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 50 regional productions in 29 different states by the end of 2020. 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 recently named a Semi-Finalist for the 2019 National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. That play was also named a finalist for the 2018 InterAct Theatre Company's New Play Development Award and was 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. As a series of storms hits their small town, Kate's friends, family and teachers try to convince her to come back to class, and pass on her invitation to appear on a popular conservative talk radio show to discuss her bold decision....
    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. As a series of storms hits their small town, Kate's friends, family and teachers try to convince her to come back to class, and pass on her invitation to appear on a popular conservative talk radio show to discuss her bold decision. Will Kate stick to her guns even as a literal flood of evidence rises around her? Or will she stay true to her values, no matter what the cost? THE WHOLE SHEBANG is a darkly comic play about our core beliefs, our changing planet, and what we choose to value most. (3W, 3M)
  • DIVISION STREET
    It's the night of the Golden Globes, and Robbie, a white actor with a rising career, has been nominated for his role as a racist cop in a #BlackLivesMatter film. His pregnant African-American wife Nia is an actress whose once-thriving career has recently taken a back seat to her husband’s. Add Robbie’s white wannabe-gansta manager Trey to the mix and the result is a fresh comedic-drama about race, fame,...
    It's the night of the Golden Globes, and Robbie, a white actor with a rising career, has been nominated for his role as a racist cop in a #BlackLivesMatter film. His pregnant African-American wife Nia is an actress whose once-thriving career has recently taken a back seat to her husband’s. Add Robbie’s white wannabe-gansta manager Trey to the mix and the result is a fresh comedic-drama about race, fame, and the Hollywood movie machine. (2M, 1W)
  • A POUND OF FLESH
    Inspired by and in response to Shakespeare's THE MERCHANT OF VENICE and the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, A POUND OF FLESH is a modern-day revenge tragedy about fear, redemption, and what it means to be "the chosen ones." After a shooting takes place at a synagogue in a quiet American suburb, SHIA, an 18 year old tough-talking Rabbi's daughter, decides to seek revenge on the...
    Inspired by and in response to Shakespeare's THE MERCHANT OF VENICE and the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, A POUND OF FLESH is a modern-day revenge tragedy about fear, redemption, and what it means to be "the chosen ones." After a shooting takes place at a synagogue in a quiet American suburb, SHIA, an 18 year old tough-talking Rabbi's daughter, decides to seek revenge on the white supremacists responsible. She disguises herself as a man and infiltrates the local Atomwaffen chapter (a neo-Nazi group that considers themselves right of the alt-right). There Shia meets FRANK, the son of the man who shot and killed 12 people in the synagogue before shooting himself. Shia convinces Frank to follow her lead on the next steps to "take down the Jews." But Shia secretly plans to carry out the "Four Deaths" as described during Yom Kippur prayer services on the extremist group -- Stoning, Burning, Decapitation, and Strangulation. Complicating matters, Shia's best friend TIKI (short for Tikvah which means "hope" in Hebrew) begins to fall in love with a stranger she met after Friday night services named MILES. Both Tiki and Miles lost a loved one in the shooting. But their bond hides a secret that Shia uncovers when Tiki arrives one night for Shabbat dinner. Will Tiki turn the other cheek as she's begged Shia to do in the past, or will her baser nature be revealed when she has a chance for personal revenge?
  • CHURCH & STATE
    BEST NEW PLAY NOMINEE (Off Broadway Alliance)
    BEST NEW PLAY NOMINEE (L.A. Ovation Awards)
    TOP TEN PRODUCTIONS OF 2016 (The Huffington Post)

    “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...
    BEST NEW PLAY NOMINEE (Off Broadway Alliance)
    BEST NEW PLAY NOMINEE (L.A. Ovation Awards)
    TOP TEN PRODUCTIONS OF 2016 (The Huffington Post)

    “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
    “Plenty of humor! 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
    "Williams' excellent script yields to searing theater!"- Talkin' Broadway
    "This show is stunning. Beautiful writing... so timely and so heartbreaking – but it’s also quite funny and human. I want everyone to make seeing this show a priority... This is theater with purpose!” – The Alt

    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
  • 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.

    CO-AUTHORED BY: Charlotte Cohn and Almeria Campbell

    “Terrific...
    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.

    CO-AUTHORED BY: Charlotte Cohn and Almeria Campbell

    “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.