Josh Irving Gershick

Josh Irving Gershick

Josh Irving Gershick is a playwright, author, journalist, filmmaker & teacher.

His plays include Bluebonnet Court, winner in 2007 of the GLAAD Award for Outstanding Los Angeles Theatre, an NAACP Award for Theatre Excellence, and a multiple L.A. Weekly and L.A. Stage Alliance Ovation nominee. In 2008, the San Diego Union-Tribune named Bluebonnet Court (co-pro by Moxie Theatre and...
Josh Irving Gershick is a playwright, author, journalist, filmmaker & teacher.

His plays include Bluebonnet Court, winner in 2007 of the GLAAD Award for Outstanding Los Angeles Theatre, an NAACP Award for Theatre Excellence, and a multiple L.A. Weekly and L.A. Stage Alliance Ovation nominee. In 2008, the San Diego Union-Tribune named Bluebonnet Court (co-pro by Moxie Theatre and Diversionary Theatre) among the top 10 plays of the season.

In 2009, Gershick was commissioned by Diversionary Theatre (and funded by a grant from the James Irvine Foundation) to write a theatrical version of his award-winning book Gay Old Girls. His play Coming Attractions was produced by San Diego’s Moxie Theatre in June 2012.

His latest works are Dear ONE: Love & Longing in Mid-Century Queer America and the radio comedy Assisted Living. Dear ONE was commissioned in 2012 by the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at USC to honor its 60th anniversary. The play has had staged readings at the USC ONE Archive (2012); the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books (2013), the Los Angeles Library Foundation’s ALOUD Series, Mark Taper Auditorium, LA Central Library (2014); and the West Hollywood Festival of the Arts (2015).

Gershick's short film Door Prize, which he wrote and directed, has screened at more than 125 film festivals worldwide and was winner of the Bloomington PRIDE Film Festival’s Alfred C. Kinsey Award, honoring film that furthers understanding of gender or sexuality. The film also was named Best GenderBender Short at the Hamburg International Queer Film Festival; Best Female Short at FilmOut: The San Diego Gay & Lesbian Film Festival; and Best Short at the Kansas City Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. The film is used nationally by The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and other non-profits to promote the full equality and inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The film stars indie-icon Beth Grant.

Gershick wrote the narration for the 2006 documentary film Tweakers, chronicling the methamphetamine epidemic in the LGBTQ community; and his comedy Rozzie & Harriet (co-written with Marion Levine) was a finalist at the 1999 Outfest Screenwriting Competition, celebrating outstanding queer-themed screenplays and their writers.

Gershick is the author of two acclaimed oral histories, Gay Old Girls, winner of the 1998 ForeWord Book of the Year Award for LGBT Nonfiction, a 1998 American Library Association Book of the Year Nominee, and a 1999 Lambda Literary Award Finalist; and Secret Service: Untold Stories of Lesbians in the Military, winner of the 2005 ForeWord Book of the Year Award for LGBT Nonfiction. Secret Service was a C-SPAN Book TV featured book; and an NPR Summer Reading Pick. His short fiction has appeared in the anthologies Best Lesbian Love Stories 2003 and Best Lesbian Love Stories 2004 (Alyson Books).

He is a former reporter for Newsweek, The Advocate and other newspapers and periodicals, and served as the frontline media liaison for the University of Southern California, the West's largest private research university, for more than a decade. Gershick has taught graduate and undergraduate writing at USC, Pasadena City College, Glendale Community College and Austin Community College.

A U.S. Army veteran and graduate of the Defense Information School, Gershick holds an MFA from the USC School of Dramatic Arts; a Master of Professional Writing (MPW) from the USC Dornsife College; and is a graduate of the USC School of Cinematic Arts Summer Intensive in Documentary Filmmaking.

He is the Southern California Regional Representative for the Dramatists Guild and a regular contributor to The Dramatist magazine.

Plays

  • Bluebonnet Court
    Set in 1944, against the backdrop of World War II and the waning days of Hollywood’s glamour era, Bluebonnet Court is a play about sex, civil rights and finding family in the most unusual places. It is the story of people who struggle – sometimes fearlessly, sometimes fearfully – with their sexuality, their relationships to race and ethnicity, and the vast cultural differences created by desire, geography,...
    Set in 1944, against the backdrop of World War II and the waning days of Hollywood’s glamour era, Bluebonnet Court is a play about sex, civil rights and finding family in the most unusual places. It is the story of people who struggle – sometimes fearlessly, sometimes fearfully – with their sexuality, their relationships to race and ethnicity, and the vast cultural differences created by desire, geography, class and color.

