by Claire Dettloff

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At the 24-hour IHOP, Maggie and June spend the wee hours of the morning unpacking what it means to be “well-endowed.”




Claire Dettloff (she/her) is a Michigan-born composer, lyricist, actor and playwright currently based in Phoenix, AZ. Claire holds a BFA in Musical Theatre Performance from Central Michigan University and is moving into her third and final year at Arizona State University pursuing an MFA in Dramatic Writing. Her original work, both musicals and straight plays, is rooted in intersectional feminism and embracing the messiness of womanhood. A few of her playwriting credits include: chew the fat (Valdez Theatre Conference, Prism Theatre Company), petals fall: a new musical (Arizona State University), and Semantics: A New Musical (Central Michigan University).




When did you start writing plays? If you had a moment where you realized you wanted to write, what was it?

The first show I wrote was a full-length musical called Semantics in my undergrad. I was in an English class where we had to brainstorm ideas for our senior capstone and write a practice proposal as a result. The professor stressed that we shouldn’t hold back – it was just an exercise, so why not go a little wild? My insane, basically-a-joke idea was to write a musical. I’d never taken a playwriting class, and while I’d been playing piano for 13 years at that point, I had no experience scoring or arranging. It became less of a joke when I brought the idea to my professor Elaine who, for some reason, had total faith in me.


How did you come to write your OOB play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?

I was sitting in some horrible airport seafood restaurant, after a truly nightmarish seven-hour bus trip, when I realized that I was the only woman in the whole place. Funny enough, it seemed I was also the only person under 70. Regardless, I suddenly became very aware of my body and the fact that I’d been sweating for hours and really just wanted to take off my bra. But in an airport bar full of men? I figured it didn’t matter how stealthy I could be about it, what years of backstage quick changes had taught me… I was being watched. I slumped in the booth and sulked until the check came.


What are five words that describe who you are as a playwright?

1. Sparkly
2. Rhythmic
3. Campy
4. Messy
5. For-the-girls


What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?

I take so much inspiration from music for both my musical and non-musical work. Particularly, I enjoy the structure and rhythm of lyrics in singer-songwriter and indie music. “Fetch the Bolt Cutters” by Fiona Apple comes to mind as an album that has inspired my work in terms of the heartbeat of my dialogue.


What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?

I have a second-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do.


What are some of your favorite plays?

Women Laughing Alone with Salad by Sheila Callaghan
Top Girls by Caryl Churchill
David’s Redhaired Death by Sherry Kramer


Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?

My new full-length play over my dead body there’ll be a pillow fight (or the sleepover play) will be produced in April 2025 as part of Arizona State University’s first-ever New Works Festival. My other new full-length called the last sundae is in the second-draft phase and will serve as my thesis play in this final year of my MFA program. It’s a story centered around my grandmother, the summer she was dying from cancer and the group of women she’d been friends with for more than 50 years. While it’s already proved challenging and emotional to write, I’m so excited to be developing a story that features an age group of women we don’t often see. I’m most glad that it celebrates Grandma Pat’s insatiable sweet tooth.

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