August 23, 2018 | 7pm CST
Discovery Center Museum Theater
711 N Main St, Rockford, IL 61103

FESTIVAL DIRECTOR | Charlyne Blatcher Martin

The 2018 Rockford New Play Festival presented a staged reading of six new ten-minute plays on August 23rd at the Discovery Center Museum Theater in Rockford, Illinois.

In its fourth year, the purpose of the Rockford New Play Festival is to give established and aspiring playwrights from the Rockford Area the opportunity to have their work presented professionally to the public alongside the work of national and international playwrights. 

In 1951, Langston Hughes wrote the poem "Harlem" which explores several possibilities of what might happen when a dream is left unfulfilled, including the famous closing line: "...does it explode?"

This year, given today's political and social divisions, playwrights were invited to share a ten minute play based on the theme "A Dream Explodes!"

Of 130 plays submitted from as far away as Lisbon, Portugal and and Bayswater North, Australia, six were chosen as Official Selections of the 2018 Rockford New Play Festival.


Near Mint by Paula Hendrickson (Rockford, IL)
Two fashion dolls discuss their fate at the hands of potential owners.

Every Drop by Mildred Lewis (Inglewood, CA)
Patrice and Tevin search for a way out of a world that threatens to engulf them.

Play Date by Marilyn Millstone (Kensington, MD)
As cultures collide, strangers from different worlds find common ground at a bus stop.

Coffee For Two by Steffi Rubin (Chapel Hill, NC)
Timing is everything and a missed appointment can cost all that a mother and daughter had planned. 

The Boy On The Beach by Matthew Weaver (Spokane, WA)
The boy’s sleep from exhaustion awakens dreams— or summons a sweet reality.

Incarcerated Christmas by Charles White (Rockford, IL)
A wayward father offers a solution to break the family curse threatening to destroy his son’s future.


Paula Hendrickson

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Paula Hendrickson is a Rockford-based freelance writer, editor, and long-time contributor to entertainment trade publications including Emmy and Variety. While Paula has earned honorary mentions in several screenwriting competitions, this is only the second play she’s written since college. Her previous play, The Grove, was read at the 2015 Rockford New Play Festival. Thanks to the festival, Paula has grown to love the experimental nature of short-form plays. 
Twitter: @P_Hendrickson
Instagram: @Paula1Knit2




Mildred Lewis

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Mildred Inez Lewis (@TheMil10) is a produced and published playwright and screenwriter. She is delighted to return to the Rockford New Play Festival. Most recently, she wrote and directed a short film comedy Can Also Play for Outfest Fusion 2018. Currently she is part of Humanitas' PLAY LA  and Playground-LA. In 2018, her plays have been produced at the Breath of Fire Latina Theatre Ensemble (Santa Ana, California), Ensemble Studio Theatre-Los Angeles, Everyday Inferno Theatre (New York, New York), "Think Outside the Cage" on KPFK-FM (Los Angeles, California), and the William Inge Theatre Festival (Independence, Kansas). Her poetry has been published in anthologies including Ella, Stamped in Ella @100 which celebrated jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald's centennial. She most recently read her work at Boca de Oro: OC Art & Literature Fringe Festival.

Marilyn Millstone

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In 2011, Marilyn Millstone's first full-length play, The Sculptress, was selected for production by Fells Point Corner Theatre in Baltimore; it later won two awards at the Baltimore Playwrights Festival (BPF). This led Millstone to the rather startling realization that she had actually become a playwright. Her first ten-minute play, Compos Mentis, premiered at the 2015 Chagrin Valley Little Theatre (Ohio) 10-10 Play Festival, and has since gone on to be produced in Alabama, Georgia, Maryland and Massachusetts, Sydney, and Dubai. Millstone’s second full-length play, The Hope Slope, received a staged reading at the 2016 Baltimore Playwrights Festival. A monologue from the play was selected for performance by the NYC-based troupe Hudson Warehouse for its 2015 Many Faces of Love Festival in Manhattan. Millstone’s one-act play Birthday Girl will have its world premiere at the Silver Spring Stage One Act Festival. A published poet, essayist and journalist, Marilyn's writings have appeared in The Washington Post, Bethesda Magazine, Symphony Magazine, American Style and Broad Street Review, among other newspapers and magazines. Trained in environmental science and journalism, Millstone served for several years as managing editor of the Journal of Environmental Education. She then spent a decade directing the award-winning Publication Specialist Program at George Washington University. In 2016, she earned an MFA in playwriting at Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. She lives in Kensington, Maryland, with her husband, photographer Bill Apter.

