Plays.

Jeff's play The Submission was the inaugural winner of the Laurents/Hatcher Award, given each year to an emerging playwright for writing challenging, topical American plays.  The play was subsequently produced off-Broadway by MCC Theater, directed by Tony Award-winner Walter Bobbie and starred Jonathan Groff, Rutina Wesley, Eddie Kaye Thomas and Will Rogers.  It went on to win the Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award for Best New American Play.  It has since been produced all over the country, and in 2014 a production in Chicago at Pride Films and Plays was named one of the best of 2014 by the Chicago Tribune.  His play The Gravedigger's Lullaby had its off-Broadway world premiere in March of 2017 by TACT at Theatre Row.  His other plays include Three Rules for the Dragon, which had a workshop reading in June of 2016 at Premiere Stages and has had developmental readings at Premiere Stages, Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, Colt Coeur and MCC; it was a finalist for the 2016 O'Neill Playwrights Conference; i, which had a workshop in January of 2017 at Pioneer Theatre Company and will be produced there in February of 2018; Civics and Humanities for Non-Majors, which was commissioned by Montclair State University and will be produced there in April of 2018; A Public Education, which has had workshops/readings at Pioneer Theatre Company and off-Broadway's TACT and was a finalist for the 2015 O'Neill Playwrights Conference; All the Stars in the Midnight Sky, which also had a workshop at TACT; Elliot, which has had developmental readings at Crowded Outlet and MCC; and How to Build a City, which has had developmental readings at Route 66 Theatre and TACT.  He lives in NYC, and writes musicals with Will Van Dyke.  They are currently working on a commission for Grover Entertainment and Barbara Whitman Productions.  For more information on his musical writing, please click HERE.

If you want more information on his plays, please see below.

 

The Submission

3 men, 1 woman

Danny has written a complex new drama about an African-American family trying to get out of the Projects, and it has just been selected for the nation's preeminent play festival.  Problem is:  Danny, a young white playwright, submitted the work under a pen name in the hope of increasing its chances for production.  So he hires Emilie, a black actress, to stand in for him as author.  What starts as a terrible idea becomes more and more terrible as Danny drags Emilie, his boyfriend, and his best friend down a long a dirty path of truth, lies, revelation and betrayal.  A fiercely funny and intelligent new comic drama about the words we use to describe each other -- and the things we'll do to get what we want.

For more information on licensing the play for production, please go to Samuel French's website.

For photos and video from some of the productions of The Submission, please click HERE.

Some press for The Submission:

“THE SUBMISSION is a raw, unsentimental play about race and gender that exposes the quiet prejudice and intolerance among even our most progressive thinkers. It is both uncomfortable and impossible to not watch. . . . As for Talbott, it's a pleasure to see what he's capable of.”
--AP, Mark Kennedy

“Fearless, whip-smart, and hyperarticulate, Talbott's incendiary political comedy-drama asks hard questions about our supposedly post-racial world.  . . .  THE SUBMISSION is an important play.  It makes you stop and think.”
--Backstage, Erik Haagensen

“A viewing of THE SUBMISSION is bound to be one of the most electrically-charged theatre outings of the season.”
--Broadwayworld.com, Michael Dale

“[A] fiercely intelligent drama.”
--Gay City News, David Kennerley

“Jeff Talbott’s THE SUBMISSION is incendiary, offensive, controversial and wonderfully inviting of debate . . . grabs the audience and doesn’t let go for 100 minutes."
--Hollywood Soapbox, Joe Soltes

“THE SUBMISSION reveals newcomer Jeff Talbott as a promising playwright with a flair for natural-sounding conversation and a keen eye for characters.”
--New Jersey Newsroom, Michael Sommers

“THE SUBMISSION [is a] sharp and enjoyable serious comedy [by] bright new playwright Jeff Talbott.”
--Newsday, Linda Winer

“The actor and playwright Jeff Talbott has delivered a serious drama about a hot-button political topic—a spiky, funny message play called THE SUBMISSION.”
--The Observer, Jesse Oxfeld

“It's a daring piece of writing [and] proves to be a riveting affair. . . . [a] play that will most likely have audiences talking for weeks and months to come."
--Theatremania.com, Andy Probst

“[A] sharp, punchy dramedy."
--Time Out NY, David Cote

“Sharp-edged, fast, frequently funny, and extremely well-realized.”
--The Village Voice, Michael Feingold

 

The Gravedigger's Lullaby

3 men, 1 woman

Baylen is a gravedigger, a working-class man trying to keep food on the table in a world where other people make the rules.  There’s a baby who can’t sleep at home, and plenty of holes to be dug.  But a chance encounter with a rich young man may bring the hope of a different life.  What will Baylen do?  The Gravedigger's Lullaby is a bold and gripping new contemporary drama about a time that has passed.  And how little things have changed.

The Gravedigger's Lullaby has had developmental workshops/readings at TACT and Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

For more information on licensing the play for production, please contact Ben Izzo at ben.izzo@abramsart.com.

For photos and video from some of the productions of The Gravedigger's Lullaby, please click HERE.

