Joseph Reed Hayes

Joseph Reed Hayes

39 productions and readings of my plays from coast to coast and in three countries since 2001. From the big stage extravaganza of Tempus to the intimate "living room" drama A Little Crazy, my plays take place on buses and in bars, in hotel rooms and government offices, farmhouse kitchens and jazz stages. Winner: BroadwayWorld Orlando Awards; Community Foundation of Jacksonville Art Ventures Fund Grant...
39 productions and readings of my plays from coast to coast and in three countries since 2001. From the big stage extravaganza of Tempus to the intimate "living room" drama A Little Crazy, my plays take place on buses and in bars, in hotel rooms and government offices, farmhouse kitchens and jazz stages. Winner: BroadwayWorld Orlando Awards; Community Foundation of Jacksonville Art Ventures Fund Grant; United Arts Professional Development Grant 2012, 2009; Florida Division of Cultural Affairs Individual Artist Fellowship; Telly Award; Galati Research Grant; "Playing by the Lake" Festival. Three time associate artist, Atlantic Center for the Arts. Chair, Alternative Programming, Timucua Arts Foundation.

Plays

  • In Five - a play with music Coming 2020
    A performance of a lifetime. In five parts.
    A woman's life, seen from five different angles.

    PART 1: THE SCORE
    PART 2: STAND UP TRAGEDY
    PART 3: THE PLAN
    intermezzo
    PART 4: AND I FEEL LIKE I OWE IT TO SOMEONE
    PART 5: THE REST OF THE STORY
  • Solos (w/full play video + trailer)
    Solos is the history of jazz in America, as told through the relationship of two people, in three movements and a coda. Ellie Grace is the well-educated daughter of a privileged family; Ben "Blue" Miller a working musician blowing his best and getting nowhere. New Years Eve of 1939, Blue meets society girl Ellie in a hotel ballroom. He plays in the band; her daddy owns the place. She's a gifted...
    Solos is the history of jazz in America, as told through the relationship of two people, in three movements and a coda. Ellie Grace is the well-educated daughter of a privileged family; Ben "Blue" Miller a working musician blowing his best and getting nowhere. New Years Eve of 1939, Blue meets society girl Ellie in a hotel ballroom. He plays in the band; her daddy owns the place. She's a gifted composer with no outlet for her music, and he's an itinerant musician, a "gypsy" without a way to the top. They begin a passionate relationship that lasts a life-time — she composes but is uninterested in performing; he plays her dazzling new music and accepts the acclaim from the audience.Her family and her insecurity keep her out of the performing spotlight, and he is more than willing to get famous by playing her groundbreaking work and taking the credit. The music scene changes, from swing and bebop through "free" jazz to melodic post-modern, with Ellie's compositions leading the way. Ellie is delighted to give her music to the man she loves, but becomes frustrated by her invisibility as the decades go by, with Ben unwilling to risk falling from the heights he has attained ... until things finally explode.
    http://www.jrhayes.net/solos.html
    Beginners Guide to Solos study guide
    http://jhayes.wixsite.com/solosguide

    "A touching story about love, truth, God and jazz as religion … a must-see performance." — Orlando CityBeat

    "In Solos ... jazz trumpeter Blue Miller, whose love life is overtly stoked by Ellie Grace after meeting her on New Year’s Eve of 1939; he’s playing in the hotel her father owns. As Miller finds fame, Ellie’s covert skill as his ghosting songwriter drives the three-act drama. As a romantic meet-cute, Solos might ring familiar with a contemporary audience, but looking at the history of jazz music, you can start to follow the real rhythm." - Orlando Weekly

    "This is great theater for adults – a show that touches on our emotions as we connect with a couple soaring on the wings of their shared love for music, only to seemingly fall when their differences become too challenging to mount. And that is not even the end of the drama." - R.T. Robeson, Freeline Media

    "A play by Joseph Reed Hayes is a welcome oasis of cultured smarts at the Fringe, which tends toward the bawdier side of the spectrum. His Solos takes as its topic the development of jazz, as revealed by the decades-spanning story of a trumpeter and his wife, who secretly pens his 'original' compositions. Music fans will have a leg up in discerning how their working relationship reflects the flow of an entire American century; no such foreknowledge, though, is required to appreciate Hayes' smooth hand with dialogue." - Orlando Weekly
  • Destination Moon (w/full play video + clips)
    When we meet Truly in her room at the end of the hall, she is on her way to recovery, having spent years in and out of hospitals combating serious illness since she was a child. She'll be going home soon, with every likelihood of a "normal" life. And that idea terrifies her - when the struggle is gone, when the life ahead can be lived apart from the identity of illness, it is a foreign country, a...
    When we meet Truly in her room at the end of the hall, she is on her way to recovery, having spent years in and out of hospitals combating serious illness since she was a child. She'll be going home soon, with every likelihood of a "normal" life. And that idea terrifies her - when the struggle is gone, when the life ahead can be lived apart from the identity of illness, it is a foreign country, a distant planet without the "thing" that has defined you. Truly deals with her uncertainty by writing bad songs, reading odd old books and communing with an unseen voice in the night.
    http://www.jrhayes.net/desmoon.html

