Cover photo by Peter Cunningham

Plays by Jonathan Reynolds

Jonathan Reynolds
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This collection includes two full-length plays, STONEWALL JACKSON’S HOUSE and FIGHTING INTERNATIONAL FAT, and two one-act plays, RUBBERS and YANKS 3 DETROIT 0 TOP OF THE SEVENTH. STONEWALL JACKSON’S HOUSE: While giving a tour of the haphazardly restored home of the Confederate general, a young African American docent suddenly has a revelation and asks an affluent white couple if she can come home with them — as their slave! FIGHTING INTERNATIONAL FAT: The war against weight is the subject of Jonathan Reynolds’s comedic take on consuming passions and our insatiable appetite for television talk shows. RUBBERS: A lady legislator tries desperately to get a bill through the Assembly that would require pharmacists to place contraceptives on public display. YANKS 3 DETROIT 0 TOP OF THE SEVENTH: An aging big-league pitcher tries for a comeback.

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Press Quotes


“The gloves come off early in STONEWALL JACKSON’S HOUSE, Jonathan Reynolds’s caustic comic tirade against political orthodoxy. A woebegone black guide leading a group through the haphazardly restored home of the Confederate general suddenly stops the tour to ask a well-to-do white couple from Ohio if she can come home with them, as their slave. It’s a provocative moment: where is this playwright, who so deliciously savaged film making fifteen years ago in GENIUSES, headed with this tasteless conceit? Mercifully, not to a scene depicting modern slavery. The revolving panels of the play’s simple set are eventually pushed aside to reveal the rehearsal room of a small theater company whose self-righteous administrators, interviewing playwrights for the new season, denounce the play the audience has just sampled. With that, Mr Reynolds climbs on his soapbox for a ambling, funny, cranky and highly entertaining diatribe against all the agenda-laden forces and high-minded programs (especially of the liberal stripe) that he believes have conspired to wring common sense out of American political and cultural life. Affirmative action, political correctness, nontraditional casting, the welfare state, black studies, ethnocentrism, multiculturalism: Mr Reynolds pushes so many buttons he could have staged the play in an elevator … You don’t have to agree with Mr Reynolds’s inexhaustible supply of opinions to get a kick out of this … The plot of STONEWALL JACKSON’S HOUSE takes several outrageous turns, culminating in a hilariously radical restaging of the tour-guide scene along lines more politically palatable to the theater company’s old guard … But maybe a little more unvarnished spleen-venting is just what the theater needs.” —Peter Marks, The New York Times

“In STONEWALL JACKSON’S HOUSE, Jonathan Reynolds has created an American play of ideas much in the manner of Paddy Chayefsky, with intelligent characters expressing their philosophies with a wit that sparkles and stabs at the same time.” —Howard Waxman, Variety

“… the funniest and most outrageous play of the season, a withering fusillade of satire aimed at our comfortably congealed political orthodoxies. He’s brought brainy cantankerousness back with a vengeance.” —Jack Kroll, Newsweek


“Jonathan Reynolds is a playwright with what may be a quixotic goal. He proposes to appeal to intelligent theatergoers the old-fashioned way, by providing an experience that expands the audience’s vision instead of reaffirming what it already knows … In FIGHTING INTERNATIONAL FAT, two women — leading diet promoters — are locked in a titanic struggle for the opportunity to proselytize their respective positions on a leading television talk show, presided over by the man who happens to be ‘the sex object of every red-blooded American woman.’ Both women will stop at nothing to win over the talk show host, who is under pressure to provide his voracious viewers with revelations five days a week.” —Gaby Rogers, The New York Times


“… [the plays are] undeniably funny … RUBBERS has a young woman member of the Assembly desperately trying to get a bill through that would require pharmacists to place contraceptives on public display. The response this receives from her fellow members is immediate, explosive and often very amusing. Mr Reynolds offers some whimsical caricatures of Assemblymen … In the second play, Mr Reynolds does keep rather closer to the real world, with an aging, fading baseball pitcher who is on his way out and frantically knows it. With his ethnic jokes and crass materialism there is nothing very attractive about Emil (Duke) Bronskowski paranoidly facing high noon on the mound. And yet seeing him assailed by the opposing team — all markedly younger and mocking men — his own catcher (he has the only catcher in the major leagues who wants his pitcher to call him ‘Mister!’) and his coach … one has to feel some basic sympathy.” —Clive Barnes, The New York Times

“The funniest double header of the season, bar none.” —New York Magazine

About the Author


  • Jonathan Reynolds

    All ten of Jonathan Reynolds's plays have been produced in New York, most recently DINNER WITH DEMONS, an autobiographical one-man show in which he prepared a full five-course meal onstage eight times a week. Other notable plays include the controversial STONEWALL JACKSON'S HOUSE, which the Pulitzer Drama Jury recommended for the award; GENIUSES, produced by Playwrights Horizons and which ran for a year Off-Broadway; and the first plays he wrote, a pair of one-acts, YANKS 3 DETROIT O TOP OF THE 7TH and RUBBERS at The American Place. Less notable plays include FIGHTING INTERNATIONAL FAT, also produced at Playwrights Horizons, AND TUNNEL FEVER OR THE SHEEP IS OUT, also produced at The American Place. Although five of his screenplays have also been produced, most notably Micki & Maude and My Stepmother is an Alien, his most memorable experiences in filmmaking have been with Apocalypse Now and Leonard Part 6, both of which could have gone either way. He is the recipient of Rockefeller and Guggenheim Foundation grants as well as The Dramatists Guild Flora Roberts Award for Sustained Achievement. For five years, he was Treasurer of The Dramatists Guild of America, and for six years wrote a bi-weekly food column for The New York Times Sunday Magazine. His memoir, Wrestling With Gravy: A Life, with Food, was recently published by Random House, and his next play GIRLS IN TROUBLE was produced at The Flea Theatre in New York in February 2010. He passed away in November 2021 and was survived by his wife, the set designer and producer, Heidi Ettinger, along with two sons from his previous marriage and three stepsons.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 9/1/2002
Pages 200
ISBN 9780881452075