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Home Page of Jonathan Dorf, playwright, screenwriter, teacher and script consultant

It's been some months since my last update, but this one has THREE major announcements, starting with a world premiere opportunity (free reading scripts). There's also a new featured monologue and playwriting tip. Let's get to it!

Me, My Selfie and I, my one-act dramedy, has arrived, and I
 am looking for someone to stage the world premiere! (Hopefully this fall, at least in Northern Hemispheric terms.) In a few lines:

We live in a world of social media, recording our every experience. Through a series of scenes and monologues, we get to know a group of teens who are struggling to find the balance between documenting their lives and living them.

Practical details: 35-40 minutes, with a cast of 2-20+ females, 2-20+ males (6-40+ performers possible). Structurally, it most closely resembles the vignette/episodic style of Dear Chuck.
 Premiere preference always goes to groups who can bring me in to work with the cast and refine the play, and remember, if you do the premiere, you and your cast/crew get your names in the published play script! Email me with your full name and the name/location of your organization to get a free perusal copy today!

It's hard to believe that the original version of Young Playwrights 101, my playwriting textbook for young playwrights and those who teach them (or anyone who wants no-nonsense playwriting advice), came out in 2005. Well, believe it. But I'm delighted to announce that the revised version is now available! It's still a complete playwriting course in a book, but look for new topics and more writing exercises than ever! Pick up your copy from YouthPLAYS today!

I'm excited to report that The Midnight Club is now published by Playscripts as part of its Scared Silly anthology! In a sentence: A group of teen monsters--a zombie nerd, a rebel without a cause vampire, a werewolf jock, an overly sweet and sentimental witch and an existentially depressed ghost--are thrown together in midnight detention. It runs 10-15 minutes, with 3 females and 2 males. To read a substantial excerpt or buy a reading copy (or license a production),
go here!

I had a blast returning to the International Thespian Festival in Lincoln (NE), where I
 taught playwriting and screenwriting workshops a few weeks ago. Later this month, I'll be teaching playwriting at the Utah Advisory Council of Theatre Teachers conference. If you'd like me to come to your conference or school, I love doing guest artist visits, and school visits in particular are often very grantable. Email me and let's talk! (I'm also available for virtual instruction via Skype, as well as script consulting.)  

I have many plays with flexible casts (both in terms of number and gender) that are great for schools and youth theatres. Here are some choices to explore:

4 A.M. follows a group of teens awake at 4 A.M. as they balance their dreams and fears and collectively wonder, "Is there anybody out there?" It's both a
one-act dramedy and a full-length rock/pop musical!

The Magic Hour
is the "sequel" to 4 A.M., picking up a year after the original. It can play together with 4 A.M., or stand on its own.

Dear Chuck follows the search for "Chuck," a missing metaphorical character, while exploring the theme of teens being caught in the middle between being children and adults. It has both an 80-90 minute version (which may be cut if you need an "intermediate" running time), as well as the 30-40 minute one-act version that's been popular for competition and class-based productions. Check them out 
here (one-act) and here (full-length)!

Thank You for Flushing My Head in the Toilet and other rarely used expressions is my one-act dramedy that's been used worldwide in anti-bullying campaigns.

After Math is a one-act about a teen who disappears in the middle of math class...but is that the first time anyone ever noticed he was there? A play for anyone who's ever felt invisible.

The Locker Next 2 Mine, available in both full-length and one-act versions, shines a light on the teen suicide epidemic.

The teens of Rumors of Polar Bears are forced to grow up too fast as they try to survive in a world that's wasted its resources. Particularly strong opportunities for costume, set and lighting design. It's available in both 
full-length and one-act versions. I think the full-length is probably my most epic and ambitious play. Check it out.

The Locker Next 2 Mine at Toneelateljee Ktg Uilenspiegel (Diest, Belgium; directed by Sofie Truyen and photos by Guy Meurs). 

Harry's Hotter at Twilight also exists as both a full-length and a one-act and is my crazed mash-up parody of Harry Potter and Twilight.

High School (non) Musical is a parody of the Disney "classic."

Zombies overrun a high school production of Romeo and Juliet in the one-act comedy
Just Add Zombies.

From Shakespeare with Love?, four Shakespearean characters collide at an airport. As Romeo threatens to Shakespeare for ruining his life, it's up to the other three, from the comedies, to save the Bard in this one-act comedy.

Finally, two of my most underrated (but funniest, I believe) comedies:
Sweeney Todd
 meets high school in 
You Should Never Eat Your Heroes, a dark comedy with scheming cheerleaders, mysterious loners and a pair of teens just trying to survive with their dignity--and their bone structure--intact.

Run Like the Dickens (aka Tiny Tim Runs the Marathon) 
When Tiny Tim throws away his crutches and declares his intention to run the marathon, he could inspire millions--but with big business behind Oliver Twist as their inspirational figure of choice, Tiny Tim may never make it to the starting line... Click here for the
one-act, or here for the full-length!


YouthPLAYS (, the publishing company I co-founded with playwright Ed Shockley, has more than 400 challenging and entertaining plays and musicals for high schools and middle schools, universities, community theatres and theatres for young audiences, including dozens of short plays that are ideal for forensics competitions. Two exciting recent additions:

  • Whirligig by John Newman, based on Paul Fleischman's novel
  • The Last Starfighter (the full-length musical based on the movie!), book by Fred Landau, music and lyrics by Skip Kennon

Want to hear me talk playwriting? I have two 90-minute webinars you can listen to on your computer, in your car, while you're out walking...and they'd also be great, creative gifts for the writers in your life...
Playwriting 101:  Everything You Need to Know to Write a Play is here:
Writing Plays for Young People: How to Write for the Biggest Market Nobody Knows About is here:

The next session of Introduction to Playwriting, the class you can take in your pajamas, begins August 10! It's perfect for the writer (or teacher) who wants a thorough (and inexpensive!) grounding in playwriting on a flexible schedule. 
Click here for more info or to register!

