Jennifer O'Grady

Jennifer O'Grady

Playwright and poet Jennifer O'Grady's plays have been produced across the U.S. as well as Europe and Australia. Her full-length plays include CHARLOTTE'S LETTERS (2020 Rising Artist Award; Henley Rose Award; NEWvember Festival Dublin; O'Neill Semifinalist and other honors); PARANORMAL LOVE (MTWorks Newborn Festival; NEWvember Finalist; Pandora's Box Honorable Mention; SWTP Semifinalist...
Playwright and poet Jennifer O'Grady's plays have been produced across the U.S. as well as Europe and Australia. Her full-length plays include CHARLOTTE'S LETTERS (2020 Rising Artist Award; Henley Rose Award; NEWvember Festival Dublin; O'Neill Semifinalist and other honors); PARANORMAL LOVE (MTWorks Newborn Festival; NEWvember Finalist; Pandora's Box Honorable Mention; SWTP Semifinalist): JUGGLING WITH MR FIELDS (SWTP Finalist); ELLERY (a Bechdel Group selection) and others. Her ten-minute plays have won audience-choice awards and are included 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: Twenty Ten-Minute Plays and other anthologies. Her work is also published in Best Contemporary Monologues for Women 18-35, The Best Women's Stage Monologues, The PlayGround Experiment's Faces of America Monologue Anthology, The Covid Monologues (Breath of Fire Latina Theater Ensemble), some scripts, Feels Blind Literary and other publications. Her plays have been presented by The Irish Rep, 6th Street Playhouse, Short+Sweet, Rover Dramawerks, Gi60, Heartland Theatre Company, The Hive Collaborative, Brave New World Rep, Attic Salt Theatre Company, Stage Left, Saw It Here First Productions, AboutFace Ireland, The Rum Diaries Presents, Primal Theatre, Theatre Three, The Barrow Group and many other theaters.

She is also an award-winning poet and author of the poetry books WHITE (Mid-List First Series Award for Poetry) and EXCLUSIONS & LIMITATIONS (MadHat Press). Her poems appear in numerous places including Harper’s, The New Republic, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, The Writer's Almanac, Poetry Daily and American Poetry: The Next Generation.

Born and raised in New York City, she earned an MFA in poetry from Columbia University and a BA from Vassar, where she won awards for her writing, and lives with her husband, son and daughter just outside New York City. Member: Dramatists Guild; ICWP; 365 Women a Year; Honor Roll! Playwrights, an advocacy/action group of women playwrights over 40. (www.jenniferogrady.net)

Plays

  • CHARLOTTE'S LETTERS
    2020 Rising Artist Playwriting 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 new take on the Brontë sisters, intertwining Charlotte Brontë's two years as a unpublished young woman at a Belgian school--where she became increasingly close...
    2020 Rising Artist Playwriting 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 new take on the Brontë sisters, intertwining Charlotte Brontë's two years as a unpublished young woman at a Belgian school--where she became increasingly close to her married tutor/employer, Monsieur Heger--with her friend and biographer Mrs. Gaskell's struggle to salvage Charlotte's posthumous reputation and feminist novels. When an alarming letter arrives from Brussels, Mrs. Gaskell is forced to investigate just how much of Charlotte's books--including the bestselling but scandalous JANE EYRE--was based on her own life. A play about love, friendship, and the making of art and identity.
  • 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 play about love, loss and the power of memory. (Play 1 in The Ghost Trilogy of standalone plays)
  • 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 girlfriend and his rising-actor friend Anthony Quinn vie for his attentions. But new servant Rodney brings a link to the...
    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 girlfriend 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.
  • ELLERY
    2019 Bechdel Group Selection and included in THE BEST WOMEN'S STAGE MONOLOGUES 2017

    (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...
    2019 Bechdel Group Selection and included in THE BEST WOMEN'S STAGE MONOLOGUES 2017

