Gabriel Jason Dean

Gabriel Jason Dean

Dubbed “feisty as hell” by the New Yorker and “a great modern American playwright” by Broadway World, Gabriel Jason Dean is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter whose critically-acclaimed plays for children and adults include IN BLOOM (Risk Theatre Model Modern Tragedy Prize, Kennedy Center Paula Vogel Award, Laurents / Hatcher Award Finalist, Princess Grace Award Runner-Up); QUALITIES OF STARLIGHT (...
Dubbed “feisty as hell” by the New Yorker and “a great modern American playwright” by Broadway World, Gabriel Jason Dean is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter whose critically-acclaimed plays for children and adults include IN BLOOM (Risk Theatre Model Modern Tragedy Prize, Kennedy Center Paula Vogel Award, Laurents / Hatcher Award Finalist, Princess Grace Award Runner-Up); QUALITIES OF STARLIGHT (Broadway Blacklist, Kesselring Nomination, Essential Theatre New Play Prize, B. Iden Payne Awards for Outstanding Comedy & Best Original Script); TERMINUS (James Tait Black Prize Finalist, B. Iden Payne Awards for Outstanding Drama & Best Original Script, Austin Critic’s Table Award Best Production, PlayPenn) HEARTLAND (National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere, InterAct 20/20 Commission, Austin Critic’s Table David Mark Cohen New Play Award, B. Iden Payne Award for Best Original Script, PlayPenn), ENTANGLED (co-written with Charly Evon Simpson; New York Innovative Theatre Award Nomination Best Full Length Script), THE TRANSITION OF DOODLE PEQUEÑO (American Alliance for Theatre & Education Distinguished Play Award, Kennedy Center TYA Award, New England Theatre Conference Aurand Harris Award); and others. He has written book and lyrics for the musicals MARIO & THE COMET (NYU Plays for Young Audiences) and OUR NEW TOWN (Civilians R&D Group). Screenplays include GET GOMEZ with Cranium Entertainment, PIGSKIN and D'ANGELICO, TV Pilots WE BELONG (Humanitas New Television Writer Award Finalist), DEPLORABLE, RABBLE, and animated series TENDERFOOT.

His plays have been produced or developed throughout the United States at places such as New York Theatre Workshop, Manhattan Theatre Club, McCarter Theatre, Cherry Lane Theatre, Araca Group, The Lark, The Flea, Oregon Shakespeare, The Kennedy Center, PlayPenn, InterAct, Abingdon Theatre, Geva Theatre Center, New Repertory Theatre, Luna Stage, The Playwrights’ Center, Davenport Theatrical, ASSITEJ International, Teatro Vision, The Amoralists, American Theatre Company, Red Orchid Theatre, Stage Left, The VORTEX, Theatre [502], Aurora Theatre, Dallas Children’s Theatre, People’s Light and Theatre, Dad's Garage Theatre, Actor's Express, Horizon Theatre, Source Festival, Essential Theatre, the Illinois Shakespeare Festival and others.

Gabriel received the Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, Dramatist’s Guild Fellowship, and the Sallie B. Goodman / McCarter Theatre Fellowship. His scripts are published through Samuel French, Dramatic Publishing and Playscripts. He is on faculty for Spalding University’s Brief-Residency MFA Program, is a Visiting Writer in Residence and Assistant Professor of Theatre at Muhlenberg College, an alum of The Civilians R&D Group, an Affiliated Writer at The Playwrights’ Center, an Associate Artist with Monk Parrots and a Usual Suspect at New York Theatre Workshop. Current commissions with Geva Theatre, Luna Stage and the Alley Theatre. MFA: UT-Austin Michener Center for Writers. He grew up in Chatsworth, GA, a mill town in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. He currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Plays

