Jennifer O'Grady

Jennifer O'Grady

Jennifer O'Grady (she/her) is a playwright and poet whose plays are produced across the U.S. and internationally. Full-length plays include FERTILE GROUND (2022 O'Neill Semifinalist); CHARLOTTE'S LETTERS (Rising Artist Award; Henley Rose Award; NEWvember Festival Dublin; O'Neill Semifinalist and other honors); PARANORMAL LOVE (MTWorks Newborn Winner; NEWvember Finalist; Pandora's Box...
Jennifer O'Grady (she/her) is a playwright and poet whose plays are produced across the U.S. and internationally. Full-length plays include FERTILE GROUND (2022 O'Neill Semifinalist); CHARLOTTE'S LETTERS (Rising Artist Award; Henley Rose Award; NEWvember Festival Dublin; O'Neill Semifinalist and other honors); PARANORMAL LOVE (MTWorks Newborn Winner; NEWvember Finalist; Pandora's Box Honorable Mention and other honors); JUGGLING WITH MR. FIELDS (SWTP Finalist); ELLERY (Bechdel Group selection) and others. Her short plays have won audience-choice and other awards and are published in multiple editions of The Best Ten-Minute Plays (S&K) and Best New Ten-Minute Plays (Applause) including the 2021 volumes of each. Her plays are also included in multiple editions of The Best Women's Stage Monologues, as well as Best Contemporary Monologues for Women, Stage It! 3, some scripts literary magazine, Feels Blind Literary and other publications. Presenting theaters include The Irish Rep, 6th Street Playhouse, Attic Salt Theatre, Short + Sweet, Weathervane Playhouse, Rover Dramawerks, Lakeshore Players, The Playhouse at White Lake, Heartland Theatre Company, Gi60, Brave New World Rep, KIT, PlayZoomers, Theatre Three and many others, along with schools and colleges around the U.S. and overseas. Jennifer is also an award-winning poet and author of the poetry books WHITE (Mid-List First Series Award for Poetry) and EXCLUSIONS & LIMITATIONS (Plume Editions/MadHat Press). Her poems appear in numerous places including Poetry, Harper's, The New Republic, The Kenyon Review, The Writer's Almanac, Poetry Daily and American Poetry: The Next Generation. She holds an MFA in poetry from Columbia University and a BA from Vassar. She and her family live near NYC. (www.jenniferogrady.net)

Plays

  • CHARLOTTE'S LETTERS
    2020 Rising Artist Playwriting Award/1st Place Henley Rose Award/NEWvember Festival Dublin/O'Neill Semifinalist, other honors

    (Full length) A fresh new take on the Brontës, intertwining Charlotte Brontë's two years as an unpublished young woman at a Belgian school--where she became close to her married tutor/employer, Monsieur Heger--with Victorian biographer Mrs. Gaskell's...
    2020 Rising Artist Playwriting Award/1st Place Henley Rose Award/NEWvember Festival Dublin/O'Neill Semifinalist, other honors

    (Full length) A fresh new take on the Brontës, intertwining Charlotte Brontë's two years as an unpublished young woman at a Belgian school--where she became close to her married tutor/employer, Monsieur Heger--with Victorian biographer Mrs. Gaskell's struggle to salvage Charlotte's posthumous reputation and feminist novels. When an alarming letter arrives from Brussels, Mrs. Gaskell feels forced to investigate just how much of Charlotte's novels--including the bestselling but scandalous JANE EYRE--was based on her own life. A play about love, friendship and the making--and unmaking--of art and identity.
  • ELLERY
    2019 Bechdel Group Selection and included in THE BEST WOMEN'S STAGE MONOLOGUES

    (Full length) Becca hates her psychic abilities and is suddenly being haunted by her dead but still-critical mother and dead grandmother, for reasons none of them understands. When a dead young woman appears and pleads confusingly for help, Becca turns away--but unwittingly gives her best friend the chance to...
    2019 Bechdel Group Selection and included in THE BEST WOMEN'S STAGE MONOLOGUES

