D.W. Gregory

D.W. Gregory

My plays frequently explore political issues through a personal lens. The New York Times called me a "playwright with a talent to enlighten and provoke" for my most produced work, RADIUM GIRLS, which has seen some 500 productions worldwide since its premiere at Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey. Other plays include MOLUMBY'S MILLION, nominated for Phildelphia's Barrymore Award for...
My plays frequently explore political issues through a personal lens. The New York Times called me a "playwright with a talent to enlighten and provoke" for my most produced work, RADIUM GIRLS, which has seen some 500 productions worldwide since its premiere at Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey. Other plays include MOLUMBY'S MILLION, nominated for Phildelphia's Barrymore Award for Outstanding New Play, and SALVATION ROAD, winner of Walden Theatre's 2012 Slant Culture Series and developed through the American Alliance for Theatre and Education's Playwrights in Our Schools program and through New York University's New Plays for Young Audiences project. My work also has been been supported by the National New Play Network, the Maryland State Arts Council, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts and has developed or presented at the New Harmony Project, ShenanArts, the Playwrights' Center, Theatre of the First Amendment, NYU's HotInk Festival, Imagination Stage, the Lark, Florida Stage, Geva Theatre, the Women's Project, and the Young Vic, among others. I'm a former national core member of the Playwrights' Center and a current affiliated writer with the organization, as well as a member of the Dramatist's Guild. My latest project is a screenplay version of Radium Girls, which has been optioned for film by Mammoth Entertainment, co-producer of the award-winning "Beasts of No Nation."

