Back to All Events

Mark Roberts: NEW COUNTRY

Sarah Lemp and Mark Roberts in "New Country," written by Mr. Roberts, at the Cherry Lane Theater.CreditClay Anderson

Sarah Lemp and Mark Roberts in "New Country," written by Mr. Roberts, at the Cherry Lane Theater.CreditClay Anderson

Written by Mark Roberts
Directed by David Harwell
Produced at the Chery Lane Theater in Association with Rattlestick

Country music star Justin Spears is young, handsome, hugely famous, hugely wealthy, and has an ego at the top of the charts. On the eve of Justin’s wedding day, his ruthless managers, Paul and Chuck, try in vain to keep an unruly entourage under control. Enter Ollie, the star-struck hotel bellboy with a cockeyed view of fame; Sharon, Justin’s vigilante, scorned ex-girlfriend; and dirty old pig-farming Uncle Jim who arrives with inflatable lady, Wanda June Whitmore. So how does this raucous rodeo go so wrong…so fast? Welcome to the NEW COUNTRY, where the hits just keep on comin’.


Jared Culverhouse
Sarah Lemp
David Lind
Malcolm Madera
Stephen Sheffer
Mark Roberts


Scenic and Light Design David Harwell
Costume Design Johanna Doty


“Critic’s pick…Two and a Half Men was often among network prime time’s raunchier shows during its long run, but Mark Roberts, one of the brains behind it, apparently was holding a lot back. His raucous NEW COUNTRY is full of the kind of lines television censors snip out. But Mr. Roberts does a pretty good job of slipping in a bit of heart amidst the offensiveness.” —The New York Times. “Roberts’ characters are clear and their motives are uncomplicated. His humor is sharp…and his timing is spot on. In the end, after some very clever writing…nearly everyone has a firm grip on a knife sticking out of someone else’s back. And you leave being grateful you are not one of them.” — “In Mark Roberts’ delightful and moving play NEW COUNTRY…these Southern characters [are] funny without making fun of them. The jokes are validated by the logic and drama…all laughs are earned…[a] hilarious, poignant, and at times heart-wrenching comedic drama.” —


Playwright Mark Roberts became interested in the arts at an early age and started working at The Station Theater, a small local performing space in a converted train station in Urbana, Illinois. In his early twenties he moved to Chicago to pursue a career as an actor and writer, using stand-up comedy as a way to pay the bills. Comedy took him to Los Angeles, where Mark appeared on "The Tonight Show" several times, and that led to guest-starring roles on numerous television series, among them, "Seinfeld," "Friends," "The Practice," "The Larry Sanders Show," "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," and the films “Next of Kin” and “Bulletproof.” He also worked as a series regular for three seasons on "The Naked Truth" with Tea Leoni. While working as an actor Mark wrote and produced several plays in Los Angeles, eventually catching the attention of writer-producer Chuck Lorre with his one-act comedy COUPLES COUNSELING KILLED KATIE at the Plymouth Theatre Company. He and Lorre created a pilot based on the stageplay and in 2004, when the Lorre-penned "Two And A Half Men" was picked up by CBS, Roberts was immediately hired as a producer and has been there ever since, rising to the level of Executive Producer. Roberts continues to return to the Station Theater to produce his original plays, which include WELCOME TO TOLONO, WHITEY, WHERE THE GREAT ONES RUN, and PARASITE DRAG. Several of his works have been picked up by Dramatists Play Service and published as acting editions. Roberts lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Teresa, and various four-legged freeloaders.