Jennifer O'Grady

Jennifer O'Grady

Jennifer O’Grady is an award-winning playwright and poet. Her full-length plays have won the Henley Rose Award, the NEWvember Festival Dublin and the MTWorks Newborn Festival competitions; have been finalists or semifinalists for the NEWvember Festival, the O’Neill Center Playwrights Conference and BETC’s Generations Award; and have advanced in many other competitions including the Austin Film Festival's...
Jennifer O’Grady is an award-winning playwright and poet. Her full-length plays have won the Henley Rose Award, the NEWvember Festival Dublin and the MTWorks Newborn Festival competitions; have been finalists or semifinalists for the NEWvember Festival, the O’Neill Center Playwrights Conference and BETC’s Generations Award; and have advanced in many other competitions including the Austin Film Festival's Playwriting Award, Gulfshore Playhouse's New Works Festival and The Ground Floor at Berkeley Rep. Her short plays have won Heartland Theatre Company's 10-Minute Play Contest and Stage It's 10-Minute Play Contest and have been shortlisted by companies in the U.S. and U.K. Her plays have been produced or developed by the Irish Repertory Theatre, Rover Dramawerks, The Bechdel Group, Heartland Theatre Company, Monster Box Theatre, White Mouse Theatre Productions, 13th Street Repertory Theatre, AboutFace Ireland, Stage It, 29th Street Playwrights Collective, Wild Rumpus Productions, Yellow Rose Productions, Phoenix Theatre, The Factory Theatre at Greenville University and other companies, and are published or forthcoming in 30 New Ten-Minute Plays, Stage It 3, The Best Women's Stage Monologues 2017, The Best Ten-Minute Plays 2017, The Best Ten-Minute Plays 2016, The Best Women's Stage Monologues 2014 and Best Contemporary Monologues for Women 18-35. In 2018 Jennifer was selected as a mentee in playwriting by AWP’s Writer2Writer Program.

She is also a widely published poet and author of the poetry books WHITE (Mid-List Press First Series Award) and EXCLUSIONS & LIMITATIONS (Plume Editions/MadHat Press, 2018). Her poems have been taught, anthologized, set to music and featured in numerous places including Harper’s, The New Republic, NRP, Poetry Daily, The Kenyon Review and American Poetry: The Next Generation. Her poem “Moths” will be featured on BBC Radio 4 in June 2019.

Jennifer earned a BA from Vassar, where she won awards for her writing, and an MFA from Columbia University. She lives near New York City with her husband, son, and daughter, two dogs, two cats and a rabbit.

Plays

  • Only Human
    (Monologue) A Catholic priest remembers a tragedy in his past. (Based on the shooting at Our Lady of Peace Roman Catholic Church in Lynnbrook, NY)
  • 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.
  • Charlotte's Letters
    (Full length) A fresh take on the Brontës, intertwining Charlotte Brontë's two years at a Belgian school where she became close to her married tutor/employer, Monsieur Heger, with biographer Mrs. Gaskell's struggle to salvage Charlotte's posthumous reputation and scandalous novels including JANE EYRE. A play about love, friendship, and the making of art and identity.

    WINNER:...
    (Full length) A fresh take on the Brontës, intertwining Charlotte Brontë's two years at a Belgian school where she became close to her married tutor/employer, Monsieur Heger, with biographer Mrs. Gaskell's struggle to salvage Charlotte's posthumous reputation and scandalous novels including JANE EYRE. A play about love, friendship, and the making of art and identity.

    WINNER: Henley Rose Award; NEWvember Festival Dublin; SEMIFINALIST: O'Neill Conference and others
  • Pre-War
    (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.

    SELECTED for Stage It's 2019 10-Minute Play Festival and to be published in Stage It 3: Twenty Ten-Minute Plays
  • Persephone
    (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, something she will defy all obstacles to bestow.

    WINNER: Heartland Theatre's 10-Minute Play Contest
    SELECTED for 30 NEW TEN-MINUTE PLAYS (Applause Theatre & Cinema Books)
  • The Great Gaffe
    (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.

