Jennifer O'Grady

Jennifer O'Grady

Jennifer O’Grady is an award-winning playwright and poet. Her plays include CHARLOTTE'S LETTERS (Henley Rose Award; Newvember Festival Dublin; O'Neill Semifinalist and other honors); PARANORMAL LOVE (MTWorks Newborn Festival; Newvember Finalist; Pandora's Box runner-up); ELLERY (selected for The Best Women's Stage Monologues 2017 and a Bechdel Group selection); and PERSEPHONE (selected for...
Jennifer O’Grady is an award-winning playwright and poet. Her plays include CHARLOTTE'S LETTERS (Henley Rose Award; Newvember Festival Dublin; O'Neill Semifinalist and other honors); PARANORMAL LOVE (MTWorks Newborn Festival; Newvember Finalist; Pandora's Box runner-up); ELLERY (selected for The Best Women's Stage Monologues 2017 and a Bechdel Group selection); and PERSEPHONE (selected for The Best New Ten-Minute Plays 2019). Her work has won many playwriting competitions and been selected for festivals across the US, as well as in the UK and Dublin, Ireland. Producing theaters include Rover Dramawerks, 6th Street Playhouse, Heartland Theatre Company, The Hive Collaborative, Gi60, OnStage Atlanta, Lowell Arts Theater, Monster Box Theatre and others. Her work has also been developed at various theaters including off-Broadway at the Irish Rep. Additional publications include The Best New Ten-Minute Plays 2021, The Best Ten-Minute Plays 2017, The Best Ten-Minute Plays 2016, The Best Women's Stage Monologues 2014, Best Contemporary Monologues for Women 18-35, Stage It 3: Twenty Ten-Minute Plays and Feels Blind Literary. In 2018 Jennifer was selected as Mentee in Playwriting by AWP's Writer2Writer program.

Jennifer is also a widely published poet and author of the poetry books WHITE (Mid-List First Series Award for Poetry) and EXCLUSIONS & LIMITATIONS (Plume Editions/MadHat Press). Her poems are taught, anthologized, set to music, and featured in numerous places including Harper’s, The New Republic, The Kenyon Review, Poetry, The Writer's Almanac, Poetry Daily, BBC Radio 4 and American Poetry: The Next Generation.

Born and raised in New York City, Jennifer earned a BA from Vassar, where she won awards for her writing, and an MFA in poetry from Columbia University. She lives near New York City with her husband, son, and daughter, two dogs, two cats, and a rabbit. (www.jenniferogrady.net)

Plays

  • THE KISSING BUG
    Shortlisted for The Bechdel Group 2020

    FULL LENGTH IN DEVELOPMENT--More than twenty years ago LIZ, a parent and former cop, encountered a crime scene of maternal filicide that would alter the course of her life. Now the perpetrator, ANDREA, imprisoned as a young woman and recently released for good behavior, is pursuing a law degree assisted by two lawyers at a local university. But if LIZ,...
    Shortlisted for The Bechdel Group 2020

    FULL LENGTH IN DEVELOPMENT--More than twenty years ago LIZ, a parent and former cop, encountered a crime scene of maternal filicide that would alter the course of her life. Now the perpetrator, ANDREA, imprisoned as a young woman and recently released for good behavior, is pursuing a law degree assisted by two lawyers at a local university. But if LIZ, unable to forget, has her way, ANDREA will be prevented from having a productive life—or will she? Because what LIZ discovers about ANDREA and the lawyers who are helping her is not exactly what LIZ expected. A play about memory, redemption, and women’s lives.
  • CHARLOTTE'S LETTERS
    1st Place Henley Rose Award / NEWvember Festival Dublin Winner / O'Neill Semifinalist and other honors

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

    (Full length) A fresh take on the Brontës, intertwining novelist Charlotte Brontë's two years as an unpublished young woman at a Belgian school--where she became increasingly close to her married tutor/employer, Monsieur Heger--with her friend and biographer Mrs. Gaskell's struggle to salvage Charlotte's posthumous reputation and trailblazing novels. Linking both stories is the mystery of Charlotte's attraction to Heger, who encouraged her writing ambition while helping inspired scandalous books like JANE EYRE. A play about love, friendship, and the making of art and identity.
  • ELLERY
    Selected for THE BEST WOMEN'S STAGE MONOLOGUES and a Bechdel Group Workshop Selection

    (Full length) Becca's life sucks--she hates her psychic abilities and is 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...
    Selected for THE BEST WOMEN'S STAGE MONOLOGUES and a Bechdel Group Workshop Selection

