Jason Odell Williams

Jason Odell Williams

Jason Odell Williams is an award-winning playwright and Emmy-nominated television producer. His plays have been performed Off-Broadway at New World Stages and The Westside Theatre as well as in theatres across the country. A 2016 NNPN Rolling World Premiere, his play Church & State was nominated for a BEST NEW PLAY AWARD by the Off-Broadway Alliance, three L.A. Ovation Awards including Best Playwriting for...
Jason Odell Williams is an award-winning playwright and Emmy-nominated television producer. His plays have been performed Off-Broadway at New World Stages and The Westside Theatre as well as in theatres across the country. A 2016 NNPN Rolling World Premiere, his play Church & State was nominated for a BEST NEW PLAY AWARD by the Off-Broadway Alliance, three L.A. Ovation Awards including Best Playwriting for an Original Play and named one of Huffington Post's TOP TEN Theatre Productions of 2016. Published by DPS, Church & State is scheduled to have 37 regional productions by the end of the 2018-19 season. Church & State was recently optioned by Gigi Films and Jason was hired to adapt it into a screenplay with his wife and collaborator Charlotte Cohn. Their original pilot “Birdland” was a Top Ten Finalist in the 2015 Tracking Board pilot competition.

Jason’s first play Handle With Care (also published by DPS) was a New York Times Critics’ Pick when it ran Off-Broadway starring Carol Lawrence. The play has been produced 25 times in the last five years in the U.S. and Canada, and won three Theatre Bay Area Awards including Outstanding Production. His newest play THE WHOLE SHEBANG was named a finalist for the 2018 InterAct Theatre Company's New Play Development Award. That play was also selected for a workshop reading in Florida Studio Theatre's 2018 New Play Reading Series. Other plays include: Someone Else (World Premiere, NC Stage); Baltimore in Black & White (the cell theatre). Readings: Primary Stages, The Blank, The Lark, EST, The Actors Studio, as well as developmental readings starring Norbert Leo Butz, Matthew Lillard and Tovah Feldshuh. More at jasonodellwilliams.com

PRESS
"Mr. Williams has achieved something special: He has written a hilarious and heartwarming romantic comedy...which exudes gobs of comic energy and insight."
—The New York Times (Critics' Pick)

“Playwright Jason Odell Williams is a postmodern Clifford Odets. His conservative Southerners are winning, strikingly intelligent, and above all, sincere in their beliefs. The moral struggle that follows fuels a sophisticated dialectic that presents both sides of the gun debate. It’s surprisingly subtle and gripping entertainment… Simply superb!”
– L.A. Times

“A powerful, often humorous, and highly contemporary piece [with] several surprises, four fascinating characters, and so many lines that resonate.” – Huffington Post

"Williams has written a crackling script! Powerful, humorous and so resonant. I wish every member of Congress would see it!" - NPR

“Keep your eye on playwright Jason Odell Williams. If he keeps writing plays as extraordinary and impassioned as his latest play, ‘Church & State,’ he may in time be hailed as this country’s newest Eugene O’Neill.” – Santa Monica Daily Press

“A captivating, thought-provoking new play sure to only advance the career of a promising new dramatist. [A] brightly intelligent and often hilariously on-target script, it is deserving of high praise! Brilliant… furiously funny and disarmingly real. Takes our breath away!” – Arts in L.A.

