Joseph Zettelmaier

Joseph Zettelmaier

Joseph Zettelmaier is a Michigan-based playwright and four-time nominee for the Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association Award for best new play, first in 2006 for All Childish Things, then in 2007 for Language Lessons, in 2010 for It Came From Mars and in 2012 for Dead Man’s Shoes. Other plays include Ebenezer, And The Creek Don’t Rise, The All Childish Things Trilogy, Dr. Seward’s Dracula, Snow Angels,...
Joseph Zettelmaier is a Michigan-based playwright and four-time nominee for the Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association Award for best new play, first in 2006 for All Childish Things, then in 2007 for Language Lessons, in 2010 for It Came From Mars and in 2012 for Dead Man’s Shoes. Other plays include Ebenezer, And The Creek Don’t Rise, The All Childish Things Trilogy, Dr. Seward’s Dracula, Snow Angels, Blackwater Ballad, Night Blooming, Point of Origin, and The Stillness Between Breaths. Point of Origin won Best Locally Created Script 2002 from the Ann Arbor News, and The Stillness Between Breaths also won Best New Play 2005 from the Oakland Press. The Stillness Between Breaths and It Came From Mars were selected to appear in the National New Play Network’s Festival of New Plays. He also co-authored Flyover, USA: Voices From Men of the Midwest at the Williamston Theatre (Winner of the 2009 Thespie Award for Best New Script). He also adapted Christmas Carol’d for the Performance Network. It Came From Mars was a recipient of 2009’s Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award, and won Best New Script 2010 from the Lansing State Journal. His play Dead Man’s Shoes won the Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award in 2011. He is an Artistic Associate at First Folio Theatre, an Artistic Ambassador to the National New Play Network and an adjunct lecturer at Eastern Michigan University, where he teaches Dramatic Composition. Joseph was recently profiled in the March 2012 issue of American Theatre Magazine.

