Round House month-long new play fest starts April 5

Two mainstage world premieres plus readings of four scripts in development, produced by Naysan Mojgani, associate artist for literary and new plays.

Round House Theatre, continuing its longstanding commitment to new-play development and to developing a body of new work that will help reshape the face of American theater,  announces the full slate of plays comprising the inaugural year of the National Capital New Play Festival. The annual event will celebrate new work by some of the country’s leading playwrights and newer voices. In addition to two fully staged world premieres (part of Round House’s mainstage season), audiences are invited to readings of four plays in development, where they can sit alongside dramaturgs, directors, and other theater professionals for an inside look into a play’s journey to the stage.

Naysan Mojgani, Round House Theatre associate artist for literary and new plays

Produced by Associate Artist for Literary and New Plays Naysan Mojgani, Round House’s festival is designed to honor and explore the relational aspect of producing new plays. “There are many reasons I’m excited to launch this festival, but at the end of the day, just like everything else in theater, it’s all about the relationship between artists and audience,” says Mojgani. “Playwriting typically starts as a solitary endeavor, but there comes a point where you have to get other people involved—directors, actors, and yes, audiences. We’re honored that these writers are trusting us with this important part of the process, and I’m grateful that our audiences get to have a hand in shaping what these plays become.”

The month-long event will be headlined by a pair of world premieres, as part of the mainstage season, presented in rotating repertory: it’s not a trip it’s a journey (April 5 – May 8), written by Charly Evon Simpson and directed by Nicole A. Watson, and “We declare you a terrorist…” (April 7 – May 8), written by Tim J. Lord and co-directed by Round House Theatre Artistic Director Ryan Rilette and Jared Mezzocchi.  See below for complete program details and ticket information.

Playwrights whose work will receive developmental readings during the festival include Marvin González De León (2022 Page 73 Playwriting Fellowship Awardee and Core Writer at the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis); Morgan Gould (I Wanna Fucking Tear You Apart at Studio Theatre; Resident Playwright at New Dramatists); Mary Kathryn Nagle (Sovereignty, commissioned by Arena Stage; former Executive Director of the Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program); and Mfoniso Udofia (Season 3 of Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why; Sojourners and Her Portmanteau at New York Theatre Workshop), working with Music Composer Nehemiah Luckett (featured at Washington National Cathedral and Carnegie Hall; former Music Director and Composer for the activist/performance art collective Rev. Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir).

Tickets may be purchased by calling 240.644.1100 or ordering online at Round House Theatre is located at 4545 East-West Highway, one block from Wisconsin Avenue and the Bethesda station on Metro’s Red Line.


APR 5 – MAY 8, 2022 | World Premiere on the Main Stage
it’s not a trip it’s a journey
By Charly Evon Simpson
Directed by Nicole A. Watson

June needs a journey. Like, now. So, she convinces her friends to ditch New York City (and their cellphones) for an impromptu road trip to the Grand Canyon. As the four wildly different friends travel through the wondrous and not-so-wondrous sights of the United States, they must come together to contend with being Black, femme, and American…all at the same time. An intimate play with vast ambitions, it’s not a trip it’s a journey is about road trips, friendships, and finding the difference between surviving and thriving.

APR 7 – MAY 8, 2022 | World Premiere on the Main Stage
“We declare you a terrorist…”

By Tim J. Lord
Directed by Ryan Rilette & Jared Mezzocchi

Moscow, 2002: halfway through Putin’s first official term as president. After he brutally crushes a rebellion in the territory of Chechnya, a group of Chechen insurgents hijack a blockbuster musical and take the entire audience of nearly 800 people—including the playwright—hostage. Based on the real events of the Dubrovka Theater hostage crisis, “We declare you a terrorist…” follows the playwright as he comes to terms with that tragic night at the theater. This taut political thriller is brought to life through live theater and film by co-directors Ryan Rilette and Jared Mezzocchi, the team behind the runaway hit The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

APR 28 & 30, 2022 | Developmental Reading
Jennifer, Who is Leaving
Written and directed by Morgan Gould

Nan is working the night shift, fielding periodic calls from her retired husband with questions about reheating dinner and where his car keys are. Jennifer is trying to tune out Joey, her elderly patient who is relishing getting on her last nerve. And Lili is stressing out about her upcoming SATs. Set in a Dunkin Donuts on the side of a Massachusetts highway, Jennifer, Who is Leaving is a profoundly relatable exploration of the expectations placed on women; the physical, mental, and emotional labor of being a caregiver; and what happens when we reach our breaking point.