Plays

  • THE WHOLE SHEBANG
    Kate, a straight-A, Ohio high school senior, stops attending her AP Science class after her teacher delivers a lecture about mankind's responsibility for climate change. While Kate's friends, family and teachers try to convince her to come back to class so she can graduate (and go to prom!), Kate receives a congratulatory tweet from the President and is invited on “The Ash Powers America Hour” (a...
    Kate, a straight-A, Ohio high school senior, stops attending her AP Science class after her teacher delivers a lecture about mankind's responsibility for climate change. While Kate's friends, family and teachers try to convince her to come back to class so she can graduate (and go to prom!), Kate receives a congratulatory tweet from the President and is invited on “The Ash Powers America Hour” (a popular conservative talk radio program), which sets off a chain of local and national events, including Kate’s older brother getting critically injured during a wave of protests outside of the coal mining factory. THE WHOLE SHEBANG is a darkly comic allegory about our core beliefs, our changing planet, and what we choose to value most. (3W, 3M)
  • DIVISION STREET
    Robbie, a white actor, has been nominated for his first major award (a Golden Globe for "Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture") for his role in the gritty drama "Division Street." In the movie, Robbie plays a Baltimore police officer who fatally shoots an unarmed black teenager. Robbie's wife Nia, an African-American actress/yoga teacher, is 11 weeks...
    Robbie, a white actor, has been nominated for his first major award (a Golden Globe for "Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture") for his role in the gritty drama "Division Street." In the movie, Robbie plays a Baltimore police officer who fatally shoots an unarmed black teenager. Robbie's wife Nia, an African-American actress/yoga teacher, is 11 weeks pregnant with the couple's first baby. Robbie's manager Trey, a white guy who thinks he grew up in a Baltimore 'hood but really grew up in the suburbs, meets the couple in their Los Angeles hotel suite a few hours before the ceremony to tell Robbie that Amazon wants to turn "Division Street" into a series. But this seemingly good news uncovers deep-seeded conflict and divisiveness, not only between Robbie and his manager, but between Robbie and Nia. A comedic-drama about race, success, and what it means to be an artist. (2M, 1W)
  • CHURCH & STATE
    Three days before his bid for re-election in North Carolina, a Republican U.S. senator makes an off-the-cuff comment to a blogger that calls into question his belief in God. As his devoutly Christian wife and liberal Jewish campaign manager try to contain the damage, this look at how religion, guns, and social media influence our political system is simultaneously funny, heartbreaking, and uplifting. www....
    Three days before his bid for re-election in North Carolina, a Republican U.S. senator makes an off-the-cuff comment to a blogger that calls into question his belief in God. As his devoutly Christian wife and liberal Jewish campaign manager try to contain the damage, this look at how religion, guns, and social media influence our political system is simultaneously funny, heartbreaking, and uplifting. www.ChurchAndStateThePlay.com

    “Gripping entertainment! Simply superb!” – Los Angeles Times
    "Powerful, humorous, and so many lines that resonate." - Huffington Post
    "A crackling script! I wish every member of Congress would see it!" - NPR
    “Words that need to be said and heard!” – Time Out NY
    "One of the best plays of the year!" - Times Square Chronicles
    “Extraordinary and impassioned” – Santa Monica Daily Press
    “Speaks to the lunacy of modern politics” – L.A. Theatre Bites

    BEST NEW PLAY NOMINEE (Off Broadway Alliance)
    BEST NEW PLAY NOMINEE (L.A. Ovation Awards)
    TOP TEN PRODUCTIONS OF 2016 (The Huffington Post)
  • HANDLE WITH CARE
    “A hilarious and heartwarming romantic comedy... which exudes gobs of comic energy and insight. Mr. Williams has achieved something special: He has written a Jewish Christmas story.” —The New York Times (Critics’ Pick)

    In this bi-lingual romantic comedy, circumstances both hilarious and tragic bring together a young Israeli woman, who has little command of English, and a young American man, who...
    “A hilarious and heartwarming romantic comedy... which exudes gobs of comic energy and insight. Mr. Williams has achieved something special: He has written a Jewish Christmas story.” —The New York Times (Critics’ Pick)

    In this bi-lingual romantic comedy, circumstances both hilarious and tragic bring together a young Israeli woman, who has little command of English, and a young American man, who has little command of romance. Is their inevitable love an accident ... or is it destiny, generations in the making?

    “Miraculous ... the story of the beauty in tragedy, the rekindling of faith, and realizing that you’re found in translation ... leaves the audience delighted.” —The Jewish Week

    “Thrilling ... a delightful, bilingual comedy ... this is the perfect non- Christmas “Christmas” show, a celebration of friendship and life that is big on the small things that matter in life.” —Los Angeles Daily News

    HANDLE WITH CARE ran for 112 performances Off-Broadway and has had 17 regional productions since premiering in 2011.
  • BALTIMORE IN BLACK & WHITE
    A young woman is about to marry an old friend of the family. The only problem: she's white and Jewish; he's black... and not. This laugh-out-loud ensemble comedy looks at how far we've come (and how far we haven't) by exploring two Baltimore family's relationships over the past two decades.