    (Full length) Becca hates her psychic abilities and is suddenly being haunted by her dead but still-critical mother and dead grandmother, for reasons none of them understands. When a dead young woman appears and pleads confusingly for help, Becca turns away--but unwittingly gives her best friend the chance to pursue a dangerous course that could harm Becca and another living woman. A play about living responsibly and being different. (Play 2 in the Ghost Trilogy of standalone plays)
  • FERTILE GROUND
    2022 Semifinalist, O'Neill National Playwrights Conference

    (Full length) Leigh wants a baby but struggles with unexplained miscarriages. Her younger sister Olivia wants to be done with her academic book about maternal filicide, which seems to be having a negative impact on her mental health. Leigh's husband Max wants to be done with fertility treatments so that he and Leigh can move on...
    2022 Semifinalist, O'Neill National Playwrights Conference

    (Full length) Leigh wants a baby but struggles with unexplained miscarriages. Her younger sister Olivia wants to be done with her academic book about maternal filicide, which seems to be having a negative impact on her mental health. Leigh's husband Max wants to be done with fertility treatments so that he and Leigh can move on. Into their lives comes an incarcerated woman who will have devastating consequences for both sisters. In the wake of U.S. restrictions on reproductive freedoms, FERTILE GROUND is new play exploring motherhood and other societally-ignored aspects of women's lives.
  • JUGGLING WITH MR. FIELDS
    2020 Southwest Theatre Productions New Play Contest Finalist

    (Full length) In 1940s Hollywood, aging, irreverent, nearly-alcoholic movie star W.C. Fields--shunned by film studios and eager for work--grudgingly hires a young English manservant to order his messy life, while Fields' girlfriend Carlotta and rising-actor friend Anthony Quinn vie for his attentions. But new servant Rodney brings...
    2020 Southwest Theatre Productions New Play Contest Finalist

    (Full length) In 1940s Hollywood, aging, irreverent, nearly-alcoholic movie star W.C. Fields--shunned by film studios and eager for work--grudgingly hires a young English manservant to order his messy life, while Fields' girlfriend Carlotta and rising-actor friend Anthony Quinn vie for his attentions. But new servant Rodney brings a secret link to the past, in this imagined look at the hidden side of an iconic film star and drama about longing and belonging.
  • PARANORMAL LOVE
    MTWorks Newborn Winner/NEWvember Finalist/Pandora's Box Honorable Mention/SWTP Semifinalist, other honors

    (Full length) Kevin and David were a loving couple, but now Kevin is dead and stuck in a boring afterlife with little to do but eat popcorn and watch the living. When David decides to marry a woman, Kevin seizes the chance to wrap up unfinished business with the aid of two dead friends--...
    MTWorks Newborn Winner/NEWvember Finalist/Pandora's Box Honorable Mention/SWTP Semifinalist, other honors

    (Full length) Kevin and David were a loving couple, but now Kevin is dead and stuck in a boring afterlife with little to do but eat popcorn and watch the living. When David decides to marry a woman, Kevin seizes the chance to wrap up unfinished business with the aid of two dead friends--until things begin to go wrong. A play about love, loss and the power of memory. (Play 1 in the Ghost Trilogy of standalone plays)
  • QUASARS
    Included in THE BEST WOMEN'S STAGE MONOLOGUES and BEST CONTEMPORARY MONOLOGUES FOR WOMEN 18-35

    (Full length) When blocked sculptor Josh's wife Erin becomes seriously ill but won't slow down, Josh takes secretive measures to keep her at home. But their nine-year-old daughter witnesses his ploys, bringing unwanted scrutiny from an uncertain Catholic priest. As Erin's illness...
    Included in THE BEST WOMEN'S STAGE MONOLOGUES and BEST CONTEMPORARY MONOLOGUES FOR WOMEN 18-35

    (Full length) When blocked sculptor Josh's wife Erin becomes seriously ill but won't slow down, Josh takes secretive measures to keep her at home. But their nine-year-old daughter witnesses his ploys, bringing unwanted scrutiny from an uncertain Catholic priest. As Erin's illness worsens Josh must learn to let go--and try to grow up--with help from a troubled priest and a strange young woman with piercings. A play about the need for human connection and the uncertain comforts of faith and art.
  • SLANTED LIGHT
    2022 Bechdel Group Shortlist

