Chicago Writers Bloc
Welcome to the Chicago Writers Bloc Homepage!

Chicago Writers Bloc, is a play development group that focuses on presenting new plays developed in monthly sessions and regular new play festivals. Led by Joanne Koch, a widely produced playwright and Director of the National Louis University Master’s in Written Communication Program, CWB has brought over 250 new plays and musicals to Chicago area audiences with its festivals of new plays, supported in part by grants from the Dramatists Guild Fund, Inc. and by festival attendees and contributors.  Many of these plays have gone on to win local, national, and international prizes with productions locally and around the country, including off Broadway, East Coast, Midwest, West coast, and publications. Our thanks go to all our participating playwrights and our supporters, who by attending our Festivals contribute to the evolution of “Theater” throughout the Chicago area and beyond.  For additional information on the group, contact Joanne at


Name: Gerald H. Bailey (Composer)


Courting(2m & 2w)

This is a musical revue spoofing various courting rituals from early mythology to present day. Presented by The Live Theatre in Evanston, Illinois.

The Enchanted Island(6m & 2w – Some of the male roles can be played by women)

A TYA musical based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Produced professionally by The Peripatetic Task Force in Chicago, the University of Missouri – St. Louis Campus, and the Clayton Community Theatre in Richmond Heights, Missouri.

Parasol(4m & 5w)
Beautiful Bohemian immigrant Alma, now a spirit, must relive the capsizing of the Eastland and its aftermath in order to make amends for her sins and enter the River of Light. In 2012, the Parasollibretto was a semi-finalist in the Moondance International Film Festival. In 2015, the show was a finalist with The Chicago Musical Theatre Company. This show was also a finalist in the 2017 NYC Women's Work Festival. Parasolis a finalist in the Pallas Theatre Collective 2018 Tableread series.

Philip S. Bloch

Bitter End:A two-act adaptation of Rex Stout’s mystery novella. Set in November of 1940, the story involves industrial espionage, a hot-blooded murder, and the revenge of the world's greatest detective, Nero Wolfe. Wolfe’s assistant, Archie Goodwin, delves into the cutthroat world of the food industry. Ultimately, Nero Wolfe determines the truth behind this convoluted tale and delivers the villain into the hands of justice. 

Cronies, Cards, and Clay: A one-act play. Set in the years following the destruction of the World Trade Center. The audience discovers how Shloime, a divorced tailor, deals with old age, loneliness and a Bronx neighborhood that is not safe to walk in at night. He compensates by building a golem in his kitchen. Narrated by Katz, his feline companion,

Halloween with the Moralist: A one-act play. Set in present day Coudersport, Pennsylvania. All is fun and games with the Halloween edition of Miranda Vicar's radio advice program, until the last guest, a time traveler, calls in to reveal his predicament. Other callers include Lady Godiva, Beauregard (a newly undead vampire), the Headless Horseman, and Griffin, the Invisible Woman.

Chloe Bolan

Blizzard (one act) 3 M, 3 W

Three couples, trapped in their cars during a blizzard, discover revelations about each other they never suspected.  The play is now being expanded into a screenplay; shooting will begin in February 2019.

Parasol (full length musical) 5 W, 3 M  

The spirit of beautiful immigrant Alma must relive the Eastland capsizing, where 843 passengers drowned in the Chicago River in 1915, and cope with its aftermath in order to purify herself and move on to the River of Light. Composer George H. Bailey beautifully defines the emotional variants of the victims and survivors along Alma’s way. The play has been a finalist in more than three contests.

Love in the Time of Dementia (full length comedy) 5 W, 2 M

Former television soap opera star, Jade Marshall, adjusts to a nursing home by watching her reruns and never giving up her dream of finding true love. Along with Jade, young and middle-aged medical personnel in the nursing home also pursue love, all with various outcomes. This play was an O’Neill Conference semi-finalist in 2016.

Patrick Boylan


An award-winning journalist, Patrick began writing plays just a few years ago. He completed his first play in 2017. It was read at the 2017 Writers Bloc Festival. 

Silence is Like Honey in Your Mouth (2017)

An immigrant family confronts sexual abuse

1  Woman

3  Children (male)

4  Men

Wencke Braathen


Author of "Rituals in Sacred Stone",an historical novel about 

Mary Magdalene, following her education, her work in Jerusalem 

next to her husband, Yeshua, and her exile in France continuing teaching his message. Available on Amazon. 

