Judy Lea Steele

Judy Lea Steele

Judy is an actress and playwright whose frustration with the lack of stories by and about women, especially over 50, led her to writing them. Currently her practice is focused on the destruction and reconstruction of patriarchal, canonical stories, recreating them from a woman's point of view. Her most recent play, GERUTHA AND MARGARET, was a semi-finalist for the 2022 O'Neill Theatre Center National...
Judy is an actress and playwright whose frustration with the lack of stories by and about women, especially over 50, led her to writing them. Currently her practice is focused on the destruction and reconstruction of patriarchal, canonical stories, recreating them from a woman's point of view. Her most recent play, GERUTHA AND MARGARET, was a semi-finalist for the 2022 O'Neill Theatre Center National Playwright's Conference, the Garry Marshall Theatre's New Works Festival in 2021 and has had significant developmental work with Chicago Dramatists. As an actress she has extensive stage, commercial, VO and film experience. A 2023 MFAW candidate at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, her interdisciplinary studies are deepening and hybridizing her storytelling, extending her writing practice to include playwriting, performance studies and solo performative writing with multiple lives - on the page, as installation and as live performance art. An alumna of Northwestern University, she has a BS in Speech/Theatre.

Plays

  • GERUTHA AND MARGARET
    In an undetermined place and time, Gerutha (Gertrude of Hamlet fame) invites Margaret (Henry VI trilogy, Richard III fame) to coffee as they “share more than they know” and she wants Margaret’s help. The two women, who mirror each other in the duality of their external public persona and internal actual persona, establish a kinship through their shared anger over Shakespeare’s hijack of their lives and the...
    In an undetermined place and time, Gerutha (Gertrude of Hamlet fame) invites Margaret (Henry VI trilogy, Richard III fame) to coffee as they “share more than they know” and she wants Margaret’s help. The two women, who mirror each other in the duality of their external public persona and internal actual persona, establish a kinship through their shared anger over Shakespeare’s hijack of their lives and the subsequent erasure of their actual life stories. Via a spiraling conversational, confrontational journey, their actual stories are revealed, shifting their external and internal duality and forcing them to confront the grim price paid for taking agency in a world designed, dominated and controlled by the patriarchy.
  • FURIOUS
    An otherwordly passenger desperately enlists her driver’s aid in an attempt to control her rage and her destiny.
  • Breaking Eden
    Journey with Eve and her fantastical mentor Lilith, “the first Eve”, as she struggles to break free of the patriarchal stamp of the ideal feminine so ingrained throughout western culture by John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Mixing mythic and contemporary storytelling, we encounter Eve grappling with life in Eden and Eve grappling with life in the modern world via four parts based on Milton’s enduring feminine tropes...
    Journey with Eve and her fantastical mentor Lilith, “the first Eve”, as she struggles to break free of the patriarchal stamp of the ideal feminine so ingrained throughout western culture by John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Mixing mythic and contemporary storytelling, we encounter Eve grappling with life in Eden and Eve grappling with life in the modern world via four parts based on Milton’s enduring feminine tropes – woman infantilized, sexualized, idealized and villainized. Can Eve and Lilith break Eden, freeing Eve to define herself in her own image?