Living Room Series





Now in its 26th year, The Living Room Series is a New Play Development program, which embodies The Blank’s commitment to developing new work by diverse voices from both established and emerging writers. Submissions by women, playwrights of color, and other under-represented voices are strongly encouraged. The Blank is firmly committed to supporting gender parity and diversity.

The Living Room Series (LRS) takes place on Monday evenings at the 2nd Stage Theatre in Hollywood between Labor Day and Memorial Day. LRS offers a week-long rehearsal process for the playwright, director, and actors to explore and refine the play before presenting it to an audience.

The performances are minimally staged, with actors carrying scripts, and are a wonderful opportunity for the playwright to get a sense of the play’s full potential.




All performances begin at 8:00pm and take place at
The Blank’s 2nd Stage Theatre
6500 Santa Monica Blvd, Hollywood
unless otherwise noted.

For reservations click on the button below each play description.

You have the option to donate ahead of time with a credit card.  Every donation counts for both your taxes and our theatre magic.

Don’t fret, you can still make a reservation online and pay cash at the door or nothing at all. We just want you there to see a new play!



Monday February 19th  
Written by Alex Lyras
Directed by Bree Pavey

At the youthful age of 24, German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche was appointed a full professorship at Basel University in Switzerland, where he met the wealthy patron Malwida Von Meysenbug, who introduced him to his soon to be best friend, Paul Rée, and the precocious Lou Salomé.

After a lifetime of denying any desire for marriage, Nietzsche was ready to propose. Unfortunately, so was Paul Rée. They each asked for Lou’s hand, twice, but were refused in favor of establishing an intellectual ménage à trois, with philosophy as their collective muse.  Nietzsche’s younger sister, Elizabeth, was deeply envious of

Lou’s strength and independence, and began to poison the public’s opinion of her. When Lou learned of the slander, she broke off with Nietzsche, choosing instead to live platonically with Rée. Nietzsche’s devastation was all Elizabeth needed to begin her campaign to send this social climbing vixen back to icy snows of Russia. Love, Nietzsche is an exploration of what transpires when extremely intelligent, highly motivated people act on conflicting assumptions.Their ambitions collide at full speed in this true story of passion, power and postulation, resulting in a historical tragedy from which no one emerged unscathed.

Stephanie Jones, Rachel Lemos, Ben Rawls, Devan Schoelen, Madylin Sweeten

Writer Bio
Alex Lyras has written and produced theater, film and TV in New York, Los Angeles and regionally. His most recently play, Plasticity, premiered at the Hudson Theater in January. It was twice extended and first on the Huffington Post’s Best Plays of 2017 list.

The Common Air, Lyras’ previous collaboration for the stage (with co-writer/director Robert McCaskill), was produced in Los Angeles in 2008 and ran for five months at The Lillian Theater. The dramedy links 6 characters during an airport delay, due to a possible security breach. The Los Angeles Times writes, “Tensile energy and unflagging skill in his well-crafted, must-see show.” The show won multiple awards and transferred Off Broadway to 45 Bleecker Street Theater where it ran from November 2009 to July 2010. It has since been translated into Italian and German.

Lyras’ first solo performance, Desperelics, was produced at the Gene Frankel Theater in New York, and later at the HBO Workspace in Los Angeles. It led to a development deal with NBC based on his characters, and a role in Mike Nichol’s What Planet Are You From?

Unequalibrium, his second solo effort (co-written and directed by McCaskill), was produced at the Gene Frankel in New York and selected for publication in Best Plays of 2002 and Best Men’s Monologues For the Twenty First Century. The show was produced again in LA, where it lead to a development deal with Brillstein Grey.

In 2010, Lyras and McCaskill produced the feature film, Heterosexuals, a comedy concerning three couples in three disparate stages of love, starring Natasha Lyonne, Ashley Williams, and Tovah Feldshuh. Their first film as writer/producers, Mona, a modern day Jules & Jim, won Best Picture at the Malibu Film Festival and chosen by the Film Society of Lincoln Center for broadcast on the PBS “Indies” series. They have also developed TV pilots for NBC, FOX, Warner Brothers, Jerry Bruckheimer and Joel Silver.

Lyras screenplay, ALVA, a drama addressing the question of whether Thomas Edison was our greatest inventor or an idea thief with a knack for marketing, won the Alfred P. Sloan Grant from the Tribeca Film Institute. This summer, he will direct his first feature, How To Address An Envelope, which he also wrote.



Monday February 26th
Written by Christine J. Schmidt
Directed by Lauren Campedelli

Kathryn and Dustin are struggling to keep their marriage from falling apart while tragedy rapidly closes in on them. Kathryn’s younger sister, Charlotte, is just days away from dying of cervical cancer. She wants to let go peacefully, but Kathryn and Dustin’s frequent visits to her hospice room are far from comforting — they may even be dangerous.

Writer Bio
Christine J. Schmidt’s plays have been developed at EST/LA, The Parsnip Ship, and Red Fern Theatre Company. She is the founder and co-artistic director of EST/LA’s New West Playwrights (where she first workshopped Charlotte Stay Close). She is originally from New Jersey, but now resides in Los Angeles. She is a graduate of the SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Theatre Arts.



