a TACK of an American Conscience an attempt to catch up

Winner of the 2002 Rod Parker Playwriting Fellowship

The world around George has been reduced to rubble and he finds himself trapped in a labyrinth of public education and questions with only wrong answers. As his wife pleads with him to come home and his uncle entangles him in a web of dead-end American dream schemes, time accelerates at a dizzying pace. But George can only dig—sifting through a life-size crater in the center of his world and searching for his existence in America’s fabricated history.

Production History

Emerson Stage (dir. Joe Antoun), The Workshop Theatre, Boston, April 2002

newFangled theatReR, The Kraine Theatre, New York City, November 2006

9 roles: 2 (m), 3 (f), 4 (m/f)

Available in PLAY’N AMERIKA, on

Click Here to Purchase

the AmerikAn trip, tik a prequel of plays by johnmichael rossi   

An abrupt power outage causes the lights to go out on King Kristopher’s great idea, sending him into a tragic downward spiral.  His arch-rival and successor, Sam, takes control of the land with one not-so-hidden agenda—to wash away all memory of Kristopher, the man who stole his land and his lady. the AmerikAn trip, tik is an epic caricature of American politics that defies the structures of time in order to create a picture of how a country’s past has shaped its future—an amalgamation of history in which time loops and overlaps .

Production History

newFangled theatReR, Stuart Street 2nd Stage, Boston, April 2004  (staged reading)

newFangled theatReR, The Red Room, New York City, October 2005

newFangled theatReR, The Kraine Theatre, New York City, August 2006

12 roles: 4 (f), 5 (m), 3 (m/f)

Available in PLAY’N AMERIKA, on

Click Here to Purchase

gentlefucknation a beautification by johnmichael rossi

Follow the inner and outer workings of Akkiz, a laundry woman from "Far Faraway Lands" who is being haunted by La Cucaracha, a man dressed as a pink cockroach. As we wash through the residents of this community, a suspenseful plot unfolds. The ever-changing weather pushes against a variety of urban locales while characters are constantly shifting from realistic dialogue to poetic verse while taking The Audience on a whirlwind medi9tation of music, words and imagery. The play grapples with themes of gentrification, ecology and cultural exchange using the laundromat as a metaphor to explore the gentrification of a neighborhood.

Production History

Players Time & WritingBloc’s October Leaves Reading Series @ Access Theater, October 2008 (reading)

The Process Group ‘s Required Reading Series @ The Workshop Theater, NYC, January 2011 (reading)

newFangled theatReR & Railroad Playhouse, The Railroad Playhouse, Newburgh, NY, May 2011 (staged reading)

Received Honorable Mention in 2008 New Works of Merit Contest, NYC

10 roles: 4 (f), 6 (m) + A Mariachi Band

Soon to be Published: expected November 2016

Rumi High an intifada by johnmichael rossi

Debi`, a young first-year poetry teacher is thrown a loop on day one at Rumi Highl when Principal, Big

Mikey Bee (an animated man festooned in a bright yellow bumblebee suit) has just notified the young rookie

that her schedule has been changed to teach drama. Despite her protests that she knows nothing of drama,

she is handed the mission and begrudgingly accepts. She steps into her basement classroom full of mold,

mildew, dusty broken furniture and forty-one copies of Arthur Miller's The Crucible. As Debi` and her

a never-ending struggle to re-solve itself. The play builds itself into a billowing bureaucratic mess, confusing

and bewildering (YOU) towards dialogue. Designed as the first-ever “hyper(play)text, Rumi High questions,

challenges and parodies the public education system, revealing itself to be a fragmentation and re-

conceptualization of The Crucible. Rumi is omnipresent, as a dervish whirls throughout the play his poetry

alters our perception.

Production History

Minghella Building, University of Reading, UK, December 2012  (workshop presentation)

McGinn-Cazale Theatre, Vital Theatre Company, NYC, January 2013  (workshop presentation)

Bob Kayley Theatre, University of Reading, UK, June 2013  (workshop presentation)

19+ roles //  Available at

Doctoral Thesis: Collabowrighting the Hyper(play)text: A Postdramatic Digital Poetics

Up On A-Farm

an Orwellian Ode to the Times that Are by johnmichael rossi

Written during the “Anti-RNC summer of 2004” in NYC, Orwell’s classic tale, Animal Farm, is adapted for a post-9/11 Bush-era world and imagined as a multi-media site-specific mask performance.

Production History

newFangled theatReR & the BLANK Collective, The Secret Garden, NYC, June 2004

12+ roles //

Whodunnit?! The Mystery of Who Stole Mister Punch

A Dada-ist doggy-napping dinner mystery play, of sorts by johnmichael rossi

In honor of Jenna & Marcelo, In celebration of their 13th Anniversary

Written in the style of a dinner mystery game, as a wedding anniversary gift, to be presented across an evening of drinking and eating, at the Wortham Manor Estate. The bride and groom were each asked to submit a ‘guest list’ of iconic figures, dead or alive, fictional or actual, that they would like at their wedding. From this starting point, I devised a mystery scenario around their dog, Mister Punch, being doggy-napped, where all who are present, are suspect. Characters were assigned at random, based on the ‘guests’ selection of a costume / prop, which determines their role. There were three possible endings, of which one is selected at random at the start of the event.

This script was commissioned for a specific event, and therefore written with the company in mind; and exemplifies how I might approach the form, should anyone be looking to commission custom mystery play.

