ghost-lightKenneth Jones is a New York City-based playwright, lyricist and librettist. ByKennethJones.com is the official website about his creative work, but it also serves as a news site advocating for new plays and musicals, dramatists and other theatre makers. It’s also an archive of some of his past reporting as a theatre journalist.

His play Alabama Story, which was a nominee for the 2016 Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award and a finalist in the 2014 National Playwrights Conference of the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. It received its world premiere in January 2015 in a production by Pioneer Theatre Company. Karen Azenberg directed.

Katherine Keberlein and Byron Glenn Willis in "Alabama Story" at Peninsula Players.

Katherine Keberlein and Byron Glenn Willis in “Alabama Story” at Peninsula Players.

By spring 2018, it will have been produced by at least 18 theatres around the country, including cities in Illinois, Florida (where it broke a spring box office record), Wisconsin, Iowa, Tennessee, Vermont, Massachusetts, Texas, California and beyond. It had its university premiere by The Theatre Company of the University of Detroit Mercy in Michigan in fall 2016 and became the company’s biggest-selling new play since 2010. Colleges and high schools are now producing a version of the play that includes added tracks to give students casting opportunities.

The script of Alabama Story is licensed directly from the playwright; request a perusal copy through this link.

His play Two Henrys, a three-character dramedy about family, forgiveness, prejudices and perceptions in the age of AIDS, was a 2015 and 2016 semi-finalist in the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference. It was one of three plays that received development in Pioneer Theatre’s 2016 Play-By-Play Reading Series in Salt Lake City and later had a developmental production by the Co-Op of Pacific Resident Theatre in Venice, CA. A revised version was seen in a staged reading by Hudson Stage Company in Westchester, NY, in winter 2017. Request a perusal copy.

His new play Hollywood, Nebraska got a June 2016 reading the NewTACTics Festival of New Plays by Off-Broadway’s TACT/The Actors Company Theatre and was seen in a six-performance Equity workshop run by Wyoming Theater Festival in Sheridan, WY, in September 2017. Request a perusal copy.

Some of his dramatic writing can be found at NewPlayExchange.com.

Jones co-conceived with Karen Azenberg a new Christmas musical, It Happened One Christmas, for the 2015 holiday season. It earned enthusiastic reviews.

Carmen Roman in the Peninsula Players production in Wisconsin.

Carmen Roman in the Peninsula Players production of “Alabama Story” in Wisconsin.

Jones also penned book and lyrics for the musicals Voice of the City (music by Elaine Chelton) and Naughty/Nice (music by Gerald Stockstill); as well as songs with composers Roger Anderson, Marek Norman, Brad Ross and others.

For their theatre songs, Stockstill and Jones are the recipients of the 2010 Dottie Burman Songwriting Award from the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs (MAC). Naughty/Nice was a finalist in the National Alliance for Musical Theatre Festival. It was published in fall 2015 by Steele Spring Stage Rights.

Jones and Stockstill are working on a new project.

Voice of the City was seen in the Developmental Reading Series of York Theatre Company and in a workshop by Human Race Theatre Company; both presentations were directed and choreographed by Karen Azenberg.

Photo by Amy Coady

Kenneth Jones (Photo by Amy Coady)

His songs have been heard at 54 Below, Ars Nova, Joe’s Pub, the Zipper Theatre, the Laurie Beechman Theatre, the Metropolitan Room and elsewhere. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild, BMI, the advanced BMI-Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop and the 72nd Street Gang Playwriting Collective.

His work as a journalist includes 15 years as a leading writer and editor at Playbill.com and 10 years as a theatre reporter and critic for The Detroit News, including four seasons as chief theatre critic. His writing has also appeared in TDF Stages, SDC Journal, Back Stage, A&E Magazine, Playbill magazine, The Detroit Jewish News, The Oakland Press and elsewhere. He has also written liner notes for DRG Records. His songs have been heard on “A New York City Christmas” (Ghostlight/Sh-K-Boom) and on singer Maxine Linehan’s album of Petula Clark songs, “What Would Petula Do?,” for which he and Stockstill penned the title track.

His plays have been produced or developed by Off-Broadway’s TACT/The Actors Company Theatre, Pacific Resident Theatre, Human Race Theatre Company, York Theatre Company, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Peninsula Players, Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre, Clarence Brown Theatre and other companies.

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