Jennifer O'Grady

Jennifer O'Grady

Jennifer O’Grady is a playwright and poet. Full-length plays include CHARLOTTE'S LETTERS (Henley Rose Award; NEWvember Festival Dublin; O'Neil Semifinalist); PARANORMAL LOVE (MTWorks Newborn Festival; NEWvember Finalist); ELLERY (The Best Women's Stage Monologues 2017); QUASARS (The Best Women's Stage Monologues and Best Contemporary Monologues for Women 18-35); and JUGGLING WITH MR. FIELDS...
Jennifer O’Grady is a playwright and poet. Full-length plays include CHARLOTTE'S LETTERS (Henley Rose Award; NEWvember Festival Dublin; O'Neil Semifinalist); PARANORMAL LOVE (MTWorks Newborn Festival; NEWvember Finalist); ELLERY (The Best Women's Stage Monologues 2017); QUASARS (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 LISTENING (Weathervane Playhouse's 2019 8x10 Theatrefest); PRE-WAR (Stage It's 2019 10-Minute Play Festival and published in Stage It 3); PERSEPHONE (Heartland Theatre's 2018 Ten-Minute Play Festival and forthcoming in 30 New Ten-Minute Plays); FIRST DAY IN TRADE (The Best Ten-Minute Plays 2017); THE GREAT GAFFE (The Best Ten-Minute Plays 2016); OUT (Gi60's 2019 UK Edition); and NEW KITTEN (Gi60's 2019 US Edition and winner of ICWP's 3-Minute Play Contest). Her plays have also been produced or developed by The Irish Repertory Theatre, Rover Dramawerks, The Bechdel Group, Monster Box Theatre, 13th Street Repertory Theatre, AboutFace Ireland and other companies. In 2018 she was selected as playwriting mentee by AWP's Writer2Writer program.

As a poet she is the author of WHITE (Mid-List First Series Award) and EXCLUSIONS & LIMITATIONS (MadHat Press, 2018). Her poems appear in numerous places including Harper’s, The New Republic, NPR, The Kenyon Review, Poetry Daily and American Poetry: The Next Generation. Her poem “Moths” will air on BBC Radio 4 in June 2019.

Jennifer earned 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

  • Charlotte's Letters
    1st Place Henley Rose Award / NEWvember Festival Dublin/ O'Neill Semifinalist

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

    (Full length) A fresh take on the Brontës, intertwining Charlotte Brontë's two years at a Belgian school--where she became close to her married tutor/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.
  • Pre-War
    Selected for Stage It's Ten-Minute Play Festival 2019 and STAGE IT 3: TWENTY TEN-MINUTE PLAYS (2019)

    (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.
  • 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)
  • Listening
    Selected for Weathervane Playhouse's 8x10 TheatreFest 2019

    (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.
  • Persephone
    Selected for 30 NEW TEN-MINUTE PLAYS (Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, 2019)
    Selected for Heartland Theatre Company's 10-Minute Play Festival 2018

    (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.
  • Only Human
    Selected for The Factory Theatre at Greenville U's New Plays Festival

    (Monologue) A Catholic priest remembers a tragedy in his past. (Based on the shooting at Our Lady of Peace Roman Catholic Church in Lynbrook, NY)
  • Ellery
    Included in THE BEST WOMEN'S STAGE MONOLOGUES 2017
    Bechdel Group Workshop 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 needs help, Becca turns away--but unwittingly gives her best friend the chance to pursue a dangerous...
    Included in THE BEST WOMEN'S STAGE MONOLOGUES 2017
    Bechdel Group Workshop 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 needs 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 Great Gaffe
    Published in THE BEST TEN-MINUTE PLAYS 2016
    Selected for the Monster Box Theatre 365 Women a Year Festival

    (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.
  • 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.
  • Most Wonderful
    (10 min) Two unemployed roommates learn the meaning of Christmas with help from a can of beans and some dental floss.
  • Emily's Room
    Selected for the Rover Dramawerks 365 Women a Year Festival 2019

    (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.
  • Quasars
    Included in THE BEST WOMEN'S STAGE MONOLOGUES (Smith and Kraus) and BEST CONTEMPORARY MONOLOGUES FOR WOMEN 18-35 (Applause Theatre & Cinema Books)