    (Full length) Joanna is a poet and single parent working part-time in a funeral home--an odd choice, considering that Joanna can see dead people. When a dead teenage boy follows her home and ensconces himself in her attic, Joanna and her teenage daughter Miranda must learn some hard truths about living and dying. (Play 3 in the Ghost Trilogy of standalone plays)
  • Abundance
    Selected for Dramatic Question Theatre's DQTini Series

    (1 Min) No one--and nothing--likes to be alone. A pandemic play for any two performers.
  • Admiral Grace Hopper Revisits
    Productions include 6th Street Playhouse and Rover Dramawerks

    (One Act/Solo/Monologue) 85-year-old, former U.S. Navy Rear Admiral and computer pioneer Grace Hopper speaks about life, computer compilers, and kicking some ass in this short solo play about perseverance and passion.
  • Bars
    Produced by Primal Theatre UK (2019)

    (Monologue) Sky, a pet parakeet, has a request. Or three.
  • Belle, ex-wife of a Beast
    Selected for The Writers Block Radio Hour (2020)

    (Monologue) A former princess speaks.
  • The Bookstore
    Productions by NextStage, The Playhouse at White Lake and others

    (10 Min) When a popular YA action novel appears on the shelves, a bored poetry book decides to make a little mischief.
  • Cage
    Produced by Primal Theatre UK (2019)

    (Monologue) Thumper the pet rabbit describes their habit for the audience.
  • Chem Class
    Selected for the Lanford Wilson New American Play Festival 2022

    (10 Min) On their morning walk to school, Alex asks his friend Sofia to their Junior Prom. But Sofia's reaction isn't what Alex had hoped for--or so he thought. A play about taking risks and being ourselves. (Written for THE WALKING PLAYS)
  • Circumnavigation
    Selected for Stage Left Theater's Fast and Furious (2021)

    (Monologue) Flash, a young goldfish, loves their new home. Really.
  • Closet Cat
    Selected for Gi60: The International One-Minute Theatre Festival (2021) and published in some scripts (2021)

    (Monologue) Sometimes the best place to be is your owner's closet.
  • Cops
    (3 Min) Two adults speak about their different encounters with the police.
  • Dishwasher
    (10 Min) Alan’s dishwasher has been acting up. Carter, a repairman, visits and discovers that even household appliances require some kindness. A play about dysfunctional relationships and repairs.
  • Domestic Service
    Produced by White Mouse Theater

    (10 Min) When Oscar-nominated, African-American actress Louise Beavers is cast as yet another maid in another Hollywood movie but this one has a very shocking twist, she finds herself forced to make a difficult decision.
  • Egypt
    Selected for Mind the Gap Theatre's Housebound Series (2021) and forthcoming in some scripts literary magazine Issue 5

    (Monologue) The six-month-old fetus of a murdered woman speaks. (CW: domestic violence; murder)
  • Emily's Room
    Selected for Rover Dramawerks' 365 Women a Year Festival

    (15 Min) 54-year-old recluse Emily Dickinson and her 44-year-old Irish maid reach an unspoken understanding that, unknown to them, will alter the course of American literature.
  • Expectations
    Selected for Short+Sweet Sydney 2021 and other productions / Shortlist: Short+Sweet Dubai 2022 and 2021

    (Short) Novelist Charles Dickens and his wife Kate Dickens speak about the legal separation Dickens initiated after twenty-two years of marriage and nine children—narratives that differ substantially from each other. A play about power and women's lives.
  • First Day in Trade
    Published in THE BEST TEN-MINUTE PLAYS 2017 (Smith and Kraus)

    (10 Min) At a New York publishing house, an impoverished assistant learns that one of the world's wealthiest women--editor Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis--might want to bum cigarettes from her. (Inspired by a true incident)
  • Fridge
    Published in THE BEST TEN-MINUTE PLAYS 2021 (Smith and Kraus)

    (10 Min) A woman and her fridge. A play about failure and acceptance.
  • The Gorilla
    Produced by Primal Theater UK

    (10 Min) When a gorilla at the zoo takes a surprising interest in Myra, she finds her life transforming--but for better or worse?
  • The Great Gaffe
    Published in THE BEST TEN-MINUTE PLAYS 2016 (Smith and Kraus)

