MJ Halberstadt

MJ Halberstadt

MJ Halberstadt uses his playwriting and teaching to amplify empathy and Antarctic values through comedic dialogue-driven media. He is a proud recipient of the Elliot Norton Award for “Outstanding New Script” (for The Launch Prize), and his work has been acknowledged and supported by Assets 4 Artists, BCA/Company One PlayLab, Boston University Creative Writing Global Fellowship, KCACTF Region 1, and Last...
MJ Halberstadt uses his playwriting and teaching to amplify empathy and Antarctic values through comedic dialogue-driven media. He is a proud recipient of the Elliot Norton Award for “Outstanding New Script” (for The Launch Prize), and his work has been acknowledged and supported by Assets 4 Artists, BCA/Company One PlayLab, Boston University Creative Writing Global Fellowship, KCACTF Region 1, and Last Frontier Theatre Conference. He is a founding member of Bridge Repertory Theater, member of the Dramatists Guild of America, and affiliated faculty at Emerson College.

He grew up on Long Island and currently lives just West of Boston with his husband and their coffee maker.

Plays

  • Deal Me Out
    A group of social outcasts meet for their weekly board game meet-up in Oberon's father's garage with an uncomfortable goal: tell one of the founding members that he's been kicked out. Tensions flare as Dez bargains to keep his only friendships and preserve the only pocket of safety all six players have in an unfriendly suburb during a contentious political moment.
  • (We Are) The Antarcticans
    A ragtag troupe of six staffers from McMurdo Station offer a breakneck pageant covering 100+ years of milestones and mishaps in Antarctic history. Meet the first women to winter-over, a contemplative pair of dogs, the most unheroic explorer of the Heroic Age, and plenty more Antarctic stories you never knew you cared about.
  • Two Below Zero
    Attempting to put an uncomfortable history behind her, Cali retreats to an igloo in Marie Byrd Land, the unclaimed wedge of Antarctica, and devotes herself to a mysterious research project. Cali's bubble is burst when her sister Zara inexplicably swims to the ice, begging her to return. Their argument (literally) snowballs as they unearth more and more layers of their relationship. A fast-paced and...
    Attempting to put an uncomfortable history behind her, Cali retreats to an igloo in Marie Byrd Land, the unclaimed wedge of Antarctica, and devotes herself to a mysterious research project. Cali's bubble is burst when her sister Zara inexplicably swims to the ice, begging her to return. Their argument (literally) snowballs as they unearth more and more layers of their relationship. A fast-paced and whimsical two-hander, the play marries comedy and theatre, and imagination with activism.
  • Losers, or The Launch Prize
    A career-launching prize is at stake, the winner's name sealed in an envelope. As a quartet of visual arts students prepare their graduate thesis exhibition, the gloves come off when one of them suggests that racial and gender identity will influence the prize committee's selection more than the merits of each artist's work.

    "It's a topically fresh play of ideas, yes. But...
    A career-launching prize is at stake, the winner's name sealed in an envelope. As a quartet of visual arts students prepare their graduate thesis exhibition, the gloves come off when one of them suggests that racial and gender identity will influence the prize committee's selection more than the merits of each artist's work.

    "It's a topically fresh play of ideas, yes. But it's also a tightly wound drama..." - Boston Globe

    "On the surface, the plot could easily become pedantic. However, Mr. Halberstadt's writing is taut and direct... he avoids excessive description and soliloquies and instead allows action to provide depth..." - Edge Media Network

    "Sometimes the sign of good work is the discussions that follow the play, and like the Huntington's 'Disgraced' earlier this season, this one will leave you and your companions with something to talk about." - Events Insider
  • Brute
    Chaos ensues at the Zuzzolo Zoo when Brutus, the zoo's most entertaining primate, puts on an unusual show for his guests. The Primate Specialist struggles to preserve the health and safety of her chimp companion, while the rest of the staff and visitors only make things worse.
  • That Time the House Burned Down
    Mommy and Daddy Patterson have raised Sonny and Daughtery to live a sheltered life, comforted by thoughts of storks delivering babies, Santa Claus and the all-too-obvious lie that they are not adopted. The perpetually-recycled soul of the family pets watches on as the family inches closer and closer to moral (and literal) bankruptcy and Daughtery challenges Mommy's answers to life's bigger questions...
    Mommy and Daddy Patterson have raised Sonny and Daughtery to live a sheltered life, comforted by thoughts of storks delivering babies, Santa Claus and the all-too-obvious lie that they are not adopted. The perpetually-recycled soul of the family pets watches on as the family inches closer and closer to moral (and literal) bankruptcy and Daughtery challenges Mommy's answers to life's bigger questions. Oh, and then the house burns down.

    "Your inner kid will get a nostalgic kick of innocence recalled, even as your inner adult smiles sheepishly in recognition of the sins and failings that mark, and mar, maturity." - Edge Media Network

    "...a corrosive coming-of-age story, an evening that allows us to laugh and cringe at these little fictions we tell our loved ones." - Talkin' Broadway
  • not Jenny
    In the wake of their mother's death, Jenny and Not Jenny reunite after thirteen years of estrangement. The twin sisters navigate the fraught ancient history they share and the murky recent pasts they don't share- which only becomes more complicated when they are joined by their younger brother Jimmy who has more than a few grudges to bear and secrets to spoil.

    “…a dark comedy whose...
    In the wake of their mother's death, Jenny and Not Jenny reunite after thirteen years of estrangement. The twin sisters navigate the fraught ancient history they share and the murky recent pasts they don't share- which only becomes more complicated when they are joined by their younger brother Jimmy who has more than a few grudges to bear and secrets to spoil.

    “…a dark comedy whose characters might feel at home in a play by Edward Albee or Tracy Letts… the dialogue is heavy with sarcasm and cutting remarks and light on warmth.” - Broadway World

    "funny and poignant" - Boston Events Insider

    "intense, intimate and beautifully acted" - Boston Arts Diary