Jerry Slaff

Jerry Slaff

Born in Brooklyn before Brooklyn was hip, Jerry Slaff was the Grand Prize winner in the 88th annual Writer's Digest Writing Competition for his new play, Lies, over 5,000 entries in 9 genres, and was a Finalist in Signature Theater's Sigworks reading series, and a semi-finalist for the O'Neill.

His first play, Peanuts and Cracker Jack, was produced at Case Western Reserve...
Born in Brooklyn before Brooklyn was hip, Jerry Slaff was the Grand Prize winner in the 88th annual Writer's Digest Writing Competition for his new play, Lies, over 5,000 entries in 9 genres, and was a Finalist in Signature Theater's Sigworks reading series, and a semi-finalist for the O'Neill.

His first play, Peanuts and Cracker Jack, was produced at Case Western Reserve University, which transferred to a run at the Cleveland Playhouse, with followup productions at the Arkansas Repertory and Mint Theater in New York.

Other productions include Urban Affairs (four one acts, Case Western), Casa Neurotica (New York Theater Festival), Heaven (reading, Sandy Spring Theater Festival), Lost Souls (reading, Baltimore Playwrights Festival), and Stanislavski's Methods (reading, Interrobang Theater Company, Baltimore). New plays include Petey's Parade, a comedy-drama (4m, 1f) about a Jewish radio comedian in 1933 Berlin and his troupe of actors, and Personal Histories (2m, but easily gender neutral), where a scientist on the lam meets a disgraced journalist to ghost write his memoirs in a claustrophobic motel room outside Washington. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America and Playwrights Center, and wishes he was either Preston Sturges, George S. Kaufman or Thierry Henry.

Plays

  • Grand Union
    What happens when the small town you grew up in slowly changes right before your eyes? When the trains no longer stop, when the downtown stores shutter, and when the people you never really noticed now want respect?

    Darlene, the Birnbaum family’s longtime African-American housekeeper, has been invited to one last lunch by the son and daughter of Ben, the leader of the town’s small Jewish...
    What happens when the small town you grew up in slowly changes right before your eyes? When the trains no longer stop, when the downtown stores shutter, and when the people you never really noticed now want respect?

    Darlene, the Birnbaum family’s longtime African-American housekeeper, has been invited to one last lunch by the son and daughter of Ben, the leader of the town’s small Jewish community, to give her a few mementos as they clean out his house, the largest in town, after his recent death. Darlene’s husband, Sam, had worked in Ben’s downtown clothing store for years, and bought it when Ben retired, just as times were getting rough. When their bookish and sheltered son, Dwayne, returns to town, his bright athletic future at Penn State dashed by gunfire, anger finally flashes and old debts are repaid, as the play comes to a startling conclusion.

    A drama with generous humor, Grand Union traces 40 years in a small central Pennsylvania railroad town, going back and forth in time, from the town’s heyday to its hardscrabble present.
  • Lies
    Fresh out of law school, Benny, an inexperienced public defender, is facing the case of his life - trying to win the parole of a notorious German World War II radio propagandist who has a hard time telling the truth. Or does she? Are her truths all lies, or are her lies really the truth? And what happens when you can no longer tell the two apart?
    Set in 1950 but as timely as today’s Presidential tweets,...
    Fresh out of law school, Benny, an inexperienced public defender, is facing the case of his life - trying to win the parole of a notorious German World War II radio propagandist who has a hard time telling the truth. Or does she? Are her truths all lies, or are her lies really the truth? And what happens when you can no longer tell the two apart?
    Set in 1950 but as timely as today’s Presidential tweets, the 90-minute, one-set, 2-character play (1f, early 40s; 1m, 25-28) is an allegory about lying in government, and a meditation on what truth actually is.