    (10 Min) Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Edith Wharton gives a tea party for F. Scott Fitzgerald, struggling young author of THE GREAT GATSBY, with disastrous results.
  • Greed (or the alligator play)
    (10 Min) Corey questions reality when an alligator appears at the picnic and eats up all the guac. A play about environmental encroachment, with a talking alligator.
  • I'm Not Malala
    Selected for The PlayGround Experiment's Faces of America Festival #1

    (Monologue) Julia isn't Malala. But maybe Malala can help?
  • In Memory of Maria Mercader
    Included in The Covid Monologues by Breath of Fire Latina Theater Ensemble (currently on YouTube)

    (Monologue) CBS news producer and my high-school friend Maria Mercader died during the COVID pandemic in New York. This was written to celebrate Maria and her life.
  • Invasion
    (1 Min) Where are all the people? Who cares? There's grass! (A pandemic play with goats.)
  • Invisible (one-minute version)
    (Monologue) Scout the dog explains the new invisible fence to a potential playmate.
  • Invisible (3-minute version)
    Selected for "Natural Distancing" at Civic Theater of Greater Lafayette (2020)

    (Monologue) Scout the dog explains the new invisible fence to a potential playmate.
  • January
    (Monologue) Bella, age twelve, ponders her mom’s reaction to Bella's interest in hanging out with the new girl at school, who isn’t like everyone else.
  • Kitty
    (6 min) Things with Kitty don't work out quite the way Tyler expected. (Or: a stray cat seeks vengeance)
  • Like Knives
    Written for Brave New World Rep's "Over and Above" and performed by Laura San Giacomo (2020)

    (Monologue) A middle-aged bar owner has some words for her ageist male customer--after she locks the door.
  • Lion Cut
    (Monologue) Snowball the cat struggles with new ideas about human beings.
  • Listening
    Audience-choice winner in Weathervane Playhouse's 2019 8x10 Theatrefest

    (10 Min--A Hailey Play, #1) Stuck for the weekend at her preoccupied, divorced dad's house (and never mind having to deal with Dad's new girlfriend, Sandra), sixteen-year-old Hailey learns that listening to old-people music can actually be life-altering.
  • Lucy Tries Again
    Selected for Crafton Hills College New Works Festival (2021)

    (10 Min) 16-year-old Lucy Ball has just been kicked out of her NYC drama school for being too shy and having insufficient talent. Back home with her mom, Lucy tries to figure out what if anything to do next. (Based on events in the life of iconic TV star Lucille Ball)
  • Matthew Weaver Finds Me
    (5 Min) Frustrated by the play she's writing for Matthew's birthday, Jennifer brainstorms with Matthew. A unicorn might appear. (Included in 40ish Short Plays About Matthew Weaver compiled by playwright Matthew Weaver)
  • Mending
    (10 Min) At Monticello the day after Thomas Jefferson's death an enslaved woman, Sally Hemings, and her 21-year-old enslaved son by Jefferson wait to hear their fate. But Jefferson's white daughter wants vital information, and has information to share that could further jeopardize mother and son.
  • Menopause Play
    (10 Min) Fed up with having her menopausal symptoms unacknowledged and ignored, a playwright decides to write about it. This is her play, and you'd better listen.
  • Microwave
    Produced by PlayZoomers (2021)

    (10 Min) Sixteen-year-old Ethan needs to defrost a meal before his basketball game, but Mike, an aging microwave oven, refuses to open her door--forever. A play about give and take with a common household appliance.
  • A Midsummer Night's Script (10-Minute Version)
    Selected for Funny Shorts Live! (2021)

    (10 Min) London, 1595 -- The Lord Chamberlain's Men are having trouble with their latest play, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM. (A Will, Kempe & Ed Play)
  • A Midsummer Night's Script (5-minute version)
    (5 Min version written in 2020 for Caravan Productions and published in A YEAR WITH THE CARAVAN]
  • Most Wonderful
    Published in THE BEST NEW TEN-MINUTE PLAYS 2021 (Applause)

    (10 Min) Two unemployed roommates learn the meaning of Christmas with help from a can of beans and some dental floss.
  • The Mysterious Affair at the Christies
    Produced by Saw It Here First Productions (London), Rover Dramawerks and other theaters.

