Metro Weekly

Editor’s Pick: Keegan’s Boiler Room Series

Keegan Theatre's Boiler Room series offers support and a stage for new and unique performances and performers.

Push The Button -- Photo: Cameron Whitman
Keegan’s Push The Button — Photo: Cameron Whitman

Keegan’s 2023 Boiler Room Series spawned the recent hit Push The Button, which was workshopped and presented as part of the 2022 iteration.

Launched in 2017, the Boiler Room Series is officially described as “offering support and a stage for new and unique performances and performers, and working to promote the creative minds that are driving theater in D.C. and beyond to new and unexpected places.”

Last year’s series is actually the source of two world-premiere productions in Keegan’s current 2022-2023 Mainstage season. Immediately following Push The Button, the theater’s flood lights will shine on Graziella Jackson’s The Wilting Point, described as “a new play about climate and culture, and about conflict and connectedness.”

During its mid-to-late April run, The Wilting Point will be complemented by readings of three other works in development from Jackson, Keegan’s 2022-2023 Playwright-in-Residence.

A four-part play cycle, “The Elements Plays” explore aspects of the climate crisis, its impact on local communities, and coverage by the news media.

The 2023 Boiler Room series kicks off with free readings and post-reading moderated talkbacks, starting at 7 p.m. on Mondays, featuring Jackson’s Air, directed by Momo Nakamura (4/10), Earth directed by BRS Artistic Director Josh Sticklin (4/17), and Fire directed by Paige Washington (4/24) — all presented at Keegan’s Church Street theater.

Selected from hundreds of new-play submissions received in 2022, three additional works in development factor into the 2023 Boiler Room series, with half-day workshops culminating in live, open-to-the-public table readings followed by talkbacks on select Mondays in May.

Presented at the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Museum 1901 (Fort Place SE), the lineup includes:

  • Kate Black-Spence’s Enter Gretta, about a novelist whose worlds of fiction and reality both turn upside down and become perplexing intertwined. (5/1)
  • Alyssa Haddad-Chin’s You Should Be So Lucky, offering a glimpse of the generational and cultural changes between a Chinese-American grandmother and granddaughter set in contemporary Chinatown. (5/8)
  • Stephen Mills’s Waiting for Manilow, a slice-of-life look at a 17-year-old gay boy, his best gal pal, an unexpected run-in from another classmate (5/14).
  • Angelle Whavers’s The Oreos, a modern theatrical spin on the 1970 film Watermelon Man as a young white couple wakes up Black and is forced to learn what it’s like to be Black in today’s America. (5/15)

All readings are offered for free but Pay-What-You-Can is encouraged and online reservations are recommended. Visit or call 202-265-3767.

Support Metro Weekly’s Journalism

These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!