Cover photo by Jay Geneske

When the Messenger Is Hot

Laura Eason, adapted from the book of short stories by Elizabeth Crane
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Three years after Josie’s mother died, no one expects her to telephone from a bus station in North Dakota. This comic study of love and letting go gives a look at the disparity between what you expect and what is delivered.

Production Info

Cast: 5 total (4 female, 1 male)
Full Length Dark Comedy (about 85 minutes)
Minimal Set Requirements
Category: Tag:

Press Quotes

“WHEN THE MESSENGER IS HOT is very, very hot. MESSENGER is pure magic … Eason’s richly inspired, cleverly envisioned adaptation … This 85-minute piece careens brilliantly between comedy and heartbreak … The impact of this play is as intense as it is wholly enchanting. It is a fairy tale for our time.” —Chicago Sun-Times

“Laura Eason’s slick, shrewd and savvy theatrical adaptation is fresh, smart and, yes, populist material that will draw you in quite tightly. Steppenwolf scheduled this show for New York even before its Chicago premiere. You can see why.” —Chicago Tribune

About the Author


  • Laura Eason

    Laura Eason is the author of twenty plays, original work and adaptation, a musical book writer, and screenwriter. Selected productions of full-length plays include SEX WITH STRANGERS (Second Stage Theatre, NYC; Signature Theatre, DC; Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Chicago; Sydney Theatre Company, AU; published by Overlook Press); THE UNDENIABLE SOUND OF RIGHT NOW (Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre and Women's Project Theater, NYC; Rising Phoenix Rep, NYC); THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER (Hartford Stage, CT; New Victory Theater, NYC; People's Light & Theatre Company, PA; Actors Theatre of Louisville, KY; The Kansas City Repertory Theatre; The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis; Denver Center; published by DPS), and AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS (New Vic and Royal Exchange, UK; Lookingglass Theatre Company; Baltimore Center Stage; published by Broadway Play Publishing). Produced short plays include: MR. SMITTEN (Humana Festival), CITI MOMS (Women's Project Theater, NYC), USA-001A (American Theater Company, Chicago), JACK AND THE COLLECTION (WET, NYC), LOST BOY IN THE RUINED CITY (Theatre Seven, Chicago), IT WAS FUN WHILE IT LASTED (City Theatre, Miami), and LOST IN THE SUPERMARKET (Vital Theatre Company, NYC), among others. She wrote the book for the musicals DAYS LIKE TODAY, music and lyrics by Alan Schmuckler (Writers Theatre, Chicago) and SUMMERLAND, music by Jenny Giering, lyrics by Sean Barry (Chicago Shakespeare Theater commission). Additional plays include: THE VAST IN-BETWEEN (Denver Center commission, also developed by Vineyard Theatre, NYC), REMARKABLE INVISIBLE (Ambassador Theatre Group commission), EVERY REASON TO HOPE AND BELIEVE (Repertory Theatre of St. Louis commission), 40 DAYS (NEA grant, developed by New York Theatre Workshop), PLAINFIELD ACE (developed by Two River Theater, NJ and Atlantic Theater Company, NYC) and an adaptation of HANS BRINKER AND THE SILVER SKATES (Arden Theatre Company commission), among others. As a screenwriter, Laura wrote on season two and three of the Emmy-winning Netflix show House of Cards. She is an Ensemble Member and former Artistic Director of Chicago's Lookingglass Theatre (2011 Regional Tony Award). In New York, she is a member of Rising Phoenix Rep, New Georges, and a Women's Project Playwright's Lab alumna.

  • Elizabeth Crane

    Elizabeth Crane is the award-winning author of three collections of short stories: When the Messenger is Hot, All This Heavenly Glory and You Must Be This Happy to Enter. Her work has been featured in Other Voices, Mississippi Review, the Believer, McSweeney's Future Dictionary of America and several anthologies including The Best Underground Fiction, Loser, Altared, and The Show I'll Never Forget. In 2003 she received the Chicago Public Library's 21st Century Award. Her work has been adapted for film and the stage. She teaches creative writing in the UCR Palm Desert Low Residency MFA program. We Only Know So Much is her first novel.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 10/10/2007
Pages 80
ISBN 9780881453669

Special Notes

Special Notes

Licensees are required to include the original stage producers credits in the following form on the title page in all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play and in all advertising in which the full cast appears in size of type not less than ten percent (10%) of the size of the title of the Play:

Originally produced by Steppenwolf Theater, Chicago

The following must appear within all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play:
When the Messenger Is Hot is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC


Upcoming and Recent Productions


3/5/2021 – 3/7/2021
Des Moines, IA