    “Terrific characters, sharp dialogue, and bang-on insights.” - Neil LaBute...
    A young woman is about to marry an old friend of the family. The only problem: she's white and Jewish; he's black... and not. This laugh-out-loud ensemble comedy looks at how far we've come (and how far we haven't) by exploring two Baltimore family's relationships over the past two decades.

    “Terrific characters, sharp dialogue, and bang-on insights.” - Neil LaBute

    “A stunning and evocative story… with humor, grace, and a huge heart. This show will make you smile and exit the theatre with a lightness to your step.”
    - Urban Excavations
  • SOMEONE ELSE
    SOMEONE ELSE (1M, 1W) is an award-winning comedy about love, fidelity and Ukrainian escorts. As his wife of 10 years ratchets up the pressure to have a baby, Dave feels the spark being sucked out of their sex life and begins to fantasize about a rendezvous with a beautiful and droll Ukrainian prostitute who offers him surprisingly sage advice about his marriage. Meanwhile, Dave’s sexy co-worker has escalated...
    SOMEONE ELSE (1M, 1W) is an award-winning comedy about love, fidelity and Ukrainian escorts. As his wife of 10 years ratchets up the pressure to have a baby, Dave feels the spark being sucked out of their sex life and begins to fantasize about a rendezvous with a beautiful and droll Ukrainian prostitute who offers him surprisingly sage advice about his marriage. Meanwhile, Dave’s sexy co-worker has escalated their usual playful banter into a full-on flirtation… or is it simply a ploy to steal a promotion? While Dave navigates the complex waters of family, career and fidelity, he finds himself in a motel room with a curt New York escort who may or may not be the answer to his problems.

    A winner of The Hudson Valley Writers’ Workshop new play competition, SOMEONE ELSE is a hilarious and candid glimpse at a lost and confused man searching to answer the eternal question: can we find everything we need… in just one person?

    World Premiere at NC STAGE in Asheville, NC, Nov. 2015.

    Winner of The Hudson Valley Writers Workshop 2012 New Play Contest.

    PRESS FROM WORLD PREMIERE:
    "Someone Else sizzles with sensuousness and sexy dialogue! A witty and wise romp examining the travails of a young husband and his sexual journey… represents everywoman and everyman's struggle - the human condition made manifest. No one turns out to be despicable, all are understandable and forgivable and acceptable. There's great depth and substance in this racy script, fit for long discussion and thoughtful consideration." - Citizen-Times

    “This wickedly funny and enchanting, charming and piquant world premiere with blistering frankness, big laughs, and range of emotional dichotomies (love or sex, freely single or hitched with children, success or happiness) will resonate with audiences.” - Carolina Curtain Call

    “Someone Else is human, relatable and very funny. This show is all about exposing inner fears and demons and debating them in often-unsettling ways. The writing is sharp, insightful and gives every audience member something they can relate to in their own lives.” - Mountain Xpress
  • GIVE ME SHELTER
    After a female college student's gang-rape accusation is published in a prominent magazine then quickly retracted, the truth becomes more and more elusive as the girl and two of the accused boys tell the University three different versions of what happened on that fateful night. Inspired by true events, GIVE ME SHELTER is a fast-paced, gut-wrenching drama that asks the loaded question: when it comes to...
    After a female college student's gang-rape accusation is published in a prominent magazine then quickly retracted, the truth becomes more and more elusive as the girl and two of the accused boys tell the University three different versions of what happened on that fateful night. Inspired by true events, GIVE ME SHELTER is a fast-paced, gut-wrenching drama that asks the loaded question: when it comes to seeking justice for sexual violence on our nation's campuses, who can we really trust? (3M, 2W)
  • DOG PARK
    Aspiring screenwriter Alice and struggling novelist Owen have always had a flirty vibe yet have remained just dog park buddies. But when world famous actress Jennifer Stone shows up at the park, and offers to option Owen’s novel shortly after meeting him, their competitive natures are revealed. DOG PARK is a one-act romantic comedy about loyalty, celebrity, and what it means to be on top.