Jennifer O'Grady

Jennifer O'Grady

Jennifer O’Grady's plays have been produced around the US and the UK, and include CHARLOTTE'S LETTERS (Henley Rose Award; NEWvember Festival Dublin: O'Neill semifinalist and other honors); PARANORMAL LOVE (MTWorks Newborn Winner; Newvember Finalist; Pandora's Box runner-up); ELLERY (The Best Women's Stage Monologues 2017); and PERSEPHONE (The Best New Ten-Minute Plays 2019). Her plays...
Jennifer O’Grady's plays have been produced around the US and the UK, and include CHARLOTTE'S LETTERS (Henley Rose Award; NEWvember Festival Dublin: O'Neill semifinalist and other honors); PARANORMAL LOVE (MTWorks Newborn Winner; Newvember Finalist; Pandora's Box runner-up); ELLERY (The Best Women's Stage Monologues 2017); and PERSEPHONE (The Best New Ten-Minute Plays 2019). Her plays have been produced or developed by The Irish Repertory Theatre, The Bechdel Group, Heartland Theatre Company, Rover Dramawerks, AboutFace Ireland, Weathervane Playhouse, Gi60 and many other companies, and are also published in The Best Ten-Minute Plays 2017, The Best Ten-Minute Plays 2016, The Best Contemporary Monologues for Women 18-35, Stage It 3 and Feels Blind Literary.

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, 2018). Her poems appear in numerous places including Harper’s, The New Republic, The Writer's Almanac, BBC Radio 4, Poetry Daily 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 from Columbia University. She lives with her husband, son, and daughter near New York City. (www.jenniferogrady.net)

Plays

  • Persephone
    Selected for The Best New Ten-Minute Plays 2019

    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, something she will defy all obstacles to bestow.
  • CHARLOTTE'S LETTERS
    1st Place Henley Rose Award / NEWvember Festival Dublin/ O'Neill Semifinalist and other honors

    A fresh take on the Brontës, intertwining Charlotte Brontë's two years as an unpublished young woman at a Belgian school--where she became increasingly close to her married tutor and employer, Monsieur Heger--with her friend and biographer Mrs.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

    A fresh take on the Brontës, intertwining Charlotte Brontë's two years as an unpublished young woman at a Belgian school--where she became increasingly close to her married tutor and 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 while helping inspire scandalous books like JANE EYRE. A play about love, friendship, and the making of art and identity.
  • Pre-War
    Selected for Stage It's 2019 Ten-Minute Play Festival and published in STAGE IT 3: TWENTY TEN-MINUTE PLAYS

    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.
  • PARANORMAL LOVE
    Selected for the MTWorks Newborn Festival / NEWvember Finalist / 2019 Pandora's Box Honorable Mention

    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...
    Selected for the MTWorks Newborn Festival / NEWvember Finalist / 2019 Pandora's Box Honorable Mention

    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)
  • Only Human
    Selected for The Factory Theatre at Greenville U's 2019 New Plays Festival

    A Catholic priest remembers a tragedy in his past. (Based on the shootings at Our Lady of Peace Roman Catholic Church in Lynbrook, NY)
  • JUGGLING WITH MR. FIELDS
    Kilroys List Nominee

    In 1940s Hollywood 64-year-old, irreverent, nearly-alcoholic movie star W. C. Fields--shunned by film studios yet eager for work--grudgingly hires a young English valet 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...
    Kilroys List Nominee

    In 1940s Hollywood 64-year-old, irreverent, nearly-alcoholic movie star W. C. Fields--shunned by film studios yet eager for work--grudgingly hires a young English valet 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.
  • A Split Second
    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.
  • ELLERY
    Selected for THE BEST WOMEN'S STAGE MONOLOGUES 2017 / Bechdel Group Workshop Selection

    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, mute young woman appears and pleads confusingly for help, Becca turns away--but unwittingly gives her best friend the...
    Selected for THE BEST WOMEN'S STAGE MONOLOGUES 2017 / Bechdel Group Workshop Selection

    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, mute 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)
  • The Great Gaffe
    Selected for THE BEST TEN-MINUTE PLAYS 2016