  • Heartland
    In 1984, USAID and the CIA commissioned the University of Nebraska's Center for Afghanistan Studies to create textbooks for Afghan schoolchildren. The textbooks are filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings -- talk of jihad and drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers, and mines – subtle, coercive propaganda meant to stimulate resistance against the U.S.S.R. HEARTLAND, commissioned by Interact...
    In 1984, USAID and the CIA commissioned the University of Nebraska's Center for Afghanistan Studies to create textbooks for Afghan schoolchildren. The textbooks are filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings -- talk of jihad and drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers, and mines – subtle, coercive propaganda meant to stimulate resistance against the U.S.S.R. HEARTLAND, commissioned by Interact Theatre, is inspired by these true events. In the play, Dr. Harold Banks is a renowned professor of Central Asian Literature at the University of Nebraska. When an Afghan refugee named Nazrullah suddenly arrives at his doorstep claiming to know his adopted daughter, Getee– an Afghan-American foreign aid worker who was killed in a Taliban attack–the two men spend the next few months as unlikely roommates. Heartland unfolds as an emotional journey through love and loss, an examination of culpability and, ultimately, a meditation on mercy.
  • TERMINUS
    Eller Freeman and her grandson Jaybo live together down by the railroad tracks. When Eller's health and sanity begin to fade, her tragic and violent past haunts her from the very walls of the old family home. On the verge of discovering love and a place in the world, seventeen-year-old Jaybo struggles to provide what his wily grandmother needs most. Part of The Attapulgus Elegies. Through the lives of the...
    Eller Freeman and her grandson Jaybo live together down by the railroad tracks. When Eller's health and sanity begin to fade, her tragic and violent past haunts her from the very walls of the old family home. On the verge of discovering love and a place in the world, seventeen-year-old Jaybo struggles to provide what his wily grandmother needs most. Part of The Attapulgus Elegies. Through the lives of the citizens of Attapulgus, the 7 play collection chronicles the disappearance of a small mill town in Appalachia at the end of the 20th century. Developed by PlayPenn, the Lark, Oregon Shakespeare, McCarter Theatre and the Playwright's Center. Available for premiere.
  • QUALITIES OF STARLIGHT
    Theo Turner is a young cosmologist on the verge. But Theo’s “big bang” isn’t theoretical. His universe explodes when he and his wife travel to Attapulgus to deliver news about an impending adoption and discover that Theo’s aging parents are meth addicts. A comedy about the frailty of faith, the unspoken bonds of family, and the mysterious expansion of the universe. Part of The Attapulgus Elegies. Through the...
    Theo Turner is a young cosmologist on the verge. But Theo’s “big bang” isn’t theoretical. His universe explodes when he and his wife travel to Attapulgus to deliver news about an impending adoption and discover that Theo’s aging parents are meth addicts. A comedy about the frailty of faith, the unspoken bonds of family, and the mysterious expansion of the universe. Part of The Attapulgus Elegies. Through the lives of the citizens of Attapulgus, the 7 play collection chronicles the disappearance of a small mill town in Appalachia at the end of the 20th century. Winner of the Kennedy Center Ken Ludwig Prize, the Essential Theatre New Play Prize and seven of Austin's B. Iden Payne Awards including "Best Comedy" and "Best Original Script."
  • IN BLOOM
    In 2006, Aaron, an American documentary filmmaker, goes to the Hindu Kush in Afghanistan where he and his fixer Naweed are shooting a film about the sudden rise of the opium trade post-Taliban. During the shoot, Aaron encounters bacha bazi (literally translated “boy play”)— an ancient Afghan tradition in which young boys dress in women’s clothing and dance for wealthy warlords at parties. Afterwards, the boys...
    In 2006, Aaron, an American documentary filmmaker, goes to the Hindu Kush in Afghanistan where he and his fixer Naweed are shooting a film about the sudden rise of the opium trade post-Taliban. During the shoot, Aaron encounters bacha bazi (literally translated “boy play”)— an ancient Afghan tradition in which young boys dress in women’s clothing and dance for wealthy warlords at parties. Afterwards, the boys are prostituted to the highest bidder. When Aaron meets Hafiz, a young and beautiful bacha bi reesh (beardless boy), Aaron’s intentions in Afghanistan become personal and the lines of east and west begin to blur. IN BLOOM is a dangerous and sensual modern allegory that peeks under the proverbial veil of gender and sexuality in Afghanistan and examines the privileges and consequences of telling someone else’s story.