Author of "Sex on the Altar",a fairy tale for grown ups where God has a problem; He's missing his wife. Through the help of a hapless older couple, who, unbeknownst to them, has an effect on everything through their lovelife, the Goddess finds her way back through the dimensions.

Available on Amazon. 

Working on the musical "Hell is Canceled!"where Archangel Michael comes down to Hell and tells Lucifer that his department has been liquidated. All sorts of complications occur when they discover an innocent soul who ended up in Hell by mistake. Also working on "The AND between Heaven and Earth" and "Stop feeding the aliens!", musicals in the making. 

Gerald Cole


Three of Gerald Cole’s available plays currently include:



A modern retelling of Shakespeare’s “As you Like It”

Full 2-act play.

4 women, 6 men



The Case of the Burning Tests

A modern Sherlock Holmes tale, written for high school students, starring Sherry Holmes and Winter Watson, young female versions of the famous sleuth.

A one hour long one act play.

4 women, 5 men, and 6 smaller roles



The Quiet Woman

A misogynist goes to a dating service to find the perfect woman and learns a lesson about himself in the process.

10-minute play.

2 women, 1 man


This script can be purchased at Heartland Plays ( 

June Finfer

The Glass House

Drama - 2 acts 2 men, 2 women When Dr. Edith Farnsworth hires architect Mies van der Rohe to design her country house, he seizes the opportunity to create the first glass and steel residence  in the world.  She wants solitude and beauty.  He wants to experiment with modern architecture.  One of them wins.  Philip Johnson complicates matters. Produced off Broadway New York 2010 starring Harris Uhlin.

Burnham’s Dream: The White City Musical

90 minutes 7 men, 3 women When Chicago wins its bid to host the Chicago World’s Fair Columbian Exposition of 1892, Daniel Burnham’s architectural firm is chosen to build it.   This is the true story behind the building of the Fair — the sacrifices made and the ambitions of architects, businessmen, workers, immigrants, women, and minorities. 

Book and lyrics  by June Finfer, Music and lyrics by Elizabeth Doyle

Produced 2018 at Theater Wit by Lost and Found Productions

What is This Thing Called Love?

One Act 3 men, 2 women Adapted from Tales of the Alhambra by Washington Irving. A young Muslim prince is kept ignorant of love because his father fears he will make foolish choices.  In a tower of the Alhambra, his Jewish tutor teaches him philosophy and science, but never mentions love.  The Prince breaks away, guided by a wise owl and other birds, and finds love with a lonely Christian princess in another country.    A comic tale perfect for Valentine’s Day.   Performed at Piven Theater, Chicago Writers Bloc Play Festival, 2016

See and

Barbara Georgans
Phone: 312-607-6054

Nobody Likes Retsina. 

A musical comedy that takes place in the 1930’s about two brothers who try to bootleg Retsina in order to marry off their daughters. Produced in 2011 at the Parthenon Restaurant.

Richard III Ole! 

A comedy about a man who’s trying to steal a valuable lamp that was supposedly used by Shakespeare while writing Richard III. Featured at the Chicago Writers Bloc Festival in 2017.

Oak Street Beach.

A drama that takes place the day that man first landed on the moon in 1969. It reflects a small step for man, and a giant leap backward for womankind. Politically, the struggles that women had in 1969 are the same ones we have today.

Hope Hommersand

Full Length Plays:

WHY GOOD THINGS HAPPEN TO BAD PEOPLE: comedy. three women, two men.

log line: A witch becomes a celebrity chef and a cleric discovers she has been leading an inauthentic life.“Festival of New Plays,” staged reading, Chicago Writers’ Bloc, Piven Theatre, Evanston, 2015.  “New Works Playwrights’ Festival,” staged reading, Premiere Theatre, Aurora, 2015. “Next Draft,” staged reading, Three Cat Productions, Berger Park Theatre, Chicago, 2016.

“Directors Workshop,” Theatre of Western Springs, 2019.

Semifinalist: Inkslinger Playwriting Competition, Southeastern Louisiana University, 2017.

PENUMBRA: drama. three women, four men.

log line: A homeless man and the CFO of an investment bank begin to stalk each other when a woman they know is found dead under mysterious circumstances.

“New Work Festival,” staged reading, Three Cat Productions, Berger Park Theatre, Chicago, 2014.“Chicago Playwrights and Their Plays,” seminar, Newberry Library, Chicago, July 5, 2016.   

