Jennifer O'Grady

Jennifer O'Grady

Jennifer O'Grady is an award-winning playwright and poet. Her plays include CHARLOTTE'S LETTERS (2020 Rising Artists Award; 1st Place Henley Rose Award; NEWvember Festival Dublin; O'Neill Semifinalist and other honors); PARANORMAL LOVE (MTWorks Newborn Festival; Newvember Finalist; 2019 Pandora's Box runner-up); ELLERY (selected for The Best Women's Stage Monologues and a Bechdel Group...
Jennifer O'Grady is an award-winning playwright and poet. Her plays include CHARLOTTE'S LETTERS (2020 Rising Artists Award; 1st Place Henley Rose Award; NEWvember Festival Dublin; O'Neill Semifinalist and other honors); PARANORMAL LOVE (MTWorks Newborn Festival; Newvember Finalist; 2019 Pandora's Box runner-up); ELLERY (selected for The Best Women's Stage Monologues and a Bechdel Group selection); and PERSEPHONE (published in The Best New Ten-Minute Plays 2019). Her plays have been produced by theaters across the U.S. and in Europe, have garnered Audience-Choice and other awards, and have been developed nationally and internationally, including off-Broadway by the Irish Rep. Additional play publications include The Best New Ten-Minute Plays 2021 (Applause), The Best Ten-Minute Plays 2017 and 2016 (Smith and Kraus), Best Contemporary Monologues for Women 18-35 (Applause) and Stage It 3: Twenty Ten-Minute Plays. In 2018 Jennifer was selected 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) and EXCLUSIONS & LIMITATIONS (2018). 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, 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 in poetry from Columbia University. She lives with her family near New York City. (www.jenniferogrady.net)

Plays

  • CHARLOTTE'S LETTERS
    2020 Rising Artists Winner / 1st Place Henley Rose Award / NEWvember Festival Dublin Winner / O'Neill Semifinalist and other honors

    (Full length) A fresh take on the Brontë sisters, intertwining Charlotte Brontë's two years as an unpublished young woman at a Belgian school--where she became increasingly close to her married tutor and employer, Monsieur Heger--with biographer Mrs....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

    (Full length) A fresh take on the Brontë sisters, 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 biographer Mrs. Gaskell's struggle to salvage Charlotte's posthumous reputation and trailblazing but scandalous novels including JANE EYRE. A play about love, friendship, and the making of art and identity.
  • ELLERY
    Published in THE BEST WOMEN'S STAGE MONOLOGUES 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...
    Published in THE BEST WOMEN'S STAGE MONOLOGUES 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. A play about living responsibly and being different. (Play 2 in The Paranormal Trilogy)
  • JUGGLING WITH MR. FIELDS
    Kilroys List Nominee

    (Full length) In 1940s Hollywood, aging, irreverent, nearly-alcoholic movie star W.C. Fields--shunned as a risk by film studios yet eager for work--grudgingly hires a young English manservant, 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

    (Full length) In 1940s Hollywood, aging, irreverent, nearly-alcoholic movie star W.C. Fields--shunned as a risk by film studios yet eager for work--grudgingly hires a young English manservant, 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.
  • THE KISSING BUG
    2020 Bechdel Group Shortlist

    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...
    2020 Bechdel Group Shortlist

    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.
  • PARANORMAL LOVE
    MTWorks Newborn Winner / NEWvember Finalist / Pandora's Box Runner-Up

    (Full Length) Kevin and Davis 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 help from two dead friends, until things begin to go wrong. A...
    MTWorks Newborn Winner / NEWvember Finalist / Pandora's Box Runner-Up

    (Full Length) Kevin and Davis 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 help from two dead friends, until things begin to go wrong. A dark comedy about love, loss, and the power of memory. (Play 1 in The Paranormal Trilogy)
  • QUASARS
    Published in THE BEST WOMEN'S STAGE MONOLOGUES and BEST CONTEMPORARY MONOLOGUES FOR WOMEN 18-35

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

    (Full length) When blocked sculptor Josh's wife Karen becomes seriously ill but won't slow down, Josh takes secretive measures to keep her 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 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 art.
  • Persephone
    Published in 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.
  • Most Wonderful
    To be published in 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.
  • 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.
  • Pre-War
    Published in STAGE IT 3: TWENTY TEN-MINUTE PLAYS

    (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.
  • Fridge
    An audience-choice winner in Kairos Italy Theater's International Women in Comedy Festival, 2020

    (10 Min) A woman and her fridge. A play about failure and acceptance.
  • The Great Gaffe
    Published in 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.
  • Listening
    An audience-choice winner in Weathervane Playhouse's 8x10 Theatrefest, 2019

    (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.
  • The Mysterious Affair at the Christies
    (10 Min) An imagined glimpse into mystery-writer Agatha Christie's troubled first marriage and the roots of her long career as a novelist.
  • The Gorilla
    (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 marked and surprising interest in Myra, she finds her life transforming--but for better or worse?
  • First Day in Trade
    Published in 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)
  • Expectations
    (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.
  • Emily's Room
    (15 Min) 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
    (10 Min) When a popular YA action novel appears on the shelves, a bored poetry book decides to make a little mischief.
  • A Piece of the Continent
    (10 Min) Donald and Jared are having a bad day. And there's lots of water.
  • Domestic Service
    (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.
  • 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.
  • Admiral Grace Hopper Revisits
    (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.
  • Shelved
    (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.
  • 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 to hear their fate. But Jefferson's daughter Martha wants vital information, and has information to share that could further jeopardize mother and son.
  • Tomorrow or Next Year
    Published in in Feels Blind Literary (2019)

    (Short) Mackenzie wants to help. Caroline wants to forget. A play about growing up in today's United States.
  • 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.
  • Only Human
    (Monologue) A priest remembers a tragedy in his past. (A response to gun violence in US places of worship)
  • Abundance
    (1 Min) No one--and nothing--likes to be alone. A pandemic play for any two performers.
  • New Kitten
    (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 very short play about jealousy and transformation.
  • Out
    (1 Min) A very short play about the frustrations of dog-ownership.
  • Invasion
    (1 Min) Where are all the people? Who cares? There's grass!
  • Cage
    (Monologue) Thumper the pet rabbit describes their habit for the audience.
  • Bars
    (Monologue) Sky, a pet parakeet, has a request. Or three.
  • Chicken
    (Short) Molly the chicken has a few things she needs to explain.
  • Belle, ex-wife of a Beast
    (Monologue) A former princess speaks.
  • I'm Not Malala
    Published in The PlayGround Experiment's Faces of America Monologue Anthology (2019)

    (Monologue) Julia isn't Malala. But maybe Malala can help?
  • Circumnavigation
    (Monologue) Flash, a young goldfish, loves their new home. Really.
  • Like Knives
    (Monologue) Cynthia, a middle-aged bar owner, speaks to ageist male customer after she locks the door.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Lion Cut
    (Monologue) Snowball the cat struggles with new ideas about human beings.
  • Playgroup
    (Monologue) At her weekly playgroup for moms and their babies, Lauren has a confession.
  • 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 speaks about what women and immigrants can do.