Jennifer O'Grady

Jennifer O'Grady

Playwright and poet Jennifer O'Grady's plays have been produced across the U.S. and internationally. Her full-length plays include CHARLOTTE'S LETTERS (Rising Artists Award; Henley Rose Award; NEWvember Festival Dublin; O'Neill Semifinalist and other honors); PARANORMAL LOVE (MTWorks Newborn Winner; NEWvember Finalist; Pandora's Box Honorable Mention, SWTP Semifinalist); JUGGLING WITH...
Playwright and poet Jennifer O'Grady's plays have been produced across the U.S. and internationally. Her full-length plays include CHARLOTTE'S LETTERS (Rising Artists Award; Henley Rose Award; NEWvember Festival Dublin; O'Neill Semifinalist and other honors); PARANORMAL LOVE (MTWorks Newborn Winner; NEWvember Finalist; Pandora's Box Honorable Mention, SWTP Semifinalist); JUGGLING WITH MR FIELDS (SWTP Finalist); and ELLERY (selected for The Best Women's Stage Monologues and a Bechdel Group selection). Her short plays have won audience-choice awards and short-plat competitions and are published in The Best Ten-Minute Plays 2021, 2017 and 2016 (Smith and Kraus); The Best New Ten-Minute Plays 2021 and 2019 (Applause); Stage It 3 and other anthologies. Her plays have been presented by The Irish Rep, 6th Street Playhouse, Rover Dramawerks, Weathervane Playhouse, Short+Sweet, The Hive Collaborative, Gi60, Heartland Theatre Company, AboutFace Ireland, The Barrow Group, New World Rep, Attic Salt Theatre, Spokane Stage Left, Theatre Three and many other theaters. In 2018 she was selected Mentee in Playwriting by AWP's Writer2Writer Program. Jennifer is also an award-winning poet and author of the poetry books WHITE (Mid-List First Series Award) and EXCLUSIONS & LIMITATIONS (MadHat Press, 2018). Her poems are featured in numerous places, including Harper’s, The New Republic, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, The Writer's Almanac, Poetry Daily, Verse Daily and American Poetry: The Next Generation. Born and raised in New York City, she earned a BA from Vassar and an MFA in Poetry from Columbia University and lives with her family near New York City. Member: Dramatists Guild; ICWP; Honor Roll! Playwrights (www.jenniferogrady.net)

Plays

  • CHARLOTTE'S LETTERS
    2020 Rising Artists Award / 1st Place Henley Rose Award / NEWvember Festival Dublin / O'Neill Semifinalist / Irish Rep's New Works Series / Top 25 Plays, Pandora's Box and other honors

    (Full length) A fresh take on the Brontës, intertwining Charlotte Brontë's two years as a unpublished young woman at a Belgian school--where she became close to her married tutor/employer,...
    2020 Rising Artists Award / 1st Place Henley Rose Award / NEWvember Festival Dublin / O'Neill Semifinalist / Irish Rep's New Works Series / Top 25 Plays, Pandora's Box and other honors

    (Full length) A fresh take on the Brontës, intertwining Charlotte Brontë's two years as a unpublished young woman 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 feminist novels. When an alarming letter arrives from Charlotte's school in Brussels, Mrs. Gaskell is forced to investigate just how much of Charlotte's novels--including the bestselling but scandalous JANE EYRE--was taken from her own life. A play about love, friendship, and the making of art and identity.
  • ELLERY
    Selected for THE BEST WOMEN'S STAGE MONOLOGUES 2017 and a 2019 Bechdel Group Selection

    (Full length) Becca hates her psychic abilities, and is suddenly 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...
    Selected for THE BEST WOMEN'S STAGE MONOLOGUES 2017 and a 2019 Bechdel Group Selection

    (Full length) Becca hates her psychic abilities, and is suddenly 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.
  • JUGGLING WITH MR. FIELDS
    2020 Southwest Theatre Productions Finalist / Kilroys List nomimee

    (Full length) In 1940s Hollywood aging, irreverent, nearly-alcoholic movie star W.C. Fields--shunned by film studios and eager for work--grudgingly hires a young English manservant, 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...
    2020 Southwest Theatre Productions Finalist / Kilroys List nomimee

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

    (Full length in development)--Twenty years ago, Liz, a former cop, encountered a crime scene that would alter the course of her life. Now the perpetrator, Andrea, is out of prison and pursuing a law degree while assisted by two lawyers at a local university. But if Liz, unable to forget, has her way, Andrea will be prevented from pursuing a productive life--or will...
    2020 Bechdel Group Shortlist

    (Full length in development)--Twenty years ago, Liz, a former cop, encountered a crime scene that would alter the course of her life. Now the perpetrator, Andrea, is out of prison and pursuing a law degree while assisted by two lawyers at a local university. But if Liz, unable to forget, has her way, Andrea will be prevented from pursuing a productive life--or will she? Because what Liz discovers about the lawyers helping Andrea isn't exactly what Liz had expected. A play about redemption and women's lives.
  • PARANORMAL LOVE
    MTWorks Newborn Winner / NEWvember Finalist / 2019 Pandora's Box Honorable Mention / 2020 SWTP Semifinalist

