Donna Hoke

Donna Hoke

Donna’s work has been seen in 47 states and on five continents, including at Barrington Stage, Barrow Group, Celebration Theatre, Gulfshore Theatre, Queens Theatre, The Road, Writers Theatre New Jersey, Phoenix Theatre, Atlantic Stage, Purple Rose, Skylight, Pride Films and Plays, New Jersey Rep, Hens and Chickens (London), The Galway Fringe Festival, and Actors Repertory Theatre of Luxembourg. Plays include...
Donna’s work has been seen in 47 states and on five continents, including at Barrington Stage, Barrow Group, Celebration Theatre, Gulfshore Theatre, Queens Theatre, The Road, Writers Theatre New Jersey, Phoenix Theatre, Atlantic Stage, Purple Rose, Skylight, Pride Films and Plays, New Jersey Rep, Hens and Chickens (London), The Galway Fringe Festival, and Actors Repertory Theatre of Luxembourg. Plays include BRILLIANT WORKS OF ART (Kilroys List), ELEVATOR GIRL (O’Neill and Princess Grace finalist), SAFE (winner of the Todd McNerney, Naatak, and Great Gay Play and Musical Contests), and TEACH (Gulfshore New Works winner). She has been nominated for the Primus, Blackburn, and Laura Pels prizes, and is a three-time winner of the Emanuel Fried Award for Outstanding New Play (SEEDS, SONS & LOVERS, ONCE IN MY LIFETIME). She has also received an Individual Artist Award from the New York State Council on the Arts to develop HEARTS OF STONE, and, in its final three years, Artvoice named her Buffalo's Best Writer—the only woman to ever receive the designation.

Donna also serves on the Dramatists Guild Council, is an ensemble playwright at Road Less Traveled Productions, blogger, moderator of the 12,000+-member Official Playwrights of Facebook, New York Times-published crossword puzzle constructor; author of Neko and the Twiggets, a children's book; and founder/co-curator of BUA Takes 10: GLBT Short Stories. Speaking engagements include Citywrights, Kenyon Playwrights Conference, the Dramatists Guild National Conference, Chicago Dramatists, the Austin Film Festival, and a live Dramatists Guild webinar. Her commentary has been seen on #2amt, howlround, The Dramatist, the Official Playwrights of Facebook, Workshopping the New Play (Applause, 2017), and at donnahoke.com.

Plays

  • ELEVATOR GIRL
    Finalist, O'Neill National Play Conference
    Finalist, Princess Grace Fellowship

    Elevator Girl was never meant to be more than an urban legend, a sexual revenge fantasy created by Vanessa and her graphic illustrator boyfriend. But when the comic superhero unleashes her boyfriend’s darkest fantasies, as well as a flesh-and-blood copycat, Vanessa must stop EG in her tracks—with the truth.

  • TEACH
    Winner, Gulfshore New Works
    Winner, Guilford Technical Community College Center New Work Initiative Playwriting Contest
    Winner, Athena Plays in Progress
    Finalist, Ashland New Play Festival
    Semi-Finalist, O'Neill National Playwrights Conference

    Five actors, three characters, one story: Ten years ago, Ken and Chris were teacher and student. Now, they are principal...
    Winner, Gulfshore New Works
    Winner, Guilford Technical Community College Center New Work Initiative Playwriting Contest
    Winner, Athena Plays in Progress
    Finalist, Ashland New Play Festival
    Semi-Finalist, O'Neill National Playwrights Conference

    Five actors, three characters, one story: Ten years ago, Ken and Chris were teacher and student. Now, they are principal and teacher, and Emerson's suspiciously high grade gives Ken license to grill Chris until the young teacher is forced to confront both past and present. While most plays question the audience, TEACH's unique gender fluid construct exposes the biases that make audiences question themselves. Though its production requirements are simple, TEACH is anything but.

  • BRILLIANT WORKS OF ART
    Kilroys List
    Winner, Firehouse Festival of New American Plays
    Nominated for the Susan Blackburn Prize

    Law student Abby Gates has no qualms about becoming a sugar baby to get her tuition bills paid--until it means keeping a secret from the man she loves, an artist exploring confession and thresholds of shame. When Abby's two worlds collide, she discovers her sugar daddy has...
    Kilroys List
    Winner, Firehouse Festival of New American Plays
    Nominated for the Susan Blackburn Prize

    Law student Abby Gates has no qualms about becoming a sugar baby to get her tuition bills paid--until it means keeping a secret from the man she loves, an artist exploring confession and thresholds of shame. When Abby's two worlds collide, she discovers her sugar daddy has taught her about more than good wine.

