Read 30 short works inspired and ripped from today’s headlines in our online script library.

We’re thrilled to celebrate these writers and short plays during the month of June. Come back each week to read the latest offerings from local and national playwrights.


June 1, 2022

“It’s important – my mother said it’s very important – that I can carry it.”

Article inspiration here

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KATARZYNA MÜLLER I’m an immigrant. From generations of immigrants. English is my second language. I grew up on the South Side of Chicago. Not the nice part. As an emerging playwright, I write and workshop plays in Chicago and New York. BA, PhD, in multi-disciplinary programs with really long names. My current favorite colors are Blue and Sunflower Yellow.


June 2, 2022

“No one’s coming to save us. We gotta figure out how to save ourselves.”

Article inspiration here

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ZACHARIAH EZER is a playwright who animates theoretical quandaries through dramaturgical forms. His plays include An Unclear World (Hi-ARTS), The Freedom Industry (New York Stage & Film), and Address the Body! (The Echo Theater Company), among others. He is a James A. Michener Fellow, the Dramaturg-in-Residence at The Workshop Theater, and a performer in alternative rock band Harper’s Landing. MFA: UT Austin (2023). BA: Wesleyan University.


June 3, 2022

“Ram horns. One hunnert percent Murican ram.”

Article inspiration here

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DONNA LATHAM’s a feminist playwright from Chicago. Her plays are published with YouthPLAYS, Next Stage Press, and Smith Scripts and anthologized in Best American Short Plays 2016-2017, Best American Short Plays 2014-2015, 2016’s Best Ten-Minute Plays, and She Persisted: New Plays By Women Over 40, 2021. A resident playwright at Rising Sun Performance Company in NYC and member of Honor Roll! Playwrights, Donna’s a proud member of the Dramatists Guild.


June 4, 2022

“I remember everything about you.”

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MARCUS SCOTT is a dramatist & journalist. His full-length work includes “Tumbleweed” (finalist for the 2017 Bay Area Playwrights Festival; semifinalist for the 2022 Eugene O’Neill Theater Center National Playwrights Conference, the 2022 Blue Ink Playwriting Award and the 2017 New Dramatists Princess Grace Fellowship Award), “Sibling Rivalries” (finalist for the 2021 Seven Devils Playwrights Conference; semi-finalist for the 2022 Lanford Wilson New American Play Festival, the 2021 Blue Ink Playwriting Award and the 2021 New Dramatists Princess Grace Fellowship Award) and “Cherry Bomb” (recipient of the 2017 Drama League First Stage Artist-In-Residence). He was commissioned by Heartbeat Opera to adapt Beethoven’s “Fidelio” (Librettist/Co-writer; The Met Museum; NYT Critic’s Pick). Recently developed at Gingold Theatrical Group (Speaker’s Corner), Zoetic Stage (Finstrom Festival Of New Work) and Queens Theatre (New American Voices series). Scott is a 2021 NYSAF Founders’ Award finalist and a 2021 Doric Wilson Independent Playwright Award semi-finalist. His articles appeared in Architectural DigestTime Out New York, American Theatre MagazinePlaybillElleOutEssenceThe Brooklyn Rail, among others. MFA: GMTWP, NYU Tisch.


June 5, 2022

“Ukelele-related content’s been performing really well. What else?”

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LIA ROMEO is a playwriting fellow at Juilliard. Her play The Forest was developed at the O’Neill Playwrights Conference, and this and three of her other plays have been recognized by the Kilroys List. Her plays have been produced by companies around the country and are published by Broadway Play Publishing, Playscripts, and Dramatists Play Service.


June 6, 2022

“I will feel it in bed when I think about you forty years from now.”

Article inspiration here

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ZACK PEERCY is a disabled playwright and screenwriter based in Chicago. He is a resident playwright at Three Brothers Theatre, where his play That’s Fucked Up premiered in 2019. Other plays include Essential Starlite (2021 O’Neill Finalist, Blue Ink Semi-Finalist), In an Instant (Unheard Of Company), Hard-Boiled: A Christmas Noir (Possibilities Theater Company), Muted. (Bottlecap Press), Kubrickian, and others. This Fall, he will be developing a new TYA play with Filament Theater as part of their SPARK Residency. Plays: New Play Exchange. Social: @zackpeercy  


June 7, 2022

“Well, that might’ve given you the hint I didn’t want to be found.”

Article inspiration here

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KARISSA MURRELL MYERS (she/her) is a hapa Filipino American theatre artist based in Chicago, where she works as an actor, playwright, producer, and casting director. As a playwright, her work has been developed and/or produced at Strawdog Theatre, American Blues Theatre, The Gift Theatre, Our Perspective: Asian American Plays, and Bramble Theatre Company, where she is the Artistic Director. MFA from University of Hawaii, BA from Boise State University, and proud graduate of The School at Steppenwolf 2019. More info at www.kmurrellmyers.com


June 8, 2022

“Like the 700 Club was our government, and queer people didn’t exist.”

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MIKKI GILLETTE is a trans woman playwright, whose work depicts the trans experience in all its juicy, dramatic richness. Her play The Queers enjoyed a sold out run at Fuse Theatre Ensemble this spring. Her show Mimetic Desire will be produced by the Pittsburgh Classic Players in winter 2022. Mikki’s work has been seen at Artists Rep Theatre, Transformation Theatre, Profile Theatre and Post5 Theatre. Learn more at: mikkigillette.com.


June 9, 2022

“They put me into a cage again.”

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DANIEL A. OLIVAS is a playwright, fiction writer, and poet. His first full-length play, Waiting for Godínez, was selected for the Playwrights’ Arena Summer Reading Series (2020), and The Road Theatre’s Twelfth Annual Playwrights Festival (2021). Waiting is the shorter, pandemic reworking of that play which received a world premiere in 2021 in a Playwrights’ Arena production in Los Angeles. His plays may be found at the New Play Exchange: https://newplayexchange.org/users/35649/daniel-olivas


June 10, 2022

“I loved my daughter before anyone else could.”

Article inspired here

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HEATHER MEYERS is a proud ensemble member of American Blues Theater since 1996. Heather is a stage manager, director, writer and lifelong lover of reading. Thanks to family & friends for providing love and inspiration every day.


June 11, 2022

“We had to change the verb. Do you remember when we did that for the first time?”

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DR. CATALINA FLORINA FLORESCU has a PhD in Medical Humanities conferred by Purdue University. She teaches theater, immigration literature, cinema, and writing at Pace University. She is the curator for the New Play Festival at Jersey City Theater Center. She wrote the world’s first trilogy on breast cancer to honor her late mother, as well as to inspire people to speak up: http://www.catalinaflorescu.com/


June 12, 2022

“I guess you could say the pandemic has forced me into practicing my own form of Minimalism.”

Article inspiration here

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SCOTT CARTER COOPER’s work is tailored to small professional companies with diverse ensembles looking for economical plays to produce. His short-form pieces have been successful with local companies including American Blues, The Artistic Home, Chicago Dramatists, and a number of smaller storefront companies as well as internationally. With a BFA in Theatre from Drake University and an MA in writing from DePaul University, Cooper’s theatrical experience spans writing, producing, directing and performing with a long list of Chicago’s finest companies including Steppenwolf, The Lyric Opera of Chicago, Theo Ubique, Prop Thtr, CityLit, and many smaller storefront theatres.


STUDENT SCRIPT – BONUS

“It’s called method acting, dear, google it.”

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MCKENNZIE “KENZI” BOYD was a generally shy kid from Chicago before she discovered writing poetry as a way for her to speak up about what she was experiencing. From there McKennzie has realized how vital the arts are to expressing serious topics and reaching many groups of people. McKennzie has been a part of the Viola Project, a program that teaches non-men an alternate way to feminize Shakespearean text in order to bend or break ancient gender roles. She has acted at various theatres in the Chicagoland area including with the City Lit Acting Company where she did The Voice of Good Hope. Little did she know, it was just the beginning. Since then she has acted in various plays with American Blues Theatre and Goodman Theatre in Chicago which introduced her to #Enough. McKennzie has managed different plays at her school and organized the assemblies and classes related to Black history month on liberating black voices. This was when she began to adapt some of her poems into plays to combine both of the worlds she loved. Currently, McKennzie is a part of Steppenwolf’s Young Adult Council and fights to challenge the silence that confines Black and LGBTQ+ voices in addition to continuing on towards her dream to be a famous playwright.