Monday March 5th
Written by Dylan Zwickel
Directed by Adam Chambers

The Cardioluthier follows two couples as they struggle to understand the mechanics of the human heart… which, in their world, happens to look like a miniature violin. Dakota, a cardioluthier responsible for the creation of custom violin hearts, is perfectly content to remain removed from the people hir work benefits until the mysterious Sam commissions a heart for hir sister and forces Dakota to consider the implications of hir inability to make an unbreakable heart. Thirty years later and miles away, another cardioluthier, Morgan, who fixes broken hearts for a living, is forced to confront hir personal demons when hir ex, Jamie, demands that ze fix the heart ze broke. As one couple falls in love, the other rediscovers why they couldn’t, and all four gain new perspective on the joys and consequences of love.

Writer Bio
Originally from Los Angeles, Dylan is a New York-based writer and director. New York directing credits include Here We Dance, an immersive theatrical fairytale party, and Other Girls, a feminist cabaret. Dylan has also assisted directors such as Melia Bensussen and Portia Krieger, and is currently assisting Tony Award nominee Liesl Tommy on the world premiere of Relevance, a new play by JC Lee at MCC, one of New York’s leading off-Broadway theater companies. As a writer, Dylan has had her songs performed at cabaret venues across the city and her musical, Broken City, written with composer Melissa Miles, recently received a reading by Monday Theatre Company. She is thrilled to bring The Cardioluthier back to the Blank, where a one-act version was first performed in the 2012 Young Playwrights Festival. In her spare time, Dylan runs a murder mystery party company, Ghost Ship Murder Mysteries. BA: Wesleyan University. MFA: NYU Tisch’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. Member of the Lincoln Center Theater’s Directors Lab.

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Monday March 19th
Written by David Stallings

Josh and Claire feel pretty progressive and somewhat delighted to attend Damon & Phillip’s Thanksgiving dinner and to spend time with the couple’s new son Caleb. While the child is asleep, the adults commiserate over family photos, but things start spiraling downhill when Claire sees what she thinks is an inappropriate snapshot of little Caleb with one of his gay Dads.  The Baby Monitor deals with bigotry, racism, classism, and double standards from within a progressive family. The play creates a dialogue in the hope to spark a larger involvement and understanding from those seeking answers, and those who consider themselves allies to the cause of equality. It examines and creates a dialogue about modern parenting, and the difference between tolerance and acceptance.

Writer Bio
DAVID STALLINGS is a playwright and actor who has been presented across the US. Plays include: Dark Water (2014 New York Innovative Theater Award for Best Original Full-Length Script), Anaϊs Nin Goes to Hell (2009 Arthur W. Stone New Play Award at Louisiana Tech University; 1st Prize at the 2007 Boston Theatre Works Unbound Festival; Prince Grace Awards Semi-Finalist; Selection 2008 FringeNYC), Barrier Island, (nominated for the 2009 Williamstown Theatre Festival’s Weissberger Award), The Stranger to Kindness (2011 Planet Connections Playwriting Award Short Form, and Best Production of a One Act Play). The Baby Monitor (short) was selected to be a part of the 2017 Playwrights for a Cause benefit celebrating Planet Connections Festivities.  It was presented on July 23rd at Alvin Ailey amongst short plays by José Rivera, Lyle Kessler, Catherine Filloux and ReGina Taylor. The full-length version of The Baby Monitor was a 2014 National New Play Network finalist. Acting credits include: An Ideal Husband (Lord Goring), Macbeth (Lady Macbeth), Sweet Sweet Spirit (Kendall), The Picture of Dorian Gray (Lord Henry), A Home Across the Ocean (Connor), Farewell to Sanity (Dr. Henley: Winner Best Actor for 2013 PCTF Awards), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Demetrius), and Big Love (Giuliano), among many more. He is the Associate Artistic Director of the Theater at the 14th Street Y in Manhattan. To learn more about David and his plays visit



Monday March 26th
Written by Mike Bencivenga
Directed by Bjørn Johnson

Three days in the life of four friends in a loft in Tribeca during the drug-fueled 1980’s. We first meet Joe, Branden, Areum and Darryl on the December night John Lennon was murdered, then a few months later on the day Ronald Reagan was shot and finally a full year later, the day John Belushi died of a drug overdose. Those tragic events shake each of them out of their “wasted” state and bring about changes none of them could have foreseen for themselves or each other.

Writer Bio
Mike Bencivenga’s full-length plays include SINGLE BULLET THEORY, COUPLETS, BILLY & RAY, SUMMER ON FIRE, BAD HEARTS, MINUET ON THIRD and WASTED DAYS. In 2013 BILLY & RAY won the prestigious W. Keith Hedrick award for best play. It premiered at The Falcon Theater under the direction of the legendary Garry Marshall. In 2014 Mike’s political comedy, SUMMER ON FIRE, won the Christopher Wolk prize for excellence in playwriting. That same year BAD HEARTS won the Stanley Drama Award for best play. All three of those plays began their lives with readings at LRS. Mike is thrilled to be returning to The Living Room with his latest work.





The submission period for the 2017-18 season has ended.


  • Submission must be full-length (we regret that one-acts or ten-minutes will not be considered at this time).
  • Submission must not have received a full production. Submissions that have received full productions, even if they have undergone significant post-production revisions, will not be considered. The Blank considers staged readings and academic productions exceptions to this rule.
  • Playwright may only submit one script per submission period.
  • If a script was declined for a prior season, please note what significant revisions have been made (in your Artistic Statement).
  • Materials must be submitted as PDFs. For information on how to create a pdf, please visit: