Jennifer Maisel

Jennifer Maisel

The daughter of an adhesives manufacturer and a teacher, Jennifer Maisel grew up in a picture perfect Long Island suburb where she once found a dead man in her driveway.

Her THE LAST SEDER, starring Gaby Hoffmann, premiered off-Broadway produced by Rosalind Productions after productions in D.C., Chicago and Los Angeles. Her THERE OR HERE premiered with NYC’s Hypothetical Theatre and will...
The daughter of an adhesives manufacturer and a teacher, Jennifer Maisel grew up in a picture perfect Long Island suburb where she once found a dead man in her driveway.

Her THE LAST SEDER, starring Gaby Hoffmann, premiered off-Broadway produced by Rosalind Productions after productions in D.C., Chicago and Los Angeles. Her THERE OR HERE premiered with NYC’s Hypothetical Theatre and will have its London premiere in 2018. @thespeedofJake, a 2015 Kilroy Honorable Mention, premiered with Playwrights’ Arena in Los Angeles and was named a PEN West Literary Award finalist. Her OUT OF ORBIT - workshopped at the Sundance Theatre Lab @ Mass MoCA, Berkshire Playwrights Lab, Cal Rep and the Gulf Shore New Play Festival, and recipient of an Alfred P Sloan rewrite commission, the Woodward-Newman Award for Drama and the Stanley Award for Drama - made the 2016 Kilroy List and will be produced at Williamton Theatre and Bloomington Playwrights Project in 2018.

Jennifer’s plays have been developed and produced at Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Magic Theatre, The Organic Theatre, Rattlestick Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre (NYC and LA), South Coast Repertory, Playwrights’ Arena, The Bat at the Flea, Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey, The LARK, The Hypothetical, Epic Theatre Ensemble, Theatre J, Rorschach Theatre, Inkwell, The Victory Theatre, Circle X Theatre, Theatre of NOTE and Teatro da Juventude (Brazil) among others. She developed plays at the Playwrights Center’s PlayLabs, ASK Theatre, NYU’s FirstLook@NewPlays in New York, University of the Arts New Play Festival, Moving Arts MADLabs, Cypress College’s New Play Festival, the Berkshire Playwrights Lab, PlayPenn and the Sundance Theatre Lab @Mass MoCA

Jennifer received the Kennedy Center’s Fund for New American Plays Award and their Charlotte Woolard Award for Promising New Voice in American Theatre, as well their Roger Stevens Award for Playwrights of Extraordinary Promise. She won SCR’s California Playwrights Competition and was a finalist for the PEN West Literary Award (3x), the O’Neill Theatre Conference (2x), the STAGES International Playwriting Competition, the Jane Chambers Playwriting Award, Abingdon Theatre’s Christopher Brian Wolk Award (2x), the Ojai Playwrights Festival and the Heideman Award (5x). Backstage included Jennifer amongst their “favorite female playwrights” and The Dramatist Magazine named her one of their “Ones to Watch. She was one of seven playwrights commissioned by Playwrights’ Arena and Center Theatre Group for the collaborative THE HOTEL PLAY. She is one of five playwrights chosen for the 2017/18 Humanitas PlayLA workshop.

Jennifer teaches playwriting at USC, and television and screenwriting for the Stephens College MFA program and has guest lectured around the country. She has participated in several political theatre actions, including the recent AFTER ORLANDO. She writes for film and television and recently sold a pilot with Momentum TV to SuperDeluxe.

A graduate of Cornell University, Jennifer received her MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, the WGA, the Playwrights Union, and The Dog Ear Playwrights Collective.

Plays

  • EIGHT NIGHTS
    The lives that inhabit an apartment from 1949 to 2016. A young refugee woman finally free to start anew in the United States tries to vanquish the past that haunts her, alongside her father, husband, friends, daughter and granddaughter.

    The play needs 7 actors, who play 14 roles. One actress plays Rebecca from age 19 into her 40s, then plays Rebecca’s daughter and granddaughter. Another actress...
    The lives that inhabit an apartment from 1949 to 2016. A young refugee woman finally free to start anew in the United States tries to vanquish the past that haunts her, alongside her father, husband, friends, daughter and granddaughter.

    The play needs 7 actors, who play 14 roles. One actress plays Rebecca from age 19 into her 40s, then plays Rebecca’s daughter and granddaughter. Another actress plays Rebecca from her 40s into her 80s, as well as her mother, Rebecca’s mother, Anna. Several of the other actors play more than one character.

    You may want to listen to this podcast that talks about the play: https://m.soundcloud.com/user-685353444/episode-49-hanukkah-light



  • THERE OR HERE
    "Ms. Maisel has written a thought-provoking play that touches on reproductive yearnings, sexual desire, cultural imperialism and more." - New York Times.

    “A clever, taut and emotional play that will make you laugh and cry in equal measure, There or Here is a rare treat.”
    -Fairy Powered Productions

    “Jennifer Maisel’s play, There or Here, is a multi-layered...
    "Ms. Maisel has written a thought-provoking play that touches on reproductive yearnings, sexual desire, cultural imperialism and more." - New York Times.

    “A clever, taut and emotional play that will make you laugh and cry in equal measure, There or Here is a rare treat.”
    -Fairy Powered Productions

    “Jennifer Maisel’s play, There or Here, is a multi-layered narrative shot through with humour, some of it scathing, including a lot of witty one-liners. It contains tremendous sadness and want. An intelligent, well-written and cleverly structured play, it time slips back and forth with multiple characters expertly played by a talented cast.”
    -View From the Cheap Seat


    A hotel room in a third world country. The middle of the night. A jetlagged American couple, Robyn and Ajay (she of Eastern European Jewish descent, he was born here but he’s fully Americanized and has no memory of this country), are wide awake. Tomorrow they will meet the woman who will have her frozen egg and his sperm implanted inside her to have their baby. Tonight they won’t have sex even though they want to. The play moves between the past and the present, and between America and this third world country, connected by the tenuous threads of time zones and technology. Robyn and Ajay find themselves confiding in the anonymous beings on the other end of their phone lines rather than in each other; computer technicians, fast food order takers and phone sex operators whose work has been outsourced to another country become the refuge they can’t be for each other right now.


    Character Breakdown: 2M, 3F.


    Set/Technical: simple bare bones set, smooth transitions

    Running Time: 110 minutes plus intermission


    Finalist - PEN West Literary Award

    PlayPenn Conference. Finalist, Sundance Theatre Lab Finalist, O'Neill Theatre Conference Finalist, STAGE International Competition Finalist, Abingdon Theatre Christopher Brian Wolk Award Finalist
  • OUT OF ORBIT
    A mother and her teenage daughter. The Jet Propulsion Lab Scientist and the underachiever. Sara lives on Mars time, spearheading the Mars Rover Expedition, visiting a planet she cannot touch, while her daughter, Lis, on earth time, falls under the spell of the cyber-cypher Edgar2330. Sometimes it takes being worlds apart for an exploring woman and a longing-to-be-explored girl to find each other in our increasingly disconnected universe.
  • @thespeedofJake
    Emily, a professor, and Clark, a tech wizard, had that perfect soccer parent life until their 10 year old died in an inexplicable random accident. Three years later, their son gone, their marriage shattered, Emily wants Clark to release her, so she can move on, so he can move on. But Clark has another plan. He thinks he can use technology to contact Jake – where-ever it is death has taken him. A...
    Emily, a professor, and Clark, a tech wizard, had that perfect soccer parent life until their 10 year old died in an inexplicable random accident. Three years later, their son gone, their marriage shattered, Emily wants Clark to release her, so she can move on, so he can move on. But Clark has another plan. He thinks he can use technology to contact Jake – where-ever it is death has taken him. A meditation on love, connection and disconnection in this increasingly distant time, @thespeedofJake contemplates the universal desire to cheat death against the backdrop of our rapidly evolving technological world. The first draft was Kilroy nominated in 2014. The second draft received an Honorable Mention from The Kilroys in 2015.
  • MATCH
    Leo has a wife and needs a kidney. Ben needs a kidney and is desperate for human connection. Maddy believes giving her kidney away will redeem her. Leyla longs to live her life and thinks that means she may have to leave Leo behind. Moss deals in flesh, seeking the highest bidder.