    Selection, 2016 Kilroys List; Nominated for the Susan Blackburn Prize; Finalist, nuVoices , Actors Theatre Charlotte; Winner, Firehouse Festival of New American Plays; Winner, HRC Showcase ; Finalist, Rising Sage; Finalist, Woodward/Newman Drama Award;
    Finalist, Theatre Conspiracy New Play Contest; Semi-Finalist, Playwrights First; Last Frontier Theatre Conference
  • FLOWERS IN THE DESERT
    After 14 years of marriage, Britt and Joe called it quits, so Joe is surprised when three years later, Britt asks him to try again. Cheater Joe still loves his ex and their boys, so he’s willing to go along with dates nights and counseling—until he realizes that Britt has a very specific agenda.

    This play was a finalist in the inaugural contest of the American Association of Community Theaters.
  • ON THE ROOF
    It’s 1955—post WWII, amid McCarthyism, years before Stonewall. In this dangerous and difficult era, Mitzi operates a cabaret and gay bar where Cruz, a playboy bartender; Levi, an aspiring Broadway composer; Bob, a WWII vet; Mac, a guy who just wants camaraderie with his Coke; and Andy, a newcomer with a law degree struggle to find solidarity and courage—maybe even love--as they take the brave first steps toward...
    It’s 1955—post WWII, amid McCarthyism, years before Stonewall. In this dangerous and difficult era, Mitzi operates a cabaret and gay bar where Cruz, a playboy bartender; Levi, an aspiring Broadway composer; Bob, a WWII vet; Mac, a guy who just wants camaraderie with his Coke; and Andy, a newcomer with a law degree struggle to find solidarity and courage—maybe even love--as they take the brave first steps toward revolution. (Note: As ON THE ROOF takes place in a cabaret, it is a play with two and a half diagetic songs,but not a musical.)
  • CHRISTMAS 2.0
    All Angela wants is a happy Christmas--or a more exciting life--but her daughter's left for college, her husband's obsessed with fantasy football, the plumbing's a mess, and her cat won't stop peeing where he shouldn't. Mom May thinks she should get a hobby--or a handyman--but a run-in with old friend Kelly leaves Angela aspiring to the thrills her pal gets from social media. Before...
    All Angela wants is a happy Christmas--or a more exciting life--but her daughter's left for college, her husband's obsessed with fantasy football, the plumbing's a mess, and her cat won't stop peeing where he shouldn't. Mom May thinks she should get a hobby--or a handyman--but a run-in with old friend Kelly leaves Angela aspiring to the thrills her pal gets from social media. Before long, Angela's giving Candy Crush lives to high school sweetheart Billy Sweeney, despite Kelly's warnings that Billy's a guy who uses shouty caps and the wrong form of your. Ignoring the danger signs, Angela invites Billy to fix her pipes, and the former prom dates find themselves bonding over flip phones as they color Christmas pictures by the fire. Their nostalgic bliss is interrupted by an ominous phone call from Kelly, but not before Angela's cat and her husband catch them in the act and force everybody, including May, to adopt a healthier relationship with technology.

    This play was workshopped at the 2015 Hormel Festival of New Works at Phoenix Theatre and the third place winner of the Pickering Prize for Playwriting Excellence.
  • LITTLE WOMEN...NOW
    SEEKING DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS: On both screen and stage, you've seen myriad period iterations of LITTLE WOMEN, but you've never seen LITTLE WOMEN... NOW. In this present-day take on the classic novel, the beloved March women manage love, life, and disappointment with heart, humor, and 21st century sensibilities.
  • THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR
    After ten years of marriage, Sadie and Vance are experiencing the all too familiar trials that arise when lovers become parents, job and home responsibilities become never-ending, and alone time becomes scarce. Next door, demographic equals Janet and Rich have fared much better; their happy marriage is full of passion, love, empathy—and multiple sex partners. Can either marriage survive a night with The Couple...
    After ten years of marriage, Sadie and Vance are experiencing the all too familiar trials that arise when lovers become parents, job and home responsibilities become never-ending, and alone time becomes scarce. Next door, demographic equals Janet and Rich have fared much better; their happy marriage is full of passion, love, empathy—and multiple sex partners. Can either marriage survive a night with The Couple Next Door? And will there be awkwardness at the mailbox the morning after?
  • SAFE
    In 1986, Nancy is a sheltered high school girl unable to stand up to her overprotective father, or the bullies who torment her and her best friend. Twenty-five years later, married to the controlling Kirk, Nancy finds she's raised a bully herself. Faced with tragic consequences for her inaction, Nancy struggles to break the cycle of intolerance that haunts her.

