Jennifer O'Grady

Jennifer O'Grady

Jennifer O'Grady is an award-winning playwright and poet. Her plays have been produced and developed nationally and internationally and include CHARLOTTE'S LETTERS (2020 Rising Artists Award; 1st Place Henley Rose Award; NEWvember Festival Dublin; O'Neill Semifinalist and other honors); JUGGLING WITH MR FIELDS (2020 Southwest Theatre Productions Finalist); PARANORMAL LOVE (MTWorks Newborn Winner...
Jennifer O'Grady is an award-winning playwright and poet. Her plays have been produced and developed nationally and internationally and include CHARLOTTE'S LETTERS (2020 Rising Artists Award; 1st Place Henley Rose Award; NEWvember Festival Dublin; O'Neill Semifinalist and other honors); JUGGLING WITH MR FIELDS (2020 Southwest Theatre Productions Finalist); PARANORMAL LOVE (MTWorks Newborn Winner; Newvember Finalist; 2019 Pandora's Box Honorable Mention); 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 MOST WONDERFUL (selected for The Best New Ten-Minute Plays 2021). Her work is also published in The Best Ten-Minute Plays 2017 and The Best Ten-Minute Plays 2016, Best Contemporary Monologues for Women 18-35, The Best Women's Stage Monologues 2014, Stage It 2, The PlayGround Experiment's Faces of America Anthology and elsewhere.

Jennifer is also the author of two poetry books, WHITE (Mid-List First Series Award for Poetry) and EXCLUSIONS & LIMITATIONS (Plume Editions/MadHat Press). Her poems are taught, 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, she earned a BA from Vassar, where she won awards for her writing, and an MFA in poetry from Columbia University. She lives just outside 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    (Full length) A fresh take on the Brontë sisters, intertwining Charlotte Brontë's two years as an unpublished young woman at a Belgian school--where she became increasingly close...
    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 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 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 of art and identity.
  • JUGGLING WITH MR. FIELDS
    2020 Finalist, Southwest Theatre Productions

    (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' live-in mistress and rising-actor friend Anthony Quinn vie for his attentions. But new servant Rodney brings a secret from the past that will have...
    2020 Finalist, Southwest Theatre Productions

    (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' live-in mistress and rising-actor friend Anthony Quinn vie for his attentions. But new servant Rodney brings a secret from 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.
  • PARANORMAL LOVE
    MTWorks Newborn Winner / NEWvember Finalist / 2019 Pandora's Box Runner-Up

    (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...
    MTWorks Newborn Winner / NEWvember Finalist / 2019 Pandora's Box Runner-Up

    (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)
  • 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 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 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)
  • 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, incarcerated as a young woman and recently released from prison, is pursuing a law degree. But if Liz, unable to forget, has her way, Andrea will be prevented from having a productive life...
    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, incarcerated as a young woman and recently released from prison, 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.
  • Persephone
    Published in THE BEST NEW TEN-MINUTE PLAYS 2019.

    (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.
  • Only Human
    Selected for St. Paul's Art Council's Short New Play Festival, The Factory Theater at Greenville U's 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)
  • Fridge
    Selected for KIT's 2020 International Women in Comedy Festival and an Audience-Choice Winner, Theatre Three's Off-Stage/On-Line Series and other festivals

    (10 Min) A woman and her fridge. A play about failure and acceptance.
  • 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.
  • Pre-War
    Winner of Stage It's 2019 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    (Play 1 of The Hailey Plays, written with...
    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.

    (Play 1 of The Hailey Plays, written with the required prop of a black vinyl LP)
  • Waiting
    Current Semifinalist, Weathervane Playhouse 8x10 Theatrefest

    (10 Min) 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...
    Current Semifinalist, Weathervane Playhouse 8x10 Theatrefest

    (10 Min) 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.

    (Play 2 of The Hailey Plays, written with the required prop of a takeout food container)
  • Cage
    Produced in 2019 by Primal Theater (U.K.)

    (Monologue) Thumper the pet rabbit describes their habit for the audience.
  • Belle, ex-wife of a Beast
    Selected for The Writer's Block Radio Hour (2020)

    (Monologue) A former princess speaks.
  • First Day in Trade
    Published in THE BEST TEN-MINUTE PLAYS 2017

    (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)
  • 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.
  • Expectations
    Selected for The Rum Diaries Presents, and Around the Globe in 80 Plays, and Caravan Theatre (2020). Shortlisted for Pint-sized Plays 2020 and Short+Sweet Dubai 2021.

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

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

    (1 Min) A very short play about the frustrations of dog-ownership.
  • New Kitten
    Productions by Gi60 U.S. and O.G. Productions (2019) / 3-minute version winner of ICWP's 3-Minute Play Contest

    (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.
  • I'm Not Malala
    Selected for The PlayGround Experiment's Faces of America Monologue Festival (2019 and 2020)

    (Monologue) Julia isn't Malala. But maybe Malala can help?
  • Playgroup
    Selected for Empower Her Voice (U.K.) and The Mother-logues by Red Herring Productions (2020)

    (Monologue) At her weekly playgroup for moms and babies, Lauren makes a confession.
  • Bars
    Produced in 2019 by Primal Theatre (U.K.)

    (Monologue) Sky, a pet parakeet, has a request. Or three.
  • Closet Cat
    (Monologue) Sometimes the best place to be is your owner's closet.
  • 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.
  • Admiral Grace Hopper Revisits
    Productions at 6th Street Playhouse (CA) and Rover Dramawerks (TX)

    (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.
  • Like Knives
    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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In Memory of Maria Mercader (a monologue)
    In 2020 CBS journalist and my high-school friend Maria Mercader died during the Covid pandemic in New York City. This is about her and in honor of her life.
  • Abundance
    (1 Min) No one--and nothing--likes to be alone. A pandemic play for any two performers.
  • Chicken
    (Short) Molly the chicken has a few things she needs to tell you.
  • 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.
  • Invasion
    (1 Min) Where are all the people? Who cares? There's grass!
  • 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.)
  • 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.
  • A Piece of the Continent
    (10 Min) Donald and Jared are having a bad day. And there's lots of water.
  • Revival (a social-distancing play)
    (Short) All the world's a stage. A pandemic play for any two actors. Zoom compatible.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Invisible
    Selected for Natural Distancing at Civic Theater of Greater Lafayette (2020)

    (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.
  • QUASARS
    Selected for THE BEST WOMEN'S STAGE MONOLOGUES and BEST CONTEMPORARY MONOLOGUES FOR WOMEN 18-35.

    (Full Length) When sculptor Josh's wife Erin becomes seriously ill but won't slow down, Josh takes secretive measures to keep her 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...
    Selected for THE BEST WOMEN'S STAGE MONOLOGUES and BEST CONTEMPORARY MONOLOGUES FOR WOMEN 18-35.

    (Full Length) When sculptor Josh's wife Erin becomes seriously ill but won't slow down, Josh takes secretive measures to keep her 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 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)