graduating from Carnegie Mellon’s Directing Program.  Primary Stages productions have received considerable critical acclaim, including Tony, Obie, AUDELCO, Off Broadway Alliance, Outer Critics Circle, Drama League, Drama Desk, the Lucille Lortel Outstanding Body of Work Award (among others) awards and nominations. Andrew also teaches for Primary Stages’ ESPA and The Tepper Semester Syracuse University and is the Artistic Director of Perry-Mansfield’s New Works Festival in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.  Andrew is a proud Board Member of A.R.T./New York and is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon’s Directing Program.

Jiehae Park –Jiehae Park’s plays include Peerless (Yale Rep premiere, Cherry Lane MP, Marin Theatre Co, Barrington Stage, First Floor, Company One, Moxie), Hannah and the Dread Gazebo (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), Here We Are Here (Sundance Theater-Makers residency, Berkeley Rep’s Ground Floor, Princess Grace Works-in-Progress @ Baryshnikov Arts Center), and contributions to Wondrous Strange (Humana/Actor’s Theatre of Louisville). Her work has been developed through the Soho Rep Writer-Director Lab, the Public’s Emerging Writers Group, p73’s i73, Playwrights Horizons, NYTW, Old Globe, Dramatists Guild Fellowship, Ojai Conference, BAPF, and the amazing Ma-Yi Writers Lab. Awards: Leah Ryan, Princess Grace, Weissberger, ANPF Women’s Invitational; two years on the Kilroys List. Commissions: Playwrights Horizons, McCarter, Yale Rep, Geffen, OSF, Williamstown, MTC/Sloan. Residencies: MacDowell, Yaddo, Hedgebrook, McCarter/Sallie B. Goodman. She is a NYTW Usual Suspect, LCT New Writer in Residence, former Hodder Fellow, and current member of New Dramatists. Upcoming: performing in Ripe Time/Naomi Iizuka’s adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s Sleep (BAM Next Wave 2017). BA, Amherst; MFA, UCSD.

Jonathan Silverstein – Jonathan Silverstein is the Artistic Director of Off Broadway’s award winning Keen Company, where he most recently directed the acclaimed revival of Jonathan Larson’s tick, tick…BOOM! (Drama Desk nomination). Other Off Broadway credits include revivals of Lanford Wilson’s Lemon Sky, A.R. Gurney’s The Dining Room (Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Director; Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Ensemble), Robert Anderson’s classics Tea and Sympathy and I Never Sang for My Father, and John Patrick’s The Hasty Heart, all for the Keen Company, where he served as Resident Director from 2007 to 2011. Regional: Huntington, Old Globe, Merrimack Rep, Dorset, Cape Rep, Monmouth, and Sledgehammer. Jonathan is a graduate of the MFA directing program at UCSD and an alumnus of The Drama League Directors Project. Member, SDC.www.jonnysilver.com.

Michael Walkup – Michael Walkup is the Producing Artistic Director of Page 73 Productions, and has been working with playwrights on developing their work for over ten years. He serves as dramaturg on each Page 73 premiere, and works individually with each playwright in Page 73’s development programs. Michael attended Yale School of Drama where he received his M.F.A. in Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism and worked frequently on student-written work at Yale Cabaret as director and dramaturg. He regularly serves as the Teaching Artist for Yale Rep’s The Dwight/Edgewood Project, a program teaching playwriting to middle schoolers in New Haven; he also volunteers with Manhattan’s The 52nd Street Project.

Susan Westfall – Susan Westfall is a co-founder and literary director of City Theatre in Miami, Florida, and also a professional playwright. City Theatre, founded in 1996, is the only theatre company in the United States dedicated to the development and production of short plays and short musicals. In 22 years, the company has produced hundreds of plays penned by playwrights new and celebrated, whose works are presented in City Theatre’s year-round programs including: the annual Summer Shorts Festival, Winter Shorts Festival, Shorts Gone Wild LGBT festival, Short Cuts middle schools tour, the regional City Shorts Tour, and the CityReads Series, all of which feature submissions to the City Theatre National Award for Short Playwriting Contest. Westfall’s produced plays include The Best Seller, Two Weekends and A Day (Kilroy honorary list 2015), Look At Me (published in “Best Short Plays 2011”), Rats, The Boy From Russia, Uprising, The Wedding Party, Passing Through (Heideman Finalist), With the Patience of Angels (Heideman Finalist), 1962, You Are Here, and Voices at the Mary Elizabeth Hotel. Westfall is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America, The Playwrights Center, Theatre Communications Group, and the Theatre League of South Florida. She is a rare native Miamian, and along with her husband, a new empty nester living on the beautiful island of Key Biscayne.

Lauren Yee – Lauren Yee’s play King of the Yees premiered this past season at The Goodman Theatre and Center Theatre Group. Upcoming: Cambodian Rock Band at South Coast Rep; The Great Leap at Denver Center, Seattle Rep, and Atlantic Theatre Company; and King of the Yees at ACT Theatre and Canada’s National Arts Centre. Other plays include Ching Chong Chinaman (Pan Asian, Mu Performing Arts), The Hatmaker’s Wife (Playwrights Realm, Moxie, PlayPenn), Hookman (Encore, Company One), In a Word (SF Playhouse, Cleveland Public, Strawdog), Samsara (Victory Gardens, O’Neill Conference, Bay Area Playwrights Festival), and The Tiger Among Us (MAP Fund, Mu). Member of the Ma-Yi Writers’ Lab. Current commissions: Geffen Playhouse, La Jolla Playhouse, Lincoln Center/LCT3, Mixed Blood, Portland Center Stage, and Trinity Rep. BA: Yale. MFA: UCSD. www.laurenyee.com

HONORARY FESTIVAL PLAYWRIGHT – Will Eno – Will Eno is a Residency Five Fellow at the Signature Theatre in New York, which presented Title and Deed in 2012, and The Open House, in 2014. His new play, Wakey, Wakey premiered there in February 2017. Following an acclaimed run at Yale Repertory Theatre, his play The Realistic Joneses was on Broadway in 2014, directed by Sam Gold and staring Toni Collette, Michael C. Hall, Tracy Letts, and Marisa Tomei. The Realistic Joneses won a Drama Desk Award, was named USA Today’s “Best Play on Broadway,” topped the The Guardian’s 2014 list of American plays, and was included in The N.Y. Times’ “Best Theatre of 2014.” The Open House won the 2014 Obie Award, the Lortel Award for Outstanding Play, and a Drama Desk Award, and was included in both the Time Out New York and Time Magazine Top 10 Plays of the Year. Title and Deed was on The N.Y. Times and The New Yorker magazine’s Top Ten Plays of 2012. His play Gnit, a loving but aggressive adaptation of Peer Gynt, premiered at the Actor’s Theatre of Louisville in 2013. Middletown, winner of the Horton Foote Award, premiered at the Vineyard Theatre and subsequently at Steppenwolf Theater and many other American Theaters and universities. His internationally heralded play Thom Pain (based on nothing) ran at the Geffen Playhouse in Winter of 2016 starring Rainn Wilson, was a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize, and has been translated into more than a dozen languages. He was recently awarded the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation Award. His plays are published by Samuel French, TCG, Dramatists Play Service, and playscripts, in the U.S., and Oberon Books in London.