    (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)
  • QUASARS
    Included in 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 dad to nine-year-old Eva. When his beloved wife becomes seriously ill but won't slow down, Josh takes secretive measures to keep Erin at home. But Eva witnesses his ploys, bringing unwanted scrutiny from an uncertain young priest. As...
    Included in 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 dad to nine-year-old Eva. When his beloved wife becomes seriously ill but won't slow down, Josh takes secretive measures to keep Erin at home. But Eva witnesses his ploys, bringing unwanted scrutiny from an uncertain young priest. As Erin's illness worsens Josh must learn to get go with help from a troubled priest and a strange young woman with piercings. QUASARS explores the need for human connection and the uncertain comforts of faith and art.
  • COMPLEX ANALYSIS
    (Full length) Anthea heads a struggling trauma-recovery clinic, where she sees Nathan, a gifted 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 but inexperienced new therapist whose sessions with Nathan begin to blur the lines between helping and harming. A play about the psychological...
    (Full length) Anthea heads a struggling trauma-recovery clinic, where she sees Nathan, a gifted 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 but inexperienced new therapist whose sessions with Nathan begin to blur the lines between helping and harming. A play about the psychological effects of gun violence and our public mental-health system.
  • Persephone
    Published in THE BEST NEW TEN-MINUTE PLAYS 2019 (Applause)

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

    (10 Min) A woman and her fridge. A play about failure and acceptance.
  • Only Human
    Selected for St. Paul's Arts Council's 2020 Short New Play Festival, The Factory Theater at Greenville U's New Play Festival and by other theaters around the country

    (Monologue) A Catholic priest remembers a tragedy in his past.
  • 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.
  • Most Wonderful
    Selected for THE BEST NEW TEN-MINUTE PLAYS 2021 (Applause)

    (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 Ten-Minute Play contest and published in STAGE IT 3 (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.
  • Circumnavigation
    Selected for Stage Left Theater's Fast and Furious 2021

    (Monologue) Flash, a young goldfish, loves their new home. Really.
  • 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 Bookstore
    2021 productions by NextStage Theater Company and The Playhouse at White Lake

    (10 Min) When a popular YA action novel appears on the shelves, a bored poetry book decides to make a little mischief.
  • Belle, ex-wife of a Beast
    Selected for The Writers Block Radio Hour (2020)

    (Monologue) A former princess speaks.
  • Cage
    Produced by Primal Theatre UK (2019)

    (Monologue) Thumper the pet rabbit describes their habit for the audience.
  • Expectations
    Produced in Short+Sweet Sydney 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.
  • Listening
    Audience-choice winner in Weathervane Playhouse's 2019 8x10 Theatrefest

    (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]
  • The Mysterious Affair at the Christies
    Produced by Saw It Here First Productions, Rover Dramawerks and other theaters. Now published in A YEAR IN THE CARAVAN (2021).

    (10 Min) An imagined glimpse into mystery-writer Agatha Christie's troubled first marriage and the roots of her long career as a novelist.
  • Out
    Produced by Gi60 UK (2019)

    (1 Min) A very short play about the frustrations of dog-ownership.
  • Abundance
    (1 Min) No one--and nothing--likes to be alone. A pandemic play for any two performers.
  • Emily's Room
    Selected for Rover Dramawerks' 365 Women a Year Festival (2019)

    (15 Min) 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.
  • 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)
  • The Gorilla
    Produced by Primal Theater UK (2019)

    (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?
  • Closet Cat
    Forthcoming publication in some scripts (2021)

    (Monologue) Sometimes the best place to be is your owner's closet.
  • 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.
  • Invasion
    (1 Min) Where are all the people? Who cares? There's grass!
  • Bars
    Produced by Primal Theatre UK (2019)

    (Monologue) Sky, a pet parakeet, has a request. Or three.
  • Chem Class
    (Written for THE WALKING PLAYS, a compilation for outdoor and audio performance)