    This play is the winner of...
    In 1986, Nancy is a sheltered high school girl unable to stand up to her overprotective father, or the bullies who torment her and her best friend. Twenty-five years later, married to the controlling Kirk, Nancy finds she's raised a bully herself. Faced with tragic consequences for her inaction, Nancy struggles to break the cycle of intolerance that haunts her.

    This play is the winner of the 2014 Todd McNerney National Playwriting Contest, the Naatak National Playwriting Contest, and the 2015 Great Gay Play and Musical Contest. It was also a finalist in T. Schreiber New Works, and a semi-finalist in the 37th Bay Area Playwrights Festival and nuVoices at Actors Theatre of Charlotte.

    See photos, trailer, and mini-doc here: http://www.donnahoke.com/plays/Safe.html
  • FOUR DOORS DOWN
    WORK IN PROGRESS; SEEKING DEVELOPMENT:

    Janelle and Brittany haven't spoken since they were teen besties at summer camp; when they're accidentally reunited years later, they happily pick up where the left off, sharing vacations, the PTA, and their BFF daughters. Brittany wants nothing more than a friend for life, but when Janelle and her daughter's lives are upended, the fragility...
    WORK IN PROGRESS; SEEKING DEVELOPMENT:

    Janelle and Brittany haven't spoken since they were teen besties at summer camp; when they're accidentally reunited years later, they happily pick up where the left off, sharing vacations, the PTA, and their BFF daughters. Brittany wants nothing more than a friend for life, but when Janelle and her daughter's lives are upended, the fragility of their relationship is laid bare. Are female friendships conditional on commonality? And is there a special place in hell for women who won't support other women?



  • THE WAY IT IS
    When Cane dumps fiancee Yasmine after eight years, he's finished. But a trip back to their apartment to collect his things becomes a lesson in truth... and consequences. A taut two-hander in real time.
  • HEARTS OF STONE
    Lydia Stokes is dreaming about dead psych patients--while she’s awake. She believes they need her help; her husband believes she’s out of her mind. Is there any way they can both be right?

    Semi-finalist Bay Area Playwrights Festival
    Recipient Individual Artists Grant, New York State Council on the Arts
  • BEST LAID PLAN(t)S
    IN DEVELOPMENT: FEEDBACK WELCOME!!

    Bennett won't believe what his best friend and sister keep telling him: his girlfriend Nina is maybe a little toxic. And Bennett won't believe what Nina is telling him: that his best friend Jason has feelings for him. After a destructive but maybe accidental event, Bennett reexamines his feelings and is stunned to discover that labels lose and love...
    IN DEVELOPMENT: FEEDBACK WELCOME!!

    Bennett won't believe what his best friend and sister keep telling him: his girlfriend Nina is maybe a little toxic. And Bennett won't believe what Nina is telling him: that his best friend Jason has feelings for him. After a destructive but maybe accidental event, Bennett reexamines his feelings and is stunned to discover that labels lose and love wins--if only someone other than his plants will believe him.


  • SEEDS
    Single mom Josephine has three children from different dads; identical and infertile twin Marjorie is pretty sure she's ready to be childless--until Jo offers to be her egg donor surrogate.

    Winner, Emanuel Fried Award for Oustanding New Play
  • SONS & LOVERS
    Ellen knows the score--her son is gay and her husband is cheating--but it's so much easier to pretend than to talk about it. It takes fantasy, farce, and one fabulous makeover before the truth flies free, mother and son discover just how much they have in common, and Ellen realizes the reality she's been avoiding most is her own.

