• Feb 14, 2018

Chronology of Works by Jordan Harrison

by David Irving, Literary Intern

Full-Length Plays:

World Premiere June 2018, Playwright’s Horizons

The play: “It’s a faraway age of hope and inclusivity; in other words, it’s 2015. When a tight-knit circle of married gays and lesbians – comfy in the new mainstream – see themselves through the eyes of their rakish transgender pal, it’s clear that the march toward progress is anything but unified. With stinging satire and acute compassion, Jordan Harrison’s pointed comedy charts the breakdown of empathy that happens when we think our rights are secure, revealing conservative hearts where you’d least expect.”

Review not yet available
Script not yet available publicly


World Premiere 2018, Vineyard Theatre

The play: “When the world is in crisis, it's time to improvise. In THE AMATEURS, an intrepid troupe of pageant players races across medieval Europe, struggling to outrun the Black Death. The arrival of a mysterious outsider sends Hollis, the leading lady, in search of answers that can only be found off-script... and soon the 14th century plague begins to look like another, more recent one. This wildly inventive and funny new work examines the evolution of human creativity in a dark age: when does a crisis destroy us, and when does it open new frontiers?   An epic new play by Pulitzer Prize-finalist Jordan Harrison (MARJORIE PRIME, "Orange is the New Black"), THE AMATEURS is directed by Obie Award-winning director Oliver Butler (THE OPEN HOUSE.)”

New York Times review: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/27/theater/the-amateurs-review.html

Script not yet available publicly


World Premiere 2015, Mark Taper Forum

The play: “It’s the age of artificial intelligence, and 85-year-old Marjorie—a jumble of disparate, fading memories—has a handsome new companion who’s programmed to feed the story of her life back to her. What would we remember, and what would we forget, if given the chance? In this richly spare, wondrous new play, Jordan Harrison explores the mysteries of human identity and the limits—if any—of what technology can replace.”

New York Times review: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/15/theater/review-in-marjorie-prime-lois-smith-connects-with-the-past.html

Script available through Samuel French: https://www.samuelfrench.com/p/59978/marjorie-prime


World Premiere 2014, Humana Festival

The Play: “Ten-year-old Kai is given a magical crystal doorknob by his grandfather that enables him to travel through space and time to see future events in his life. The further along he goes, the less he feels like he's seeing into his future, but more that he is living life as most people do; all too quickly. Both poignantly sad and zany, Pulitzer Prize finalist Jordan Harrison expands on the notion that life is too short to miss any moment of it.”

WFPL News Louisville review: http://wfpl.org/review-jordan-harrisons-grown-charming-ode-imagination/

Script available through Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Grown-Up-Jordan-Harrison/dp/0573705194


World Premiere 2011, Playwrights Horizons

The play: “Katha and Ryu have become allergic to their 21st-century lives. After they meet a charismatic man from a community of 1950s re-enactors, they forsake cell phones and sushi for cigarettes and Tupperware parties. In this compulsively authentic world, Katha and Ryu are surprised by what their new neighbors - and they themselves - are willing to sacrifice for happiness.”

New York Times review: https://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/08/theater/reviews/maple-and-vine-at-playwrights-horizons-review.html

Script available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Maple-Vine-Jordan-Harrison/dp/0573700214


World Premiere 2011, Portland Center Stage

The play: “In Jordan Harrison’s sci-fi “Futura,” set 100 or so years hence, a bookless world’s texts have gone digital and been Wiki-fied. Humanity has muddied up the works of Freud, Dickens and James Patterson with annotations gone amok, the sinister ruling Company stepping in to expurgate centuries of wisdom. Worse yet, handwriting is a dead art, and everyone’s typed thoughts are available for all to see. Sure, it’s preposterous and the Boston Court staging is uneven. But the script offers erudition aplenty, and suspense too, as we root for a resistance movement determined to fight a Kindle rather than curse the darkness.”

New York Times review: https://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/03/theater/reviews/03futura.html

Script may not be available publicly


World Premiere 2011, Arden Theatre

The play: “A young professor loses just about everything in the world - everything, that is, except for the flea who lives in his vest. Starting over again, the professor and the flea become the best of friends, start a circus act, and set off to tour the world. Together they must overcome shipwrecks, cannibals, and tickling. Adapted by Jordan Harrison and Richard Gray from the last tale by master storyteller Hans Christian Andersen, this new musical odyssey celebrates friendship, whimsy, and the excitement of the unknown.”

