Jonathon Ward

Jonathon Ward

Jonathon is a playwright and a New Yorker from six American Nations: Yankeedom, Greater Appalachia, The Midlands, New France, Tidewater and New Netherland. He also explores the other five nations of America, through visiting and researching: The Far West, First Nation, El Norte, Deep South, and The Left Coast. In his plays, he delves into the richness of our cultural heritages and creates neo-classical...
Jonathon is a playwright and a New Yorker from six American Nations: Yankeedom, Greater Appalachia, The Midlands, New France, Tidewater and New Netherland. He also explores the other five nations of America, through visiting and researching: The Far West, First Nation, El Norte, Deep South, and The Left Coast. In his plays, he delves into the richness of our cultural heritages and creates neo-classical American Theatre that challenges preconceptions of who we are and where we’re going as a people.
He’s had the pleasure to create and develop new theatre with many people in the United States and Canada including New Circle Theatre Company, NYCSummerfest, Theatre Conspiracy, FringeNYC Festival, Indie Theater Now, Secret Theatre, Manhattan Repertory Theatre, Itinerant Theatre, Plays and Pizza, Little Funky Theatre, William Inge Festival, Metropolitan Playhouse, Barter Theater Appalachian Festival, InspiraTO, Applause Books Best Short Plays, Huntington Arts Council, Cooperstown Art Museum, Little Victory Players, Pulse Ensemble, Community Free Theatre, Urban Youth Theatre and others. He has received four commissions from the New York State Council on the Arts through several local arts agencies, as well as grants from New York University, and private foundations for producing his work.
In addition to playwriting, he has worked as a writer, producer, and director in cable television and educational video and administered prominent theatre programs. He was the Director of the Theater Program at the Abrons Arts Center, where he worked for 20 years, and Department Administrator of the NYU Graduate Acting Program for eight years. As an administrator/producer, he wrote and produced over 20 of his own plays in New York City, and produced and presented over 200 shows of other artists.

