Abraham Johnson

Abraham Johnson

Abe Johnson writes Big Messy Queer Plays that center gray areas and strange transformations. Abe is a Resident Playwright with Triboro Producers Club (Off Broadway), a two-time Lambda Literary Fellow (mentored by Phillip Howze and Luis Alfaro) and has produced/developed work with the Tank NYC (Frontera Series), Workshop Theater, Horizon Theater, Synchronicity Theater, Essential Theater, OutFront Theater, and...
Abe Johnson writes Big Messy Queer Plays that center gray areas and strange transformations. Abe is a Resident Playwright with Triboro Producers Club (Off Broadway), a two-time Lambda Literary Fellow (mentored by Phillip Howze and Luis Alfaro) and has produced/developed work with the Tank NYC (Frontera Series), Workshop Theater, Horizon Theater, Synchronicity Theater, Essential Theater, OutFront Theater, and Working Title Playwrights among others. Finalist credits include SPACE on Ryder Farms and the National Young Playwrights Residency.

Abe serves on the Artistic Council for the O'Neill National Playwrights Conference (reader: 2019-current), also reading for Playwrights Realm (2021, 2022, 2023), the O'Neill Young Playwrights Festival, the Campfire Theater Festival, the Essential Theater, Georgia Theater Conference, the AMPLIFY: Black Playwrights Festival, and the EXPLODE Theater Group.

When not playwriting or yelling about how awful the industry can be, Abe uses all pronouns, feels most powerful in overalls, and is a beginner bird-watcher.

Plays

  • the pits
    the pits follows the trio of Ben and Lucas (middle schoolers) and Mr. X (a first-year-teacher) as the three of them explore the internet, their bodies, and the new SEL class at school: Educating the Heart. Ben and Lucas’ friendship twists and turns throughout 8th grade and Mr. X confronts the anxiety of public education, until all three are forced to reveal the darkness that lurks in their internet history....
    the pits follows the trio of Ben and Lucas (middle schoolers) and Mr. X (a first-year-teacher) as the three of them explore the internet, their bodies, and the new SEL class at school: Educating the Heart. Ben and Lucas’ friendship twists and turns throughout 8th grade and Mr. X confronts the anxiety of public education, until all three are forced to reveal the darkness that lurks in their internet history. Foul-mouthed, darkly intimate, and bittersweet, this is a play about existing in the modern classroom from both sides of the desk.
  • DEAD GAY BODY
    Everything is perfectly fine at Ronald Reagan High School! Cheerleaders and football players hold hands in hallways. Teachers smile really, really, *really* big. And sure, there's a string of mysterious gay deaths, but let's focus on the positive right now!... No? Fine.

    After a particularly public death of a particularly gay student ("Twinkie McBottoms") with a particularly...
    Everything is perfectly fine at Ronald Reagan High School! Cheerleaders and football players hold hands in hallways. Teachers smile really, really, *really* big. And sure, there's a string of mysterious gay deaths, but let's focus on the positive right now!... No? Fine.

    After a particularly public death of a particularly gay student ("Twinkie McBottoms") with a particularly public last statement ("I Hate Straight People"), Ronald Reagan High's Counselor is thrust into action, determined to create a safe space... for straight students to feel safe again. She will team up with the first gay student body president, a fragile football player, a garden-loving Principal, and even the audience to organize a "Diversity Day" that these heterosexuals will never forget. But first, we have to figure out: why are there dead gay bodies popping up all over school? And who the heck has even heard of Laramie, Wyoming?
  • WOOLF etc.
    An old play within a new play about new plays and old plays, "WOOLF etc." follows four #multihyphenate #newplay #dedicated theater artists on their path towards trying to create something meaningful. This script dissects the threshold between the personal and performative, how to be as #marketable as Lucas Hnath, and questions how much of the canon we're willing to shred for a chance to stand on the periphary.

Recommended by Abraham Johnson

  • WE FLY
    8 Jul. 2024
    I had goosebumps reading this from the first page to the last. A singular play. A ferocious, precise, richly layered satire that has a finger firmly pressed on every theatrical pressure-point. I'm thrilled at the kaleidoscope of forms being played with— part documentary, part Plantation historical reenactment, part rapture-story, (part Beyonce concert!?! Part Andy Cohen roast!?!)-- not to mention the pinpointed joke placements and a history that still finds a way to haunt every word. Young builds a world that is so expansive and supernatural, with tension and atmosphere ramping into that incredible retina-burn ending. Sprawling!!! Brilliant!!! Firestorm talent!!!
  • Harsh Cacophonies I & II
    4 Jun. 2024
    A gymnastic, verbose, thorough dissection of the boundary between gay intimacy/sex, I'm floored at how vivid and wide-reaching this one-person play is. Rodgers and Hammerstein one moment, then Rumi, then spinning into autobiography and love letters to the moon??? Go off! Berry captures the (frightening, almost violent) rituals of gay rejections based on inhuman body standards, then twists the bitterness with an eye towards the transcendental self. A pastiche of gay mythology and theology-- Whitman and Tim Miller and those horny holiday chain texts all rolled into one. To summarize is to reduce, but gorgeously structured and wildly impressive.
  • The Nativity Starring Keisha Taylor
    16 May. 2024
    I ADORE this 2009-time-capsule, wonderfully packed with references to "Lovegame" by Lady Gaga, iPhone 3 hijinks, and AIM My Chemical Romance chatrooms, just to name a few. Expert in its balance of laugh-a-second jokes and rug-pulling realities, Matthews beautifully rides the line of humor and heart as we meet these girls at the precipice of teen-hood. A hilarious play with a precise ear towards the duality of these girls' church community-- a vital safe space within each other, but definite vultures circling overhead. So smart. These threads gorgeously weave together in the final scene-- Expansive! Funny! Retina burn! Produce this!
  • Everything, Devoured
    15 May. 2024
    A wildly queer firestorm of a play that hums with rich dramaturgy, spooky trans excellence, and a thrillingly theatrical deconstruction of Reagan's apocalyptic capitalism. Gwynn is a rip-roaring, fearless voice for our moment. There are so many lines in this play that genuinely made me gasp in their brave, full-throated rage at the 2024 America we all live in. Twisted in the best possible way. Not to mention the campy, glittery, survivalist climax? A gorgeous play to produce in the drag-club-post-capitalist-bunkers we could be living in soon
  • Everything In Between
    28 Apr. 2024
    Tender and funny and wholly captivating, I adore this masterful 10-minute script. Mabey captures the rough edges of loss with wit and charm, not to mention the sniper-to-the-heart cicada ending? Oof! Electric and brilliant and expansive. I’ll be thinking about that 5th grade science report for a while. A gorgeous two-hander certain to steal the spotlight in any 10-minute play festival.