Jeff Talbott

Jeff Talbott

Jeff Talbott’s play THE SUBMISSION was the inaugural recipient of the Laurents/Hatcher Award and was produced off-Broadway by MCC Theater; it went on to receive the Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award for New American Play and was published and licensed by Samuel French. Other produced works: THE GRAVEDIGGER'S LULLABY (off-Broadway - TACT/Theatre Row; published and licensed by Dramatic Publishing),...
Jeff Talbott’s play THE SUBMISSION was the inaugural recipient of the Laurents/Hatcher Award and was produced off-Broadway by MCC Theater; it went on to receive the Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award for New American Play and was published and licensed by Samuel French. Other produced works: THE GRAVEDIGGER'S LULLABY (off-Broadway - TACT/Theatre Row; published and licensed by Dramatic Publishing), "i" (Pioneer Theatre Company), A PUBLIC EDUCATION (2015 O’Neill finalist; workshops – Pioneer Theatre, TACT), and CIVICS AND HUMANITIES FOR NON-MAJORS (2018 O’Neill Finalist; commissioned and produced by Montclair State University; 2021 Lanford Wilson New American Play Finalist). Other plays: JOSEPH COOK (2019 O’Neill Finalist); THE MESSENGER (production at Pioneer Theatre Company slated for January 2022), THREE RULES FOR THE DRAGON (2017 O’Neill Finalist, workshops – Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Colt Coeur and Premiere Stages), HOW TO BUILD A CITY (workshops – TACT, Route 66), ELLIOT and ALL THE STARS IN THE MIDNIGHT SKY. He writes musicals with composer Will Van Dyke: IMAGINE HARRY (NAMT 2015, 2017 O’Neill Finalist), WINTERSONG (2016 Goodspeed Johnny Mercer Colony, 2017 NAMT Finalist), SEVEN BROKEN HEARTS (2017 Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, 2019 ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop), THE CIRCLE AND THE WHEEL (commissioned by Grove Entertainment and Barbara Whitman Productions) and TEN BRAVE SECONDS. They have released two EPs (A VIEW OF THE RIVER and THE MAYOR) and the singles "A New Year" (featuring Annaleigh Ashford), "I Hate to Love You" (featuring Daniel Quadrino), and "Take Me to the Party" (featuring Wesley Taylor). Jeff graduated with honors from the Yale School of Drama. www.jefftalbott.com

Plays

  • The Submission
    Danny has written a complex new drama about an African-American family trying to get out of the Projects, and it has just been selected for the nation's preeminent play festival.  Problem is:  Danny, a young white playwright, submitted the work under a pen name in the hope of increasing its chances for production.  So he hires Emilie, a black actress, to stand in for him as author.  What starts as a...
    Danny has written a complex new drama about an African-American family trying to get out of the Projects, and it has just been selected for the nation's preeminent play festival.  Problem is:  Danny, a young white playwright, submitted the work under a pen name in the hope of increasing its chances for production.  So he hires Emilie, a black actress, to stand in for him as author.  What starts as a terrible idea becomes more and more terrible as Danny drags Emilie, his boyfriend, and his best friend down a long a dirty path of truth, lies, revelation and betrayal.  A fiercely funny and intelligent new comic drama about the words we use to describe each other -- and the things we'll do to get what we want.

    “THE SUBMISSION is a raw, unsentimental play about race and gender that exposes the quiet prejudice and intolerance among even our most progressive thinkers. It is both uncomfortable and impossible to not watch. . . . As for Talbott, it's a pleasure to see what he's capable of.”
    --AP, Mark Kennedy

    “Fearless, whip-smart, and hyperarticulate, Talbott's incendiary political comedy-drama asks hard questions about our supposedly post-racial world. . . . THE SUBMISSION is an important play. It makes you stop and think.”
    --Backstage, Erik Haagensen

