Chicago Writers Bloc

Available Plays

Below is a list of available plays, arranged by playwright.  For more information about any of the playwrights, visit our Playwright Member Bios page.  To get in touch with Writers Bloc about any of the plays, please email info@chicagowritersbloc.orgor email the playwrights directly if their email is listed below.

Available Plays

To obtain copies of any of the plays in the 2017 festival listed below, or the plays in the previous 2015 festival, please email Joanne Koch,  Some other available plays are listed below with the emails of the playwrights.
All plays begin at 7:30 p.m.

Monday, July 17
Mammaries by Joanne Koch 
Memories of romance, children and loss are packed into this short drama about physical and relationship pairs.

 The Yellow Room Murders by Hope Bell 
During the rehearsal of An Ideal Husband, by Oscar Wilde someone collapses and appears to be dying. 
Director for both, Francesca Peppiatt

Tuesday, July 18
I’m Near Niagara by Bev Rosen – Director, Terry Artner
This comic-drama concerns the bizarre actions of a young man desperately searching for his father’s approval. 

Wednesday, July 19
Jimmy Pays His Debts by Patrick Boylan – Director, Michael Wagman
A three-act drama set in Chicago 1963. An Irish Catholic working-class family confronts a sexual assault by relying on old saws to guide their actions.

Monday, July 24
Hope Deferred by Brenda Castile Munoz – Director, Wilson Cain
Shanice and Jeff are 18, in love, and looking forward to a bright future when the unexpected happens.

Tuesday, July 25
Drowning by John Janso – Director, Patricia Tinsley
A father and son spend the anniversary of the mother’s tragic death attempting to finally move on from her passing, while at the same time trying to salvage their own fractured relationship.

 Monday, July 31
Love in the Time of Dementia by Chloe Bolan – Director, Paul Tinsley
A witty take on relationships in later life.

Tuesday, August 1
Men Around the World by Judy Veramendi – Director, Gerald H. Bailey
An international SEX AND THE CITY, shares true tales from my life as an innocent broad abroad, moving from naivete into enlightenment.

Wednesday, August 2 
In the Land of Enchantment by Frank Friedlander – Director, Richard Paro
Once Upon a Mattress meets My Fair Lady when a discontented workaholic is swept into a whimsical kingdom as a reluctant suitor for a rakish young prince. 

Monday, August 7
The Tempest Within by Paul Pasulka, who will also direct
Five actors are invited to a desert island for two-week auditions for the world-famous, mysterious, and extremely secretive Mr. Director. 

Tuesday, August 8
Richard III Ole! by Barbara Georgans – Director, Joan Mazzonelli
This comedy has everyone scrambling to find a coveted jewel, encrusted lamp a gift from Queen Elizabeth I to Shakespeare so he could write Richard III by night.  

Wednesday, August 9
With Apologies to Dracula by Blake Levinson – Director, Breahan Pautsch
In 1957, after uncovering the secret that thousands of Black homeowners in Chicago are being legally swindled out of their property, a white attorney’s quixotic crusade leads to a devastating end for himself and his family.

Monday, August 14
Two one-acts by Phil Bloch – Director, Tanise Robnett
Cronies, Cards, and Clay: Building a golem in his kitchen staves off loneliness for one divorced senior . 
Halloween with the Moralist: All is fun and games with the Halloween edition of Miranda Vicar's radio advice program, until the time traveler calls.

Tuesday, August 15
Reading Anna K. by Fran Zell – Director, Jennifer Thompson
A decision to read Anna Karenina sets the three female members of an assisted living book club on edge. A recently widowed male newcomer, steeped in Leo Tolstoy’s great novel, sends their relationships swirling out of control.