    In this multi-racial romantic dramedy, wisecracking Hearst Sob Sister Helen Burke (nee Berkowitz) is winding her way from Manhattan to Hollywood, into a coveted spot as an MGM contract writer and the waiting arms of her closeted lover, movie star Laura Stanton. When Helen is waylaid on the outskirts of Austin, Texas, it’s more than her car that gets an overhaul. Her arrival disrupts the delicate balance of relationships between the denizens of her temporary home – the Bluebonnet Court motor hotel – and calls the question: Would we have the courage to reveal our true selves if the stakes were nothing less than life or death?

    Bluebonnet Court explores a period in American history in the decade before the emergence of the civil rights and homophile movements. The play examines certain aspects of American culture that remain very much alive, deeply troubling and difficult to confront. Racial intolerance, anti-Semitism, homophobia and a general fear of the other continue to pervade our country, especially during wartime. We need look no further than today’s headlines to apprehend the vital role the arts play in pressing us to keep confronting this unattractive underbelly of our national consciousness. Because the play is set in the 1940s, audiences can examine these challenging issues at arm’s length while getting swept up in a story of everyday people battling within and without to be themselves.

    Bluebonnet Court premiered in 2006, at the Hudson Theatre in Los Angeles and was winner in 2007 of the GLAAD Award for Outstanding Los Angeles Theatre and two NAACP Theatre Awards for Theatrical Excellence. The production garnered three nominations each from the Los Angeles Stage Alliance and the LA Weekly. In 2008, Bluebonnet Court was produced by San Diego’s Diversionary Theatre, in a co-production with Moxie Theatre, and was named one of the season’s Top Ten productions by the San Diego Union Tribune.

    In its two sold-out productions, the play has attracted diverse audiences of all ages, races and backgrounds who have connected with the characters. A deceptively simple read at first blush, Bluebonnet Court is a layered work, worth exploring at length.
  • Dear ONE: Love & Longing in Mid-Century Queer America
    Dear ONE: Love & Longing in Mid-Century Queer America illuminates the lives of ordinary Queer Americans as recounted through letters written between 1953 and 1965, to L.A.’s ONE Magazine, the first openly gay & lesbian periodical in the United States. Each month, ONE Magazine reached several thousand readers, a great many of them isolated and in search of community. In larger cities, the magazine was...
    Dear ONE: Love & Longing in Mid-Century Queer America illuminates the lives of ordinary Queer Americans as recounted through letters written between 1953 and 1965, to L.A.’s ONE Magazine, the first openly gay & lesbian periodical in the United States. Each month, ONE Magazine reached several thousand readers, a great many of them isolated and in search of community. In larger cities, the magazine was available on newsstands; in smaller towns, it arrived in mailboxes in a simple unmarked envelope. Readers from all over the globe wrote back to ONE. Looking for love, friendship or understanding, they wrote of loneliness and longing, of joy and fulfillment, and of their daily lives, hidden from history. The play is adapted from material from the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at USC.

    Dear ONE features the voices of more than 40 distinct, mid-century Queer people – real people who tell us first-hand about their lives. The correspondents – deeply but seamlessly edited – come from nearly every walk of life, from every part of the country and abroad.

    Popular accounts place the start of the LGBT movement in 1969, with the Stonewall Riots in New York City. In truth, the first documented LGBT civil rights demonstrations in the U.S. were held in August 1966, at San Francisco’s Compton’s Cafeteria, when police attempted to rout transgender patrons; and on Feb. 11, 1967, at the Black Cat café in Los Angeles, in response to a police raid. But Dear ONE suggests something else again – that the queer liberation movement – an awareness of community coupled with a galvanizing call to action – began long before, as many of its letters underscore. And ONE Magazine – whose mission was to “help homosexuals to understand themselves” – was there.
  • Assisted Living
    Mantis Properties is bulldozing courtyard apartments in palmy West Hollywood, evicting low-income elders who, for decades, have called the quiet, leafy neighborhoods home. But thespian Henry Holden won't go. Forgotten by filmgoers but not by his wildly assorted friends – Henry's mounting a spirited, screwball defense. Lights! Camera! Action! It's a insurrection Mantis won't soon forget....
    Mantis Properties is bulldozing courtyard apartments in palmy West Hollywood, evicting low-income elders who, for decades, have called the quiet, leafy neighborhoods home. But thespian Henry Holden won't go. Forgotten by filmgoers but not by his wildly assorted friends – Henry's mounting a spirited, screwball defense. Lights! Camera! Action! It's a insurrection Mantis won't soon forget. Written to be performed in the wacky, rapid-fire pace of Kaufman & Hart, in which anything can happen at any time and usually does.