Greg Jones Ellis

Greg Jones Ellis

Greg Jones Ellis received a 2017 Julie Harris Playwriting Award for his comedy-drama All Save One, which received its World Premiere production in 2018 at the Washington Stage Guild. Previous plays include the comedy Divinity Place, published by Stage Rights (www.stagerights.com); an adaptation of Edith Wharton’s short story Roman Fever currently in development at the Annapolis Shakespeare Company as a drama/...
Greg Jones Ellis received a 2017 Julie Harris Playwriting Award for his comedy-drama All Save One, which received its World Premiere production in 2018 at the Washington Stage Guild. Previous plays include the comedy Divinity Place, published by Stage Rights (www.stagerights.com); an adaptation of Edith Wharton’s short story Roman Fever currently in development at the Annapolis Shakespeare Company as a drama/dance piece; and an original comedy entitled Culver City Fever. All Save One, Culver City Fever and a new contemporary drama entitled Dead Air have each been given a staged reading at the annual Kennedy Center Page-to-Stage Festival.

Published theatre-related articles include a peer-reviewed analysis of Langston Hughes’s monologue poems entitled “The Lifelong Dinner Guest of the Negro Vogue” and profiles of Marsha Norman and Paul Zindel. He created a course, “10 Plays Everyone Should Know,” for the Osher Institute for Lifetime Learning that has spawned two popular “sequel” courses.

He holds a B.A. Drama (Catholic University) and an M.A. in English Literature (Salisbury University). He also studied cinema with renowned film historian William K. Everson at New York University and playwriting with Lucas Hnath (A Doll’s House Part 2) at Stony Brook University.

Plays

  • Dead Air
    A popular radio personality has become a TV treasure, thanks to her on-air charisma and down-to-earth advice. Along the way, fans have loved her stories of “my son the genius,” a never-seen character who has become a trademark part of her show’s identity. At home, however, the reclusive son is actually a bitter critic of his mother’s exploitation. What happens when convincing the son to appear on air becomes...
    A popular radio personality has become a TV treasure, thanks to her on-air charisma and down-to-earth advice. Along the way, fans have loved her stories of “my son the genius,” a never-seen character who has become a trademark part of her show’s identity. At home, however, the reclusive son is actually a bitter critic of his mother’s exploitation. What happens when convincing the son to appear on air becomes the key to keeping her top place in daytime TV?
    This family drama uses the background of media celebrity to explore one uniquely modern path to success. It paints both a critical and a sympathetic portrait of a bright, ambitious woman whose talents and desire for validation lead her down that path. Her husband and son grapple with their own need for privacy in a world where everyone connected with a celebrity is fair game for public consumption.
  • Culver City Fever
    Geraldine St. James (played by Washington Stage Guild favorite Lynn Steinmetz) is a former primetime soap diva who hasn't been able to work since the series ended. Her flashy role on the series turned her into an industry joke. She has one shot at regaining her credibility, and the only one who can help is her old frenemy, Jane Farrell (Washington Stage Guild’s Laura Giannarelli). Jane, once a promising...
    Geraldine St. James (played by Washington Stage Guild favorite Lynn Steinmetz) is a former primetime soap diva who hasn't been able to work since the series ended. Her flashy role on the series turned her into an industry joke. She has one shot at regaining her credibility, and the only one who can help is her old frenemy, Jane Farrell (Washington Stage Guild’s Laura Giannarelli). Jane, once a promising actress who left the business to be a wife and mother, wants back in the spotlight. What’s Jane’s price for putting aside Gerry’s long-ago betrayal? Punctuated with flashbacks depicting the two women in younger days, this modern comedy examines the deals –and sacrifices—we make to stay relevant in a fickle world.
  • All Save One
    Sims Glendenning is at a crossroads. Once the most celebrated writer of his generation, he and the 20th Century have both turned 50. Sims, in Hollywood to film an adaptation of his work, can’t seem to finish anything, and he fears his best work is behind him. When Sims engages a handsome young priest to serve as "technical advisor" on a new script, his mid-century anxiety may just be soothed by a...
    Sims Glendenning is at a crossroads. Once the most celebrated writer of his generation, he and the 20th Century have both turned 50. Sims, in Hollywood to film an adaptation of his work, can’t seem to finish anything, and he fears his best work is behind him. When Sims engages a handsome young priest to serve as "technical advisor" on a new script, his mid-century anxiety may just be soothed by a conversion to Catholicism. But is he attracted to God or to the priest?
    Sims shares his rented home with his wife, Claire Morgan, a famous character actress. Their household is completed by Basil Steele, once Sims's lover and now his faithful, if acid-tongued, secretary. To the outside world, theirs is a conventional arrangement. However, Claire returns from her latest shoot having fallen in love, truly in love, with producer John Grant. If Sims carries off his conversion, divorce from him will be difficult.
    There are two other complications that could only happen in Hollywood, circa 1950. First, Sims is being brutally treated by a blackmailing young hustler who threatens to expose his sexual exploits, possibly sending Sims to prison. And it seems that, just as Claire has found real love with John, the House Un-American Activities Committee has called him up for a “chat.”
    As each character is forced to look at the layers of lies and secrecy that he or she has lived with, their desires collide with one another. Threatening to reveal the lies could lead to ruin. Living with the secrets may no longer be possible. Only the least likely of this menage holds the key to everyone’s future: Basil Steele.
  • Divinity Place
    Divinity Place synopsis