    Pulitzer-Prize-winning novelist Edith Wharton gives a tea party for F. Scott Fitzgerald, struggling young author of THE GREAT GATSBY, with disastrous results.
  • QUASARS
    Selected for THE BEST WOMEN'S STAGE MONOLOGUES and BEST CONTEMPORARY MONOLOGUES FOR WOMEN 18-35

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

    When blocked sculptor Josh's wife becomes seriously ill but won't slow down, Josh takes secretive measures to keep Karen at home. But their 9-year-old daughter witnesses his ploys, 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. QUASARS explores our need for human connection and the uncertain comforts of faith and art.
  • Most Wonderful
    Selected for OnStage Atlanta's Merry Little Holiday Shorts 2019

    Two unemployed roommates learn the meaning of Christmas with help from a can of beans and some dental floss.
  • COMPLEX ANALYSIS
    Anthea heads a struggling trauma clinic, where she sees Nathan, a gifted but failing math student living with survivor's guilt years after a school shooting. While her own life falls into crisis, Anthea hires Christine, an eager new therapist whose sessions with Nathan quickly blur the lines between helping and harming, and between danger and love.
  • Cage
    Selected for production by Primal Theatre (London, UK, 2019)

    Thumper the pet rabbit describes their habit for the audience.
  • SLANTED LIGHT
    (Full Length in Development) Joanna is a single mom and failed poet working part-time in a funeral home--an odd choice, given that Joanna can see dead people. When a dead teenaged 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)
  • The Mysterious Affair at the Christies
    Selected for production by Saw It Here First Productions (2020) and Rover Dramawerks (2017)

    An imagined glimpse into mystery-writer Agatha Christie's troubled first marriage and the roots of her long career as a novelist.
  • Listening
    Selected for Weathervane Playhouse's 2019 8x10 TheatreFest and an audience-choice winner

    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.
  • The Gorilla
    Produced by Primal Theater (London, UK, 2019)

    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 marked and very surprising interest in Myra, she finds her life transforming--but for better or worse?
  • First Day in Trade
    Selected for THE BEST TEN-MINUTE PLAYS 2017

    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 the playwright's own personal experience)
  • New Kitten
    One-minute version selected for Gi60 US 2019
    Three-minute version 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.
  • Emily's Room
    Produced by Rover Dramawerks (2019)

    54-year-old recluse Emily Dickinson and her 44-year-old Irish maid reach an unspoken understanding that, unknown to either, will alter the course of American literature.
  • The Bookstore
    A bored poetry book decides to make a little mischief.
  • Domestic Service
    Produced by White Mouse Theatre Productions at FSU (2018)

    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.
  • Admiral Grace Hopper Revisits
    Produced by Rover Dramawerks (2018)

    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
    Selected for production by Primal Theatre (London, UK, 2019)

    Sky, a pet parakeet, has a request. Or two.
  • We Were Happy
    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.
  • Chicken
    Molly the chicken has a few things she needs to tell you.
  • Mending
    At Monticello the day after Thomas Jefferson's death, a middle-aged enslaved woman, Sally Hemings, and her 21-year-old enslaved son wait for important news. But Jefferson's white daughter Martha wants vital information, and has information to share that could jeopardize mother and son.
  • Tomorrow or Next Year
    Selected for publication in Feels Blind Literary

    Mackenzie wants to help. Caroline wants to forget. A play about growing up in today's United States.
  • Circumnavigation
    Selected for production by Primal Theatre (London, UK, 2019)

    Flash, a young goldfish, loves their new home. Really.
  • Shelved
    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.
  • I'm Not Malala
    Julia isn't Malala. But maybe Malala can help?
  • Out
    Selected for Gi60's UK Edition 2019

    A very short play about the frustrations of dog-ownership.
  • Belle, ex-wife of a Beast
    A former princess speaks.
  • Invisible
    Scout the dog explains the new invisible fence to a potential playmate.
  • Lion Cut
    Snowball the cat struggles with new ideas about human beings.
  • A Piece of the Continent
    Donald and Jared are having a bad day. And there's lots of water.