APR 29 & MAY 1, 2022 | Developmental Reading
On the Far End
By Mary Kathryn Nagle
Directed by Laurie Woolery

Muscogee leader Ella Jean Hill traces her family’s history from the Trail of Tears to her grandfather’s allotment in central Oklahoma. In an astonishing one-woman play, she shares her story—the Native boarding school she fled on foot, her marriage to a young Bengali scholar, and the advocacy that became her life’s work. With On the Far End, a reference to the landmark 2020 Supreme Court opinion in McGirt v. Oklahoma that upheld the sovereignty of the Muscogee territories, one of America’s leading playwrights (SovereigntyManahatta) weaves a deeply personal account of one family—her own mother-in-law’s—and a legacy of broken promises between nations

MAY 5 & 7, 2022 | Developmental Reading
Adia and Clora Snatch Joy
Written and directed by Mfoniso Udofia
Music by Nehemiah Luckett and Mfoniso Udofia

Mfoniso Udofia’s sprawling “Ufot Cycle,” a multi-generational, nine-play meditation on American immigration through the story of one Nigerian family, concludes in a warm, lively musical tale of love, fellowship, and destiny. Adiaha Ufot, eldest daughter of Abasiama Ufot, travels to South Carolina in search of a man who knew her mother in her final years. Instead, she finds Clora, a house that looks strangely familiar, and a chorus of spirit ancestors who bring the story to life. Together, the two women reconcile their individual pasts and imagine new ways forward.

MAY 6 & 8, 2022 | Developmental Reading
Madre de Dios
By Marvin González De León
Directed by Nadia Guevara

Following years of estrangement, Moisés returns to his mother’s home in the Nevada desert for his sister’s wake, reuniting with his twin brother Noé and his devout mother Marisol. Against a post-environmental-apocalyptic landscape where mysterious supernatural forces loom, old grudges are revisited and long-held secrets are revealed in a new play—part family drama, part biblical myth—by Mexican-American playwright Marvin González De León.



Charly Evon Simpson (it’s not a trip it’s a journeyis a playwright and TV writer based in Brooklyn. Her plays include Behind the SheetsandblastedJumpform of a girl unknownit’s not a trip it’s a journey, and more. Her work has been seen and/or developed with Vineyard Theatre, WP Theater, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Lark, P73, NNPN, The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, PlayMakers Repertory Company, Chautauqua Theater Company, Salt Lake Acting Company, and others. She is a recipient of the Vineyard Theatre’s Paula Vogel Playwriting Award and the Dramatists Guild’s Lanford Wilson Award. She is a resident of New Dramatists and a core writer at The Playwrights’ Center. She’s a former member of WP Theater’s 2018-2020 Lab, SPACE on Ryder Farm’s The Working Farm, Clubbed Thumb’s Early Career Writers’ Group, and Ensemble Studio Theatre’s Youngblood. In TV, she has worked on Showtime’s American Rust and currently has an overall deal at HBO where she has worked on several shows, including the second season of Industry. Charly has a BA from Brown University, a master’s in Women’s Studies from University of Oxford, New College, and her MFA in Playwriting from Hunter College.