STUDENT SCRIPT – BONUS

“Do you mean that she wandered off because a guy in a van had chocolate or like what?”

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JILLIAN COLEMAN is a 5th grader at Palmer Elementary School who likes reading, writing, and sports. You can find her coloring, playing outside, or making up stories in her head!


STUDENT SCRIPT – BONUS

“Honestly, I don’t mind my shape. I’m an eyeball! WITH WINGS!”

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RIVER LUNA VIETS-STREL is 10.5 years old and lives in Chicago. They love reading crime and mystery novels they find in Little Free Libraries, thrift store shopping, drawing, playing soccer and rock climbing. They hate doing homework so maybe playwriting can count for extra credit?


June 13, 2022

“For one week, eat nothing but curry. And not wimpy white people curry.”

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MAXIMILLIAN GILL has had his work staged by a number of companies and festivals in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Recent work can be read in The Best Ten-Minute Plays 2021 (Smith & Kraus) and New Play Exchange.


June 14, 2022

“And another thing, you just don’t leave your girlfriend in a national park!”

Article inspiration here

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LEAH ROTH BARSANTI is a Chicago-based, playwright, screenwriter, and educator with an MFA in Writing for the Screen and Stage from Northwestern University. Her work focuses on strong women and girls trying to make space for themselves in a world that doesn’t ever make that easy. She is thrilled to be included in this year’s Ripped Online Library: an honor some of her students have received in the past.


June 15, 2022

“I bring that dream up all the time in therapy.”

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CHIMA CHIKAZUNGA  (he/him) is a graduate from Florida State University.  His audio play An Icons Belief in Fallen Soldiers was commissioned by The Classical Theatre of Harlem and his play Echoes of a Lost Son won the 2019 Public Access Television Award. Published work can be found in Best Women’s and Men’s Monologues 2022 and Best American Short Plays 2018-2019. Other plays presented by AND (Artistic New Development) Theatre Company, Theatre For the New City, Midtown International Theatre Festival, Downtown Urban Arts Festival, and The Players Theatre.


June 16, 2022

“No, you weren’t gonna say anything.”

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SUSAN HANSELL‘s plays include My Medea (an Applause Theatre Books Best American Short Plays series selection); 14 Ladies in Hats (from which two selections appear in the Heinemann Press anthology More Monologues for Women by Women); the widely produced Every Concentrated Fragment; and Who Will Witness for the Witness, premiering July 2022 at The Gaslight Theater, presented by the St. Louis Actors’ Studio. She is a Dramatists Guild member. http://www.susan-hansell.net


June 17, 2022

“Wanna share a branch with me?”

Article inspiration here

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ANGELA J. DAVIS is the author of The Spanish Prayer Book (World Premiere: The Road Theatre Company 2019-20; L.A. Times Best Bet), AGATHE (New American Voices Award – The Landing Theatre, SETC Getchell Award, Jane Chambers Award Top-4 Finalist and Honoree), Clara and Serra and The Talking Bear (commissioned for radio by Antaeus Theatre Company), and Griswold (A is For Playwriting Prize; Playhouse Creatures (NYC) Rodriguez Award, FutureFest Official Selection), among other plays. Recent/forthcoming work at The Landing Theatre, Playhouse on the Square, Sohaya Visions (London), ARC Stages, Antaeus, Playhouse Creatures and elsewhere. Website: http://www.AngelaJDavis.com


June 18, 2022

“Because I’m Korean, I don’t cry. Because I’m Korean, I don’t scream. But I’m also an American. And Americans…We scream.”

Article inspiration here

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SCOTT C. SICKLES (he/him) is an LGBTQ/neurodivergent/multiracial Korean American writer. Urgent works include Playing on the Periphery: Monologues and Scenes for and about Queer Kids (Reading Theater Project, Florida State University); Nonsense and Beauty (Rep St. Louis), and The Second World Trilogy, featuring Marianas Trench (Portland Stage, Road Theatre Company), Pangea (Gary Marshall Theatre) and The Known Universe (Mixed Asian Media Fest). Five-time WGA Award winner/multiple Emmy nominee (General Hospital).