  • Personal Histories
    A scientist on the lam meets a disgraced journalist to ghost write his memoirs in a claustrophobic motel room outside Washington. And a priceless statue. Pinter meets the Maltese Falcon. Two characters, no intermission, no break. 2m, but easily gender-neutral with a few minor tweaks.
  • Stanislavski's Methods
    Stanislavski’s Methods (3m, 3f) takes place in a rundown Russian classical theater. The theater’s producer, Evgeny Stanislavski, is the great grand nephew (he thinks) of the famous director, and like his theater, has fallen into a state of disrepair. He has no paying subscribers, little audience, and is hounded by creditors. He owes so much back pay to his company of actors, and “fees” to various bagmen that he...
    Stanislavski’s Methods (3m, 3f) takes place in a rundown Russian classical theater. The theater’s producer, Evgeny Stanislavski, is the great grand nephew (he thinks) of the famous director, and like his theater, has fallen into a state of disrepair. He has no paying subscribers, little audience, and is hounded by creditors. He owes so much back pay to his company of actors, and “fees” to various bagmen that he is in danger of losing the theater.
    Grusha, his leading actress--both on stage and, formerly, off--and Elena, his bookkeeper and a would-be actress, try to console him, to no avail. But a proposal from a shady friend of his to bring a notorious American action film actor and his assistant to the theater for a one-night fundraising performance could fill his coffers--and bring Evgeny and Grusha back together.
    The play blends elements of classical farce, with modern fast-paced comedy, a strong story, and good comedic roles for women.
  • Ask the Playwright
    An interviewer speaks with a playwright about his new play.
  • Lost Souls
    A cold winter’s night brings Frank, a former lawyer and now a third-year rabbinic student, to a Spanish Harlem apartment about to go co-op, there to help the long-time residents stave off eviction. But when he’s invited for a Friday night dinner of arroz con pollo, the centuries-old secrets he discovers will change their life, and his. Meanwhile, his roommate, another rabbinic student, is asked to prove,...
    A cold winter’s night brings Frank, a former lawyer and now a third-year rabbinic student, to a Spanish Harlem apartment about to go co-op, there to help the long-time residents stave off eviction. But when he’s invited for a Friday night dinner of arroz con pollo, the centuries-old secrets he discovers will change their life, and his. Meanwhile, his roommate, another rabbinic student, is asked to prove, conclusively and once and for all, Is he really Jewish?
  • Petey's Parade
    While the play (4m, 1f) takes place in 1933 Berlin and later 1947 New York, it deals with many of the themes we're dealing with today--how to resist an rising tide of fascism, artistic freedom, the treatment of LGBT writers and entertainers, anti-Semitism, and whether can we separate an artist's brilliant work from his despicable behavior.

    The play takes an arrogant but talented...
    While the play (4m, 1f) takes place in 1933 Berlin and later 1947 New York, it deals with many of the themes we're dealing with today--how to resist an rising tide of fascism, artistic freedom, the treatment of LGBT writers and entertainers, anti-Semitism, and whether can we separate an artist's brilliant work from his despicable behavior.

    The play takes an arrogant but talented leading German radio comedian from the cusp of World War II and his changing society, to the blacklist in American in 1947 where we can make amends for his past. It's a thoughtful comedy with a strong female part and a very theatrical lead role that includes a section of mime.
  • Peanuts & Cracker Jack
    The relationship of a young third baseman for the New York Yankees and his older manager, through a baseball season.
  • Heaven
    Jack, a moderately successful Bronx-born TV and radio broadcaster with too many jobs, yearns for a bigger stage. His estranged father, Max, is dying and wants to spend his remaining days with him at his suburban New Jersey home. But on the way, Max has a mysterious episode and once he sees Jack's house says he's at peace--he's in heaven, and he's dead.
  • Can't Sleep
    A woman who hasn't slept in three months sees her therapist. (Note--I'm working on an expanded version, but this scene can stand alone.)
  • Rain Delay
    Two baseball announcers have to fill time and ad-lib on the radio during the rain delay of a game. They talk about lightning, bad suits, and the silence between the pitches--anything else baseball. A 10-minute comedy.