Tim J. Lord (“We declare you a terrorist…”is the inaugural recipient of the Apothetae and Lark Fellowship for a writer with a disability, a 2017-18 Jerome Fellow at the Playwrights Center, and the inaugural recipient of the Orchard Project’s Reg E. Cathey Writing Residency for a writer adapting classical material. He was commissioned by the Kennedy Center’s Theatre for Young Audiences to create a new radio play—the result was THROUGH THE SUNKEN LANDS, which follows Artemis Sims, a young woman with cerebral palsy, as she attempts to save her hometown from both a massive flood and a couple of corporate raiders with a taste for “flamin’ hot” corn chips. His newest play, We Will Never Reach the Shore, is an adaptation of Euripides’ The Phoenician Women and tells the story of the battle between Oedipus’ sons for control of Thebes and the refugee women who get caught between them. It will be presented in New York this spring as part of Queens Theater in the Park’s National Disability Convening and Festival. “We declare you a terrorist…” received a finishing commission from Round House Theatre and was developed at The New Harmony Project and the Summer Play Festival. Other work has been produced and developed at The Public Theater, The Lark (RIP), The Vagrancy, Pillsbury House + Theater, The Working Theater, The 52nd Street Project, and Actors Theatre of Louisville. Tim studied with Paula Vogel and is a graduate of the MFA Playwriting Program at the University of California, San Diego. Website:


Marvin González De León (Madre de Diosis a playwright originally from Elko, NV, who writes plays that incorporate a myriad of genres—from sci-fi to horror—anchored in the traditions of Latin American literature. His work has been produced and developed at theaters and universities across the country. He was awarded the 2022 Page 73 Playwriting Fellowship and is currently a Jerome fellow and Core Writer at the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, where he was previously a McKnight and Many Voices fellow. He was a member of the 2020-21 Interstate 73 Writers Group at Page 73 and was a Virtual Realm mentee with The Playwrights Realm. His plays include Madre de Dios; So-Called Occult; Pan Genesis; and Pa’ Fuera, Pa’ Fuera, Pa’ Fuera. He received an MFA in Dramatic Writing in 2017 from Arizona State University and teaches playwriting at Macalester College in St. Paul, MN.

Morgan Gould (Jennifer, Who is Leavingis a New York-based playwright whose play Nicole Clark is Having a Baby was set to premiere as part of the 44th Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville. The production was canceled due to COVID-19 after only five performances. Her other plays include I Wanna Fucking Tear You Apart (world premiere at Studio Theatre in Washington, DC; Helen Hayes Award Nomination for Outstanding New Play); All the Stupid Bitches, Three Fat Sisters, and I’ve Honestly Never Wanted to Bash Someone Over the Head with a Baseball Bat More Than I Do Right Now (commission from Cutting Ball Theatre in San Francisco, world premiere upcoming in Fall 2022). Gould is a Resident Playwright at New Dramatists, a Member Artist at Ensemble Studio Theatre, a Yaddo Colony Fellow, and a MacDowell Colony Fellow. She is a proud alumnus of the Dramatist Guild Foundation Fellows Program, Interstate I73 at Page 73 Productions, the Ingram New Works fellow at Nashville Rep, The Women’s Project Lab, the Civilians R+D Group, Target Margin Lab, Lincoln Center Director’s Lab, SDC Observership Program, the BAX AIR Residency, Playwrights Horizons Directing Residency, and New Georges Writer/Director Lab. She has previously held staff positions at Playscripts, Inc., Lark Play Development Center, Cape Cod Theatre Project, and was the Associate Artistic Director of Young Jean Lee’s Theater Company. She is also the Artistic Director of Morgan Gould & Friends, her theater company with nine actors, three designers, and a filmmaker. MG&F’s work has been featured in and at the New Ohio/Ice Factory Festival, Dixon Place, The Brooklyn Lyceum, HERE Arts Center, Ars Nova, CAP21, BAX, New Georges, and The Culture Project. As a director, Gould has directed world premieres and contemporary works by herself and other playwrights at Studio Theatre in DC, The Humana Festival, Marin Theatre Company, Primary Stages, WP Theater (Women’s Project), Hangar Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Page 73, and many more. Gould is a graduate of the Brooklyn College M.F.A. Program and the Lila Acheson Wallace Playwrights Program at Juilliard.

