New Works Festival

For Young Audiences


This 2022 New Works Festival for Young Audiences celebrates new plays written for young audiences. The two-week festival will give artists and audiences a look into the development process to see three different plays at various stages of development.



The Festival Pass allows you to attend the developmental production and both readings for one price. Passes are $25 for the general public and $15 for school-age and college students. Pass benefits include early access to the developmental production and limited capacity readings and free, unlimited exchanges between events.


by Blake Anthony Edwards

Performances: Dec 2 – Dec 10, 2022
Recommended for ages 5 & up

Sarah Stonely doesn’t believe she is necessarily good at anything in particular and feels like she doesn’t stand out. However, when she receives an alien invitation to the Great Galactic Games of Greatness, she must reckon with the notion of being “the Chosen One.” Why was she chosen? Why her, of all people? With her unwitting school principal by her side, she is whisked into outer space, and the games begin! Will the Earth be destroyed, or will Sarah figure out why she was chosen and, in the process, save our planet?


  • Patricia Wallace Winbush – Director
  • Blake Anthony Edwards – Playwright
  • Jackie Benedict – Stage Manager
  • Leslie Wright – Assistant Stage Manager
  • Kelsey Gallagher – Lighting Designer
  • Dayton Willison – Costume and Props Designer
  • Jesse Charles – Sound Designer
  • Rowan Winterwood – Master Electrician
  • Augusta Kinzel – Costume Coordinator


  • Talia Elliott – Sarah Stonely
  • Sermontee Brown – Governor
  • Summit J Starr – Principal
  • Jillian Snow – Jess
  • Gabi Carrera Arreloa – Jaden
  • Noelle Akala Assani – Jericho
  • Judah Albert – Coach
  • Caitlyn Mawhinney – Zeeblezorp
  • Camryn Wright – Understudy

Blake Anthony Edwards (he/him) is an actor, director, playwright, and educator currently teaching at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. The One and Only Sarah Stonely is his fourth produced TYA play, following Big Bad Wolf Tales, The Odyssey, and The Quibbling Siblings. The first draft of this play was written for a class at The Ohio State University, where Blake earned his MFA in Acting in 2018. Earlier this year, he performed in Sweat at the William Inge Festival (a production honoring playwright Lynn Nottage), directed Romeo & Juliet for St. Louis Shakespeare, and directed A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Gonzaga. Blake is writing a new TYA play (about Mother Nature) and will be directing Mark Ravenhill’s pool (no water) at Gonzaga in February.

The Worries of Wesley (Or: How I Learned to Stop Having Anxiety or Not Really, But I Am Trying) by Jessica Moss

Performance: Dec 10, 2022, 12 pm
Recommended for ages 5 & up

Wesley goes to school, has great friends, and has loving parents, but sometimes gets so overwhelmed sometimes. Wesley learns to listen to their body in conversation with a brain, a heart, and lungs. The Worries of Wesley is about living with anxiety in an anxiety-provoking world and how what happens inside our brains can affect our lives and the lives of others.

Artistic & Production Staff:

  • Alan Tyson – Director
  • Jessica Moss – Playwright
  • Kaitlyn Pfeifer – Stage Manager


  • Liam Cronin – Parent One/As Cast
  • Duncan McKennie – Parent Two/As Cast
  • Simone Dean – Wesley
  • Jude McGonigle – Cameron/As Cast
  • Hayden Rawlings – Parker/As Cast

Jessica Moss writes, performs, and produces. Some of her plays include Funnie (2022 winner of the Leah Ryan’s FEWW Prize, O’Neill finalist), A Girl Lives Alone (SafeWord New Play Contest winner), Cam Baby (Toronto Fringe New Play Winner, Weissberger finalist), Polly Polly (Ed Mirvish Award for Entrepreneurship), Next to Him, We’ll Make it Together, and more. Training: Juilliard.

The Day the Music Came Back by Alvaro Saar Rios

Performance: December 11, 2022, 12 pm
Recommended for ages 11 & up

Sometime in the future, a group of teens meets up to discuss something they know nothing about—music. It was banned before they were born. Around the time their parents were babies. So this generation has never heard music on a radio, on an iPod, or even at a concert. They live in a world where you can be arrested just for talking about music. If you are caught with a musical instrument or listening to music, you will be “extinguished”…right on the spot. But this group of teens decides the risk is worth it.

Artistic & Production Staff:

  • Leda Hoffmann – Director
  • Alavro Saar Rios – Playwright
  • Hannah Pohlman – Stage Manager


  • Morgan Jackson – A.M.F.M
  • Leah Pfefferle – BASS
  • Shawn Gier – DISCO
  • M’Ya Higgins – TREBLE
  • Calvin Freshour – G MINOR
  • Neo Gallegos Samuels – VUVUZELA
  • Cosette Payne – BEATS
  • Safia Regis – BOOMBOX


Alvaro Saar Rios is a Texican playwright living in Chicago. His plays have been performed in New York City, Mexico City, Hawaii, Chicago, St. Louis, Milwaukee, and all over Texas. He has received playwriting commissions from various organizations, including Kennedy Center, Chicago Children’s Theatre, First Stage, Houston Grand Opera, Honolulu Theatre for Youth, and Omaha’s Rose Theater.   His award-winning play Luchadora! was produced at CATCO in early 2022. His other plays On The Wings of a Mariposa and Carmela Full of Wishes.   Mr. Rios is Playwright-In-Residence at Milwaukee’s First Stage.  He is also a proud veteran of the US Army and an Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.    Twitter & Instagram: @realCrazyMex