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

Welcome to my September update, in which I'm back with the Playwriting Tip of the Month and Featured Monologue (read to the end!), plus a 20% off coupon at YouthPLAYS for list members and much more!

My new ten-minute drama about bullying, Cracked Sky, is now published. It is available both digitally and as part of Bullying, Ink., YouthPLAYS' new 14-play bullying collection. In a few lines: a bullied teen accidentally collides with a girl in the schoolyard on his way to the cafeteria, where all of the popular kids who've made his life miserable hang out before school. His backpack is filled, but not with books... It offers strong acting challenges (and is great for forensics too!) for one female and one male. The individual play is here, and the collection is here!

Among the things to expect in the coming months are Three, my dystopian play about a world in which families are limited to three people; a short parody (working title Lord of the Flings) that mashes up Lord of the Flies and Lord of the Rings; an update to my playwriting class in a book, Young Playwrights 101, and there might even be a pop/rock musical somewhere down the road. I also have an idea for another play in a vignette/episodic style, and I'm very excited about it. More on that later. I'm also working on several short film/web projects, though those depend on some other folks, so fingers crossed.

Speaking of musicals, remember that 4 A.M., my popular one-act about the struggles of teens all awake at 4 A.M., now has a stand-alone sequel, The Magic Hour (awesome together with 4 A.M. but doesn't require the original), but it's also a full-length rock/pop musical with music and lyrics by Alison Wood. Here are a couple photos from the fab production that took place at Writers Theatre of New Jersey in August!

4 A.M. the musical at Writers Theatre of New Jersey (Madison, NJ; photos by Walter F. Rodriguez).

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

As I
 mentioned recently, Dear Chuck, my play that 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, has now expanded with a bunch of new scenes to a full-length 80-90 minute version (which may also 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. Earlier this month I had the pleasure of seeing a production at Montclair High School (CA) and chatting with the Baldwin Park High School (CA) cast that had just started rehearsals, both in the same day!

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.

A stunning photo from the Eclectic Productions' Australian premiere of Rumors of Polar Bears in July (Newcastle, NSW, Australia; photo by WAYEGOOD Photography). And another one below!

Harry's Hotter at Twilight again exists as both a full-length and a one-act and is my crazed mash-up parody of Harry Potter and Twilight. The one-act in particular is one of my most produced plays.With Halloween fast approaching, check it out!

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 (and another great Halloween choice!) 
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.

Last but not least are 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 350 plays and musicals for young actors and audiences (including a bunch of mine), with numerous challenging and entertaining shows for high schools and middle schools, universities, community theatres and plays for adult/older actors (including professional TYA) to perform for children. There are also dozens of short plays that are ideal for forensics competitions, and as a special gift for members of my email list, use the coupon code JONSLIST to take 20% off the purchase of any printed or digital perusal scripts through October 15!

Want to hear me talk about playwriting? I have two 90-minute webinars, recordings 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:

I love visiting schools, theatres, Thespian conferences and other festivals, writers' name it. I can come either in conjunction with a production of my work, or as a stand-alone visit to teach playwriting. You may be surprised to learn how many companies offer grants or discounts (e.g. hotels, rental cars) to support educational endeavors, or why not team up with another local school to share costs? To learn more:

I'm also available for virtual instruction and script critiques via Skype.  Need help with your playwriting unit?  Want to start a new play festival at your school? Write me!

The next edition of Introduction to Playwriting, the class you can take in your pajamas (or in the bathtub if you promise not to electrocute yourself!), begins September 29 (today--it's not too late to enroll!)! 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! (Next session after this one begins 11/3.)

This month, I highlight a monologue from Cracked Sky, my new short play about bullying. Here, Devon (male in the play) is on the verge of heading to the cafeteria with his bookbag filled with something other than books, and doing some awful. He talks to Anna, the one person standing between him and a life-changing decision. The information in brackets allows for certain substitutions as needed for your circumstances.


