John Bavoso

John Bavoso

John Bavoso (he/him/his) is a Washington, DC-based playwright, book and theatre reviewer, marketer, and aspiring wrangler of unicorns. He mostly writes plays about women and queer people who are awkwardly attempting (and generally failing) to engage with serious subject matter using only dry wit and impeccably timed combative taunts. John is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America, a Pinky Swear Productions...
John Bavoso (he/him/his) is a Washington, DC-based playwright, book and theatre reviewer, marketer, and aspiring wrangler of unicorns. He mostly writes plays about women and queer people who are awkwardly attempting (and generally failing) to engage with serious subject matter using only dry wit and impeccably timed combative taunts. John is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America, a Pinky Swear Productions company member, a 2019 Lambda Literary Fellow, and the recipient of District of Columbia FY18 and FY19 Arts and Humanities Fellowships. His plays have been produced and/or developed in DC, Virginia, New York, Colorado, Texas, California, Florida, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Washington, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Maine, Massachusetts, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, and Arizona; Canada; Japan; South Korea; United Arab Emirates; Australia; and the UK.

Plays

  • MLM is for Murder (Or, Your Side Hustle is Killing Us)
    FULL-LENGTH: Side hustles. It seems like everybody has at least one these days. For Minerva Ross, the way to escape the doldrums of her graphic design job in Washington, DC, is to write and narrate her own feminist true crime podcast about how and why women commit murder. Meanwhile, across the country, Felicity Evanston, a Mormon stay-at-home wife and mother—and Minerva’s high school nemesis—has just started...
    FULL-LENGTH: Side hustles. It seems like everybody has at least one these days. For Minerva Ross, the way to escape the doldrums of her graphic design job in Washington, DC, is to write and narrate her own feminist true crime podcast about how and why women commit murder. Meanwhile, across the country, Felicity Evanston, a Mormon stay-at-home wife and mother—and Minerva’s high school nemesis—has just started selling ridiculously patterned leggings for the multi-level marketing company Linen & Fate, as much as a way of having something that’s just hers as to supplement her husband’s income. The two haven't crossed paths in years, but when the bubbly and unassuming Felicity snaps and realizes the only way to get ahead in a rigged pyramid scheme is to literally start killing off the competition, both women suddenly experience the kind of overnight success they’ve been so desperately craving—but risk losing their families, freedom, and very souls in the process.

    MLM is for Murder is an of-the-moment dark comedy about capitalism, feminism, work-life balance, and pop culture told through parody podcasts, emoji-laden dialogue, Facebook Live videos, and polyester-spandex murder weapons. It begs the question: How much are you willing to give up to get everything you’ve ever wanted?
  • Camp Mannuppia: An Alt-Masc Comedy
    **Note: This play can easily be performed outside in a park, an amphitheater, at an actual camp, etc.**

    FULL-LENGTH: In the early aughts, deep in the unspecified woods, there is a summer camp where gender non-traditional, overly theatrical, and borderline agoraphobic teenage boys are taught to become real men... or so their parents think. Under the tutelage of two flamboyant counselors, a band...
    **Note: This play can easily be performed outside in a park, an amphitheater, at an actual camp, etc.**

    FULL-LENGTH: In the early aughts, deep in the unspecified woods, there is a summer camp where gender non-traditional, overly theatrical, and borderline agoraphobic teenage boys are taught to become real men... or so their parents think. Under the tutelage of two flamboyant counselors, a band of sissies finds sanctuary from societal expectations and judgement at Camp Mannuppia—that is, until two new campers arrive and turn everything on its head, setting off a chain of disastrous events. Are the campers doomed, or can they come to terms with each other and their own identities in time to make it out of the forest in one piece?
  • BLIGHT
    FULL-LENGTH: Silvia and Cat Henson have just moved from a tiny apartment in Washington, DC, into their sprawling dream home in the small, affluent town of Greenville, Delaware. Their new house, however, was recently the home of a teenaged mass shooter and his single mother. Is this the right time and place for Silvia and Cat to bring a new baby into the world, or will the house create an irreparable rift...
    FULL-LENGTH: Silvia and Cat Henson have just moved from a tiny apartment in Washington, DC, into their sprawling dream home in the small, affluent town of Greenville, Delaware. Their new house, however, was recently the home of a teenaged mass shooter and his single mother. Is this the right time and place for Silvia and Cat to bring a new baby into the world, or will the house create an irreparable rift between them and their new community?