18+ roles // Script Available for Download  /// Script Endings


BUGOLOGICAL WARFARE: a luv tale and a shred of hope for 2011

It’s the end of 2010, and the world is engaged in ‘bugological warfare,’ where a news anchor, a little girl and theKing of Bed Bugs encounter in an undisclosed disclosed location. This short play digests a multitude of happenings from 2010 in a satirical retrospective of the fear-mongering news media.


3 roles /  Script Available for Download

Chipper + SoTan

An ode to Beckett, Chipper and SoTan have their routine meeting, where they discuss the life of a mosquito, pistachios and secrecy.

Production History

Short Kutz & Forks, newFangled theatReR, Red Room, NYC, June 2009

2 roles /  Script Available for Download

Dervish Buttons a rant by johnmichael rossi

A button factory, where people manufacture buttons. A feisty man in a fez becomes the cog in the system and begins to speak out of place. Others begin to chime in here and there. There is a fine line between the humans on stage and the machinery that their bodies are when put together- popping out buttons of all sorts.

Production History

Short Kutz & Forks, newFangled theatReR, Red Room, NYC, June 2009

2 roles / Script Available for Download

Devious Red A birthday gift for Daveous Kane by johnmichael rossi

A banished Devious Red is walking in the woods with an air of frustration. He encounters the Man with Kangaroo Ears, who eclipses his anger, and perhaps helps to restore Devious’ imagination.

Production History

Short Kutz & Forks, newFangled theatReR, Red Room, NYC, June 2009

2 roles / Script Available for Download

Dragon Awakens: The Tail of the Dragon

In the summer of 2016, I was commissioned by Open House Hvar (OHH) to lead and participate in the creation of a site-specific promenade performance at Soline Beach. Building on OHH’s tradition and ethos of community engagement, we developed and devised the performance on the beach with locals, tourists and the OHH Team, spearheaded by Edina Husanovic and Ben Rattenbury, along with Alex Brown and Sarah Cody. The first half of the fable was developed the previous summer, by Edina and the local children in Jelsa. I revised and completed the tale, later adapting the story into a flexible performance score, which was used as a starting point during the public workshops at the beach. Ultimately, the fable itself became the primary performance text, as the performance focused on the building, traveling and movement of the dragon; parading the peninsula and stopping at particular locations for moments of oral storytelling.

Dragon Fable // Performance Score ///  OHH Residency Photo Archive

DrainAge a plumbjob by johnmichael rossi

Written as an entry for ‘bad play’ festival, but it was too bad for even them. Though the rejection letter said it was too good. It’s 2008 and the Broadwalk theatre producer, Producerman and his intern, SANDIE, are scrambling around the office for low-budget easy-to-produce play ideas to make a quick buck. A plumber named Joe arrives to repair the clogged kitchen sink.


5+ roles //  Script Available for Download

Fe(e)ed a networking de-slice by johnmichael rossi

A collage of status messages on social media re-set in a bar, four ‘friends’ are orchestrated by the Man with Earpiece.

Production History

Blue Box Productions STICKY Bar Plays series @ Bowery Poetry Club, NYC, 2010

5 roles // Script Available for Download

JASON... or One Day at a Time a behavior report by johnmichael rossi

Life in the second grade is so overwhelming and Jason just can’t seem to slow down. From the principal’s office to band class to the baseball field, how will Jason learn to stay out of trouble?

Production History

Short Kutz & Forks, newFangled theatReR, Red Room, NYC, June 2009

12-14 roles //  Script Available for Download

*This is a play intended to be performed (by and) for youth.

Milk and Honey a trickster tale by johnmichael rossi

Bear insists that ‘honey’ is for bears and milk is for cats. But Cat really wants some honey. Owl has some tricks under his wing, to set things straight.

Production History

Short Kutz & Forks, newFangled theatReR, Red Room, NYC, June 2009

3+ roles / Script Available for Download

*This is a play intended to be performed (by and) for youth.

Operation Ajax and the Country Behind the Curtain

a plunged up particle from the bowels of America’s wholly unimaginable and unwritable history by  jmr

Inspired by Stephen Kinzer’s ALL THE SHAH’S MEN about the American coup in Iran. The play is composed of texts from a Rumi poem, speeches from Madelaine Albright, New York City street signs and Kinzer’s book, set in a terrorized New York City, with a Wizard of Oz motif.

Production History

Dark Night Series, Prospect Theatre, NYC, February 2007

Short Kutz & Forks, newFangled theatReR, Red Room, NYC, June 2009

The 9-12 Project, The Brecht Forum, NYC,  June 2010

2 roles /  Script Available for Download

Skrappy Suburban Kidz (in down & out timez during the twilight of a crumbling economy)

flashbax, premonitions and scribblez from johnmichael rossi

A play about everyday politics in the schoolyard and hallways of a middle school, particularly on matters concerning ‘b-ball.’ But...

b-ball is neither basketball nor baseball. It might not even involve a ball as we know it. It is most certainly a game, a game that should be invented by the ensemble and used as a coming together ritual, that will find its way into the play. It should involve dancing, and make a whole lot of racket, banging and whatnot. b-ball gets the blood going. b-ball makes adults nervous. When the game is played, in Scene V, it will not be clear to the audience, who is playing, or what exactly the game is. There is a system, but it is not easily followed by an audience that has never heard of the game.

Production History

Directed by David Kane, Providence (2012)

8 roles //  Script Available for Download

*This is a play intended to be performed by and for youth.

Yellow Striped Warning a conversation by johnmichael rossi

Gray enters Woody’s home, uninvited. A debate over ownership ensues. Who owns what? And, who owns who? And why?

Production History

Short Kutz & Forks, newFangled theatReR, Red Room, NYC, June 2009

2 roles /  Script Available for Download