The Broadway Producer Pick List: The Top 10 Unproduced Plays of 2016!

We get a lot of script submissions here at DTE.

Our open, no-questions-asked, no-agent-needed, script submission policy is something I’m proud of.

But we can’t produce everything.  And sometimes, often actually, we read something really good but that, for whatever reason, just isn’t something that we can do.

In those cases we make note of the writer, tell them to make sure they send us other stuff, and put them on our “Favorite Writer List” that we consult when we’re looking for a writer for one of our ideas.

But lately, I got to thinking.

First, like I said, we get some good stuff.  Some really good stuff.  And I don’t know about you, but when I see something or read something good, I just want to tell everyone about it.

And second, just because we can’t produce this really good stuff, doesn’t mean someone else wouldn’t want to.

So, we decided to give those scripts a little spotlight.

And so, I’m proud to announce . . . The Broadway Producer Pick List!

The premise for The Broadway Producer Pick List is simple.  We went through all of the scripts that we’ve read over the past year (and when I saw we, I say me, and my team of readers, led by the incredible dramaturge and script analyst, Eric Webb), and picked our 10 Favorites.

Then, we asked those authors for permission to put their info and their work on The Broadway Producer Pick List.  That’s right, you not only will learn about the writers, but you’ll also get a chance to read the work!

Our hope is, of course, that the work will be read by someone who might pass it on to someone, who might pass it on to someone, who may give it a shot.

So check out the list.  Read the stuff.  And then, please . . . pass the list on, tweet about it, share it with friends . . . and let’s help get these passionate playwrights produced.

And now, without further ado,  click here to see The Broadway Producer Pick List 2016!

And thanks to all the writers who submitted, whether or not you made it on the list this year. Your determination to get your art out into the world is inspiring.

(If you’d like to be considered for our Broadway Producer Pick List 2017, click here.  Next year’s list will be announced in December of 2017.)


(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below! Email Subscribers, click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)

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  • Jerry K says:

    While I admittedly have not (yet) had the “pleasure” of reading any of these winning plays, I must say that based on their synopsis all ten are commercially dead. None of these concepts sing. I don’t mean literally sing; not one of the concepts grabs me. I suggest the authors review the thumbnail descriptions of what’s done well recently. “Hand of God” – a Satan-possessed puppet; Hamilton – a musical retelling of a historical duel; “The Humans” a funny, dark family Thanksgiving; “The Book of Mormon”, etc.

    I don’t care how well the writing may be, if the concept is deadly dull, like most of these concepts, it doesn’t matter. I would have no interest in producing, investing in or seeing any of these dull sounding plays. Sorry.

  • Rich Mc says:

    I kind of agree with Jerry K but still love the concept. One humble question: why isn’t there a mechanism for these plays/musicals to go DIRECTLY to interested Producers/Directors (and not just kindred writers)? This would seem a no- brainer if the desired end is to get the plays staged/produced.

    • dkelly says:

      There’s a link for anybody who’s interested in reading. I presume it’s not only playwrights who read Ken’s blog, as much of it is geared toward producing.

  • dkelly says:

    Wow, nine out of ten written by men; that says a lot about how Broadway operates if these are the ten best plays ready for it. For counterbalance, here’s The 2016 Kilroys List, which canvassed theater professional across the country to find the best unproduced plays by women:

    • Jerry K says:

      None of these ten is remotely close to being ready for Broadway. Regarding the list of ten best plays written by women: my god, are women such inferior writers that they need their own list? This isn’t the Olympics or the WNBA where women are genetically inferior, physically. Why would there need to be a separate list for the best written by women, when some of America’s finest plays, and books, and screenplays, have been written by women? I refuse to click this link.

      • dkelly says:

        Do a little research about gender parity in theater and maybe you’ll understand. It’s precisely because women are NOT inferior writers but still get produced only 20% of the time (and that’s up from 17% before it became a more public issue). Check out numbers from last year’s Dramatists Guild study, The Count. The list came about from an ignorant comment during a panel in DC where someone said “There just aren’t enough plays by women in the pipeline,” which is, of course, woefully ignorant. The Kilroys List came about to show that there are tons; they’re just being systematically ignored. So this list is a nationally nominated list of ready-to-produce plays.

        • Jerry K says:

          When I decide whether to invest in or see a play I could not care less whether it was written by a man, a woman, a zebra or a space alien. I’m looking for a quality piece of entertainment. If it has meaning, if it grabs me by the throat, all the better. Based on my experience the problem with female writers is they’re too formulaic, too afraid to take chances…but, if it’s any comfort to you, I would have liked to have seen more women on Ken’s list of ten too. The concepts of the plays by the nine male writers on the list are incredibly dull sounding, and women would not have been any worse. Ken, if you really do read these comments you profess to love, whoever chose those ten scripts (I’m pretty sure it wasn’t you) needs to be whacked with a ruler. Your staff needs to realize that the concept/subject manner are a huge part of a successful play. Your staff that selected the plays ignored this simple rule and opted for formulaic shit that was relatively structurally sound. THe result is a list of boring plays that are going nowhere.

      • dkelly says:

        And FWIW, the numbers are WORSE when it comes to screenplays. It’s nice that you think it’s all equal but man… couldn’t be further from the truth.

  • Carvanpool says:

    Cutting out negative comments now?

    Not cool.

  • Gregory Carr says:

    Where can the so-called “Broadway Black List” found? Pray tell.

  • janis montgomery says:

    Are the tag lines the only problem? Tell us why these are blacklisted? Let us know what not to do?

  • Joe says:

    Thanks for these Ken and the best of luck to all those involved. I enjoyed more than others but I hope all get to be seen by the public.

  • Dean Olivet says:

    Just dug into these, and I’m struck by how non-standard all the formatting was in the scripts, seemed like everyone had their own style. Is that normal? Does anyone care? I was taught that anything other than old school courier would look amateurish … Anyone have any thoughts?

  • Hanford Hills says:

    Hello Ken. Quick question, what percentage of shows do you produce that are conceptualized/written by others, vs shows you as the producer conceptualize and select the writers?

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