Steffi Rubin

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Steffi Rubin came to playwriting later in life with the main stage premiere of  The Woodstock Tontine at Women’s Theatre Festival, Raleigh July 2017. Coffee for Two was produced in September 2017 for Lucid, a short play festival by Curious Arrow Theatre in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Not My Ride received a 2018 reading at Itinerant Theatre, Lake Charles, LA and was a semi-finalist in the Durango Arts Center 10-minute play contest. Familiar Enough was selected for Summer 2018 production at the Wilmington, Delaware Film Mob Cafe Nostra Series. Let’s Stay Together Al Green was produced by Towne Street Theatre in Hollywood, CA and Upright and Blameless was chosen for production by Academy Theatre, Atlanta, Gerogia and Rapid Lemon Productions, Baltimore, Maryland. The Closet was also performed as part of the New Voice Play Festival in Charles Town, West Virginia and at 10x10NC in the Triangle. Steffi was also commissioned to write Rachmiel, a full-length monodrama about a young religious prodigy who struggles with his faith and survives the Holocaust in Poland. Her musical My Other Mother, based on her life as an adoptee searching for her birth parents (and created in partnership with composer Miriam Kook) had a staged reading in Columbia, Maryland in June 2018. Steffi lives in Chapel Hill, NC.


Matthew Weaver

Matthew Weaver is a Spokane, Washington playwright. His writing has been produced in Washington State, Canada, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Ohio, Texas, West Virginia, New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Virginia, Indiana, Kentucky, Colorado, Florida, California, Ireland, Japan, Oregon, Maryland and Illinois. Full-length plays include Bed RideGluttony and Lust Are Friends, Aces Are Feverish and Timmy's Big Kiss.







Charles White

Charles White was born in 1971 on the first of July in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana. He attended Xavier University of Louisiana where he doubled majored in English and Social Studies Education. He attended the University of Minnesota- Twin Cites where he earned an M.Ed in Social Studies Education- Curriculum and Instruction, and later earned a second masters in School Administration from William Woods University in Missouri. Charles held several positions in Rockford Public Schools including principal and ALE supervisor, and currently teaches Language Arts at the Winnebago County Juvenile Detention Center. He is a member of the local chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Nu Pi Sigma alumni chapter of Rockford. Charles was an avid member of the poetic community in Columbia Missouri and is active in several poetry groups in Rockford, including Writers Resist. His first play The Rules is about the troubling, but necessary conversation black parents must have with their children when stopped by the police, and has been performed three times in Rockford. Charles is currently working on a book of poems based on his experiences as an educator of at-risk youth. He considers his greatest accomplishment to be his family. He and Allynthia Benton-White married 18 years ago but began their journey together over 23 years ago. She is his muse and offers him ideas and inspiration everyday. Charles and Allynthia have three children ranging 20 to 7 years of age.


Playwright royalties for the 2018 Rockford New Play Festival were made possible by a generous grant from the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois.  

The mission of the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois is to serve as a catalyst for giving in order to attract, preserve, and grow an endowment for the current and future needs of the people of Northern Illinois. Since its founding in 1953, CFNIL has granted more than $65 million for charitable purposes in the region.

The 2018 Rockford New Play Festival was also supported by a generous donation from Sara and David Werckle.


Vickie Lynn

Erin Brady
Imogen Brady
Kahla Conley
Nasir Davis
Yazmin Jones
Rosemary Million
Joshua Patterson
Jim Radloff

Charlyne Blatcher Martin

Mike Werckle

Rachel León

Cameron Geckler

Beth Edgerton

Engine Studio

Sharon Nesbit-Davis, Nathan Alan Davis , Mike Werckle

The Rockford New Play Festival is in its fifth year.
Learn more about the 2017 RNPF...

The West Side Show Room believes in freedom of expression and we present all works in their entirety. We encourage people of all ages to expose themselves to a wide range of art, and to engage in critical discussions about the content they encounter. For specific information about the language, content, and effects in a particular production, please contact us.