Donna Hoke

Donna Hoke

Donna’s work has been seen in 46 states and on five continents. Plays include BRILLIANT WORKS OF ART (2016 Kilroys List), ELEVATOR GIRL (2017 O’Neill, Princess Grace finalist), and SAFE (winner of the Todd McNerney, Naatak, and Great Gay Play and Musical Contests). She has been nominated for both the Primus and Blackburn Prizes, and is a two-time winner of the Emanuel Fried Award for Outstanding New Play (SEEDS...
Donna’s work has been seen in 46 states and on five continents. Plays include BRILLIANT WORKS OF ART (2016 Kilroys List), ELEVATOR GIRL (2017 O’Neill, Princess Grace finalist), and SAFE (winner of the Todd McNerney, Naatak, and Great Gay Play and Musical Contests). She has been nominated for both the Primus and Blackburn Prizes, and is a two-time winner of the Emanuel Fried Award for Outstanding New Play (SEEDS, SONS & LOVERS). She has also received an Individual Artist Award from the New York State Council on the Arts to develop HEARTS OF STONE, and, for three consecutive years, she was named Buffalo's Best Writer by Artvoice—the only woman to ever receive the designation.

Donna also serves on the Dramatists Guild Council and is a blogger and moderator of the 12,000+-member Official Playwrights of Facebook, as well as a 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
    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. A 2017 O'Neill finalist and a 2018 finalist for the Princess Grace Playwriting Fellowship.

  • TEACH
    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...
    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. Super simple to produce, TEACH is anything but simple.

  • BRILLIANT WORKS OF ART
    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,...
    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.)
  • 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. Is that what Sadie and Vance need?
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.

    This play was the winner of the 2013 Emanuel Fried Award for Oustanding New Play.
  • 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 when the administration steps in and handles the problem in a way that simultaneously targets Marcus and assures the problem won't be solved.

    Adapted from the novella of the same name by Chris Crutcher (ALAN Award from The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents...
    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 when the administration steps in and handles the problem in a way that simultaneously targets Marcus and assures the problem won't be solved.

    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).
  • 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.

    This play was the winner of the Emanuel Fried Award for...
    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.

    This play was the winner of the 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/
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • AMERICAN DEAL
    IN DEVELOPMENT: FEEDBACK WELCOME: 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.
  • LITTLE WOMEN NOW
    IN DEVELOPMENT: FEEDBACK WELCOME: The March girls manage love, life, and disappointment in this modern-day adaptation of the classic novel.
  • 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.
  • 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.



  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.)
  • Cake Top This
    Rhonda and Juliette agree they want to get married, but didn't realize they had different reasons for doing so.
  • Life Lines
    When a mother discovers her late son's journal, she fights her conscience over her right to read it.
  • Jack Pork
    Jack's well-endowed anatomy is a distraction on the set of his TV show.
  • Face Time
    Two old friends discover that too much connection has driven them apart.
  • 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.)
  • This Year's Model
    Amana's unhappy when planned obsolescence doesn't go as planned.
  • 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?
  • Pay It Backward
    In a world where no good indeed goes unnoticed, altruism is in danger.
  • 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
  • Survival Strategy
    Officemates make a deal to get from each other at work what they can't get at home.
  • Doughnut Hole
    In a dog-eat-doughnut world, the last peanut log can lead to life-changing decisions.
  • Stage Whispers
    Amanda helps her grandma pack up to move to a patio home.
  • Hard Cell
    An atheist convict spends his final hours with the prison chaplain determined to make him believe.
  • Sharp Corner
    Straight Ellie and her gay best friend Vincent sleep together out of curiosity, then face the morning after.
  • 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.
  • Greater Good
    A young military girlfriend's plan to use pregnancy to get her boyfriend to desert backfires.
  • Runner's High
    Visiting American coach Jared offers Agymah the opportunity of a lifetime--training for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
  • 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.
  • Never Forget
    Shirley Jackson writes "The Lottery," and experiences unexpected backlash.
  • Anyone Can Be Santa
    Four SantaCon santas seek the true meaning of Christmas.
  • 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.
  • Don't Go Breakin' My Heart
    After six months, Karey risks telling Adrien the truth.