The kids in the cafeteria, they’re not heroes. Everyone kisses Ray Daniels’ first team-all-star-all-whatever ass [butt]. And they worship Sophie Watson and her $2590 Neiman Marcus prom dress that’s worth more than all my clothes put together, and Trevor Johnson, kneel before Trevor ‘cause it’s the easiest way to chug his parents’ booze. What’s their memorial gonna say? Thanks for tripping that kid you didn’t even know, and for spitting in his lunch, and for hacking his Instagram [or social media network of the moment] and posting all those pictures you took in the locker room. Again. Thanks for being my personal heroes on a daily basis for the last three craptastic years. But seriously, I am sincerely grateful that every morning, like the pack of hyenas you are, you chase the rest of us out of the cafeteria before school and drink your lattes and laugh--and you never leave until two minutes after the first bell.

Maybe you're teaching a class, and you have a few extra minutes. It's not enough to start a new lesson, but it's plenty of time for a timed writing exercise! Let's call this one "quick battle." Pick any random object--for example, a piggy bank--and have the writer create a scene between two characters negotiation over the object. Each character gets three "lines" (each speech, regardless of length, is one line), and writers can use stage directions as well. I typically use a three-minute time limit, so that writers don't have too much time to think. Obviously, it could be really straightforward:
A: Give it back!
B: I won it fair and square.
But challenge yourself (or your students) to do more with it. How can we learn a little about the characters and why they might need this?
A: You have no idea what you're getting yourself into.
B: I'm thinking (As he examines it:) about six ounces of cheap plastic in the shape of a bowling pin.
A: And I thought we were friends. (Beat.) I hope you can sleep with one eye open, because Ma likes her things. She likes her things a lot.
B: (Waving the piggy bank at A:) Well, tell Ma there's a new kingpin in town. Get it?! Kingpin!

Or whatever. Have fun with it. Twenty people, all given the same object, will write completely different scenes. Anytime you need to kill a few minutes, pull out a new object. (You could even have the writers save them, and do a "best of" at the end of the term.)

Finally, for anyone attending the CETA conference in Los Angeles in early October, I'll be there repping YouthPLAYS, so stop on by! 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
Thicker Premieres at Pasadena International Film Festival!
My short film directing debut, Thicker (which I also wrote), starring Erik Odom and Nick Podany, premiered at the Pasadena International Film Festival as part of the "Truth" bill of shorts in March 2016!
Straight Eye for the Gay Guy wins at California Independent Film Festival!
Straight Eye for the Gay Guy, which I adapted into a short film directed by Mary Lou Belli, won "Best Mini-Short" at the California Indepdendent Film Festival in September! It has since also screened at Palm Springs' Cinema Diverse, presenting the best in LGBT cinema, and the Ojai Film Festival.
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:
Two New Plays Now Available
Check out the latest additions to my catalogue! There's a new short play, Dolphin, about the aftermath of a cyberbullying incident, and The Magic Hour, which is the stand-alone follow/up/sequel to my widely produced one-act, 4 A.M. Both are now published by Playscripts!
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
Rumors of Polar Bears (one-act)
Cambridge-Isanti High School (Cambridge, MN), January 2017
Thank You for Flushing My Head in the Toilet and other rarely used expressions
Deep Run High School (Glen Allen, VA), January 2017
High School (non) Musical
Bonita Vista High School (Chula Vista, CA), February 2017
4 A.M.
The Math Science and Arts Academy (Lake Charles, LA), February 2017
4 A.M.
Youth Arts Committee (Dauphin, MB, Canada), March 2017
Dear Chuck (one-act version)
Scarborough High School (Gorham, ME), March 2017
Harry's Hotter at Twilight
Kammerer Middle School (Radcliff, KY), April 2017
4 A.M.
North Mecklenburg High School (Huntersville, NC), June 2017
Harry's Hotter at Twilight (one-act version)
The Valley School of Southern Oregon (Medford, OR), June 2017
(un)Selfie: Through scenes and monologues, an exploration of the selfie: the good, the bad and the ugly.

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.