Jennifer O'Grady

Jennifer O'Grady

Jennifer O'Grady is an award-winning playwright and poet, whose plays have been produced across the U.S. and in Europe. 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 Winner; Newvember Finalist; 2019 Pandora's Box runner-up); ELLERY (selected for The...
Jennifer O'Grady is an award-winning playwright and poet, whose plays have been produced across the U.S. and in Europe. 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 Winner; Newvember Finalist; 2019 Pandora's Box runner-up); ELLERY (selected for The Best Women's Stage Monologues and a 2019 Bechdel Group selection); PERSEPHONE (published in The Best New Ten-Minute Plays 2019) and many others. Her work has also been developed nationally and internationally, including off-Broadway by the Irish Rep and The Barrow Group. Additional play publications include The Best New Ten-Minute Plays 2021, The Best Ten-Minute Plays 2017 and 2016, Best Contemporary Monologues for Women 18-35 and other volumes. 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 collections WHITE (Mid-List First Series Award) and EXCLUSIONS & LIMITATIONS (MadHat Press). 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, Poetry, 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 near New York City with her husband, son and daughter, two dogs, two cats and a rabbit. (www.jenniferogrady.net)

Plays

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

    (Full length) A fresh, theatrical take on the Brontë sisters, intertwining novelist Charlotte Brontë's two years as an unpublished young woman at a Belgian school--where she...
    2020 Rising Artists Playwrights Award / 1st Place Henley Rose Award / Newvember Festival Dublin / Irish Rep New Works Reading Series / O'Neill Semifinalist / Top 25 Plays, Pandora's Box and other honors

    (Full length) A fresh, theatrical take on the Brontë sisters, intertwining novelist Charlotte Brontë's two years as an unpublished young woman at a Belgian school--where she became increasingly and dangerously close to her married tutor and employer, Monsieur Heger--with her friend and biographer Mrs. Gaskell's struggle to salvage Charlotte's posthumous reputation and trailblazing novels. Linking both stories is the mystery of Charlotte's attraction to Heger, who encouraged her writing while helping inspire scandalous books like JANE EYRE. A play about love, friendship, and the making--and unmaking--of female art and identity.
  • PARANORMAL LOVE
    MTWorks Newborn Winner / NEWvember Finalist / 2019 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, a bisexual man, decides to marry a woman, Kevin seizes the chance to wrap up unfinished business with the aid of two dead friends, until things...
    MTWorks Newborn Winner / NEWvember Finalist / 2019 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, a bisexual man, 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)
  • ELLERY
    Selected for THE BEST WOMEN'S STAGE MONOLOGUES and a 2019 Bechdel Group 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...
    Selected for THE BEST WOMEN'S STAGE MONOLOGUES and a 2019 Bechdel Group 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 Ghost Trilogy of standalone plays)
  • JUGGLING WITH MR. FIELDS
    Kilroys List Nominee

    (Full length) In 1940s Hollywood, aging, irreverent, nearly-alcoholic movie star W.C. Fields--shunned by film studios yet eager for work--grudgingly hires a young English manservant, while Fields' younger, live-in mistress Carlotta and 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 by film studios yet eager for work--grudgingly hires a young English manservant, while Fields' younger, live-in mistress Carlotta 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.
  • 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 that would alter the course of her life. Now the perpetrator, ANDREA, imprisoned as a young woman and recently released, is pursuing a law degree. But if LIZ, unable to forget, has her way, ANDREA will be prevented from having a productive life—or will she?...
    2020 Bechdel Group Shortlist

    FULL LENGTH IN DEVELOPMENT--More than twenty years ago LIZ, a parent and former cop, encountered a crime scene that would alter the course of her life. Now the perpetrator, ANDREA, imprisoned as a young woman and recently released, is pursuing a law degree. 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.
  • COMPLEX ANALYSIS
    (Full Length) Anthea heads a struggling trauma clinic, where she sees Nathan, a gifted but failing math student still struggling with survivor's guilt years after a school shooting. While her own life falls into crisis Anthea feels forced to hire Christine, an eager new therapist whose sessions with Nathan quickly blur the lines between helping and harming.
  • QUASARS
    Selected for THE BEST WOMEN'S STAGE MONOLOGUES and BEST CONTEMPORARY MONOLOGUES FOR WOMEN 18-35.

    (Full Length) Josh is a blocked sculptor and stay-at-home parent. When his beloved wife becomes dangerously 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 an uncertain Catholic...
    Selected for THE BEST WOMEN'S STAGE MONOLOGUES and BEST CONTEMPORARY MONOLOGUES FOR WOMEN 18-35.

    (Full Length) Josh is a blocked sculptor and stay-at-home parent. When his beloved wife becomes dangerously 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 an uncertain Catholic priest. As his 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.
  • SLANTED LIGHT
    FULL LENGTH IN DEVELOPMENT - Joanna is a single mom and failed poet 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)
  • Persephone
    Selected for Heartland Theatre's 10-Min Play Festival, Lowell Arts' Playbytes by Playwrights, The Hive Collaborative's The Ten Show. 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.
  • Only Human (monologue)
    Selected for St. Paul's Art Council's 2020 New Play Festival, The Factory Theater at Greenville U's 2019 New Play Festival and by other theaters across the U.S.