    (10 Min) An imagined glimpse into Agatha Christie's troubled first marriage and the roots of her long career as a novelist.
  • New Kitten
    Produced by Gi60 US (2019)

    (1 Min) Max the cat is seriously pissed off--a new kitten has moved in and expects Max to share everything including the litter box. A tiny play about jealousy and transformation.
  • Only Human
    Selected for St. Paul's Arts Council's Short New Play Festival, The Factory Theater at Greenville U's New Play Festival and by other theaters around the country

    (Monologue) A Catholic priest remembers a tragedy in his past.
  • On 9th Street
    Premiering in 10x10 at The New Deal Creative Arts Center (2022)

    (!0 Min) NYC, 1951: Four Abstract Expressionist women artists await the opening of their group exhibition in a condemned building in lower Manhattan. A play about the women of the 9th Street Show.
  • Out
    Produced by Gi60 UK (2019)

    (1 Min) A tiny play about the frustrations of dog-ownership.
  • Persephone
    Published in THE BEST NEW TEN-MINUTE PLAYS 2019 (Applause)

    (10 Min) A modern riff on the myth of Persephone, forced to leave her family behind forever. This Persephone returns to give her small child an unusual gift--a new mom.
  • A Piece of the Continent
    (10 Min) #45 as an old man contending with history textbooks and the realities of climate change--when it impacts him.
  • Playgroup
    Selected for The Mother-logues by Red Herring Productions and Empower Her Voice U.K. (2020)

    (Monologue) At her weekly playgroup for moms and babies, Lauren makes an unexpected confession.
  • Pre-War
    Winner of Stage It's Ten-Minute Play contest and published in STAGE IT 3 (2019)

    (10 Min) Traumatized by a recent loss, Elena finds it hard to leave her NYC apartment--until she meets Clara, her older refugee neighbor, and the women discover they have more in common than they thought.
  • Seek
    (5 Min) A father's love spans twenty years in five minutes; a daughter's love survives an unthinkable tragedy.
  • Shakespeare's Dilemma
    Selected for Caravan Productions (2021)

    (10 Min) London, 1593 - The Lord Chamberlain's Men are having trouble with their plans for JULIUS CAESAR--and with their new and unwanted playwright. (A Will, Kempe & Ed Play)
  • Shelved
    Produced by NextStage Theater (2021)

    (10 Min) Two bickering French books stuck in the basement stacks of a library (and subjected to the inexplicable glares of the librarian) find themselves uniting when forced to foil a robbery plan.
  • A Split Second
    Selected for Plays for Us by The Actors Center (2020)

    (10 Min) In two different places two unrelated women--a parent with a missing child, and a traumatized driver--speak about recent events that, unknown to them, are tragically connected.
  • Street
    (Monologue) A street outside Cup Foods, Minneapolis, speaks to us.
  • Sugar
    Selected for Lakeshore Players 2022 Ten-Minute Play Festival and Rockford New Words 2022

    (10 Min) Lilia is startled when her new neighbor Jaden knocks on her door and asks to borrow sugar. But Jaden has an ulterior motive that has nothing to do with sugar, and everything to do with Lilia.
  • Theoni V. Aldredge, Costume Designer, Speaks
    Produced by Tutti Bravi Productions (2021)

    (Monologue) Award-winning, Greek-American costume designer Theoni V. Aldredge speaks about what women and immigrants can do.
  • Tomorrow or Next Year
    Published in Feels Blind Literary (2019)

    (5 Min) Mackenzie wants to help; Caroline wants to forget. A play about growing up in today's United States.
  • Waiting
    Selected for Weathervane Playhouse's 2022 8x10 Theatrefest

    (10 Min--A Hailey Play, #2) It's a new year and teenager Hailey's dad is getting married to his girlfriend Sandra--except that Sandra doesn't actually know it yet. When Dad tries to surprise Sandra with an engagement ring but things go terribly wrong, Hailey comes to the rescue and proves once again that adults aren't always observant.
  • Walkies
    Selected for "Snowed Under" by Caravan Productions (2021)

    (10 Min) An unexpected tragedy forges an unexpected connection. (CW: Pet loss)
  • We Were Happy
    (10-15 Min) Two Italian-American sisters remember growing up on New York's lower Eastside and find that their memories differ. But they were happy there. Maybe.