    “A viewing of THE SUBMISSION is bound to be one of the most electrically-charged theatre outings of the season.”
    --Broadwayworld.com, Michael Dale
  • The Messenger
    Norway. 1882. The Stockman home. Sound familiar? Not so fast. Therese Stockman is a small-town doctor and single mother who has made a shocking discovery about the industry that gives her town its lifeblood. Her friend Kristine Hovstad, the editor of The Messenger (one of the two competing newspapers in town), is going to take the story and run with it, but at what cost? Using Henrik Ibsen’s classic An Enemy of...
    Norway. 1882. The Stockman home. Sound familiar? Not so fast. Therese Stockman is a small-town doctor and single mother who has made a shocking discovery about the industry that gives her town its lifeblood. Her friend Kristine Hovstad, the editor of The Messenger (one of the two competing newspapers in town), is going to take the story and run with it, but at what cost? Using Henrik Ibsen’s classic An Enemy of the People as a departure point, this brand-new play examines our relationships with the press, the community and each other and where to draw the line when deciding the right move to make. A play for right now built in conversation with a play from before.
  • i
    Sarah is having a rough time.  She’s trying to shake it, but it’s not easy.  She’s got a new doctor and she’s met a nice guy named Jake, so things are looking up.  And Jake’s having a hard time, too.  Together, Sarah and Jake are trying to find their way to each other – and maybe, just maybe, to some of that happiness we’ve heard so much about.  A mysterious love story about the threads that tie us together, i...
    Sarah is having a rough time.  She’s trying to shake it, but it’s not easy.  She’s got a new doctor and she’s met a nice guy named Jake, so things are looking up.  And Jake’s having a hard time, too.  Together, Sarah and Jake are trying to find their way to each other – and maybe, just maybe, to some of that happiness we’ve heard so much about.  A mysterious love story about the threads that tie us together, i is a gentle and unsettling new play set a couple days after tomorrow.

    "With a small cast of only four people and a single letter title, Jeff Talbott’s play "i" might seem small, but the issues it addresses are big and relatable. . . . Subtle and witty commentary on how the world interacts with technology and the possibilities and dangers of its evolution serve as an intriguing lead to the story, but the intense and emotional dialogue about the complexities of human relationships is what really connects the audience to her story and gives it meaning. . . . Compelling . . . "i" offers a big truth for audiences to walk away with."
    --Deseret News, Aubrey Eyre

    "In truth, there are not any “i” plot details that can be revealed, without spoiling audiences’ enjoyment as the playwright’s intentions are slowly, cleverly, wondrously revealed. . . . "i" is a complete delight. . . . Surprising for its originality and intriguing for its structure, “i” is deeply gratifying theater."
    --Broadway World, Blair Howell

    "Elements of science fiction weave their way through the story, but like the best science fiction, the high-concept premise really becomes a way to explore something about humanity in an allegorical way. . . . Talbott’s script is sharp and perceptive, savvy about the ways that technological advances inevitably come with consequences . . . While it might be unfair to say too much to a potential viewer about what "i" is about, it’s the kind of thought-provoking theater that’s exactly right for the kind of person who’s willing to turn themselves over to the artists. Maybe that’s a perfect summary for a play that wrestles with taking a risk on what you know, and what you don’t know."
    --City Weekly, Scott Renshaw

    "Gripping . . . "i" defies genre labeling and yet feels familiar; it is engaging and thought-provoking . . . The most moving, accurate and impassioned portrayal of absolute heartache that I have ever seen on a stage . . . It isn't every day a new play makes you really consider some heavy and heady questions, and it's even rarer when questions are posed without an agenda. "i" asks a lot, but it never tells you what you should think or how you should feel."
    --Utah Theatre Bloggers, Megan Crivello
  • The Gravedigger's Lullaby
    Baylen is a gravedigger, a working-class man trying to keep food on the table in a world where other people make the rules.  There’s a baby who can’t sleep at home, and plenty of holes to be dug.  But a chance encounter with a rich young man may bring the hope of a different life.  What will Baylen do?  The Gravedigger's Lullaby is a bold and gripping new contemporary drama about a time that has passed. ...
    Baylen is a gravedigger, a working-class man trying to keep food on the table in a world where other people make the rules.  There’s a baby who can’t sleep at home, and plenty of holes to be dug.  But a chance encounter with a rich young man may bring the hope of a different life.  What will Baylen do?  The Gravedigger's Lullaby is a bold and gripping new contemporary drama about a time that has passed.  And how little things have changed.