Mary Kathryn Nagle (On the Far End) is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation. She is also a partner at Pipestem and Nagle Law, P.C., where she works to protect tribal sovereignty and the inherent right of Indian Nations to protect their women and children from domestic violence and sexual assault. From 2015 to 2019, she served as the first Executive Director of the Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program. Nagle is an alum of the 2013 Public Theater Emerging Writers Program. Productions include Miss Lead (Amerinda, 59E59); Fairly Traceable (Native Voices at the Autry); Sovereignty at Arena Stage; Manahatta at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival; Return to Niobrara at Rose Theater; Crossing Mnisose at Portland Center Stage; Sovereignty at Marin Theatre Company; and Manahatta at Yale Repertory Theatre. She has received commissions from Arena Stage, the Rose Theater (Omaha, Nebraska), Portland Center Stage, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Yale Repertory Theatre, Round House Theatre, and Oregon Shakespeare Festival. She is most well known for her work on ending violence against Native women. Her play Sliver of a Full Moon has been performed in law schools from Stanford to Harvard, New York University, and Yale. She has worked extensively on Violence Against Women Act re-authorization, and she has filed numerous briefs in the United States Supreme Court as a part of the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center’s VAWA Sovereignty Initiative, including, most recently, United States v. CooleyOklahoma v. McGirt, and Oklahoma v. Murphy. She represents numerous families of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls, including Kaysera Stops Pretty Places’ family who have brought a public campaign demanding an investigation into her murder. More can be read here:

Mfonso Udofia’s (Adia and Clora Snatch Joyplays include Sojourners, runboyrun, Her Portmanteau, and In Old Age, which have been seen at the American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.), New York Theatre Workshop (NYTW), The Playwrights Realm, Magic Theater, National Black Theatre, Strand Theater Company, and Boston Court. She’s the recipient of the 2017 Helen Merrill Playwright Award and the 2017-18 McKnight National Residency and Commission at The Playwrights’ Center and is a member of the New Dramatists class of 2023. Udofia is currently commissioned by A.C.T., Hartford Stage, Denver Center, A.C.T., Round House Theatre, and South Coast Repertory. Her plays have been developed by Manhattan Theatre Club, A.C.T., NYTW, The Playwrights Realm, McCarter Theatre, OSF, New Dramatists, PCS’s JAW Festival, Berkeley Rep’s Ground Floor, The OCC, Hedgebrook, Sundance Theatre Lab, Space on Ryder Farm, Page 73, New Black Fest, Rising Circle, and more. She has worked as a television writer on the third season of Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why and the first seasons of both Apple TV’s Little America and Pachinko. She’s also working on Amazon’s A League of Their Own and Showtime’s Let the Right One In.

Originally from Jackson, MississippiNehemiah Luckett (Music Composer for Adia and Clora Snatch Joy) has been performing, composing, and conducting for over 30 years. From an early age, he connected his deep love of music to the transformative power of building community through breathing and singing with family and friends. He has composed solo, choral, and instrumental pieces, has been a featured soloist at Washington National Cathedral and Carnegie Hall, and has performed on six continents. From 2011 to 2020, Luckett served as the music director and composer for the activist/performance art collective Rev. Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir. Full production credits include three original full-length musicals: Hamlet: Prince of Funk (1999) with collaborators Owen Beverly (Evans) and Matthew Smith; Brick by Brick (2006) with Ross Wade; and jazz singer (2019) with Joshua William Gelb, presented at Abrons Arts Center. Projects currently in development include a Bible-based afrofuturist opera/music-theater piece titled Jonathan and David, Triple Threats with Tracey Conyer Lee, and A Burning Church with Zhailon Levingston and Alex Hare.

Round House Theatre, 4545 East-West Highway in Bethesda (one block from Wisconsin Ave. and Metro’s Bethesda station). For directions, parking, and public transportation info, visit

it’s not a trip it’s a journey runs from April 5 to May 8, 2022; and “We declare you a terrorist…” runs from April 7 to May 8, 2022. Visit for full performance schedule.

Tickets for the world premiere productions of it’s not a trip its a journey and “We declare you a terrorist…” are on sale now and can be purchased by calling 240.644.1100, ordering online at, or visiting the box office.