REHEARSING THE CHERRY ORCHARD: comedy. two women, four men.

log line: A game of one upmanship sends the members of a production company on an emotional roller coaster ride through a landscape of egos, superegos, alter egos and ids.

Chicago Dramatists, staged reading, Saturday Series, 2012. “Northern Writes New Play Festival,” staged reading, Penobscot Theatre, Bangor, Maine, 2011.  “Chicago Playwrights and Their Plays,” seminar, Newberry Library, Chicago, 2013.

Finalist: Rover Dramawerks, Plano, TX, 2016. Robert J. Pickering Award for Playwriting Excellence, Coldwater, MI. 2011.

Joanne Barbara Koch

Raunchy Little Musical   1W 1M

Belle Barth, edgy comic whose comedy records sold in the millions, sings and jokes through a life that included 5 marriages, with one actor playing the many men in her life. Previous productions Chicago, Theo Ubique Theater, Candlewood Playhouse in Tampa, Florida & Landmark Theater in Port Washington, New York.

American Klezmer3 W 6 M

Two sisters leave the old country and join the members of a klezmer band to make their way in 1910 America in this engaging musical. Previous production in Los Angeles, Egyptian Arena Theater and workshops at Crown Theater in L.A.

Nesting Dolls 3W 3M

True story of a woman recovering from childhood trauma and the therapist who led her out of PTSD hell.

Productions in Chicago at Zebra Crossing Theater, toured to Ohio, Michigan, Northwestern University, Kalamazoo College and Harper College funded by grants and at Southern Illinois University, broadcast on local PBS stations. 

Contact: Joanne Koch, Website

Joan Kufrin

Dinner At 1800 Hours by Joan Kufrin

The peace activist parents of lawyer Meredith Echols and the second-generation Marine parents of Lieutenant Bill Grimes meet (collide) for the first time at the couple’s engagement dinner, but a delay in the meal, too many drinks, and soon opinions loudly voiced by frozen minds and hardened hearts about cut and run, 911, Peace Corps, traitors, Vietnam, My Lai—threaten to sabotage the engaged couple’s effort to build a new family.

3W, 3M, one set

Developed with Chicago Dramatists

Here Lie the Demons by Joan Kufrin

Lili Learned, a sexy, delectable woman in her 40s, strides onstage and for an hour and half, as she relives her “f-d up” life from age 18 to 68, including the Korea, Vietnam and Iraq wars that impacted her and every man in her life, we also see, over the course of the play, her transformation from a teenager into a mature woman who has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to erase one of the major mistakes of her life…if she chooses to.     

2W,4M (one double-roled)

Winner of Theatre Conspiracy annual competition,  World Premiere and 4-week run, Fould’s Theatre, Fort Myers, Florida

The Messenger by Joan Kufrin

Unremarkable, unmarried Angela, 35, is caregiver to her demanding, aging parents when her attraction to a good-looking stranger her father’s age transforms her plainness into radiance--and propels the family into stopping the budding May-December romance. 

3W, 2M,  one set

Production – Lake Wales Little Theater – 3 week run – Lake Wales,  Florida

Blake Levinson


BY REASON OF SANITY: Obsessed with the parallels between the brutalities of Colonial Africa and her own domestic violence, a white American social worker crosses the boundaries of therapy protocol by encouraging her battered client to rise up against her abusive boyfriend. 

Inspired by true stories, this 2-person, psychological drama was selected for staged readings by the Chicago Dramatists’ Saturday Series and the Writers' Block Festival of New Plays at Next Theater. In addition, it had staged readings at Dominican University's Graduate School of Social Work and the College of Lake County as part of their training programs for mental health care professionals.


THE LOST BAR MITZVAH SPEECH OF JESUS: While at its heart is a surprisingly poignant story of a family-in-crisis, this black comedy about Jesus's early life is a satirical sendup of both Christianity and Judaism that asks the question of the ages: What is truth? 

In addition to its selection for staged readings at the Chicago Dramatists’ Saturday Series and the Writers' Block Festival of New Plays at Piven Theater, the original 10-minute version had a production at Three Cat Productions Holiday Festival of Short Plays.

PARAGRAPH 5-  Inspired by real events in Chicago during the 1950s, this is a drama about the unscrupulous, real estate speculators who used misleading home sales contracts to cheat thousands of Black families out of their homes and savings, which is still happening to this very day. 

PARAGRAPH 5 was chosen for staged readings at the Chicago Dramatists’ Saturday Series and the Writers' Block Festival of New Plays.