    (Full length) Becca's life sucks--she hates her psychic abilities and is 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 Paranormal Trilogy)
  • PARANORMAL LOVE
    MTWorks Newborn Festival Winner / NEWvember Finalist / Pandora's Box Runner-Up

    (Full Length) Kevin is dead and stuck in a boring afterlife with little to do but eat popcorn and watch the living. When his former boyfriend David decides to marry a woman, Kevin seizes the chance to wrap up unfinished business with help from two dead friends--until things begin to go wrong. A play about love,...
    MTWorks Newborn Festival Winner / NEWvember Finalist / Pandora's Box Runner-Up

    (Full Length) Kevin is dead and stuck in a boring afterlife with little to do but eat popcorn and watch the living. When his former boyfriend David decides to marry a woman, Kevin seizes the chance to wrap up unfinished business with help from two dead friends--until things begin to go wrong. A play about love, loss, and the power of memory. (Play 1 in The Paranormal Trilogy)
  • QUASARS
    Selected for THE BEST WOMEN'S STAGE MONOLOGUES and BEST CONTEMPORARY MONOLOGUES FOR WOMEN 18-35

    (Full length) When blocked sculptor Josh's wife becomes ill but won't slow down, Josh takes secretive measures to keep Karen at home. But their 9-year-old daughter accidentally gets involved, bringing unwanted scrutiny from a young Catholic priest. As Karen's illness worsens, Josh...
    Selected for THE BEST WOMEN'S STAGE MONOLOGUES and BEST CONTEMPORARY MONOLOGUES FOR WOMEN 18-35

    (Full length) When blocked sculptor Josh's wife becomes ill but won't slow down, Josh takes secretive measures to keep Karen at home. But their 9-year-old daughter accidentally gets involved, bringing unwanted scrutiny from a young Catholic priest. As Karen'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 our need for human connection and the uncertain comforts of faith and love.

  • JUGGLING WITH MR. FIELDS
    Kilroys List Nominee

    (Full length) In 1940s Hollywood, wealthy, irreverent, and nearly-alcoholic movie star W.C. Fields--shunned as a risk by film studios but eager for work--grudgingly hires a young English manservant of uncertain origins, while Fields' live-in mistress and his rising-actor friend Anthony Quinn vie for his attentions. But new servant Rodney brings a link to the past that...
    Kilroys List Nominee

    (Full length) In 1940s Hollywood, wealthy, irreverent, and nearly-alcoholic movie star W.C. Fields--shunned as a risk by film studios but eager for work--grudgingly hires a young English manservant of uncertain origins, while Fields' live-in mistress and his rising-actor friend Anthony Quinn vie for his attentions. But new servant Rodney brings a link to the past that will have shattering consequences, in this imagined look at the hidden side of an iconic film star and drama about longing and belonging.
  • COMPLEX ANALYSIS
    (Full length) Anthea heads a struggling trauma clinic, where she sees Nathan, a gifted but failing math student grappling with survivor's guilt years after a school shooting. While her own life falls into crisis Anthea feels forced to hire Christine, an eager new therapist whose sessions with Nathan quickly blur the lines between helping and harming.
  • SLANTED LIGHT
    FULL LENGTH IN DEVELOPMENT--Joanna is a single mom and failed poet working part-time in a funeral home--an odd choice, considering that Joanna sees dead people. When a dead teenage boy follows her home and ensconces himself in her attic, Joanna and her troubled teenage daughter Miranda must learn some hard truths about living and dying. (Play 3 in The Paranormal Trilogy)
  • Persephone
    Productions by The Hive Collaborative, LowellArts Theater, and Heartland Theatre Company / Selected for THE BEST NEW TEN-MINUTE PLAYS 2019

    (10 Min) A modern riff on the myth of Persephone, forced to live in the underworld. This Persephone returns to give her small child an unusual gift--a new mom.
  • Pre-War
    Produced by Stage It and published in STAGE IT 3: TWENTY TEN-MINUTE PLAYS / Selected for She Plays by 29th Street Playwrights Collective and In Her Name at 13th Street Rep

    (10 Min) Traumatized by a recent loss, Elena finds it hard to leave her NYC apartment, until she meets Clara, her older Czechoslovakian neighbor, and the women discover they have more in common than they realized.
  • Only Human
    Selected by Mystic Vision Players, St. Paul's Arts Council's Short New Play Festival, The Factory Theatre at Greenville U's New Plays Festival and other theaters across the U.S.