    Winner, Emanuel Fried Award for Outstanding New Play...
    Ellen knows the score--her son is gay and her husband is cheating--but it's so much easier to pretend than to talk about it. It takes fantasy, farce, and one fabulous makeover before the truth flies free, mother and son discover just how much they have in common, and Ellen realizes the reality she's been avoiding most is her own.

    Winner, Emanuel Fried Award for Outstanding New Play

    "Hoke's words shine and sparkle."__Buffalo Theatre Guide

    https://www.buffalorising.com/2017/09/sons-lovers-entertains-sold-out-house-at-alleyway-cabaret/

    https://artvoice.com/2017/09/26/review-anthony-chase-donna-hokes-sons-lovers/
  • MEET ME AT THE GATES, MARCUS JAMES
    When a black, gay high school student finds a pink noose hanging in his locker, he puts it on and all hell breaks loose, especially after the administration steps in and "handles" the problem in a way that makes Marcus an even bigger target.

    Adapted from the novella of the same name by Chris Crutcher (ALAN Award from The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents for Significant...
    When a black, gay high school student finds a pink noose hanging in his locker, he puts it on and all hell breaks loose, especially after the administration steps in and "handles" the problem in a way that makes Marcus an even bigger target.

    Adapted from the novella of the same name by Chris Crutcher (ALAN Award from The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents for Significant Contribution to Adolescent Literature, ALA Edwards Award, The Writer magazine Writers Who Make a Difference Award, Intellectual Freedom Award from the National Coalition Against Censorship).
  • ONCE IN MY LIFETIME: A FOOTBALL FANTASY
    For one night, fans at the downtrodden Miracle Bar discover that the impossible happens when you believe it can.
  • AMERICAN DEAL
    IN DEVELOPMENT: FEEDBACK WELCOME: There are actually two versions of this play here. Under the usual download, you'll find the VERSION 4 that is mostly in chronological order, which I'm hoping will aid the clarity that readers of VERSION 3, which is in reverse chronological order and is found under the Supporting Materials SCORE download, seemed to need. Pick your poison and I'd love feedback on...
    IN DEVELOPMENT: FEEDBACK WELCOME: There are actually two versions of this play here. Under the usual download, you'll find the VERSION 4 that is mostly in chronological order, which I'm hoping will aid the clarity that readers of VERSION 3, which is in reverse chronological order and is found under the Supporting Materials SCORE download, seemed to need. Pick your poison and I'd love feedback on either.

    Clive Jenkins. White. A father. A writer with an MFA. An addict. A man who, sixteen years ago, gunned down a stranger, and still can't say why. Clive’s most successful attempts to examine his life come when he puts pen to paper, pouring out his demons in stories. Now, he’s got a chance at parole, and a six-figure book deal that might help him get it—if he can prove he’s a changed man.
  • LOST AT SEA
    A family gathers at its long abandoned beach house to celebrate the vow renewal of a returning Iraqi soldier and the bride he left behind--an event that forces all who attend to confront what living means in the face of loss.
  • SLICE OF LIFE
    This collection of ten-minute plays comprises THE PEE TEST, PAY IT BACKWARD, FACE TIME, SURVIVAL STRATEGY, THIS YEAR'S MODEL, LIFE LINES, DOUGHNUT HOLE, and YOU HAVEN'T CHANGED A BIT. Beginning with teens and ending with octogenarians, the eight plays present contemporary scenarios for each decade of life. Collectively, these plays have had more than 100 productions, and won several Best in Show and...
    This collection of ten-minute plays comprises THE PEE TEST, PAY IT BACKWARD, FACE TIME, SURVIVAL STRATEGY, THIS YEAR'S MODEL, LIFE LINES, DOUGHNUT HOLE, and YOU HAVEN'T CHANGED A BIT. Beginning with teens and ending with octogenarians, the eight plays present contemporary scenarios for each decade of life. Collectively, these plays have had more than 100 productions, and won several Best in Show and Judges Awards.

    You can reach of these individual plays at my NPX profile.
  • LONGHORNS
    IN DEVELOPMENT: 1982. TEXAS. Frat boy Kevin has always thought a little "physical bonding" among buddies is par for the straight course, but when he meets openly gay Cesar his freshman year at UT Austin, he has trouble writing him off as just another guy. Adapted with permission from David Lewis's movie of the same name.