    “Sensational! You'll be mesmerized by it."
    --Broadway Radio, Peter Filichia

    “Poignant. A core of honest emotion. Its heart is always in the right place."
    --New York Times, Ken Jaworowski

    “Highest recommendation. A beautiful original play that I've not seen the likes of on any stage."
    --Back on the Block, Doug Strassler

    "Poetical, theatrical and powerful. Emotionally intricate and heartrending."
    --Curtain Up, Charles Wright
  • Civics and Humanities for Non-Majors
    Yasmine and Nick are forming action groups in two different universities.  They've surrounded themselves with like-minded folks and are getting ready to lay down some rules of governance.  But what seemed so easy in theory is proving to be a completely different story in practice.  Tempers flare and words fly, but none of them seem to be ending up on paper.  Two stories.  One story.  Their story.  Our...
    Yasmine and Nick are forming action groups in two different universities.  They've surrounded themselves with like-minded folks and are getting ready to lay down some rules of governance.  But what seemed so easy in theory is proving to be a completely different story in practice.  Tempers flare and words fly, but none of them seem to be ending up on paper.  Two stories.  One story.  Their story.  Our story.  A thorny comic drama about getting things started.
  • Joseph Cook
    Beatrice Cook has returned to her small Western Nebraska town to tend to her dying father. Her brother Donnelly has just arrived, and the siblings have very different ideas of what tending to dad might mean. They love each other, but don’t actually know each other all that well. They don’t talk much, but that doesn’t separate them from any of the people in the tiny little town (and complicated childhood) they...
    Beatrice Cook has returned to her small Western Nebraska town to tend to her dying father. Her brother Donnelly has just arrived, and the siblings have very different ideas of what tending to dad might mean. They love each other, but don’t actually know each other all that well. They don’t talk much, but that doesn’t separate them from any of the people in the tiny little town (and complicated childhood) they both fled as soon as they could flee. Now they're back, taking halting steps toward each other and facing a reckoning with not just who they once were to each other, but (more importantly) who they might become to each other once it’s just the two of them.
  • Three Rules for the Dragon
    Douglas Barnes has a job.  It's not the job his wife thinks he has.  Doug is the guy who gets information out of people by any means necessary.  But balancing his work life and his home life is taking its toll on him, as one particularly hard-to-crack detainee is making it hard for him to concentrate at home or in life.  Three Rules for the Dragon is an intense and probing new drama about two men locked in...
    Douglas Barnes has a job.  It's not the job his wife thinks he has.  Doug is the guy who gets information out of people by any means necessary.  But balancing his work life and his home life is taking its toll on him, as one particularly hard-to-crack detainee is making it hard for him to concentrate at home or in life.  Three Rules for the Dragon is an intense and probing new drama about two men locked in the eternal struggle to get information, and the marriage that hangs in the balance between them.
  • A Public Education
    Luke Paxton is a high school math teacher and the new guy in the faculty room.  He's ready to teach, but completely unprepared for the other teachers; not to mention the nasty things somebody's been posting on the web.  Based on interviews with dozens of teachers working today, A Public Education puts you right into the trenches with five complicated, deeply human teachers and one troubled student.  ...
    Luke Paxton is a high school math teacher and the new guy in the faculty room.  He's ready to teach, but completely unprepared for the other teachers; not to mention the nasty things somebody's been posting on the web.  Based on interviews with dozens of teachers working today, A Public Education puts you right into the trenches with five complicated, deeply human teachers and one troubled student.  Welcome to high school, where an education comes in ways you can never see coming.
  • How to Build a City
    It's the middle of the night, and Davis has something on his mind.  Months ago, he agreed to let his Alzheimer's-afflicted father move in with him when his mom couldn't do it anymore.  But it's proving to be a tougher job than he expected, and he's having a hard time leaning on his friends to make it work.  And his boyfriend is starting to lose long-held patience with the situation.  So...
    It's the middle of the night, and Davis has something on his mind.  Months ago, he agreed to let his Alzheimer's-afflicted father move in with him when his mom couldn't do it anymore.  But it's proving to be a tougher job than he expected, and he's having a hard time leaning on his friends to make it work.  And his boyfriend is starting to lose long-held patience with the situation.  So here it is, 2 a.m., and Davis is trying to work it out through his sleep-deprived eyes.  How to Build a City is a serious comedy about the family we have and the family we make, and how to recognize they're exactly the same thing.