Monday, May 4 - 7 p.m. Benefit Night: Joanne Koch and Barbara Georgans present A TRIBUTE TO JOHN SPARKS, honoring his leading role, as Artistic Director of Midwest New Musicals and Theatre Building Chicago, in the creation of hundreds of new musicals emanating from Chicago with hit songs from Koch’s BELLE BARTH: IF I EMBARRASS YOU TELL YOUR FRIENDS and Georgans’ NOBODY LIKES RETSINA.  The evening also features food and drink, a raffle, silent auction, and gifts of tickets from leading Chicago theaters.  Joan Mazzonelli, Festival Coordinator and a producer at Midwest New Musicals, will direct the Tribute.
Tuesday, May 5 - 8 p.m.  June Finfer’s WHAT IS THIS THING CALLED LOVE?  Adapted from Tales of The Alhambra. A Moorish prince’s father keeps him locked in a tower to keep him from learning about love/sex to prepare him for his future responsibilities until...the prince learns the language of birds.
Wednesday, May 6 - 8 p.m.  Chloe Bolan’s one act plays: BLIZZARD - 3 couples trapped in their cars discover they have to worry more about their companions than the weather.  THE UNCERTAINTY PRINCIPLE -  2 cats blithely discuss topics from quantum physics to gourmet cat food until discovering their owner’s new plans. 
Monday, May 11 - 8 p.m.  Zan Skolnick’s JONAH’S  LOVE.  Soon to be married Jonah seeks to save his sister from an unhappy home situation.  Greek tragedy in a once middle-class, fatherless family.  Presented by AstonRep Ensemble.
Tuesday, May 12 - 8 p.m.  Southern Illinois University graduate student Kristen Easton’s GIRLS WITH BODIES.  How can young women learn to love their bodies if they’re not what the media consider “hot” or gorgeous?  This coming of age play offers true stories providing a range of answers that work.
Wednesday, May 13 - 8 p.m.  Southern Illinois University graduate student Jaclyn Grogan’s LAST SEEN ALICE.  Living in a magical R.V. park, Alice tries to return to the place by the river with the red rocks...not easy to do in an ever-changing environment.  The question is: can you ever go back?
Monday, May 18 - 8 p.m.  Hope Hommersand’s WHY GOOD THINGS HAPPEN TO BAD PEOPLE.  Vivian, a cleric in crisis because she cannot frame a sermon on the title’s topic, is invited to relax at an island cottage with married  friends. Will the strange behavior of the cottage owner help Vivian resolve her dilemma?  And what role is played by the island’s legendary ghost? 
Tuesday, May 19 - 8 p.m. Bev Rosen’s STOP THE PRESS!  Press has a double meaning here, as a family copes with unfriendly media attacks.  Comedy tonight.
Wednesday, May 20 - 8 p.m.  Thomas Weber’s GENOMENON.  In this comedy a young idealist finds an opportunity to realize his convictions by sabotaging a biotech startup.  His choice is complicated by the founder’s daughter.
Tuesday, May 26 - 8 p.m.  Judy Veramendi’s ALEGRIAS Y LAGRIMAS--HAPPINESS AND TEARS...intertwines the riveting stories of Latin American immigrants to the U.S. with lively dances from their countries of origin.
Wednesday, May 27 - 8 p.m.  Nic Hamel’s TURKEY BOYS. The heartbreaking true story of a group of mentally disabled men discovered living in neglect and squalor in a rural Iowa town.  Their plight turned a small town scandal into a national disgrace.
Monday, June 1- 8 p.m.  National Louis University graduate student Frank Friedlander’s THE OLD BALL GAME. Way before the Chicago Cubs became “loveable losers,” the team began life as the cream of the National League.  Led by gritty Adrian “Cap” Anson and flamboyant Michael “King” Kelly, the team was poised for greatness.  This fact based comedy shows how this late 19th century odd couple derailed what might have been baseball’s first dynasty.
Tuesday, June 2 - 8 p.m.  Blake Levinson’s THE LOST BAR MITZVAH SPEECH OF JESUS.  This black comedy focuses on a pimply-faced Jewish kid named Jesus whose impending Bar Mitzvah has him obsessing – how will he avoid throwing up while delivering his speech and how will he write it while wrestling with nagging questions of faith and self-worth.
Wednesday, June 3 - 8 p.m.  Three short plays by Gerald Cole: THE BALANCE MUST BE PAID. President Lincoln, while deciding the fate of a young army deserter, encounters a trio of spirits who offer their perspectives of the Civil War.  THE QUIET WOMAN. A man searching for a perfect match meets a woman who appreciates his humor, but is most of all- quiet.  SOAP OPERA.  Butch, is just released from a long stretch in prison.  But does he know about the money?  What happened to his son (if it was really his son)?  And what about the Green Bay Packers?
Monday, June 8 - 8 p.m.  Two one-acts by recent graduates of the National Louis University’s Master’s in Written Communication Program.  Bernadette Jones’ A TILTED WORLD in which a mother and daughter desperately struggle to forgive each other despite wounds from past adversities, and Jai Love’s ANSWER MY PRAYERS, that chronicles the journey of a young woman searching for a  perfect balance of love and family.
Tuesday, June 9 - 8 p.m.  The Chicago Writers Bloc (CWB) is proud to announce, as a part of its New Play Festival 2015, the reading of a new Nero Wolfe play based on Rex Stout's novella, Bitter End. In attendance at this event will be Rebecca Stout Bradbury, Rex Stout's daughter and manager of his literary estate, and Robert Goldsborough, the Chicago author entrusted with carrying on the Nero Wolfe series.