    (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 seizes the chance to wrap up unfinished business with the aid of two dead friends...
    MTWorks Newborn Winner / NEWvember Finalist / 2019 Pandora's Box Honorable Mention / 2020 SWTP Semifinalist

    (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 seizes the chance to wrap up unfinished business with the aid of two dead friends, until things begin to go wrong. A dark comedy about love, loss, and the power of memory. (Play 1 in The Ghost Trilogy of standalone plays)
  • QUASARS
    Included in THE BEST WOMEN'S STAGE MONOLOGUES and BEST CONTEMPORARY MONOLOGUES FOR WOMEN 18-35.

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

    (Full Length) When blocked sculptor Josh's wife becomes seriously ill but won't slow down, Josh takes secretive measures to keep Erin at home. But their nine-year-old daughter witnesses his ploys, bringing unwanted scrutiny from a young Catholic priest. As Erin'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.
  • Abundance
    (1 Min) No one--and nothing--likes to be alone. A pandemic play for any two performers.
  • Admiral Grace Hopper Revisits
    (One Act/Short/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
    (Monologue) Sky, a pet parakeet, has a request. Or three.
  • Belle, ex-wife of a Beast
    (Monologue) A former princess speaks.
  • The Bookstore
    (10 Min) When a popular YA action novel appears on the shelves, a bored poetry book decides to make a little mischief.
  • Cage
    (Monologue) Thumper the pet rabbit describes their habit for the audience.
  • Chem Class
    (10 Min) On their morning walk to school, 11-grader Alex asks his friend Sofia to their Junior Prom. But Sophia's reaction isn't what Alex had hoped for--or so he thought. A play about taking risks and being ourselves. (Written as a "walking play" and suitable for online, outdoor and audio performance)
  • Chicken
    (3 Min) Molly the chicken has a few things she needs to tell you--before Farmer Jane arrives.
  • Circumnavigation
    Selected for Stage Left's Fast & Furious 2021

    (Monologue) Flash, a young goldfish, loves their new home. Really.
  • Closet Cat
    (Monologue) Sometimes the best place to be is your owner's closet.
  • Dishwasher
    (10 Min) Alan’s dishwasher has been acting up. Carter, a repairman, visits and discovers that even household appliances require some kindness. A play about dysfunctional relationships and repairs.
  • 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.
  • Egypt
    (Monologue) The six-month-old fetus of a murdered woman speaks.
  • 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.
  • Expectations
    Shortlisted for Short+Sweet Dubai 2021 and Pint-sized Plays 2020

    (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.
  • First Day in Trade
    Published in THE BEST TEN-MINUTE PLAYS 2017 (Smith and Kraus)

    (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)
  • Fridge
    Selected for THE BEST TEN-MINUTE PLAYS 2021 (Smith and Kraus) and Short+Sweet Perth 2021 (among other productions)

    (10 Min) A woman and her fridge. A play about failure and acceptance.
  • The Gorilla
    (10 Min) When a gorilla at the zoo takes a marked and surprising interest in Myra, she finds her life transforming--but for better or worse?
  • The Great Gaffe
    Published in THE BEST TEN-MINUTE PLAYS 2016 (Smith and Kraus)

    (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.
  • 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.
  • 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? (A response to gun violence in U.S. schools.)
  • In Memory of Maria Mercader
    Selected for The Covid Monologues by Breath of Fire Latina Theater Ensemble (currently streaming on YouTube)

    (Monologue) CBS news producer and my high-school friend Maria Mercader died during the COVID pandemic in New York. This is intended to celebrate Maria and her life.
  • Invasion
    (1 Min) Where are all the people? Who cares? There's grass!
  • Invisible
    (Monologue) Scout the dog explains the new invisible fence to a potential playmate. (One of a series of pet monologues)
  • 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.
  • Like Knives
    (Monologue) Cynthia, a middle-aged bar owner, has some words for an ageist customer after the door is locked.

    [Written in 2020 for Brave New World Repertory Theater's "Over and Above: Women Over 55 Speak," dir. by Claire Beckman and performed by Laura San Giacomo]
  • Lion Cut
    (Monologue) Snowball the cat struggles with new ideas about human beings. (One of a series of pet monologues)
  • Listening
    (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.