    (10 Min) On their morning walk to school Alex asks his friend Sofia to their Junior Prom. But Sofia's reaction isn't what Alex had hoped for--or so he thought. A play about taking risks and being ourselves.
  • 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.
  • Egypt
    Forthcoming in Mind the Gap Theatre's Housebound Series (2021)

    (Monologue) The six-month-old fetus of a murdered woman speaks.
  • 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
    Selected for The PlayGround Experiment's Faces of America Monologue Festival #1

    (Monologue) Julia isn't Malala. But maybe Malala can help?
  • Mending
    (10 Min) 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 white daughter Martha wants information, and has information to share that could 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.
  • New Kitten
    Produced by Gi60 US (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.
  • 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
    Selected for The Mother-logues by Red Herring Productions and Empower Her Voice U.K. (2020)

    (Monologue) At her weekly playgroup for moms and babies, Lauren makes an unexpected confession.
  • We Were Happy
    (10-15 Min) 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 by 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.
  • Chicken
    (3 Min) Molly the chicken has a few things she needs to tell you--before Farmer Jane arrives.
  • In Memory of Maria Mercader
    Included in The Covid Monologues by Breath of Fire Latina Theater Ensemble (currently on YouTube)

    (Monologue) CBS news producer and my high-school friend Maria Mercader died during the COVID pandemic in New York. This was written to celebrate Maria and her life.
  • 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.
  • Like Knives
    (Written in 2020 for Brave New World Rep's "Over and Above: Women Over 55 Speak"; dir. by Claire Beckman, performed by Laura San Giacomo)

    (Monologue) Cynthia, a middle-aged bar owner, has some words for an ageist male customer after she locks the door.
  • Lion Cut
    (Monologue) Snowball the cat struggles with new ideas about human beings.
  • Lucy Tries Again
    Selected for Crafton Hills College New Works Festival (2021)

    (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.

    (Included in 40ish Short Plays About Matthew Weaver, compiled by playwright Matthew Weaver)
  • 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 Productions U.K.. Published in A YEAR WITH THE CARAVAN, 2021]
  • Seek
    (5 Min) A father's love spans twenty years in five minutes. A daughter's love survives an unthinkable tragedy.
  • Theoni V. Aldredge, Costume Designer, Speaks
    Developed with FAB Women at The Barrow Group (2020)

    (Monologue) Award-winning, Greek-American costume designer Theoni V. Aldredge speaks about what women and immigrants can do.
  • 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.
  • Microwave
    Premiering with PlayZoomers in July 2021

    (10 Min) Sixteen-year-old Ethan needs to defrost a meal before his basketball game, but Mike, an aging microwave oven, refuses to open her door--forever. A play about give and take with a common household appliance.
  • A Midsummer Night's Script (A Will, Kempe & Ed Play)
    Semifinalist for Stage It 10-Minute Play Festival 2021

    (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)
  • On 9th Street
    (!0 Min) 1951 - Four Abstract Expressionist female artists anxiously await the opening of their group exhibition in a condemned building in downtown New York City. A play about the women of the 9th Street Show.
  • Shakespeare's Dilemma (A Will, Kempe & Ed Play)
    (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 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.
  • Waiting
    Current semifinalist for Weathervane Playhouse's 8x10 Theatrefest

    (10 Min) It's a new year and teenager 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...
    Current semifinalist for Weathervane Playhouse's 8x10 Theatrefest

    (10 Min) It's a new year and teenager 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]
  • Cops
    (5 Min) Two adults describe different encounters with the police.
  • Much Ado About Ed (A Will, Kempe & Ed Play)
    (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)
  • Romeo and Richard (A Will, Kempe & Ed Play)
    (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)
  • To Be or Not to Be Shakespeare (A Will, Kempe & Ed Play)
    (10 Min) London, 1598 -- The Lord Chamberlain's Men have trouble when their new play HAMLET is a huge success and Ed becomes resentful. (A Will, Kempe & Ed Play)