    Developed with Univiersity of Texas, Austin; New York Theatre Workshop, Manhattan Theatre Club, American Theatre Company and Aracaworks. Winner of the Kennedy Center Paula Vogel Prize.
  • Our New Town
    In the aftermath of the deadliest shooting on a college campus in US history, surviving cast members of Thornton Wilder’s OUR TOWN put together an unauthorized show as a way to reclaim their theatre space and heal their broken community. But when the event is stopped mid-performance, the cast and audience must decide between compliance or defiance. Developed with The Civilians R&D Group, OUR NEW TOWN is a...
    In the aftermath of the deadliest shooting on a college campus in US history, surviving cast members of Thornton Wilder’s OUR TOWN put together an unauthorized show as a way to reclaim their theatre space and heal their broken community. But when the event is stopped mid-performance, the cast and audience must decide between compliance or defiance. Developed with The Civilians R&D Group, OUR NEW TOWN is a hyper theatrical blend of truth with fiction, of scene with song and an immersive experience that puts the audience at the center of an American crisis. Co-authored by Jessie Dean; Music and Additional Lyrics by David Dabbon.
  • THE TRANSITION OF DOODLE PEQUEÑO
    It's Halloween in Southern California, the Santa Ana winds blow fiercely and nothing is as it seems. Doodle Pequeño and his Mamá recently moved across the city to a cramped apartment in a quadruplex after Papá was deported to Mexico. Anxious to trick-or-treat, Doodle comes home from school to discover that Mamá is unexpectedly working overtime at her new job. Forlorn, he summons Valencia, his imaginary...
    It's Halloween in Southern California, the Santa Ana winds blow fiercely and nothing is as it seems. Doodle Pequeño and his Mamá recently moved across the city to a cramped apartment in a quadruplex after Papá was deported to Mexico. Anxious to trick-or-treat, Doodle comes home from school to discover that Mamá is unexpectedly working overtime at her new job. Forlorn, he summons Valencia, his imaginary trilingual goat, to keep him occupied. While Valencia is teaching Doodle to speak "Goat," a vampire appears at the window. It's Reno, a kid in the quadruplex who has come to welcome Doodle to the neighborhood. Reno is a self-described "vaudeville vampire," which means that, in addition to his fangs, he dons a tutu. Although Doodle doesn't quite know what to make of his eccentric new friend, Reno convinces Doodle to wear a skirt of his own and go trick-or-treating with him. They venture out into the courtyard where they encounter Toph-a cowboy bandit third-grader, and Marjoram-a sans-costume sixth-grader, who have a history of bullying Reno for his dress-wearing proclivities. They hurl hurtful words they don't quite understand, and, when the bullies turn to Doodle to ask him why he's also wearing a dress, Doodle betrays his new friend, saying "No. No. Reno made me. I didn't wanna wear it." After an epic head-butting battle with his imaginary goat and a visit from a troll named Baumgartner, Doodle understands that difference is to be celebrated. The Transition of Doodle Pequeno is a magic-filled, multiple award-winning play for all ages about two boys who become friends in spite of their differences. It examines the consequences of misused language, provides insight into the lives of Mexican-immigrant children and interrogates the issues of gender-identity and homophobic bullying.
  • Something Quiet
    Jayce and Redwine are a lesbian couple, living together in a Brooklyn co-op. Their best friend, Marco, is a goldstar and an eternal PhD candidate in Art History at Columbia. When DOMA is overturned, Jayce surprises Redwine by popping the question. And to her surprise, Redwine refuses. Their right to be together tears them apart, leaving Marco without the company of his two best friends…until he comes up with a...
    Jayce and Redwine are a lesbian couple, living together in a Brooklyn co-op. Their best friend, Marco, is a goldstar and an eternal PhD candidate in Art History at Columbia. When DOMA is overturned, Jayce surprises Redwine by popping the question. And to her surprise, Redwine refuses. Their right to be together tears them apart, leaving Marco without the company of his two best friends…until he comes up with a plan to get them back together…an awkward threesome that results in the accidental pregnancy of both women. Thus ensues a hilarious interrogation of queer coupling and what it means to defy or define one’s self by that which we deem the status quo. SOMETHING QUIET is a sexy, romantic comedy about the myriad ways we define family and choosing love over politics.