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Welcome to LAUNCH PAD

A Letter from our Artistic Director...

Welcome to LAUNCH PAD! 

LAUNCH PAD began in 2005 and we are proud to have supported so many talented playwrights and plays on their journey from incubation to professional world premiere.

2024 kicks off with a preview production of James Still's EVERYBODY'S FAVORITE MOTHERS. This new play explores the true story of how Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), a vitally important organization now celebrating its 50th anniversary, came into being. We are fortunate to have two professional actors join the student cast including Julie Fishell, who delivered a stunning performance in our 2019 LAUNCH PAD preview production of Enid Graham's WHAT MARTHA DID. Julie is portraying PFLAG founder Jeanne Manford and we couldn't be more excited to have her back alongside local favorite, Paul Canter.

The concept of a "Preview Production” is unique in the American theater: a fully realized and professionally designed and directed production that stays in previews throughout the run of the show allowing the writer to revise their work through the final performance. Bringing together talented students, faculty artists, and professional guest artists to work on these dynamic new plays is the hallmark of our program.

If you have any questions about LAUNCH PAD, please reach out to

All my best,


Upcoming Events

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poster for the play Everybody's Favorite Mothers

February/March 2024
Feb 22-24, 27-29 / Mar 1, 2

all show times at 7:30pm
with additional matinee on March 2 at 2pm

Everybody's Favorite Mothers
by James Still
directed by Risa Brainin


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In The News...


poster for Caridad's play at Firehouse Theatre

Memories of Overdevelopment by Caridad Svich
Caridad's play was developed in our 2022 LAUNCH PAD AMPLIFY Reading Series Festival.
Break a leg, Caridad!

For more information, visit

Congratulations Candrice!

Candrice Jones wins 2023 Kesselring Prize

photo of Candrice Jones
Candrice Jones

Congratulations Kareem!

Playwright Kareem Fahmy
(with American Fast) is the
2022-23 Woodward/Newman Award Winner.

headshot of Kareem Fahmy

American Fast was featured in
LAUNCH PAD's 2021 BIPOC Reading Series Festival.


In loving memory...

Shirley Jo Finney and Taylor Kirk rehearsal


Our dear friend and colleague, Shirley Jo Finney, passed away on October 10, 2023. Shirley Jo was a bright light in our lives. She first came to direct for the Theater/Dance Department in 2014. Over the next 8 years, she returned several times to teach and direct, most recently Candrice Jones' "A Medusa Thread." You can read more about her incredible career here. Shirley Jo was a wonderful teacher and gifted director. She brought out the best in absolutely everyone she came in contact with. She was a warm, generous friend and colleague. Honest and real. She signed most of her emails “Peace and Care” - and truly meant that. Those of us who had the honor of knowing Shirley Jo will miss her dearly. Her legacy lives on in each of us who she touched so deeply. So much love, Shirley Jo.

May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest. 

Shirley Jo Finney in rehearsal for
A Medusa Thread by Candrice Jones.
With Imani Alis. (photo credit: Jeff Liang)


Alone, Together flyer

Dramatic Publishing: publisher
and exclusive licensing of
LAUNCH PAD’s Alone, Together Festival
of short plays and monologues!

If you are interested in licensing the Alone, Together compilation,
please contact or visit their website.


For updates on the LAUNCH PAD Program like us on Facebook!

Take a moment to flip through the LAUNCH PAD brochure!

photo of the LAUNCH PAD brochure