  • All the Stars in the Midnight Sky
    All the Stars in the Midnight Sky is the story of two very different unplanned pregnancies.  Kelsey and Trish have some big questions to answer, and not just the ones about babies.  But a lot can happen in nine months, and if you let it, a lot can change.  A comic drama about mothers and daughters, and maybe, just maybe, finding happiness where you least expect it.
  • Elliot
    Elliot is a clock-puncher, looking for the end of the day and a margarita with his co-workers to celebrate one more day on the job.  But Elliot has secrets.  Elliot isn't what he seems.  And everybody is about to find out, one way or the other.  Look out everybody.  Here comes Elliot, a black-as-ink and shocking comedy/drama about how little we know each other, and the cost of actually trying to fix that problem.
  • Imagine Harry
    Music & Lyrics by Will Van Dyke/Book & Lyrics by Jeff Talbott - Imagine Harry is an 8-person, two-act contemporary musical by Will Van Dyke and Jeff Talbott.   It's a story about recognizing that your real life is better than anything you could ever imagine; you just have to look. When Tucker was 8, his best friend, Harry, was imaginary. Now, Tucker’s all grown up, and he’s not making much of a...
    Music & Lyrics by Will Van Dyke/Book & Lyrics by Jeff Talbott - Imagine Harry is an 8-person, two-act contemporary musical by Will Van Dyke and Jeff Talbott.   It's a story about recognizing that your real life is better than anything you could ever imagine; you just have to look. When Tucker was 8, his best friend, Harry, was imaginary. Now, Tucker’s all grown up, and he’s not making much of a mark on the world; he lives at home and works as a waiter. And Harry? Well, he’s left the imaginary friend business and is living as a mortal, a married guy with a kid on the way. But Tucker isn’t dealing with the fact that his father has Alzheimer’s and it’s time for Tucker to step up and be a son. And Harry is having a hard time committing to his very ordinary life; in fact, it turns out that if he doesn’t fully engage with this life he chose, he will literally fade away, one limb at a time. So Tucker and Harry have to find a way to help each other before it’s too late. Imagine Harry is a musical for grown-ups about the very tricky business of growing up.
  • Wintersong
    Music & Lyrics by Will Van Dyke/Book & Lyrics by Jeff Talbott - Set in the Nebraska Territories in the 1850's, Wintersong tells the story of Leo Harper, a homesteader with a lot to love and a lot to lose. He came west with his wife and his brother, and they are making a go of it - but Leo is his own worst enemy and can't control his suspicious thoughts. In a land where emotions are as...
    Music & Lyrics by Will Van Dyke/Book & Lyrics by Jeff Talbott - Set in the Nebraska Territories in the 1850's, Wintersong tells the story of Leo Harper, a homesteader with a lot to love and a lot to lose. He came west with his wife and his brother, and they are making a go of it - but Leo is his own worst enemy and can't control his suspicious thoughts. In a land where emotions are as limitless as the sky, Leo needs to learn that joy comes at the cost of abandoning jealousy before it is too late. And that love requires you to awaken your faith.
  • Seven Broken Hearts
    Music & Lyrics by Will Van Dyke/Book & Lyrics by Jeff Talbott - Samantha (Sam) Walker and Denny Clark are best friends and small town kids, just getting through their days working in a diner in Eastern Wyoming. They've got each other, but they're both ready to bust out, terrified of wasting one more day going nowhere. As they inch their way East, from small town to big city, they leave a...
    Music & Lyrics by Will Van Dyke/Book & Lyrics by Jeff Talbott - Samantha (Sam) Walker and Denny Clark are best friends and small town kids, just getting through their days working in a diner in Eastern Wyoming. They've got each other, but they're both ready to bust out, terrified of wasting one more day going nowhere. As they inch their way East, from small town to big city, they leave a string of broken hearts behind - but the question is, will the last two hearts to be broken be theirs? Seven Broken Hearts is a brand-new three-person pop-driven musical about the wending ways of love and friendship, and how staying true to yourself is so hard when you're not quite sure who you are yet.
  • The Circle and the Wheel
    Music & Lyrics by Will Van Dyke/Book & Lyrics by Jeff Talbott - 10 friends. 1 break-up. 8 slo-mo nervous breakdowns. The Circle and the Wheel is a new original musical about a group of friends getting ready to celebrate the marriage of their favorite couple. But when the couple suddenly and unexpectedly breaks up, it forces everybody else to look in the mirror and examine their own relationships, and...
    Music & Lyrics by Will Van Dyke/Book & Lyrics by Jeff Talbott - 10 friends. 1 break-up. 8 slo-mo nervous breakdowns. The Circle and the Wheel is a new original musical about a group of friends getting ready to celebrate the marriage of their favorite couple. But when the couple suddenly and unexpectedly breaks up, it forces everybody else to look in the mirror and examine their own relationships, and nobody is ready for what they see. A little bit of self-reflection is a good thing; too much can be a disaster.