Jennifer O'Grady

Jennifer O'Grady

Jennifer O’Grady's plays have won the Henley Rose Award, the NEWvember New Plays Festival Dublin and the MTWorks Newborn Festival competitions and Heartland Theater Company's 10-Minute Play Contest; have been finalists or semifinalists for the O'Neil Center Conference, the NEWvember Festival, BETC's Generations Award and Little Fish Theatre's Pick of the Vine; and have advanced in many...
Jennifer O’Grady's plays have won the Henley Rose Award, the NEWvember New Plays Festival Dublin and the MTWorks Newborn Festival competitions and Heartland Theater Company's 10-Minute Play Contest; have been finalists or semifinalists for the O'Neil Center Conference, the NEWvember Festival, BETC's Generations Award and Little Fish Theatre's Pick of the Vine; and have advanced in many other competitions. Her work has been produced or developed (or will be) by The Irish Repertory Theatre (as part of its New Works Series), Rover Dramawerks, Heartland Theatre Company, The Bechdel Group, Monster Box Theatre, AboutFace Ireland, 13th Street Repertory Theatre, White Mouse Theatre Productions, Twilight Theatre Productions, Manhattan Theatre Works, Wild Rumpus Productions and other companies. Her plays are published or forthcoming in 30 New Ten-Minute Plays (Applause Theatre & Cinema Books), 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 (all Smith and Kraus) and Best Contemporary Monologues for Women 18-35 (Applause). In 2018 Jennifer was selected as a mentee in playwriting by AWP's Writer2Writer Program. Jennifer is also an award-winning 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, set to music, anthologized and featured in numerous places including Harper's, The New Republic, Poetry Daily, The Writer's Almanac, The Kenyon Review and American Poetry: The Next Generation. Her poem "Moths" will be featured on BBC Radio 4 in June 2019.

A native New Yorker, Jennifer holds a BA from Vassar, where she won awards for her writing, and an MFA from Columbia University. She lives with her family near New York City. (www.jenniferogrady.net)

Plays

  • 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.
  • Only Human
    (Short/Monologue) A Catholic priest remembers a tragedy in his past. (A response to the shooting at Our Lady of Peace Roman Catholic Church in Lynnbrook, NY)
  • 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 2018 10-Minute Play Contest
    SELECTED for 30 NEW TEN-MINUTE PLAYS (forthcoming from Applause Theatre & Cinema Books)
  • CHARLOTTE'S LETTERS
    (Full Length) Intertwines Charlotte Brontë's two years as a 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 scandalous novels including JANE EYRE. A play about love, friendship, and the making of art and identity.

    WINNER: Henley Rose Award...
    (Full Length) Intertwines Charlotte Brontë's two years as a 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 scandalous novels including JANE EYRE. A play about love, friendship, and the making of art and identity.

    WINNER: Henley Rose Award 2018; NEWvember New Plays Festival Dublin 2017; SEMIFINALIST: O'Neill Conference and others
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Cage
    (Short/Monologue) Thumper the pet rabbit describes their habit for the audience.
  • ELLERY
    (Full Length) Becca's life sucks--she hates her psychic abilities and is being haunted by her dead but still-critical mother. When a dead young woman appears and pleads 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)

    SELECTED for THE BEST WOMEN'S STAGE MONOLOGUES 2017
  • Emily's Room
    (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 alter the course of American literature.
  • Domestic Service
    (10 Min) When popular African-American female actor Louise Beavers is cast as yet another maid in another Hollywood movie, but this one (Holiday Inn) has a very shocking twist, she finds herself forced to make a difficult decision.
  • Circumnavigation
    (Short/Monologue) Flash, a young goldfish, loves their new home. Really.
  • PARANORMAL 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 still-living boyfriend decides to marry a woman, Kevin decides 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 Paranormal Trilogy)

    WINNER: MTWorks...
    (Full Length) Kevin is dead and stuck in a boring afterlife with little to do but eat popcorn and watch the living. When his still-living boyfriend decides to marry a woman, Kevin decides 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 Paranormal Trilogy)

    WINNER: MTWorks Newborn Festival of New Plays
    FINALIST: NEWvember New Play Festival
  • The Bookstore
    (10 Min) A bored poetry book decides to make a little mischief.
  • The Gorilla
    (10 Min) Myra hates her job and is barely clinging to her ambitious zoo-administrator boyfriend. But when a gorilla at the zoo takes a marked and very surprising interest in Myra, she finds her life transforming--but for better or worse?
  • 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.
  • COMPLEX ANALYSIS
    (Full Length) Anthea heads a struggling trauma clinic where her patients include Nathan, a gifted but failing math student struggling with survivor's guilt. While her own life falls into crisis Anthea is forced to hire Christine, an inexperienced new therapist whose sessions with Nathan quickly blur the lines between helping and harming.
  • Most Wonderful
    (10 Minutes) Two unemployed roommates learn the meaning of Christmas with help from a can of beans and some dental floss.
  • Pre-War
    (10 Min) In her NYC apartment building Elena, traumatized by a recent loss and struggling with agoraphobia, encounters Clara, her older, Czechoslovakian neighbor, and the women discover they have more in common than they realized.
  • 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 important news. But Jefferson's white daughter Martha wants vital information, and has information to share that could jeopardize mother and son.
  • JUGGLING WITH MR. FIELDS
    (Full Length) Irreverent, nearly-alcoholic movie star W.C. Fields--shunned by film studies and eager for work--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 drama...
    (Full Length) Irreverent, nearly-alcoholic movie star W.C. Fields--shunned by film studies and eager for work--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 drama about longing and belonging.
  • Admiral Grace Hopper Revisits
    (One Act/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.
  • Lion Cut
    (Short/Monologue) Snowball the cat struggles with new ideas about human beings.
  • First Day in Trade
    (10 Min) At a New York publishing house an impoverished assistant is informed 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
  • Tomorrow or Next Year
    (10 Min) Mackenzie wants to help. Caroline wants to forget. A play about growing up in America today.
  • QUASARS
    (Full Length) When 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 with help from a troubled priest and a strange young woman with piercings.

    SELECTED for THE...
    (Full Length) When 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 with help from a troubled priest and a strange young woman with piercings.

    SELECTED for THE BEST WOMEN'S STAGE MONOLOGUES 2014 and BEST CONTEMPORARY MONOLOGUES FOR WOMEN 18-35
  • Belle, ex-wife of a Beast
    (Short/Monologue) A former princess speaks.
  • Invisible
    (Short/Monologue) Scout the dog explains the new invisible fence to a potential playmate.
  • A Piece of the Continent
    (10 Min) Donald and Jared are having a bad day. And there's lots of water.
  • THE LIGHT
    (Full Length in Development) Joanna is a single mom 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 Paranormal Trilogy)
  • Welcome to These Sandwich Islands
    (10 Minutes) 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.