    (Monologue) A priest remembers a tragedy in his past. (A response to gun violence in US places of worship)
  • Most Wonderful
    Produced by OnStage Atlanta / Selected for THE BEST NEW TEN-MINUTE PLAYS 2021

    (10 Min) Two unemployed roommates learn the meaning of Christmas with help from a can of beans and some dental floss.
  • First Day in Trade
    Selected for THE BEST TEN-MINUTE PLAYS 2017

    (10 Min) At a major 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)
  • Admiral Grace Hopper Revisits
    Productions by 6th Street Playhouse and Rover Dramawerks

    (One Act/Solo) 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.
  • The Great Gaffe
    Selected for THE BEST TEN-MINUTE PLAYS 2016

    (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.
  • Fridge
    Semifinalist for Stage It's 2020 Ten-Minute Play Festival

    (10 Min) A woman and her fridge. A play about failure and acceptance.
  • Emily's Room
    Produced by Rover Dramawerks

    (One Act) 54-year-old recluse Emily Dickinson and her 44-year-old Irish maid reach an unspoken understanding that, unknown to either of them, will forever alter the course of American literature.
  • Listening
    Produced by Weathervane Playhouse and an audience-choice winner

    (10 Min) 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.
  • Domestic Service
    Produced by White Mouse Theatre Productions

    (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.
  • The Gorilla
    Produced by Primal Theater (London)

    (10 Min) Myra hates her low-level job and is barely clinging to her ambitious zoo-administrator boyfriend. When a gorilla at the zoo begins taking a surprising interest in Myra, she finds her life transforming--but for better or worse?
  • Expectations
    Selected for Love and Other Catastrophes by The Rum Diaries Presents

    (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.
  • The Mysterious Affair at the Christies
    Productions by Saw It Here First Productions (London) and Rover Dramawerks

    (10 Min) An imagined glimpse into mystery-writer Agatha Christie's troubled first marriage and the roots of her long career as a novelist.
  • Abundance
    (1 Min) No one likes to be alone. A play for any two performers.
  • A Split Second
    (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.
  • A Piece of the Continent
    (10 Min) Donald and Jared are having a bad day. And there's lots of water.
  • Tomorrow or Next Year
    Published in in Feels Blind Literary

    (Short) Mackenzie wants to help. Caroline wants to forget. A play about growing up in today's United States.
  • New Kitten
    1-minute version produced by Gi60 US
    3-minute version a winner of ICWP's 3-Minute Play Contest

    Max the cat is seriously pissed off--a new kitten has moved in and expects Max to share everything including the litter box. A very short play about jealousy and transformation.
  • Out
    Produced by Gi60 UK

    (1 Min) A very short play about the frustrations of dog-ownership.
  • Cage
    Produced by Primal Theatre (London)

    (Monologue) Thumper the pet rabbit describes their habit for the audience.
  • Chicken
    (Short) Molly the chicken has a few things she needs to tell you.
  • I'm Not Malala
    Selected for The PlaygroundExperiment's Faces of America Monologue Festival

    (Monologue) Julia isn't Malala. But maybe Malala can help?
  • Playgroup
    Selected for The Mother-Logues by Red Herring Productions

    (Monologue) At her weekly playgroup for moms and their babies, Lauren has a confession to make.
  • Theoni V. Aldredge, Costume Designer, Speaks
    Selected for 20/20 New Visions at The Barrow Group

    (Monologue) Award-winning, Greek-American costume designer Theoni V. Aldredge has a few things to say about what women and immigrants can do.
  • 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.
  • The Bookstore
    (10 Min) A bored poetry book decides to make a little mischief.
  • Bars
    Produced by Primal Theatre (London)

    (Monologue) Sky, a pet parakeet, has a request. Or two.
  • Invasion
    (1 Min) Where are all the people? Who cares--there's grass!
  • Shelved
    (10 Min) Two older, 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.
  • We Were Happy
    (One Act) 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.
  • 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.
  • Mending
    (Short) At Monticello the day after Thomas Jefferson's death, an enslaved woman, Sally Hemings, and her 21-year-old enslaved son by Jefferson wait for important news. But Jefferson's daughter Martha wants vital information, and has information to share that could further jeopardize mother and son.
  • Circumnavigation
    Produced by Primal Theatre (London)

    (Monologue) Flash, a young goldfish, loves their new home. Really.
  • Belle, ex-wife of a Beast
    (Monologue) A former princess speaks.
  • Closet Cat
    (Monologue) Sometimes the best place to be is your owner's closet.
  • Invisible
    (Monologue) Scout the dog explains the new invisible fence to a potential playmate.
  • Lion Cut
    (Monologue) Snowball the cat struggles with new ideas about human beings.