Joe McDonough

Plays written by Joe McDonough



The Lightning of Touch – (2M 2W) In 1969, while the world is fixated on the Apollo moon landing, two strangers arrive at the Chicago motel where Erin O’Connell works with her blind Aunt Agnes. One of these men, Horace, might actually be a faith healer, and Erin wants him to make Agnes see again. But, for reasons he doesn’t understand, Horace has recently lost his healing touch and now people have been suddenly dying after he lays his hands on them.

Morning Dancer – (3W 2M) It is the week that John F. Kennedy is about to be elected president and the Irish-American women who run a small struggling bakery are excited. But their lives become unsettled when the bakery’s owner, Cara Gallagher, who is living with lupus, is visited by her disoriented former fiancé who returns to the bakery after cruelly abandoning her and fleeing the country twenty years earlier.

Spark Of The Sun – (2M 2W) Set in 1956, Spark of the Sun is a comedic drama about Mickey, a down-on-his-luck but optimistic salesman, and his new girlfriend, Vina, a shy, troubled and unusual genius who has developed the theoretical plans for a solar-powered automotive engine. Together they attempt to sell their promising new idea to the General Motors Corporation

Stone My Heart – (4M 1W) Stone My Heart is a jazz-infused, darkly comic re-imagining of Othello set among the political machinations in the Chicago city morgue. Winner of the Mickey Kaplan New American Play Prize. The stammering Robby secretly loves Jessica, who is living with Marcus, the city’s new chief coroner. Jessica struggles with the recent death of her father, while at the same time sensing the collapse of her stormy relationship with Marcus. Into this mix, the manipulative Terrence seizes all opportunities to use their desires and secrets for his own gain, destroying one after the other in this compelling story about the destructive forces of obsession, passion and power.

Travels Of Aneglica – (4M 3W) 1657: A writer wanted for treason barely escapes from England with his daughter to start a new life with a new identity in Virginia. Can he outwit his blackmailing neighbor and escape capture before completing his most important work? Today: Two graduate students come to Virginia in search of clues about this forgotten author, hoping to make an important literary discovery. As the play twists and turns between the past and present, this time-traveling tale explores history, hope, heart and the possibility of a remarkable future. Winner of the Mickey Kaplan New American Play Prize.

Bardolatry – (1F 1M 1N) BARDOLATRY is a two act play about the eccentric Shakespeare collectors, Henry and Emily Folger, and their intense obsession with obtaining all things Shakespeare. It’s a fast-paced, highly theatrical telling of their story told with much comedy and pathos.

The first act focuses on the Folgers’ obsession with obtaining the famed Vincent First Folio– often thought to be the original first copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio. The second act takes place years later as Henry and Emily grapple with the loss of time and what to do with their now massive collection.


Joseph McDonough is the resident playwright at both the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park (where he twice won the Mickey Kaplan New American Play Prize) and Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati where many of his plays have been developed and produced before moving on to theatres around the country. He is a member of the Playwrights Workshop at the Players Club in New York, New River Dramatists, and the Dramatists Guild.

* Please note that some titles are handled by Dramatists Play Service, Samuel French, Dramatic Publishing and  Please ask if you don’t see a particular play.