    (Monologue) A priest remembers a tragedy in his past. (A response to gun violence in US places of worship)
  • Most Wonderful
    Selected for OnStage Atlanta's 2019 Merry Little Holiday Shorts. 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
    Selected for Plays for Us by The Actors Center (2020)

    (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.
  • Fridge
    Selected for Kairos Italy Theater's International 10-Minute Play Festival (and an Audience-Choice Winner) and Theatre Three's 2020 Off-Stage/On-Line Series

    (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.
  • Pre-War
    Winner of Stage It's Ten-Minute Play Contest and 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.
  • The Bookstore
    Selected for Around the Globe in 80 Plays (2020)

    (10 Min) When a popular YA action novel appears on the shelves, a bored poetry book decides to make a little mischief.
  • 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. (Written with the required prop of a black vinyl LP)
  • Waiting
    (10 Min -- Sequel to "Listening") It's a new year, and seventeen-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.

    (Written...
    (10 Min -- Sequel to "Listening") It's a new year, and seventeen-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.

    (Written with the required prop of a takeout food container)
  • Cage (monologue)
    Produced in 2019 by Primal Theater (U.K.)

    (Monologue) Thumper the pet rabbit describes their habit for the audience.
  • First Day in Trade
    Produced by Rover Dramawerks and 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)
  • Belle, ex-wife of a Beast (monologue)
    Selected for The Writer's Block Radio Hour (2020)

    (Monologue) A former princess speaks.
  • The Mysterious Affair at the Christies
    Productions by Rover Dramawerks (U.S.) and Saw It Here First Productions (U.K.)

    (10 Min) An imagined glimpse into mystery-writer Agatha Christie's troubled first marriage and the roots of her long career as a novelist.
  • Emily's Room
    Produced in 2019 by Rover Dramawerks

    (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.
  • Domestic Service
    Produced by White Mouse Theater Productions (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.
  • The Gorilla
    Produced in 2019 by Primal Theatre (U.K.). Finalist for Cast Iron Short Play Night.

    (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?
  • Invasion
    (1 Min) Where are all the people? Who cares? There's grass!
  • Expectations
    Selected for The Rum Diaries Presents (2020) and Around the Globe in 80 Plays (2020). Shortlisted for Pint-sized Plays 2020.

    (5 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.
  • Circumnavigation (monologue)
    Produced in 2019 by Primal Theatre (U.K.)

    (Monologue) Flash, a young goldfish, loves their new home. Really.
  • Out
    Selected for Gi60 U.K. (2019)

    (1 Min) A very short play about the frustrations of dog-ownership.
  • New Kitten
    Selected for Gi60 U.S. (2019)

    (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.
  • 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.
  • A Piece of the Continent
    (10 Min) Donald and Jared are having a bad day. And there's lots of water.
  • Mending
    (One Act) 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.
  • Closet Cat (monologue)
    (Monologue) Sometimes the best place to be is your owner's closet.
  • 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.
  • Admiral Grace Hopper Revisits
    Productions at 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.
  • 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.
  • Lucy Tries Again
    (YA 10-Min) It’s 1927 and sixteen-year-old Lucy Ball has just been kicked out of her New York City 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 actual events in the life of iconic TV star Lucille Ball.)
  • A Midsummer Night's Script (5-minute version)
    (5 Min) 1595, Shoreditch, London -- The Lord Chamberlain's Men are having a bit of trouble with their latest play, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM.
  • A Midsummer Night's Script (10-minute version)
    (10 Min) 1595, Shoreditch, London -- The Lord Chamberlain's Men are having a bit of trouble with their latest play, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM.
  • Abundance
    (1 Min) No one--and nothing--likes to be alone. A pandemic play for any two performers.
  • Shelved
    (10 Min) Two bickering, older 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.
  • Tomorrow or Next Year
    Published in Feels Blind Literary (Fall 2019)

    (5 Min) Mackenzie wants to help. Caroline wants to forget. A play about growing up in today's United States.
  • 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.
  • Revival (a social-distancing play)
    (Short) All the world's a stage. A pandemic play for any two actors. Zoom compatible.
  • Chicken
    (Short) Molly the chicken has a few things to explain before Farmer Jane arrives.
  • Like Knives (monologue)
    Selected for Over and Above: Women Over 55 Speak by Brave New World Repertory Theater (2020)

    (Monologue) Cynthia, a middle-aged bar owner, has some words for an ageist male customer after she locks the door.
  • Playgroup (monologue)
    Selected for The Mother-logues by Red Herring Productions (2020)

    (Monologue) At her weekly playgroup for moms and babies, Lauren makes a confession.
  • I'm Not Malala (monologue)
    Selected for The PlayGround Experiment's Faces of America Monologue Festival (2019 and 2020)

    (Monologue) Julia isn't Malala. But maybe Malala can help?
  • Invisible (monologue)
    (Monologue) Scout the dog explains the new invisible fence to a potential playmate.
  • Bars (monologue)
    Produced in 2019 by Primal Theatre (U.K.)

    (Monologue) Sky, a pet parakeet, has a request. Or three.
  • Theoni V. Aldredge, Costume Designer, Speaks (monologue)
    Selected for 20/20 New Visions at The Barrow Group (2020)

    (Monologue) Award-winning, Greek-American costume designer Theoni V. Aldredge speaks about what women and immigrants can do.
  • January (monologue)
    (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)
    (Monologue) Snowball the cat struggles with new ideas about human beings.