Plays

  • THE GOOD DAUGHTER
    Set in the years before and after World War I, The Good Daughter is an epic story of three Missouri farm women torn between family duty and the desires of their own hearts. Shades of Lear color this story of Ned Owen, a pious widower, whose dearest hope is to see his daughters settled, each according to their proper place in the world, and the family farm carried on by one of their sons. But the eldest, Esther...
    Set in the years before and after World War I, The Good Daughter is an epic story of three Missouri farm women torn between family duty and the desires of their own hearts. Shades of Lear color this story of Ned Owen, a pious widower, whose dearest hope is to see his daughters settled, each according to their proper place in the world, and the family farm carried on by one of their sons. But the eldest, Esther, can never marry; a bout with childhood polio has left her lame, and “no man,” Ned says, “wants a crippled girl.” Rachel, the youngest at fourteen, is still too much a child to think about marriage. That leaves middle daughter Cassie to fulfill Ned’s dreams. His pick for her is a neighboring farmer, a sweet dullard of little conversation and no imagination. Cassie longs for true romance. And one hot summer day it arrives—in the form of a merchant’s son, who has returned to the valley to peddle a radical new idea: Flood control. “The day is gone,” he declares, “when farmers have to live at the mercy of the river.” But Ned is not convinced. He knows that God made the river to flood—and any man who interferes with God’s work can only bring ruin.
  • THE GOOD GIRL IS GONE
    All hell breaks loose in the Bender household the day Mama runs off with that no-good lowlife Wayne Hargrove. Papa can't believe she's gone, but Lulu just shrugs it off, while Ginny sees Mama everywhere she isn't. Absence makes the head go cloudy, so Papa begins to see clues of a kidnapping in the farewell note Mama left behind, while Ginny follows Mama through a plate-glass window. Is it any...
    All hell breaks loose in the Bender household the day Mama runs off with that no-good lowlife Wayne Hargrove. Papa can't believe she's gone, but Lulu just shrugs it off, while Ginny sees Mama everywhere she isn't. Absence makes the head go cloudy, so Papa begins to see clues of a kidnapping in the farewell note Mama left behind, while Ginny follows Mama through a plate-glass window. Is it any wonder Lulu find herself strangely attracted to the exhausted, pill-popping medical intern treating her sister? But all that is merely prologue to the biggest test of Lulu's life: the day that Mama walks back into it. Alone in a motel room far from home, finally determined to free herself of a bad love match, Lulu is forced to extract the truth from Mama: Exactly what did happen that day outside the A&P so many years before? And why, after all this time, can't Lulu let go of the nagging fear that somehow, some way, it was all her fault? A dark comedy that careens wildly from pathos to hilarity, The Good Girl Is Gone pokes at the bruised heart of the American family to examine the power of memory to torment and heal. Running time: 80 minutes. "A playwright with a talent to enlighten and provoke." - The New York Times
  • RADIUM GIRLS
    In 1926, radium was a miracle cure, Madame Curie an international celebrity, and luminous watches the latest rage—until the girls who painted them began to fall ill with a mysterious disease. Inspired by a true story, Radium Girls traces the efforts of Grace Fryer, a dial painter, as she fights for her day in court. Her chief adversary is her former employer, Arthur Roeder, an idealistic man who cannot bring...
    In 1926, radium was a miracle cure, Madame Curie an international celebrity, and luminous watches the latest rage—until the girls who painted them began to fall ill with a mysterious disease. Inspired by a true story, Radium Girls traces the efforts of Grace Fryer, a dial painter, as she fights for her day in court. Her chief adversary is her former employer, Arthur Roeder, an idealistic man who cannot bring himself to believe that the same element that shrinks tumors could have anything to do with the terrifying rash of illnesses among his employees. As the case goes on, however, Grace finds herself battling not just with the U.S. Radium Corporation, but with her own family and friends, who fear that her campaign for justice will backfire. Written with warmth and humor, Radium Girls is a fast-moving, highly theatrical ensemble piece for 9 to 10 actors, who play more than 30 parts—friends, co-workers, lovers, relatives, attorneys, scientists, consumer advocates, and myriad interested bystanders. Called a "powerful" and "engrossing" drama by critics, Radium Girls offers a wry, unflinching look at the peculiarly American obsessions with health, wealth, and the commercialization of science. Available from Dramatic Publishing, Radium Girls has had more than 500 productions since its original production. The list below is a small sampling. Radium Girls is a popular title for high school, university, and community theatre. With flexible casting, it provides multiple strong roles for females.
  • DIRTY PICTURES
    Colorado 1982: Thwarted lust and ambition rules in Dan Briggs’ bar. Chet wants Judy, but Judy wants Dan, who loves Bonnie, except Bonnie really just wants out. Both women turn heads, but for entirely different reasons. Bonnie is the town beauty queen; Judy exhibits the lingering effects of a childhood stroke. And all four are in full rebellion against small-town expectations. What's the winning formula...
    Colorado 1982: Thwarted lust and ambition rules in Dan Briggs’ bar. Chet wants Judy, but Judy wants Dan, who loves Bonnie, except Bonnie really just wants out. Both women turn heads, but for entirely different reasons. Bonnie is the town beauty queen; Judy exhibits the lingering effects of a childhood stroke. And all four are in full rebellion against small-town expectations. What's the winning formula for love against the odds? Could 21 nudie snapshots be the key?
  • THE YELLOW STOCKING PLAY - A new musical
    Book by D.W. Gregory. Lyrics by Sarah Knapp. Music by Steven M. Alper The show must go on—even if you can’t recognize it. Twelfth Night is the inspiration for this quick-change musical comedy about a 17th Century Shakespeare troupe embarked on a disastrous tour of the Continent. Food poisoning, drowning, duels and avalanches befall the actors one by one--until only four of them remain. Minutes before the...
    Book by D.W. Gregory. Lyrics by Sarah Knapp. Music by Steven M. Alper The show must go on—even if you can’t recognize it. Twelfth Night is the inspiration for this quick-change musical comedy about a 17th Century Shakespeare troupe embarked on a disastrous tour of the Continent. Food poisoning, drowning, duels and avalanches befall the actors one by one--until only four of them remain. Minutes before the curtain rises on their next-to-final show, the ingénue elopes with the town innkeeper, leaving a company of three to pull off the most frantic play in the repertoire. But her lover, Gropio, is too heart-broken to go on, while her confidante, Tremolo, just refuses to kiss a man. It falls to Simpatica, the leading lady, to recast and revise on the fly. Her biggest challenge is how to keep the backstage drama from spoiling the onstage comedy. But the show must go on. Even if you can't recognize it.
  • SALVATION ROAD - SMALL CAST VERSION
    When his hip older sister disappears with members of a fundamentalist church, 17-year-old Cliff Kozak struggles to hold it all together, pretending that he isn't hurt by her decision to cut him out of her life. But a year later, a chance sighting of Denise at a New Jersey strip mall propels Cliff and his best buddy on a road trip into the heart of a deepening mystery. Why would a smart and talented girl...
    When his hip older sister disappears with members of a fundamentalist church, 17-year-old Cliff Kozak struggles to hold it all together, pretending that he isn't hurt by her decision to cut him out of her life. But a year later, a chance sighting of Denise at a New Jersey strip mall propels Cliff and his best buddy on a road trip into the heart of a deepening mystery. Why would a smart and talented girl like Denise fall for the hollow promises of a sleazy preacher? Could it be that blind faith is just another term for a desperate need to belong? "A moving and well-crafted play ... stirs emotions and engenders thought that will occupy audiences long after the stage is bare." -- Arts Louisville More details at www.salvationroadplay.com
  • SALVATION ROAD - LARGE CAST VERSION
    When his hip older sister disappears with members of a fundamentalist church, 17-year-old Cliff Kozak struggles to hold it all together, pretending that he isn't hurt by her decision to cut him out of her life. But a year later, a chance sighting of Denise at a New Jersey strip mall leads Cliff and his best buddy on a road trip into the heart of a deepening mystery. Why would a smart and talented girl like...
    When his hip older sister disappears with members of a fundamentalist church, 17-year-old Cliff Kozak struggles to hold it all together, pretending that he isn't hurt by her decision to cut him out of her life. But a year later, a chance sighting of Denise at a New Jersey strip mall leads Cliff and his best buddy on a road trip into the heart of a deepening mystery. Why would a smart and talented girl like Denise fall for the hollow promises of a sleazy preacher? Could it be that blind faith is just another term for a desperate need to belong? This version of the play is adapted for educational theatre and has been performed with 12 to 16 actors. "A moving and well-crafted play ... stirs emotions and engenders thought that will occupy audiences long after the stage is bare." -- Arts Louisville more information at www.salvationroadplay.com
  • OCTOBER 1962
    Fourteen-year-old Jeannie Timmons and her little sister Nan are fascinated by the boy down the street--but he's not just any teenager with a motorcycle. He's a convicted killer whose return to the old neighborhood has sent their mother into a panic and their father into an unexplained crisis of conscience. How far will their parents go to protect them from a danger that might not quite exist? Set...
    Fourteen-year-old Jeannie Timmons and her little sister Nan are fascinated by the boy down the street--but he's not just any teenager with a motorcycle. He's a convicted killer whose return to the old neighborhood has sent their mother into a panic and their father into an unexplained crisis of conscience. How far will their parents go to protect them from a danger that might not quite exist? Set during a time of Cold War paranoia, this comic drama explores the necessity of deceit in the pursuit of absolute security.
  • DESIGN
    Len and Claire sense they are in for some seriously bad karma when his offhand remark at a party inspires the break-up of long-married friends. But when the universe delivers their punishment in the form of an neighborhood sniper, both couples are forced to reshape their lives in the looming shadow of Doom. A Post-9/11 comedy about surviving and thriving in a world with no guarantees.