    SELECTED for The Best Ten-Minute Plays 2016
  • Ellery
    (Full length) Becca's life sucks--she hates her psychic abilities and is being haunted by her dead but still-critical mother and overly involved grandmother, for reasons none of them understands. When a dead young woman appears and needs help, Becca turns away--but unwittingly gives her best friend the chance to pursue a dangerous course that could harm Becca and another woman.

    SELECTED for...
    (Full length) Becca's life sucks--she hates her psychic abilities and is being haunted by her dead but still-critical mother and overly involved grandmother, for reasons none of them understands. When a dead young woman appears and needs help, Becca turns away--but unwittingly gives her best friend the chance to pursue a dangerous course that could harm Becca and another woman.

    SELECTED for The Best Women Stage Monologues 2017
  • Emily's Room
    (Short) 54-year-old recluse Emily Dickinson and her 44-year-old Irish maid reach an unspoken understanding that, unknown to either of them, will alter the course of American literature.
  • Domestic Service
    (10 min) When popular 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.
  • Cage
    (Monologue) Thumper the pet rabbit describes their habit for the audience.
  • Parnormal Love
    (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 dark comedy about love, loss, and the power of memory.

    WINNER: MTWorks Newborn Festival; FINALIST: NEWvember Festival
  • Admiral Grace Hopper Revisits
    (Short/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.
  • The Bookstore
    (10 min) A bored poetry book decides to make a little mischief.
  • We Were Happy
    (Short) 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.
  • Juggling with Mr. Fields
    (Full length) 64-year-old, irreverent, nearly-alcoholic movie star W.C. Fields grudgingly hires a young English valet, while Fields' live-in mistress and rising-actor friend Anthony Quinn vie for his attentions. But new servant Rodney brings a link to the past with shattering consequences, in this imagined look at the hidden side of an iconic film star and drama about longing and belonging.
  • The Gorilla
    (10 min) Myra hates her job and is barely clinging to her ambitious zoo-administrator boyfriend Jerry. When a gorilla at Jerry's zoo begins taking a marked and very surprising interest in Myra, she finds her life transforming--but for better or worse?
  • The Mysterious Affair at the Christies
    (Short) An imagined glimpse into mystery-writer Agatha Christie's troubled first marriage and the roots of her long career as a novelist.
  • Circumnavigation
    (Monologue) Flash, a young goldfish, loves their new home. Really.
  • First Day in Trade
    (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)

    SELECTED for The Best Ten-Minute Plays 2017
  • Quasars
    (Full length) When 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 an uncertain Catholic priest. As Karen's illness worsens Josh must learn to let go with help from a troubled priest and a strange young woman with piercings.

    ...
    (Full length) When 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 an uncertain Catholic priest. As Karen's illness worsens Josh must learn to let go with help from a troubled priest and a strange young woman with piercings.

    SELECTED for The Best Women's Stage Monologues and Best Contemporary Monologues for Women 18-35
  • Belle, ex-wife of a Beast
    (Monologue) A former princess speaks.
  • Most Wonderful
    (10 min) Two unemployed roommates learn the meaning of Christmas with help from a can of beans and some dental floss.
  • Invisible
    (Monologue) Scout the dog explains the new invisible fence to a potential playmate. (Quite possibly an angry metaphorical commentary on building walls and enduring lockdown drills.)
  • Complex Analysis
    (Full length) Anthea heads a struggling trauma clinic where she sees Nathan, a gifted but failing math student struggling with survivor's guilt years after a school shooting. While her own life falls into crisis Anthea is forced to hire Christine, an inexperienced therapist whose sessions with Nathan quickly blur the lines between helping and harming.
  • Lion Cut
    (Monologue) Snowball the cat struggles with new ideas about human beings.
  • 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 essential news. But Jefferson's white daughter wants vital information, and has information to share that could jeopardize mother and son.
  • 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
    (Short) Mackenzie wants to help. Caroline wants to forget. A play about growing up in today's United States.
  • Welcome to These Sandwich Islands
    (10 min) American missionary Lucy Thurston and Hawaiian Queen Ka'ahumanu are welcoming new arrivals to the Island of Hawaii, while engaging in a mental battle over culture and religion.