    (Full length) When sculptor Josh's wife Karen becomes 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...
    Included in THE BEST WOMEN'S STAGE MONOLOGUES (Smith and Kraus) and BEST CONTEMPORARY MONOLOGUES FOR WOMEN 18-35 (Applause Theatre & Cinema Books)

    (Full length) When sculptor Josh's wife Karen becomes 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. A play about the need for human connection and the uncertain comforts of faith and art.
  • Cage
    (Monologue) Thumper the pet rabbit describes their habit for the audience.
  • Juggling with Mr. Fields
    Kilroys List Nominee

    (Full length) In 1940s Hollywood wealthy, irreverent, nearly-alcoholic movie star W.C. Fields--shunned by film studios and eager for work--grudgingly hires a young English valet, while his live-in mistress and his rising-actor friend Anthony Quinn vie for his attentions. But new servant Rodney has a secret that will have shattering consequences, in this imagined look at the...
    Kilroys List Nominee

    (Full length) In 1940s Hollywood wealthy, irreverent, nearly-alcoholic movie star W.C. Fields--shunned by film studios and eager for work--grudgingly hires a young English valet, while his live-in mistress and his rising-actor friend Anthony Quinn vie for his attentions. But new servant Rodney has a secret that will have shattering consequences, in this imagined look at the hidden side of an iconic film star, and play about longing and belonging.
  • The Bookstore
    (10 min) A bored poetry book decides to make a little mischief.
  • The Gorilla
    Cast Iron Short Play Night Finalist 2019

    (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 surprising interest in Myra, she finds her life transforming--but for better or worse?
  • Complex Analysis
    (Full length) 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 inexperienced therapist whose sessions with Nathan quickly blur the lines between helping and harming.
  • The Mysterious Affair at the Christies
    Selected for the Rover Dramawerks 365 Women a Year Festival 2017

    (10 min) An imagined glimpse into mystery-writer Agatha Christie's troubled first marriage and the roots of her long career as a novelist.
  • 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.
  • Domestic Service
    Selected for White Mouse Theater Productions' 365 Women a Year Festival 2018

    (10 min) When 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.
  • First Day in Trade
    Published in THE BEST TEN-MINUTE PLAYS 2017
    Selected for the Rover Dramawerks 365 Women a Year Festival 2016

    (10 min) At a major New York publishing house an impoverished assistant learns that one of the world's richest women--editor Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis--might want to bum cigarettes from her. (Inspired by actual events)
  • Tomorrow or Next Year
    (5 min) Mackenzie wants to help. Caroline wants to forget. A play about growing up in today's United States.
  • Out
    Selected for Gi60's UK Edition 2019

    (1 min) A very short play about the frustrations of dog-ownership.
  • Shelved
    (10 min) 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.
  • Invisible
    (Monologue) Scout the dog explains the new invisible fence to a potential playmate.
  • Admiral Grace Hopper Revisits
    Selected for the Rover Dramawerks 365 Women a Year Festival 2018

    (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.
  • New Kitten
    Winner of ICWP's 3-Minute Play Contest 2019
    One-minute version selected for Gi60 US 2019

    (3 min) Maxine the cat is seriously pissed off--a new kitten has moved in and expects Maxine to share everything. A very short play about jealousy and transformation.
  • Circumnavigation
    (Monologue) Flash, a young goldfish, loves their new home. Really.
  • Parnormal Love
    Selected for the MTWorks Newborn Festival
    NEWvember Finalist

    (Full length) Kevin is dead and stuck in a boring afterlife with little to do but watch living people. When his former boyfriend 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 play about love, loss, and the power of memory. (Play...
    Selected for the MTWorks Newborn Festival
    NEWvember Finalist

    (Full length) Kevin is dead and stuck in a boring afterlife with little to do but watch living people. When his former boyfriend 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 play about love, loss, and the power of memory. (Play 1 in The Paranormal Trilogy)
  • I'm Not Malala
    (Monologue) Julia isn't Malala. But maybe Malala can help?
  • Bars
    (Monologue) Sky, a pet parakeet, has a request. Or two.
  • Belle, ex-wife of a Beast
    (Monologue) A former princess speaks.
  • Lion Cut
    (Monologue) Snowball the cat struggles with new ideas about human beings.
  • 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 for important news. But Jefferson's white daughter Martha wants vital information, and has information to share that could jeopardize mother and son.
  • A Piece of the Continent
    (10 min) Donald and Jared are having a bad day. And there's lots of water.