The stories of detective Nero Wolfe and his associate, Archie Goodwin, have entertained the public since 1934. This play, set in November of 1940, involves industrial espionage, a hot-blooded murder, and the revenge of the world's greatest detective, Nero Wolfe. Archie Goodwin will delve into the complex and cutthroat world of the food industry, and the lives of the corporate bigwigs who bring tragedy to everyone they touch. Upon reporting the facts to his boss, Nero Wolfe will determine the truth behind this convoluted tale and deliver the villain into the hands of justice.
Chicago writer, Philip S. Bloch, known for his short fiction and one-act plays, was delighted to take on the challenge of creating this stage adaptation. Terry McCabe, the Artistic Director of the City Lit Theater Company of Chicago, will draw upon over 30 years of directing experience to make this a thrilling evening of mystery.
Bitter End is only the second Nero Wolfe play ever developed. This reading will be at the Piven Theater (Evanston) for one night only, June 9 at 8 p.m. After the reading, fans of the mysteries of Rex Stout will have the opportunity to speak with Rebecca Stout Bradbury and Robert Goldsborough, and meet with those involved in the play’s production.

Wednesday, June 10 - 8 p.m.  Jill Elaine Hughes’ THE MAN UPSTAIRS.  Contemporary white privilege is laid waste in this drama, when a Caucasian woman and her Cantonese husband buy a condo in a gentrifying Chicago neighborhood.  Their world view is turned upside down by their African-American neighbor resulting in a tug-of-war between their liberal ideologies and their own deep buried prejudices
    Chicago Writers Bloc, is a play development group led by Evanstonian Joanne Koch, a  widely produced  playwright and Director of the National Louis University Master’s in Written Communication Program.  Supported, in part, by the Dramatists Guild Fund, Inc., CWB during the past 15 years has brought hundreds of new plays and  musicals to fruition.  Many of these plays have gone on to win local, national, and international prizes with productions locally and around the country. “Our thanks go to all our supporters, who by attending our Festivals contribute to the evolution of “Theater” throughout the Chicago area and beyond.  

THIS PAGE IS CURRENTLY UNDER CONSTRUCTION.  Check back frequently for updates.

Plays by CHLOE BOLAN (
EASTLAND SECRETS. Beautiful immigrant Alma, who helped with the rescue of 1915’s Eastland Disaster where over 800 people drowned, returns from the beyond to the Chicago River to review her life and find the obstacle that keeps her from crossing into spiritual evolution.  4M, 5W
MONSIEUR KIKI. Monsieur Kiki, a truffle-hunting pig, hunts for the last truffle of the season so his adored 16 year old keeper, Monique, can buy shoes to dance with 17 year old Phillippe; while the pork loving Narrator stalks him. 2W, 2M, 1 musician
ST. BLAISE WARS.  St. Blaise Nursing Home resident and former television star Jade Marshall, her overly responsible daughter, and quirky aide Zoe all face the thrill of new loves and the obstacles of old wars. 3M, 5W.

Plays by JOHN CONROY (
MY KIND OF TOWN. This play dramatizes 27 years' worth of events surrounding the Chicago police torture scandal, as originally investigated by Conroy in a series of articles for the Chicago Reader. This play has received staged readings with Chicago Writers Bloc, Steppenwold Theatre, and Northwestern University School of Law.  Recently featured in the New York Times.  5M, 4W, with doubling.

Plays by JUNE FINFER (
THE GLASS HOUSE. Sex and real estate are a powerful combination, especially when an ambitious architect and a high powered female physician try to create something totally new – a glass house.  Mies van der Rohe, Edith Farnsworth, and Philip Johnson parry and thrust in this play that speculates on the conflicts that arose in midcentury American architecture. 2W, 2M.  This play will receive its premiere production by Resonance Ensemble Theatre  at the Clurman Theatre on Theatre Row in New York City May 9 to June 5 in repertory with Ibsen's The Master Builder.  (See article in the New Yorker:
THE WHITE CITY. (written with Elizabeth Doyle). When Chicago wins the right to host the 1893 Columbian Exposition, America’s first great World’s Fair, the architect chosen to design and build it in record time, Daniel Burnham, finds that ambition is not enough – he needs lots of help from even those who oppose him.  Original music that could have been written in the Gay 90’s brings color and humor to a story of “making no little plans.”  3W, 7M, with doubling
"He and She." In this one-act play, a
young couple tries to accommodate to love and sharing a life together, in short scenes that focus on the conflicts that arise in even the most loving relationships. 1M, 1W

ARS ARMATORIA.  This drama explores what happens when a young woman involved in a love triangle seeks an abortion.  Cast: 1 W, 3 M, unit set.
CHECKMATE. Set in the 1970s, this play examines complex race relations and romance during a tulmutuous decade.  Cast: 1 W, 2 M, unit set.
THE HOLY INFIDEL.  Set during the Renaissance, this play follows the exploits of Dona Gracia is a wealthy Jewish woman who has escaped the Spanish Inquisition and come to live in Turkey as the guest of Suleiman the Magnificent, and her flamboyant matchmaking son-in-law, Joao Miquez. Cast: 1W, 2 M, unit set.