June 19, 2022

“You brought sparkling water to the apocalypse?”

Article inspiration here

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RACHEL LYNETT (she/they) is a queer Afro-Latine playwright, producer, and teaching artist. Their play, White People by the Lake was a 2022 Blue Ink Award finalist. Lynett is also the 2021 recipient of the Yale Drama Prize for their play, Apologies to Lorraine Hansberry (You Too August Wilson), and the 2021 recipient of the National Latinx Playwriting award for their play, Black Mexican.


June 20, 2022

“All these years I been at NASA. All these years, as a spacey type person guy, exploring the final frontier.”

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JESSICA MOSS acts, writes, produces. Or she’d like to: it’s tough out there. 


June 21, 2022

“Wake up?! The dude is turning into a tree.”

Article inspiration here

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JAMES STILL (he/him) is a proud Artistic Affiliate of American Blues Theater. His plays have been produced throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia, South Africa, South America, China and Japan. Four-time Pulitzer nominee, five-time Emmy nominee and Playwright in Residence at Indiana Repertory Theatre. He lives in Los Angeles.


June 22, 2022

“Well, if it’s not a big deal why are we taking time off work to prep the apartment and stock the fridge, and hide my vibrators at Janine’s along with any printed financial records – “

Article inspiration here

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MINITA GANDHI (she/they) is a Los Angeles based writer/actor/healer whose work has been described as “nuanced, brave, lyrical,” and is often in the world of dark comedy and magic realism. Their play MUTHALAND was Jeff nominated for best new work and best solo performance. Gandhi is currently working on a commission for Minnesota Opera Company as part of their New Works Cohort. www.MinitaGandhi.com


June 23, 2022

“According to my research, Jupiter has everything I would need to survive.”

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LAURA ZLATOS‘s plays include The Blue Whale (2021 Marsha A. Croyle Award, 2019 Dr. R.J. Rodriguez Emerging Playwrights Contest), The Even More Lamentable of Lavinia (2020 Women Are Funny Prize), Happily After Ever (2017 Woodward/Newman Drama Award, 5959 Theaters, Edinburgh Fringe, Bloomington Playwrights Project), and Three Hours (HERE Arts). Laura is a playwriting fellow with Playhouse Creatures Theatre Company and was a resident playwright with the Exquisite Corpse Company. MFA: Playwriting, Columbia University; MA Performances Studies, NYU. wwwlaurazlatos.com


June 24, 2022

“I’m 71 years old and I marched 50 years ago for the right to control MY body.”

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WANDACHRISTINE As a proud American Blues Ensemble member, it has been my pleasure to contribute as a playwright to our noted Ripped Festival each year for the past six years. When I’m not sitting behind my computer writing, I’m in my Voice Over booth each morning sending out morning messages on my Podcast… “Mornings with Ms. Wandachristine” it’s my way of finding humor each day in this chaotic world that we live in and making sure we all remember that… “It’s good to be alive”. So if you’d care to join in visit my website Wandachristine.com and send me a message that you’d like to be included as a morning listener.


June 25, 2022

“I don’t get haunted. Except now.”

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BRENT LEIBOWITZ is a Chicago-based playwright whose works involve topical popular culture from a Jewish perspective. Brent is a graduate of The Theatre School at DePaul University’s playwriting program, where he had several staged readings as part of their Wrights of Spring new play festival. Brent recently completed a literary internship at Florida Studio Theatre, where he wrote for their On-Deck Sketch Comedy Team.


June 26, 2022

“I want to go out now. I haven’t been out for days.”

Article inspiration here & here

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DR. ADA CHENG is a proud Artistic Affiliate at American Blues Theater. An educator-turned artist, producer, and creator, she utilizes storytelling to illustrate structural inequities, raise critical awareness, and build intimate communities. Committed to amplifying and uplifting marginalized voices, she has created numerous storytelling platforms for BIPOC and LGBTQIA community members to tell difficult and vulnerable stories. She teaches with the Asian American Studies Program at Northwestern University. Her interests encompass academia, advocacy, and performance/storytelling.


