Usually, regional theaters pick the same few new plays that were hits in New York the season before. With all the unknown factors in producing new(ish) plays, it’s understandable that theaters would feel more comfortable producing a play with some name recognition….
The other possibility for taking some of the unknown out of the equation is for a theatre to produce a playwright that they know…. Their job now becomes selling the audience on the idea that [they] can pick a good play. Theaters that have the resources to get to know emerging writers, and the commitment to nurture those relationships, have the chance to shape the world of contemporary theater rather than just reflect it.