MIMIKA AND ANNA.  A contemporary Greek tragedy in which an American author returns to her ancestral home in Greece during the 1968 military takeover to find the hostile war has extended into her own family. 3W, 2M.
NOBODY LIKES RETSINA.  A musical comedy that takes place during the Great Depression when two Greek immigrant brothers try to sell bootleg Retsina while making deals to marry off their daughters. 6W, 8M.
SINCERELY YOURS. A musical comedy in which a New York publisher and his wife discover that there are no copyright laws to cover marital infidelity.  2W, 3M.

SEX MARKS THE SPOT. Two act farce explores political sex scandals, cover-ups, and media manipulation, while providing a fresh new look at gender stereotypes. 5M, 3F. Recently produced at Theatre Building Chicago, with a remount scheduled for June-July 2010, also at Theatre Building Chicago.
 A WIFE'S TALE.  One act monologue. What does a woman do when her husband of twenty years leaves her to pursue an alternative lifestyle? 1F.
BEDROOM FOLLIES. One-act farce about a married conventioneer wgo gets way more than he bargained for when he has a quickie with a woman he has picked up----who just so happens to be the wife of the local sheriff.  2M, 1F.

A MATTER OF CONVENIENCE. Culture clashes and unexpected romance occur between an East Indian immigrant family and an old-fashioned Southern white family in the American Deep South.  Comedy/drama. 3W, 4M, flexible unit set.  
THE MAN UPSTAIRS. Set in Chicago's Rogers Park neighborhood.  Janice Taylor-Leung, a thirtysomething Caucasian woman and her husband Walter Leung, a Cantonese immigrant from Hong Kong, find their world turned upside down by their African-American upstairs neighbor.  This play explores the dark side of contemporary American race relations. 4W, 2M, unit set.
INTELLIGENT DESIGN. Set during the Bush II era, this play examines what might happen if the White House imposed its "faith-based initiatives" onto the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).  Power plays, territory battles, and egos abound in a cash-strapped NAS lab that has recently made a massive evolutionary discovery.  4M, 2W, flexible set.  This play was a finalist for both the Christopher Brian Wolk Playwriting Award and the Julie Harris Playwriting Award.

Plays by JOANNE KOCH (
"Stardust." One-act winner of the National Nantucket Short Play Competition.  Two young people---one trusting, introspective and blind; the other suspicious, defensive and sighted----share a moment of intimacy and conflict. 1W, 1M.
BELLE BARTH: IF I EMBARRASS YOU, TELL YOUR FRIENDS.  Book by Joanne Koch, music by Ilya Levinson, lyrics by Owen Kalt. This Jeff-nominated original musical is an evening with the raunchy 1950s comedienne, dubbed "the female Lenny Bruce," whose recordings sold in the millions.  1W, 1M, 1 piano accompanist. 
AMERICAN KLEZMER. Book by Joanne Koch and Sarah Cohen, music by Ilya Levinson, lyrics by Owen Kalt.  Set in 1910 New York, this romantic immigrant tale is a musical about a band of musicians, and a woman who wants to sing in public.  Features the lively, celebratory Eastern European idiom known as "klezmer. 3W, 5M.

Plays by JOAN KUFRIN (
DINNER AT 1800 HOURS.  The peace-activist parents of corporate lawyer Meredith and the second-generation military parents of marine lieutenant Bill collide at the couple's disastrous engagement dinner.  Can these six people of frozen mindsets and hardened hearts ever get along? 3W, 3M, one set. (This play was a recipients of a 2007 State of Florida Individual Fellowship ($5,000) in playwriting and an Oxford International Institute for Documentary and Drama in Conflict Resolution 2008 prize.)
HERE LIE THE DEMONS.  Lili Learned, a sexy delectable woman in her 40s, strides onstage in a bathrobe and slippers to challenge us to relive her "f*cked up" life----the "demons" that have caused the death or destruction of nearly everyone she loves. 4M, 2W, with doubling.
THE MESSENGER. Unremarkable, unmarried ANGELA, 35, caregiver to demanding, aging parents, falls for a good-looking stranger as old as her father. Her family pegs the stranger as a fraud and tries desperately to ruin the romance.  Does love triumph? Or guilt? 3 W 2 M.  This play is published by Dramatic Publishing and was produced most recently in 2009 in Lake Wales, FL.

