Recommended by Michael C. O'Day

  • Stinky Girls
    19 Nov. 2023
    There's a moment in Caryl Churchill's TOP GIRLS - a moment of disturbing intimacy between two young girls, a moment of shared adolescent anxieties and frustrations and bodily fluids, and you know exactly what moment I'm talking about if you know the play - that's over in an instant, as if it's too much even for Churchill to confront. That's where Kelsey Sullivan STARTS - for her, there's no such thing as too much, and STINKY GIRLS is a giddy, demented, ferocious blast of id from one of our most fearless young playwrights.
  • Marianas Trench (Part One of The Second World Trilogy)
    7 Nov. 2023
    Here's the thing: if you grew up a nerdy child in America and you lived to tell the tale, then nothing about our present, frightening political moment is the least bit surprising - the impulse towards fascism is just the bullying instinct writ large. Sickles knows this truth in his bones, and he's used it as the foundation of MARIANAS TRENCH - a magnificent melange of science-fiction epic, coming-of-age story, immigrant saga, queer romance, political satire, and possibly (gods I hope not) prophesy. A spectacular achievement.
  • Cassie Strickland Is Not Under the Bed
    28 Oct. 2023
    The problem with recommending this play, and saying that it's got one of the all-time great jump scares, is that it's selling the piece short. CASSIE STRICKLAND is also a masterful depiction of American masculinity, gun culture, small-town dynamics, and survivor guilt, and to say one more word about Gatton's accomplishment is to rob it of its sinister power. (But yeah, it's got one of the all-time great jump scares.)
  • The Polycule: A Comedy of Manners
    23 Sep. 2023
    A zippy mash-up of Moliere and "The Ethical Slut," Blevins' piece works beautifully not just because of its cleverness - though its plotting and rhyme schemes are clever as hell - but because the play's construction reflects and amplifies its theme. The rules of a farce in rhymed couplets are as strict and byzantine as the rules of a polyamorous unit, after all, but in both cases those rules only barely contain the roiling human passions contained therein. Delightful fun for good, giving, and game actors.
  • Reconnaissance
    20 Aug. 2023
    Does it feel that the average American, in their chaotic and diffident response to the environmental crises we're facing, has a proverbial devil and angel perched on either shoulder whispering in their ear? It certainly does to Feriend, who has the perceptive acumen to make the devil a space alien and the "average American" worried he's there for a probe and convinced that Chinese weather balloons are somehow involved. A delightfully mordant piece of satire.
  • The Gas Man Cometh
    20 Aug. 2023
    A deeply affecting and urgent piece of work. Williams is dealing with a number of sensitive topics here - fracking and its environmental cost, yes, but also the realities of raising a child on the autistic spectrum and the ways economics and class complicate our lives - and any one of them could go awry in the wrong hands. But Williams' hands are absolutely the right ones; he balances everything with sure and steady construction, true empathy, and builds to a gut-wrenching (but weirdly hopeful) conclusion.
  • He’s The First
    20 Aug. 2023
    A sweet, wistful pas-de-deux of adolescent love (or love-adjacent feelings, at any rate - adolescence is complicated) that also features some of the biggest belly laughs I've seen on stage in a good long while. Burke's is a wonderfully specific voice, alive to nuances not only of race and sexuality, but of how each generation finds new ways to tell the same timeless story.
  • Space Laser, In Space!
    11 Aug. 2023
    A dark and propulsive delight. Blevins is juggling a lot of balls here - science fiction, workplace comedy, political satire, and Talumdic ethical debate - and does so with giddy aplomb. It's hilarious, it's heartbreaking, and it might just make you wish space lasers were real (heavy though their burden may be).
  • a marriage is a story we tell and keep telling
    3 Aug. 2023
    Simply coining the phrase "wedding-industrial complex" would be enough for a lesser playwright. But Frimer is a major talent, with a penetrating theatrical intelligence and a gift for rhapsodic torrents of language, and this love story is a timely and heartfelt gem.
  • Kaylee and Adelyn
    30 Jul. 2023
    A heartrending little gem, Shannon does a terrific and poetic job depicting the richly intertwined emotional lives of twin sisters - which she then deploys to devastating effect in crafting the most original cry of outrage against our school shooting epidemic that I've seen in quite a while. Shannon is clearly a young writer to keep an eye on.