    "One of the fascinating aspects of theater is how it makes you ask yourself questions you have never considered: Would I live in a house where a mass murderer lived? That’s the thought writer John Bavoso plants in the audience’s mind at the start of 'Blight'... In 'Blight,' the word 'monster' gets thrown in every direction. But this play reminds us that it’s easy to label people and then dismiss them as enemies. Looking for our common humanity is much harder." — Orlando Sentinel

    "BLIGHT is [a] play that's urgently relevant to the time we live in now. I was impressed with Bavoso's scope: the house of the play fills with people from the past and the present. A terrible event lies at the center of this play and the house in it, but it's the vivid, real characters that give this play life." — Sam Mayer, The Landing Theater Company

    "The selling of a home that previously belonged to a teenager who committed a mass shooting sounds like a powder keg waiting to explode, but the script by John Bavoso... show[s] the tender sides of this ultra sensitive situation... One doesn’t expect much joy or humor from the ominous and dreary description, but the show was actually quite delightful." — DC Theatre Scene

    "Is it wrong to be so enamored of a play called 'Blight?' Written by John Bavoso, it is a show that has solid writing, some really funny lines, and an assortment of characters that ring true—they are recognizable in their humanity and in their inhumanity... it’s also a really well-done show with an erudite script, and a powerful emotional wallop." — MD Theatre Guide
  • Olizzia
    FULL-LENGTH: When Olivia and Lizzie, two best friends since college, planned their vacation to Rio de Janeiro, they were looking forward to booze, beaches, and beautiful Brazilian boys. What neither of them expected was to find their soul mate... in one another. But after a life-altering night in a rundown hotel, they must confront questions of romance, lust, friendship, and identity—and in doing so, discover...
    FULL-LENGTH: When Olivia and Lizzie, two best friends since college, planned their vacation to Rio de Janeiro, they were looking forward to booze, beaches, and beautiful Brazilian boys. What neither of them expected was to find their soul mate... in one another. But after a life-altering night in a rundown hotel, they must confront questions of romance, lust, friendship, and identity—and in doing so, discover that the road to true love is rarely straight.

    "First-time playwright John Bavoso’s inventive and appealing script for Olizzia would make a terrific indie rom-com caper that would be a hit on the lesbian-and-gay film festival circuit." — DC Metro Theater Arts
  • Homecoming '92
    20-MINUTE. Benji has snuck away to an empty classroom in his college's English Department for a clandestine rendezvous with Ethan. But when they make a grisly discovery, he's unexpectedly confronted with questions about how he's choosing to live his life—now and in the future.
  • Unburied
    10-MINUTE. On a dark and stormy Halloween night (omg, so cliché, right?!?), two characters—victims of the "bury your gays" trope, both—from a famous queerbaiting writer's novels have come to life and are out for bloody revenge on their author/father. But the unexpected arrival of a fourth character leads to events none of them could have planned.
  • The Home for Retired Canadian Girlfriends
    10-MINUTE: What happens when the people we create to hide our true selves get to live lives of their own? Tiffany is about to find out… but she’s gotta get through a very enthusiastic Orientation Coordinator first.

    "'The Home for Retired Canadian Girlfriends' by John Bavoso... is probably one of my favorites of the evening. Bavoso creates an imaginary world where imaginary...
    10-MINUTE: What happens when the people we create to hide our true selves get to live lives of their own? Tiffany is about to find out… but she’s gotta get through a very enthusiastic Orientation Coordinator first.

    "'The Home for Retired Canadian Girlfriends' by John Bavoso... is probably one of my favorites of the evening. Bavoso creates an imaginary world where imaginary girlfriends go when they are no longer needed. It’s relatable, current, and relevant with a solid script and concept." — Backstage Baltimore

    "The ninth number of the evening titled 'The Home for Retired Canadian Girlfriends' by John Bavoso was, by far, the most clever work on the playbill... This play is a true gem." — MD Theatre Guide
  • Threat Level: Cream
    10-MINUTE: Two strangers. One crowded Metro car. A gallon of milk. What could go wrong?