This month, I highlight "Art," a monologue from Me, My Selfie and I. A TEEN ARTIST, alone on stage. The referenced images can be unseen, or if you have a great artist who can create the edited photos as described, go for it.

I call this “Godzilla eats Jane Simmons’ Face,” or when I get famous and the people who own the trademark for Godzilla come after me with their blood-sucking lawyers, it’ll become “Giant Dino-Lizard Bearing No Resemblance to a Certain Prehistoric Movie Franchise Monster that Fires Radioactive Beams from its Mouth Eats Jane Simmons’ Face.”
(Moving on:)
This one next to it is “Train Emerges from Cloud to Drive Through Liam Gardner’s Large Intestine.”
I’m also quite proud of my natural disaster series.
Alex Gonzalez and Chris Johnson, showing off their perfect tans, only seconds from suffocation in “Unmelting Avalanche of Snow Buries Jock Jerks on Beach.” Alliteration is always awesome--sometimes I slay myself.
And here we see the entire marching band about to be annihilated by a hundred-foot tsunami wave of hydrochloric acid. I call it “The Entire Marching Band About to be Annihilated by a Hundred-Foot Tsunami Wave of Hydrochloric Acid.”
And my personal favorite, that horror show of self-involvement, Helen Holly, about to be incinerated beyond all recognition by a lava flow picking her off from atop the cheer pyramid.
I’m also working on a Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse set and the complete Biblical plagues, though I’m worried there might be some overlap.
People think I’m disturbed. I’m like no, this is my art. This is me expressing myself so that I don’t become disturbed. So what if everyone in the selfie is inches from an incredibly gruesome death. That’s art doing what it does best. I have to witness your daily acts of complete narcissism and I’m surviving. So get over it.
(The Artist selfies in front of the images.)

In honor of the arrival of Young Playwrights 101: Revised Edition, I'm reprinting this short section from it. It's called Reverse Engineering.

Sometimes you know how you want your play to end, but you're not sure how to get there. That's where reverse engineering comes in. Let's call the end of your play "Point Z." And where you are now, that's "Point A." You know what happens at Point Z, but you're not sure how to get from A to Z. Ask yourself this question: For Z to happen, what needs to happen immediately before it? That's Y. Once you figure out Y, ask yourself what needs to happen at Point X to get to that Y. I know—it's starting to feel like a math problem. Here's a tangible example:

You've decided that at the end of your play, Sara Jane ends up alone, abandoned by all of her former friends. To get to that moment, what needs to happen immediately before it? What if Sara Jane's last remaining friend, Alexandria, discovers that Sara Jane was really the one who stole her phone? So now you know you need to write that moment. How do you get there? In other words, what happened right before that? That might be Sara Jane blaming the disappearance of Alexandria's phone on Thomas, a boy Alexandria liked—and thought liked her. One step at a time, we're working our way back through the play, all the way to the beginning. If walking forward from the beginning isn't working for you, try walking backward from the end..

That's all for now, but don't forget to
visit my website for lots of play choices, and monologues and scenes that are free for use in the classroom and auditions! Take good care.

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Co-Chair of the Alliance of Los Angeles
, member of The Dramatists Guild of America, and life member of the Philadelphia Dramatists Center.

Final Draft Resident Playwriting Expert and author of

Resident Playwriting Expert of The Writers Store.

Recent News
World Premiere Coming Soon!
Me, My Selfie and I will co-premiere at Lompoc High School (Lompoc, CA) and Westmont High School (Campbell, CA) at the end of September. This one-act with a flexible cast introduces us to a group of teens as they struggle to find the balance between documenting their lives and living them. 
Take My Online Playwriting Course!
Want to study playwriting from the comfort of your home, workplace or anywhere at all?  In Introduction to Playwriting, you'll get all of the basics of playwriting and be well on your way to writing a new play, but you don't even have to get out of bed if you don't want to!  Look for a new session this summer.  Get more information and enroll here:
The Midnight Club is Now Published!
Read a sample of my latest play, the short comedy The Midnight Club, my teen monster-themed homage to the classic John Hughes 80s film. It's now published by Playscripts as part of a new collection, Scared Silly!
Playwriting Webinars!
Now available for purchase, two great webinars from yours truly! Each is nearly 90 minutes and packed with info (with a PowerPoint too!):
Playwriting 101:  Everything You Need to Know to Write a Play
Writing Plays for Young People: How to Write for the Biggest Market Nobody Knows About

Upcoming Productions
Dear Chuck (one-act version)
Buckingham High School (Buckingham, VA), October 2017
After Math
Philip Barbour High School (Philippi, WV), December 2017
Dear Chuck (one-act version)
Hillard City School District (Columbus, OH), January 2018
Stay Tuned...: Several new plays are in the works... 
Plays for Production
Free Monologues
Young Playwrights 101
Script Consulting
About Me
Connect With Me
Starting out as a writer? Get help by clicking here. You'll find playwriting instructional tips, links to young playwrights contests, sample query and cover letters and even a suggested reading list!
Can't figure out why your script isn't working? I can help. For a reasonable rate, I will give you detailed feedback to get your project back on track.

Click here for information.