Plays

  • The Decade Dance
    Roger Weems, recently returned from Vietnam, meets Nina Reynolds, an African American student activist, during a Kent State rally. A one-night stand becomes a ten-year journey as Rog and Nina navigate a relationship against the backdrop of a turbulent decade. Ten scenes set against various social events of the 70s provide a glimpse into a country trying to find itself, and two people trying to find their place...
    Roger Weems, recently returned from Vietnam, meets Nina Reynolds, an African American student activist, during a Kent State rally. A one-night stand becomes a ten-year journey as Rog and Nina navigate a relationship against the backdrop of a turbulent decade. Ten scenes set against various social events of the 70s provide a glimpse into a country trying to find itself, and two people trying to find their place in it. 1M/1W
  • Swordplay
    Martine Lowe was an Olympic fencer until a brutal assault put her into a coma. Her recovery has been long and difficult, but she's managed to regain most of what she's lost. In hopes of returning to the competitive fencing world, she's begun training with Declan Teague, a man famous for his prestigious students and his unusual teaching methods. Martine moves in and out of reality as she faces the...
    Martine Lowe was an Olympic fencer until a brutal assault put her into a coma. Her recovery has been long and difficult, but she's managed to regain most of what she's lost. In hopes of returning to the competitive fencing world, she's begun training with Declan Teague, a man famous for his prestigious students and his unusual teaching methods. Martine moves in and out of reality as she faces the truth of what's happened to her and what it means to be a sword.
  • Our Lady of Poison
    1659, Rome, Italy. Giulia Tofana and her daughter Girolama are beloved apothecaries and friends to the downtrodden. Those who know them well also know that they're the most prominent poisoners in the city. They've spent decades providing unfortunate women a means to free themselves from unwanted husbands. When the young bride of a nobleman requests their help, an unexpected romance blossoms. But that...
    1659, Rome, Italy. Giulia Tofana and her daughter Girolama are beloved apothecaries and friends to the downtrodden. Those who know them well also know that they're the most prominent poisoners in the city. They've spent decades providing unfortunate women a means to free themselves from unwanted husbands. When the young bride of a nobleman requests their help, an unexpected romance blossoms. But that very love threatens to destroy the life Giulia has built for her family. Based on real events.
  • Night Blooming
    Natane gave birth to a daughter when she was 16, and abandoned her. That daughter (Lily) gave birth to her own daughter (Selene) at 16 and chose to raise her alone rather than let her experience the loss Lily has wrestled with all her life. When Selene is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, Lily must track down Natane in hopes of saving her life.
  • Northern Aggression (Formerly And The Creek Don't Rise)
    Rob and Maddie Graff have left their lives in Michigan hoping to find greener pastures in Georgia. They are welcomed by their neighbor Dr. Benjamin Boggs, a retired physician, a Civil War reenactor, and a life-long Georgian. Cultural misunderstandings lead to a private war between Rob and Doc, with neither side willing to admit defeat.
  • Dr. Seward's Dracula
    Dr. Seward has cut himself off from the rest of the world after losing his lover and friends to Dracula. He has been contacted by the Irish author Bram Stoker, who wishes to tell his story. Soon, a series of murders occur, very similar to the ones Seward fought to stop. The doctor must face demons both real and imagined to find the answers.
  • The Renaissance Man
    Martin has long served as the King's Knight in the Gloriana Renaissance Festival. However, his girlfriend Emma seeks greater glory for both herself and her love. Through deceit and guile, the two take Gloriana for their own, ousting the current King. But they soon discover that taking the kingdom is much easier than keeping it. A comic re-imagining of Macbeth.
  • The Scullery Maid
    King Edward has declared an uneasy truce with France, and he celebrates with his nobles in Nottingham Castle. Unbeknownst to him, a murder plot is being hatched in his kitchen by the lowliest of his servants. Miriam the scullery maid has long blamed Edward for the death of her father, and she will see the king dead this night, even if it costs her her own life.
  • Ebenezer
    It’s a cold Christmas Eve in London, and Ebenezer Scrooge sits in a hospital room. 15 years have passed since his miraculous transformation by the Ghosts of Christmas. Now renowned for his generosity and selflessness, his spirit still yearns to bring cheer to the world, but his flesh is weak. Such a little thing isn’t likely to stop the old man, though, for he has a plan up his sleeve that he hasn’t shared with...
    It’s a cold Christmas Eve in London, and Ebenezer Scrooge sits in a hospital room. 15 years have passed since his miraculous transformation by the Ghosts of Christmas. Now renowned for his generosity and selflessness, his spirit still yearns to bring cheer to the world, but his flesh is weak. Such a little thing isn’t likely to stop the old man, though, for he has a plan up his sleeve that he hasn’t shared with his two troubled companions – Miss Poole, the nurse assigned to his care, and Tim Cratchit, recently returned from war in America. Over the course of the evening, these two lost souls bear witness to events they do not fully understand as the spirit of Christmas descends on Ebenezer once again.
  • Dead Man's Shoes
    A dark comedy w/ music, set in the Wild West. Injun Bill Picote & his new partner Froggy travel the west to right a terrible wrong. Bill's only friend has been killed, skinned & turned into a pair of shoes, and he won't stop until the man responsible pays the ultimate price. Loosely based on actual events.
  • It Came From Mars
    A troupe of radio actors in the 1930s attempt to rehearse their own show the night that Orson Welles delivers his famous War of the Worlds broadcast. The actors fly into hysterics, believing they're about to be obliterated by aliens. Truth & loyalty square off against fear & paranoia.
  • The Gravedigger: A Frankenstein Play
    Set in the late 1700s, in one of Bavaria’s forgotten cemeteries, a lone gravedigger discovers a hideously scarred man hiding in a fresh grave. What the gravedigger doesn’t know is that the man is none other than the legendary monster created by a mad doctor. What the scarred man doesn’t know is the gravedigger’s hand in his creation. And what neither men know is that they are hunted by their shared past.
    Set in the late 1700s, in one of Bavaria’s forgotten cemeteries, a lone gravedigger discovers a hideously scarred man hiding in a fresh grave. What the gravedigger doesn’t know is that the man is none other than the legendary monster created by a mad doctor. What the scarred man doesn’t know is the gravedigger’s hand in his creation. And what neither men know is that they are hunted by their shared past.
  • Pulp
    Los Angeles, 1933. PI Frank Ellery doesn't know it, but he's taken on the strangest case of his life. A literary agent has been gruesomely murdered. The 4 suspects: his remaining clients, all writers for different pulp magazines. Frank dives into the mystery, and his world turns upside down as life begins to imitate literature. Science fiction, romance, adventure, horror...and one down-on-his-luck...
    Los Angeles, 1933. PI Frank Ellery doesn't know it, but he's taken on the strangest case of his life. A literary agent has been gruesomely murdered. The 4 suspects: his remaining clients, all writers for different pulp magazines. Frank dives into the mystery, and his world turns upside down as life begins to imitate literature. Science fiction, romance, adventure, horror...and one down-on-his-luck gumshoe who's about to learn what really lurks between the lines.