Paul Edward Pasulka

La Maestra  (Baroque artist Artemisia Gentileschi) 2F/2M

Anna O. (Bertha Papenheim and the birth of psychoanalysis) 2F/4M

Gruoch or Lady Macbeth (A magically-realistic take on Macbeth's 14 year old wife). Produced by Death and Pretzels. 3F/1M

Francesca Peppiatt

The True Story of CinderElla erful woman won't bend to the beauty myth so she can follow her own dream. This play was a finalist in the Inde Boots Play Festival in Chicago and was recently included in a short play anthology book.

Seven come Eleven (minutes)  - 3 women - 3 men - Seven short comedy plays exploring social, political and family matters - Four of the plays were included in the invitation only "One Minute Play Festival" and three of the plays appeared in the StockyardsTheatre Project political comedy festival playing to sold out houses in Chicago.

Treasure Island - musical adaptation of the legendary adventure novel. The play was created to utilize a cast of 10 (with double casting) or as large of a cast as available (open casting). Female roles were created and enlarged to bring the story a new perspective. 

Sam Radom

Carole White and the Seven Deadly Sins reveals the forty-eight hours when the Sins try to turn a teetering soul over to hell, by having her break all Ten Commandments. 4W, 6M.


The original production opened in January of 2008, at the Gorilla Tango Theater, in Chicago.

Richard Reardon


Richard is a playwright in residence at the Three Brothers Theater Company and has been awarded a residency at the prestigious Ragdale Foundation. His work is featured at the MonologueBank internet site and has received staged reading by Chicago Writers’ Bloc and by members of the Black Box Academy.


Saturn’s Return:

A lesbian and gay couple must face the unimaginable task of planning funerals for their teenage children killed in the same auto accident. Through soul searching, the illusion of memory, and the unexpected grace of strangers, these couples grapple with their gravitational grief only to rediscover their unending capacity to love.  

4 male roles

5 female roles



Over one weekend in the tight confines of a Flatbush apartment, a character in the midst of her transition must interpret the apparent betrayal of her lover and the possible interests of a troubled stranger. Is this an ending or the beginning of something entirely new?

1 transgender role

2 Cis male roles


Down The Rabbit Hole:

In the basement of Wonderland Productions, on the two-hundredth anniversary of the birth of Alice Liddell, her great-great grandson, Alistair, must face the high costs of parenthood in an England where abortions have been made illegal.

4 male roles

1 female role

Beverly Rosen

I'm Near Niagara
A full length comedy about a young man's bizarre attempts to get his father's approval. 
Two women three men.

I'm Near Niagara received productions at the Snowmass Repertory Theatre in Colorado.
Colorado Mountain College.
Atruim Theater in Chicago. 

When The Bough Breaks is a full length play about a son who is petrified to tell his widowed mother she has been left penniless.
Two women three men.

The English Teacher
A ten minute comedy about a daughter discovering that hidden behind her mother's perfect syntax is a shocking secret. 
Two women.

Bill Teitelbaum


         Was the Holocaust necessary? Hitler himself insists it was, as well as inevitable. What are any of us, he asks, without our enemies?

Ground Zero

         Among the casualties of 9-11 was the marriage of Arnold and Harriet Beck. Now, twenty years later, they ask if the divorce was worth its cost.


         A trilogy of darkly comedic one-acts about the first monarchs of Canaan—“The Death of Saul,” “David and Bathsheba,” and “The Wisdom of Solomon.”

Contact the author by email at the address above or his representative, S. Nogan, at 202-300-1767.

Gayle Ann Weinstein (Gail Duberchin)

Raizel’s Return

In contemporary Chicago, a young mother-to-be, against the wishes of her rabbi husband, obtains an ancient amulet to protect their inborn baby from LILITH--demon queen of Gehenna (Hell). When the baby is stillborn, LILITH sets in motion a plan to steal the soul of the two innocents, using the mother as bait when her soul sinks to Gehenna. Chaos abounds as GOD and LILITH vie for possession of these two souls. After a struggle, both innocents return to the living.

Meet Me On The Corner

A desperate 18 year-old recent immigrant from Poland is hired by a wealthy textile shop owner who falls in love instantly and asks the girl to marry him, changing the trajectory of her life.

2 men, 2 women

Shlomo and the General

Shlomo, a Jew, is conscripted into the Russian army as a clerk for a high-ranking general. When Shlomo is asked to convert to Christianity, he devises a plan to escape to America.

3 men, 1 woman

Website Builder