Jennifer O'Grady

Jennifer O'Grady

Jennifer O’Grady is a New York-based, 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 Winner; Newvember Finalist; Pandora's Box runner-up); ELLERY (selected for The Best Women's Stage Monologues 2017 and a Bechdel Group selection); and PERSEPHONE (...
Jennifer O’Grady is a New York-based, 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 Winner; 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 plays have been produced and developed by theaters across the U.S., the U.K, and in Dublin, Ireland, including Rover Dramawerks, Heartland Theatre Company, Weathervane Playhouse, The Hive Collaborative, 6th Street Playhouse, The Bechdel Group, Monster Box Theater, Gi60, OnStage Atlanta, The PlayGround Experiment and many others, as well as off-Broadway by the Irish Repertory Theatre. Her plays are also published or forthcoming in 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.

Jennifer is also the author of two collections of poetry, WHITE (Mid-List First Series Award for Poetry) and EXCLUSIONS & LIMITATIONS (Plume Editions/MadHat Press, 2018). Her poems are taught, anthologized, set to music and featured in numerous places, including Harper’s, The New Republic, The Kenyon Review, The Writer's Almanac, BBC Radio 4, Poetry Daily and American Poetry: The Next Generation. Other poetry honors include a Billee Murray Denny Award, a Greenwall Award from The Academy of American Poets, and Pushcart Prize nominations.

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

  • CHARLOTTE'S LETTERS
    1st Place Henley Rose Award / NEWvember Festival Dublin / O'Neill Semifinalist and other honors

    (Full length) A fresh, theatrical take on the Brontë sisters, 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 trailblazing but...
    1st Place Henley Rose Award / NEWvember Festival Dublin / O'Neill Semifinalist and other honors

    (Full length) A fresh, theatrical take on the Brontë sisters, 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 trailblazing but scandalous novels including JANE EYRE. A play about love, friendship, and the making--and unmaking--of female art and identity.
  • ELLERY
    Selected for THE BEST WOMEN'S STAGE MONOLOGUES 2017 and a Bechdel Group Workshop Selection

    (Full length) Becca 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...
    Selected for THE BEST WOMEN'S STAGE MONOLOGUES 2017 and a Bechdel Group Workshop Selection

    (Full length) Becca 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. (Play 2 in The Paranormal Trilogy)
  • PARANORMAL LOVE
    Selected for the MTWorks Newborn Festival / NEWvember Finalist / 2019 Pandora's Box Honorable Mention

    (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 decides to wrap up unfinished business with help from two dead friends, until things...
    Selected for the MTWorks Newborn Festival / NEWvember Finalist / 2019 Pandora's Box Honorable Mention

    (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 decides to wrap up unfinished business with help from two dead friends, until things begin to go wrong. (Play 1 in The Paranormal Trilogy)
  • JUGGLING WITH MR. FIELDS
    Kilroys List Nominee

    (Full length) In 1940s Hollywood irreverent, wealthy, 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 that will have shattering consequences, in this imagined look at the hidden side of an iconic...
    Kilroys List Nominee

    (Full length) In 1940s Hollywood irreverent, wealthy, 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 that will have shattering consequences, in this imagined look at the hidden side of an iconic film star and comic drama about longing and belonging.
  • QUASARS
    Selected for THE BEST WOMEN'S STAGE MONOLOGUES and BEST CONTEMPORARY MONOLOGUES FOR WOMEN 18-35

    (Full length) When sculptor Josh's wife becomes ill but won't slow down, Josh takes measures to keep Karen at home. But their 9-year-old daughter get involved and brings unwanted scrutiny from an uncertain priest. As Karen's illness worsens, Josh must learn to let go with help from...
    Selected for THE BEST WOMEN'S STAGE MONOLOGUES and BEST CONTEMPORARY MONOLOGUES FOR WOMEN 18-35

    (Full length) When sculptor Josh's wife becomes ill but won't slow down, Josh takes measures to keep Karen at home. But their 9-year-old daughter get involved and brings unwanted scrutiny from an uncertain 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. QUASARS explores our need for human connection and the uncertain comforts of faith and art.
  • Admiral Grace Hopper Revisits
    Productions by 6th Street Playhouse (2020) and Rover Dramawerks (2018)

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

    (Monologue) Sky, a pet parakeet, has a request. Or two.
  • Belle, ex-wife of a Beast
    (Monologue) A former princess speaks.
  • The Bookstore
    (10 Min) A bored poetry book decides to make a little mischief.
  • Cage
    Selected for Primal Theatre's CAGE (London, UK, 2019)

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

    (Monologue) Flash, a young goldfish, loves their new home. Really.
  • Domestic Service
    Produced by White Mouse Theatre Productions at FSU (2018)

    (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.
  • Emily's Room
    Produced by Rover Dramawerks (2019)

    (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.
  • Expectations
    (10 Min) 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
    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)
  • Fridge
    (10 Min) A woman and her fridge. A play about failure and acceptance (and very possibly a metaphor for parenting).
  • The Gorilla
    Selected for Primal Theater's CAGE (London, UK, 2019)

    (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?
  • 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.
  • I'm Not Malala
    Selected for The PlaygroundExperiment's Faces of America Monologue Festival 2019

    (Monologue) Julia isn't Malala. But maybe Malala can help?
  • 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.
  • Listening
    Selected for Weathervane Playhouse's 2019 8x10 TheatreFest 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.
  • Mending
    (Short) At Monticello the day after Thomas Jefferson's death, a 53-year-old enslaved woman, Sally Hemings, and her 21-year-old enslaved son wait for essential news. But Jefferson's daughter Martha wants vital information, and has information to share that could further jeopardize mother and son.
  • Most Wonderful
    Selected for OnStage Atlanta's Merry Little Holiday Shorts 2019 and 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.
  • The Mysterious Affair at the Christies
    Productions by Saw It Here First Productions (London) and Rover Dramawerks (TX)

    (10 Min) An imagined glimpse into mystery-writer Agatha Christie's troubled first marriage and the roots of her long career as a novelist.
  • New Kitten
    1-minute version selected for Gi60 US 2019
    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.
  • Only Human
    Selected for St. Paul's Arts Council's 2020 Short New Play Festival, The Factory Theatre at Greenville U's 2019 New Plays Festival and other theaters around the U.S.

    (Monologue) A priest remembers a tragedy in his past. (A response to gun violence in US places of worship)
  • Out
    Selected for Gi60's UK Edition 2019

    (1-Min Play) A very short play about the frustrations of dog-ownership.
  • Persephone
    Selected for The Best New Ten-Minute Plays 2019, The Hive Collaborative's The Ten Show, LowellArts Theater's Playbytes by Playwrights and Heartland Theatre Co's Ten-Minute Play Festival

    (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.
  • A Piece of the Continent
    (10 Min) Donald and Jared are having a bad day. And there's lots of water.
  • Pre-War
    Selected for Stage It's 2019 Ten-Minute Play Festival and published in STAGE IT 3: TWENTY TEN-MINUTE PLAYS

    (10-Min Play) 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.
  • Shelved
    (10-Min Play) 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.
  • 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 play about the opioid crisis.
  • Tomorrow or Next Year
    Selected for publication in Feels Blind Literary

    (Short) Mackenzie wants to help. Caroline wants to forget. A play about growing up in today's United States.
  • 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.