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 a production in Chicago at Pride Films and Plays was named one of the best of 2014 by the Chicago Tribune.  The Gravedigger's Lullaby had its off-Broadway world premiere in March of 2017 by TACT at Theatre Row, and following a workshop in 2017, i had its world premiere in February 2018 at Pioneer Theatre Company.  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; 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 Grove 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.”, 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.", 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 go to Dramatic Publishing's website.

For photos and video from 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.", 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



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.

For more information on licensing the play for production, please contact Ben Izzo at

For photos and video from i, please click HERE .

Some press for i:

"With a small cast of only four people and a single letter title, Jeff Talbott’s play "i" might seem small, but the issues it addresses are big and relatable.  . . . Subtle and witty commentary on how the world interacts with technology and the possibilities and dangers of its evolution serve as an intriguing lead to the story, but the intense and emotional dialogue about the complexities of human relationships is what really connects the audience to her story and gives it meaning.  . . . Compelling  . . .  "i" offers a big truth for audiences to walk away with."
--Deseret News, Aubrey Eyre

"In truth, there are not any “i” plot details that can be revealed, without spoiling audiences’ enjoyment as the playwright’s intentions are slowly, cleverly, wondrously revealed.  . . . "i" is a complete delight. . . . Surprising for its originality and intriguing for its structure, “i” is deeply gratifying theater."
--Broadway World, Blair Howell

"Elements of science fiction weave their way through the story, but like the best science fiction, the high-concept premise really becomes a way to explore something about humanity in an allegorical way.  . . . Talbott’s script is sharp and perceptive, savvy about the ways that technological advances inevitably come with consequences . . . While it might be unfair to say too much to a potential viewer about what "i" is about, it’s the kind of thought-provoking theater that’s exactly right for the kind of person who’s willing to turn themselves over to the artists. Maybe that’s a perfect summary for a play that wrestles with taking a risk on what you know, and what you don’t know."
--City Weekly, Scott Renshaw

"Gripping . . . "i" defies genre labeling and yet feels familiar; it is engaging and thought-provoking . . . The most moving, accurate and impassioned portrayal of absolute heartache that I have ever seen on a stage . . . It isn't every day a new play makes you really consider some heavy and heady questions, and it's even rarer when questions are posed without an agenda. "i" asks a lot, but it never tells you what you should think or how you should feel." 
--Utah Theatre Bloggers, Megan Crivello

"A magnificent mind game about memory and identity. . . . The writing is key to the power of this production; it is stark, careful, and has all of the idiosyncrasies of human communication. . . . "i" i thrusts us into every character’s emotional landscape and we love the experience. . . . I can't recommend this show enough; I left knowing that I had experienced something special, something magical, something rare in theatre. This show is a revelation.
--Front Row Reviewers Utah, Jason & Alisha Hagey

"I keep thinking about [it] . . . The story’s themes will spark interesting conversations for theatergoers about love and loss and memory."
--Salt Lake Tribune, Ellen Fagg Weist

"[This play] has lovely nuances, excellent dialogue and feints and clever turns of phrase.  . . . "i" is special. It gives you a lot to think about, and will keep you interested."
--Salt Lake Magazine, Jeremy Pugh


For further information or perusal copies of the plays below, please contact Ben Izzo at

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.

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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 2 a.m. and Davis is awake again. His father, years into affliction with Alzheimer's, has moved in with him, and the cracks are starting to show. What started as a bad idea is quickly falling apart, and his boyfriend and best friends want to help, if only he'd let them. 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 workshops and readings at TACT and Route 66 Theatre.


Joseph Cook

2 women, 2 men

Beatrice Cook has returned to her small Western Nebraska town to tend to her dying father. Her brother Donnelly has just arrived, and the siblings have very different ideas of what tending to dad might mean. They love each other, but don’t actually know each other all that well. They don’t talk much, but that doesn’t separate them from any of the people in the tiny little town (and complicated childhood) they both fled as soon as they could flee. Now they're back, and taking halting steps toward each other and facing a reckoning with not just who they once were to each other, but (more importantly) who they might become to each other once it’s just the two of them.



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.