Jennifer O'Grady

Jennifer O'Grady

Jennifer O’Grady is a poet and playwright whose plays have been produced and presented by theaters around the U.S. as well as in the U.K., and Dublin, Ireland. Full-length plays include CHARLOTTE'S LETTERS (1st Place Henley Rose Award; NEWvember Festival Dublin; O'Neil and BETC Generations Semifinalist and other awards); PARANORMAL LOVE (MTWorks Newborn Festival; NEWvember Finalist); ELLERY (selected...
Jennifer O’Grady is a poet and playwright whose plays have been produced and presented by theaters around the U.S. as well as in the U.K., and Dublin, Ireland. Full-length plays include CHARLOTTE'S LETTERS (1st Place Henley Rose Award; NEWvember Festival Dublin; O'Neil and BETC Generations Semifinalist and other awards); PARANORMAL LOVE (MTWorks Newborn Festival; NEWvember Finalist); ELLERY (selected The Best Women's Stage Monologues 2017); QUASARS (selected for The Best Women's Stage Monologues and Best Contemporary Monologues for Women 18-35); and JUGGLING WITH MR. FIELDS (Kilroys List nominee). Short plays include PERSEPHONE (selected for Heartland Theatre's and Lowell Arts Players' ten-minute play festivals and Applause Books' 30 New Ten-Minute Plays); PRE-WAR (selected for Stage It's 2019 ten-minute play festival and published in STAGE IT 3); FIRST DAY IN TRADE (selected for The Best Ten-Minute Plays 2017); THE GREAT GAFFE (selected for The Best Ten-Minute Plays 2016); LISTENING (selected for Weathervane Playhouse's 2019 8x10 Theatrefest and 3d Place Audience Favorite ); OUT (selected for Gi60's 2019 U.K. Edition); NEW KITTEN (selected for Gi60's 2019 U.S. Edition and OG Production's 2019 Theatre Tapas and winner of ICWP's 3-Minute Play Contest) and other plays. Her work has also been produced or presented by The Irish Repertory Theatre, Rover Dramawerks, The Bechdel Group, Monster Box Theatre, 13th Street Repertory Theatre, The Factory Theatre at Greenville University, White Mouse Theatre Productions at FSU and other companies. She is a playwriting alum of AWP's Writer2Writer Program.

Also a widely published poet, she is the author of the poetry books WHITE (Mid-List First Series Award for Poetry) and EXCLUSIONS & LIMITATIONS (Plume Editions/MadHat Press, 2018). Her poems appear in numerous places, including Harper’s, The New Republic, The Writer's Almanac, The Kenyon Review, Poetry Daily, BBC Radio 4 and American Poetry: The Next Generation. She is the recipient a Billee Murray Denny Award, a W.K. Rose Fellowship and Pushcart Prize nominations, among other honors.

Born and raised in New York City, Jennifer earned a BA from Vassar, where she won awards for her writing, and an MFA 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
    1st Place Henley Rose Award / NEWvember Festival Dublin/ O'Neill Semifinalist (and others)

    A fresh, theatrical take on the Brontës, intertwining Charlotte Brontë's two years as an unpublished young woman at a Belgian school--where she became close to her married tutor and employer, Monsieur Heger--with her friend and biographer Mrs. Gaskell's struggle to salvage Charlotte's...
    1st Place Henley Rose Award / NEWvember Festival Dublin/ O'Neill Semifinalist (and others)

    A fresh, theatrical take on the Brontës, intertwining Charlotte Brontë's two years as an unpublished young woman at a Belgian school--where she became 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 of art and identity.
  • Persephone
    Selected for 30 NEW TEN-MINUTE PLAYS (Applause Theatre & Cinema Books), Heartland Theatre Co's 2018 10-Minute Play Festival and Lowell Arts Players' Playbytes by Playwrights 2019

    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.
  • Pre-War
    Selected for Stage It's 2019 Ten-Minute Play Festival and published in STAGE IT 3: TWENTY TEN-MINUTE PLAYS

    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.
  • ELLERY
    Selected for THE BEST WOMEN'S STAGE MONOLOGUES 2017 / Bechdel Group Workshop Selection

    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, mute 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 2017 / Bechdel Group Workshop Selection

    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, mute 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 Paranormal Trilogy)
  • The Mysterious Affair at the Christies
    An imagined glimpse into mystery-writer Agatha Christie's troubled first marriage and the roots of her long career as a novelist.
  • Listening
    Selected for Weathervane Playhouse's 2019 8x10 TheatreFest

    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.
  • PARANORMAL LOVE
    Selected for the MTWorks Newborn Festival / NEWvember Finalist

    Kevin is dead and stuck in a boring afterlife with little to do but eat popcorn and watch the living. When his former and still-living boyfriend David decides to marry a woman, Kevin seizes the chance to wrap up unfinished business with help from two dead friends, until things begin to go wrong. A dark comedy about love, loss, and the...
    Selected for the MTWorks Newborn Festival / NEWvember Finalist