Plays

  • HILL and HOLLER: Two Appalachian Tales and a Song
    "Devil's Holler"
    Terry and Meg have been scraping by on his father’s pension check, since the steel mill closed. When his father passes away, he wants to keep it a secret so that they can keep getting his checks. His wife and friend who is a union leader want to help him survive, Terry lets them know he can’t live depending on the past.
    "Son of Abraham" - A song...
    "Devil's Holler"
    Terry and Meg have been scraping by on his father’s pension check, since the steel mill closed. When his father passes away, he wants to keep it a secret so that they can keep getting his checks. His wife and friend who is a union leader want to help him survive, Terry lets them know he can’t live depending on the past.
    "Son of Abraham" - A song
    An Appalachian re-telling of the Abraham and Isaac story with banjo accompaniment.
    "Witches on the Hill"
    A daughter comes to understand the womanhood her mother and grandmother have known and breaks free.
  • THE BEAUTIFUL
    Owen visits Annie, who he knew and loved when he was a clockmaker’s apprentice. He urges her to run away to Paris to discover the beauty she has hidden while married to a blacksmith. When she does, she must escape Owen's literary definition of her freedom.
  • The Theatre Made in Paradise
    At sea in a storm in 1619, Rebecca Stanford, the wife of an abusive Puritan leader, discovers an actor, Nathan Field, on board who she knew in London as a girl. He is sailing to the new world disguised as a Pilgrim to start a theatre in Jamestown after the Globe Theatre didn’t hire him to replace Burbage. Rebecca’s husband, the Puritan leader, finds the copy of The Tempest they are reading. Believing the storm...
    At sea in a storm in 1619, Rebecca Stanford, the wife of an abusive Puritan leader, discovers an actor, Nathan Field, on board who she knew in London as a girl. He is sailing to the new world disguised as a Pilgrim to start a theatre in Jamestown after the Globe Theatre didn’t hire him to replace Burbage. Rebecca’s husband, the Puritan leader, finds the copy of The Tempest they are reading. Believing the storm is conjured by the actor using spells from the play, he accuses them of being witches and threatens to denounce them. In the storm, Rebecca is washed overboard, and floats ashore on Cape Cod where her husband has left her actor friend and Stephano, her servant from Africa, to force them to confess that they are conjurers. Hiding in the woods, Rebecca is befriended by a woman from a Wampanoag village and together they gain the freedom of Rebecca’s friends and the Wampanoag’s husband. Nathan, Stephano and Rebecca are invited to stay in the Native village for the Winter, where they plan to start their Paradise Theatre and do their day jobs planting corn and digging out canoes.
  • Tragedy at Loon Lake
    A play about people with disappearing dreams in Jasper, small town near Elmira NY in the Appalachian region. Lewellyn moved back to teach, settle down and take care of her parents after a disappointing love affair in Boston. Dexter, who has worked in the local factory since high school, believes he can win her back if he disentangles himself from his past. Chasing dreams in a town where the values of family...
    A play about people with disappearing dreams in Jasper, small town near Elmira NY in the Appalachian region. Lewellyn moved back to teach, settle down and take care of her parents after a disappointing love affair in Boston. Dexter, who has worked in the local factory since high school, believes he can win her back if he disentangles himself from his past. Chasing dreams in a town where the values of family and community have been corroded by economic decline, they are forced to go beyond their dreams and live a reality they never chose.
  • The Damnation and Illumination of Theron Ware
    The Damnation of Theron Ware (published in England as Illumination) is a classic American novel written by Harold Frederic in 1896. The book and my adaptation are a tragi-comedy depicting the rise and fall of a minister in the Gilded Age. Theron preaches in a small town where he falls in love with a well-to-do young woman, who is worldly and free-thinking. He leaves his wife to follow her to New York City,...
    The Damnation of Theron Ware (published in England as Illumination) is a classic American novel written by Harold Frederic in 1896. The book and my adaptation are a tragi-comedy depicting the rise and fall of a minister in the Gilded Age. Theron preaches in a small town where he falls in love with a well-to-do young woman, who is worldly and free-thinking. He leaves his wife to follow her to New York City, where she jilts him. He ends up living on the streets in the Bowery until he is found by his wife and Sister Soulsby, who runs a mission. He accepts Soulsby's help and is reunited with his wife, but he doesn't return to preaching. Sister Soulsby sees he is not capable of being a sincere believer and she gets him a job selling real estate Out West so he can, at the very least, support his wife and family.
  • Death of a Farmer
    The play takes place in 2008 on Daniel Hale’s dairy farm near the Catskills along the Delaware River and by a front-lawn memorial for his son Marcellus, who was killed in Iraq. On Memorial Day, as his family and friends gather to remember his son, Daniel lets his wife know he’s going to lease the mineral rights of his 600-acre dairy farm to a gas company. The farm is too expensive to operate and more work...
    The play takes place in 2008 on Daniel Hale’s dairy farm near the Catskills along the Delaware River and by a front-lawn memorial for his son Marcellus, who was killed in Iraq. On Memorial Day, as his family and friends gather to remember his son, Daniel lets his wife know he’s going to lease the mineral rights of his 600-acre dairy farm to a gas company. The farm is too expensive to operate and more work than he can handle. Moreover he wants to remake the farm the way his son would have wanted, and be released from the guilt he feels for driving his son away from home. His wife, daughter, and son-in-law want to keep the farm going in memory of Marc, and they confront him and the landman, who offers a very favorable lease. The landman, who knew Marc in the Army, promised to take care of his father and mother if anything happened to him, but realizes that by leasing the natural gas rights, he will destroy his friend’s family. In the middle of the night, angry that his friend has given him a task that seems impossible, and knowing that the barn is falling down and can’t be rebuilt without the money from the lease or fire insurance, he sets the barn on fire. Daniel, awakened after drinking heavily is convinced that Marc has returned and set the fire and imagines that he sees and hears Marc in the flames. He is taken to the hospital with a stroke. In the epilogue, at the family memorial for Daniel, his family and friends remember what made the farm important to him as a young farmer and how he loved the land and cultivated it for its own sake as his son would have wanted him to.
  • Murderous Caduceus
    The Heathman family gathers to decide whether their Father, who is in a coma because of a suspicious fall, should have his life-support withdrawn. The brothers and sisters are evenly divided about what to do with his pharmaceutical company. Their decision will determine its future. Will the brother and sister who are business oriented and want to sell the company for a profit prevail? Or will the siblings...
    The Heathman family gathers to decide whether their Father, who is in a coma because of a suspicious fall, should have his life-support withdrawn. The brothers and sisters are evenly divided about what to do with his pharmaceutical company. Their decision will determine its future. Will the brother and sister who are business oriented and want to sell the company for a profit prevail? Or will the siblings who are a doctor and a nurse reform the company to follow their father's ideals? After it is revealed that Kyle, the company attorney, is given control of the company in their Father’s will, the Father’s life-support device is shot. The family turns on him, until the truth of what really caused their Father’s death is discovered, and the legacy of their father, who believed in good medicine for people not profits, prevails. The play is a murder-mystery of drugs, money, death, and how they unsettle everyone’s sense of well-being. Big pharma vs. family karma.