All developmental readings are free, with tickets required. Tickets are currently available as part of Festival Packages and will be opened for individual reservation, subject to availability, in late March (date TBD).

  • Festival Packages include savings on purchases of both world premiere productions—it’s not a trip its a journey and “We declare you a terrorist…”—performed in repertory. Patrons ordering Festival Packages may add free tickets for developmental play readings in advance of reservations opening to the general public.
  • Industry Weekends (April 29 – May 1, 2022 | May 6 – 8, 2022): Our professional colleagues from around the country are invited to join us for Industry Weekends in celebration of these exciting new plays. Each weekend has been planned to allow guests to attend both main stage world premieres, as well as two readings and a panel discussion, while leaving plenty of time to catch up with other guests and artists. Contact [email protected] for more information.

Available ticket discounts include:

• Free Play – free tickets for students ages 13 through college: Round House Theatre’s Free Play initiative ties into our greater strategy to develop theater audiences of tomorrow by providing rich, meaningful arts experiences today. For more information, visit or email
 On the House – community ticket access program: Round House’s next step to remove barriers that can make it difficult for some members of our community to experience our work is On the House, which provides complimentary group tickets to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations and community-serving organizations with a 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor. For more information, visit or email
• Pay-What-You-Can performances: PWYC tickets go on sale online or by phone only (no walk-up sales) beginning one week before the first performance of each show. The patron decides the admission price. Limit of two tickets per order. PWYC tickets are subject to availability. PWYC dates:

  • it’s not a trip it’s a journey: Wednesday, April 6 at 7:30pm; Saturday, April 16 at 2:00pm
  • “We declare you a terrorist…”: Saturday, April 9 at 2:00pm; Wednesday, April 13 at 7:30pm

• Blue Star Theatre Program: Active-duty military personnel, veterans, and their immediate family qualify for a $10 discount off the single ticket price. Learn more at

• 2-For-1 Tuesday: For our Tuesday, April 5 performance of it’s not a trip it’s a journey and Tuesday, April 12 performance of “We declare you a terrorist…”, all seats are buy one, get one free. 2-for-1 Tuesday tickets are available online or by phone 9240.644.1100) with promo code TWOFORONE beginning one week before the first performance of each show. Discounts may not be combined. Not valid on previously purchased tickets.

• Group Sales: Groups of 10 or more can save 10% off the single ticket price and are exempt from single ticket fees. These tickets must be reserved and purchased in advance by calling 240.644.1100 or emailing


Patrons must present a photo ID and show proof that they meet the CDC definition of being fully vaccinated* at the time of entry to into the theatre. Patrons may display proof of vaccination with a physical or digital copy of their vaccination card.

Masks will also be required for all guests, regardless of vaccination status, except while eating or drinking in the lobby café area.

Guests who are exempt from vaccination (including children under 5, people with certain medical conditions preventing vaccination, or those with closely held religious beliefs that prevent vaccination) must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 48 hours of the performance start time. 

NOTE: This policy is in effect through March 2022. We will continue to review current circumstances and CDC and local government recommendations to determine whether the mandate may be lifted or extended. 

*”Fully vaccinated” means that either 14 days have passed since receiving the second dose of FDA or WHO authorized double-dose vaccines or that 14 days have passed since receiving the sole dose of FDA or WHO authorized single-dose vaccines.

Round House Theatre is one of the leading professional theaters in the Washington, DC area, producing a season of new plays, modern classics, and musicals for more than 40,000 patrons each year at our theater in Bethesda. Round House has been nominated for 197 Helen Hayes Awards and has won 37, including four Outstanding Resident Play Awards and the Charles MacArthur Award for Original New Play in 2016. Round House’s lifelong learning and education programs serve more than 5,000 students each year at its Education Center in Silver Spring, in schools throughout Montgomery County, and at our Bethesda theater. Cornerstone programs include Free Play, which provides free tickets for students age 13-college, the Teen Performance Company, which culminates in the student-produced Sarah Metzger Memorial Play, Summer Camp for students in grades K-12, and a full slate of classes for adults and youth.


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