Some press for The Gravedigger's Lullaby:

“Sensational!  You'll be mesmerized by it."
--Broadway Radio, Peter Filichia

“Poignant.  A core of honest emotion.  Its heart is always in the right place."
--New York Times, Ken Jaworowski

“Highest recommendation.  A beautiful original play that I've not seen the likes of on any stage."
--Back on the Block, Doug Strassler

“A thoughtful and articulate depiction of those subsisting on the bottom rungs of society.  Gripping.  Borders on classic tragedy.  Vibrates with an up-to-the-minute resonance."
--TheaterScene.com, Ron Cohen

"An admirable production.  Poetical, theatrical and powerful.  Emotionally intricate and heartrending."
--Curtain Up, Charles Wright

"[B]elievable, deep, layered human stories are revealed by the playwright.  The world in this play is specific, charming, fearsome, intimate and haunting.  A marvelous creation."
--Theater Pizzazz, Martha Wade Steketee

“A highly original treasure.  Playwright Jeff Talbott assures his place in the current list of important writers for the theatre.  A remarkable cast of four brings it all to vivid life.  It's a winner."
--DC Metro Theatre Arts, Richard Seff

"Searing . . . remarkable . . . gripping scenes.  [A] startlingly different work from a still-developing playwright who remains highly interesting."
--Lighting and Sound America, David Barbour

 

For further information or perusal copies of the plays below, please contact Ben Izzo at ben.izzo@abramsart.com.

i

3 women, 1 man

Sarah is having a rough time.  She’s trying to shake it, but it’s not easy.  She’s got a new doctor and she’s met a nice guy named Jake, so things are looking up.  And Jake’s having a hard time, too.  Together, Sarah and Jake are trying to find their way to each other – and maybe, just maybe, to some of that happiness we’ve heard so much about.  A mysterious love story about the threads that tie us together, i is a gentle and unsettling new play set a couple days after tomorrow.

i will receive its world premiere production at Pioneer Theatre Company in Salt Lake City, Utah February 16 - March 3, 2018.

 

 

Civics and Humanities for Non-Majors

7 women, 5 men

Yasmine and Nick are forming action groups in two different universities.  They've surrounded themselves with like-minded folks and are getting ready to lay down some rules of governance.  But what seemed so easy in theory is proving to be a completely different story in practice.  Tempers flare and words fly, but none of them seem to be ending up on paper.  Two stories.  One story.  Their story.  Our story.  A thorny comic drama about getting things started.

Civics and Humanities for Non-Majors was commissioned by Montclair State University in Montclair, New Jersey as part of their New Works Initiative program, and will receive its world premiere there April 18-22, 2018.

File Sep 11, 10 38 47 AM.jpeg

 

A Public Education

3 men, 3 women

Luke Paxton is a high school math teacher and the new guy in the faculty room.  He's ready to teach, but completely unprepared for the other teachers; not to mention the nasty things somebody's been posting on the web.  Based on interviews with dozens of teachers working today, A Public Education puts you right into the trenches with five complicated, deeply human teachers and one troubled student.  Welcome to high school, where an education comes in ways you can never see coming.

A Public Education was a finalist for the 2015 O'Neill Playwrights Conference.  It has had developmental workshops at Pioneer Theatre Company and TACT.

 

All the Stars in the Midnight Sky

4 women, 1 man

All the Stars in the Midnight Sky is the story of two very different unplanned pregnancies.  Kelsey and Trish have some big questions to answer, and not just the ones about babies.  But a lot can happen in nine months, and if you let it, a lot can change.  A comic drama about mothers and daughters, and maybe, just maybe, finding happiness where you least expect it.

All the Stars in the Midnight Sky has had developmental readings/workshops at MCC Theater and TACT.

 

Three Rules for the Dragon

2 men, 1 woman, 1 child

Douglas Barnes has a job.  It's not the job his wife thinks he has.  Doug is the guy who gets information out of people by any means necessary.  But balancing his work life and his home life is taking its toll on him, as one particularly hard-to-crack detainee is making it hard for him to concentrate at home or in life.  Three Rules for the Dragon is an intense and probing new drama about two men locked in the eternal struggle to get information, and the marriage that hangs in the balance between them.

Three Rules for the Dragon was a finalist for the 2016 O'Neill Playwrights Conference and has had developmental workshops and readings at Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, Colt Coeur,  Premiere Stages and MCC Theater.

Premiere Stages Workshop - June 2016

Premiere Stages Workshop - June 2016

 

How to Build a City

4 men, 1 woman

It's the middle of the night, and Davis has something on his mind.  Months ago, he agreed to let his Alzheimer's-afflicted father move in with him when his mom couldn't do it anymore.  But it's proving to be a tougher job than he expected, and he's having a hard time leaning on his friends to make it work.  And his boyfriend is starting to lose long-held patience with the situation.  So here it is, 2 a.m., and Davis is trying to work it out through his sleep-deprived eyes.  How to Build a City is a serious comedy about the family we have and the family we make, and how to recognize they're exactly the same thing.

How to Build a City has had developmental readings at Route 66 Theatre and TACT.

 

Elliot

4 men, 2 women

Elliot is a clock-puncher, looking for the end of the day and a margarita with his co-workers to celebrate one more day on the job.  But Elliot has secrets.  Elliot isn't what he seems.  And everybody is about to find out, one way or the other.  Look out everybody.  Here comes Elliot, a black-as-ink and shocking comedy/drama about how little we know each other, and the cost of actually trying to fix that problem.

Elliot has had developmental readings at Crowded Outlet and MCC Theater.