    "In “Destination Moon,” teenage Truly gets the shock of her young life. Hospitalized for most of her 16 years with a fatal illness, she is suddenly given dramatic news: She is going to live. “Destination Moon” is the latest play from Orlando writer Joseph Reed Hayes. While having a death sentence overturned sounds like good news — it would be unsettling if illness is all a person has ever known and longevity has never been in the cards. “She has been told in no uncertain terms she won’t survive,” Hayes says. “She’s never prepared for a normal life.” - Orlando Sentinel
  • TOM WAITS FOR NO MAN: The Ballad of Bobby Ace (w/full play video + clips)
    The story of Bobby Ace; semi-professional third-rate road musician half-way between last call and last chance, playing the songs of Tom Waits in seedy saloons and half-empty roadhouses. It is only when he loses himself in his fictional onstage persona that Bobby finds out who he truly is.
    http://www.jrhayes.net/waitsplay.html
  • Bucket Boy (w/full play video + clips)
    Nadra is a spoken word performer working the streets of New York, along with a drummer, Elvin, who is the Bucket Boy. She has a moment of crisis and escapes the city to return to a place that, in her mind, was her happy time - high school. So she goes back to her hometown to rekindle a relationship with Julia, who has remained in the town. Unfortunately for Nadra, this relationship existed more in her fantasies...
    Nadra is a spoken word performer working the streets of New York, along with a drummer, Elvin, who is the Bucket Boy. She has a moment of crisis and escapes the city to return to a place that, in her mind, was her happy time - high school. So she goes back to her hometown to rekindle a relationship with Julia, who has remained in the town. Unfortunately for Nadra, this relationship existed more in her fantasies than reality, and therein hinges the story. The three struggle with the difference between what they think is true, and what actually is the truth.
    http://www.jrhayes.net/bucket.html
  • West Farms (w/full play video)
    Gritty and worn-down, the neighborhood had little to offer the adults who lived there, and even less to a child. But children, especially those who grow up in the Bronx, are resilient, and survive harsh times through humor and a tough skin. A worn-down man looks back at his childhood, his family, and the almost legendary bar in the Bronx that still keeps its hold on him.
    http://www.jrhayes.net/shorts.html
  • A Little Crazy (w/full play video)
    An award-winning comedy about real life (or a drama with some very funny bits. A contemporary play about two men — Avram, an 84-year-old Russian immigrant, and his great-nephew, Harry and their sometimes turbulent relationship.
    http://www.jrhayes.net/crazy.html

    "Playwright Joseph Reed Hayes captured the essence of the Jewish spirit in A Little Crazy, a beautifully written and acted...
    An award-winning comedy about real life (or a drama with some very funny bits. A contemporary play about two men — Avram, an 84-year-old Russian immigrant, and his great-nephew, Harry and their sometimes turbulent relationship.
    http://www.jrhayes.net/crazy.html

    "Playwright Joseph Reed Hayes captured the essence of the Jewish spirit in A Little Crazy, a beautifully written and acted drama that was among the best of the 28 shows I saw." – Orlando Weekly
  • A Slow Ride
    Three generations of women — the eccentric, hold-out-hippie grandmother, her conventional daughter, and the Goth granddaughter who is fed up with both of them — take a Sunday ride. A journey of discovery, tension, humor, affection and the near-demented discord that arises when family is in close proximity for more than ten minutes.
    http://www.jrhayes.net/slowride.html

    "There's...
    Three generations of women — the eccentric, hold-out-hippie grandmother, her conventional daughter, and the Goth granddaughter who is fed up with both of them — take a Sunday ride. A journey of discovery, tension, humor, affection and the near-demented discord that arises when family is in close proximity for more than ten minutes.
    http://www.jrhayes.net/slowride.html

    "There's both poignancy and joy in the way [Hayes] has cleverly captured the essence of a family's dynamics." - Orlando Sentinel

    "To twist a sentence of Tolstoy’s, all happy families are alike, but every unhappy family bickers, snaps and snarls in its own unique way. Considering local playwright/event producer/restaurant critic Joseph Reed Hayes’ facility with language, the three women at the heart of his new play, A Slow Ride, are sure to quarrel with style." — Orlando Weekly
  • A God in Aspect
    Jeremy Gilbert, minor government functionary at the Department of the Interior, meets the embodiment of his darkest dreams when a Lovecraftian Elder God walks into his office and demands to be classified an Endangered Species. Who is the more frightening?
  • Tell It To The Bird
    Checking into an upscale hotel, Mr. Thompson finds more than your typical amenities, including individual climate control, on-site fitness center, Internet access ... and Ethel, the Pest Elimination Companion.