  • BUA TAKES 10: STONEWALL EDITION
    By Coleman, Lawrence Dukore, Lee Lawing, Gary Jaffe, Scot Walker, Donna Hoke, Ken Levine, j. Snodgrass, Doric Wilson, Dan Berkowitz, J. Julian Christopher, and Paul Donnelly.

    In commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, BUA Takes 10 presents a cohesive collection of short works that tell the story of before, during, and after.

  • SOLO
    [short one-act] When a chorus student is confronted by a situation that isn't covered by policy, his teacher is confronted by his parents.
  • You Haven't Changed A Bit
    Lottie has never been to a high school reunion; Len has been to them all. Their 70th is a first for them both.
  • The Quickie
    Andrew is taken aback by Bob's unusual safe sex request.
  • Black & White/Two Puzzles Walk Into A Bar
    Two puzzles argue over which of them should be solved. (This play has also been performed in modified version as "Two Puzzles Walk Into A Bar." This script, which requires only two actors, is uploaded under Script Sample.)
  • Jack Pork
    Jack's well-endowed anatomy is a distraction on the set of his TV show.
  • I Lived, In Rancho Tehama
    On November 14, 2017, Rancho Tehama Elementary School was part of a two-day shooting spree. No children died, but a six-year-old was shot.
  • Cake Top This
    Rhonda and Juliette agree they want to get married, but didn't realize they had different reasons for doing so.
  • Survival Strategy
    Officemates make a deal to get from each other at work what they can't get at home.
  • Face Time
    Two old friends discover that too much connection has driven them apart.
  • Pay It Backward
    In a world where no good indeed goes unnoticed, altruism is in danger.
  • Life Lines
    When a mother discovers her late son's journal, she fights her conscience over her right to read it.
  • This Year's Model
    Amana's unhappy when planned obsolescence doesn't go as planned.
  • Never Again
    Shirley Jackson writes "The Lottery," and experiences unexpected backlash.
  • For A Loop
    Jonathan's teacher calls in his mother to discuss her son's "lack of ambition."
  • Vincent's Ear
    Vincent Van Gogh cuts off his ear and gives it to a prostitute.
  • Best Interests
    A mutual attraction to a waiter helps mother and son come to terms with their relationships and each other. (If you like this play, please read the award-winning SONS & LOVERS, a full-length comedy that grew out of it.)
  • Sharp Corner
    Straight Ellie and her gay best friend Vincent sleep together out of curiosity, then face the morning after.
  • Are You Happy Here?
    In this analogous tale, Paolo has everything he needs to be happy in his contained existence--so why isn't he?
  • Write This Way
    A writer allows characters to take the lead and, in doing so, breaks through writer's block as well as stereotypes to create a love story.
  • The Pee Test
    Darla takes Matt's rideshare with an agenda but to carry it out, she must pass Matt's strange test.
  • A Mother's Privilege
    Jennifer and Kate share their pregnancy news with Kate's parents
  • Greater Good
    A young military girlfriend's plan to use pregnancy to get her boyfriend to desert backfires.
  • Gift Horse
    A woman and a young man bond after she asks him to help her select a gift for her estranged son and his new wife, but he ends up taking as much as he gives.
  • Anyone Can Be Santa
    Four SantaCon santas seek the true meaning of Christmas.
  • Don't Go Breakin' My Heart
    After six months, Karey risks telling Adrien the truth.
  • Rudolph Really
    Sam the Snowman tells the real story behind the famous reindeer.
  • Make It Last
    When Avery bucks her mother-in-law's favorite Christmas tradition, she finds tradition can either die hard--or continue.
  • Stage Whispers
    Amanda helps her grandma pack up to move to a patio home.
  • Runner's High
    Visiting American coach Jared offers Agymah the opportunity of a lifetime--training for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
  • Hard Cell
    An atheist convict spends his final hours with the prison chaplain determined to make him believe.
  • Doughnut Hole
    In a dog-eat-doughnut world, the last peanut log can lead to life-changing decisions.
  • Sold!
    When Thomas can't decide whether to buy for love or money, Mary helps him out.
  • Last Call
    A has-been musician and a career bartender vie for a dubious prize: a former homecoming queen.