June 27

“the war was over and nobody won”

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ZACHARY STEVENSON is a proud Ensemble member of American Blues Theater. Dividing his time between Chicago and Vancouver, Zachary is an actor, music director and singer-songwriter. Some performance highlights include Million Dollar Quartet, Ring of Fire, As You Like It, Hair, Hank Williams: The Show He Never Gave. He is best known for his portrayal of Buddy Holly in Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story for which he was awarded a Jeff Award for Outstanding Performance at American Blues Theater.


June 28

“We cannot throw people away and expect that things will change.”

Article inspiration here

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EDITHA ROSARIO-MOORE has been a proud Ensemble member of American Blues Theater since 2001, and currently serves on the board. She works as an appellate public defender with the Illinois Office of the State Appellate Defender and adjunct clinical law professor at DePaul. Previously, she worked as a theater artist and educator in Chicago, New York, and New Orleans. Her scholarship explores the relationship between criminal law education and community empowerment.


June 29

“Only nation with more guns than people / More mass shootings than days”

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JAISEY BATES is a poet playwright singular plurality. Awards include Marin Theatre Company’s Emerging American Playwright Prize. Selections include the Bay Area Playwrights Festival and Native Voices at the Autry, OKC Theatre Company, Clamour, Cutting Ball and Vagrancy theater festivals. Finalist recognitions include the Princess Grace and American Blues Theater Blue Ink awards and NPC.  Education includes Georgetown University (BSFS), American University in Cairo (SAIS/Fulbright) and Loyola Marymount University (MA English). the-peoplehood.com


June 30

“Maybe it was realizing I am not making enough to do a special date night at Red Lobster.”

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DARREN CANADY is a proud Ensemble member at American Blues Theater.  He hails from Topeka, KS. His work has been produced at the Alliance Theatre, American Conservatory Theatre, Aurora Theater, Congo Square Theater, Horizon Theatre, London’s the Old Vic Theatre, M Ensemble, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, American Blues Theater, and others. His awards include the Alliance Theater’s Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Award, Chicago’s Black Excellence Award, the Black Theatre Alliance Award, and the American Theatre Critics Association’s Osborn Award. His work has been developed at numerous festivals including the O’Neill Theater Center’s National Playwright’s Conference. His play You’re Invited appeared in The Best American Short Plays 2010-2011. His work has been seen or developed at the Quo Vadimus Arts’ ID America Festival, the Fremont Centre Theatre, Premiere Stages, the BE Company, Penumbra Theatre, and American Blues Theater. Darren is an alum of Carnegie Mellon University, New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and the Juilliard School. He is a current member of the Core Writers Program at the Playwrights’s Center and Midwest Dramatists Center. He is an Ensemble member with Congo Square Theatre. He currently teaches playwriting at the University of Kansas.


History of The Ripped Festival

Chicago’s Original – Est. 2009

HISTORY – Our Ripped: The Living Newspaper Project began in 2009 with a series of staged readings of short plays based on the 1930s WPA era program “The Living Newspaper”. Since our inaugural 2009 launch, we’ve presented 23 events and utilized 670 artists that feature short plays ripped from today’s headlines.

In 2013, we expanded our staged readings into the sold-out, one-night-only, annual event – The Ripped Festival. All proceeds of these annual events benefit our free arts education initiatives in Chicago Public Schools. In addition, we showcase short plays from students who’ve completed our course.

Due to the 2020-2022 pandemic, we presented The Ripped Festival as an online library, featuring 30 short plays throughout the month of June. Selected scripts were used during a theater course at the University of California – Berkeley.

Our annual festival cultivates new material and allows audiences to discuss topical issues together. American Blues Theater provides community service and raises awareness through creative collaborations. The following organizations have been supported by Ripped events since its inception in 2009: AgrAbility, American Indian Center Chicago, Chicago Public Schools, Greater Chicago Food Depository, Illinois Farm Bureau, Lincoln Park Community Shelter, NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, No Kid Hungry, University of Chicago’s Urban Education Teachers Program, and more.

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