    Kevin is dead and stuck in a boring afterlife with little to do but eat popcorn and watch the living. When his former and still-living boyfriend David decides to marry a woman, Kevin seizes the chance to wrap up unfinished business with help from 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)
  • The Great Gaffe
    Selected for THE BEST TEN-MINUTE PLAYS 2016

    Pulitzer-Prize-winning novelist Edith Wharton gives a tea party for F. Scott Fitzgerald, struggling young author of THE GREAT GATSBY, with disastrous results.
  • Only Human
    Selected for The Factory Theatre at Greenville U's New Plays Festival 2019

    A Catholic priest remembers a tragedy in his past. (Based on the shootings at Our Lady of Peace Roman Catholic Church in Lynbrook, NY)
  • A Split Second
    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.
  • JUGGLING WITH MR. FIELDS
    Kilroys List Nominee

    In 1940s Hollywood, 64-year-old, irreverent, wealthy and nearly-alcoholic movie star W.C. Fields--shunned as a risk by film studios yet eager for work--grudgingly hires a young English valet of mysterious origins, while Fields's younger live-in girlfriend and rising-actor friend Anthony Quinn vie for his attentions. But new servant Rodney brings a link to the past that...
    Kilroys List Nominee

    In 1940s Hollywood, 64-year-old, irreverent, wealthy and nearly-alcoholic movie star W.C. Fields--shunned as a risk by film studios yet eager for work--grudgingly hires a young English valet of mysterious origins, while Fields's younger live-in girlfriend 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.
  • Cage
    Thumper the pet rabbit describes their habit for the audience.
  • First Day in Trade
    Selected for THE BEST TEN-MINUTE PLAYS 2017

    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 actual events)
  • Most Wonderful
    Two unemployed roommates learn the meaning of Christmas with help from a can of beans and some dental floss.
  • QUASARS
    Selected for THE BEST WOMEN'S STAGE MONOLOGUES and BEST CONTEMPORARY MONOLOGUES FOR WOMEN 18-35

    When blocked sculptor Josh's wife Karen becomes seriously ill but won't slow down, Josh finds himself taking secretive measures to keep Karen at home. But their 9-year-old daughter witnesses his ploys, bringing unwanted scrutiny from an uncertain Catholic priest. As Karen's illness...
    Selected for THE BEST WOMEN'S STAGE MONOLOGUES and BEST CONTEMPORARY MONOLOGUES FOR WOMEN 18-35

    When blocked sculptor Josh's wife Karen becomes seriously ill but won't slow down, Josh finds himself taking secretive measures to keep Karen at home. But their 9-year-old daughter witnesses his ploys, bringing unwanted scrutiny from an uncertain Catholic priest. As Karen'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. QUASARS explores our need for human connection and the uncertain comforts of faith and art.
  • Bars
    Sky, a pet parakeet, has a request. Or two.
  • Emily's Room
    54-year-old recluse Emily Dickinson and her 44-year-old Irish maid reach an unspoken understanding that, unknown to either, will forever alter the course of American literature.
  • The Bookstore
    A bored poetry book decides to make a little mischief.
  • COMPLEX ANALYSIS
    Anthea heads a struggling trauma clinic, where she sees Nathan, a gifted but failing math student living with survivor's guilt years after a school shooting. While her own life falls into crisis, Anthea hires Christine, an eager new therapist whose sessions with Nathan quickly blur the lines between helping and harming, and between danger and love.
  • The Gorilla
    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 very surprising interest in Myra, she finds her life transforming--but for better or worse?
  • SLANTED LIGHT
    (Full Length in Development) Joanna is a single mom and failed poet working part-time in a funeral home--an odd choice, given that Joanna can see dead people. When a dead teenaged 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)
  • Admiral Grace Hopper Revisits
    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.
  • Belle, ex-wife of a Beast
    A former princess speaks.
  • Circumnavigation
    Flash, a young goldfish, loves their new home. Really.
  • Domestic Service
    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.
  • I'm Not Malala
    Julia isn't Malala. But maybe Malala can help?
  • Invisible
    Scout the dog explains the new invisible fence to a potential playmate.
  • Lion Cut
    Snowball the cat struggles with new ideas about human beings.
  • Mending
    At Monticello the day after Thomas Jefferson's death, a middle-aged enslaved woman, Sally Hemings, and her 21-year-old enslaved son wait for important news. But Jefferson's white daughter Martha wants vital information, and has information to share that could jeopardize mother and son.
  • New Kitten
    One-minute version selected for Gi60 US 2019
    Three-minute version winner of ICWP's 3-Minute Play Contest

    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.
  • Out
    Selected for Gi60's UK Edition 2019

    A very short play about the frustrations of dog-ownership.
  • A Piece of the Continent
    Donald and Jared are having a bad day. And there's lots of water.
  • Shelved
    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.
  • Tomorrow or Next Year
    Mackenzie wants to help. Caroline wants to forget. A short play about growing up in today's United States.
  • We Were Happy
    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.