CBS Philly review: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2011/05/10/theatre-review-the-flea-and-the-professor-at-the-arden/

Script available through Samuel French: https://www.samuelfrench.com/p/9806/hans-christian-andersens-the-flea-and-the-professor/


World Premiere 2008, Clubbed Thumb

The play: “The Frau used to direct beautiful films for a fascist government. Now she's trying to make a film that's simply beautiful. The Frau casts herself in the lead role of the Amazon queen Penthesilea, who falls in love with Achilles on the battlefield of the Trojan War. She recruits a man from the Jewish ghetto to play her Achilles. Her own sister, a long-suffering extra, plays all the nameless Amazons killed in the background. With chariot crashes and adoring close-ups, it all has the makings of a glamorous war. But when telegrams start to arrive from the Minister of Propaganda, it becomes impossible for the Frau to ignore the real war outside her sound stage. A darkly comedic look at the role of artists during wartime, Amazons and Their Men is inspired by the life and work of Leni Riefenstahl.”

New York Times review: https://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/11/theater/reviews/11amaz.html

Script available through Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Amazons-Their-Men-Jordan-Harrison/dp/0573662460


World Premiere 2007, Playwrights Horizons

The play: In the candy-colored 1960s, biracial schoolgirl Doris is molded into pop star Darlene by a whiz-kid record producer who culls a top-ten hit out of Richard Wagner’s “Liebestod.” Rewind to the candy-colored 1860, where Wagner is writing the melody that will become Darlene’s hit song. Fast-forward to the not-so-candy-colored present where a teenager obsesses over Darlene’s music—and his music teacher. Three dissonant decades merge into an unlikely harmony in this time-jumping pop fairy tale about the dreams and disasters behind one transcendent song.

New York Times review: https://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/12/theater/reviews/12darl.html

Script available through Samuel French: https://www.samuelfrench.com/p/517/doris-to-darlene


World Premiere 2006, Humana Festival

The play: “When the men of a small Prohibition-era town decide to put on a play dressed in "fancy-type, women-type clothes," the whole community is affected: gender lines blur, eyebrows raise, identities explode, and life and art are forever entangled. A thoughtful and exuberant Midwestern fable about the woman in every man, the man in every woman and the power of theatre to uncover both. Accompanied by accordion.”

Washington Post review:https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/review-act-a-lady-from-the-hub-theater/2013/07/15/5dc3eabc-ed79-11e2-bb32-725c8351a69e_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.87f695482954

Script available through Playscripts, Inc.: https://www.playscripts.com/play/1005


World Premiere 2006, Washington Ensemble Theatre

The play: “When the mastodons escape, Jame needs another exhibit for the Museum. Luckily, he has a friend with wonderful bones. The Curator is delighted with her new specimen, but she can't help wondering: Who, or what, is behind the mysterious exodus of flora and fauna? An elegiac and absurd look at the intersections of memory and desire, set to the tune of a music box.”

Cleveland.com review: http://www.cleveland.com/onstage/index.ssf/2011/05/the_museum_play_puts_some_big.html

Script available through Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Museum-Play-Jordan-Harrison/dp/B002NJBF0K


World Premiere 2005, Berkeley Repertory Theatre

The play: “OBIE Award-winning director Les Waters brings us the world premiere of a scintillating new play from one of America’s most gifted young writers. The mystery begins when Gwen and Rhoda must clean out their dead father’s house. Little remains, other than the grandfather clock, until they literally bring the house’s ghosts to life. That’s when Gwen’s son, Finn, encounters Carver, a neighbor who holds the key to the family’s secrets. Playwright Jordan Harrison’s sparse, poignant writing is in perfect harmony with this haunting tale of heredity. As they pack up the house and unpack its secrets, his characters discover that the memories we never talk about grow larger…and the rooms we create to keep our families safe are the very places we must avoid.”

SF Gate review:https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/More-than-words-set-a-scary-stage-2565709.php

Script available through playscripts.com: https://www.playscripts.com/play/1542


World Premiere 2004, Humana Festival

The play: “Moll, a girl who invents things, wins the science fair with a machine for hearing sounds that can't be heard. But when a shapeshifting Mercenary steals the invention (and her heart), she must embark on a quest to save noise as we know it. Accompanied by the last boy-virgin in the eleventh grade, Moll crosses chasms and rafts rivers into a world where sound is always more than what meets the ear. A quirky fable of innocence and experience, featuring live sound effects, mutinous onomatopoeia, and a host of woodsy temptations.”

Backstage review: https://www.backstage.com/review/la-theater/kid-simple-a-radio-play-in-the-flesh/

Script available through Amazon:https://www.amazon.com/Kid-simple-Radio-Play-Flesh/dp/B002NN2B5Y


Short Plays:

World Premiere 2011, Minetta Lane Theater

New York Times Review: https://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/14/theater/reviews/standing-on-ceremony-at-minetta-lane-theater-review.html

Available through Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Standing-Ceremony-Gay-Marriage-Plays/dp/0822226545


TV & Film:

Writer and Co-Producer, 2015-2017

The series: Convicted of a decade old crime of transporting drug money to an ex-girlfriend, normally law-abiding Piper Chapman is sentenced to a year and a half behind bars. She must face the reality of how life-changing prison can really be.

Watch on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/title/70242311