    August 1941

    Jean is bursting with news – she and her fiancé Buddy have decided that tomorrow’s the day they get married. Despite Jean being Catholic and Buddy being Presbyterian, they’ve got a priest to agree to marry them. At this very house at 1330 Divinity Place, Philadelphia, PA.

    This throws the household into a tizzy. Jean’s...
    Divinity Place synopsis

    August 1941

    Jean is bursting with news – she and her fiancé Buddy have decided that tomorrow’s the day they get married. Despite Jean being Catholic and Buddy being Presbyterian, they’ve got a priest to agree to marry them. At this very house at 1330 Divinity Place, Philadelphia, PA.

    This throws the household into a tizzy. Jean’s cousin Ceil, surrogate mother to a brood of cousins and sisters, has to get the house ready in twelve hours. Jean’s sister Marguerite insists that they invite their shrewish guardian, Aunt Mary. Jean’s best friend Caputo is hugely pregnant. And Jean’s brother’s fiancée, Jinx, is fuming – she thought her wedding would go off first.

    Scene 2: the morning of the wedding. Father Brendan, the young priest who agreed to perform the ceremony, has been sent off to the harbor to bless some ships. Monsignor Aloysius McDonough, known to all as “Holy Joe,” arrives to announce that no wedding can take place until Buddy signs a form promising he’ll raise their children Catholic.

    But Buddy won’t sign. His word has to be good enough. And Jean’s behind him. No amount of pressure from Holy Joe, or Buddy’s mother (who sneaks down the street while her husband is asleep) can budge Buddy. He believes that you have to have faith. In people as well as God.

    A mixture of sentiment, farce and a gentle social message, the play is perfect for college theatre groups, as it has six good roles for young women and three good roles for young men, plus some tasty character roles.
  • The Other Cheek
    Vivian Furness, a famous atheist author, is the victim of a seemingly random attack. After the young attacker is caught, the author wants to meet him face to face to explore the nature of forgiveness in the absence of a religion that dictates it. David, a young social worker, and Ralph, a police officer, try to prevent the meeting. When Luke, the young man, unexpectedly shows up, it is revealed that the...
    Vivian Furness, a famous atheist author, is the victim of a seemingly random attack. After the young attacker is caught, the author wants to meet him face to face to explore the nature of forgiveness in the absence of a religion that dictates it. David, a young social worker, and Ralph, a police officer, try to prevent the meeting. When Luke, the young man, unexpectedly shows up, it is revealed that the attack wasn't completely random. His mother blames Viv’s atheistic writings for Luke’s emotional fragility and Luke, off his medications, attacked Viv. As all five confront the aftermath of the attack, each has to deal with betrayal, contrition and forgiveness in order to move on.
  • Roman Fever
    Based on the Edith Wharton classic: Taking their daughters on their first trip to Rome in the 1930s, two society women recall their own first visit to the city. As they reminisce, they recall one special night in the Colosseum when young Grace succumbed to "Roman Fever" (malaria). As the women reminisce, Grace's friend Alida admits that she tricked Grace into going to the colosseum for a...
    Based on the Edith Wharton classic: Taking their daughters on their first trip to Rome in the 1930s, two society women recall their own first visit to the city. As they reminisce, they recall one special night in the Colosseum when young Grace succumbed to "Roman Fever" (malaria). As the women reminisce, Grace's friend Alida admits that she tricked Grace into going to the colosseum for a secret romantic rendezvous. But Grace has a final surprise to reveal.