BREAKFAST.  A one-act play comprised of seven separate scenes, each occuring on a different morning at the same Los Angeles eatery. 3W, 4M, unit set.  Has received productions at Cypress College, Princeton University, and in Australia.  Names Best One-Act Play, 2000, by the Internet Theatre Workshop.
FAITH AND FAMILY.  A young woman tries to reconcile her love for her family, her insecurities about her Orthodox Jewish faith, and her love for an African-American man.  Produced at University of Southern California's Under Construction series, as well as a small theatre in Sherman Oaks, CA.  4W, 2 M.
THREE Olympia, Leonora, and Eva have been best friends since they were teenagers. Though they have grown apart in the past ten years, a letter from Olympia announcing that she plans to kill herself brings the three women together again. 3W,1M.

THE EMPTY CHALICES. Delmira Agustini, a revolutionary Latin American poet, lived in the repressive 1900s, yet managed to produce astounding original poetry until circumstances threatened to end her life at an early age. 3W, 4M.
HALL OF HUNGRY GHOSTS. The play probes deeply into the dark events surrounding the Argentine dirty war and CIA involvement, by following the experiences of returnee Margarita Salgado to a former detention center in Buenos Aires after twenty years' exile.
4W, 4M

THE RABBI'S DAUGHTER AND THE RUNAWAY IRISHMAN. Set in early 20th century New Orleans and Chicago, the play explores how deeply culture and faith collide when a rabbi's daughter meets and marries a runaway Irish Catholic priest.
4W, 4M



Plays by
VINCENT'S YELLOW.  Struggling with the ghosts of myth, history, and her own imagination, artist Teresa Veramendi fights to discover the true spirit of Vincent Van Gogh----but love finds her first in this intimate story spanning centuries and continents. 3W, 2M.

WHEN THE BOUGH BREAKS. This full-length comedy follows the life of a woman who is faced with making a choice between her Neiman Marcus charge card or her family. 3W, 4M.
I OWE YOU A LULLABY. This play shows what happens to an ex-diva when her lonely life is interrupted when her long-lost biological daughter appears at her doorstep. 3W, 2M.
AN EVENING OF SHORT PLAYS. Two women will stop at nothing short of death to have their plays produced. 4W, 3M.

TZIGANE. (Hungarian for "Gypsy").  Edgy romantic comedy.  Thirtysomething, serially monogamous Regine fiddles with mid-60s Soren, a violinist who's never cheated on his wife before.  Runner-up for Cunningham Award (DePaul U.) 2M, 1W, minimal set.
ANOTHER MENAGERIE.  An homage to Tennesee Williams' The Glass Menagerie. A brother seeks to save his sister from their mother's domination before he marries and moves away.  A Greek-style tragedy.  Finalist in multiple national playwriting competitions. 3W, 1M, unit set.
ADORATION OF VLADIMIR.  A fact-based, Marxian Bros. view of the battle to preserve Lenin's body in Stalin's Soviet Russia.  7M, 2W, with doubling.  Minimal set.  Has received staged readings at The Public Theatre, New York City.

I-TROUBLE.  Comedy.  Love, myopia, and marriage is a recipe for disaster.  Runtime: 90 minutes. 1M, 1W.
ROOMS CUT IN CLIFFS.  Comedy/drama.  A day in the life of a single-room-occupancy hotel.  Runtime: 120 minutes. 6M, 4W.
KINGS. Comedy/drama.  Bible stories for grownups----three one-acts about the first monarchs of Palestine.  Runtime: 100 minutes.  3M, 1W.

Plays by LES WHITE (
LOVE ME. A family eats their thanksgiving dinner in the dark to avoid an unwanted daughter who breaks in and manipulates the family into revealing dangerous---and murderous---truths about themselves. 4W, 3M.
HYMIEYENKEL IN THE GOLAN HEIGHTS. When Israel offers to build "dream homes" for new settlers, a Chicago suburban family moves there and finds themselves within firing range of jihadists. 2W, 3M.
ALL WASHED UP: THE TRUE STORY OF THE WOMAN WHO INVENTED THE SOAP OPERA INDUSTRY AND ONE MAN'S SEARCH FOR A JOB. The rise and fall of Irna Phillips, the woman largely credited with creating the soap opera, is told by the man who uncovered her secrets. 1 actor, unisex role, portraying a variety of characters.















































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