And I’m back. . .

August 2nd, 2011 donnahoke

originally posted on May 23, 2011

Getting a reasonably priced hotel room in New York City (and by reasonable, I mean $150 or less–I have never paid more than $150 for a Manhattan hotel room), this past weekend was impossible. Even the pod hotels were raking in $300+ for a cubicle, which was well out of my price range. But as often happens when we’re forced to look beyond our usual–and comfortable options–things turned out not just well, but better. Why? Because I–don’t laugh–discovered Jersey City. The hotels there are reasonable (even this weekend, when clearly everyone had decided that New York was THE place to spend the Rapture), a quick walk to the PATH train into Manhattan, and have FREE parking. I don’t know if I’ll ever bother looking in Manhattan again. Every time I travel there, it seems I find a cheaper, better, more efficient way of doing it.

We checked in Friday, then hopped the PATH to midtown, where we grabbed a very quick bite before checking out The Normal Heart, a Tony nominee for Best Revival.  I’d feared that what people had branded an “issue play” would come off as preachy and didactic, but it was far from it. Anything that someone would label as such is failing to see how organic it all is; these are the actual arguments that were being made–are still being made–to real people. I found it compelling, and sad, moreso because it’s all true. As difficult as it must have been for Larry Kramer to dramatize this very personal story, he did so with humor, compassion, and heart.

Saturday afternoon found us not burning in hell but sitting in the audience at what appeared to be another sold-out performance of Good People, a Tony nominee for Best Play. The play is very likable, funny, and Frances McDormand had a good handle on her character, though Renee Elise Goldsberry (Kate) stole the show from the moment she said her first line. Of the three Tony nominees for Best Play that I saw–Jerusalem, The Motherf**ker with the Hat, and this–I wouldn’t give this the nod. It’s incredibly skillful, and I’m now eager to read David Lindsay-Abaire’s other work, particularly the Pulitizer Prize-winning Rabbit Hole, but there were some premises that I thought asked the audience to stretch a little too far, for starters the notion that the desperation for and inability to find ANY minimum wage job is the catalyst that drives the entire show. My money is still on Jerusalem.

From there, it was off to Vatan, a tapas-style Indian restaurant; I’ll be revisiting it as soon as I have the chance. After you take off your shoes and climb into a big comfy booth, you don’t have to order a thing because they bring you everything on the menu! So many things to try, all delicious, and you can have as much of anything as you want. That’s how I like to eat.

Then finally, the point of the entire weekend…The New Works 4 International Short Play Festival, and my play Gift Horse, at the Richmond Shepard Theatre. But because this is so long already, I’m going to put that stuff in a separate post…

Written by donnahoke


Dramatists Guild Council member and ensemble playwright-in-residence at Road Less Traveled Productions, Kilroys List and award-winning playwright Donna Hoke’s work has been seen in 46 states, and on five continents. Her full-length plays include ELEVATOR GIRL (2017 O’Neill finalist), THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR (Princess Grace semi-finalist, currently in its fourth year in rep in Romania), SAFE (winner of the Todd McNerney, Naatak, and Great Gay Play and Musical Contests), and BRILLIANT WORKS OF ART (2016 Kilroys List, Winner HRC Showcase, Firehouse Festival of New American Plays); she’s also authored more than three dozen short plays that have had hundreds of productions, and has been nominated for both the Francesca Primus and Susan Blackburn prizes. She’s also a two-time winner of the Emanuel Fried Award for Best New Play (SEEDS, SONS & LOVERS).

Donna is also a New York Times-published crossword puzzle constructor; author of Neko and the Twiggets, a children’s book; and founder/co-curator of BUA Takes 10: GLBT Short Stories. For three consecutive years, she was named Buffalo’s Best Writer by Artvoice, the only woman to ever receive the designation.

In addition, Donna is a blogger, advocate, and moderator of the 12,000+-member Official Playwrights of Facebook. Recent speaking engagements include Citywrights, Kenyon Playwrights Conference, the Dramatists Guild National Conference, Chicago Dramatists, Austin Film Festival, and a live Dramatists Guild webinar. Her commentary has been read at #2amt, howlround, the Official Playwrights of Facebook, the newly released Workshopping the New Play, and

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