    [Play 1 of The Hailey Plays and an Audience-Choice Winner in Weathervane Playhouse's 2019 8x10 Theatrefrest]
  • Lucy Tries Again
    (YA 10-Min) It’s 1927 and sixteen-year-old Lucy Ball has just been kicked out of her NYC drama school for being too shy and having insufficient talent. Back home with her mom, Lucy tries to figure out what if anything to do next. (Based on events in the life of iconic TV star Lucille Ball.)
  • Matthew Weaver Finds Me
    (5 Min) Frustrated by the play she's writing for Matthew Weaver's birthday, Jennifer brainstorms with Matthew. A unicorn might appear.
  • 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.
  • Menopause Play
    (10 Min) Fed up with having her menopausal symptoms unacknowledged and ignored, a playwright decides to write about it. This is her play and you'd better listen.
  • Microwave
    (10 Min) Sixteen-year-old Ethan needs to defrost his meal before his basketball game, but Mike, an aging microwave, refuses to open her door--forever. A play about give and take with a common household appliance. [One of a series of plays featuring kitchen appliances.]
  • A Midsummer Night's Script
    (10 Min) London, 1595 -- The Lord Chamberlain's Men are having trouble with their latest play, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM. (A Will, Kempe & Ed Play)
  • A Midsummer Night's Script (5-minute version)
    (5 Min version) London, 1595 -- The Lord Chamberlain's Men are having trouble with their latest play, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM.

    [Written in 2020 for Caravan Theatre U.K.]
  • Most Wonderful
    Selected for THE BEST NEW TEN-MINUTE PLAYS 2021 (Applause Theater & Cinema Books)

    (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
    (10 Min) An imagined glimpse into mystery-writer Agatha Christie's troubled first marriage and the roots of her long career as a novelist.
  • Much Ado About Ed
    (10 Min) London, 1596 - The Lord Chamberlain's Men are having trouble with their new and shockingly unfunny comedy, MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. (A Will, Kempe & Ed Play)
  • 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.
  • On 9th Street
    (Short) NYC, 1951 - Four Abstract Expressionist female artists nervously await the opening of their new exhibition in a condemned building in lower Manhattan. A play about the women of the 9th Street Show.
  • Only Human
    (Monologue) A Catholic priest remembers a tragedy in his past. (A response to gun violence in U.S. places of worship)
  • Out
    (1 Min) A very short play about the frustrations of dog-ownership.
  • Persephone
    Published in THE BEST NEW TEN-MINUTE PLAYS 2019 (Applause Theater & Cinema Books)

    (10 Min) A modern riff on the myth of Persephone, forced to leave her family behind forever. This Persephone returns to give her small child an unusual gift--a new mom.
  • A Piece of the Continent
    (10 Min) #45 as an old man contending with history textbooks and the realities of climate change--when it impacts him.
  • Playgroup
    (Monologue) At her weekly playgroup for moms and babies, Lauren makes an unexpected confession.
  • Pre-War
    Published in STAGE IT 3: TWENTY TEN-MINUTE PLAYS (2019)

    (10 Min) Traumatized by a recent loss, Elena finds it hard to leave her NYC apartment--until she meets Clara, her older neighbor, and the women discover they have more in common than they thought.
  • Revival (a social-distancing play)
    (3 Min) All the world's a stage. A pandemic play for any two actors.
  • Romeo and Richard
    (10 Min) London, 1597 - The Lord Chamberlain's Men have trouble with their new play, ROMEO AND JULIET, when Will becomes jealous. (A Will, Kempe & Ed Play)
  • Shakespeare's Dilemma
    (10 Min) London, 1593 -- The Lord Chamberlain's Men are having trouble with their plans for JULIUS CAESAR--and with their new and unwanted playwright. (A Will, Kempe & Ed Play)
  • 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.
  • 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 ongoing opioid crisis)
  • Theoni V. Aldredge, Costume Designer, Speaks
    (Monologue) Award-winning, Greek-American costume designer Theoni V. Aldredge speaks about what women and immigrants can do.
  • To Be or Not to Be Shakespeare
    London, 1598 -- The Lord Chamberlain's Men have trouble when their new play HAMLET is a success and Ed becomes resentful. (A Will, Kempe & Ed Play)
  • Tomorrow or Next Year
    Published in Feels Blind Literary (2019)

    (5 Min) Mackenzie wants to help. Caroline wants to forget. A play about growing up in today's United States.
  • Waiting
    (10 Min) It's a new year and 17-year-old Hailey's dad is getting married to his girlfriend Sandra--except that Sandra doesn't actually know it yet. When Dad tries to surprise Sandra with an engagement ring but things go terribly wrong, Hailey comes to the rescue and proves once again that adults aren't always observant.

    [Play 2 of The Hailey Plays and a Semifinalist for...
    (10 Min) It's a new year and 17-year-old Hailey's dad is getting married to his girlfriend Sandra--except that Sandra doesn't actually know it yet. When Dad tries to surprise Sandra with an engagement ring but things go terribly wrong, Hailey comes to the rescue and proves once again that adults aren't always observant.

    [Play 2 of The Hailey Plays and a Semifinalist for Weathervane Playhouse's 8x10 Theatrefest]
  • We Were Happy
    (Short) Two Italian-American sisters, Jenny and Lena, remember growing up on New York's lower Eastside and find that their memories differ. But they were happy there. Maybe. (A play for two female performers of any age or race because what we see is what these characters want us to see.)
  • SLANTED LIGHT
    (Full length in development)--Joanna's a failed poet and single parent working part-time in a funeral home--an odd choice, considering that Joanna can see 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 Ghost Trilogy of standalone plays)