New comedy by humorist R. Eric Thomas premieres at Ingram New Works festival

a man and a woman perform on stage

Photos by Rachel Overby.

Well known humorist and internet personality R. Eric Thomas is one of four outstanding writers featured in Nashville Repertory Theatre’s 2019 Ingram New Works Festival. Selected through a highly competitive national search, playwrights travel to Nashville to develop a new play alongside local artists and theatremakers. Thomas’s new play, Crying on Television, will premiere in staged readings tonight at Nashville Children’s Theatre.

“It’s a platonic rom-com about four strangers in an apartment building,” says Thomas about the play. “It’s also about loving TV characters as much as you love your real friends.” The four strangers include a former reality television star, a Miranda Hobbes-type waiting for transformation, and an amateur detective trying to solve a television-related mystery.

“It’s hilarious” says Nate Eppler, Director of the Ingram New Works Project, “It’s smart, surprising, and every character is wonderfully realized. I can’t wait to share this play with Nashville audiences.”

In addition to his work as a playwright, Thomas is a senior staff writer for where he writes “Eric Reads the News,” a daily current events and humor column. The column dissects news, politics, pop culture, reality television, and more, all with Thomas’s unique flair. Media is a frequent topic, and Thomas has a particular interest in how audiences are able to connect to television characters through the screen. His play Crying on Television approaches this directly when a frequent viewer of a reality dating show recognizes a former contestant and tries to meet the real person beneath the character.

Thomas also hosts The Moth in Philadelphia and D.C. and was awarded the 2016 Barrymore Award for Best Play and the 2018 Dramatists Guild Lanford Wilson Award. His debut memoir-in-essays Here For It will be published by Ballantine Books in spring 2020.

Nashville audiences can be the first to see Crying on Television when it premieres tonight. The festival runs through May 18. Tickets, schedules, and more information can be found at

Ingram New WorksAbout the Ingram New Works Project

The Ingram New Works Project is a nationally recognized new play development program designed to empower new voices in the American theatre with transformative support and expand the creative capacity of Nashville by connecting artists and audiences across extraordinary new works. The project was created with the support of co-founder Martha R. Ingram to provide an opportunity for theatre artists to develop new theatre works while in residency at Nashville Rep. Since 2009, the Ingram New Works Project has supported the development of over sixty new plays for the stage that have gone on to development, awards, and production across the United States. The continuing journey of each of those plays and playwrights is made possible through the early support of Nashville audiences and artists and the Ingram New Works Project.

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