    "Also delightful is local playwright John Bavoso’s “Threat Level: Cream,” a droll and twisty tale of two Washingtonians... who encounter a suspicious gallon of milk on the Metro." — The Washington Post
  • The Morning After The Fall
    10-MINUTE: The morning after tasting the forbidden fruit, Adam is getting ready to leave Eden forever with Eve. But he has to do one thing first—officially break up with his boyfriend, Steve.
  • Prometheus Shrugs
    10-MINUTE: The eagle charged with eating Prometheus’s liver each day is growing weary of the routine. But when Heracles shows up to free the titan, the two unlikely friends are forced to decide whether to take a risk on a new life or stick with what they know.
  • Indelible
    10-MINUTE: Markus is anxious. Preston is predictable. But when one of them makes a spontaneous move with permanent consequences, they're both forced to grapple with the future of their relationship.
  • Kylie and Janet and Robyn and Cher
    10-MINUTE: Curtis has only just met Everett, but he learns a lot about his new hookup—and his past—by snooping though the music on his computer.

    "Bavoso writes some wincingly funny lines... indeed, Curtis is a character Oscar Wilde could have written, if Wilde had known what Spotify is." — DC Theatre Scene

    "Bavoso wrote a hilarious script full of excellent, and...
    10-MINUTE: Curtis has only just met Everett, but he learns a lot about his new hookup—and his past—by snooping though the music on his computer.

    "Bavoso writes some wincingly funny lines... indeed, Curtis is a character Oscar Wilde could have written, if Wilde had known what Spotify is." — DC Theatre Scene

    "Bavoso wrote a hilarious script full of excellent, and excellently terrible, music." — MD Theatre Guide
  • Plus One
    10-MINUTE: Shari's thrilled to have her new girlfriend, Deanna, as her guest to her cousin's wedding... that is, until Deanna throws an unexpected punch during the reception.

    “… a compelling look at the ‘old guard’ of the LGBT community’s pitfalls in adopting the language and perspective of its younger members.” — DC Metro Theater Arts
  • #AREASONABLEAMOUNTOFCAPS
    10-MINUTE: On the night the Washington Capitals win the Stanley Cup, Rebeccah stands on a platform in the Gallery Place-Chinatown station of the Washington Metro and mourns the loss of her Jimmy Choos... and potentially her relationship with Sonja.
  • A Jumble of Worn Words
    10-MINUTE: Erin thinks she's got a handle on her grief, until she receives a package that challenges everything she thought she knew about her recently deceased big sister.
  • Happy Hour
    10-MINUTE: During a seemingly chance encounter after work in a shitty bar, Celia discovers she has more in common with Renee than just their fondness for whiskey.
  • Adam & Steve
    10-MINUTE: Two unlikely strangers volunteer to spend a year together away from the world in a mysterious bunker—though what unfolds underground isn’t what either of them could ever have expected. 
  • Homo for Christmas
    10-MINUTE: Ashley has brought her new girlfriend, Skyler, home for Christmas (Skyler's Jewish, but we're not going to talk it about it) to meet her family—who turn out to be exceptionally bad at adapting to change.

    "The funniest and best directed is "Homo for Christmas" written by John Bavoso... This is a total laugh fest! Ignorance of the facts doesn’t seem to matter in...
    10-MINUTE: Ashley has brought her new girlfriend, Skyler, home for Christmas (Skyler's Jewish, but we're not going to talk it about it) to meet her family—who turn out to be exceptionally bad at adapting to change.

    "The funniest and best directed is "Homo for Christmas" written by John Bavoso... This is a total laugh fest! Ignorance of the facts doesn’t seem to matter in some circles these days, but it does have an unusual reaction in most family gatherings. Will the parents and grandmother accept the new partner of their beloved child? In this farcical production of miswords and misunderstandings, this family takes the prize." — NoHoArtsDistrict.com
  • Abscission
    10-MINUTE: Genevieve is a botanist who's been waiting a decade for her Titan arum to bloom. But on the night of her girlfriend's going-away party, she reveals that she's the one who's finally ready to blossom.