truly adventurous theater
"An impressive range and a nimble touch reminiscent of the young Tom Stoppard"
Terry Morgan in Daily Variety
Tom Jacobson is a Los Angeles-based playwright.
A prolific writer, Jacobson has penned more than 35 plays, and has had more than 90 productions of his works performed around the world. With historical references, literary allusions, subversive humor, and a wide variety of theatrical styles, many of his plays focus on LGBTQ characters and queer history.
His play, Ouroboros, received the Garland Award for Playwriting, and L.A. Weekly Awards for Playwriting and Production of the year. Ouroboros, along with three other of his plays –Bunbury (Road Theatre), The Orange Grove (Playwrights Arena), Mexican Day (Rogue Machine) and Sperm (Circle X Theatre) – have been designated Los Angeles Times Critics Choices. Other plays include The Chinese Massacre (Annotated) (Circle X Theatre), House of the Rising Son (Ensemble Studio), Beloved Disciple, Cyberqueer (Diversionary Theatre), Plunge (Son of Semele Ensemble), The Devil's Wife (Skylight Theatre), Walking to Buchenwald (Open Fist Theatre Company), The Friendly Hour and Tainted Blood (Road Theatre) and The Twentieth-Century Way (Theatre @ Boston Court and Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre).
Walking to Buchenwald
(1 woman, 1 man, 3 of either gender) When Schiller and Arjay take Schiller’s parents to Europe, both couples learn what it means to be American in a world that no longer admires the U.S. Guinea pigs playing cricket, dead bodies that talk, and an unexpected trip to a concentration camp lead to a shocking yet poignant conclusion. Available at Broadway Play Publishing, Inc.
(3 men) In 1939 on the night Count Basie is the first black performer at the Palomar Ballroom, Zenobio and Amen are stuck at work cleaning up Donald, who almost died in the La Brea Tar Pits. You haven’t lived till you’ve made a white man white again. Part of the trilogy The Ballad of Bimini Baths. Available at Broadway Play Publishing, Inc.
(2 women, 3 men) Two American couples get caught in a chronological palindrome on a trip to Italy. Stigmata, alchemy, adultery and St. Catherine of Siena's severed head plague a nun and a minister in this circular love story that is a comedy if performed forward and a tragedy if performed backward. Winner of Best New Play and Production of the Year LA Weekly Awards. Available at Broadway Play Publishing, Inc.
In the Press
Walking to Buchenwald
It’s hard to define the tone of playwright Tom Jacobson’s excellent new play, a deceptively simple story of a gay couple taking one of their aging parents on their first Grand Tour of Europe. Featuring the playwright’s brilliant ear for nuance and ambiguity, it’s funny, with quirky incidents punctuated with irony and humor. But there’s also an underlying sadness, which comes from an awareness that life inevitably slides into decline, whether it’s a nation that seems to have turned into a country of madness, or the luckiest of individuals. One thing’s for sure: Walking to Buchenwald is a thoughtful, moody piece that mixes bittersweet warmth with a sense of encroaching darkness.
The play is partially double cast, with a presentational style similar to last year’s Captain of the Bible Quiz Team, which featured different actors in the same lead role. Here, two male performers playing a gay couple (Chris Cappiello and Justin Huen, the “Die Herren” cast) alternate with two female performers playing the same characters as a lesbian couple (Amielynn Abellera and Mandy Schneider, the “Die Damen” cast).
STAGE RAW REVIEW
Open Fist Theatre Company is currently workshopping a new trilogy of plays for
a diverse ensemble of five actors:
The Bauhaus Project I: Weimar (5 actors, any gender) Five struggling Southern California art students create a dramatic presentation on the founding of the famous Bauhaus school in order to save themselves from being kicked out.
The Bauhaus Project II: Dessau (5 actors, any gender) Defunded by the city of Weimar, the Bauhaus moves to Dessau and becomes the most influential art school in history.
The Bauhaus Project III: Berlin (5 actors, any gender) After Hitler shuts down the Bauhaus, some of the faculty emigrate to Los Angeles, where scores are settled between the founder Walter Gropius, his ex-wife Alma Mahler and composer Arnold Schönberg.