    As we go deeper into the play we come to wonder about Maddy and her motivations as she becomes more and...
    Leo has a wife and needs a kidney. Ben needs a kidney and is desperate for human connection. Maddy believes giving her kidney away will redeem her. Leyla longs to live her life and thinks that means she may have to leave Leo behind. Moss deals in flesh, seeking the highest bidder.

    As we go deeper into the play we come to wonder about Maddy and her motivations as she becomes more and more entrenched in Leo, Leyla and Ben’s psyches. Who is this woman who has the power to change their lives?

    Is there any such thing as a gift with no strings attached?

    What if it meant every thing you owned, but you get to keep your life?

    A journey into the underbelly of bartering for your organs…and perhaps for your soul.
  • EDEN
    A bride's cold feet, a mother seeking her daughter's saviour and a downtown New York City nightclub that disappears. Three women face the battles of our time -es of our time - AIDS, alienation, commitment, loyalty and rootlessness - armed only with the power of love and friendship. EDEN is the story of Maura's search for the man she is certain saved her from death in the Holocaust in hope he can...
    A bride's cold feet, a mother seeking her daughter's saviour and a downtown New York City nightclub that disappears. Three women face the battles of our time -es of our time - AIDS, alienation, commitment, loyalty and rootlessness - armed only with the power of love and friendship. EDEN is the story of Maura's search for the man she is certain saved her from death in the Holocaust in hope he can save her daughter, Cecelia, who is HIV-positive. It is the story of Cecelia, who escapes to a club called Eden, waiting to die until she can somehow learn to live. It is the story of Cecelia's two closest friends who, on the verge of love, can't love without her. Their stories are woven together by Harvey - executor of divine coincidence - who must somehow bring these women and their loves together in the few hours before the wedding takes place.
  • THE LAST SEDER
    THE LAST SEDER is the heartbreaking, fiercely funny story about MICHELLE PRICE, who is going to the last Seder in her family home before the house is sold and her charismatic father is put in a facility for Alzheimer’s. Well she would be going if she could bring herself to get on the train and face her mother, sisters and all the relatives and reminders that her life is going by too fast and definitely not...
    THE LAST SEDER is the heartbreaking, fiercely funny story about MICHELLE PRICE, who is going to the last Seder in her family home before the house is sold and her charismatic father is put in a facility for Alzheimer’s. Well she would be going if she could bring herself to get on the train and face her mother, sisters and all the relatives and reminders that her life is going by too fast and definitely not according to plan. And then Michelle sees a guy in a suit also waiting for a train - a guy who looks like the guy she should be bringing home with her, if she actually had someone to bring home with her. A guy who looks right. Maybe he likes matzah? Bringing this stranger home for Seder triggers a weekend full of unexpected connections and confrontations for the entire Price family - and a magical moment with her father where Michelle and her sisters get the answers they’ve been longing for.

    The play addresses universal themes of love and loss by using the steps of a Seder to illustrate and comment on the differing perspectives on the dynamics of this modern Jewish family.

    Winner of the Kennedy Center's Fund for New American Plays Award as well as the Kennedy Center's Charlotte Woolard Award for plays of extraordinary promise

    Full-length without intermission

    New York Times review: Ms. Maisel has sketched a touching portrait of an aging family facing enormous change...her play is steeped in universal themes audiences of any affiliation can appreciate.

  • Goody Fucking Two Shoes
    The drama club. The new girl. The lead in the school play. High school politics get dirty.

    (there is a PG version available upon request)
  • MAD LOVE
    Thirteen year old Jace's family fell apart when her brother died last year, and now she desperately tries to escape her father by persuading a reclusive thirty-one year old Christmas tree salesman to help her kidnap her hissing mother from the insane asylum.